December 5th, 2009


Fire Two!

A Day Of Running Errands

That's what Wednesday was supposed to be. I had quite a number of things planned out. But that was tossed in the rubbish bin when I got an email from Mrs. Dr. Phil before noon that the Grand Valley Family Clinic in downtown G.R. was going to have H1N1 vaccines, both shots and nasal mists, for employees, dependents and family. 3:30 to 6:30pm. Okay, so rather than run around, I could go down and get first in line. Then after lunch, I got a call from Mrs. Dr. Phil wondering if I could just pick her up after work and we'd both go down and see if they had any vaccines left.

We got our regular annual flu shots way back on 18 September, earlier than usual. But as my PHYS-1060 Stars and Galaxies students have succumbed to the evils of the H1N1 virus, I've wondered when or if we'd be able to get vaccinated. On the one hand, we're both over fifty, so there's some evidence that exposure to the bad flues of the '60s and '70s might provide some immunity. On the other hand, with reports of perhaps 20% or more of WMU students getting H1N1, and several of my students even being stowed in the quarantine dorms, I'm clearly working in a cesspool of swine flu infection. (grin)

We got down there and there was nobody in line. They'd had a lot of customers early on, but there was no one waiting as we filled out the forms. I'd been concerned that they'd only have the nasal mist vaccine left, and since I'm still taking some steroids for my sinuses, I didn't know if that was a clever idea. Not to worry, old fogies like us over-fifty types aren't supposed to get the nasal mist -- as I thought I'd heard a while back, it's way less effective for us.

So that was Wednesday and this is Friday night now. And other than a little bit of upper arm soreness, we've not had any problems. It takes some time to be fully effective, but if I can keep from getting sick between now and the start of classes in January, I hope I can make it through the double-flu season of 2009-10 without getting sick from that crud.

Yay, vaccines! Boo, viruses!

Dr. Phil

"Under Suspicion" Reviewed At Dear Author

Tangle Girls Continues To Be Reviewed

Just found a November 11th review of "Under Suspicion" and the Tangle Girls anthology by the website Dear Author.

Janine wrote:

Set on the spaceship Mastodon, “Under Suspicion” begins when a shipwide alarm sounds, alerting United Star Fleet Ensign Lily Branoch and her fellow crewmembers to an accident in the main hanger. In the process of helping to rescue people trapped under “cargotainers,” Lily encounters a beautiful marine whose name she doesn’t catch. She glimpses the woman again before she learns that she is Lt. Cruz-Ortega.

Lily is powerfully attracted to the woman, so much so that she can’t get the lieutenant out of her mind. But this distraction becomes a problem when Lily begins to suspect that the beautiful Daniella may be involved in a plot to smuggle weapons off the Mastodon. Could Daniella Cruz-Ortega’s lovely face be hiding treachery? And even if not, will Lily ever get up the gumption to ask her out?

“Under Suspicion” was an enjoyable story and it probably had the most relationship focus of any of the stories in this collection. Lily was likable and the enigmatic Daniella was compelling. The worldbuilding was solid and I liked the military atmosphere. My main complaint is that due to the nature of the plot, the relationship between the two women did not develop that much. Nonetheless it was fun, though I would have liked it to be a bit more substantial.

Overall grade for the anthology is a B-, with "Under Suspicion" getting a C+/B-.

Given that the reviewer was looking at this from a Romance point of view, I can appreciate that my story held back and ended before Lily and Daniella's relationship gets very far. So you won't see me complaining about my grade. (grin) Especially since I thought the reviewer did a superb job of describing and analyzing my story. (double-grin) And I cannot find fault with someone who puts my ship names in italics. (triple-word-score-grin)

Another reason to appreciate this review of Blind Eye Book's anthology Tangle Girls, is the lament in the comments section that they don't see enough f/f Romance fiction to review. So I call this a win all the way around.

Tangle Girls is available from Blind Eye Books and

Dr. Phil

Lightspeed Guidelines Are Up

John Joseph Adams' New Magazine Guidelines

As I mentioned back in October, there's a new pro paying market coming out in June 2010, John Joseph Adams' Lightspeed. The Submission Guidelines are now online.

Lightspeed Guidelines

Guidelines for Original Fiction
Lightspeed is open for submissions beginning January 1, 2010. A link to the online submission system will be added to the site at that time.

Lightspeed is seeking original science fiction stories of 1000-7500 words. Stories of 5000 words or less are preferred. We pay 5¢/word for original fiction, on acceptance. To see which rights we're seeking, please view our contract template for original fiction.

All types of science fiction are welcome, from near-future, sociological soft sf, to far-future, star-spanning hard sf, and anything and everything in between. No subject should be considered off-limits, and we encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope.

We believe that the science fiction genre's diversity is its greatest strength, and we wish that viewpoint to be reflected in our story content and our submission queues; we welcome submissions from writers of every race, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.

Guidelines for Reprints
Lightspeed will be publishing two reprints each month, but it is primarily a market for original fiction; a majority of our reprints will be directly solicited, but you may submit a reprint for consideration if you wish. For reprints, we are offering 1¢/word, on acceptance. To see which rights we're seeking, please view our contract template for reprinted fiction.

Be aware that every month we expect to receive several hundred submissions. As such, we cannot offer personalized feedback on each story. If we say, "Send more," it does mean that we hope to see something else from you. Most rejections will be sent out in 48 hours or less, while stories being seriously considered may be held for up to two weeks.

Stories should be science fiction between 1000 and 7500 words long. Stories of 5000 words or less are preferred.

Payment for original fiction is 5¢/word, on acceptance. To see which rights we're seeking, please view our contract template for original fiction.

Payment for reprinted fiction is 1¢/word, on acceptance. To see which rights we're seeking, please view our contract template for reprinted fiction.

Response time: Most rejections will be sent out in 48 hours or less, while stories being seriously considered may be held for up to two weeks.

Submission Procedures
All fiction submissions must be submitted through our online submission system. A link to the online submission system will be added to the site by January 1, 2010.

Our submissions form asks for your name, email address, cover letter, story title, and story. Your cover letter should contain the length of your story, your publishing history, and any other relevant information (e.g, if you send us a hard sf story about black hole clusters and your doctoral dissertation was on black hole clusters, mention that). All stories should be in standard manuscript format and can be submitted in either .RTF or .DOC format. If you are unable to use our online submission system, please e-mail your story as an attachment to All questions about fiction and fiction related e-mails should go to

After you have submitted your story, a tracking number will be displayed and an automated email confirmation containing this information will be sent to you. If you have not received this email us. Your tracking number will allow you to monitor the status of your submission through our website, so please make note of it.

NOTE: Be sure to add to your address book (or your email client's spam white list), and check your spam folder before querying if we have received your story.

Additional Notes
Lightspeed is not a market for fantasy fiction. Please submit fantasy stories to our sister publication, Fantasy Magazine.

Sexual themes and stories with strong sexual content are acceptable, but Lightspeed is not a market for erotica.

Lightspeed is not a market for media-based fiction (i.e., stories set in the Star Wars or Star Trek universes, etc.), or any kind of fan fiction.

Lightspeed is not a market for poetry.

We do not accept simultaneous submissions or multiple submissions.

Do not query for fiction. If you're not sure if your story is suitable, please simply submit it and let our editors decide.

If editor John Joseph Adams has previously rejected your story, please do not submit it to Lightspeed, unless it was rejected as being unsuitable for the market (due to theme, etc.) or unless it has been significantly revised to the extent that it is no longer the same story. (emphasis mine)

Please do not respond to rejection letters, even just to say "Thanks for the quick turnaround" etc. We appreciate the thought, but it is unnecessary and will just clutter up our editorial inbox.

Why The Big Deal

Well, for one thing we're always lamenting the loss of markets, especially paying markets. To have a new SF market coming out, one paying SFWA pro rates, is news to SF writers. Especially in light of the recent "Rate Fail" discussion -- a new market paying 0.1¢ a word -- which I'll probably blog about soon. Second, JJA has until recently been the Assistant Editor at The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and reading Gordon Van Gelder's slush pile for all the years I've been submitting to markets. And JJA's been editing some pretty nifty anthologies recently. Not that he's been buying my work. (grin) -- See italic emphasis in Guidelines above. -- Yet. (big-grin)

So, if you're a SF writer, you might want to read the above and think about some submissions. And if you're an SF reader, well, we'll just have to wait til June 2010 to see if all this fuss is worth it.

Dr. Phil