NaNoLosAngeles anthology cover art – SUBMISSIONS OPEN!

CALL FOR ART SUBMISSIONS TO Regimes, Formulas, & Schemes: Meet the Systems

Are you an artist or illustrator? Want to have your work on the cover of the 3rd annual NaNoLosAngeles anthology? We’d love to see what you have! Please send your 100 dpi image to by July 15, 11:59 PM PT.

Our first anthology, Believe Me Not, comprised 46 stories including 12 from writers ages 10-17 and can be purchased online here. Our second, It’s About Time, managed to boast more than a hundred pages more than the first anthology and can be purchased online here. Will your art be on the cover of our third anthology, Regimes, Formulas, & Schemes: Meet the Systems? We hope so!

Submissions must 
…include this year’s theme “it’s the system” (but feel free to think outside the box—see below).
…be turned in digitally using one of the following formats: jpeg, png, or pdf.
…be 100 dpi (note: final artwork to be at least 300 dpi).
…not be larger than 500×500 pixels (note: final artwork must be at least 1000×1000).
…are due to by July 15, 11:59 PM PT.

NaNoLosAngeles, Lemur Publishing, and 1667 Press will be allowed all rights regarding artwork, but proper credit will be given in book’s colophon and in all other official uses. Our suggested “systems” list is below to inspire you.

–solar system(s)
–computer matrix
–hierarchy (nobility/peasants, castes, etc.)
–systems in the human body (nervous system, etc.)
–systems of thinking/system psychology/systems behavior
–systems of oppression
–operating system (computer, game console, etc.)
–postal service (shipping of letters/packages)
–cultural systems
–economic systems (command/planned, socialism, market economies, etc.)
–systems of government (aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, tyranny)
–”the healthcare system”

NaNo Los Angeles 3rd Annual Anthology – SUBMISSIONS OPEN

In the tradition begun by our Editor Emeritus and former Los Angeles Municipal Liaison Sara, I am pleased to announce our call for submissions for the third annual NaNo Los Angeles Anthology! Our first anthology, Believe Me Not, comprised 46 stories including 12 from writers ages 10-17 and can be purchased online here. Our second, It’s About Time, managed to boast more than a hundred pages more than the first anthology and can be purchased online here. Will your story be part of our third anthology? We hope so!

All proceeds go to NaNoWriMo and its Young Writers Program and help make possible all the events that the Los Angeles region holds during National Novel Writing Month in November each year.

The third annual NaNo Los Angeles Anthology is now open for submissions, which are due March 10th. Lemur Publishing invites all Los Angeles Wrimos and Wrimos-at-large to submit short stories for the 2016 anthology. Our theme this year is “it’s the system“… Please think broadly about this idea, and in case you need a jumping-off point, we came up with several ideas. This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have something that fits the theme that’s not included here, please feel free to write that and send it to us!

–solar system(s)
–computer matrix
–hierarchy (nobility/peasants, castes, etc.)
–systems in the human body (nervous system, etc.)
–systems of thinking/system psychology/systems behavior
–systems of oppression
–operating system (computer, game console, etc.)
–postal service (shipping of letters/packages)
–cultural systems
–economic systems (command/planned, socialism, market economies, etc.)
–systems of government (aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, tyranny)
–”the healthcare system”

We had several requests to include a phrase the same way we did in the first anthology, so we decided that it would be interesting to see what writers can come up with when they have to include the first sentence: “Where did this come from?” And, as usual, if you can organically use NaNo Icons, you’ll get bonus points from the editors! For information on NaNo Icons, please see the descriptions on the Lemur Publishing website.

Here’s the nitty gritty details for your information!

Due date: March 10
Theme: “it’s the system”
Phrase: story must begin with “Where did this come from?” (though it doesn’t have to be in quotes)
Submit to: (Re: Anthology 2016 submission)

–All genres welcome!
–4000 words or less. (Flash fiction is also great.)
–12-point type, Times New Roman, double spaced, paragraph indented 5 spaces.
–send as .doc (NOT .docx), .rtf, or plain-text attachment.
–Please do NOT copy/paste your entire story in the email.
–Grammar questions – Check the Chicago Manual of Style (free trial) or do a search on Grammar Girl.
–Spell check and proof your story before you submit.
–Proofread; have a friend read your story before submission.
–Each submission will be personally confirmed.

We look forward to reading your submissions and hope to present you with a brand new NaNo Los Angeles Anthology in time for NaNoWriMo 2016! Now get writing!

Hiatus Ends!

You know it’s a great hiatus when life is so busy that you don’t have time to write anything on your site about your life, right? Right?

All right, I’ve got a lot to share, including the publication of three anthologies, my progress at work, and the upcoming YaoiCon (of which I am assistant director this year). I’m excited to let you know of my recent goings on and my future plans!

I will see you all again soon. ^_^

FFF 08: Freelance, part 2

Please start with Freelance, part 1. [I bent the purpose of this month by writing a nonfiction piece over two days. I decided it’s okay because I’m still writing.]

I opened a third, unrelated document and tried to comment inside it, which worked fine. It wasn’t just my Word program, then. Just to cover all the bases, however, I shut down Word completely and then restarted it; still not allowed to comment on either of the Not Quite There documents. I shut down my entire computer and rebooted; still no dice. I looked up several work-arounds on the official Microsoft Office Suite forums and scoured the Microsoft Word help pages for something that I could do that would allow me to comment on the document that the editor had directed. I looked through tens of pages of unofficial forums and help pages. Nothing.

Finally, an hour and a half after first accepting the assignment and opening both documents, I wrote back to the editor.

I’m very sorry; I have spent the last hour and change trying unsuccessfully to make comments on either of the documents you sent me. At first I thought it was just the document you directed not to comment on, but then I discovered it was both. I can make comments on/in other Word docs just fine; I only seem to be having trouble with the two you provided.

I have looked up how to make comments in Word forums and the Office Suite help website. (I know how to use track changes and comment, but I wanted to be sure.) I shut down Word and reopened the document fresh. I even completely restarted my computer, all to no avail. I am not trying to change anything in the documents, just make comments. Am I missing something obvious somewhere? Please help!

My apologies.

I explained exactly how much effort I’d already gone to in order to skip the part when the helper asks me if my computer is plugged in and stupid stuff like that. The editor wrote back, in part:

Basically, we lock the documents we send except for the PR Prep document which allows comments only. Go to Words Review tab, and click Add Comment (or New Comment, depending on version). Do not try to turn on Track Changes, as it’s grayed out. The Sourcing document is for reference only and is read-only.

Along with her obviously less-than-satifactory answer, she attached several not-quite-related documents, including the house style guide and a document called “Major uses of the Comma”. I already had all of the documents she sent me, but I knew at that moment that it would be fruitless to try to explain my problem any further. I supposed I was on my own.

I wracked my brain for a way to enable ‘Add Comment’ and came up with nothing short of hacking the file and rewriting it from the inside out, but I wasn’t going to go to all that trouble for a proofreading gig that I wasn’t even getting paid for. Finally, I had a thought.

Maybe the document would work on a different computer. My Apple computer is old and dies a little more everyday, and its system hasn’t been upgraded in more than a couple years. I booted up my best friend’s PC desktop computer, which he lent to be indefinitely for the purpose of playing video game RPGs. He had Apache OpenOffice, a free, open source Word-style program. I loaded all of the relevant documents from my computer onto a flash drive and moved everything over to his computer, where the program wouldn’t allow me to save in the original *.docx format. Luckily, I could create a new *.doc file, wherein I was finally able to make comments, as I had been trying to do all along.

Tired of messing with this unpaid proofreading—did I mention it was unpaid?—I decided to just open the read-only document on my Apple computer and the new “comments only” document on my friend’s computer so that I wouldn’t be forced to share the screen between two documents that were purportedly exactly the same thing.

…Except, as I immediately noticed upon careful inspection, they weren’t exactly the same thing. They weren’t significantly different, it’s true, but I didn’t know which document I was supposed to be proofreading. Which was the publisher’s “final” manuscript, the read-only document or the one that allowed comments? What the fuck, right?

I sent another email to the editor in charge of my proofreading trial to ask with which of the two documents I should work. She wrote back in part, “I’ve never come across this before… They should be the same.” Then, she told me to focus my proofreading on the comments-allowed document. I wanted to know why she sent me the read-only manuscript in the first place, then, but I wasn’t going to ask. I had already spent more than three days in the back-and-forth clarification, and I had only a week to proofread 300 pages, a little less than 50 pages a day every day right up until the deadline.

Fifty pages may not seem like a lot, and maybe it isn’t if I’m reading for pleasure, but when I’m reading specifically to find errors, it’s nearly more than I can handle. It’s not like I was getting paid, after all. When did other proofreaders find the time to read through an entire manuscript properly in only a week? I guessed I was going to find out.

I opened the modified comments-allowed document and hunkered down for some serious editing proofreading. I’m still trying to decide if jumping through all these hoops is worth it.

This post is part of Flash Fiction February.

FFF 07: Freelance, part 1

[I bent the purpose of this month by writing a nonfiction piece over two days. I decided it’s okay because I’m still writing.]

I freelance edit for several small presses located in the United States. I realized last year that I was going to have to do some of my own legwork to get my name out there; people weren’t going to just know what a great editor I am. (And yes, I’m a pretty great editor.)

Of the publishers to which I introduced myself late last year, I’ve been in regular contact with two. The first—we’ll call them Leagues Ahead Press (not their real name, obviously)—is a decent publisher with a decent, non-bureaucracy-laden system. This could be partially because it’s a small press and not a bureaucratic behemoth like, say, Penguin Random House or HarperCollins is, but whatever the case, working with them has been phenomenally easy (especially compared to working with the other publisher; but I’ll get to them in a moment).

When I work with Leagues Ahead Press, this is how it goes. They send me a manuscript via Word document attachment in an email to either content edit or copyedit or both. I use Word’s ‘Track Changes’ and ‘Add Comment’ features while I read through the manuscript, and when I’m done editing, I save the file under a new name to avoid confusion and send it back the same way it was sent to me to the same person who sent it. Then, at the end of the month, I receive a receipt for my services and a direct deposit payment into my checking account. Rinse and repeat.

Now, dealing with the other publisher with which I’ve been in contact has been… less cut and dried, shall we say. Let’s call them Not Quite There Press because, well, they’re not quite there. This publisher is very professional and very bureaucratic. I was actually in contact with Not Quite There before I ever contacted Leagues Ahead, but the process with the former has taken so long that I’m not sure it’s even worth it anymore.

First, I applied to be a contracted content editor. Someone from Not Quite There Press sent me a relatively short test and a bunch of directions, house punctuation rules, and the like. The house punctuation rules and the like isn’t unusual, and I read through the documents carefully and took the test in about an hour and a half. Normally, I wouldn’t take that long, but I wanted to be thorough and complete in my editing since it was, after all, a test of my skill.

After about a week, I was notified that I had not been chosen to continue the process to become a content editor. I was surprised because I pride myself on knowing language inside and out and being able to communicate well through writing. But, I know content editing is often subjective, so I didn’t bother taking it personally. They offered to put me in the cue for the contracted copyeditor test, and I accepted.

Second, they eventually sent me the copyeditor test along with all the same documents I already had, plus some extra ones specifically for copyeditors in their employ. I read the new documents and took my time with the test. I wasn’t worried because I’m the best copyeditor I know. That’s not bragging; it’s just fact. I sent the test back, satisfied that I had done well.

Again, I was notified that I had not been chosen to continue the process, this time to become a copyeditor. This time, I did take it personally. I don’t know how much I missed, but my proficient editing skill leads me to believe that either (1) their house rules for editing are unusually divergent from standard editing practices, or (2) the people at Not Quite There don’t quite know what they’re doing, or (3) likely both. In any case, they offered to put me in the unpaid proofreading cue for a two- or three-manuscript trial before moving up in the ranks to a paid copyediting position. I was a bit wary at this point, but I accepted.

Third, one of the editors who handles Not Quite There’s proofreaders contacted me with yet more documents about house rule punctuation and proofreading requirements, which I dutifully read. Shortly thereafter, the editor sent me a 300-page manuscript to proofread with a deadline only a week and a half away. That seemed a little soon to me, but I was still putting up with this publisher’s strangeness, and it’s not like I could complain to the editor herself; she probably hadn’t created such a short deadline herself and was only relaying it to me.

I had been sent two separate manuscripts that were the same except that one had formatting notes on it and was locked against editing (it had been made read-only) and the other lacked formatting notes and was open only for comments (it had been locked against editing except allowing the reader to make comments using Word’s ‘Add Comment’ system).

Irritated that I had to read the two documents side by side on my computer (one to read the notes and the other to make my own notes), I opened the comments-allowed document and read the first few lines. There was a punctuation error on the first page. I highlighted the offending comma and tried to add a comment. “This command is not available because the document is locked for edit,” the note at the bottom of the screen read.

Confused, I opened the other document, thinking that maybe I had tried to comment on the read-only document instead of the one that allowed for comments. I highlighted the same error in the second document and tried to make a corrective comment. “This command is not available because the document is locked for edit,” the note read again.

Please continue in Freelance, part 2.

This post is part of Flash Fiction February.

FFF 06: Argument

“Will you calm down?” the older woman asked her daughter. “Don’t take everything so seriously.”

“Like hell I’ll ‘calm down’,” the younger woman responded. “He tried to assault me. That’s not a ‘calm down’ kind of offense.”

The mother looked around, obviously embarrassed by her daughter’s loud admission. “Do we have to talk about it here, then?” she asked, trying to pull the younger woman off to the side of the busy New York City street sidewalk. Maybe if they could make it into the park or an alleyway, there wouldn’t be so many people so obviously looking at them.

The daughter angrily pulled her arm from her mother’s grasp. “No, Mom; you don’t understand. We’re talking about it here because it happened here. Right here”—she pointed to the ground in the middle of the sidewalk where she was standing—“under the streetlamp on this busy street, and nobody did fuck-all about it.”

“Will you please not curse?” her mother asked. “There are kids around.”

The passersby had taken to giving the two women a wider berth than was really necessary, and a mother with her young child looked stricken that her son had just heard the F-word, hurrying him away to the subway as though the conversation was catching.

“Mom, stop listening to how I’m saying it and start pay attention to what I’m saying. I’m saying I just barely escaped being assaulted, and you’re worried about the scene I’m making in the street?”

“Are you sure you weren’t just misinterpreting his signals?”

“No, I wasn’t. I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation right now.”

“What were you wearing, honey?” the mother asked gently. “Did you provoke him?”

“Seriously, Mom? No,” the younger woman threw up her hands and turned away, nearly hitting a group of teenagers as they tried to get around the two women. “This is just like that argument about whether or not it’s okay for men to comment on the appearance of women in public. Which, by the way, it’s not.”

“What you’re wearing tells people a story about who you are,” the mother said patiently.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing a bikini or a burka, Mom,” the daughter said, “I’m not ever asking for a man to assault me.”

“Well, of course not, but—”

“I know you were born in a different era, and you lived through Second Wave Feminism and all that. I know you don’t think women are less than men and that women have the right to vote and do the same work for the same amount of money. I know.”

“Sweetie, now, wait a minute—”

“No, you wait a minute. Even knowing what I know about you, you’re still standing here telling me that I could’ve done something to prevent what happened instead of telling him not to be an asshole in the first place.” She stabbed her finger into the air beside her, indicating the absent man.

The mother raised her hands in surrender. “All right, all right; I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to come off that way at all. I just want you to be safe.”

“I know you didn’t mean it; of course you didn’t, but telling me I misinterpreted what happened after the fact is hardly the way to go about telling me to be safe.” The younger woman put a hand on her mother’s shoulder. “If you want me to be safe, Mom, you need to help make the consequences worse for person committing assault than the person being assaulted. You need to make it so that men don’t rape instead of hoping women can stop someone from raping them.”

“But you did.” The mother latched on to her daughter’s words and continued, “He only tried to hurt you, you said, right? You stopped him. And if you hadn’t taken self defense classes, then maybe you—”

“Mom. No,” the daughter said, and in that moment, she looked years older than her mother.

This post is part of Flash Fiction February.