Gary Hurtubise

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Tag: fantasy writer

Darksea: A Winner at the 2016 Ozma Awards!

So as it turned out, I was unable to make it out to Bellingham, Washington to attend the 2016 Ozma Awards Ceremony and Chanticleer Author’s Conference (life and stuff got in the way, sadly).  As such, I figured that my lack of attendance would negate any chance I had of winning (not being too sure how these types of awards work…).

Glumly, I watched the first weekend of April go by, waving my chance at winning goodbye.

And forgot about the whole thing…

…(Silly me!)

On a whim, I checked out the Chanticleer website tonight and came across this little bit of news:

How about that?!

The First In Category award winners are to receive a complimentary book review from Chanticleer, as well as a bunch of other promotional items.  And now I can say that my (as of yet unpublished) novel is an award winner!  Priceless.  😀

Thank you to Chanticleer Book Reviews for providing a platform for me to have my manuscript reviewed.  I’m feeling that much closer to turning Darksea into a real book – and me into a real author!   (Reject me now, literary agents!!)

Congratulations to Christopher, Elisabeth, Vijay, Raven, Nicole and Murray for their category wins, and especially to Vijay, for also winning the Ozma Grand Prize!

 

My Fantasy Novel is a Finalist for the OZMA Awards!

You know when you’re out shopping and you come across the perfect gift for a loved one… but it’s no where close to their birthday, and Christmas is still many months away?  So what do you do?  Well, you buy it, and store it away for that special day.  And then promptly forget about it.

 

Or how about when you take time to book a winter vacation to some balmy, tropical paradise months in advance, briefly imagining the fun and the sun and the <hic>… well, whatever else you imagine might happen as your finger hovers over the ‘Purchase’ button (wincing slightly at what your VISA statement will look like next month)?  Then the cruel weight of the real world descends back onto your shoulders and the warm, gentle glow infusing you from having planned your winter getaway evaporates faster than you can say “I-don’t-want-to-work-I-just-want-to-be-a-famous-full-time-writer!!

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…and then finally, seemingly out of nowhere, the departure date for your tropical vacation arrives.  And you’re like: …oh, yeah.  Oh, YEAH!!!

Yesterday, I was perusing what I call my “Tracker” – a spreadsheet I maintain to track where and when I’ve submitted all my (written) work.  The latest entry for my novel Darksea was: “Sept 2016: submitted to Ozma Awards“.

“Oh,” I thought to myself.  “Forgot all about that one.”

I clicked over to the Ozma Awards website, to find that they had already announced the finalists for the contest.

“Ah well,” I thought, preparing to move on.  Obviously, if I’d been a finalist, I would have heard, right?  Something stopped me, though, and just out of morbid and masochistic curiosity, I scrolled down to see the list.

This is what I saw:

 

…what what what?!?!?!

Could it be?  The novel that I’d essentially forgotten about, having nearly given up on sending it out to agents, has been chosen as a finalist for the 2016 Chanticleer Book Review OZMA Awards?!?!

In all honesty, I had been having difficulty maintaining my confidence and my productivity with my fiction writing up until about Christmas; now, however, with two short stories published and this latest news about my novel Darksea, I’m feeling the muse reawakening inside of me.

Time to (really!) start writing again!

Stay tuned to see if Darksea makes it to the next round of judging for the OZMA award!

 

 

Picking the Right Market for Your Fiction

There’s this new feeling to writing that I get nowadays.  I haven’t done anything different, but different things are happening.

No.  Agents aren’t breaking down my door to represent me (yet).  Nor are all of my short story ideas suddenly Nebula or Hugo Award-worthy (…yet?).  But I do feel more confident with my writing – I know it’s of a higher calibre than it was a year, or even six months ago.  Plus, more people are taking notice of my work.  I’m getting more personalized feedback (to go along with my rejections!), and in some cases, I’m being given specific suggestions from editors, followed by requests to re-submit with changes made.

I’m trying to be more selective of where I submit my work too.  Many of my short stories are hybrid-genres.  They aren’t just science fiction, or fantasy.  I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve spent all this time submitting to ‘traditional’ markets, when I should have been looking for some of those magazines or journals who feature alternative writing.  I believe that’s why I was successful with “Flesh” last month (having it accepted for publication in Kzine).  And so, I’m trying that again with my story “Solace for the Soul-less”…

Sci Phi Journal

I came across Sci Phi Journal the other day, an online science fiction and philosophy magazine.  In it, they publish “stories that explore questions of life, the universe and everything and articles that delve into the deep philosophical waters of science fiction universes” (from their About page).  “Solace” is set in the future, but isn’t about robots or space battles.  Rather, it raises questions about identity and immortality.  Hey!  That’s exactly what Sci Phi Journal is looking for!  So I’ve actually withdrawn “Solace” from consideration at another magazine, in order to try my chances with a venue that might generate not only some interest in my writing, but some dialogue about it too.

Next on my list of things to do: another batch of agent queries!  On this note, here’s a good bit of advice written by Kathryn Craft, of ‘Writers in the Storm’, a writing blog that I follow.

NaNoWriMo is Over… back to Agent Queries!

Participate in NaNoWriMo, every November!

Have you heard about NaNoWriMo?  It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it takes place every November.  The goal: write a novel in a month (or, at least, write 50 000 words of it).

I first heard about it a little over three years ago, and was immediately skeptical of the premise: write 50 000 words in a month?!

Pshaw!  Not likely!

I tried it anyways, and did not succeed.  I tried again the year after, and again, failed.  This year, I was back at it, and came in woefully under-count, as I had two years running.

Am I disappointed in my results?

Well, yes.  Not at all!  Each November for the past three years, I managed to add thousands of words to my various novels.  I didn’t come close to 50 000, but thousands of words are certainly better than none.  This year, I used a good portion of October to world build my latest novel, then I managed to get over 20  000 words into it by the end of November.  Not too bad, considering my motivation recently had been lagging (see last post!).

I can’t think of any reason why I won’t participate again next year too.  Who knows – maybe 2016 will be the year I reach 50K!

Regardless of my result this year, NaNoWriMo served not only to springboard my next novel, but also got e re-energized with my writing.  I’ve got new ideas, new directions, and looming writing competition deadlines to work towards, and I’m looking forward to all of it. 🙂

First step: back on the agent search wagon.

I stopped submitting queries for the month of November, so that I could focus on my writing.

Now that we’re into December, I set myself the goal of getting my third batch of queries to agents out this past weekend, and I succeeded!  (While simultaneously neglecting entertaining the kids.  Gotta love multi-tasking.)  Coincidentally, I also receive a request for a partial manuscript from one of the agents from batch two, which was yet another boost to my motivation and confidence.  Things are starting to get rolling again!

Keep_calm

 

Seven agents down… but how many to go?

I am on the other side of history!

It’s nothing at that significant, of course; what I mean is, I’m looking back at having started my agent search, having dreaded the whole process for literally years!

Up until Friday 11th September 2015, I hadn’t really told many people about my novel: my husband, a close friend, and a handful of people on critters.org, who have absolutely no idea who I was anyways.  But now, I’ve sent my story out into the world, to professionals, who’s job it is to take seriously what I do in my spare time.  Which just feels weird to me, since I’m not quite sure I’ve been taking it seriously yet.

It was a bit surreal, when I hit <send> on that first e-mail query.  I couldn’t quite believe that I’d done it.  This is getting serious, I realized, though.  They’re going to laugh at me.

Oops.

Did I just think that?

They’re going to laugh at me?

Yeah.  I did just think that.  I can’t believe that I might actually make a living as a science fiction / fantasy writer.  I can’t believe that I might, one day, be an author.  That’s crazy talk.  That’s just a dream.  It’s just a joke.

…or is it?

Seven queries sent every two weeks, until further notice.  That’s the goal.  Let’s see if this dream can turn into… something much greater.

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