Popcorn and Podcast

This is partially a test to figure out how to post a picture. This is also a post to announce that “Tell Them of the Sky” will soon be featured as a podcast in the Cast of Wonders. It should be going live in a few weeks! I’ll post the link here when it does.

In the meantime a picture (hopefully) of the popcorn I’m eating.

photo

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Writer’s Blog Tour: Four Questions

And here we are! I was tagged to answer some questions about my work and process by the wonderful Casey Blair. If you haven’t already, you should check out her thoughtful post.

What Am I Working On?

I usually have several stories in progress at any given time, all in different stages of creation. The one I’m currently fighting working on is about a young woman stuck in a time machine that can only travel backwards in time. Originally, it was only supposed to be 750 words, but that length didn’t do the story justice. So, it’s growing. I can’t say much more about it yet because it’s still in that OHMYGODWHATAMIDOINGJUSTKEEPGOINGFIXITLATER stage. But I think it’s going to have a happy(ish) ending.

How Does My Work Differ From Others in the Genre?

My stories are by no means reinventing the speculative fiction genre as we know it. That takes too much effort. (I jest, but Blair MacGregor makes a good point about novelty here.)

But I love taking different slants on tropes and I like experimenting with voices and point-of-views. I also try to keep characters unburdened with physical descriptions; I won’t tell you the color of their eyes or skin and I definitely won’t tell you how tall they are. Lately I’ve been experimenting with keeping their gender ambiguous too. The way I see it, this way the reader can make the characters their own. And it gets me around the obstacle of having to describe appearances – something which I’ve never enjoyed writing. For me, I hear my character’s voices, see their world from their eyes and know what their hands and mouths are doing. But their faces, for some reason, never stay with me.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

Snarky answer: Because I can.

Less snarky answer: Because each story is an experiment and an attempt at pushing my abilities in some way. Each one is written for a particular reader in mind – whether it’s a friend or my younger self. (Not that I ever tell anyone which one is which – always keep your readers guessing.)

My stories tend to be pretty dark and/or sad because I have a hard time caring about a character unless their situation is dire and the odds are stacked against them. Mostly, I like to write about protagonists who are fighting for something they’ve lost – or are going to lose. It buys them sympathy, even if they don’t deserve it.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

Very slowly. Stories of substance usually take a month to write. Or six.

My stories usually start with a seed – an image or phrase. The first draft is always the hardest for me. My demon is the endless, daunting white page that needs to be filled. Which is why I start most of my stories scribbling fragments in an old composition notebook. Not a fancy journal – a mass produced, squat, cardboard bound, wide ruled notebook. Basically, my notebooks are not allowed to be prettier than my words at this stage. At this point, there is a lot of jibberish and many crossed out lines. There are character profiles in the margins and notes to myself. Line edits are done on the fly while sentences are constantly being reworked as I transcribe them into Word. Which is why my grammar is always off.

Revisions, though, are a little easier. After the first draft, I have something to work with, there are words on the page and it’s no longer so daunting. Every story goes through a beta reader, sometimes many beta readers. Every story is revised. Some stories only need two revisions before I’m happy with them and some need five.

One of my instructors at VP told us that you never learn how to write a novel, you only learn how to write this novel. And to a certain extent, I think that’s true of short stories as well. Every time I sit down to write a new story, I have to learn how it wants to be told.

***

Phew. I did it. Now it’s my friends’ Bernie Mojzes, Sarah Pinsker, and Jessi Cole Jackson turn. Check them out!

And if you’re interested in even more blogs on the tour, I’ve already mentioned Blair and Casey, but Nicole Lisa, Tam McNeil, and Fran Wilde have wonderful posts up too!

ETA: My VP classmates and friends Debra Jess and Arun Jiwa are also participating. Check them out!

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Writer’s Blog Tour Post (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

I just got tagged by the talented Casey Blair and will have my answers up hopefully tomorrow evening (5/28). Consider this a place holder until then. 

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Updated and News – February 2014

So it’s been a while since I posted last. In the last few months I’ve been traveling and visiting friends and of course, writing like mad. Hopefully I’ll have something to show for that last bit soon.

So, briefly two update:

1. My story “I’m Still Here” is coming out in Buzzy Mag tomorrow! It’s crazy to think that I started writing this story two years ago. I remember thinking that there was no way I could pull this story off. Glad I was wrong.

Will post the link when it goes live. (And it’s live)

2. The 2014 Campbell Anthology is now out and available for download for free here. It’s a collection of stories by new writers who have published professionally in the last two years. So basically, it means FREE STORIES. And lots of them. There are 111 different authors in it. And one of them happens to be me, which is kind of completely awesome.

And that’s it I think? Maybe. Hopefully. Probably not.

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Philcon Oct 8-10th 2013

I’ll be at Philcon this weekend running around between the different panels. This is the second year I’m attending and I’m looking forward to it.

I have exactly one schedule event: I’m going to be sharing a reading with Alex Shvartsman on Sunday at 11:00 am in Executive Suite 623!

If you would like to meet up, feel free to send me an email or tweet.

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Story Link Love – James D. MacDonald and Debra Doyle Edition

If you’re in need of some good stories, but have all ready blown through your book allowance for the month, I have a solution. Two of the instructors from Viable Paradise are offering some of their E-books for free for a limited time.


Doyle & Macdonald E-books

You can find all these titles on Smashwords:

Val Sherwood, Werewolf
Your coupon code is BF49C (not case-sensitive).

Two From the Mageworlds
Your coupon code is RM33C (not case-sensitive).

Looking For Futures
Your coupon code is GH96Z (not case-sensitive).

Vampires and Shapeshifters
Your coupon code is FH79D (not case-sensitive).

Ghosts and Legends
Your coupon code is PX95A (not case-sensitive).

Witch Garden and Other Stories
Your coupon code is EB52M (not case-sensitive).

The Confessions of Peter Crossman
Your coupon code is VW94F (not case-sensitive).

Note: All coupons expire 17 November 2013

Enjoy!

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Publishing Update – October 2013

Just a quick update to report some good news. My story “I’m Still Here” just got accepted for publication at Buzzy Mag! This story was my submission to Viable Paradise last year and I’m thrilled that it’s found a good home.

Special thanks to the Bridge people and to the instructors and fellow classmates at VP who gave tons of useful feedback as well as lots of encouragement as I worked through the early drafts of this thing.

I don’t have a date for publication yet, but I’ll keep you updated!

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Story LInk Love #2

I realized the other day that I haven’t done this in awhile. Here are a few favorites science fiction/fantasy stories I’ve read online over the last couple of months.

These are stories I wish I wrote, but am glad I didn’t because I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed them as much if I had.

Non-Zero Probabilities by N. K. Jemisin (this one’s been around for awhile, but I just discovered it – so it’s new to me.)
Biographical Fragments of the Life of Julian Prince by Jake Kerr
The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu
Melancholia in Bloom by Damien Walters Grintalis
Alive, Alive Oh by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

Also, if you like story lists, Flash Fiction Chronicles put together this one: 100+ Links to Great Short Stories

In other news, The One Sentence Anthology is now live! You can check it out here

Lastly, I will be at Readercon this year. This is my first time going and I don’t have a set schedule, but I will probably be tweeting about panels and posting pictures. So excited!

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Publishing Updates: May 2013

So remember when I said I was bad at keeping up with my blog? It’s true, I’m awful at it. As much as I love reading articles and other people’s opinions, I enjoy writing stories more than blog posts. But this post is an exception, I’m thrilled to be writing this because, dear reader, I have good news: I’ve had three stories accepted for publication!

The first is a story called “Letters from Within” and it’s going to be in a little project called the One-Sentence Mini Anthology. This was an interesting challenge – telling a story in one sentence and in less than 350 words. In some ways, it was like the Twitter stories I use to write, except, you know, different. Regardless, it was lots of fun and I’m glad I got to be a part of this project. The anthology should be coming out soon and I will add a link when it does.

The second acceptance is for a story called “The Aorta”. It’s going to be in an anthology called Andromeda’s Children put together by Fringeworks. My piece is going to be in Volume 2 and the anthology is expected to come out Winter 2013. I couldn’t be happier that this story has found a home and is now going to be haunting someone else’s dreams.

Lastly, I sold a story to Daily Science Fiction! The piece is called “Tell Them of the Sky” and this is my first professional sale. I’ve known about this acceptance for a little while now but I’m still bouncing off the walls with excitement. I don’t know yet when it’s suppose to come out, but I will absolutely post an update as soon as I find out.

So sorry, dear reader, I don’t have any links yet to the actual stories themselves. But after a long stretch of stillness, they are coming.

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News and Updates

Last month I resigned from my position as Editorial Assistance at Every Day Fiction. I had been reading for EDF for over two years and learned so much about storytelling and the industry while I was there. But I wanted to spend more time writing and move on to other things.

It seems though, I wasn’t off the hook that quickly. Another opportunity presented itself mere days after I handed in my notice (more or less). Flash Fiction Chronicles (EDF’s sister site) was looking for an interviewer that would talk to the author of the top story at EDF each month.

I don’t have much experience interviewing, but I guess I didn’t have much experience when I started writing either. So, naturally, I accepted.

If you would like to see my very first interview, it can be found here. My first victim (not really – I hope) is Dustin Adams, author of the story The Gift. This was lots of fun and I hope you enjoy it too.

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