Busy busy busy.

Ready for the self promotion post of the week.

Okay first I have brand spanking new non fiction up at Gravel.  This little piece is one of the little things that could, it got rejected a lot and I had honestly forgotten I’d even sent it to Gravel. And then boom there it is.

Next I have a piece over at Fuck Fiction. Another one that was out in the wild for a long time before it got caught. Check that out here.

I realized yesterday I’m pretty fresh out of material to send out so I’ll be not submitting for a few weeks while I shiny up some new stories.

I also (finally) updated my website. I will have to update again in a couple of weeks because I think I have two new things coming out next month or so.

Per usual get everything else to read or buy from me here.

Also if you had planned to buy something from me via smashwords may I encourage you to do so now? I’m saving up to fix my teeth (I’m praying before AWP) because my left front tooth basically snapped in half. The fix I’m saving for is cosmetic because I’m really tired of being so self conscious when I smile. To get my teeth really fixed fixed is going to be about 15-20K and a few years of frequent work. 

So yeah.

I’ve so far saved p i[ 45$ out of 800. 

A few people have suggested I do another gofundme thing I’m not sure how comfortable I feel about that. 

I’m incredibly stressed out about it. I’m embarrassed, I’m trying so hard to save up. I wish you could hear the noise I just made. If this had happened in January it’d be fine. But yeah Summer is lean blablabla. Working poor blablabla.

Fuck me. Basically.

I’m imagining this will wind up as more fodder for too personal essays.

So yeah. Go forth, buy if you like.  I fixed my paypal donation button.

Now if you will excuse me I’m off to go write like a mother fucker.

It’s not that dire.

Okay.

Admittedly I’ve been wallowing in my own emo intellectualism. Yes I just made that up.

I have also been wallowing in ragesads.

Also made up but totally accurate.

Some folks seem to come away with the impression that ALL the writing things are breaking my heart.

They aren’t really. Sometimes due to my previously mentioned painful self awareness. Ahem.

When I am otherwise depressed and exhausted the one thing that takes over is said self awareness and it hurts.

I do feel better.

And things have been weird. One of my front teeth snapped and I need to save up (as of yesterday) 770 dollars to get a cosmetic fix it until I can afford to get to the lengthy process of really fixing up my teeth.  Luckily I recently stocked up on a bunch of personal care and household shit so yeah.

To that end if you have 5$ you can totally buy both titles I have up on Smashwords right now.

What else?

Next month I have new fiction coming out in Animal, Nonfiction in Gravel. And the flash anthology from Solarcide Sinthology is coming soon too. I just about ten minutes ago signed off on edits and my contract.

I’m also so close to the 100 rejection mark. I am so so close about 6 away. I have a large reserve of feelings about it so that post will be a doozy. And I’ll make the whole list available to view as a page. And then start over.

What else?

OH right so AWP is coming here to Seattle next year and I have been invited to read with some other folks.  I am hoping I have my teeth situation under control and I’m pre-emptively nervous. I’ve never been to any kind of conference sort of thing like this and I don’t know how/what to do.

So yeah.

Have any of y’all who read here done the whole AWP thing? Is it scary? What about those of you who might not be widely known? Shit I’m making myself nervous.

That’s all for right now.

I’m okay. Sort of. I’m still in yet another bad insomnia cycle so my moods and whatnot are unstable. I owe several people super tardy emails. I’m working it out.

Thanks for riding along people.

 

Hey guess what?

I have new stuff out.

Holy shit right?

Things are moving along nicely this year. I feel like with the sublime addition of my little gifted computer that could (her name is Bloop) I have settled into a really nice rhythm of working.

So new stuff?

Let’s go.

In print (and ebook etc) you can read some pants melting shockingly hetero smut by me, pick up the July issue of Infernal Ink.  Here’s a bite of my story Firestarters.

The fire quiets itself for a moment before it roars. I feel the waft of hot air against my face and
my knees almost buckle. We can hear things inside the building starting to crack and fall. Something crashes and one wall wavers, as it starts to slowly
crumble into the gaping orange maw of the fire I feel his fingers on my clit.

He holds me around the waist with one arm and I grind against his fingers.
“You are a special kind of nasty aren’t you? What part gets you hot? The heat? The flame? The
destruction? Being bad?”
This is a story all about arson, new beginnings and some hot nasty nasty dirty sex.
Next up a mood switch. I’m super proud to be in the new issue of Looseleaf Tea. Find my story Bridget Approved Blackness. This story is about being Black and surviving a mentally ill parent. With a few brushes regarding respectability politics, hair and getting through. Here’s a taste:
That is my whole life.
My Mother held the reins on my Blackness as if there was an off switch. Get out of that sun before you’re too dark; let me perm your hair you look like a wild bush woman.
Don’t wear those disgusting earrings, why are you dancing like that.
Never ending.
Read the zine here at issuu.
I’m super proud of that story for a lot of reasons. One of the things I love about it is that I played with the tenses in what I hope is a fairly subtle way. I wanted to give it the immediacy of first person present tense but, with a bit of distance on it. I want it to read the way memories play in your head.
Um other news.
I wrote a little sci fi-ish thing and it just isn’t working for me. A couple of younger/just starting out writers I know asked me if I’d like to talk about how it isn’t working for me/what I’m doing with it and I will probably do that sometime next week.
What else?
OH HOLY shit check this out:
OVERALL FICTION POETRY NON-FIC
Pending Submissions: 5 2 1 2
Sent Past 12 Months: 58 35 14 9
Sent This Month: 1 0 0 1
Acceptance Ratio: 30.2%* 33.3%* 27.3%* 20%*

My freaking acceptance rate is over 30% right now. Holy shit.

In my race to 100 rejections, I logged #88 the other day. I’m still hoping to hit 100 by fall. I’ll post the whole list here when I get there.

It is about the time of year where I make some Big Swing submissions to my most favorite magazines. The ones I read while rocking back and forth in my chair mumbling, let me love you WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME…a la Annie Wilkes. But I promise I won’t keep any of you captive or cut off your foot. I’m not quite that nuts.

Tomorrow I’m going to be reviewing my friend Dena Rash Guzman’s fine book of poetry Life Cycle.  All I will say right now is go buy it. Right now.

Okay that’s all for now. I only slept about two hours last night and I feel not okay.

 

Stuff I have planned.

I’ve been organizing things and decided to do a couple of things.

First thing is I want to put together a proper little poetry chapbook. I can’t afford a print run but I will be offering it on smashwords. I have a cam and might do a little video reading for it.

I am going to do this mainly because most of the poetry I’ve written in maybe the last three months or so isn’t entirely a good fit for any of the magazines I read so there we go.

I also am still skogging away at my little erotica book. So far it’s about 8k words all in or so. I’d like to do at least another 30-40k or so. Make it a nice little thing.

I just picked up a neoprene case thing for my little computer Bloop so I can get some work in either before I go to the dayjob or after. It’s also waterproof and I’m really happy about that.

I have some new short pieces almost done and ready to be launched into space. I just logged rejection #86 the other day and that was pretty cool. I also got an acceptance for Animal. I am so excited about that one y’all. I don’t know when it’s going up but I’ll let you know.

Also I’ll have a story in Infernal Ink. Arson and hot hot sex. It’s even heterosexual sex holy crap.

I think that’s all for right now. I want to get out a couple of submissions tonight.

Thank you again K. This little computer Bloop has made such a huge and beautiful impact on my work. Thank you.

Self Promotion Monday.

Ready?

Okay first up I have a new story out in the latest issue of Yellow Mama.

Here’s a taste:

The White boy keened in the back of his throat, Jorge prodded his bleeding face.

“Answer me.”

“Yes, yes, El Diablo. I heard about you in my Frat house.”

“You murder my language, kid. It’s La Diabla, diabla. The feminine. A girl. You was wrong. You understand me so far, gringo?”

Have some hood noir for lunch, get it here.

thuglit5

THUGLIT Issue 5 (Volume 5) I’m in that too holy crap.

Read me doing spec fic in the April issue of Expanded Horizons. 

And yes these are affiliate links so use or don’t as you please.

These two little kindle items are my small collections of homeless words. Both editions have stories and poems. Each piece is presented essentially as it came out of my head. Most have a little statement type deal talking about how each one was born.

Wayward Words: A Collection of Homeless Words. Vol. 1 and Wayward Words: A Collection of Homeless Words. Vol. 2. The Flash Edition

So whoop whoop.

Consider this my epic read all my words post for the week.

That’s all for right now homies.

Getting it done.

For an odd three weeks I had nothing to submit.

Since I have adopted my Write/Work like a Motherfucker Ethos this is a really weird feeling.

Of course that happens when I was supposed to submit to two magazines I like a lot. Whoops.

I’ve got it licked though. I have some stuff ready to go out after some good market research.

I’ve been doing pretty well at staying on top of my submissions. Sending queries, withdrawing a few things (that always pains me), you know the business things.

Last night while I was working well past when I should have stopped something bad happened, I sent a submission and realized I’d made a misspelling in my little cover letter and I promptly had a meltdown and wanted to die of embarrassment.  I haven’t done that in so long I had a fit and rage quit working and sat in the tub stewing about it. I wanted to send a withdrawal and an apology for being a dumbass. I didn’t but I’m still thinking about it because fuck. Fuck really?

I freaked out. I’m still feeling awful about it.

BUT I did check my calender and some good stuff is happening so I feel sort of better.

I have new work coming out in a couple of weeks. One of my Hood Noir stories is coming out in Yellow Mama and next month one of my erotic crime stories will be out in print in Infernal Ink.

A word about what I’m calling Hood Noir.

I have a problem using the term “urban”. Urban in our culture is code for Black and a few years ago the spate of “Urban” fiction was fucking awful. Poorly written shit that was only Urban because it invariably used a lot of “street” language and had to do with Black people and terrible hip hop tropes blablabla.

The problem was not that these books were being written and published. The problem was that it narrowed down the idea of Urban to a small margin. I found it fairly offensive.

Thus I don’t use the term.

It’s the same problem I tend to have with anything labeled Chick Lit. It’s not the term but it’s the use of the term.

What else?

I also got an acceptance at Loose Leaf Tea. Did I tell y’all that? I’m really happy about that. The mission statement of the magazine when I first read it just spoke to me and then I finished that story and thought it was perfect for that place. It’s really gratifying when your instincts are right on.

I’m still in the midst of angst about the erotica I’ve been writing. In the world of erotic romance I don’t honestly feel like my work and point of view necessarily has a place. Beyond the romanticization of erotica (a term I saw on the Oh Get a Grip blog) given the visuals I see and a lot of the characters in stories I read, where do my characters fit in?

They are not perfect with their flat bellies and long flowing ebon hair. They aren’t shy but super gorgeous. They generally aren’t defaulted to White.

In one story (that I got a very nice rejection for) I did have to change it to specify that the character was a Black woman because talking about her cornrows wasn’t enough.

I didn’t want to change how I described her because it didn’t really fit with the rest of the piece and that was sort of the nail in the coffin for a while. It can be very clear to me when White editors are reading and not seeing or understanding when a character is being coded as a person of color. That’s a difficult thing for me. I don’t want to have to describe a character in ways that make it easy for White readers to understand that X character is not a White person. It’s not really my style nor is it really my preference as a reader.

If I say a character is brown, that doesn’t mean they are a tan White person. You know?

I don’t know.

I’m at the point where thinking about this and trying to navigate my feelings about it, keeping the integrity of my work and whatnot is just too exhausting. I’ll keep writing the filth I’ll just put it away for later use in case the market opens back up to a wider diversity of style etc.

It bums me out. It’s not the first time and for damn sure won’t be the last.

Intersectional angst.

In less angsty news how about some stats? I’m feeling really good about my output right now. Duotrope says this about my percentages right now:

OVERALL FICTION POETRY NON-FIC
Pending Submissions: 8 3 3 2
Sent Past 12 Months: 55 35 11 9
Sent This Month: 4 1 1 2
Acceptance Ratio: 34.2%* 33.3%* 42.9%* 25%*

 

The other day I logged in rejection #80 in my run to 100. I’m pretty excited about that.  I can’t wait to show you the full list.

I also have 1 non duotrope listed piece out.

For the rest of the week I’m planning on finishing up some flash pieces, transcribing some poetry out of my notebook and refining an essay about feminism.

I’m also in dire need of getting my budget/saving plan for a chromebook back on schedule. Unfortunately I had to spend what I’d saved on bills and food.  My poor desktop at home is so slow and unstable. I’m slowly backing things up but my dvd burner no longer works so I’m having to cloud store/move to usb when I can all my work and important documents. I’m hoping she’ll last until can get a chromebook. Pray to the Gods of Technology that this happens.

Okay that’s all.

Holy crap!

So some good stuff has happened.

I got a very nice note about my story in Thuglit.

I also forgot to mention before but, holy shit. A little experimental erotic flash story I made quite a while ago and had no idea what to do with won a spot in the Solarcide Sinthology. This is a biggy type first. My first contest type thing and my first placement. I’m pretty stoked about that.

Next up I got a lovely (no really super nice) acceptance fro LooseLeaf Tea. You should check it out, the name is cool and it’s a quality zine. I’m super proud of that story because it addresses parts of Blackness that cannot be shoveled into being strictly pain porn nor is it the “Urban” experience. I’m really excited about that.

Next month I’m going to be in the fantastic Yellow Mama with one of my (the first actually) Hood Noir stories.

Later this summer (not sure when) I have some crime, arson and sex erotica coming out in print that I’m super excited about.

Now how about some other stuff to read?

We know how much I love Antonia Crane. You should go read her latest post. Just go read it.

Via Brevity on facebooks, I found out Ireland has done a really cool thing and put an entire story on a stamp. Also for serious I’m no collector of stamps but if any of y’all happen to be in/near to Ireland and might be able to send me one I would paypal you dollars.

Speaking of Brevity. Brian Doyle said the most beautiful thing about the origins of his essay “Sachiel the Tailor” The essay is lovely go read it. Also go read what he said about how it came to be. This part here just moves me. So beautiful.

When he appeared in my memory I could then hear his voice again, and feel the slicing wind down that narrow little street, and so I begin to type, and time is transcended, and space, and loss, and this is one of those sweet powerful holy things about writing that we do not talk enough about, I think; writing is a time machine, writing resurrects, writing gives death the finger.

Seriously. That is just fucking gorgeous.

A magazine I like, Stonecoast review is really wanting some creative non fiction. Go forth and submit.

Check it out. Vida wants words from Vida readers. Click here to see what they said on fb.

I think that’s all for right now. I have work to do.

See anything cool on the internet lately? Written something cool? Feel free to drop a link in the comments and share with the class.

Things I would like to be better at.

Before I get into that, guess what?

You can go buy the new issue of Thuglit with a story by yours truly inside, for kindle (which you can read on your phone or your pc or your actual kindle..fuck yeah technology) for just 99 cents dudes. You can get it in print too. Go check it out here and here’s a bite from my story:

Kiki the Killer was the kind of girl you saw in videos. Dark brown skin, a few scattered tattoos, long braids and a big, high, round, proud ass that she knew what to do with.

The four of them were as rapt as the rest of the crowd.
“Aw shit man, I’d hit that raw dog.”

Also let me mention that Todd did an amazing edit on that story. Another example of why I need a very good editor with a sharp eye.

Oh also if you visit my official author website, you can see all my new work. 

Okay.

While I will say that yes, my editing skills have improved by huge bounds over the years. I wish I was a better editor.  one of my problems is that (no I don’t want to talk about it in depth kthnks) I have a bit of a learning disability and at some point editing just gets too hard for me to do. Being that I did not have the opportunity to deal with it when I was a kid, I have learned to deal with it as best I can but sometimes y’all, some times I just can’t and it’s really frustrating.

Along with that, I do have very bad vision issues and occasionally when I’m overworking myself I plain just can’t see to properly edit.

Also something I can’t really do a lot about.

When I was teaching myself to edit, somehow I got the idea that I should slash and burn. No actually let me put it this way. I did not edit my work so much as I raped, pillaged and burnt it like some kind of conquering mother fucker with emotional problems.

Part of that habit came about because (as you have probably noticed) I am a wordy windbag. I always have been. I recall very vividly having adults tell me as a child that I had a bulky vocabulary and I was not afraid to flex it.  Then along came teachers who were very strict about word counts on things thus, the hack and slash was born.

I have since developed a system for editing. I write a thing, I put said thing away from 1 week to a month. I print out thing, read it on my commute home and make some minor adjustments. Do the best I can with my comma overuse and whatnot. Rinse repeat a few times until I feel like I’m ruining it then I put it away again and do another pass to fix editing burns and then with that done as best I can, I send it out.

So far I am actually pretty pleased with how far I’ve come in terms of dealing with my editorial issues. As they say, practice makes perfect.

Second thing.

I wish I could write on theme when I see one.

I’ve never functioned that way as an author and when I force myself to try, it sucks. However, that issue did birth my habit of having a stash of varied finished things. Occasionally, I see a theme and voila right there in my little folder(s) is just the thing.

Third.

I am working on this but I am still so fucking uncomfortable self promoting. See also my ridiculously terrible at crowd funding/asking for donations. I am so uncomfortable doing it.  Granted I am far better now. Once upon a time (maybe four years ago) I might have put up a link in my personal blog and sent a link to a few friends but that was it.  I am miles beyond where I was. This is one of those things that honestly I have to work really hard on. I have to brute force my way through feeling proud/embarrassed/like I’m being annoying to promote my work.

The point here is that sometimes I have to remind myself that I have come a long way from the days of my secret scribblings on paper that I often later burned or flushed. I have come a long way from crying into precious pint lit journals that I bought with saved up lunch money.

I wish I could go back and tell baby Shannon writer that she would get better. Some people would read her work and that it was okay to struggle and cry through it. It was okay. It felt terrible and was so fucking hard but, baby self it was worth it.

Now if y’all will excuse me.

OH wait no one more thing.

So if you tumblr you can follow this thing I made where I reblog/post visuals that I find inspiring. I honestly suggest doing something like this if you are a visually oriented type like I am. Right here. Enjoy!

Good News everyone.

Good news and some links to stuff I like.

First the news. I got my second hood noir piece into one of my favorite magazines. I’ll be appearing in the next issue of Thuglit. Out um..? I dunno, at any rate head on over to the facebooks and check them out.  If you like modern noir it is the shit.  I’m very excited about that one.

Next up you can still read my first spec. fic story over at Expanded Horizons.  I am honestly so pleased with the pieces I’ve had published so far this year and the ones coming up this summer. I like where I am driving this bus.

What else?

Okay ready for some stuff I like?

First up I picked up a copy of Mike Arnzen’s INSTIGATION: CREATIVE PROMPTS ON THE DARK SIDE.  I have been a fan of Arnzen’s work and his instigations for years now. I actually had a piece instigated by one of his prompts published quite a while ago now. The book is very entertaining. If you are someone who likes prompts that don’t involve fluffy bunnies and rainbows, pick it up.  I’ve found that for me, using prompts in a not necessarily literal fashion can really help me out if I’m feeling uninspired or just want to let myself write. This comes highly suggested. I love having this sort of thing at hand.

One of my favorite new erotic presses has a call for submissions up. Go read about it here. My personal favorite piece of information is this:

We believe that well written sexuality has no boundaries; we are looking for stories with any sexual orientation and all genders. Similarly, we are an equal opportunity publisher; we accept submissions from authors of any genders. The two limitations we have for this anthology are as follows: no underage characters who engage sexually with adults and no snuff.

I just picked up Raziel Moore‘s newest book from there.  If you like your erotica on the darker side and very well written you should check out his work. I’ve been a fan for a long time thanks to the ERWA lists.  I promise a review when I’m done reading it.

Ah, if you haven’t paid for Duotrope and are unsure about doing so, in the current issue of Poets and Writers there is a coupon code for a free month of service. Head to your local news stand, library or other place with writing mags and check it out. I forgot my print copy of the magazine at home or I’d just put it here. If you don’t have the money for a full membership here’s what I suggest. Get together some finished work, stuff you are ready to send out. Use the coupon code, submit like crazy. Also during your free month make copious notes/bookmarks for places you’re interested in submitting work to. At the end of your month you can have submissions out AND have some market research ready to go without shelling out money you might not have.

I saw this linked on facebook (Tony DuShane? I dunno, I can’t recall) and it made me chuckle. I love articles like this. 

As much as HTMLGIANT can get on my nerves, I really enjoy a lot of the book related posts. In particular this one 25 Points: American Psycho.  Just go read it I promise it’s not annoying.

This post over at the Rumpus along with some of the things linked in it (scroll down) and the whole stupid debate about whether or not confessional writing/non fiction is okay, is on my mind right now. I don’t have my thoughts together yet but I’ll probably make one of my thinky I’ve been chewing on a thing for a while posts about it soon.

If you like non fiction and you’re not reading the Brevity blog, what are you doing with y our life? You should read it, I love it. This post in particular.

Last link is this piece over at Smokelong by Venita Blackburn. It is fucking lovely. I mean it.

I think that’s all for today y’all. I am an allergy ridden mess. So let’s wrap up with my current working stats.

Duotrope says:

OVERALL FICTION POETRY NON-FIC
Pending Submissions: 10 7 2 1
Sent Past 12 Months: 47 33 8 6
Sent This Month: 1 1 0 0
Acceptance Ratio: 40%* 37.5%* 57.1%* 25%*

 

Not bad.

Other issues.

I am out of ready to submit work so I’m taking a couple of weeks to polish up finished items and finish up a few things. I am trying to tweak my routine a bit so I have a bit more (for my taste) flexibility and stash of items to submit as I feel fit. I am still really hoping to hit 100 rejections by mid-late summer. But as we all know one must submit like a mother fucker in order to be rejected like a mother fucker.

SO I’m getting on that.

For right now I have a pot of strong tea brewed at my left, a phone on my right and dayjob duties to attend to.

If you have links to stuff you want to share, your own work or whatever you think is interesting feel free to leave them in comments. Just don’t be spammy.

Later taters.

My first Spec Fic publication.

I am so excited.

The little story that could, Calling Oshun is up at Expanded horizons now. Read it here.

I am extraordinarily pleased and excited about this particular publication for several reasons.

I wrote Calling Oshun a few years ago and workshopped it in a fairly casual manner.

The only real criticisms of the story weren’t really of the story or the structure, it was the use of an “esoteric” (read not White) deity.

Several writers and editors have at one point or another recommended I change it to a more known (Green or Roman) goddess to make the story “accessible”.

That was one of the first instances where I was told that in order to get a story published I would have to basically Whitewash it.

I was so frustrated and upset and hurt.

So I put the story away for a while.

I did do a version with a Greek Goddess and the story was ruined. I went back to the original and submitted it about 8 times before it got accepted. Some editors who sent personal rejections thought it was beautiful but not something their readers would “get”.

That is what I’m talking about when I talk about some of the frustrations of being a writer of color who writes about people of color.

This story was one of the first times I was angry enough to work to get it published without the Whitewashing and I must say I am very proud of myself. The editors over there got my point exactly and I was honestly almost in tears when I talked about it with one of the editors.

It is the first time I have felt that kind of deep gratification of my first instincts.  Being welcomed by other people of color and having that feeling of acceptance and understanding that is so rare in the literary world.

Once upon a time someone I really admire gave me the best writing advice I have ever gotten. He told me that my strength and success would be in writing the stories only I can tell in ways that only I can tell them.

So here is a tidbit.

“He is beautiful as fine polished ebony, his eyes closed his wide mouth stretched and magnificent, his voice transcends all. In his voice is the rumble of thunder from my long ago homeland:”

Head here to read the whole thing.

In other news I updated my website a bit. I still have to pull some out of print links off of it. I’ll probably reprint those stories here for free. I’ll be back next week to talk about some of the really good shit I’ve been reading lately, my erotic chapbook project and some other stuff.