Tuesday, June 17, 2008

story update


I got a chance to see the TOC of the upcoming Exotic Gothic 2 (edited by Danel Olson from Ash-Tree Press) and I must say that I have silly smile plastered all over my face. Can’t tell you why though until the TOC is made public but it really made my day. It’s quite a thrill to be in company of these writers – authors I know only by name or because of their books.

I’m finishing my contribution for Ruey de Vera’s travel antho, to be published later this year or early next. My story is set in Hong Kong and I’m thinking of rewriting the entire thing (sigh) and doing some weird lovechild of spec fic and creative non-fiction (yes, I’m infected by Mia). When I look back at the time I lived in Hong Kong, I remember a mix of excitement and a deep longing for home. I did not believe in the concept of winter in Hong Kong, but recall cursing the day I disallowed my office manager from buying a heater. I do not do well in cold – I think my body retains a sense of disbelief. In terms of timestamping I’d use the run of Legion Lost, issues of which I bought from a comic book store along Sugar Street.

Another of my stories will appear in antho edited by Linda Panlilio (from Anvil). This is the story I agonized over before actually writing it, but with the proper approach, it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. There are times when it is not the characters, the conceit, the plot, the language or the structure that are problematic. Sometimes, it is the approach, some metatextual gobbledygook that has to do with how I’m grounded and just what the hell I’m trying to do (the easy answer, of course, is to “tell the story”, but come on).

Another story has been selected for an international “best SF”-type antho slated for publication next year. With these international anthos, I cannot help but wish I had a broader and deeper body of work. As it is, I write certain types of stories about certain things that reflect certain themes. I’m trying to do more, to expand my writing, which leads to experimental stories that do not always succeed. The important thing is to try – and to know when to move on (it’s not necessarily throwing in the towel, as in “goodbye, you shitty unloving difficult subgenre!”, but more of “you know, it’s not working for either of us right now; we need to take a break; it’s not you, it’s me”).

Three more stories are going to appear in antho edited by Cecilia Brainard. I submitted three when she asked for one (because I honestly wanted her to choose whichever she liked best, if any) and she took all three. All are short pieces, not exactly flash fic but more like rounded vignettes. My favorite among them was something I wrote when the daughter of a government official died in a fire; it made my heart ache.

Oh, and there’s another international antho in the making that I’ve been invited to contribute to. It should be both challenging and fun if all goes well.


I’m editing the 2nd annual collection of fiction winners of the Neil Gaiman/Fully Booked competition from last year. I was on the board of judges with Peque Gallaga and Tony Perez and was quite happy with the results. The big winner was Joseph Nacino’s” Logovore”, of course, but we’ll be publishing a number of stories, including the other winners (I think Ian Casocot’s “The Sugilanon of Epefania’s Heartbreak” is a must-read for everyone under the sun) and finalists. I received the stories today and will begin editing and coordinating with the authors soon.

Nikki and I are editing Philippine Speculative Fiction IV and have been receiving submissions since I first announced the open call for submissions. It's our fourth year and I'm looking for something fresh and astounding.The deadline is September 15, 2008, so get down and write some spec fic and send it over. I’ll repost the call in another entry.


I’m building up my inventory, thank goodness. I’m hoping to have at least 5 or 6 stories by next month – then I start submitting them to publications. As I mentioned earlier, some of my present writing is not my usual fare – which may be a problem for publishers or editors who expect a certain thing from me (offhand, it would be something to do with language). I’m happy that the LitCritters and I conform to a certain production schedule (yes, stories are products, says Marxist Dean) and thus I have a “real” deadline in addition to my personal deadlines.

All this is because I’m planning to have a second collection of short fiction by next year (actually, I’ll need to complete it and pitch the collection to the publisher this year to get it on publication schedule for next year). I’d prefer to have previously published most, if not all, of the stories that will appear in my second collection. But of course reality will trump whatever preferences I have, haha.

For the second collection, right now, I have:

Strange Weather
Chasing Aurora
Something Like That
The Many Loves of Ramil Alonzo
I, D.I.
Ever, After
Survey of Artifacts Found in the Derelict Vessel The Malaya
Princess Ribbit (with Nikki Alfar)
Poor, Poor Luisa (maybe)

+ inventory sold by October/November

+ unlisted stories in other athos appearing by December, at the latest (all the other anthos get right of first printing, of course)

So I think there should be enough for a book. I’m hoping Andrew will illustrate the interiors like he did for “The Kite of Stars and other stories”.


And somewhere somehow somewhen I need to make time to actually write the damn thing. My initial attempts were stymied by overanalysis and poor time management (and the fact that short fiction was top priority). And anxiety, of course. Worries about the sophomore slump, etc. But I try not to think about all that. The new/old angsty decision: literary vs. genre produces the same answer within me: why not both?

Part of me wants to take a long string of weeks off and just get this done - but life intrudes in the best possible way.

So we’ll see. As usual.


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