Varmints? No, Critters!

Life comes at you in bunches, doesn’t it?  No?  Well, it does me, which is why I’ve been gone for so long.

Mrs. Axe is away in the west, looking for a house for us.  I am wrangling with insurance companies, pestering people about my move, and prepping a second car for sale.  Also juggling work and a few other things….

I haven’t gotten much writing done in the last month, which is actually good news.  Yesterday, my main writing computer went "Tango-Uniform," which is military-speak for "Tits Up," – kaput and dead in other words.  The dreaded BSOD (Google that term, if you don’t know it.) reared its head ….  The end result is that I have a massively corrupted drive and recovery will be sporting.  Since I have irregular backup habits, I would have lost whatever was written recently.  I lost very little since my last backup about five weeks ago.  One positive:  I did have a story come up on Critters.org last week, and received some great feedback.

(Begin shameless plug)

I really like the critters site.  It was founded by Andrew Burt, a former VP of Science-Fiction / Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).  He’s been running the site for about fifteen years and in that time, the all-volunteer reviewers have critiqued over 18K pieces of speculative fiction.  I’ve put up fifteen or so pieces in the last few years and received 10-25 in-depth and thorough reviews [edit:  10-25 per entry, I meant].  One of the real benefits is the lack of forums and discussion boards (they exist but are, in style, archaic), which prevents any socializing, which – IMO – becomes an impediment to objective review.  Getting the reviews to authors (and getting credit!) is easy and works well.

There are some downsides.  Anyone submitting their work has to review a minimum of three other stories every four weeks.  You can review more but have to maintain a "ratio" of 75% of higher.  I get annoyed by the ancient standards for posting manuscripts (70 character width lines, on the basis that someone might be using a Commodore 64, abacus, or other ancient system).  Also, getting a story up for review takes some time and you can only have one in the queue at a time.

But I think these are worthwhile endurances, for the quality of reviews you get – which have been better than anything else I have ever received, minus the gentle bite of Mrs. Axe’s impeccably high standards.

(End shameless plug)

Okay, enough outta me.  I’m getting back to work.  I’ll check back in soon.  Ciao!

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