ASFIXIA – Need Some Inspiration? Also, A Deadline, Kinda.

My dear writers,

Are you, like me, hopped up on cold meds and finding the brain fuzzies a little difficult to combat in your quest for alternate truth? No? You’re just stuck? 

Oh.

Well, we can fix that.

A good writer friend of mine, Vero, has one of those minds that requires large cajones (figuratively – or literally. I don’t judge) to enter. Recently she offered the idea that the internet is self aware, but not in the way that you’re thinking. You can read the entire post here:

http://www.veronicasicoe.com/blog/2013/01/what-if-the-internet-became-self-aware/

Do with that what you will, and bring us some stories!

ALSO

Some of your have been asking about a deadline for submitting your stories to Asfixia. Here’s my response: March/April -ish. The final deadline will be determined by how many and of quality stories we receive. I’ll let you know when we have a concrete date.

Happy writing!

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – Asfixia, a short speculative fiction anthology

What if…

That is the question fiction seeks to answer. Speculative fiction goes one step further and attempts to answer what would happen if this world were different. If people were different. If people didn’t exist.

Do you write stories in which you explore an alternate reality and deliver a tale that makes the reader think or feel? Your story might be right for ASFIXIA – a new short fiction anthology to be published early 2014.

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GUIDELINES:

• We’re looking for speculative fiction – sci-fi/horror/fantasy/dystopian/super-hero/alternate history – the stranger, the better.

• Maximum word count is 3,000 but we are more likely to accept stories that blow us away with fewer words. There is no minimum. If you can tell a story in 100 words, we’ll consider it.

• We are especially interested in stories that explore human nature and challenge standard ideas such as “good always defeats evil” and preconceived notions about love.

• We (and when we say “we” we mean Katrina. Henry may convince her otherwise) are NOT interested in stories centralized on artificial intelligence aspiring to be human UNLESS you can present it to us in a way we haven’t seen.

• Stories involving religion, erotic content, LGBT themes, and profanity are acceptable – but stories involving sex and f-bombs for the sake of sex and f-bombs will be set on fire.

No YA, please. NA will be judged on a case by case basis.

• And, please, no sparkly vampires.

TECHINCAL STUFF

Send stories meeting the above criteria to asfixiabook@gmail.com with Submission – Title in the subject line and your story as an attachment. Please include a brief (1-2 lines) bio in the body of the email.

Authors with accepted stories will be paid $3.00 per piece upon acceptance and signed contract returned.

Simultaneous and multiple submissions are accepted, but no more than two per email. We would also appreciate a heads up if your story is accepted elsewhere.

Reality Sucks: A Crisis.

Do you write for love or money?

Does it make you a sell out? What’s wrong with selling out, anyway, if it pays your mortgage/puts your ADD kid in ballet lessons? Does it make you any less of a writer or moreso, depending on which leg of the pendulum you swing on?

IT DOESN’T MATTER.


There is no right answer.

We can all agree that writing is a business, but that doesn’t mean that you HAVE to take part in it. I started writing “seriously” (and that’s a term I use loosely) about four years ago. I didn’t think about agents, publishing, platforms, anything in the beginning. I banged out two novel first drafts in three months. I was THAT excited about it. But then I thought, now what?

That’s where I simultaneously succeeded and fucked myself in the ass.

The “now what” predicament led me to a writers’ group, which led me to knowledge, understanding, practice, and my first publishing opportunity (a short story I am now expanding into a novel). But it also led to the IMMENSE, suffocating, obnoxious amount of pressure I put on myself, daily.

When I wrote those first two drafts, I did not, for one second, think to myself “Wow. This sucks.” Because I didn’t care if it sucked. If it did, I’d fix it later. I wrote for the sake of writing. Because it was fun. I was making shit up and it was FUNNY SHIT.

A few days ago I have a mental breakdown (not the first, and certainly not the last) in regard to my writing. I’m going to call this particular meltdown a post-NaNoWriMo effect. I will never take part in that shit again, by the way. NEVER. You CAN’T make me.

In the middle of this breakdown, I reached out to my writer friend and hetero life partner, Henry Lara. The conversation went like this.

Me: I QUIT. I can’t do this. I refuse. All these stupid things that a writer is supposed to do? It’s stupid and pointless. Stupid. Really, really stupid.

Hetero Life Partner: And what is it that a writer is “supposed” to do?

Me: You know, the blogs, the twitter, the platform. The reading and absorbing of thousands of articles on the publishing industry. Keeping tabs on agents and what they’re looking for. Talking to/entertaining people that secretly annoy the steaming excrement out of you.

Hetero Life Partner: Really? Hmm. I thought a writer was supposed to, you know, write.

Ding.

And there it was. The WHOLE problem with my on again/off again writing crisis. I was focused so much on the business part of it, that it became a job. I felt like I was obligated to write a quota each day. I didn’t look forward to writing time like I did before. I was writing for a market – will they like this? Is this kind of thing selling? What do I classify it as when I query it? – instead of writing what I fucking felt like.

And then I expanded on a short story for the explicit purpose of submitting to Barrelhouse Magazine. It was funny shit. And it was fun funny shit. I caught a glimpse of what I felt in the beginning when I was smiling to myself as I put various protagonists through a series of awful tasks designed to either scare the hell out of them or push them into doing something crazy.

Maybe I’ll finally move up from publishing short stories to publishing a novel. Maybe I won’t. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I’d happily toil away at a 9 to 5-er if it means that I could disappear into my MS and care only that the story gets written down.

Some of you will say that that makes me a “hobbyist.” Not a “real writer.” To those people, I say fuck you very much. Being a writer is a lifestyle. Something inside you. You don’t do it on a bet, or because you want to make a quick buck. You do it because you’d rather make shit up than deal with reality. Let’s face it, reality sucks.

My Obligatory New Year Post

WOOHOOWRITINGGOALSYAYWORDCOUNTALLTHEWORDS!!!!!!!!!

Ok.

2013 is going to be a big, bookish year for me.

I know this, because I’m going to make it so.

I’ve started submitting my short stories again which, in and of itself, is a big deal. As of the 1st, I’ve submitted to four magazines and I’ve a nice little chart dictating submission guidelines and deadlines for five others I’m working towards (and that’s only for February).

The first draft of REAPER is a little more than halfway finished and I know the rest will come easily. It’s a fun MS that will require a TON of editing, but I’m looking forward to it.

(No, really, I am.)

I’m in the planning stages of reworking a novel idea that turned into a short story which was published in the anthology Unlocked. It’s been two years since I’ve even looked at it, but now that voice in the back of my head pesters be about it regularly. It’s ready to be a novel and I’m excited.

I wanted to rip apart/edit/destroy/rewrite a MS that was little more than monkey puke when I first wrote it in 2010. TAKE NOTE. NEVER ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever delete anything you write. Back it up somewhere for you to forget about then find again later. I lost Sacrificial Lamb Cake and exhausted all possible avenues of finding it again. It’s sad, but at the same time, I’m taking it as a sign. I still have the characters and plot in my head, and there they shall stay until it’s time to put it all down on paper again. With a title like that, there is little choice in the matter.

Last but not least, my writerly friend, Henry Lara, and I are going to assemble and publish an anthology of speculative fiction from the authors haunting our twitter feeds and writer hangouts in Boston and Minneapolis. We’ve decided to call it ASFIXIA. Cover design is under way, preliminary planning is full speed ahead, and we can’t WAIT to start accepting submissions. If you have any questions about it thus far, email us at asfixiabook@gmail.com.