Monday, September 28, 2009

And on the left ....

In case you hadn't noticed, I rearranged my blog the other day. I changed the Industry links to blog links and added a few to the list. I added a box for contributors to Emerald Tales and Crystal Codices. If I missed someone and you know who it is, drop me an email at diana at scribblersandinkspillers dot com and give me the link for the person's blog.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's The Storytelling and punctuation

I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or not. For me, when I read through the pile of submissions what I am looking for first is a story that grabs my attention and holds it until the end. I don't see the flaws in the manuscript: the typos, the awkward passages, the verb tense changes, the improper grammar. All I see is the story. And that is what I make my decision on, the story.

For unpublished writers, this is a godsend. You can send me your brilliant, compelling story filled with grammatical and typographical errors and I will not see them when I read through the pile to decide which stories to include in an issue.

Short, long or no author's bio, your story is what determines your acceptance by me. I read the bios, but I don't use them when I am deciding which stories to accept or not. My contributors range from no previous publications to hundreds of previous publications. It's all about the storytelling.

The drawback for me comes in the editing process. People, learn the rules or proper punctuation and grammar. Specifically, learn when you use a comma before the word "and" and when you do not. I'll make it easy for you, here's a brief run down:

Use a comma before the word "and" when "and" is used as a conjunction joining two INDEPENDENT CLAUSES together. An independent clause is another name for a sentence.

Use a comma before the word "and" when you're giving three or more things. This is the serial comma or the Oxford comma which comes under debate. Some people don't use it, some people do. I do. For clarity, consistency, and pure laziness on my part, I use the serial/oxford comma. (side note, why is it called the oxford comma when it's not commonly used in the UK?)

Do NOT use a comma before the word "and" when you have a compound subject, verb, predicate, noun, adjective, or adverb. A compound noun, verb, subject, predicate, etc. is TWO things. Bill and Tom ... run and jump ... lovely and charming ... laughing and smiling ... tall, dark building and small, tiny cottage ... TWO things, the word "and" -> NO comma.

I'm really easy to get along with in the editing process. Contributors get three choices to my suggested edits: agree, explain why it should be left unchanged, or rewrite it. I have misunderstood a sentence and my suggested edit would have changed the meaning of it, giving the contributor the option of rewriting it came out with a better passage.

Even so, I get one person each issue who has to reply with some snippy, snarky comment regarding my suggested edits. And they were in the wrong. If you're going to get snippy with me, make damn sure that you are right. Otherwise, you get labeled a "pain in the ass to work with," and I will think twice about accepting a story from you again.

I'm only working with short stories, I can imagine what it must be like for an editor of a novel to have to work with one of these people.

Sigh, unfortunately, everyone who is reading this and thinking, "I wonder if she's talking about me," aren't the ones I am talking about.

The point of this rambling post is: Writers learn the rules of punctuation and grammar. It will increase your likelihood of getting accepted by other publishers.

As for the typos in this post: Do as I say, not as I do. :p

Monday, September 21, 2009

Images of Crystal Codices

As I said previously, images do not do the Crystal Codices Collection justice. And in order not to have huge picture files that take forever to load up, the color is a bit wonky on the edges.

For comparison, here's a link to Bede, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, in the Old English translation, early 11th century, leaves lost at beginning and end; formerly MS. 279 Part 2, until bound separately in 1992. At the Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford in England.

I used a readable handwriting font and printed on parchment paper. Cool, huh? :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Crystal Codices are Now For Sale

Note to self: Do NOT try to launch two projects on the same day, one will be late. Four days late. Sigh.

At last, the initial offerings of Crystal Codices is for sale. I've been up all night getting everything set up, revising the website, blahblahblah.

The first codices are ... drum roll, please:

High Etara
by Marilyn Luttrell
An urban fantasy of the coming of the next High Etara. The Etara are a race of humans gifted with paranormal powers. But, they have been abusing those powers to subjugate the humetara. Find out what happens when The High Etara is finally identified.

POE 103
by Ken Goldman
Dr. Simon Chambers teaches a survey course in the literature of Edgar Allen Poe. Find out what's behind the strange coincidences between Simon Chamber's life and the late Edgar Allen Poe in this modern tale of horror.

The Temple of Stupidity
by Jeremy Essex
A fantasy allegory of modern life. Who would be so foolish as to worship at The Temple of Stupidity?

Devil's Mountain
by Matthew Leukroth
They say the mountain is haunted. Found out how it came to be that way and what happens when a reckless hiker ignores the warnings to stay off the peak in this paranormal thriller.

I took pictures of the finished codices, but the pics don't do them justice on how cool they look in your hands. I printed them on parchment paper and handbound them.

I've described this before and several people just haven't seemed to get what it is I am doing. And I realized tonight, as I was mindlessly shuffling pages around, that if you're under the age of about 40, you probably don't know what parchment paper is or have seen it. It's a high quality paper that one normally uses for very formal correspondence. It was one type of paper used during the Middle Ages because it was durable. Here's the wiki article about parchment paper: ... I'm using the animal friendly made from plants type parchment paper. ;)

So, these are novellas and short stories printed on very expensive paper and they look so cool. :)

I'll try to get better pics and post them here in a day or three.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Annals of Hypnosia is up!

The first episode of The Annals of Hypnosia, "The Epic and Fantastic Saga of William" by Mette Pesonen is now posted on the website. To follow the adventures of legendary Lord Serafyr Halfdrake, the Grand-Mogul Fighter of the Order of the Unreasonably-Majestic Palace-Elite-Body-Guard Knights and the right-hand half-breed to Princess Simiel Buduar; Azaril Lamentamagicka, the Royal Court Wizard; and a bunch of others, go here:

Mark your calendars! New adventures will be posted on the 15th (or there abouts) of each month.

In other news, I decided on February's theme: "Carnivale". The submission deadline is January 1, 2010.

The first stories for Crystal Codices will be out in a few days. I am still looking for stories for that line. I would be highly interested in stories in a Medievalish setting. I would also be really interested in looking at epic poetry. If there is anyone out there who has written an epic poem and is looking for a home for it.

Now back to working on contracts and edits and submissions ... Oh My!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Submissions From Friends

In a private message today, one of my writer friends said the reason he hasn't submitted anything to me is because he was concerned that I would accept his story just because we were friends. Uh. No. I don't work like that. And this is why: I started Scribblers and Ink Spillers to give talented writers a legitimate publishing credit. If I publish a story from an untalented friend or relative, then I diminish that credit. Friends actually get an extra layer of scrutiny. I ask myself "Would I accept this story if the writer was unknown to me?"

I have and will reject stories from friends if they don't work for the publication that they have submitted for.

The only thing being the friend to this editor will get you is a personal critique of your story if I pass on it.

The flip side of this isn't true. Stories from people that I know to be drama queens will have to be brilliant for me to consider them for publication. Life is too short to deal with a whingeing diva.

By the way, I was joking about the February theme in my previous post. I'm still thinking about it. Though, if someone wants to send me a story about "The purification of a love-struck groundhog suffering from cabin fever at Mardi Gras", I might consider putting it up on the website. ;)

Friday, September 11, 2009


Mercury is in retrograde again and screwing up my email this time around. While I know that every other publisher in existence has a "don't email us, we will email you" policy, I don't. If you have submitted something to me or queried me and I haven't responded, please email me and ask about it. I have had several people enquire about their Mask submission because I said to in my post yesterday. One of them WAS an acceptance email. Seriously, don't assume that if you haven't heard from me the answer is no.

I do answer or try to answer all of my emails. I know that Earthlink is blocking my emails. Until I get that sorted out I have to use my Yahoo email account to answer them. Sometimes I don't know if another email provider is blocking me as well unless the person enquires. Sometimes my email program dumps a submission in my spam folder.

If you send in a submission, I will reply within five days that I did receive the submission and when you can expect to hear from me. If you don't hear from me by that date, check your spam folder then please enquire.

I'll say it again, if you don't hear from me, please enquire.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Submissions - A Complaint

One hundred twenty five submissions later and my brain is dead. All the acceptance and pass emails have been sent out, if you didn't hear from me about your submission for "Masks or Appearances can be Deceiving" please email me at and enquire about your submission. I'm a bit brain dead and I might have messed up the email address.

You all would make the process a heck of a lot easier, if you would submit crap instead of really good stories. I could get half a page in, say "nope" and toss it aside for the next one. But, NOOOOOOOOO, you all have to send me good stories so that I have to read every word. And THEN, I have to pick a few out for inclusion in that issue. Seriously, it is a tough decision to make. Needless to say, there will be another Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal Special edition. Good thing I labeled the first one "Special One."

Reading the suggestions for February's theme, I'm thinking this might work: "The purification of a love-struck groundhog suffering from cabin fever at Mardi Gras" Whadyathink?

Friday, September 4, 2009

125 Submissions for Masks

Just a short note. The deadline is past. I have tallied the number of submissions for Masks or Appearances can be deceiving that I received: 88 short stories, 37 poetry submissions for a total of 125 submissions.

I'll be back when I finish wading through the piles.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Special Friend by Heather Gregson

It's up. "The Special Friend" by Heather Gregson is now posted on the website. Here's the direct link to it: "The Special Friend"

I met Heather on Absolute Write in one of those party threads with no point to it, except to pop in and shoot the breeze instead of writing. She goes by regdog on AW and on my forum and has a fondness for shooting firebolts out of her hands. (Her avatar is an anime character that I can't remember the name of. Give me a break, I'm about brain dead at the moment.) Imagine my surprise to find that this feisty woman who was always frying someone's butt or tossing them in the dungeon writes ... are you ready for this? ... children's stories and romance novels. "The Special Friend" is neither one of these, it was an experiment for Heather to write a dark story. I think she succeeded very well. Go take a look and let us know what you think.

I also found out from looking at Nathan Bransford blog that this week is Writer's Appreciation Week. And I do appreciate every writer who submits a story or poem to Scribblers and Ink Spillers. The rest of the year is Publisher's Appreciation Trimester, you may show your appreciation for your favorite publisher (that would be me, if you haven't figured it out by now) by purchasing publications for all your friends and relatives.

And now I am going back to reading the stack of submissions for Masks or Appearances can be Deceiving ...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Time's Up!

If you're planning on submitting a poem or short story for the "Masks or Appearances can be deceiving" issue of Emerald Tales (coming out on Ocotber 1st), then today is the last day for you to send in your submission. And no, it's not too late. The last issue had contributions that came in very early and one or two that came on the last day, so get a move on.

Now. I am open to suggestions for the theme for the February issue of Emerald Tales. All I can think of is Valentine's Day, Cupid, love ... meh, they've all been done before. So, put your thinking caps on and post your suggestions for a theme right here. Unless, of course, you WANT a trite-done-to-death theme for the February issue.

I'm also working on some free web content for the site. "A Special Friend" by Heather Gregson will be posted tomorrow or Wednesday. It was written for the Follow the Butterflies theme and will be added to the Emerald Tales page as a sample story for that issue. I'm sure you'll enjoy reading it.

The Annals of Hypnosia is also coming along. I have almost everything that I need to get started with that on September 15th.

Crystal Codices is also taking shape. I have four stories lined up for the roll out of that line. They're all very compelling to read. More on that, later.

Oh and I am thinking of starting a line of stories only available on the site which can be read for free. But, I'm still letting that idea percolate before I put a call out for submissions.