Archive for December, 2010

David’s Index for 2010

Novel words written: 28,665
Short fiction words written: 21,335
Notes, outline, and synopsis words written: 24,064
Blog words written: 49,505
Total words written: 123,569

New stories written: 4

Short fiction submissions sent: 44
Responses received: 43
Rejections: 27
Acceptances: 8 (7 pro, 1 charity)
Other responses: 3 (rewrite requests)
Other sales: 5 (1 non-fiction, 4 audio)
Non-responses: 3 (1 magazine folded, 1 never replied, 1 pulled)
Awaiting response: 4

Short stories published: 13 (5 pro, 3 semi-pro, 1 reprint, 1 translation, 3 audio)

Novel submissions: 4
Rejections: 2
Acceptances: 0
Awaiting response: 4

Agent submissions: 6
Rejections: 1
Acceptances: 0
Awaiting response: 5

Trips to “Mars”: 1
Mars Talks presented: 13
Mars books self-published: 1

Happy New Year!

Happy Christmas!

A lovely morning opening presents under the tree, in front of the fire. I got Kate a Skadoosh, some rocks, and some Stones. She got me a lovely purple silk shirt and a copy of The Broken Kingdoms. Then we made breakfast: gingerbread waffles and sausages. Okay, one of the waffles came out a little scorched and one of the sausages fell on the floor, but it all averaged out. Later today we plan to see The King’s Speech with our friend Michael and go for our traditional Christmas dinner of Pepper-Salted Squid.

Hope your day is as happy!

Mars Year

It was on this date one year ago that I received an email from Artemis Westenberg of the Mars Society, inviting me to join crew 88 at the Mars Desert Research Station. On that day I was terrifically excited, of course, but I had no idea just how much my trip to “Mars” would change my life in the following year.

The two weeks I spent in Utah were amazing. I got to experience first-hand the isolation, self-reliance, interdependence, and improvisation that are always going to be part of life on the frontier, and I became fast friends with a wonderful bunch of people from all around the world. I also learned about the beauty of the desert and the joy of barreling across it on an ATV. You can read my blog entries for the whole story.

Once I got back, though, the real transformation started.

I learned habits of “protagonistiness” — taking action to change the plot — on Mars that I tried to hang onto in my day-to-day life. I think I’m still a lot more likely than before to stick my neck out, take risks, commit to uncertain plans.

The Young Adult fantasy novel I was working on in the latter part of 2009 was blown right out of my head. Instead I wrote a short story, “Citizen-Astronaut,” based on my experiences and submitted it to the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest, where it took second prize. Later it was accepted for publication in Analog. I also started work on a YA science fiction novel about Mars, which currently stands at 28,000 words; I expect to finish and submit it early next year.

I had articles about my trip appear in Willamette Week and The Oregonian, and made appearances on KGW-TV and KATU-TV. I don’t know if this media exposure did my career any good, but it sure can’t hurt and I had a blast doing it.

I prepared a slide show about the trip and presented various versions of it at Radcon, Ignite Portland, Potlatch, Google, Powell’s, the Nebulas, Wiscon, Clarion West, the Washington Aerospace Scholars Program (twice), the Mars Society’s annual convention, Aussiecon, and OryCon. People really seem to like this presentation, but I don’t want to be “that guy who gives that Mars talk,” so I promised myself I wouldn’t keep doing it past the end of 2010. However, I won’t turn down requests; if people really want to see it, I’ll do it, but I won’t push for invitations the way I did this year.

I got to see a Space Shuttle launch (from the VIP viewing area no less!) and hang out with all kinds of extremely cool people at the Nebula Weekend. I presented to a packed house at the Bagdad Theatre as part of Ignite Portland. I got to visit the Museum of Flight after hours. I got to meet Robert Zubrin and the other Mars Society movers-and-shakers at their annual conference. I got to be on a couple of program items with GoH Kim Stanley Robinson at the Worldcon. None of these things would have happened if I hadn’t gone to “Mars.”

I collected together the blogs of all the members of the MDRS-88 crew in a trade paperback, The Mars Diaries — my first experience with self-publishing. Doing this was fun and educational, but I don’t think it’s any way to make a fortune, or even a living, from one’s writing.

I got a fabulous new author photo.

It’s been an amazing year, and my heart is full of love and wonder from all the things I’ve experienced and people I’ve spent time with that I would not have done otherwise.

I wonder what 2011 will bring?

David’s 2010 publications

Although I still hold out the vain hope that I may sell another story or two this year, I think my publications for 2010 are pretty much set. Here they are, and I must say I’m kind of astonished at the length of the list.

Click on a story title to read it or hear it online. Click on a publication name to buy it. Enjoy!

Original Fiction



I’m a made man

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve sold “Citizen-Astronaut,” the story that won Second Prize in the 2010 Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest, to Analog! I’m so happy this story will see print. It’s a classic “guy in space who has to solve a problem” puzzle story and is very much based on my experiences on “Mars.” But I feel I need to point out that, even though I named my hero Gary Shu (yes, Gary Shu), the interpersonal, political, and physical problems I threw at him are far worse than anything I faced in Utah.

This marks my third sale to Analog, which is significant because along with your third publication you get a Biolog (short biographical article) published in the same issue. I’ve already done the interview, with writer Rick Lovett, and seen a draft of the article. And, although there’s no official definition of what makes a writer a member of the Analog MAFIA (the gang of writers who appear frequently in that magazine, the name being a tortured acronym for Making A Frequent appearance In Analog), I figure three sales is a pretty good lower bound so I asked Jerry Oltion to send me an Analog MAFIA button, which I will wear with pride at my next convention.

This sale also means that I sold to Realms of Fantasy and Analog within a month of each other. Pretty chuffed about that too.

I’m also pleased to announce that my story “Written on the Wind” (from the anthology Beyond the Last Star) will be podcast on Escape Pod!

Most of my writing time this month has been spent on a short story for a theme anthology, which is due Real Soon. I hope to put it in the mail today. I think I may take a good chunk of this week off from writing, just to rest and recharge, before diving back into the Mars YA novel.

I sold “Citizen-Astronaut,” the story (based on my trip to “Mars”) that won Second Prize in the 2010 Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest, to Analog. This is my third Analog sale, which makes me a member of the dreaded Analog Mafia. And yes, that means I sold to Realms of Fantasy and Analog in the same month.

No more failures please

Both cars failed to start during last week’s freeze. Fixed.

Heated towel rack went cold. New one ordered.

Kate’s iPhone went black and refused to start up. Fixed by Genius Bar.

iPod nano nonresponsive. Brought back (for now) by fiddling with lock switch.

Mac mini refused to read or eject CD or even to acknowledge existence of drive. CD extracted by brute force, tape placed over slot to prevent problem from recurring (I very rarely use the optical drive on that machine).

That’s all in the last WEEK. Can we hold off for a while now, please?


So endeth National Novel Writing Month.

I don’t “do” NaNoWriMo — I’ve never been able to produce that many words per day consistently no matter how hard I’ve tried. But every November I surf the NaNoWriMo energy by setting myself a moderately ambitious writing goal.

This year, after no writing at all in August (okay, I was in Australia) and extremely sporadic writing for much of the rest of the year, my NaNoWriMo goal was simple: write at least something on the YA SF novel every day. My target was 500 words per day, but I said at the outset I’d be happy with a couple hundred words.

I won. I wrote every day in November, usually right about 500 words, with a minimum of 204, a maximum of 1650, and a total of 18,593. That’s probably at least 10,000 words I would not have otherwise, so yay. The draft now stands at 28,141 words out of a projected total of 70,000.

A lot of those words are crap. But that’s what revision is for.

Now I have a couple of other projects that need attention. I hope to finish those up in the first week or two of December and get back to the novel after that. I also hope to continue writing every day, but I won’t beat myself up if I miss one.

::pats self on back::