Some years ago, when my Mom was still alive, she provided the inspiration for my first published dinosaur story. I was attending Clarion SF Writers’ Workshop and wanted to write a time travel story. I thought she might make an interesting protagonist, but there was one problem. She was afraid to fly. You should know that she seemed to have a knack for winning contests. So my question was, if she won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Cretaceous, would she climb into a time machine and go?
My “research” consisted of calling her up and asking her that question. “Oh yes,” she said without hesitation. “It’s some place I’ve never been!”
That was the moment I knew I had to send her. The story is called, “Mom and the Ankylosaur,” published in 2004 in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination.
Even better than seeing the story in print was being able to use this story for the first author’s reading I ever gave. My Mom was in the audience. Today, on Mother’s Day, I’d like to dedicate this story to all mothers whose children are writers.
I’m back, faithful blog readers. No I haven’t forsaken you, and I have news. My short story, “Not with a Bang,” made the Tangent Online List of Recommended Stories for 2013. Not only that, but it was a starred story. If you missed it, the story is available in the July/August 2013 issue of Analog Magazine.
You can find Tangent’s complete list here: http://www.tangentonline.com/news-mainmenu-158/2318-tangent-online-2013-recommended-reading-list. I’ve been relying on Tangent’s annual lists for some time now, as I love reading shorter works of science fiction or fantasy. However, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed by the number of print and on-line publications these days. That isn’t a complaint, but rather an abundance of riches. So, Tangent is a great way to see what my favorite authors wrote that I missed, and to find intriguing fiction by new writers.
Now back to what I really wanted to tell everyone. I’ve been writing several more dinosaur stories using the same characters in the same modern-day and Mesozoic settings as in “Not with a Bang.” Jaws are snapping, claws are catching, and feathers are flying. The intrepid paleontologists are in for some more surprises, and not just from the dinosaurs.
Yes, this is a reminder that now is the time to read my story, Not with a Bang, in the July/Aug. Analog. It’s about sauropods, triceratops, hadrosaurs, and everyone’s favorite — T. rex. And it also gives me a chance to talk about reviews. Both SF Revu and Tangent Online had good things to say about the story. Believe me, my pulse was racing when I knew they’d covered my story, but before I’d actually read those reviews. What’s a writer to do? Two things:
1. Develop the hide of an armor-plated stegosaur. In this endeavor, it might help to dip into Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections, edited by Bill Henderson and Andre Bernard. There, you can read the myopic, nasty, and wrongheaded claptrap written about Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Sylvia Plath, Flannery O’Connor, and so many others. You’ll almost certainly find some of your favorite authors skewered. But admittedly, I don’t have the stegosaurus thing going on. Or at least not yet. That leads to my second suggestion.
2. Give the task of reading EVERY review to a spouse, close relative or trusted friend. That person must be instructed, in no uncertain terms, to share only the positive reviews with the writer. Does this amount to little more than a vain attempt to look at the writer’s portion of the world through rose-colored glasses? Well, so what if it does? The morning after I read the reviews in Tangent and SF Revu, I cranked out 2000 words of a novel. That would never have happened if the reviews had been crummy.
My very first blog post disappeared. Or rather, I should say, I probably deleted it somehow. And now I believe I’ve restored it. This is a case in point as to why I am not an early adopter of new technology. I am so looking forward to the day when blogging technology WILL be indistinguishable from magic.
So to start not too far after the beginning: I write lighthearted stories about dinosaurs. This blog gives me a chance to share my thoughts about dinosaurs, new paleontological discoveries and hypotheses, writing science fiction and fantasy, and other interesting topics that catch my interest and yours.
Here’s what’s coming soon:
My latest dinosaur story in print
A new (well maybe new) Cretaceous dinosaur discovery
Writing with a little help from my friends