Possibly useful information

Most people I know know the things I’m about to say, but I don’t know most people. And since I’ve mentioned a few of these things to people over the last week and they seemed to find it useful, I figured this was not a bad time to mention it.

The Hugos

The Hugo Awards are awards for excellence in fantasy and science fiction. They’re awarded every year, and they’re not a juried award. Everyone who has a Worldcon membership for last year, the current year, or the year to come can nominate works for the ballot. Everyone who has a Worldcon membership for the current year can vote on the final ballet.

I’m not saying voting is trivial; the cheapest membership is $50 this year, and it’ll go up at the end of the month, and that’s in American dollars. (In recent years, the Hugos have provided a content pack that contains samples or full copies of the nominated works, which helps take some of the sting out of the outlay.)

Submission Grinder

So I was talking to someone at a party and she mentioned that she wrote very short fiction, about a hundred words, but “no-one would publish that”. After I was done blinking, I told her about the Submission Grinder.

The Submission Grinder is an online tool where you can keep a record of your writing and the places you have submitted it to. It lets you search for markets by genre, rate of pay, simsum or reprint policy, award nomination… you get the idea. It’s free.

There is also Duotrope. My understanding is that it provides a substantially similar service, but is not free.

Writer Beware

When you sell something, you will get a contract. If you are uneasy about that contract, if you don’t understand something, if you’re not 100% clear on copyright, if (as I did) you completely misread a phrase and are trying to figure out what the hell it means, you can go look at Writer Beware.

(You can even email them to ask questions. I did.)


I hear that every writing advice blog post has to have something about adjectives in it, and this is heavily about writing, so I thought I would mention them. That’s all.


Pixel renovation

I’ve reorganized this site a bit. New year, new look, general tidying, and all that.

It kind of looks like a Thomas Kincaide art collection threw up all over the top of the page, but given how little sunlight I’ve seen lately and how much time I’m about to be spending indoors at work, I am actually perfectly okay with this. I may prune down the number of images over the next couple of months, or change the layout, but for now I’m good.

The first weekend of 2016’s been okay. It looks like January will be a lot colder than December, but since I actually now own my first winter coat in about a decade, this is filling me with considerably less trepidation than I might have expected.

Work starts up again tomorrow, and writing has been going well, and I suppose things are generally being fairly unremarkable and pleasant. Going to call it a night, now, I think.

The proof is this…

The complete collected works of Bob Leman.
The complete collected works of Bob Leman.

I have only ever read three Bob Leman stories.

I read “Instructions” long long ago; looking at ISFDB, it would either have been in the September ’84 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction or the ’85 Year’s Best Science Fiction, years after it was published.

I read “Window” in The Best Horror Stories from the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction collection. That was years after it was published, too. It stuck with me; I didn’t remember the author’s name at the time, though.

I read “Loob” in January of 2012. It was online at Weird Fiction Review, and I was sitting in an emergency room with a friend. It was very late and we were both zoney and tired, and I was reading the story on my phone. The language seemed like it could have felt stilted, but somehow it wasn’t, and the story pulled me along, and then I hit one of the lines and it chimed.

Weird Fiction Review had an article about Bob Leman, and I looked at that too. The description of “Window” pinged a memory, and I went to look at the Best Horror Stories collection and that was when I connected “Window” to Bob Leman.

I don’t remember when I connected “Instructions” to the story I’d read. I know it was before 2014, because when I was at the Tachyon Publications table at LonCon, I interrupted myself with “You have ‘Instructions‘ by Bob Leman? Wait, the Bob Leman?” and the gentleman manning the table very kindly told me that I was well-read, and then introduced me to The Boss in the Wall by Avram Davidson and Grania Davis, who I hadn’t heard of at that point.

(LonCon was a bit rough on my bookshelf space.)

Anyway! I have been sadly poking around the Internet to see if there’s a copy of Feesters in the Lake that by some minor miracle is going for less than $250, and it turns out that while there isn’t, his daughter is hoping to put his complete fanzine online. So that will be something to look at and read through, as it goes.

In the meantime, I will sleep well, and dream of Goster County dogs.