The ever-changing weather of Washington, DC made it a challenging week for me, especially following a cold. The weekend was in the 80s and pretty warm. Monday through Wednesday was blustery and sunny. Wednesday was also very dry. Thursday and Friday was rainy. Saturday was in the 70s, and now we have a freeze alert for the night.

My sinuses do not know what to make of it all!

It’s been a bit of a struggle getting back into writing. I wasn’t always good about recording what I did (I’m using a Bullet Journal). But I got 2,000 words total on a short story for an anthology call. I’ve decided to just aim for the thousand word mark. So I write 1K. The next writing session is to hit 2K, etc.

The story will be a challenge for me. Most of my short stories hit around the 3,500-4,000 word mark. This one has a minimum of 7K.

But the opening line I came up with stuck with me and said, “Write me!” So I went out and made a cover for it. The story uses the same characters from Story 7 of the Great Challenge, Giant Hunter, so I have a new series.

I also had to track down seven stories I submitted that I hadn’t heard any response on, though all the magazines were reported to respond back within a few weeks. Turned out the submission system did not like my email address. It would send me the initial notification, then nothing else. All the stories had been rejected, so seven rejections. I think two more may have been rejected but I’m waiting on those to call it.

Also, I was surprised when I opened my email late this week and discovered I’d picked up a Silver Honorable Mention from Writers of the Future for Superhero on Ice (which I did a cover for):

Meanwhile, I also started to put together another short story collection, called River of Crossroads. Cover:

Putting them together is a bit of a complicated process. Since there are eight on tap, I created a list in Microsoft Lists to help me with the planning of them. It’s just the collection title (or working title), then columns for each of the five stories, and Completed.

The process:

  1. Pick the theme for the collection and then pick the stories that fit that theme.
  2. Pick the order for the stories. There’s a bit of a science to doing this–not like I did my early collections where I just put a bunch of stories in one volume. I identify which story has the best opening and that one’s first. The one with the best ending is last. The story that isn’t quite as good as the others, or doesn’t fit the theme as cleanly goes in the middle.
  3. Paste the stories into the template, along with the individual copyright notices, and a low-resolution image of the cover. There are always headaches with this. I discovered after I did what I thought was the last story that I duplicated one in another collection.
  4. Write an introduction (which I have to redo because of the replacement story).

Next week, I’ll have something interesting on tap!