Thursday, April 26, 2012

Steampunk story to finally be published!

This has to be the longest time period I've ever experienced to see one of my short stories published. May 10,2010 submitted a 6,700 short story called , The Foxglove Broadsides to a steampunk anthology title Clockwork Chaos which I found on Duotrope.  Granted it was a long short story, but that's what the guidelines asked for from the Library Of The Living Dead Press. a small press which publishes novels and anthologies and the cover art was above the level and highly creative and professional in comparison to many other horror publishers.
 Now maybe I should have noticed that this press published mostly horror, even though they have a Library of Science Fiction imprint under their overall banner. But they seemed to be branching out. I took the chance. It was a long short story even for some anthologies.
On October 25, 2010, (148 days) I heard from Neal Levin, the editor, that my story had been accepted for publication if I was okay with his edits and that a contract would be forthcoming from the publisher.  I was very excited, since this would be my first published steampunk story to add to my collection of steampunk items, which included a number of items I had made (and sold or given as gifts or prizes or auction fund-raisers) which included steampunk journals, beeswax collages, mini albums and that's not counting my steampunk costumes and gear which I wear to cons and local steampunk events.
This was maybe a little longer than the average of acceptance times I experienced from magazines, but pretty much within the range of time period for acceptances from anthologies. (For example, Ocean Stories Anthology took over a year to reject one of my stories, although it had been selected after the first cut to go further through a committee of editors.)
But then I didn't hear anything for months from the Library Of The Living Dead Press .
All the posts and notices on the Library Of The Living Dead Press site's forum, in a section devoted  to the Clockwork Chaos anthology, had stopped. There were no responses to those who submitted stories and were accepted for inclusion in the steampunk anthology.  Needless to say, this was disheartening to me, but I  imagine how crushed a new author would be, who might have had their first short story accepted.
I finally contacted Neal in March of 2011 to see if he'd heard anything from the publisher.  But unfortunately he hadn't,  but he'd been trying to contact them. As an editor for Fissure Magazine, (which featured a special steampunk issue,) I knew how much time Neal, (who is a game designer and author in NJ)  had already spent in reading the many submissions an anthology receives, in editing the acceptances, and then the time spent in emailing all authors as well as the publisher.  I felt for him at this point, because he was stuck in the middle, most likely not to get paid for his efforts and time, and may have had a number of authors ticked off at him.  I wasn't because I knew the precarious situation he had been placed in, having to act as liaison when the publisher was AWOL. 
Neil wrote me back immediately to inform me that he had not heard anything from the publisher either but since he was attending the Steampunk World's Fair, he was going to see if he could find another indie publisher, or perhaps even publish the work under his own press, Dark Quest Books.
On April  24, 2012, nearly two years after submission, I received a very nice email form Neal asking if I wanted my story to still be included in the Clockwork Chaos anthology.  I was delighted.  He had gone to all the trouble to find another indie press to publish the anthology.  Now that's a dedicated editor to work on a project for nearly two years.
Since I've been quite slack in submitting short stories as I work a highly demanding full time job as a rehab support specialist for individuals who have suffered severe brain and spinal chord injuries, I have little spare time, So I  focus on my uncompleted novels, or those which need an edit, I haven't submitted much in the past 12 months.  So, my short story,  Foxglove Broadsides, still hung around in the unpublished pile. I had given up on the anthology and gone on to other projects.Neil didn't mention the name of the press or a publication date.  I imagine he is now having to contact all the authors who received acceptances to see if their stories are still unpublished and available.
If I had the ability to give an award to Neal for Most Dedicated Editor, I would.  This is service beyond the normal duties of an editor who also has a demanding full time job.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jeff's AT Story moved

Hello all -
I just realized that I'm going to be writing so much about my son's journey along the Appalachian Trail that I needed to create a second blog and since The Shaman Papers is now getting over 1,000 hits a day, I hope you'll follow. I'm calling it Carolina Appalachian Trail Mom and here it is

Zach Davis was my Inspiration to start writing about Jeff and his journey. So now I must admit, I've been frantic since Jeff left although I was only excited before he left. And Beth, my daughter, has been near hysterical, while my granddaughter Kendall totally takes it in stride.  She's used to Uncle Jeff doing unusual things.  So to stay sane I read lots of blogs and found one, The Good Badger, which while not altogether soothing, is funny, irreverent, honest and psychological.  The Good Badger's Appalachian Blog is what inspired me to start my own blog - as both my personal therapy and a catalog Jeff's experience since he may not get to blog or You Tube.  Zach Davis, author of  Appalachian Trials,  has a unique psychological approach which got me and I can't wait to receive his book from Amazon. See you over there and please follow me as it will mean a great deal to me and hope some enjoyment for you, if you check in from time to time.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Jeff leaves for AT Trail

On April 7th, the day before Easter, Kendall, my granddaughter and I dropped off my son, Jeffrey for his 2,000 plus mile hike of the Applacahian Trail (AT) which runs from Amacaloa Falls National Park in Georgia to Kathadin Mtn in Maine.  He's expecting to be on the trail four to five months and has been preparing for 6 to 8 months.  He carries a 13 weight pack, much smaller than most.  Some people try carrying 45 lb. packs but end up tossing a good bit of either gear or food, because the AT Trail is a ridge trail, meaning that it connects mountains and mountain ridges.
We all enjoyed a "last supper" at Monterey's, our favorite Mexican restaurant near our house, since he won;t be eating hot food for a while.  He decided not to bring a stove.  Then after  a 3 hour drive, we reached the entrance, where he weighed his pack and signed in as thru-hiker no #801 at the very nice visitor's center.  So that means over 800 thru-hikers have started from the Georgia end since March 1st when the trial opens.
We were shocked at  how packed the entrance was with day-hikers. We had to get in line in our car to pay to get into the park and then drive around before finding one of the rare remaining parking places.  Lots of families of all nationalties cooking out, having Easter Egg hunts, playing badminton and hiking.  It was bizarre.  WE only saw two other thru-hikers at the visitors center and then when we left, Kendall and I saw a van with three packs on top.  The ranger told Jeff, 20 thru hikers had taken off that same day so he's probably already met some of them by now.  And with those three signing in about 3:30. that may make about 25 for the day. 
We spent time there so at the center so Kendall could enjoy it.  They have two great displays of all the wild animals he might meet on the trail, one a daytime display and the other a night time scene.  It's really informative to be able to really gage the size of the black years, wolves, bobcats, foxes etc. prevalent in these woods.  The first Mountain, Springer Mtn. is about 4,000 feet high, not the tallest of the trail, but still a hefty height.  He has already reached it, I imagine.  She bought an adorable owl purse (Jeff gave her a lifelike  stuffed owl from here for Christmas) and she did the machine where you stamped a penny, her's with the waterfall scene and one for Jeff with the hiker scene.
Then we set off on the trail walking through the stone archway, which features the beginning of the side trail which officially leads to the AT.  Jeff wanted us to hike with him on the mile trail to see the majestic Amacalola Falls, but Beth (who unfortunately was in flip flops and had to take Dramamine to survive the road, wasn't up to it and neither was I.  The trail is beautiful starting at a resevoir and runs alongside a large stream with many small waterfalls.  But then it suddenly goes up at a steep angle where I was working bent over in half to make it up the incline.  We did get to a plateau where we could take photos and see Jeff off, but Kendall and I only made it about 1/8 of the mile, I'm afraid.  I don't know how Jeff does it, but he's been in training so he will do fine. At Christmas he weighed a slim 180, but bulked up on purpose knowing he'll lose a lot of weight on the hike.  A week's worth of his food fits in a shoebox.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dream Studies - A Somatic Example

It was quite by accident that I stumbled upon "Our Dreaming Mind" by Robert Van Castle, PhD. The library was holding a book on Tesla for me, but I'd arrived a couple days late so it was sent back.  Not ever wanting to leave a library book less, I ambled over to the nonfiction section where I hoped to find more books on Jung, and this book was the only one in the same field.   I feared it might be another one of those vapid dream dictionaries, but this instead was an overview of the psychological and physiological research on dreams.  While dream research has a long way to go, first of all, to be located in the psychological departments of research universities instead of in the medical departments, I have to admit it's come along way since I did a pretty extensive dream study during the late 80's and early 90's.  Back then,  I kept daily dream journals and read just about everything I could find on the subject. There wasn't much that was serious, especially in book stores and local libraries, while there may have been more in university libraries to which we had no access at the time, pre-Internet. 
But now dream study seems to be coming into its own, with a number of landmark studies.  What's so great about Castle's book is that he gives a history of the studies from even back in the days of the Greeks through  Freud and his students, Jung and his, through Adler, Perls and so many more right up to recent times.  He also explores every aspect from somatic dreams all the way to telepathic dreams - not usual for hardcore scientists doing extensive controlled experiments in the lab.  He also offers many anecdotes and individual dreams, including series of dreams to explain every finding.  The numbers are rather astounding in categories one might think on the fringes through the dreams and work of psychologist who work extensively with the dreams of their patients, there have come to the foreground some symbols which appear universal, while most are highly personal.
So many aspects of this book have verified things I'd considered, but thought I was weird or just out there to consider.  I no longer feel so alone. Especially in regard to series of dreams. Once I start dream journals and record at least one dream each night, I end up with dreams ending one night and finishing another or carrying the same themes and symbols from one night to the next.  Sometimes I ask my psyche to finish the dream or s the dream finishes while I'm partially awake in that twilight place beforeI get out of bed.  Now, more than ever, I see how important dreams are.
I had a recent dream where  I was  lying on a chaise lounge on the veranda of a large Victorian hotel enjoying a nice cool breeze.  I kept trying to take a nap, but  lots of people from my past kept walking by to and fro, stopping to talk to me, They would bring up an old story about my past or ask if I remembered them.  Some wanted to play catch up, talk about my book, tell me about their life etc.  I only recognized two people, one who was my French Canadian grandmother, and the other who was a young man who spoke over his shoulder to his young son.  I'd never met the man but recognized him. I realized when I woke he was the child, now grown,  who I would have gave birth to if not for miscarrying.  I  told him he looked just like his father.
Then the dream shifted as I watched a  white  bomb crash into a lake next to where I was standing.  At first I saw it descend into the water slow motion as if watching an underground camera following the bomb, but then it popped up and turned on me and now I was eye to eye with the barrel end of an odd futuristic looking gun.  In the dream I felt I was most likely going to die.  And I recall a sort of lucid dreaming moment where in this second segment of the dream, I thought the first part represented my "wake" or visitation not in a funeral home, but on the veranda of a Victorian hotel (which would suit me much better), since I was going to die. I recognized the previous dream as precognitive. 
Then the dream shifted to a piece of white paper on a desk, almost blank except for the words "Gail. Run" typed into a sidebar.  I woke up very frightened.  In the real world I had undergone two procedures this week to check for cancer and other medical issues. While the cancer was ruled out, I won't be informed of other diagnoses until the biopsies come back in a few weeks.  I was very frightened and had a hard time waking up, which is not like me at all.
What is so strange is that this dream was a warning dream, picking up on symptoms I experienced during the night as I slept unaware of until I left the house. After I woke up I only had about 15 minutes to get ready to go to a marathon run to raise money for individuals with traumatic brain injuries, which I attended with my boss and co-workers.  As I was driving to the site of the run I had a sudden allergic reaction - my lips swelled up, I started itching all over the place and my throat started to close up.  I pulled into a grocery store, grabbed some Benadryl and went on to the race, knowing a staffed  ambulance was always on site and I'd have immediate help if the reaction got worse.  Luckily, the symptoms got better, even though I felt tired from the Benadryl (and the rough week with the extensive medical procedures).  I calmed down as I walked. I did not do the run, but the mile walk which folks who have brain injury, their families and staff from HASCI do.  I realized that I must have been stung by fire ants the evening before when I'd raked up a lot of those pollen caterpillar things and disturbed a nest.  I thought I'd avoided getting stung, never saw any ants and had not been itching the few hours I stayed awake after working in the garden.  Sure enough, once I realized I must have been stung,  I found three bites.
Now when I look back I can see that while sleeping my body was trying to "wake me up" and alert me that I'd been stung and was having an allergic reaction.   I've been allergic to fire ants for over ten years and the gun dropping into the water, I interpret as being symbolic of the venom entering my blood stream. My psyche must have felt the gun in my face had to be so graphic as to stick in my mind after I woke up to frighten me into taking immediate action.
The note with the "Gail. Run." demands could have served a dual purpose - first, for me to run and take the medicine or secondly, to go to the Brain Injury Run and get help from the EMT's, if I needed it.
I'm really fortunate the dream was so dramatic. Now that I've been working on dreams, I  remember them more often, write them down (I did not have time that morning) and try to analyze what they are telling me.This time it proved to be very important to remember my dream.
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