Ten things I have done,
that you probably have not.

Written by M.E. Ray on January 1st, 2011

Inspired by John Scalzi and Mary Robinette Kowal‘s posts, and looking to pick up the pace around here, I give you this.

    I have:

  • been on a college scholars bowl team with 3 people who would earn PhD’s. (yes, we won)
  • learned Russian for a year while in the US Army.
  • have explained to an auditorium full of graduate students and professors how to run the triple option (on a white board).
  • turned down a job with an unnamed government agency to work for Taco Bell/Pepsico.
  • was a lifeguard one summer and a bouncer the next.
  • formatted hard drives and installed Windows and Office on 25 computers in high school lab, from one set of floppy disks.
  • Done sports radio play-by-play for five different sports.
  • Started a pro-pay online science fiction magazine.
  • been married for 24 years.
  • Fallen, fully clothed, into the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Things happen.


Mid-October Update

Written by M.E. Ray on October 25th, 2010

A lot of cool things have happened this fall:
Teaching school has gone quite well. I have all AP and Honors classes and they are filled with good kids, and a few good students.

I am the play-by-play announcer for my school’s football team again and one of my best friends is my partner we have a great time. This Friday at 7pm is the last game of the year. There is an internet feed at www.wekiradio.com. I will probably announce other sports as well, so basketball/baseball games may also be available there.

The first story I wrote, “The Ancient Bridge”, was published in the YA scifi & fantasy print quarterly, Beyond Centauri. It’s not a paying market, but it is respectable.


Two months long gone

Written by M.E. Ray on September 6th, 2010

I put issue #4 of Redstone SF up last week. It was exhausting. School started the first week of August and I have simply been hanging on. But, I’ve done a better job teaching this year, largely because I’m not coaching. I am announcing the games on radio again, which I really enjoy.

I thought a lot today about why I started RSF – to become more familiar with and learn about the field, to create a quality site in, up until recently, a field where there were very few, AND to write and publish more, based on this greater understanding and exposure. The first two have gone incredibly well. Number 3 has been abysmal. Am I a writer? Barely. Can I be a successful writer? I think so. I’ve learned so much about stories, in part, sadly, from seeing so many pedestrian ones. But none of that matters if I don’t make time to write. Sounds like a broken record.

Car repairs. Home repairs. Pasture to mow. Classes to teach. Papers to grade. Games to announce. Magazine to obsess over. Slushpile to read. Decluttering to do. Meals to cook. Clothes to wash. Miles to walk. Either you make time to write despite all these things or you don’t. If I don’t, I may be a lot of things, but I won’t be a writer. We’ll see.


Heating Up

Written by M.E. Ray on July 9th, 2010

Redstone Science Fiction swallowed June. And it was fun. One issue could have been an accident, two suggests a pattern. I got everything done and got it online. Scored an interview with Fantasy Magazine editor Cat Rambo, which was picked up by io9, which gave us the traffic push we needed. The stories we published are quite good. I love the weirdness of Michelangelo’s Chisel and the clever metafiction of Elevator Episodes in Seven Genres. Quality essays and our science interview was with a leading surgeon. The first two have gone well.

I’ve probably spent too much time monitoring things and keeping up with the site and communicating about it, but it has been fun. We’ve picked up some excellent stories this summer. We will have the minimum we need for next spring by the end of summer.

I still haven’t written anything, but I know I have a better feel for how things should go. I discovered that my dead netbook only needed a power chord, so I’m hoping to parlay that into a mobile writing platform.

As for Real Life, I’ve finally gotten ahead of the grass in the pasture and have done some work on the roof. This whole house could be replaced piece by piece. That it’s paid for is its cardinal virtue.

I’ve been working out and just the other day reached a goal – benching 135 lbs. (bar and big plate on each end) two sets of 25 repetitions. I have not been good about going into town to do my elliptical and will start back Sunday. (I did spend a couple of hours on a ladder & the roof in 105 heat index yesterday, so I guess that can count).

It’s time to start making my plans for teaching my classes next year, so I expect I will begin going in to school Monday and get work done and then workout in the mornings. We’ll see.


First Issue Survival

Written by M.E. Ray on June 13th, 2010

The first issue of Redstone Science Fiction went online June 1st.

The site worked well and the posting of everything went as planned. The stories are good and we hoped the essays and interviews would reinforce the fiction. Instead, io9 and several other sites picked up the kick-ass interview with Lou Anders done by our friend David Alastair Hayden and traffic went through the roof. As that excitement began to calm down, the writing contest that we are sponsoring that draws on Sarah Einstein’s essay, The Future Imperfect, about the portrayal of disability in science fiction was also picked up by io9 and drew attention all over the internet, going beyond usual SF circles, including a BBC Blog and the Utne Reader. It’s been much bigger than we had hoped.

We also started taking submissions on the 1st and have worked through about 20% of them. We are trying an unusual plan of opening between the 1st & 15th of each month this summer. It will keep us in the market for stories, but keep us from being overwhelmed by submissions while we put the next issue together. If it works we may make it our thing. We’ve gotten some submissions from a few well-known writers and the general level of submissions seems better. I’ve also arranged to reprint one of my favorite stories from recent years.

Some where in there I was interviewed twice, which is fun.

I have been reading stories from Charlie Stross’ short story collection, Wireless
He has that skill of keeping you interested that can’t be quantified.

I have been submitting my completed stories, but I haven’t written anything new. I’ve spent every evening keeping up with developments with Redstone SF. I think I have a much better understanding of what a successful story should do, but I have to make time to make it happen. We’ll see.