Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Cover and Blurb!!!

For those who don't know, I am part of the speculative anthology that will come out soonish (March if I were to guess)... and yesterday we got the cover and blurb and an okay to share!!!

I love it.  And then here is the blurb.

Enter the realm of parallel universes!

What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?

Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L. G. Keltner, Crystal Collier, Hart Johnson, Cherie Reich, Sandra Cox, Yolanda Renee, Melanie Schulz, Sylvia Ney, Michael Abayomi, and Tamara Narayan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!

I'm hoping to collect some story blurbs from these folks so you can get a bit more of a taste before it comes out... maybe two a week over the next several Fridays...

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, January 25, 2016

A to Z Opens and My Plan

Hallo, fine peoples!!! Today is the day! And two months and a couple days from today it STARTS.

Wait... how can both of those things be true?

Well TODAY is the day the SIGN UP opens for the A to Z challenge. This is a great activity... It commits you to blogging 26 days in April (it actually STARTS April 1], so not for the faint of heart, but it is good for discipline, networking, adrenaline... and honestly, if you aren't going to do it, you should probably plan to just take April off... It is the only game in town.

So what is MY PLAN?

I'm going to put you all to work.

[Say what?]

I made a plan this year to learn a bunch of networking and promoting tools and I've done exactly bipcus. I must have spelled that wrong... I am looking for the Yiddish word for nothing... But then it occurred to me that I can be sneaky clever sometimes... so I am going to come up with the TOPICS alphabetically, and throw out the question asking all of YOU your experience with these various things! Then I will be able to evaluate where I should best invest my energies...

How's that? Just call me Tom Sawyer.

In Other News

And when I say I've done bipcus, I mean on marketing... I am about 60% through my January edit (I should finish) and I did the copy editing eval turnaround gig for The Seventeen which is my short story going in Parallels: Felix Was Here, The IWSG Speculative Anthology.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Art, (Im)Mortality and the Sublime David Bowie

This isn't to downplay the very sad death of Alan Rickman, which is also a sad and serious blow to my years of fandom. My hat's off to you Professor, for bringing to life one of literature's more complex characters and many others over the years. You were amazing.

When I told my mom I liked Bowie,she had this in her head
But David Bowie has got me thinking of much deeper issues than just admiration of amazing talent, though he had that in spades, also. The way he approached art and himself. Never willing to settle. Always wanting to try something new. Growing from it and then outgrowing it. And then onto the next endeavor. People have called him a chameleon, but I think it was braver than that. He didn't adapt and change to what was going on. He ignored what was going on and thought, “What do I want my next iteration to be of me as an artist? What do I want to try? And then the world followed. Even that mullet... 1973... the mullet would become a thing in the early 80s... He led. So far ahead that most people couldn't even see it.

This was more what I had in my head
Even his most popular success, Let's Dance (the album) in the early 80s, was him saying “I'd like to make a popular mainstream dance album... see what that's like. He didn't want to do it for the money or to hit some high note and stay there as a pop star. He wanted the experience. Just to see. In every way, as an artist he led, he collaborated, he got excited about something new. Not just his new things--he celebrated other people's new things...

And he was PRODUCTIVE. Holy crap—I looked up his albums Monday and there are more than one per year he was making music—probably double if you count the albums that just recompiled and marketed already produced songs.

Even his death letter to us—his final album and good-bye was an original set of artwork for the authentic purpose of one last gift to all of us.

So you know how a tribute blog always gets back to all about me? This is that part.

Bowie had enough hits that were big enough they even played on KRPL in Moscow, Idaho when I was growing up. I'd heard Space Oddity, but would not have known it was Bowie. I was aware of Golden Years, Rebel Rebel, and my favorite, Changes, though I think only the first of those was late enough I was paying attention to who sang it.

But in 1982 when MTV first broadcast... when cable transformed, honestly, but I was 16, so MTV was what mattered... Bowie was a part of that very first exposure I had to music that was not pop radio or heavy metal (which is what my crowd tended to listen to). New wave. (remember that word?) Music that was more international, more big city. Closer to what my cool friend Melinda listened to (a pen pal from Pullman Washington who was seriously more serious about seeking out good music and had the Washington State Students to look to for source material—Washington including Seattle, so they were more varied and progressive musically than Moscow which had, as I said, metal. (not knocking metal—I still love a lot of it, but you get where I'm coming from... there were things in my background and things that were BRAND NEW. Bowie was part of that brand new for me.

The hubs hair was shorter and he usually wore a shirt, but...
And I'll let you in on a little secret... He totally defined sexy for me. I already had a thing for thin men: lanky. And he moved in sort of a feline way—I see all the references to androgyny for him but that wasn't what I saw at all—he was angles and flow. His mismatched eyes made him intriguing. His crooked mouth looked just a little naughty. And then his voice... it almost has its own echo, doesn't it—like he is providing his own backup? (is that even possible?) It gave everything he sang a bit of a haunted sound—it was totally one-of-a-kind. So yeah... I admitted a long term college crush of mine was probably as deep an obsession because he reminded me of Bowie (build, mouth and eyes—he even played guitar and sang for me once). And the hubs had the Bowie build and naughty expressions going on when I first met him... But I won't blame Bowie for my romantic decision making... just what I was attracted to.

And it just got better... though I miss the messed up mouth
I guess in his death though—the think that has been filling my week—is looking at Bowie and what we can learn as creators. I've written books for a market I know exists... and I don't find anything wrong with that. But I want to remember to prioritize always learning and growing—never settling in comfortably, but continuing to try things if I want to try something new. Continuing to learn and develop... collaborating if I don't quite have the skill set all on my own (look at what he did with Trent Reznor—WOW--or Tina Turner, or Bing Crosby...) always staying true to who HE is in it—his collaborations seemed to usually put HIM into somebody else's song PLUS put somebody else into one of his... just a really rich way of doing things. I hope just once in my life to create something that moves people the way he managed to do so regularly.

So I guess in addition with his thoughtful good-bye album, he has left me with artistic wisdom I hope to hang onto.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

At Peace with the Process

Well... not YET, but I'm working on it.

Hallo fine peoples!!! Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group Monthly Meeting!!! I encourage you to go see LOTS of insecure writers today (list at the bottom) because we all love hugs. Or most of us do. Some are crabby, but in a funny way, but all of us need love.

So what am I on about?

I have recommitted to my writing process this year after a really darned lousy 2015 (if you are curious, probably half the other posts on the page mention details).

I wonder what the writing equivalent of this is... Totally looks like my style
The really good news is I've found a couple ladies to team up with for a bit of cross-promo... They are smart and extremely talented and I am really looking forward to working with them. But they are much more prolific than I am... much more published... much better marketers... I know they invited me because they see something... I've done really well in a couple contests, so there is some talent there... but I just seem to keep spinning my wheels trying to get some traction...

I have other friends who are all orderly... they talk about their idea, share blurbs writing the book. They send it to their agent who loves the book. It gets subbed to a publisher who loves the book. Then they start a new book. (I'm looking at you Gae Polisner). And it makes me feel like a scatterbrained mess.—and I'm kidding Gae about how easy she makes it look because just this week she was talking about how hard it is to get going on a new story—me, I'd start a story every day. Nothing would make me happier than to spend my life just starting stories—but I have a feeling this would turn my “support myself with my writing by retirement” dream into a never never-land plan.

And then I ran into Chuck Wendig's blog for the week. And it reminded me of one of my favorite Seussisms...

And I thought, you know... it's okay... I've written seventeen completed first drafts. The fact that only four have gotten polished enough I felt ready to publish says more about my difficulties approaching polishing and querying or the alternative, full-on prep for self pubbing than my writing. And then I also need some work on my marketing skills. None of these things means I can't write. It just makes it harder actually get my stuff OUT THERE. And I really do believe at SOME point I will manage that—sell something that does well, and the demand + my backlog of things that only need a LITTLE MORE work means I will be able to spread my wings and fly... And this is my process.

So Chuck's wisdom seemed the perfect thing to share for all of us feeling insecure. Your process is your process. My process is my process. We can all learn and grow but that doesn't mean pitching our own stuff and accepting that somebody else's process might work better for us. It DEFINITELY doesn't mean anybody should be judging anybody else's process. It just means we all could benefit from reflecting now and then on what is working and what isn't and adjusting accordingly. Not nearly so intimidating that way.

No go visit some other insecure folks!!!

THIS JUST IN!!!! The Seventeen, my entry for the Insecure Writer's Speculative Anthology, was selected for inclusion and it's an EXCELLENT list of fellow writers I'll share this honor with!!! Go check it out!!!