Deadlines, Campfires, and Wi-Fi: The Craziness of a Freelance Writer

Things continue to be a blur, and not because I’ve had too much wine; but writing that did make me get up and pour myself a glass of Coppola Claret. That’s just a little product placement in my blog, although it’s never worked for me before. My first published Star Trek story (Happy 45th, Trek!), “Full Circle,” featured the fabulous Scoma’s on Fisherman’s Wharf as a setting, bit I never received a big shipment of fettuccine with smoked salmon and rock shrimp. Not that I hold it against them. Just means I have to get back there in person for a giant plate of incredibly fresh seafood. But I digress.

I’ve been working on a short story to submit to A Quiet Shelter There, an anthology from Hadley Rille Books edited by Gerri Leen. The deadline was August 31, and my work was complicated by a week of vacation in midmonth, so time was getting short. Also had a review due to Author Magazine on September 1. Sent the story into the editor at 9 p.m. August 30. And I was still reading the book for the review. Emailed Jeff Ayers, my editor at the magazine, that I had Thursday, the first, off, so would finish the book and review then. Jeff responded that he wouldn’t be reading the reviews until Sunday, so I could take until the fourth.

That worked out nicely, because I’d taken the first off because it was my birthday. So I did absolutely no work that day. It was relaxing. Meanwhile, I had heard back from Gerri on the thirty-first that she liked my story, but she had some suggestions for rewrites. She gave me until September 7 to submit revised manuscript. Which brings us back to me taking Thursday off, but knowing that I had some work to get done and was coming into the holiday weekend. Further complications because my mom has a Labor Day tradition of having a big camp out. Friends come in RVs, tent campers, and tents, set up in her big yard, and spend the weekend eating and drinking around the campfire. Not the most conducive environment for writing, but there it is. I decided to write the review and work on the story over the weekend.

This required some planning on my part. I’d be writing on my iBook, but my mom has a Windows machine. Okay, make sure to bring a flash drive to move review from laptop to desktop, and I’m set. My mom’s out in the country and only has dial-up internet, but it’ll still get the job done. We arrive on Friday evening, and just about the first thing my mom tells me is her computer isn’t working. All right then. Had to head into Cloquet, Minnesota, home of the world’s only Frank Lloyd Wright designed gas station, on Sunday to find a place with Wi-Fi. Ella tagged along to go to Bearaboo Coffee Escape, which gave her a chance to get online on her iPad. Tangentially, the Bearaboo should not be confused with the cat named Beariboo, which I inadvertently discovered while trying to confirm the spelling of the coffee shop. Beariboo has his picture on a charming website called “Cats That Look Like Hitler.” I’ll let you judge for yourself. But I digress.

Sent in my review from the Bearaboo, then decided we needed malts and fries from Gordy’s Hi-Hat, a family-owned burger joint that opened in 1960. They were recently featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on Food Network. Classic juicy fresh-made burgers, lightly battered fries, great malts . . . an essential stop when you’re in you’re in the area. There I go again with product placement. I don’t think their fries would ship well, but I’d be willing to give it a try. Again with the digressions.

Got home Sunday evening and did some writing. Pulled a late night on Monday and sent in revised story at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Meanwhile, on the fifth got an email from Tony Dierckins, publisher at X-comm, my second day job. Next freelance copyediting gig is ready to download. Then found out on the eighth that my story, “On My Side,” will indeed be in A Quiet Shelter There, along with stories from some of my Star Trek writing friends, Amy Sisson and Bill Leisner. Cool. So, you know, not much going on. Now for another glass of claret. Which is never a digression.

2 thoughts on “Deadlines, Campfires, and Wi-Fi: The Craziness of a Freelance Writer

  1. We have remarkably similar submission experiences…. I subbed mine on August 31 at about 10 p.m., and did the rewrite thing the following week, then one last suggested change…. (she made great suggestions, I have to say). I’m really looking forward to seeing the final product, which will also have stories by Kevin Lauderdale and Annie Reed. Sweet!

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