I am not Jim Hines.

I’m not Jim Hines.

Which is probably a good thing, because the world would then implode from such a concentration of awesome. No, really. My copy of The Stepsister Scheme is on my shelf, and I’m eagerly awaiting getting far enough ahead in my schoolwork to spend a day reading it. (Don’t believe me? Check out the first chapter here.(PDF link))

But that’s not what I mean, not really. Jim’s first big break was the Writers of the Future contest – a perfectly legit thing that gets a lot of writers exposure. And it’s also the justification I’ve been using to avoid submitting work.

“What if I get three fiction sales before the contest?” (Yes, go ahead, laugh.) “What if I sell the story that would win the contest and bring me fame, if not fortune?” What if? What if? What if? I don’t like rejection letters, and I have submitted works before. I’m not fixated on contests – though I’ve placed in a few. But I don’t want to “waste” my work.

Which is just amorphous enough of a phrase to justify procrastination. As I’m writing this, they’re taking the lights off the trees outside my workplace. The bare limbs are… just limbs. And my justifications are… just excuses. And today, seeing Jim’s name on four… no, five books on my shelf, I realized that I’m not him. No matter how much I like his books and stories (I do), I can’t just sit around and pretend I’m going to do exactly the same things as him.

His wife and mine might get a little upset at that.

So, instead, I’m going to publicly humiliate myself a bit, just to keep me honest. Right now, I’ve got _The Dubhai Invasion_ submitted to a contest at the Writer’s Digest. In Feb. a literary zine (I’ll provide a link when I have one) will be carrying a reprint of _Last Dance_. The boggart story will get named and find a place to be sent this weekend; the bird one the week after (the folks at the readings at GenCon know those stories). Then the clerks one (Yes, I need to learn titles better), and maybe _Just A Taste_, depending on the feedback tonight. The mech one… it needs some work, and I hope to shop a rewrite of it for my writing group next month.

It’s weird for me – especially since I keep finding myself writing more literary than speculative fiction… even though I *read* speculative fiction far more than literary fiction. So the research burden is going to be a bit rough. But I’m going to keep it public, and you all keep me honest, okay? And in the meantime, I hope you like the flash fiction, too.

And now you should go buy Jim’s book. Or I’ll ramble on some more. You have been warned.