Tuesday, January 29, 2008


"Like sock monkeys . . . but more undead." Of course you already saw this on BoingBoing but indulge me.

Word to the wise: Shimmer's web host is moving servers around on Friday night, Feb. 8. Or, as they didn't exactly put it, "The Randy cluster is going down; want to join us?"

Perhaps we're a little giddy tonight; the long-awaited Art Issue is going to the printer TOMORROW. For Reals.

Friday, January 25, 2008

20th Century Ghosts

Have you read this yet? 20th Century Ghosts, by Joe Hill - through all of 2007, it seems, everyone was saying how terrific this collection is. I'm just getting around to reading it now, and it's knocking me on my ass. It's so much better than you've heard.

The best of the lot is "Pop Art," I think. In the introduction, Christopher Golden says "'Pop Art' is transcendent. The single best short story I have read in years, it brings all of Joe Hill's abilities to bear in a few short pages--the weirdness, the tenderness, the complicity." And that's exactly right.

It's the tenderness that gets me, and that makes these stories so remarkable.

Stop whatever you're doing and go read this book already.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Proofreading the Art Issue

Here at the Shimmer factory, we're busy proofreading the Art issue. It'll go to the printers early next week, and be in our hands a few weeks after that.

It's been months since I read any of these stories--long enough that I've forgotten a lot about each one. So it's a real treat to get to read these again, with almost fresh eyes. They are delightful, and varied, and I am falling in love with each of them all over again.

So excited to see this issue finally approach release!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tales from the Slush Mines

Today I read a submission which said that, if the author didn't get a reply by a certain date, he'd assume the story had been rejected and would start sending it to other markets. It's my understanding that some agents work on a "no reply unless we're interested" basis, but I'm not aware of any spec fic short story markets that do (please enlighten me in comments if you do!).

And I think it's a really bad idea to put a statement like that in your cover letter. Even aside from any nuances of tone, the bottom line practical reason is that e-mail goes astray all the time. I get several queries a week, and yeah, 90% of the time, it's a rejection letter that never reached the author -- but the other 10% of the time is what makes it worth querying. If the e-mail never reached us, we haven't even had a chance to read it.

Two incidents: I found one author's story in the spam folder when she queried. I read it, adored it, and you'll be reading it in our Summer 2008 issue. And another author wasn't receiving my acceptance letters -- I had to use one of my personal e-mail addresses to get in touch with him once it became clear that something wasn't working.

I'm very glad that both these authors didn't just give up and move on when they didn't hear anything.

So don't assume you've been rejected -- query. You might get good news.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Last Day of the Shimmer Sub Drive

Today's the last day of Shimmer's subscription drive. Head on over now and grab a subscription - and get a signed chapbook of "What Child Is This I Ask The Midnight Clear," by Ken Scholes as a special bonus. Last chance to subscribe at the current rates!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Darling Little Folded Books

Lately, I've been getting interested in making my own books.

We started with simple folded books. They're very easy to do. You can read some directions here. I'd try to explain but it's way easier to just point you at someone else. Fold, fold, fold, cut, fold, book!

Here's one folded and cut:

And here it is folded into a book:

This one got a purple cover, and gold foil endpapers and decoration.

A collection of several books:

Betcha didn't know I was so crafty, did you? Either did I - but I've had my eye on making books for a long time. One obstacle is that I can't cut straight: so I finally got a decent paper cutter, as well as an Exacto knife and a cutting matt. I still tend to be a little crooked, but at least now, the stuff doesn't look like it was cut by a drunk monkey.

The next step was to figure out how to print text onto a page that would fold into one of these books - that was harder. Maybe if I knew my way around desktop publishing software it would have been easier, but I triumphed using columns in MS Word and running stuff through the printer twice. Of course you can't fit many words in a wee book like this, but that was just fine for my purposes.

The little books are fast and easy, and fun to decorate. Give it a try sometime.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Not so much.

Remember what I said earlier about feeling better? Scratch that.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Slowly recovering

It's been a really gross weekend, but we're both on the mend. I suspect we'll both be back at work and school tomorrow, though we'll be moving at a much slower pace than usual. Ugh, glad this weekend is over!

We did laundry today and it took all of our energy. It always amazes me how things we take for granted normally seem like huge undertakings when we're sick. And it makes me glad that we've done a pretty good job of keeping the house tidy most of the time - so taking a few days off to be sick doesn't mean the whole place is in irreparable chaos.

One of my goals for the new year was to develop the habit of writing. So I'm trying to do 100 words a day. It's hardly any words, I know - but the point is not to lay down a big word count, but to develop the habit. Most days I've gone on to do more than my 100 words, and I'm planning on upping that count once the habit gets entrenched. So far, 5/6 days, and plodding ahead.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Poor us!

We're sick.

Sean came down with it yesterday; today it started for me. I woke up with a horrible headache and body aches, the beginnings of a cough and sore throat. It was about all I could do to get up long enough to call in sick at work - then it was back to bed for the rest of the day. Sean's in a little better shape. But we're both pretty pathetic.

Gonna head off and watch Stardust in a few minutes, and then I will probably go to bed early.