10Flash: Lost Stories

Some of you may recall that I published 10Flash, an online magazine that offered speculative flash fiction, from July 2009 through April 2012. Like most of us, I got hit by the recession and no longer could afford to pay for stories, so I was forced to shut down operations.

From time to time, since then, writers have asked about access to their published stories.  I went digging recently and found access to most of the 10Flash stories, at least those through July 2011.  I’m still working on the others, but here’s a link to those lost stories at 10Flash.

For those of you who aren’t on that list of writers, but like short spec fiction, have at it and enjoy!

Norwescon Weekend

I had a swell time this past weekend at Norwescon 34, the Pacific Northwest premier science fiction and fantasy convention. Here are the highlights:

7:00 a.m. PST. Saturday. Headed back to Norwescon soon for a 9:00 a.m. workshop. What a crazy, fantastic day Friday. Sat four panels that played to full rooms. Solicited stories for 10Flash from John Pitts, Ken Scholes and Michael Ehart. Had a grand conversation with my good friend, Jordan Lapp, about all and sundry. Worked hard and partied hard. Amen and Hallelujah.

Another great day at Norwescon. A 9:00 a.m. Fairwood Writers critique group for a most receptive writer. Scattered pithy chats with friends. Jordan Lapp. The Odells. Tod McCoy. Dale Ivan Smith. Janna Silverstein. Camille Alexa. Mike and Sheila Alexander. Jude-Marie Green. Cat Rambo. SO many others. A fun flash fiction panel with Jordan, Cat, and Caren Gussoff. Bless them each and every one.

A last tidbit from Norwescon. Friday night, I learned something of the depths to which a magazine editor can fall. I enticed the promise of a story to 10Flash from Ken Scholes – by offering money and a bar chair I didn’t own. The shame. Also got promises of submissions from John Pitts, Camille Alexa and Michael Ehart. No chairs involved in those deals.

In addition, I discovered why writers I follow on blogs and at Facebook talk about “secret projects”. I’m now involved in two such projects of my own. Can’t share the details yet, but both are so exciting I have to make some sort of announcement. More later.

Finally, there’s a long list of people I wanted to spend time with and wasn’t able to arrange connections.  Janet Freeman-Daily.  Mary Rosenblum.. Fred and Johanna McLain. Kevin Shamel. Jeremy Zimmerman.  Marta Murvosh.  So many others, friends I didn’t see or only saw in passing.  Mea culpa.  Next time, huh?

A milestone at 10Flash

10Flash had its 10,000th visitor this afternoon.  That’s a bit over 2,000 hits per month since the publication debuted on July 1st.

It’s not record-breaking, by any definition, by it’s not bad for a new e-zine, particularly when you consider that I haven’t done any paid promotion.  We’re listed now on Duotrope, for which I am pleased, and I am hoping to have a dedicated domain site — 10flashmagazine.com — up and running for the January issue.

And speaking of the January issue, I’ve purchased all ten stories and they’re all super.  Some returning authors, lots of new folks and even a couple of excellent tales that are first-time publications for their writers.  That’s one of the reasons that I started 10Flash.

If you like genre fiction and enjoy flash fiction, stop by 1oFlash and check it out.  I think you’ll have fun.

10Flash: Issue 2

Its hopping this morning over at 10Flash, my genre flash fiction quarterly.

Just a bit past 8:00 a.m. PST now, eight hours since Issue 2 went online, and we have hit 500 readers. Issue 1 had 1,000 visitors its first twenty-four hours. We’ll see how things go today.

If you have a chance, pour yourself a cup of coffee, settle in at the computer and check out the stories by some red-hot writers.

Mmmmm … Good stories. 😉

An update: It’s just a few minutes before 1:00 a.m. on Friday, October 2. Almost 1,200 folks dropped by 10Flash on Thursday to have a look at Issue 2 and we’ve already had 50 visits since midnight.

I want to thank all of the visitors; I hope you enjoyed the stories. I also want to say thank you to all the readers who left comments. They are appreciated.

And I want to say thank you to the eleven writers who let us peer inside their imaginations. I believe that is the underlying reason that people seek out art of all sorts. We all live inside our own heads. Experiencing art, particularly the written word, allows us to witness what someone else is thinking.

And to Laura Eno, author of Heist Outré, a special thanks for flogging the blog. Of those 1,100+ visitors yesterday, 316 dropped by to read her story. You’re an angel, Laura! 😉

A well-placed word

Well-placed words are valuable.

Yesterday, novelist and teacher Mary Rosenblum was kind enough to tell folks about 10Flash, my quarterly e-zine for genre flash fiction, in her Writer’s eNews column at Long Ridge Writers Group and visits to 10Flash have rocketed.

Thank you, Mary.

Workshopping – day 3

We finished the first four of the second round of stories today — including my own As a Wind Among the Reeds.  The responses were generally favorable.  Everyone hated the title, so that will have to go, but the concensus was that it was solid urban fantasy that just needed a bit of re-structuring to be publishable.

I love the process, being able to get feedback about elements of the story that worked or didn’t work, along with forty or fifty minutes of blue-sky discussion about what could be done to make it better.  Someone here called it story bashing, but from the POV of pounding it into better shape, not demolishing it.

There’s a real mix of personalities here, but everyone is every bit as committed to writing speculative fiction as I am and we’ve critiqued som dynamite stories so far. IMO, the stand-out today was Deacon & the Devil by Lane Robins, author of the fantasy novels, Maledicte and Kings & Assassins. Her short story is a tale of a woman with magical talents and an abidding belief in God, who battles the very Devil.

Watch for it because I’m certain it will show up in print at one of the major science fiction/fantasy magazines before long.

Last night, eight of us (including Chris McKitterick, assistant program director, and Kij Johnson, author of the Hugo and Nebula-nominated short story,  26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss) sat up until 1:00 a.m. to talk of all manner of strange things.  I haven’t giggled so much sober in a long time.

After that, I stayed awake until 2:00 a.m. (midnight in Seattle) to make certain the premiere issue of my genre flash fiction quarterly, 10Flash, posted properly.  It did and it looks great.  It’s 4:45 p.m. here in Kansas right now and almost 500 people have visited the site since midnight.  I have been told, by some of the folks here, that that is a respectable number.

Check out the issue’s eleven stories, if you have an opportunity. Let me know what you think.

Workshopping – day 2

Zombie slave labor.  Robert J. Oppenheimer and flying saucers. Decrepit space stations. Intelligent, space-faring birds. Near-earth orbit junk collectors.  Memory-erasing drugs.  Growing up female in 21st century China.  Finding the true nature of spirituality.

Those are the diverse and intriguing topics for the first round of stories at James Gunn’s 2009 SF Writers Workshop.  Four critiques yesterday and four today, all presented awash in great ideas, beautiful writing and mind-stretching conversation.

Great stories. Great company.  Lots of time to talk and write.  My only concern about the program is why I haven’t come here before this.

BTW, don’t forget to check out the premier issue of my new flash fiction quarterly — 10Flash — Wednesday morning.  It features ten great genre flash fiction stories, all written around a unifying theme.

Workshopping – day 1

Day one of Jim Gunn’s SF Writers’ Workshop is winding down; in ten minutes it will be midnight here in Lawrence. It’s been a busy day and I still have two stories to critique for tomorrow.  Thank God I read all but one story before I left Seattle.

I was up at 6:45 a.m. this morning to call Rachael before she left for her Metro Transit job and then I worked on on 10Flash for a couple of hours (it debuts Wednesday).  Then I spent a couple of hours doing mundane things like setting up the little Lexmark printer I sent ahead of me and calling the University’s information systems department to get e-mail turned on in my dorm room.

Jude-Marie Green, associate editor for Abyss & Apex, and I also walked the long blocks to the Student Union to pick up food cards for the university eatery that is across the street from us, a place called Mrs. E’s.  We got back in time to join a bunch of the folks at Mrs. E’s for lunch and then we hiked back to Templin Hall for the short story workshop at 1:00 p.m.

What a great session!

Being one of those top of the alphabet persons, my  hard-science fiction attempt, A Prayer to Saint Barbara, was first out of the gate.  The critiques were generally kind and surprisingly positive.  Everyone was unanimous in saying the title didn’t work and agreed that the story was too long, but as I said in earlier posts, it’s a first draft and I expected to be making changes.

After everyone else had their turn, Professor Gunn ticked off a list of revision suggestions.  The most significant, I thought, was the importance of my coming to terms with what the story is about.  Without that understanding, he said, it is easy to wander and include all manner of unnecessary information.  His list of story faults was long but I was pleased to hear him say that he found “the writing to be impeccable.”  High praise from an acknowledged master of the art.  I worked on a rewrite for two hours after session and chopped out almost three thousand, which is due back in the group next Monday.

BTW, the new title is Fat-Bottomed Girl.

A bunch of us went to dinner at a Greek-Italian place in Lawrence’s charming downtown area and then came back to the dorm to unwind with some movies.  I won’t tell you the titles of what we watched, but everyone agreed the collective I.Q. in the room had dropped more than twenty points by the time we headed to our separate rooms for the night.

That’s all for now, other than to say the quality of the writing I am seeing here is awesome and it is so much fun spending this much time with other people who love writing and science fiction as much as I do.  What a great bunch of geeks and I use the term with the utmost respect.  Someone remarked today, I don’t recall who just now, that it was so great to be around so many people who actually read books and understood “big words”.  Amen to that.

More later about the people who are here with me to learn how to be better storytellers, as well as words about Professor Gunn, Chris McKitterick, assistant director of the program, who is one of the friendliest, hardest working fellows I have ever met, and Kij Johnson, instructor for the novel-writing sessions.  All three of them are the sort with whom I would willingly be stuck on a desert island.