Friday, July 3, 2015

I Won 1st Place in Writers of the Future



Yesterday, the official 1st Quarter results for Writers of the Future were announced. If I'm in your twittersphere or book of faces, you may have heard the good news already: my name somehow crawled its way to the top of the list. I won 1st place!

In my last entry, I wrote about the mysterious call that bore the news of my finalist status, and how I almost didn't answer the phone. This time I was ready for it. When I saw "NO CALLER ID" on the display, I braced for impact--not for good news, but for bad. I prepared myself for disappointment. I haven't posted in the Insecure Writer's Support Group in a long time, but there's still an insecure devil on my shoulder. Whenever I'm expecting news on a submission, he jabs me in the cheek with his pitchfork. So as I answered the call, I thought: Well, here's the bad news. But hey, you still made finalist! When Joni said, "first place," I almost dropped the phone.

Next year, I'll be whisked away to L.A. for an intensive, five-day master-class workshop taught by some of the big pros of our field. Then I'll squeeze into a tux for the big awards gala, where I'll be up for the Golden Pen Award along with this year's other 1st place winners. Which means I have to stifle the insecure devil on my shoulder long enough to write two acceptance speeches, just in case. Yikes! 

This has all felt a little surreal so far. I've known about the win for almost a month now, and it still hasn't quite sunk in. I'm sure that will change as the year dwindles and we get closer to the big trip. In the meantime, I'd like to congratulate Rachael K. Jones and Sylvia Anna Hiven, who nabbed 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Congratulations also to the finalists and honorable mentions.

My winning story will be published in Volume 32 of the Writers of the Future anthology (which should come sometime next June) alongside the other winners. I wish I could talk more about the story itself, because it's one of my personal favorites, so I'm delighted to see it do so well. But the Golden Pen is blind judged, so story details must stay under wraps for now.

Now it's time to go crouch in a corner somewhere and rock slowly back and forth until next April. Thanks to everyone who wished me luck! Those crossed fingers paid off.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Writers of the Future, Guest Posting

Writers of the Future


A funny thing happened yesterday. I received a call on my cell phone marked "NO CALLER ID." Now, here's where I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of phone conversation. In most cases, I'll gladly take a text or a tweet instead. So usually when I get a call like this, I send that sucker straight to voicemail. This time, however, I picked up. And man, I'm glad I did.

"This is Joni from the Writers of the Future contest," the voice on the other end said. My breath caught a little. "I'm calling to tell you that you're a finalist."

Woohoo! The story I entered in this year's Quarter 1 contest has made it through coordinating judge David Farland's culling process. I've known for more than a month that my entry had made the "first pass," but that doesn't guarantee even so much as an honorable mention. So to say I was thrilled to find out I'm a finalist would be an understatement. Now my story and seven others will be sent off to a panel of quarterly judges, who will narrow the eight finalists down to three winners (first, second, and third place). The winners get a cash prize, a fancy awards gala, and the chance to attend an intensive, five-day master-class workshop. Cross your fingers for me.

Guest Post


While I've got your eyes, I'd like to direct them to Adam Gaylord's blog. Adam is a science fiction and fantasy writer like myself, and he recently invited me over for a guest post. If you'd like to read my take on market research for short fiction writers, it went live today. 

This is a topic I've done some chewing on, so when Adam sent me the invite, I figured this was a nice opportunity to talk about my (fairly involved) research process. In fact, when I actually sat down and wrote the post, I discovered I had even more to say than I anticipated. I wrote so many words on the subject that Adam decided to break the post into two. The first part is up now. The second part will be posted next week.







Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Read "Item Not As Described" in Kasma Magazine


In 2013, I sold Item Not As Described to UFO Publishing for the second entry in their Unidentified Funny Objects anthology series. This was my first short story sale at pro rates, and as such, it will always hold a special place in my heart. So I'm happy to report that it's now been reprinted by Kasma Magazine.

Item Not As Described is a humorous fantasy story. The basic premise is: if an online auction site like Ebay existed in an epic fantasy world, what would the customer support emails look like? Read the story here (for free) to find out. And check out that illustration by José Baetas. Isn't that awesome? I hope I never fail to get a kick out of seeing art based on my work. Such a cool feeling.