Thursday, January 28th, 2016
eSpec Books has posted an interview with me about my favorite fairy tales. It’s to promote the new “Gaslight and Grimm: Steampunk Fairie Tales” anthology coming out in the next few weeks.
Here’s the link, if you’re interested in reading the interview:
I’ve read some excepts, and I think it’s going to be fabulous.
Every story in the book is going to be illustrated in a “woodcut” style to mimic old-fashioned fairy tales books. Danny Birt is the artist.
Here’s the rough outline of a clockwork bird which will illustrate my re-telling of Hansel and Gretel (called, All for Beauty and Youth).
The anthology is being funded by Kickstarter, but it’s already a done deal. So, if you’d like to get involved with a winning project–to be delivered soon–you should check it out here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/e-specbooks/gaslight-and-grimm-steampunk-faerie-tales. (Only six days to go!)
Sunday, September 15th, 2013
I wrote a story a while back called Lies. It shortlisted for the Aeon Award, but I never did anything with it.
Now, Lies has been published and is currently available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
The wheels of distribution grind very slowly in some parts, but it should soon be available via Kobo, XinXii, iTunes and elsewhere very soon. I’ll let you know when that happens.
In the meantime, here are the links to:
Friday, December 23rd, 2011
Things have been pretty quiet around the blog lately. I’ve been baking lots of cookies, and working more than I want to at the day job, but it’s been hard to concentrate on the writing stuff — mostly — because I was being sued and had to go to court.
In short: I was leaving a parking lot nearly three (3!) years ago when a man backed out of a parking space and struck my car. He brought suit against me this July. He claimed it was my fault, and he sought recompense for doctor’s bills, pain and suffering, damage to his car, etc.
The amount he sued me for elevated the case out of the lower court and we had to go to trial.
My lawyer successfully defended me, so all is well. (Now, maybe I can get back to the writing.)
A funny part of the story: I learned I was being sued by advertising. I received three letters in the mail, all from attorneys offering to represent me, before I’d even been served.
Here’s Your Prompt:
- Involve one of your characters with the law: have them be sued (or sue someone) and need to go to trial. Or, have them witness an event at which they have to testify. Worse, have him or her be held up at gunpoint, or be standing at the register when someone comes in to rob the establishment. Tell what happens.
- Create a fictional legal system to use in a short story or novel. Design the laws (and the reasons for them), how they are broken, and what the punishments are. If the punishment includes working off the debt, define how this is accomplished. If lawbreakers are punished with incarceration, design the jail system and holding cells. If punishment includes banishment, include information on where people are banished to (the living conditions, the environment, what they’re provided with, etc.). What other ways are people held accountable for their deeds in your world?
- Imagine a world where no laws exist. How does the world function? Is it a good or bad place to live in? How do people protect themselves against (human) predators? How could a legal system evolve? Would people want it to?
- Define our legal system as you would to a child.
- Write about the time you broke the law: Have you broken the speed limit? Ignored a ‘Do Not Litter’ sign? Walked off the path in a public park? Were you caught? What happened? Did you talk your way out of the situation? Did you have to pay a fine? Did you go to jail?
- Imagine being arrested for a crime you didn’t commit. The evidence against you looks bad. It’s so bad, that if you didn’t know you hadn’t done it, you would have thought you’d done it. Does the jury find for you or against you? Write how the trial proceeds.
- Imagine you are an attorney when “the case of the century” is handed to you to prosecute or defend. You know the outcome of the trail will change the world as you know it. What is this case? What is your argument as the prosecutor or defender? What will happen if you win or lose the trial?
Thursday, November 10th, 2011
Remember this, way back in the beginning of September?
My office (and the rest of the damaged house) is starting to look liveable again.
Fresh paint has been applied, and (even though insurance didn’t cover it*) we opted to put in new carpet. I am just too paranoid about mold.
The carpet folks laid most of the carpet yesterday–a charcoal grey, smooth piled loveliness–and will be back this morning to finish up. I can’t wait!
But our furniture and things — which were boxed up and taken away by the Fire and Flood Company, won’t be back until early next week. That’s when the fun begins:
I’m on a mission to “edit out” a third to a half of the items that were in my office originally. It’s true that the company carefully wrapped and boxed my stuff, making it appear more bulky. But the sheer number of boxes they removed from my office astounded me.
And while many of them came from the double closets (yeah, that’s one thing I really like about my office space) and didn’t clutter up the room, even with the doors closed behind me as I wrote, I often felt the stuff “mentally” clutter my mind.
It’s hard to write in that environment!
Things I need to clear out:
- some abandoned crafty items I’ll probably never get back to
- tear sheets (and in some instances) entire copies of newspapers with my stories printed in them
- empty binders I’ve been hoarding to put all my genealogy paperwork in
- boxes of photos from high school, containing pics of (some) people whose names I can’t remember
- probably some other stuff I’ll be surprised to find when I open up the boxes!
The big issue for me, since I’m:
- a writer
- a genealogy buff, and,
- a former journalist with hundreds (a thousand or more?) clips
… I’ve got a terrible paper problem, especially since I so often want to keep things for “posterity.”
But the paper is starting to weigh me down.
At a minimum, I’m toying with scanning all the old manuscripts and tossing the paper. Ditto on the newspaper clips.
But what I really need is a paper-flow system to get things under control. Most days, I’ve got more paper funneling in than out, and it’s taking a toll: hence the three boxes of collected papers I need to weed through before I even get to the closet items.
How do you handle the influx of paper? What do you do with critiqued papers and clips and tear sheets that may or may not be looked at again? Where do you draw the line on what to keep?
* The insurance company was AWESOME, but they didn’t pay for new carpet. Understandable, really, since it was able to be dried. But they’ve done more for us regarding everything else. I have no complaints, and have actually been impressed with their service.
Sunday, September 11th, 2011
Years ago, at family get-togethers, I used to hear my grandparent’s ask, “What were you doing when Kennedy was shot?”
I was born long after the event, so these questions and answers felt more like a parlor game than shared remembrances — or shared horrors.
Everyone had a different story, each unique, and each remembered with such exacting detail that you could almost imagine yourself there as the tale was told.
I never dreamed I’d have my own such question to ask.
What were you doing on 9/11?
I was working in a federal building just outside of Washington, D.C. I was de facto Webmaster for a USDA agency, and working on a Web site. I’d just finished a particularly taxing page and popped over to Yahoo for a news break.
Yahoo was reporting that an airplane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Buildings. It was a one-line story, breaking news, and they had no further details. No photo accompanied the story.
I had the foresight to hit “print” and capture the page. I still have it. It reads:
Plane Crashes Into World Trade Center
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A plane crashed into one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center Tuesday, witnesses said.
I’m glad I printed the story, because I was unable to visit my other go-to news sites for more information. The Internet was tied up. In a ‘denial of service’ caused by people wanting more information, servers became quickly overloaded.
I tried phoning the Husband of Awesome™, but phone systems and cell towers in the D.C. area were also tied up.
We had a small black-and-white TV in the break room, which got poor reception on good days, but I remember watching President Bush, interrupted while reading to a group of second-graders, stop and make a statement.
After the second plane strike, and the hit on the Pentagon, fear began to percolate in our building. We were the tallest Federal Building for miles around. Could we be the next target?
Federal employees were eventually told to evacuate their buildings and go home. Those inside the beltway had trouble getting out. Streets were packed, people apparently walked for miles to get home. Just outside the Beltway, the roads were like a ghost town. I remember getting onto the highway and being amazed that mine was the only car there.
After a while, a few more cars came onto the road, but the eerie feeling didn’t leave, even with their presence.
I got home, turned on the TV, and sat glued there for the rest of the day. Images of the planes hitting the towers were replayed over and over again. It’s changed the way I see airplanes.
To this day, I can’t look at a plane in the sky and not remember 9/11.
What were you doing on 9/11?
Monday, August 22nd, 2011
The cover is available for the how-to-write paranormal guide that I’ve written a chapter for!
Isn’t it gorgeous?
It looks like there might be a change in title in this volume. It was originally to be called: The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal: Undead, Cursed and Inhuman. Now, it just looks like it’s going to be called The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal: Volume 1.
A tentative publication date is slated for September or October (yes, 2011!) by Dragon Moon Press.
Until Kim Richards took over the editing for this book, I was seriously doubting that it would ever get published. I’ve had to move it up my bibliography page for the last couple of years, having been first “Forthcoming in 2009,” I believe.
I’ve never had a piece be accepted and then sit so long before publication (though I admit I have another piece out there right now that’s approaching a similar timeline…)
That being said…
Yay! (Yeah, I know I said that already, but I’m too excited to keep it in.)
My chapter is on finding and joining (or starting your own) critique group…but there is tons of nuts and bolts information about how to write anything paranormal. And there were so many contributions by authors, that there are two volumes planned.
I’ll let you know when the book is available for sale.
Monday, August 15th, 2011
Q: So have you heard about the writer who got his screenplay blown up with a bomb?
A: This isn’t a joke.
Apparently an aspiring screenplay writer left his script in a locked briefcase in an L.A. agent’s offices Friday. The agency called the police about the bag, and, following protocol, they blew it up.
To make matters worse: he’d left his laptop in the briefcase, so that’s gone, too.
You can read the full story here in the New York Times.
This poor guy broke a pile of rules related to finding an agent:
- he (apparently) hung out at the agency and made a pest of himself.
- he hand-delivered his manuscript (which can be okay if the agent requests it – apparently, no agent requested this writer do so)
- he caused the employees in the office to be suspicious-enough – even frightened enough – to call the police to investigate
I have to wonder why he left his laptop along with the briefcase. It’s a new “thing not to do” on my radar.
(Really, it’s common sense, isn’t it, to keep your laptop and offer an agent a copy of your manuscript?)
In my book, this trumps sliding your manuscript to an agent underneath a bathroom stall door.
I don’t think this guy is stupid, he’s probably desperate, and uninformed. He should have done his homework. There are tons of sites on the internet devoted to helping writers get published.
Have you ever done anything — or known anyone else to do anything — so uninformed in a search for an agent?
Thursday, May 19th, 2011
I recently sold my flash fiction piece, “To Bead or Not to Bead” to The Gunpowder Review.
The Gunpowder Review is a literary magazine which publishes the creative work of women writers, artists, and photographers with a Harford County or Maryland connection.
Since I grew up in Harford County (Go Hawks!) I qualify.
“To Bead or Not To Bead” is a pun-y little piece about the Greek Fates — those women who spin, weave and cut the threads of life. You can probably guess what kind of direction the story takes, judging by its title.
I’ll let you know when it’s available.
In other writerly goodness, I’ve received my paperback copy of Hellebore and Rue.
::: Exciting! :::
I don’t know what magic was used to print the cover of the anthology, but it’s wonderful!
The cover feels like a very soft suede, smooth and — almost — warm to the touch. (And, yes, it’s made of paper.) I like handling it very much.
Hellebore and Rue has received a wonderful review, in which the reviewer mentioned that she’d like to see a sequel or longer work with my characters (which totally makes my day).
How cool is it that a reader wants to know more after the story is over?
Food for thought…
Thursday, February 17th, 2011
I was interviewed at the “Fascinating Authors” Web site a few weeks ago and it’s finally posted!
:: Exciting!! ::
They requested a written interview and then called me for a phone interview which has been recorded for the ‘net.
Here’s a link to the recorded version. This version is fun because you get to know what I *sound* like. The interviewer asked me some interesting questions and talked about how transparent I am on my Web site.
Here’s a link to the written version. Here I give advice to aspiring authors and talk more about Blood Soup, and I reveal what I do in my day job.
I’ll admit that I haven’t gone back to see what they’ve edited — if anything — for either of the interviews.
(Because I’m a chicken. My hometown newspaper did a piece on me over the summer and the paper is still sitting here unopened on my desk. What if it’s awful?)
And who really likes the sound of his own recorded voice?
Meh. Please, go listen and tell me how it is.
:: Still jumping, though… ‘cos it was a lot of fun! ::
Thursday, February 10th, 2011
I had planned for 2011 to be a quiet year as far as being involved was concerned. I want to write more, finish more and submit more than I was able to do last year due to the blog tour, and teaching, and conventions.
And so far, so good. I’ve gotten much more writing done this year (so far) than I had in the same time frame last year.
But, suddenly, there’s a lot going on. Which is good, I realize, so I’ve decided to roll with it.
Here’s the news:
I’ve been interviewed for the Fascinating Authors web site…. link to interview here… and there’s an accompanying radio interview, too. That hasn’t been posted yet, but I’ll mention a link when I have it. (The radio interview was A LOT of fun!)
And I’ve gotten an invitation to Syndcon – a gaming convention in Rockville, MD, (in April) and I’ve accepted. I’m tentatively scheduled to teach a writing workshop with some other writers in the area, as well as appear on some panels.
Any gamers lurking out there who want to learn a bit about writing?
We’re brainstorming some gaming/writing ideas right now. If you’re interested in seeing something in particular, send me a note. I’ll suggest it to the programming staff.
(I hope I’ll get some gaming in, too, during the con. It’s been a while since I’ve taken my bag of dice and characters out for a spin.)
I’ve also been invited back to Darkover. I had a total blast last year, so you can bet I’ll be back. (Darkover happens over Thanksgiving weekend.)
And saving the best for last: Hellebore and Rue is officially out! (I’ll post some buy links as soon as I track them down.)
I’m still in love with that cover. Isn’t it gorgeous?
If you enjoy stories of women wielding magic, you may want to check it out. I’ve written a tale about a swordsmistress who fights a wyvern — with the help of a sorceress.
(You’ll have to let me know what you think if you read it.)