Mad Scientist Journal Spring Anthology

Announcement time! The latest anthology of Mad Scientist Journal is now available for download at Smashwords and Amazon. This edition is particularly exciting for me as it includes my story Mabel’s Mission–along with number of other great stories including some exclusive fiction not previously published on the MSJ website.

If you like a fun read from the slightly-weird side of the sci fi world (or if you just want to support me as a writer ūüėČ ) check it out.

Mad Scientish Journal Anthology: Spring 2013


Online Publishing – A Lesson in Patience: Part One

I’m very happy to say that I have now had the privilege of having my work accepted by a few different online-fiction sites. I’ve received a few rejections too, but whatchya gonna do. Overall, if there is one thing I am learning from the process it is patience.

Some¬†e-zines will get back to you in a matter of days. Though I’m finding these sites are few and far between…and a quick response is that much more likely to be a rejection. Often it’s “If you don’t hear from us in a month or two, then you can send us a¬†query.” And even after a query it may take a while to hear back.

For the most part, I’m ok with the waiting. At this juncture, I’m just looking to get my work out there for people to see. I understand that there are only so many slush readers with only so many hours in the day. I even find that knowing I won’t be hearing anything for a while sometimes makes it easier to say to myself ok,¬†forget about that for now and focus on the next project.

A¬†slow turnaround, however, can certainly be the last nail in the coffin if there is something else about the site that I have a problem with. Although I am grateful for all the acceptances I’ve had so far, there are some cases where I know it’s unlikely I’ll be submitting to a site again even if they have accepted my work in the past. In other cases however, the experience has otherwise been so positive that a bit of a wait is worth it, and I may try again even if I’ve been rejected–after my ego recovers, that is ūüėČ

For any short-fiction writers out there who might be interested, I decided it was time to share what some of the pros and cons have been for different sites I have dealt with so far. Note that I only have my own experiences to draw on; maybe your experience has been, or would be, completely different. Also, submission guidelines, pay, etc are always subject to change with time.

I have six sites I want to mention. I’ve decided to break this up into two posts so that I can give you more than a couple of bullet points on each one without writing a novel for a single post:

Mad Scientists Journal:

The recent publishers of Mabel’s Mission, these guys were a pleasure to work with. They are quick to reply to questions — and very enthusiastic — are very clear about what they want for submissions, and are professional but not overly formal. Their response time is good, a couple of weeks. The real wait comes between acceptance and publication, about three months in my case, but that is not unusual. Editors are often planning publications some time in advance.

They pay $20 for short stories and $10 for flash fiction which isn’t huge, but some sites like these, which give away free fiction online, don’t pay at all. Also, MSJ does consider the payment to be an advance on royalties–if there are any. They are fairly new and not yet generating that kind of income, so I wouldn’t factor that in too heavily.

The only potential downside — and it could be a strength depending on the kind of writing you do (I happen to love it) — is that the theme of the magazine is quite specific, essays from the world of mad science. They do, however, accept some exclusive fiction of other genres for their quarterly anthologies. So, if sci fi and mad science don’t sound like your thing they still might be worth a look. Check out their submission guidelines. They use Submittable,¬†a submission manager that¬†allows authors to see/track their submissions’ progress.

I will definitely consider submitting to MSJ again in the future. I also enjoy just reading the stories they publish. The writing quality has been good and¬†consistent¬†in what I’ve read so far and the mad science theme brings out the mildly-twisted side of writers. Personally, I find that entertaining.


When I first found this site I thought it looked great and their subtitle Alien Minds, Alternate Worlds¬†is right up my alley. They pay a flat rate of $25 dollars per story, ok, and claim to have a response time of four weeks, not bad. They also lay out quite clearly what they are looking for —¬†see their¬†submission guidelines.

Well,¬†claim¬†is the operative word. Two months after I sent in my submission, crickets. Maybe not so great after all. At the very least, not very professional. I follow them on twitter and did see a tweet mentioning a backlog, so I plan on sending a query and giving them some patience rather than withdrawing my story. Who knows, if they accept my story and are pleasant throughout the contract/publishing process, maybe they will win me over. However, the fact that they are not keeping their website up to date regarding their backlog/response time irks me. As I said, I don’t mind waiting, but I like to know (ballpark) how long I’m going to wait. They also use Submittable, but don’t seem too worried about keeping that updated either.

Daily Science Fiction:

Ok, I’ve sent one story into DSF and they rejected it. But, putting that aside, they deserve a mention. This site publishes a new story every weekday. Though the content is available for free, they pay professional rates — 8 cents a word. I’m sure the definition is variable, but¬†professional is generally considered 5 cents and up.

Their submission guidelines are not as clear as some other sites, but that seems to be because, genre-wise, they are more flexible. From reading a number of their published stories it’s clear that they are¬†pretty much open to anything under the speculative¬†umbrella:¬†sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream, supernatural, or just a little weird — I read one where there just happened to be a friendly poltergeist in a guy’s apartment. Otherwise, there was nothing really sci fi about the plot.¬†If you’re not sure whether your story fits the genre, I recommend giving it a go anyway. There’s nothing to lose. They don’t have the same mechanism for authors to track their submissions, but they confirm receipt promptly via email and respond within three weeks.

DSF is on my to-try-again list.

That’s enough for now. Part 2 to come.


Accepted by 365 tomorrows

Yesterday was a pretty good day for me as a wannabe author. Aside from Dosterra, my learn-to-write-a-novel project, I also continue to write short stories. Having somewhere else to put my focus when I’m not sure what to write next for Dosterra¬†helps to keep my creative juices flowing and prevent me from feeling too daunted by a project that is many months from completion.

Yesterday, about 3 1/2 months after its initial acceptance, I got the pleasure of seeing Mabel’s Mission¬†appear on Mad Scientist Journal. Working with MSJ has been great, probably my most¬†positive¬†experience in publishing so far–even though they rejected one of the three works I sent them. I guess two outta three ain’t bad ūüėČ

I also received another acceptance, this one from the flash-fiction site 365 tomorrows. This site posts a new flash fiction story on their site every day, and they will be publishing my flash piece A Swirl of Chocolate at some point in the hopefully-not-too-distant future, date TBD. Communication with 365 tomorrows hasn’t been quite as smooth as MSJ, but another acceptance always makes me smile.

In my next post I plan on sharing some of the ups and downs of online publishing that I’ve encountered so far, which will hopefully be of value to those of you taking part in the process. For today though, I’m just going to enjoy the validation of having another story chosen for publication.

Mabel’s Mission Published by Mad Scientist Journal

…imagine a world where capricious scientists, such as yourselves, have free reign. I just so happen to come from such a world. Honestly…

…Hamish was the epitome of science gone wrong. About four and half feet tall, with wildly disproportionate, beefy limbs, he had tiny insectile eyes that were especially out of place in his large, somewhat bulbous head. His scattered patches of coarse hair were interspersed between a disturbing assortment of tubes coming out of his scalp…

Read about the¬†Mabel’s adventures in a world where human experimentation is as common as getting a haircut…but–like haircuts– sometimes it goes horribly wrong. You can read Mabel’s Mission now ¬†(free,¬†no log-in or other effort required)¬†at¬†Mad Scientist Journal.¬†¬†

And thanks to Shannon Legler for the awesome art.

Almost Time for Mabel’s Mission

…imagine a world where capricious scientists, such as yourselves, have free reign. I just so happen to come from such a world. Honestly…

…Hamish was the epitome of science gone wrong. About four and half feet tall, with wildly disproportionate, beefy limbs, he had tiny insectile eyes that were especially out of place in his large, somewhat bulbous head. His scattered patches of coarse hair were interspersed between a disturbing assortment of tubes coming out of his scalp…

The crazy adventure of Mabel, a mad scientist’s assistant (written by yours¬†truly) is scheduled to appear on¬†Mad Scientist Journal April 1st 2013. This unique online magazine publishes a new essay every week from the world of mad science. You can view these stories for free on the website–always a fun and unusual read–and/or download their quarterly anthologies for 99 cents on smashwords,¬†with some¬†exclusive fiction added, well worth the 99 cents. The anthologies include¬†variety¬†of short stories (from more than the mad scientists’ realm) and quirky classified ads including my own Osteo-transplant Specialist¬†published in the latest anthology.

So head on over to Mad Scientist Journal or smashwords and mark your calendars for April 1st!

Dosterra Chapter Seven Published

…[Iden] slowly slid his hand into the front pouch of his backpack for his gun. They‚Äôd find him in about six seconds once they decided to look…

Find out what happens next to Iden, Tem, and Lexie in chapter seven of Dosterra, available now on JukePop Serials. Have a read, spread the word, and let me know what you think.

I would also like to draw the attention of serial fiction fans to Serial Scribes Daily, an online paper that brings the latest news in online serial fiction, drawn to my attention when they were kind enough to mention Dosterra on their site.

Learning to Write a Novel The Journey Continues.

Anyone who has been following me is aware that I recently sought out a few reviews of my serial novel, Dosterra, being published on JukePop Serials. My main motivation for doing this was feedback. Creative writing is still very new to me. It’s not something I even considered trying my hand at until a little over a year ago, so I need people to tell me where I’m getting it right and where I’m getting it wrong (My husband and my mother are great, but lack the objectivity I’m looking for).

As far as Dosterra goes, after x-number of reviews are in–there are a few more to come–the consensus seems to be that the first chapter is the roughest, and the story (and my writing) improves around chapter 3.

Case in point, the latest review by hidingbehindbooks came to the same conclusion.

The upside of this feedback is that it tells me I’m improving. The downside is that given the medium in which I have chosen to publish Dosterra people are unlikely to go past chapter one if they don’t like it. The way JukePop Serials is laid out, readers can access chapter one of any story without signing up for the site, but to go farther creating an account or signing in via facebook is required. Plus with the number of stories available, even those with an account will probably move on to another story if they are not enthralled by the end of chapter one.

Now for the confession,

The roughness of chapter one does not come as a huge surprise to me–in¬†retrospect at least.¬†When I first got the idea for Dosterra I had only ever written short stories, but when I started writing I quickly realised that I¬†couldn’t¬†fit the story into an accepted short story length. I was considering making it a series of short stories‚ÄĒbut still had not even considered attempting a novel‚ÄĒwhen I stumbled across JukePop Serials looking for the first 5000 words of potential novels to serialize. Lo and behold, I had about 5000 words. Figuring it was a long shot, but what the hell, I sent it in and, holy crap they liked it! Now I have to learn to write a novel. I had a feeling that what I had was not the best start to a novel, but lacked the skills at the time to fix it and figured that I would learn as I went along.

And learn I have. One big difference between a short story and a novel: the amount of time you have to fit in all the relevant information. In chapter one of Dosterra, I basically tried to fit a novel level of information into a short story slice of time.

Lesson learned: Give the reader some time to engage before confusing the crap out of them.

I must say I am very much enjoying this learning process and am thankful to JukePop for accepting my story, which gave me that little extra push to dive in. I am very appreciative to those of you who have had the patience to get past chapter one and on to the rest of what Dosterra has to offer. I hope you will continue, and I hope these reviews will encourage some others to follow suit knowing there is something to look forward to.

In case anyone is wondering, chapter seven is only a few days away ūüôā