Acceptances, rejections

I'll be the first to admit that I know little about the publishing world. I've gleaned some information from the web, but anyone who has ever googled a nagging health complaint at 2AM and "discovered" they have a rare and fatal illness knows how effective that can be. Everything else I know came from one friend who's a professional writer. [Note to writers, or anyone who is an expert at anything: having a mentor can make all the difference in whether aspiring writers achieve their potential. Mentoring changes people's lives. Don't wait because you're not a huge success yet.]

I've had a couple successes recently, and more of the usual rejections, the things every writer warns you about. (Since they are writers, these are actually objections about which you are warned.) I got back the edited proof of my story that will appear in the upcoming book Behind the Mask, and the editor had added a couple positive comments that made my entire day. I was feeling invincible, until that afternoon I received two story rejections from other publications in the span of a few hours. 

Clarkesworld magazine (source of one of those two rejections) tweeted an extraordinary tidbit of information recently:

The linked article [The Year in Slush] gives more detail about their high rejection rate and the relative unlikelihood that any given submission will be accepted there. Authors, the odds are against you. You know what to do: ignore the odds. 

Speaking of Behind the Mask, if you enter this giveaway on Goodreads right now you'll have a chance of winning one of 5 advance reader copies. The deadline is 3/25, so don't hesitate. 

By mechanisms still unknown

There should be a word for information that is learned a second time, after being acquired and subsequently forgotten. For example, I'm fairly sure at one point I learned that unlike in human anatomy, whales' alimentary canals don't connect to their respiratory systems. I probably picked it up from a textbook, filed it away as important for testing purposes, and promptly expunged it in favor of some dumb song lyrics. 

When I learned it again, it was a miniature revelation. Imagine how weird we would seem to whales, if whales ever studied our anatomy. We use the same forward manifold for air intake as we do for the ingestion of liquids and solid nutrition. To make matters worse, we can't stop breathing for extended periods when we eat and drink, meaning that the two actions must be controlled simultaneously. It's disgusting when you consider it (from the whales' perspective). They have discrete, unentangled means of feeding and respiration, with no potential cross-routing. (This also means that if you're a cartoon fish who's swallowed by a whale, you will not be exiting via the blowhole, unless you begin aggressively tunneling through flesh into the lungs.)

Our mouths are essentially reverse cloacas, multipurpose ports commingling biological processes that are mutually exclusive, even hostile to each other's purpose. Trust me, as an emergency services provider, when excessive amounts of air or liquids/solids take the wrong route into the thorax, the results are unhealthy. 

Anyway, I'm researching whales for a story in which someone is trying to talk to them... sort of. Here's a video about how they sing, or at least how we think they do it. We're not quite sure. 

Ascent

As you go deeper beneath the sea's surface, the line marking air from water grows less distinct, until it can seem like there never was any air, any boat, any land or home, and the only time you've ever been alive or will yet survive is the duration of the air you carry with you.

In all kinds of weather, an excellent sea boat

Any time I think my hobbies are cool or that I'm good at them, I think about my octogenarian stepfather, who is currently building a scale model of the HMS Beagle from scratch, which when completed he will be able to sail by remote control. I can't verify this claim, but I feel it's likely no one has ever done this before.

The Beagle, of course is most famous for carrying Charles Darwin, who during his circumnavigation of the globe performed much of the research that would later lead him to postulate the theory of evolution via natural selection. (A yet more detailed account is here.) 

My stepfather's reconstruction will include all seven of the ship's longboats, three of which are shown here in various stages of completion. He has not yet laid the keel of the Beagle itself. He believes the project will take at least a year.