Patience aka WHY CAN’T I HAVE MY BOOK NOW?

Patience is probably one the virtues I wish I was better at. Writing is a slow process THAT TAKES FOREVER AND WHY CAN’T I HAVE MY BOOK NOW?

Depending on how fast you write, finishing the first draft of a single short story can take a month or more, and if you start working on a longer piece… that can drag on for years (just don’t be one of those people who is ‘working on a novel’ without ever writing a word, okay? Get it on paper.). You finally get the story done and stare at your lovely, little word blob and then it just magically becomes a book instantly. That’s a new mac attachment clearly, the iPublishnow.

Truth: ALL OF THAT WRITING ISN’T EVEN THE HALF OF IT.

After you finish that first steaming draft full of problems and trouble THEN you have to go back and edit, and sometimes rewrite it. And you do this step over and over and over. Until your eyes sizzle and coffee drizzles from your nose.

After that, you submit it off into the wild blue-green yonder where it either a) goes off to an agent to look for representation b) goes to a publisher (and probably the BUMBUMBUM slush pile) or c) self-pub baby!

(okay, those are not every option ever available for a writer, but let’s just stick with those three for simplicity’s sake, kay?)

From here, everything requires more steps.

AKA No don’t just type THE END and throw it up on Amazon and wait for the money to rain down from the muses that live above your bed.

From here it will try to find a home, contracts will be negotiated, drawn up, yadda yadda, THEN it will go through a series of edits, a title will be decided, descriptions created, covers  made, and formatting fought with. Annnnd probably more that I’m forgetting or just plain don’t know about because they haven’t happened to me yet.

End of story: There’s still a TON of steps from after you type the end to when you hold your precious word vomit baby in your arms and coo over it.

The fastest one has gone for me is a short story that took roughly 6 months from THE END to print version, and that was damn fast because it only had four people in the anthology.

The longest?

Well, let’s just say there are some 3+ year projects that haven’t moved forward past typing THE END yet.

That’s another part of writing you don’t learn about until you’re there. Projects can and will just freeze for unknown reasons. Sometimes a project falls through the little literary cracks and plops into a whole lot of nope. When that happens you’ve got to pull your story out of that muck and try to find your baby a new home. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and that little sucker lives in a drawer in your desk for forever.

The point is, if you’re going to play the game and get your thing out into the world then you’ve got to have a certain level of patience and know that things move SLLLOOOOWWWW when it comes to publishing.

Finish your projects, send them off, meet your deadlines (please don’t be the jerk to hold up everyone else), and then START ON A NEW PROJECT. Don’t sit and stare at the screen, waiting for an email of every step of the process, let go of that sent-off darling and start vomiting out a new lovely, word baby. Try to have projects out and about all the time, and remember to just breathe and keep writing: that’s your job.

Podcast Excitement!

So the first Monday of a month is usually devoted to Fandom First posts but… I was on a super cool podcast that I am so excited to share!

I was interviewed on the awesme Less Than Or Equal. What is that you ask? Well, from the website:

“Welcome to Less Than Or Equal, a podcast dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of geeks facing inequality in their industries.

Everyone of every gender, sexual orientation, race, color, physical ability, and physical appearance deserves to be treated equally by the tech industry and other geeky communities. We believe the catalyst for a cultural shift toward equality is continued conversation that drives awareness and understanding.”

A pretty awesome goal right?

I am incredibly honored to be a guest on the show and hope you’ll give it a listen and support Less Than Or Equal.

You can find my episode here.

Friday Review: The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley is the heartbreaking, gorgeous tale of Drew and his creation Patient F.

Drew believes he was suppose to die in the crash that killed the rest of his family. Now he lives in the hospital, sleeps in a forgotten closet, works in the cafeteria, and hangs out with the nurses all while avoiding death who roams the hospital searching for him. The only thing that gives him much comfort is working on his comic about Patient F. But when Rusty screams into the ER covered in burns, Drew is drawn out of hiding and finds new hope about a future outside of the hospital. But first he has to deal with death, and the truth about himself (and Patient F).

This book had me openly crying on the train several times while reading through it. It’s a poignant story about a boy so afraid of who he is and of losing that image he’s created that he denies himself the chance for a life outside of the hospital. Drew is such a sweet, conflicted character that I wanted to reach through the book and hug him. All the secondary characters are fleshed out, real people that make the hospital feel like a real place.

The intermixing of the story of Drew and the graphic novel of Patient F tie together beautifully, and made the story even more interesting. I read this on the Kindle and was thrilled that the graphic sections were just as easy to read as the text. it never pulled me out of the story and they connected in a subtle but clear way.

This is my favorite book of 2015 so far, and it’s one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years. A beautiful tale about tragedy, and finding your way through to the other side of grief.

You can find The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley here.

Be Boring

When I was first starting to really take myself seriously as a writer (as in writing every day and trying to actively get published), I remember thinking that I was way too boring to write anything exciting. I mean, I don’t do drugs, or get black out drunk every night. I don’t go wild and travel through dangerous areas in the dead of night. Hell, I think the most dangerous thing I do on a regular basis is walk into my bookshelf nearly every morning when I’m getting ready for work because despite nearly a year of it being in the same place, it’s always a surprise!

I grew up with stories about the wild antics of writings, with the motto ‘write drunk, edit sober’ being thrown around by everyone I knew. I always thought I was too much of a bore to fit in, but what I’ve found over the last few years has been the opposite. Schedules actually help me keep at my writing more than any sort of wild life ever could.

Knowing that I’m home by 4 every day and sticking to the schedule lets me prepare to write. It’s become a habit now. I don’t have to sit and wait to be inspired to write, it’s simply 4:00 and time to write. Most of the writers I know who are successful do this. They write and take care of themselves. There are always exceptions to the rule, but by and large, the writers who are making it in the creative world work on schedules, not whims.

Now clearly not every day works out in an ideal way, but having a steady life where I am not totally clueless about what’s coming next helps keep me grounded. When I’m not stressing about what’s going to happen tomorrow (or where I’m going to get my next fix) keeps me focused on the story at hand. I’ve fond that the only real way to get any writing accomplished is really simple: sit on your butt (or stand at your standing desk) and write. There’s nothing else that puts the words into the world. Not talking about writing, not daydreaming, not reading. At the end of the day the only way to write is…. to write.

And a boring, stable life helps that happen.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to keep a boring life in all aspects. Try new things, travel to new places, eat weird food that you can’t pronounce, and do things that scare you, but never feel like having a stable life is a disadvantage when it comes to being creative.

Friday Review: Mabon and Pomegranate

Mabon and Pomegranate by Kimberly Richardson

Mabon and Pomegranate by Kimberly Richardson

Mabon and Pomegranate by Kimberly Richardson is a collection of two stories, both involving women who discover worlds outside of everything they’ve ever known.

Mabon tells the story of Monica who makes the decision to leave a life that’s dragging her down and moves to the town of Mabon where she immediately finds the home of her dreams. The city, the people and the life in Mbon is what Monica has been searching for her whole life. She meets glamorous strangers and falls in love, but rumblings of an Other World war threaten to destroy her new life. She must work together with the mysterious Auberon to save her love, or maybe find a new love. Mabon ends with her decision still hanging in the balance and I’m looking forward to the sequel to see what happens next!

Pomegranate is the story of Alexandra. She has a wonderful husband, an incredible life, and her dream of running her own bookstore. But a black clad stranger enters her world and makes her start to question the life she’s built. When the unthinkable happens, Alexandra must decide whether to dive into the world of pomegranates or to stay with what she’s always known.

These stories are both tales of woman being swept away into a dark, beautiful world filled with passion and danger they’ve never before known.

You can buy Mabon and Pomegranate here.

Let’s Stretch!

One of the downfalls of the writing life (and a lot of office jobs) is the amount of time spent sitting on a computer typing. Back and hip pain is common, and carpel tunnel is a concern for many writers.

I’ve compiled a few of my favorite stretching videos so you can keep flexible.  So, in the words of Jeremy Renner…

Hands, and wrists:

Shoulders:

Hips:

Lower Back:

Those are just a few of my favorite stretching videos. Do you have any videos that help with stretching?

Write Like You Because There is No One Right Way to Write

Confession time!

I am a morning person. I love morning. I love getting up early and getting things done before other people are out of bed. I love breakfast more than any other meal in the world (exept maybe brunch) and I want to eat the second I open my eyes.

 

Most of my friends are night people (RESPECT!) but I would much rather go to bed early and deal with the world in the morning. Things get weird after midnight. What’s embarassing about this is how long it took me to actually admit. I like the idea of being a night person, and the countless articles floating around about how night owls are more creative makes my writer self chafe.

I tried for many years to make night owl work for me. I’d stay up late with my friends, write at night, and generally shun the day, but it never led to me being very good at being well…me. I became a miserable zombie just blindly poking at a keyboard and hoping for the best.

Everyone has their own quirks and their own habits for writing. You develop a system that works. Some people write in coffee shops or else not at all while other people can’t write anywhere but their office. Neither one of them is wrong, just different. Over the years, I’ve realized that fighting against your process is dumb and helps nothing. I know I write better in the morning but I constantly try to write at night because that’s what so many other people do. I might be a strong, independent woman but that allure of ‘writing the right way’ keeps drawing me back even though I know there is no one right way.

Write when you can when it’s best for you, and forget what other people are doing. Maybe some people would rather sleep until noon and write until 3am, if it works for them awesome! Maybe some people write in marathon 10,000 word binge all nighters. But don’t ever feel like someone else’s process has to be yours.

What works for you might even change over the years and that’s okay. Life happens, circumstances change and you keep rolling with it. Writing can be a chaotic, emotionally draining pursuit, don’t make it harder by trying to be someone you’re not. There is no one magical right way to write, it’s whatever way works for you.

International Women’s Day!

Read the Global World

Yesterday was International Women’s Day so to celebrate I wanted to post some of my favorite women writers, and to hear what writers you love!

  1. Banana Yoshimoto
  2. Alia Mamdouh
  3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  4. Rosa Montero
  5. Ludmila Petrushevskaya
  6. Octavia Butler
  7. Helen Oyeyemi
  8. Anita Desai
  9. Kim In-Suk
  10. Leslie Marmon Silko

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are thousands upon thousands of incredible writers all over the world. These are just a few of the authors I’ve read and enjoyed.

Who’s you favorite author?

Fandom First: The Business of Conventions

When thinking about comic/fantasy/sci fi conventions, most people immediatly think of costumes, and a gathering of people playing games or talking about the latest books and movies. Few people immediatly think of economic power and the impact a large convention can have on a city. But conventions have a huge economic impact on the cities they’re hosted in, and on the vendors and dealers travelling around the world with booths.

In an essay for Apex Magazine, I looked at the economic forces behind conventions and the money behind the funny business of fandom.

You can read the essay here.

Liebster Tag! 11 Questions and Random Fact about Yours Truly

The amazing Meghan nominated me for the Liebster award so now you get to learn all kinds of new things about me. exciting, yes?

1. What was the WORST story you’ve ever written?

Oh god, so many…. Um… any first draft? There was a story I once wrote about a girl who grew a garden and then TWIST AT THE END. She’s blind. It was awful. I was also 7.

2. If you could cast anyone to be your favorite main character, who would you choose?

My instinct is Tom Hiddleston, but he’s already Loki so that doesn’t work out…….I really want to see Gina Torres as Wonder Woman!!

3. If you could no longer write in your favorite genre, which genre would you switch to?

Romance easy. In fact I do write in it too so that doesn’t really count… I write in a lot of genres already so this is a challenge. I suppose if I could no longer write genre fiction I’d switch to poetry again.

4. Do you ever act out scenes to make sure you get them just right?

All the time. I regularly flail around my room trying to make sense of what my characters are doing.

5. Have you ever been caught talking out loud to a character?

Absolutely. I mutter under my breath and tend to work in the living room so my roomies have often asked, “What are you doing?”

6. Which character was the toughest for you to write and why?

I struggled with the creation of The Bone Queen character because it was the first time I really got to go on and write a full villain origin story. I wanted her to own her choice, not be brought into it because someone hurt her. I wanted her to have agency over her own life, and her decisions.

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7. What are your top five songs for you current book?

Well I actually have a playlist you can listen to for that.

8. What would you do if you could hang out with any of your characters?

I would totally hang out with Aramis, the Pulptress, and Jackson! They’re entertaining. I bet Aramis could really help with my french langauge skulls too.

9. Which non-standard word do you use most often?

Oh god, I’m so bad at this. I like using sounds as verbs so people ‘THUNK’ downwards.

10. What is the weirdest thing you’ve had to research for a book?

So many options… I guess probably looking at how exactly Black Plague victim bodies were dealt with and studying that time period.

11. Based on your search history, would you potentially be arrested?

Oh yes.

Alright so now we come to 11 facts about me.

  1. Two cats have recently adopted me and turned my world upside down.
  2. I am a vegeterian and have been for almost as long as I have been eating.
  3. I LOVE video games and wrote my thesis about them.
  4. I’ve been going to conventions regularly for over 10 years.
  5. Welcome to NightVale is probably one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen.
  6. I use star stickers to mark my calendar with what I’ve done that day.
  7. I hate driving. I really want to live car free but my area isn’t friendly to that lifestyle.
  8. I’ve only recently gotten into comic books and I’m in love with them.
  9. Cooking, baking and cleaning are how I procrastinate.
  10. I’m a morning person and would much rather get up early than sleep in.
  11. Dark chocolate is my true weakness.

I don’t actually know a lot of people who blog so… here are the few I know.

Sean Taylor

M.B. Weston

Selah Janel

And anyone reading this who has a blog and wants to do this. YES YOU RIGHT THERE LOOKING AT THIS ON A SCREEN.

And my 11 questions for you:

  1. Plotter or Pantser? Why?
  2. Do you write every day or in one great marathon?
  3. What’s the best writing advice you were given?
  4. What’s the worst writing advice you’ve been given?
  5. Do you have a writing ritual? What’s involved?
  6. Favorite author?
  7. Who is your favorite character from your own work?
  8. What’s your next project?
  9. Favorite inspirational quote.
  10. Where do you do most of your writing? Why?
  11. What’s your favorite recipe? (Seriously, I need some new ones)

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