Saturday, May 25, 2013

Just Flew In, And Boy Are My Arms Tired!

I just got back today from a much needed vacation full of food, friends, and sight seeing.  It was my first time visiting Toronto and Boston, and I loved both cities.  I'm hoping to put together a couple of posts about my trip (got to fulfill that New Year's resolution of keeping a travel journal).  Hopefully, I can get that done in the next week or two.

While I was away, I found out that two of my stories were officially published! First, "The Ressurectionists" was published in issue #6 of The Literary Hatchet.  This story explores some dark and disturbing themes.  That's to be expected, though.  The lit mag gets its inspiration from the Lizzie Borden axe murders!

Second, my SF story, "The Space Between," has been published in issue #5 of The Journal of Unlikely Entomology! This story is one of my favorites that I've written so far.  I worked on it for over a year, and I'm so glad to see it find the perfect home.  Both editors, Bernie Mojzes and A.C. Wise, were a joy to work with.  If I write another buggy story in the future, I know where to send it first.  :)

That's it for now.  I'm exhausted from an early morning flight and feeling a little jet-lagged.  Be back soon with write-ups on Toronto and Boston!

Monday, May 13, 2013

More Publication News

One of my flash fiction pieces has been accepted for publication in The Literary Hatchet.  This lit mag takes its inspiration from the Lizzie Borden axe murders, so you can probably infer what kind of fiction gets chosen.  The editor took a hiatus last year due to the overabundance of submissions.  Now, she's back and ready to get the Hatchet on its feet again.  I'm excited to read the upcoming issue!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Some (Late) Publishing News!

After the excitement of being published in a print magazine last week (The UCLA Beat), I'm riding another high as one of my stories will get published later this month in The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, a fun lit mag that centers on anything and everything bug-related.  It's also a great relief to me as a writer.  About two years have passed since my first story ever was published.  I spent most of that time gap finishing up my creative writing certificate from UCLA Extension.  I wanted to improve, and looking back now, I think it was time well spent.  Knowing that my stories are entertaining editors and an audience of readers helps to assure me that I'm doing something right.  Becoming a writer was a childhood dream; I'm excited to actually start living it.  Will I ever reach the same heights as J.K. Rowling or George R.R. Martin? The odds say "probably not."  However, I'm happy with what I've accomplished so far and will continue to work hard in crafting the best stories I can.  A writer wants to entertain.  That's what I hope to accomplish.

Oh, and as a bit of continuation with my previous post, here's a shot of my Wahoo's OC 5K finisher medal.  I'm not a very fast runner, but I managed to get a new PR of 41:05! That destroys my previous PR of 43:13.  Not bad for someone who couldn't even run around the block two years ago.

The race was great overall.  The course was flat and fast, and the volunteers were enthusiastic.  My only gripe about the entire experience was the lack of organization near the starting line.  There were no corrals or waves, so everyone was clumped together in one huge group.  That created a bottleneck situation at the start when the gun went off.  Still, once I managed to dodge around walkers (as a Walking Dead fan, that word cracks me up) everything was fine.  I'd recommend the race to any 5Kers, and I'd like to run it again next year.

Happy Friday everyone!

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Day at the Races

Last year, I made a New Year's resolution to get in shape and lose some weight.  I, being offended by the very notion of physical activity, put off any attempts at exercise until Easter.  At that point, I decided to be more serious about my health.  Thanks to the motivation from a fun workout website (Fitocracy) and my good friend Mr. Bill (1/2 of my current blogging audience... Hi Bill!), I buckled down and did the work.  I started eating better and hitting the gym about four times a week.  I lost a good chunk of weight: 15 lbs. and counting!

My usual routine consisted of lifting dumbbells and doing cardio on the elliptical machine.  Running wasn't one of my workout options because my endurance was terrible.  And frankly, running hurts.  It's simple enough that any toddler can do it, but to keep at it for 3 miles or more? That requires some determination (or insanity, depending on the length of the run).  With the encouragement of friends and family, I decided to give it a shot.  I ran my first 5K race, the Wet & Wild 5K, at Knott's Berry Farm in August of last year.  It was a great introductory race because about 1/3 of the last part consisted of wading through waist deep water.  In other words, I didn't have to run the entire 3.1 miles.  Naturally, I struggled during this race.  My cousin's coaching (read: yelling) helped me to keep going.  I was hurting and finished with a terrible time.  But I finished.  That's something I would have never dreamed of accomplishing three years ago.

Things have changed within the last year.  I've now run 5 different races (including the Santa Monica 5000, which didn't have finisher medals), and I'm about to run my 6th, Wahoo's OC 5K, this coming Sunday.  My endurance has gotten better, but my finishing time still isn't very good; I average about 44 minutes.  However, I know that just doing these races is helping me stay in shape and motivating me to keep trying.  Despite all the pain, I actually like running.  Perhaps not as much as getting shots, visiting the dentist, or being chased by wild dingos...  But running keeps me from sitting on my lazy ass all week.  That's important for someone who must sit all day in an office, and then sit all night trying to write the next great American short story.  So my take home message to the masses (well, Bill already does this, so I guess I'm referring to the other person that makes up my audience) is go outside and be active once in a while.  Whether you go to the gym or take a stroll around the park, being active will make a positive impact on your life.  It's worked for me thus far.  And if a former french-fried coach potato can do it, so can you.

See you at the races!

My current collection of 5K race bling: The Coaster Run, Live Ultimate Run, Wet & Wild 5K, and The Hollywood 5K/10K