Friday, February 29, 2008


Fire Study_Maria SnyderFire Study by Maria V. Snyder

Ahhh...the publishing story. Gather round and make yourself comfortable.

It all started because of boredom (if you don't want the "how I started writing bit" - skip to the next paragraph) Fresh out of Penn State with a meteorology degree I landed a job doing environmental consulting (air quality). Consulting work is either feast or famine and during slow times I started writing science fiction and fantasy short stories. Most unpublishable and none sold - but a guest speaker at a local writer's con thought I had potential. So I continued to write short stories. After my son was born, I had the idea for Poison Study and thought, Why not? Maybe short fiction isn't my thing. So I joined a local critique group and started submitting a chapter a month - meanwhile I had my daughter - and all that goes with a newborn. Five years after I started the novel, it was finished and went through two years of revisions.

Poison Study (PS) was my first novel written and published. I submitted it to agents first. Collected a stack of rejects - got one interested enough to suggest revisions - only to reject the project in the end. Started writing a middle grade novel titled Storm Watcher (SW). Submitted PS to publishers - aimed high - sent to Bantam, Tor, Roc/Ace etc... Rejections rolled in. Targeted small presses.

Meanwhile finished and revised SW and began sending that to agents. PS gets an editor interested at a small press - he calls for more info - sounds so promising......No - boss won't approve purchase. :( Those rejections are harder to take than the form letter - decide that fiction writing must not be my thing - change tactics - kids will be in school all day and I have to do something to earn an income and stay at home - I target nonfiction projects - send queries for articles in all the local magazines. I apply to Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate school, hoping I could teach at the local college with a degree. I put in for a nonfiction book for a local company that wants to write a history of their plant. This was all in June 03 (2 years after I started submitting PS). Oh and I keep submitting PS to markets (one to Luna - a new fantasy imprint of Harlequin). Why? A certain stubborn determination to hit every market before I put the novel away for good. I kept sending SW to agents, too.

All is quiet for the entire summer and into fall. Perhaps nonfiction isn't my thing..... October 2003 - I get an agent for SW - she'll start submitting it to publishers for me - Yay! - Luna calls and offers me a two-book contract for Poison and Magic Study (not written at that point) - YAY!!! - I get a letter from Seton Hill that I'm accepted to the program - Yay! - The editor of the local magazine emails and loves all my article ideas and she assigns me 4 articles to write for the magazine - Yay? - I get assigned to write the book about the history of the local factory with a historian - Oh Sh...t!

To use a cliché - my ships came in and they didn't stop coming until the port was full and I was waving the other boats away. LOL! I've just recently found a small press publisher for SW, and I've managed to sell some of my short stories.

The moral of my story – Don’t give up! Keep writing and keep submitting and eventually your port will fill up and you’ll be cruising the waters of publication.

Fire Study, the third in the Study series, continues Yelena Zaltana’s adventures. When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder—able to capture and release souls—spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. As the Council debates Yelena’s fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before.

Publisher's Weekly said of Fire Study: “Fans of high-spirited adventure, intrigue and romance will celebrate the third book in the saga of reluctant mage and diplomat Yelena Zaltana…Snyder delivers another excellent adventure, deftly balancing international and local hostilities against Yelena's personal struggles.”

You can find me at my website, my MySpace page, or at my MySpace blog

-Maria V. Snyder
February 2008

Also, coming from Maria V. Snyder in 2008:
Storm Glass (tentatively scheduled for December 2008).
"As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it’s time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she never knew she possessed...powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.”

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Seton Hill Writers News

#1: Two Seton Hill Writers made it to the final ballot for the Nebulas. Congratulations to Tobias Buckell, author of Ragamuffin and Nalo Hopkinson, author The New Moon's Arms.

#2: Michael Mehalek has a new flash story Tissue of Biblical Proportions up at The Write Way.

#3: Maria V. Snyder has posted her appearance schedule for the release of the third book in the Study Series, Fire Study.

#4: Congratulations to the 2006-2007 staff of Eye Contact, the literary-art magazine of Seton Hill University. They won a an ASPA Award for the Fall '06 - Spring '07 issue. Contributors included: Michael A. Arnzen, Jessica Braccio, Dante Ciolfi, Amanda Cochran, Lisa Cooper, Michael B. Diezmos, Melissa James Doll, Laura Fleming, Siena Frank, Shu-Hsin Kao, Karissa J. Kilgore, Marie Manski, Jason Jack Miller, Erin Mitchell, Rochelle Moore, Kim Pennesi, Adrea Peters, Juliann Picklo, Stephan Puff, Moira Richardson, Mike Rubino, Nora Thompson, and Erin Waite

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Seton Hill Writers News

#1: Three Seton Hill Writers have made it to the final ballot for the 2007 Bram Stoker Awards:
FIRST NOVEL - THE HOLLOWER by Mary SanGiovanni (Leisure Books)
LONG FICTION - AFTERWARD,THERE WILL BE A HALLWAY by Gary Braunbeck (Five Strokes to Midnight)
ANTHOLOGY - FIVE STROKES TO MIDNIGHT edited by Gary Braunbeck and Hank Schwaeble (Haunted Pelican Press)
COLLECTION - PROVERBS FOR MONSTERS by Michael A. Arnzen (Dark Regions Press)

#2: Alum Rachael Pruitt's poem "Merlin" will be in Issue #12 of The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction.

#3: Alums Natalie and Matt Duvall have a new writers website The Write Way. There is also an accompanying MySpace.

#4: Alum Penny Dawn's story "The Bridge to Brighton" received a great review at Two Lips Review. The story is part of her newly released collection from Amber Quill titled The Long Run.

#5: Alum Lee Allen Howard has a new website.

#6: Current student Glenn Garrabrant's band The Psycho Kid will be performing a free concert at Tiger O'Stylies on Friday, February 22 in Berwyn, IL.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

My Poem for Lisa Randall

I was excited to see physicist Lisa Randall on The Colbert Report a few days ago discussing her book about hidden dimensions.

Corey S. Powell's interview with Lisa in Discover magazine inspired me to write a poem called Misplaced My Keys, which is coming out soon in Star*Line. I loved that she had brains and beauty, showing it doesn't have to be one or the other.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008


MacBeth's Niece_Peg HerringMacBeth's Niece by Peg Herring

Once upon a time I was a high school English teacher. Somewhere in the 90's I took over the drama program at the school and had problems finding plays to perform that worked for us. We had HUGE casts, lots of girls, and no interest in anything serious. On a whim I wrote a play, then another, and another. When the second one was received with comments of "You should publish," I thought, "Why not?" and sent it off to three publishers. Two of them wanted it, and I concluded that this publishing thing was easy. HAH!

The next two plays took four years to find a home, and though there's been a fourth since then, I realized that my real love was writing novels. With my husband's blessing I took early retirement and began the quest for fame. (I'd already figured out that fortune is a very dim longshot.) I usually write mysteries, but a romance called MacBeth's Niece is what first caught an agent's eye. Luckily for me she was a helpful type who told me what was wrong with it, let me fix it, and then accepted the MS. Two years later, it hadn't sold, and she sent me a good luck email that I thought ended our relationship. That was okay, because I'd been accepted by another agent who was in love with my suspense novel, Shakespeare's Blood. A year later that agent admitted defeat. She loved it but couldn't sell it. About that time the first agent emailed wondering whether MacBeth's Niece was still available. Five Star was interested, but here I learned another lesson: they would publish in 2008, about a year and a half away!

MacBeth's Niece concerns Tessa, who is abducted from her uncle's castle by Jeffrey Brixton, a handsome and enigmatic spy. In the ensuing trials, Tessa struggles against ruthless outlaws, three witches, English soldiers, and the nagging whispers of her own heart. Here's a review:

These days I have one foot in romance and one in mystery. Shakespeare's Blood is a semi-finalist in Amazon's Breakout Novel Contest. (To download three chapters of Shakespeare's Blood, go to Then write a review (before Feb. 28), and enter to win cool prizes!) MacBeth's Niece has hit the bookstores. A foreign publisher is considering a third novel, Her Highness' First Murder, which finished in the top five in last year's Courtv's, "Search for the Next Great Crime Writer Contest." Where will it all lead? Not to fortune, in all likelihood. Not to fame outside the small community of those who love to read what I love to write. But if it leads to enjoyment for others that's good, because writing certainly brings enjoyment for me.

You can find me at my website or my blog

-Peg Herring
February 2008

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Vote for Timber and Acadia

My sister-in-law (Crystal Miller), who took some of the photos for our travel guide, has entered her photos of their two dogs Acadia (1003108831)and Timber (1003109070) in The Humane Society's Spay Day Photo Contest.

You can vote for your favorite pet(s) at the site. Guess which ones I voted for. ;)


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Monday, February 11, 2008


Crown of Zeus_Christine NorrisCrown of Zeus by Christine Norris

I think by now most people know how I started writing 'seriously'. It was 2001, late summer, and I'd JUST gotten into the whole Harry Potter phenomenon. By then, I think Goblet of Fire was already out, so I had four books to read. As much as I loved the stories, I loved the story of J.K. Rowling more. I loved that she wasn't a writer by trade, that she wrote the book based on an idea she had while riding the subway. I thought that if she could, why couldn't I? So I started writing Talisman of Zandria in mid-September. It was a strange time, right after 9-11, and I think writing helped me. I wasn't looking at publication then, just writing a story. I knew NOTHING about publishing, except for the bits and pieces that most people know, like advances and book signings and all that 'stuff' they show in movies.

Three years later, the book was done. By then I had left a profession and had my son! I had found Critters, and someone there helped me clean the book up, he did a great job too! I had gotten a book about how to write a query letter, and lists of agents and publishers. That first query letter was horrible. All rejections, of course, some just a 'no' written on my own query. Then I found Absolute Write, and they helped me refine the letter. I also found P&E, and started going through the lists of publishers. The new letter helped; I was getting read requests! And in Oct. 2005, I got an offer from the new small press, LBF Books.

I've come a long way - I still love that first book, but I've learned SO much about writing, and especially the business of publishing. When it came time to find a home for my new series, the first two books of which I wrote while laid up with a broken leg, there were some decisions to be made. I loved my first publisher (who also published the sequel to that first book), but I wanted to aim higher. I tried agents again, encouraged by several beta readers, including Heidi, and this query was a thousand times better than that first one, and I got read requests right off the bat. But, unfortunately, it was a dead end. Everyone had some reason they couldn't represent the book, and at least all the rejections I got were personal ones, which overall made me feel better - I was worthy of personal contact!

I found Samhain Publishing through AW. Actually, The Crown of Zeus was rejected the first time, but with a caveat. The editor gave me some suggestions and said I could resubmit. So I spent an entire week making the revisions, and realized she was exactly right about what they book needed. Second time was a charm, and they accepted it, with enthusiasm, I might add.

It was tough, there were setbacks, but I knew the book was good enough for other people to read. You just need to keep at it!

The Crown of Zeus is a YA fantasy about a girl who has to leave everything and move halfway across the world when her father gets a new job. She winds up in a sprawling mansion in the middle of the English countryside, with no friends and a new school. Underneath it all is a mystery to solve and a hidden room, full of strange books. Some of which REALLY take you 'inside the story'.

Here is my first review!

The Crown of Zeus, coming in e-book format on February 19, 2008, from Samhain Publishing. In print on Dec. 29, available at your local Borders and Amazon (it will also be available in Kindle format in Dec.)

You can find me at my website:, on MySpace:, and at my blog:

Also, look for The Ankh of Isis, the sequel to The Crown of Zeus, in Summer 2008 from Samhain Publishing!

-Christine Norris
February 2008

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Friday, February 08, 2008


Say Goodbye_EJ RandSay Goodbye by E. J. Rand

A business career was expected, though the writer inside fought back. My compromise: to make the lonely walk from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and my Industrial Management major, across campus to my Creative Writing minor. I bounced around for two years after graduation — literally — in the USN, as a destroyer officer on the USS Wadleigh (DD—689). One day I may turn to the partial murder mystery I drafted while in motion, if my stomach can take it.

Afterward, in suits as senior VP of a NYSE management consulting company and then senior VP at a public relations company, where I represented a national top-ten homebuilder, I still found a way. Color it quarterly earnings statements, corporate annual reports, consulting proposals, and thousands of newspaper and magazine stories — not in my name, of course. Handling crisis-consulting work became great fun: the script was mine to create and then to make happen.

Along the way, blessed by children and joined by a dog, cats, cars, and a house in the 'burbs, my marriage broke up and she died of cancer. You reach an age — more than ten million of us have lost loved ones — and you can despair of ever finding a soul mate again. That I did was a miracle.

I live with my wife in northern New Jersey.

Early one morning I was out in the snow, bringing in the paper, when a friend drove past on his way to work. We waved, I asked myself "What if?" and I was hooked. From that emerged Say Goodbye. By some odd chance, Gary Kemmerman is middle-aged, had been a crisis consultant before retiring, and lost his late wife to cancer: he finds his second chance at love and becomes an amateur sleuth on the morning we meet him, though initially, he wants neither. There are two other books coming in the series: Perfect Cover and Higher Calling.

Winning Deadly Ink Press' 2007 David G. Sasher, Sr. Best Unpublished Thriller Novel Award was a great honor. My genre is the mystery thriller, but I can't write a novel without offering a deep love story. That's just me.

Visit me at

- E. J. Rand
February 2008

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Thursday, February 07, 2008


Long Run_Penny DawnLong Run by Penny Dawn
You can also read HEIDI'S PICK SIX with Penny Dawn.

I'd been querying unsuccessfully for five or six years by the time I opted to obtain a Masters Degree in writing. At Seton Hill University, I learned that knowing how to write a good story doesn't mean much, if there is no market for what you're writing. It was during my time at SHU that I not only began to write for the market, but met invaluable resources who helped me to do so.(Leslie Davis Guccione is brilliant with romance markets.) I partnered with Alayne Adams (a.k.a. Jacki King,) who had won an erotica contest and was publishing eBooks. She sent her editor to my website, and within a few months, Amber Quill Press offered me a contract for my master's thesis, Measuring Up.

From there, I shopped Rolling In Clover, and subsequently received a contract for it, all the while writing novellas and shorts for Amber Heat, the erotic imprint of Amber Quill Press. Soon after, a contract for Ancient History followed, and when all was said and done, I published three novels and half a dozen novellas in my first 12 months as a professional writer.

Now, I'm working with another SHU alumnus and mentor, Patrick W. Picciarelli, on a criminal suspense piece with erotic elements. It's sure to stun!

My path to publication involved persistence, a bit of luck, and who-you-know, but ultimately it was preparedness. I had an active website, as well as several manuscripts awaiting an editor's touch.

Three years ago, identical twins Miles and Brighton McClintock battled over a woman, and neither won the war. Now, each man has made a separate life for himself—Miles in Chicago, and Brighton just north of St. Louis—and they're about to reunite. The Long Run is a trilogy of erotic tales. You can read a review of one part of the trilogy Go for Miles.

2008 should bring another tale (or two!) of the Carman Chronicles series which starts off with Satin Slippers and follows up with Gilded Mirror, and maybe even the paperback compilation of all four. Additionally, an emotional, erotic novella, currently entitled Notes for Liberty is on its way. This novella is the sequel to Salute, Sound Off and Wake-up Call. The four tales will be compiled for a paperback edition, entitled Reveille.

If you want to learn more about me and my works, please visit or

Penny Dawn
February 2008

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Cemetery Dance_Ian Rogers_PathsIan Rogers' "Inheritor" in Cemetery Dance #58

Hi there, I'm Ian Rogers, a writer from Peterborough, Ontario (that's in Canada). I write in every genre, but I stick pretty close to horror. I grew up watching horror movies, classics like Jaws and Poltergeist, and crap like The House on Sorority Row and the Friday the 13th movies. Then I moved onto horror novels — Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker — and eventually decided that's what I wanted to do for a living. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm working on it.

My first major sale was to Dark Wisdom for a story called "The Tattletail." It's about a boy who acquires a demon in order to win his school's pet talent show. Since then I've sold several other stories to the likes of All Hallows, Bare Bone, and Not One of Us. But the one seems to impress people most is my sale to Cemetery Dance.

The story they bought, "Inheritor," is actually one of the first stories I ever wrote. It's about a man named Daniel Ramis whose father dies and leaves him the old family home. Daniel knows something is wrong, because his father told him the house had been sold years ago. He has good memories and bad memories about the house, none of which he really remembers clearly, but he feels an odd responsibility to go back and see what his father has left for him.

My sale to Cemetery Dance was definitely one of my career highlights to date. CD is one of the biggest horror fiction magazines — one you can actually find on newsstands (which can't be said about many other horror/sf fiction mags). They've published stories by many successful horror authors, like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Douglas Clegg, and Poppy Z. Brite. I don't consider myself in their league, but it's still nice to see one of my stories in a magazine that has published the work of so many great authors. It makes me feel like I've actually achieved something.

Coming up next… Well, I've got several short stories due out in 2008. One I'm especially looking forward to is "The Dark and the Young," a 10,000-word story that will appear in the mammoth anthology Bound for Evil from Dead Letter Press. It's a collection of stories about evil books, and features new stories from authors like Lavie Tidhar, Jeffrey Thomas, and Gary McMahon, as well as classic reprints by Nathaniel Hawthorne, H.P. Lovecraft, and others. The book is going to be huge, and it also marks my first appearance in a hardcover book.

Another story I'm looking forward to seeing in print is "Camp Zombie," which, despite the title, is actually a literary tale about a camp for kids with sleep disorders. It will be published in an upcoming issue of Broken Pencil, a popular Canadian magazine "devoted exclusively to underground culture and the independent arts."

I continue to write short stories — I've got almost 30 currently sitting in slush-pile limbo — but most of my energy right now is going into my first novel. I don't want to say too much about it except that it's a dark literary tale, not supernatural, that takes place in a small town in northern Ontario. I hope to have it finished by the summer and be shopping it around for representation in the fall. After that, I have a straight-up horror novel planned.

I have a website where I talk about my progress (such as it is) in the publishing world. I also discuss books and movies, dish on what other writers are doing, and occasionally post photos I’ve taken of autumn landscapes, which is one of my hobbies. The website is located at

[reposted from ambasadora.]

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Monday, February 04, 2008


My new author series over at Heidi Ruby Miller (a.k.a. ambasadora) is called Paths to Publication and will bring back favorite writers with upcoming releases and showcase newer authors and their works.

Here's the premise:

Every writer follows her own path within the publishing industry, which makes for entertaining and inspiring stories off the page. Paths to Publication offers some of those unique perspectives. I hope it also gives us all comfort knowing that our journey as writers is not just the breaks we get, but also the opportunities we take.

First up is Ian Rogers with the release of his short story "Inheritor" in Issue #58 of Cemetery Dance, the Charles L. Grant Tribute Issue. Look for Ian on Wednesday, February 6.

Cemetery Dance_Ian Rogers_PathsIan Rogers' "Inheritor" in Cemetery Dance #58

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Friday, February 01, 2008


Christopher Fulbright_Heidi's Pick SixChristopher Fulbright


1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?

4. What else can you do besides write?
I can play guitar. I can cook. I can build web sites. I can shoot a can off a fencepost at 50 yards with a .45 caliber pistol. I can fix the bloodied knees of crying little girls and soothe grieving hearts. I can learn from my mistakes. I can make a damn good cup of coffee. I can solve systems of linear equations. In my car, I can sing like James Hetfield.

5. Who are you reading right now?
Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora

6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?

9. Food you could eat everyday.
Oatmeal and yogurt; I pretty much do eat them every day. And, as much as I love chocolate chip cookies, I have to try *not* to eat them every day.

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
My wife and I love to watch mixed martial arts. I enjoy weightlifting and exercising but have been out of it for a while due to a hernia. I'm starting back at it slowly now, but should be in a steady rhythm come February.

11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
Short stories for me begin as a concept or an image compelling enough to sit down and describe. The magic of stories is how they unravel themselves and take form on the page without any sort of formal outlining. However, I have learned that an outline is valuable for longer projects. Novels are difficult to write organically without a lot of fixing to be done during the revision process. These days, before I begin a novel, I will bash out an outline first.

13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Christopher Fulbright was once a journalist, but then he sobered up. Now he goes to school and writes software user manuals for a living. He’d probably be drunk on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico if it weren’t for his lovely wife Angeline Hawkes giving new meaning to his previously miserable existence. His stories have been published in a bunch of magazines with the word “dark” in their titles. He’s written some books, too; stuff about werewolves, vampire hunters, demon babies, and a subjugated race of males kept as sex slaves. For hot, online action, check out his Web site.