New Stories Simmering

Howdy, all.


I’m still in the midst of finishing up The Bloody Empress.  I’m also knocking around the idea of writing a story involving a Jimmy Olsen/ Rick Jones type of character who realizes that he’s lived through decades of the same events as part of repeated continuity reboots.  More as that develops.


In the meantime, hope everyone is staying warm and happy this holiday season.



Needs more Scotch and Barbeque Sauce

Sometimes new ingredients make a great recipe better.  I tried a bit of Scotch and barbeque sauce in my usual chili recipe.  It provided everyone at our gathering a sampler of it.  The consensus was that we need to throw it in as an option with the original recipe next time.  So I shall.


Adding something new works for revisions as well.  I’m adding a twist in a revised scene where the main characters all get on the same page regarding the true enemy, Corsis.  In fact, what am I doing talking about it here?  Time to get a-writin’.



Purple Versus Orange

Fox Literary gave me a rejection, but with a positive vibe of continue submitting to other agencies.  So I shall.  Next up is Curtis Brown Ltd. So I’m a movin’ right on.


My wife and I saw an inventive block of short plays at a local play house, the Shelterbelt, entitled Shelter Skelter.  I enjoyed many of them, especially one called, “Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Murder”.  Never again will I implicitly trust someone wearing purple while wearing orange.  Strangulation will inevitably ensue.  The colors are mortal enemies, don’tcha know?




Still waiting to hear from Fox Literary on the Query letter, so I’ll likely call it a loss this week and proceed on with other agencies.  One must keep the flow going.


I’ve recently attended a writers retreat where I wrote a short story titled “Famish” with the log line:  “A starving man in a glass prison struggles to escape and to recall why he was incarcerated.  I submitted it to the annual Writers Digest short story contest.  I’ll hope to hear something from them in a few months.


My wife and I attended the Zombie Walk in Benson this weekend.  Very creative and demented people in that.  Strangely, I saw more “Where’s Waldo?” zombies than pregnant zombies, who are usually to Zombie Walks what Stormtroopers are to Comicons.  I also finally got around to watching the first two episodes of Walking Dead.  Well-acted and gory stuff.  Especially the fate of Rick Grimes’s commandeered horse.  Blech!  But still most compelling.  Between that and Breaking Bad’s finale with Gus and Walt’s “Face Off”, AMC is getting to be my favorite place for dramas.


Back to the Bloody Empress now.  I’m about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through this draft.  I’m liking the character interactions as I go.  Also enjoying setting up the doomed city of Lan Porthica.


More to come in later entries.



The Library Reading Went Fantastic!

I had a great time at the Fall Fiction Festival at the Ralston Library this afternoon.  Reading one’s work out loud is a great way to find holes in a scene.  I practiced reading it a few times with my wife, and found some places in need of tweaking.


We really have a talented group of people in the Nebraska Writers Workshop.  In addition to Repenter, we heard tales of biblical sadists, inept donut-store robbers, sympathetic western women of ill repute, fifteen-year old saviors, Hawaiian shirt-wearing vampires, and more.


Good exposure for the group as a whole, and each of us as writers.

Upcoming Library Reading and Submission Status

Breaking news.  Or at least kind of bending news.


I will be reading at the Hollis and Helen Baright Public Library in Ralston, NE this Sunday 9/18/11 sometime between 2 and 4 pm.  I’ll be reading the first chapter of Repenter.  Other members of the Nebraska Writers Workshop will also be reading from their novels or short stories.  Come on out and celebrate the spinning of yarns.


In other news, I have Repenter tweaked up, and am submitting it to Fox Literary.  We shall see where that goes.  Well, it goes through the internet and its shadowy servers of uncertain security.  Or it goes with so if you’re misquoting Kurt Vonnegut.  In any event, momentum builds, worlds rise, and hope springs eternal in this little corner of cyberness.


Later gators.



Contagion-Outbreak and Angry Robot Update

I had a great time at Contagion Outbreak.  I got to see Escape Velocity in print.  This website was also displayed next to my name.  So hello to any newcomers.  I’m very happy you came out to this neck of the web!

My wife and I witnessed a unique kung-fu demonstration, saw all manner of cos-players, and attended a few panels too.  One panel was hosted by some comic book arists who talked about the ins and outs of the comic book business.  Comic books also face the same upheaval of the digital revolution.  Greg Hall also had an informative panel regarding submissions of stories for writers.  We had to duck out early, but what we saw was most informative.  All in all, twas a pretty fun time!

I received a rejection from Angry Robot, but it had some useful feedback concerning adding a little more context in the early parts of my Repenter manuscript.  I’ll be taking a closer look at the “who’s” and “where’s” in the earlier chapters to improve the story.  I’ll be submitting it out to literary agents and cautiously exploring electronic publication in the future.  More to come!

Published in the 2011 Contagion Outbreak Program

My 600 word short story, “Escape Velocity”, will be appearing in the program for the Contagion Outbreak convention.  The story tells the tale of two former enemies who must vacate a dying planet within 90 seconds.  The show runs from June 10-12 at the Omaha Qwest Center.  Here’s a link to their site:  Most exciting stuff!


If you have a free moment that weekend, go on a quest to the Qwest and get your geek on!

I am jack’s infrequently updated blog

I swear I be better about updating this thing.  In the weeks since the last entry, I’ve learned the value of short hand writing out the chapters major beats in sloppy cursive on a legal pad.  It helps get the words out if no one can read them but me, and then craft them on a word cruncher.  On page 65 of the second novel, currently titled, “The Bloody Empress”.  Gotta get back to it.  Stay chocolatey.


-Jim McGowan