Writing and Selling and Panera’s, Oh My!

September 25, 2023 by

It’s been a busy year so far, between writing, rewriting, submitting stories, and the nine-day “The Never-Ending Odyssey” science fiction writing workshop (TNEO, July 21-29).

I have this strange routine where I go to Panera’s almost every day for lunch and spend the afternoon there writing and sipping Dr Pepper. Sometimes I stay for dinner. But the routine works – I get a lot of writing done, both science fiction & fantasy, and my other writing topic, the Olympic sport of table tennis. (I’m currently alternating between writing SF and writing, “Table Tennis Doubles for Champions.” I’m in the US Table Tennis Hall of Fame as a coach and writer.)

I’ve had an even ten stories sold or published so far this year. (I have five others that are currently “finalists” – in fact, I’d have written this blog a while ago except I’ve been anxiously awaiting the final word on some of them – but decided I couldn’t wait any longer. But two of them are big markets!!!) The ones sold or published this year are:

  • “First Galactic Table Tennis Championships” (10,000 words!) to New Myths
  • War Around the Clock” to Bullet Points, published in August
  • “Spiders Under My Skin” to October Screams anthology, published in September
  • “Drip” to Ahoy Comics, published in August
  • Consecutive Terms” to Martian Magazine, published in September
  • “The Whaler and the Whale” to Shacklebound Short Horror Stories
  • “Battle in the Ballot Box” to Sci-Phi Journal
  • “A God of One and Zeroes” to Storia
  • “Super Rex” to Storia
  • “You Are President, Madam President” to Madam President anthology, coming in October

Since January I’ve written over twenty stories. Three of my favorites were critiqued at TNEO, and are all now making the rounds:

  • Two Dreams: Dr. King and the Alien. An upbeat alien makes first contact during the 1963 March on Washington, during King’s “I have a dream” speech.
  • Bullet Time. You’re a bank teller, there’s a robbery, and the robber shoots you – but time slows down, and it takes five days for the bullet to reach you. Except you are trapped in your body, which is also slowed down, and so you can’t get out of the way! And then something shows up…
  • Connoisseur of Cambrian Cooking. A woman travels 500 million years into the past to the Cambrian – but her time machine’s battery is dead and she’s stuck there. There’s no edible food, and yet she survives – how?

I often work on multiple stories at the same time, going from one to another. I currently have five in various stages. My favorite is probably “Mathball,” a satirical future where mathematicians on the field have completely taken over baseball!

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