I appear to have come down with bronchitis. After a week off feeling like crap, I'm finally starting to feel somewhat closer to being human. Mostly, I've been reading and writing. Before we left for Italy, I started a story called "Life is a Zoo." Unfortunately, It only came out a hair over 41,000 words. For those of you playing the home game, you need a minimum of 60,000 words (preferably 80,000) to get published, especially in the fantasy community. This morning I pulled it out of storage and started re-reading, trying to figure out where I could add in more details, extra scenes. I think that there's a major flaw in the publishing community because of that whole word count requirement. It's not length that makes a good story; it's the quality of the writing. At this point in time, there is no venue at all for writers who produce work between 20,000 and 59,000 words. They're considered too long for magazines, and too short of novels, so no one wants to touch them.
I'm doing my best to expand my horizons, try to meet the parameters set by the industry, but I think in the end what I'll end up doing is submitting two 40k-ish stories as a single book--two for one deal (I like those). Part II is (tentatively) called "High School Never Ends," and is up to about 28K. I have a very rough outline for a third volume. Maybe make it a three-for-one? I don't know yet.
As to what I've been reading--well, I've recently been going through some Karrin Slaughter crime mysteries. I highly recommend the Will Trent books; he's currently my favorite literary character. I was reading some of her Grant County books (as in, one), but discovered that I'd accidentally started with the last book in the series, and it left me rather upset, so I didn't want to go back to the beginning (if you've been watching Castle, like me, then you know there are only two ways to end a crime series: Either the main character retires, or s/he dies. Draw your own conclusions).
I know I promised to wax poetic about C.E. Murphy (and I will) but I think it's going to wait a little while. I have the urge to re-read her Walker Papers series, so I'm going to do that before I write about her. Maybe I'll pick up the books I'm missing while we're in London for Midterm break (which is another thing that I need to write about here). Maybe next week.