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Improbability is in the Details
Abra Staffin-Wiebe's Journal
Recent Entries 
18th-Feb-2018 11:42 am - All the updates fit to be printed in!
New market list update! Learn all about the ultimate ham sandwich anthology, plus more: http://www.aswiebe.com/writing/markets.html Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1125145.html on Dreamwidth.org.
Great technology thriller (think Crichton) with steadily escalating stakes as the main character goes deeper and deeper into the conspiracy. One of my favorite things about this book is the way it introduces us to a huge cast of minor characters and makes each one of them come to life, if only briefly. This is a big fat book, but it reads fast. I haven't read Dean Koontz in ages and ages, and I'm glad I picked the book up.

Story: The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
Genre: I think it's being sold as a thriller? It's got one significant creepy SF element, too.
Published: June 2017, Bantam
Length: Really long novel.
How I got it: Library
Writer notes: Seriously, self, go back and look at how he wrote minor characters like that. With the PoV and such.
Biases: I'm a fan of the Parasol Universe, and I'm fine with M/M romances.


Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1125049.html on Dreamwidth.org.
18th-Jan-2018 05:45 pm - Pie Charts of the Dead!
It's 2018! Which SF/F publications didn't make it? The new update of Aswiebe's Market List has it all. Lists! Tables! Pie charts! (No, really, I have pie charts.)

Pie Chart of Surviving Publications
 

See?


Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1124839.html on Dreamwidth.org.
17th-Dec-2017 11:31 am - New Market List Update!
Tax changes for writers, book giveaways, a contest for teen writers, and more new writing market updates!

Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1124448.html on Dreamwidth.org.
26th-Nov-2017 02:22 pm - Snow White: An Islamic Tale

Snow White: An Islamic Tale is a beautiful and faithful retelling of the Snow White fairy tale, modified to be set in the Muslim world. The adjustments are made very thoughtfully and in most cases actually strengthen the story. Snow White is portrayed as a faithful Muslim girl who relies on the Qur'an to guide her behavior. This emphasis on religious virtue is very much in line with many of the original fairy tales, by the way. Her religious observances are included in the story, showing her praying, memorizing passages of the Qur'an, breaking her fast during Ramadan, and wearing a headscarf when she might be observed by a male outside her family. The evil stepmother is shown as being a vain creature with a djinn that lives in her mirror. The change I found most interesting was that instead of male dwarfs, Snow White finds a cottage inhabited by seven dwarven sisters-in-faith, who she lives with and learns from happily (instead of becoming their housekeeper!). At the end of the book, there is a daily prayer, Arabic vocabulary words, and an explanation of where in the Qur'an the quotes referenced are found. Highly recommended, both as a children's story and an exploration of how culture affects our touchstone stories.

Content note: the illustrations do include representations of people and animals, and magic is included in the story but clearly haram.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZYF9WK/

Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1124238.html on Dreamwidth.org.
17th-Nov-2017 10:48 am - New Market List Update!
New Markets Update Nov 2017: If This Goes On political SF anthology & more!

http://www.aswiebe.com/writing/markets.html
Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1124043.html on Dreamwidth.org.

Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger is a warm-hearted return to characters that series fans love, and it manages to also have a story of its own (which not all tie-in novellas or short novels do, not by a long shot). Contains estranged but still longing lovers, unexpected babies (not theirs), pivotal curtain dilemmas, and werewolves gaining self-assurance. Too slight to be a strong introduction for new readers, but recommended for fans of the series.

 

Story: Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger

Genre: Historic paranormal romance

Published: November 2017, published independently

Length: Novella or short novel

How I got it: I forked over the cash moneys.

Biases: I'm a fan of the Parasol Universe, and I'm fine with M/M romances.

Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1123800.html on Dreamwidth.org.
13th-Nov-2017 09:39 pm - The Midnight Line by Lee Child

Why would a woman no longer be in possession of what should be one of her most cherished possessions? As a point of honor, Jack Reacher must know. The Midnight Line has much of what I love in Jack Reacher books, but with an atypical-for-this-series ensemble of investigators working together. The refusal to give up on a goal no matter what, the hurling of himself into physical danger with the kind of advance knowledge and awareness of his own abilities that makes it not a rash action--the signature of a Reacher story is there. But the mystery in the book takes twists and turns and shows us how people's hopes and fears influence what they find. This one is more mystery than thriller. Recommended.

 

Note: The Reacher books are highly episodic. This can be read out-of-order with no problems.

 

Story: The Midnight Line by Lee Child

Genre: Thriller/mystery

Published: November 2017, Delacorte Press

Length: Sure, it's book-sized.

How I got it: Goodreads giveaway.

Biases: I'm a fan of the Reacher books, and I have been for ages.

Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1123463.html on Dreamwidth.org.
12th-Nov-2017 12:12 pm - Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson
I gulped this book down in one sitting. It was delicious.

This story fits nicely into the "FBI procedural mystery with supernatural elements" category, and if that isn't a category, it should be, because I would like more please. It follows the "vampires as humans with additional abilities and drawbacks that can also make them go a bit around the bend and be serial murderers" idea of a vampire. The characters are engaging and well-drawn, especially given the shortness of the story. I want to spend more time with them, and I'm interested in seeing what happens with the relationships and the bigger picture problems.

Story: Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson
Length: Short novel
Published: July 2016
Publisher: Tor.com
Subgenre: Urban fantasy
Stand-alone: Yes, but has sequels.

Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1123137.html on Dreamwidth.org.

This is not exactly rejectomancy, but it is mucking about with submission numbers data and how to predict what kind of competition your submissions are getting. THIS IS NOT REALLY USEFUL FOR A WRITER TO KNOW. RUNNING THE ODDS STRICTLY BY THE NUMBERS WILL DRIVE YOU CRAZY. But it is interesting. 

I've been curious about what percentage of writers is represented by the submissions tracked at Submission Grinder. (Tl;dr = 10%.) So!

A recent interview with Uncanny Magazine said that they got 1,000-2,000 submissions per month. They've had two monthlong submission periods in the past 12 months, with a total of 417 submissions tracked on Submission Grinder. Figure 209 submissions/month. This means that roughly 1/5 to 1/10th (21%-10%) of the writers submitting to them in those months used Submission Grinder.

The day before yesterday, I submitted a story to F&SF. At the time, it was #239 in the queue (today it is 139--*gulp*).

So 100 people got their responses. In that time, 13 people recorded responses on Submission Grinder (13%).

My (recorded) starting queue number at F&SF has varied between 562 and 97 in the past, which is kinda crazy fluctuations. Let's assume that today the queue's end is still around 239. Submission Grinder thinks there are 54 pending submissions (23%).

Update: Charlie Finlay let me know that F&SF's average daily submissions received is about 35. Submission Grinder has tracked 1820 completed reports in the past 12 months, for an average of 4.99 submissions/day (14%).


In 2015, Clarkesworld reported what looks a lot like about 40 submissions/day. They were already well-established at the time, so let's say submission numbers remain about at those numbers. Submission Grinder reports an average of 4.48 submissions/day in the past 12 months. Again, we're hovering just above 1/10th of writers recording their subs in Submission Grinder (11%).

By this extremely unscientific math, the number of submissions shown on Submission Grinder is probably 10%-23% of the actual number of submissions the publication received. The 10% is probably more accurate because of the data it's based on.

Why am I specifically curious about this now?

I submitted a story to the (now closed) Into the Black contest, which was a fairly high profile one-off contest that has a hefty $12,000 prize and no entry fee. I would expect there to be a lot of entries, even with the strict theme and wordcount limits. Only 12 submissions were recorded on Submission Grinder, which seemed super-low. I'm guessing part of that is because they probably got many entries from people coming from the universal basic income movement, instead of only writers coming from the "here's a neat writing contest" side of it, but still. Huh.

(BTW, if you're at all interested in the idea of a Universal Basic Income, go read the contest page. They have ALL the links.)

Child Counting to 10

Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1122906.html on Dreamwidth.org.
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