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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2003 - 09:39 pm:   

A couple folks e-mailed me lately wanting to know what I have on the horizon.

Short story, "A Flock of Birds," upcoming in Dozois's Year's Best Science Fiction

Short Story, "Origin of the Species," upcoming in Hartwell's Year's Best Fantasy

Short Story, "The Boy Behind the Gate," upcoming in Jones's Mammoth Book of Best New Horror

Short Story, "Different Worlds," upcoming in the Resnick-edited SFWA antho, New Faces in Science Fiction

Short Story, "Lashawnda at the End," upcoming in Electric Story

Short Story, "The Pair-a-Duce, Comet Casino, All-Sol Poker Championship," upcoming in Talebones

Short Story, "Sacrifice," upcoming in Paradox

Short Story, "Floaters," upcoming in Absolute Magnitude

Short Story, "The Long Way Home," upcoming in Asimov's

Short Story, "The Ice Cream Man," upcoming in Asimov's
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Lou Antonelli - East Texas, USA
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 01:06 pm:   

Congrats, you are an inspiration to all aspiring writers. And a workaholic, too! Being a teacher, how do you spend your summer? Writing? Or do you plan to do other things. Just being nosy.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 02:00 pm:   

Hi, Lou. I have a novel I want to finish before school starts in mid August, so that will keep me plenty busy. I'm about 15,000 words into what looks like a 100,000 word project.

When I'm not doing that, I'll work around the house, camp with the family and maybe take a daytrip or two.
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Lou Antonelli -East Texas, USA
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 03:39 pm:   

Is this your first novel? I see a lot of writers start writing short stories at the start of their careers, and then after some time and success, they write longer works. Seems to be a pattern.

I would love to camp, but during the summer here in Texas, everything either bites, burns or stings you. It already hit 90 today, with a THI of 96.

I need to run, they're having an athletic banquet at the high school. You know the drill. Oh well, at least I get a free meal.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 03:59 pm:   

No, this is my second novel. My first floated around for a while until it landed on the desk of an agent who represents quite a few SF writers. He told me that he liked it, and that he thinks he can sell it, but that he doesn't think it's particularly "special." So he talked to me about my second book, and he thought it sounded more promising. Rather than going with the first book which might put me into a bookstore death spiral, we're waiting to see what the second book looks like.

He's a bright guy with a proven track record whose opinion I respect, so I'm going to finish the second book and get it to him before WorldCon.
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Lou Antonelli - East Texas, USA
Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 02:18 pm:   

Makes sense. Of my two acceptances so far, they are the third and tenth stories I wrote out of 15. And the second acceptance will be published first because its a webzine, while the other is a quarterly.

I've taken to using an Excel spread sheet to keep track of submissions. It does get giddy after a while.

I really doubt I will go to the WorldCon this year, because of time and money constraints, mostly time. I also hate to fly. But the ArmadilloCon in Austin in August looks to be a blowout because its the silver anniversary and there's all sorts of guests. You should go if you can, it's gonna be a blast. Dozois and Datlow will be there for sure, and writers such as Neal Barrett, Bruce Sterling and Howard Waldrop (all Austin residents) will also be there.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 04:54 pm:   

I'd love to go, but I doubt my budget will put up with it. I'll put in on my think-about-it list.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 03:25 pm:   

If you are interested in reading my latest Talebones story, "The Pair-a-Duce Comet Casino, All-Sol Poker Championship," it is posted as a teaser to the latest issue at http://www.talebones.com. Click on "Preview" at the top of the page and then "Fiction" on the left side.

Also, the Sept. issue of Asimov's is now out with by short story, "The Long Way Home."
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Tim Akers
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 09:47 am:   

Good story, Jim.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 06:32 pm:   

Hi, Tim. Thanks. You'd be surprised by how many stories are published where the writers never hear ANYTHING from anyone on them. That's why the review sites are so important, like http://www.Tangentonline.com, and the British print magazine, The Fix. Also, Bluejack, at http://www.bluejack.com reviews short fiction, as does Mark Watson at http://www.bestsf.net

I'm really big on encouraging folks to drop a note to writers whose works they liked. I send a couple such e-mails myself a week.
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Tim Akers
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 06:25 am:   

I've started doing exactly that, though some of my favorite writers have zero web presence. *shrug*
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 08:45 pm:   

The stuff I have coming up now include the following:

Short Story, "Different Worlds," upcoming in the Resnick-edited SFWA antho, New Faces in Science Fiction

Short Story, "The Ice Cream Man," upcoming in Asimov's

Short Story, "Floaters," upcoming in Absolute Magnitude

Short Story, "The Miracle at Ramah," upcoming at Dragons, Knights and Angles: the Magazine of Christian Fantasy and Science Fiction (at http://home.quixnet.net/~dshelley/)

Short Story, "Echoing," upcoming at Asimov's

In other news, my short story, "The Last of the O-Forms," from Asimov's last year has made the preliminary Nebula ballot.

In other, old news, but I don't see that I've posted it here, my short story collection, Strangers and Beggars, made the American Library Associations list of Best Books for Young Adults. This is both an honor and a big deal for sales, since Scholastic Book Fairs ordered a bunch of the books.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Monday, December 01, 2003 - 11:21 am:   

One of my Christmas stories is up at Dragons, Knights and Angels at http://home.quixnet.net/~dshelley/

At under a 1,000 words, it's a favorite of mine and a lot of fun to read out loud at Christmas parties if the group is right.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 01:51 pm:   

Gardner Dozois bought my Asimov's story from Sept. last year, "The Long Way Home," for reprinting in The Year's Best Science Fiction, 21st edition.

In the meantime, my short story, "The Last of the O-Forms," is on the preliminary Nebula ballot, and my short story collection, Strangers and Beggars, is a finalist for the Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 09:06 am:   

Hey, that's good news, Jim. Looking forward to reading it again.

I like those Anthologies Gardner does (not because I'm trying to sell something to him) but because they are a great way to learn about recent science fiction and the people who write them.

They're very much like textbooks for me, which is a good thing.

Any idea when the 21st edition will come out?

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 05:24 pm:   

Hey, Steven. I think last year's was out in June or early July. Since there's also the Datlow/Link/Grant, the two Hartwells, and the Silverberg anthos, I get fuzzy about when each one appears. The Silverberg one hit the stands first last year, but I hear they quit reading in October so they missed the last two months of the year.
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E Thomas
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 11:56 pm:   

Congratulations on "The Long Way Home" getting slotted in for the 21st edition. I read the copy you sent me, finally, and I enjoyed it. My favorite part was that scene at the end with the meteor showers. Wow! :-)

That's really cheesy about missing the last two months of the year for the Silverberg anthology. What if almost all of the brilliant stories a year were published in November and December? I'm just saying...
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Thomas R
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 12:10 am:   

Congrats it was a lovely story. Very SFnal and human at the same time. That kind of describes most of the stuff I've read by you though.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 05:37 am:   

Just a reminder: the voting deadline for Asimov's readers' award is coming up at the end of January. Gardner says that winners in the past have won by a single vote! Anyone can vote and it's done online. My story, "The Long Way Home," is eligible, and I'll e-mail it to anyone who'd like to take a look at it. Regardless of who you vote for, though, if you read Asimov's last year and you have an opinion about the stories, please vote.

http://www.asimovs.com/asimovreaders_2003.shtml

Also, Asimov's has posted online their stories that have made the preliminary Nebula ballot, including my story, "The Last of the O-Forms." You can read the stories at http://www.asimovs.com/
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 05:09 am:   

My short story, "The Last of the O-Forms," has made the finalist list for a Nebula.

You can read the story at http://www.asimovs.com/_issue_0401/oforms.shtml
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 08:25 pm:   

Since I last posted, I've sold stories to Asimov's, Brutarian Quarterly, and to Jay Lake's and David Moles All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories.
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 03:37 pm:   

Mr. Van Pelt;

I have a story appearing in All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories as well (if the rewrite goes well that is). I won't tell you how thrilled I am at the thought of being published alongside you, since I am sure you are a modest fellow and--given your accessible prose--suspect you would object to the gargantuan string of adjectives that would inevitably be involved.

I don't want to take things too far off topic, but I was pleased to learn that you are a teacher as well as a writer. I'm just finishing up a round of student teaching myself, and have been wondering how well I would be able to balance teaching and writing. If you feel inclined to say a word or two on the subject, I'd love to hear it.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 06:48 pm:   

Hi, Robert. Thanks for the kind words. What are you teaching and at what level?

I teach high school English, which I believe is the most time-demanding of all the things someone could teach, except maybe elementary school where the teachers are teaching all subjects all day (keeping in mind that no matter what anyone teaches, it's possible to let it expand to every waking hour and then some).

The only way I know to balance teaching and writing is to not let the teaching unbalance everything. I'm not kidding. Teaching is like a black hole for time. You can pour 100% of your energy into it and still fell guilty for what you haven't done. So, you have to departmentalize a bit and give yourself the time to write.

For me I've told myself that I must write 200 words a day. As I've said elsewhere, that doesn't sound like much, but if you never miss a day, it gives you over 70,000 words in a year, which would be 14 X 5,000 short stories or a short novel.

I argue, however, that giving yourself the time to write makes you a better teacher. If you are taking care of yourself, then you have a better chance of taking care of someone else. Teachers have to give themselves lives or they turn into classroom zombies, monomaniacs who lose perspective on themselves and their material.

Funny story about teaching high school English: At the end of the semester I went up to the teachers' lounge with a hundred essay finals that I had two days to grade. Even at five minutes an essay I had over eight hours of grading to do. A line of math, science and social studies teachers were lined up at the scantron machine, a device that automatically grades a multiple choice test. The social studies teacher at the scantron machine was feeding the students' bubbled in tests into the maching. Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. About a test every second. After he'd been standing there for maybe a minute, dropping one card after another another into the machine, he let out a big sigh and said with no irony, "This grading is killing me."
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 01:14 pm:   

I argue, however, that giving yourself the time to write makes you a better teacher.

I think that is sage advice -- particularly for English teachers like us. I also think that teaching has made me a better writer. Constructing lessons and constructing stories exercise a lot of the same muscles: in both cases you need to communicate effectively, and must structure things in a way that a mind will naturally follow.

I sometimes think organizing unit plans is like writing a monthly comic: each issue should have a begining, middle, and end, but still tell a larger story by the time it's collected as a trade.

At the end of the semester I went up to the teachers' lounge with a hundred essay finals that I had two days to grade...

That's me right now -- a hundred and four essays. I at least have four days, but it still takes me a lot longer than five minutes to do each one.

Uh oh: the social studies teacher at the scantron just asked me why I'm smiling...
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 01:59 pm:   

Uh oh: the social studies teacher at the scantron just asked me why I'm smiling...

LOL! I like the analogy of a unit plan like a monthly comic.

I don't really take only five minutes per essay, but it was too darned depressing to do the math on 10 to 15 minutes per essay. I can grade 6 or so essays an hour, but I can't do it for more than a couple hours.
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 02:56 pm:   

^So what is it about writing discreet paragraphs that offends sixteen-year-olds?
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Kate S.
Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 01:49 pm:   

Mr. Van Pelt:

I read your scantron story and felt a need to comment. I teach biology at a small college, and all my tests are essay only, plus I assign papers. I can proudly say that I've never even handled a bubblesheet, let alone operated the scantron machine. I'm not the only one who does it, but the multiple choice tests definitely predominate. I find it sad -- yeah, I spend more time grading than I probably should, and yeah, students often take umbrage with my tendency to correct their spelling and grammar. But it is way more satisfying and fun than feeding the tests to the machine.

Overall, I notice a sad tendency to overuse technology in the classroom. I don't think I need to convince the English teachers of that; I'm just peeved at the quickly enlarging gap between the sciences and humanities. Oh, the days when scientific papers were well-written, and publishing fiction was not viewed as a character flaw in a scientist...
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 05:01 pm:   

Hi, Kate. Teaching is one of the last, great professions, I think. My two favorite teachers in the high school where I work are a physics teacher and a chemistry one. Man, they work hard. And despite my picking on the scantron crowd, I think most of the folks I teach with spend way too much time for way too little appreciation.

I had a poster on my wall for a while that said:

We the unwilling,
Led by the unknowing,
Are doing the impossible
For the ungrateful.
We have done so much for so long with so little
We are now qualified to do anything with nothing.


I tell myself everyday that today I'm going to be a hero for someone. Today I'm going to beat back the boundaries of ignorance.

Some of the other teachers think I'm weird. Sigh.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 09:20 pm:   

On the sales front, my Nebula finalist story, "The Last of the O-Forms," will appear in the NEBULA SHOWCASE 2005 anthology, edited by Jack Dann.

Also, AMAZING STORIES, just bought a story from me, entitled "A Wow Finish."
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 11:42 pm:   

^Congrats on the AMAZING sale! I'll look forward to checking it out.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 01:27 am:   

There is a Ken Rand interview of me in the latest issue of The Internet Review of Science Fiction at http://www.irosf.com/

You have to be a subscriber to read it, but IROSF is brand new and the subscriptions are free the first year (as I recall).
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 06:20 am:   

"I tell myself everyday that today I'm going to be a hero for someone. Today I'm going to beat back the boundaries of ignorance."

Jim--

You will! I have fond memories of my English teachers, Mrs. Bornarth and Mrs. Keiper, both of whom were eccentric women, rather like good witches. (Mrs. Bornarth, whom the students called Boring, in front of her and with her approval, smoked a thin brown cigar. This was way back when, in Ole Virginia, when even students were allowed to smoke in areas of the school.) They also sponsored the literary magazine, where I first published :-). They awarded me the school's English prize.

They made the students who spent time with them realize that it was all right to be intellectual, not something particularly emphasized at my school (except among those of us who were "tracked" that way, the same fifteen students who took all the AP classes, including Keiper's AP English). And they inspired me to major in English.

Years later, a student will identify you as a source of intellectual inspiration, and you'll never know. But I'm betting it will happen!
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 10:44 am:   

Hi, Theodora. The magic (and the scary possibility) about teaching is that you never know what you do that will make an impression or a difference. The most casual, offhand comment might be the thing that sticks with a kid. Remembering that keeps me from being sarcastic, cruel or dismissive. EVERYTHING counts when you are teaching. Everything may be vital.

It's frightening and humbling.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Monday, March 28, 2005 - 12:34 pm:   

I've had several good pieces of news. First, SDO is doing a BEST OF SDO FANTASY print anthology, and they've asked to reprint "Roller Derby Dan," which they ran last year.

Second, I saw both the May ANALOG with "The Inn at Mount Either" in it, and the NEBULA SHOWCASE 2005 with "The Last of the O-Forms." My next Asimov's story, "The Ice Cream Man," is scheduled for the June issue.

Also, I've seen the preliminary cover for my new collection, THE LAST OF THE O-FORMS & OTHER STORIES from Patrick Swenson at Fairwood Press. I keep hearing nightmares about book publishing, but my own experiences with Fairwood have been a delight. I get input all the way through the process of putting the book together, and Patrick knows how to get the book to the right people for its early release exposure.

STRANGERS AND BEGGARS is still selling well two-and-a-half years after its first appearance. We're somewhere over 3,000 copies sold, which is quite good for a single-author collection from someone who has not established a novelist's reputation. I keep toying with the idea of writing an article called, "The Little POD Book that Could."

My web site generally announces what is going on with my stuff at http://www.sff.net/people/james.van.pelt
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SimonOwens
Posted on Monday, March 28, 2005 - 01:28 pm:   

I'm going to be in the "Best of" anthology with you. See you there!
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Monday, March 28, 2005 - 08:57 pm:   

Hi, Simon. That's great! I'm looking forward to seeing the antho.

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