A Selection of Birds

Since returning to Canada I’ve found myself quite enjoying Birding. I can’t say I’m particularly serious about it, but I have been enjoying adding to my collection of species I’ve managed to photograph. Here is a selection of Red-Winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, and Mallards from last Friday. With a bonus Robin thrown in for good measure.

Click here for the full gallery proper.

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Note to New Folks

Status

Hello all, given the likelihood of some new people popping in to look around here I just wanted to mention that Looking for a Rabbit Hole is in a bit of state of shambles. It’s not broken, but it is a bit messy with some outdated things sticking out at odd angles. I am getting things reorganized, probably even as you read this. Still, there might be things here you’ll find interesting. If you’re looking for something to read might I suggest checking out my list of available fiction. Most of it is flash pieces published on this site, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth your time. There’s a good variety and some I quite like, even if some could probably use one more good edit pass. Things coming soon include a revision of the links in the sidebar, a post talking about the various Patreons I support, and hopefully the beginning of a weekly series of old horror/thriller movie reviews (or watches anyway).

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First Pro Market Publication

As I write this we are about three hours from my short-short story “H” going live over at Daily Science Fiction (permalink to the story). This will be the first story of mine to be published in a pro-rate paying market. I am both thrilled and terrified about this. I suspect I may even have trouble sleeping tonight.

Of course, I hope you’ll check out the story, but alerting you to its existence is not the only reason for this post. I wanted to muse a little about the the idea of ‘firsts’ as a writer. It seems to me that one of the lucky aspects of being a writer is that you get to experience the thrill of a “first” many times over.

For me there has been:

  • The first short story I ever wrote. It was called “Karma” and included an Angel and Demon whose friendship was grounded in a mutual love of Lucha Libre. You’ll probably never read it, but finishing it felt like a triumph.
  • My first ever rejection letter. It was for a flash piece called “Waking Up” and came from Flash Fiction Online. You will definitely never read it. Rejections aren’t as fun as acceptances, but they really are authorial badges of honor. They show you’re truly making a go of it.
  • My first ever acceptance by any market ever. It was for “Salatis and The Dog” the first story in my Empire & Animal serial. Jukepop Serials paid me the semi-pro rate of 3 cents a word to make that story part of their initial roll out of serials. It felt amazing to have someone willing to spend their money on my story. I hope you will read it, if you haven’t already.
  • That also made “Salatis and The Dog” the first piece of my writing ever published by someone other than myself.
  • My first ever acceptance by a pro-rate paying market. This actually occurred a while ago but I won’t talk about it much other than to say things are a bit complicated with this one right now.
  • My first ever proper acceptance and signed contract from pro-rate paying market. That was for a story originally entitled “The Last Day”, but the title is probably changing, and the market was Fireside Fiction. This one felt huge to me – my first true pro sale. Its publication date is TBD. (It was the fourth story I had submitted to Fireside between September 2012 and October 2014)
  • And now “H” which will be my first piece published in a pro-rate market, but was my fourth acceptance overall, my third from a pro-rate market, and my second truly-proper-contract-signed-and-everything pro sale.

Has this been a weird ride? An average one? I don’t know. I just know each and every one of those “firsts” has been a great personal moment for me and the excitement seems to build with every new step.

I’ve got a lot more firsts to come, and other writing successes as well, and I’m going to enjoy them all and if you’re a writer I hope you make it a point to really enjoy every one of your firsts and successes as well.

Edited to add the permalink.

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A Brief Update and Photos

Hello All,

A lot has been happening in my world, though not around here. I’m not going to get into it all now, but suffice it to say: seismic shifts have been occurring across my personal landscape. After about 12 years of living in Korea I have returned to Canada. I’m hoping one of the things this change will do is bring me back to my writing, but one thing it has definitely done is bring me back to photography, my first creative love.

So as sharing is the thing to do here are some of my favorites I’ve taken since returning. If you’d like to see the full gallery instead of this slideshow format you can find it here: http://jeffxilon.smugmug.com/August-October-2014/

And if you know an easy way to show a Smugmug gallery in a WordPress post then please, let me know.

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Reading Plans For 2014

I got some good reading in last year, but, like most things last year, my reading fell short of what I’d hoped for. The biggest failure was not succeeding at the 2013 Women in Genre Reading Challenge from World’s Without End. My other big reading fail of 2013 was buying way too many ebooks, digital comics, and audiobooks. My ‘to be read’ pile would probably fill up a couple rooms in our apartment if it were physical instead of digital.

So, reading in 2014 is going to be about addressing the mistakes of reading in 2013. My two big goals are succeeding at my reading challenge this year (a Speculative Fiction by Authors of Color Challenge) and cutting a large swath through my TBR pile.

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