Taggood news

Sometimes news comes in the shape of a book

Blue and Guitar for blog

This is what you would have seen had you driven by my house on March 7 this year. What is it? Well, Blue Riley, obviously, and her guitar. You see the resemblance, right? Okay, so maybe it looks like any number of snow people, but when my kids made it they knew no other snow person in the whole world would possibly be standing in our yard. Not with that guitar. Why March 7? Hang on, I’ll get back to that.

My daughter loves Blue’s story. She’s read it more than once. When I write, I try to keep my audience in mind. This is the first time that my audience has consisted of either of my children. It’s been…spectacular. We’ve had so many conversation around Blue and the other characters, and who I need to write more about, and what happened before or after or between the scenes. To be the mother of a passionate reader is wonderful. To be the mother of a passionate reader AND the writer of a book said reader loves is indescribable.

So, March 6–the day before Blue and her guitar showed up in our yard. There was a lot of snow outside. It was that kind of winter–remember? We were coming in from errands–me, son, daughter, daughter’s friend–and I had bags in my hand, and then my phone rang. Not my house phone, which rings nonstop with robocalls. My cheap little cell phone, which only my husband ever calls. Only it wasn’t my husband, which I knew because his ring is a whistle and this was not. I looked at the number, realized it was Agent Alice, and, with my usual level of grace and charm, said “oh crap.”

Which, I admit, is an odd response to something that I knew would be good news. I knew Alice would only call with good news. I knew that one of the editors that had been reading Blue’s story had been keeping Alice posted on her progress with it. But…let me tell you a little secret about myself: I don’t handle surprises well. Even good surprises. Some personality quirks are endearing. Some are…quirky.

I answered. Alice cheerfully said she had good news. I…remember me, the one who’s bad with surprises? I stalled. I said the first thing that popped into my head. “One a scale of one to ten, what level of good news is it?” (Can you tell I’ve spent a lot of time around medical people?)

That slowed things down a bit as Alice pondered the question (and likely wondered why she’d taken me on as a client). I had enough time to drop the bags and hide away in the bedroom. Keep in mind, though, that my kids know all about things like submissions and editors and what it means when Mom’s agent calls unexpectedly on a Friday afternoon, so they were waiting, waiting, waiting.

Do you see where all this is going? Do I need to continue?

Yes, dear ones, it was an offer from an editor for Blue’s story. Want the facts? Try this: “Jennifer Mason-Black’s debut DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD, in which a teenage girl meets a devil at her town crossroads and exchanges her voice for a pair of magical boots and six months to save her runaway sister’s soul, to Anne Heltzel at Amulet, for publication in spring 2016, by Alice Speilburg at Speilburg Literary Agency (world)

It’s been kind of a crazy spring. Between festival and editing and kids and my husband’s intense travel schedule, I’ve been dropping more balls than I’ve been catching. But the bottom line is that Blue and her guitar stepped out of my house and into the snow back in March, and sometime next spring they may well be arriving somewhere near you.

Story sale update

As promised, the details of my recent sale. “Slumber” will be published by Daily Science Fiction. Yay! When? Not sure, but I’ll tell you when I know. I’d forgotten how fun it is to add new things to the Forthcoming list on the Short Fiction page.

For those of you who don’t have DSF goodness appearing in your inboxes, consider signing up here. It costs exactly nothing, and gives you nothing but a steady supply of free speculative fiction. Go ahead! It won’t hurt, I promise!

As for “Slumber” and what it’s about, well, I can’t really say. People, things, mountains, woods. Jam. You know…stuff.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tidbits returns from the grave

So, maybe that vacation I mentioned the other day isn’t going to happen. Yes, the driving and driving and the wedding will happen, but nothing we planned to visit on our great tour of U.S. history is open currently, thanks to the U.S. government. After I explained the situation to the kids, and suggested it could be solved by grownups learning to act like grownups, my thirteen-year-old broke in with “or maybe just like kids my age.” I have to say I agree with him.

I do have a bit of good news to share though. A short story sale! I’ve been a little lax about sending things out this year. Okay, maybe more than a little lax. Maybe, just maybe, the success I had last year startled me, and I ran and hid in the bushes like a frightened rabbit for a while. It happens.

But every rabbit has to leave the safety of the shrubbery at some point. I did. I survived. I sold a story. I’ll give more details soon, once things like contracts have happened. I’m pretty thrilled.

Tidbits revisited

Comments are still open yesterday’s post, and I’d love to hear more good news! My good news for the day is that I’m off this evening to see my brother in a play. The nice thing about having a talented actor in the family is that it forces me out of the house and into theaters, something I love but almost never find time for unless my brother’s the star.

There’s a nice review of Specutopia available here. If you haven’t bought a copy yet, do consider checking it out. New publications need lots of love to help them grow.

When we were at the library on Thursday, I found the current copy of The Sun on the shelves. I had an overwhelming desire to bring it up to the front desk and explain that I’d been a patron of this library since I was five years old, and I’d finally made it inside the walls as a writer. I didn’t, but I did make my kids come and look at it with me. The world is full of enormous victories hidden from all but a few.

Impromptu Contest Day

It’s Friday, and it’s blessedly gray and rainy, and I am, without a doubt, the tiredest person on Earth. It’s a wonder that I’m even typing words at this point. (I am, right?)

It’s been a week of lots of good things for me. I’d like to hear about good things for other people now. Yes, it’s 1:40 on a Friday afternoon and I’m asking you to tell me your good news. Writing news is good. Rain on parched earth news is good. Getting eight consecutive hours of sleep news is awesome. Tell me what’s made your world a little brighter this week.

As an added bonus, let’s throw Phoenix in the mix. If you share good news and also want a copy of Phoenix, say so. If there’s more than one request, we’ll have one of our fabulous kid-run drawings and someone will win.

Comments are absolutely open. I’ll leave them that way until tomorrow evening.

Tell me something

There are only two rules about what you tell me: it has to be about writing, and it has to be happy. I’m in the mood for hearing other people’s good news. I know, I know, I never have the comments open so no one will know they can leave a comment, and chances are it will be silent as the grave around here.

But let’s not leave it silent. Let’s make it noisy with good things about writing, just for today. I’ll start.

1. Next week I have three uninterrupted days in which to finish all the projects I’ve been procrastinating on, and possibly get a few new pieces ready to go out.

2. I’ve been looking over my revisions of Wren and feeling kind of excited about getting it to a couple of readers.

3. New ideas! They have come to me!

4. M.E. Garber said nice things about Phoenix here. (I suppose I should point out that there are also reviews available at Amazon.)

Also, M.E. Garber is participating in the Clarion West Write-a-thon this year. Right now, as a matter of fact. Consider stopping by her blog and leaving her some encouragement. A-thons of all sorts are so much better when people cheer you along.

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