What’s Up Wednesday, off the waiting list!

January 29, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Let’s see. Still working away at my Kindle magazines, but at least I’m nearly caught up on short stories. I’ve decided to start with the shorts, (and the poetry,) then go back and try to be more selective with the novellas and novelettes, trying to figure out which are worth my time to read.

I’ve also started “Terra” by Mitch Benn, which Elizabeth was keen to loan out to somebody at the Evensies write-in, and I can see why. It’s a cool story with a British sense of humour, about an alien scientist who ends up adopting an Earthling girl and raising her on his home planet, and it’s already making me think about my ‘Kitchen Scale’ aliens in new ways. I’ve also started “Sandman Slim” on audible, and begun listening to the Escape artists podcasts.

What I’m writing:

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Are you (walking/driving) comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

January 28, 2014

Okay, I’ve dived into my new Escape Artist podcasts, and don’t think I’ll be backing out, though it’ll probably (hopefully?) take me a long time to catch up on the incredible backlog of stories there. I started listening to them when braving the elements yesterday to get some exercise and fresh air on a day when the weather was lousy enough that I worked from home instead of driving into the office. And the stories were good enough to make me forget about the treacherous sidewalks I was picking my way over and lose myself to a faraway seashore with a boy genius and a great city besieged by intangible aliens.

It was as that second podcast was starting, that I thought of the quote I paraphrased in the title. I never listened to “Listen with Mother” on the radio, or watched on the television. The most direct experience I have with it was when it was sampled on Doctor Who, or referenced by Flanders and Swann. But I love the idea of these fiction podcasts as storytelling for the new millenium. They have a different kind of feel from longer audiobooks, or podcasting shows that are centered around the hosts and the general topic.

This morning, I listened to the same podcast on the drive into work, and got a pleasant surprise at the end of it, as an Escape Artist editor came on to summarize some listener e-mail and/or reviews they got for an earlier story–by Brad Hafford! I met Brad this summer; he was our resident adviser for Odyssey, and though I knew he was a talented writer, I guess I’d never bothered to track down his publications. Now I know where to find at least one; it wasn’t on the Escape Pod iTunes feed, but the archives on the Escape Pod website seem to go all the way back to the beginning.

What’s the coolest unexpected surprise you’ve ever found in a podcast?


Weekend Writing Warriors – Measuring Alien Love on a Kitchen Scale 8

January 26, 2014

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

This week, I’m continuing with the sample chapters of my unfinished Nano. Gordon is surprised to be out to dinner with a beautiful girl and her alien sweetie, and he’s telling them a bit of his family history…

wewriwa

Snippet 1 Snippet 2 Snippet 3 Snippet 4 Snippet 5 Snippet 6 Snippet 7

“I went to a chef’s college in Paris once I graduated from secondary school,” I continued. “That’s where I met Tommy; he was one year ahead of me. I studied there for two years, and there was a charity cook-off the summer after that. Tommy and I both participated. He got runner-up, and I didn’t place nearly as well. Mom and I got into a big fight afterwards; she and Dad both came to watch the quarter-finals, but I’d washed out before they arrived. I stormed off to the airport with nothing but a computer tablet and credit chip, took the first flight I could get a seat on, signed up for university without even caring where I’d landed. A few weeks later, some movers showed up with all of my stuff from Paris.”

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at http://www.wewriwa.blogspot.ca/.


So much to read, and listen to–so little time!

January 25, 2014

I’ve been doing some planning for my reading of 2014 lately. So far, in the new year, I’ve read ‘Discworld: Reaper Man’ from the library, listened to a Vampire Diaries digital audiobook also from the local library, read quite a bit from my Kindle magazines, including the conclusion of the ‘Lockstep’ serial in Analog.

One thing I definitely want to get back to is making sure that I’m well read on the classics of SF. Two and a half years ago, after going to the Young Gunns workshop for the first time, I realized that I had some catch-up reading to do and downloaded several Audible books from the CSSF Institute curriculum for SF teachers. It took me over a year to finish the last of those five books, and I’ve added a few other books from the list, like Childhood’s End, The Puppet Masters, and The Time Machine, but I haven’t tried to tackle it systematically since. Until now.

For my first Audible picks of the year, I took the original ‘Dune’, which I never read, and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I also picked a couple audiobooks that weren’t on the CSSF list: “Thuvia Maid of Mars”, which I tried reading on my phone last year because I liked the original Barsoom trilogy so much, but couldn’t motivate myself to continue, and “Sandman Slim”, a recommendation that’s been sitting on my wish list since last summer; one of a trio of suggestions for fans of Harry Dresden, actually. The Iron Druid and Kate Daniels books have worked out, so why not give Slim a try?

I’m also hoping to listen to ‘Neuromancer’ soon; I didn’t grab that one from Audible because it’s available for downloading from the library, whoo-hoo! Which brings me to some other reading lists I’ve been working on; series that I’ve enjoyed and wish to continue, like the Spiderwick Chronicles, Heechee Saga, Jeeves, Culture, John De Chancie’s Castle Perilous books; and authors who don’t have specific series I’m in the middle of but I know I want to read more of, including Neil Gaiman, Sophie Kinsella, Lani Diane Rich, Wil Wheaton, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C Clarke, Theodore Sturgeon, and Robert Heinlein. I’ve gone through a lot of these with the library catalog, figuring out which books I could borrow and in what formats.

Then there’s the books I’ve already got on my ‘to read’ piles: I got several paperbacks for my birthday and christmas, including Elizabeth Moon, the latest Iron Druid, and two Diana Wynne Jones. Also some Sherlock Holmes on this list, a Song of Ice and Fire, and the collaborated Myth-Adventures…

As if all this weren’t enough, I’ve finally taken Elizabeth Twist’s advice to check out the Escape Artists story podcasts. Now, I have eighty-some MP3 fantasy and SF stories sitting on my hard drive, and I’m not even sure where to start first. Thanks a lot, Elizabeth! 😉

So, what about you? Is there anything particular you’re looking forward to reading (either print or audio) in 2014?


I’m not one to ‘quit the day job’, I think.

January 23, 2014

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about that sort of choice, the notion of leaving the safety net of a nine to five gig behind and having more time to devote to your creative dreams. With the new year, lots of fellow writers are trying to spend more time drafting, revising, and submitting, and talking about their choices and trade-offs with the other things they’re spending time on in their lives.

It’s even come up on the TV show, ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ Starting with the January 2nd episode, Penny (Kaley Cuoco,) went through some high highs and rapid lows in her quest for success on the small screen, and ended up deciding to give up waitressing at the Cheesecake Factory so as to put more time and effort into looking for gigs and taking acting classes. (Which freaked Leonard out, because he couldn’t identify with taking such a big risk himself.)

I think that on the whole, staying with the full-time day job is the right choice for myself. I’m blessed to have an opportunity to get a good, steady paycheck doing something I love, with people who don’t generally drive me too crazy, and there’s a lot to be said for the value of peace of mind. But who knows, maybe someday I’ll find myself out of a job and pouring my heart into writing all day every day will be the right thing to do!

One more reason to save a little money in the rainy-day fund I guess. What about you? Have you made the big choice one way or another, or taken a third path like some of my good friends here in Hamilton?


What’s Up Wednesday? The freakin’ Polar Vortex!

January 22, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Well, I just finished the ‘Lockstep’ serial in Analog magazine, loved the ending, but I’ve still got lots of magazine stories to read. Also finished ‘Vampire Diaries: Shadow Souls’ from the library, and been catching up on podcasts, but I just bought me some new books at Audible: The Handmaid’s Tale, Dune, Samdman Slim, and Thuvia Maid of Mars.

What I’m writing:

Finished the draft synopsis of “Alien Love on a Kitchen Scale,” and started getting back to revisions of  “Gotta Have that Look.” Once again having issues trying to figure out how much critique feedback to take and what to ignore, sigh.

What inspires me right now:

The Kitchen Scale soundtrack, Castle, Stringing Words, and the new Odfellows newsletter.

What else I’ve been up to:

Not very much. We drove around looking at new office locations for my day job team yesterday; looks like we have to be moved by March at the latest. Calling around to family making plans for my sister’s birthday. 🙂

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


Weekend Writing Warriors – Measuring Alien Love on a Kitchen Scale 7

January 19, 2014

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

This week, I’m continuing with the sample chapters of my unfinished Nano. Gordon is surprised to be out to dinner with a beautiful girl and her alien sweetie, and he’s telling them a bit of his family history…

wewriwa

Snippet 1 Snippet 2 Snippet 3 Snippet 4 Snippet 5 Snippet 6

“When I was thirteen, I started to get interested in cooking, myself. Mother suggested some good training programs for adolescent chefs… actually no, that’s not right. Mother picked out ONE program and actually enrolled me in it, but my father pulled me out of that one. He said it needed to be my choice, not hers, so then she offered half a dozen alternative courses, and I picked one.”

“I think I’m sensing some mommy issues,” Vanessa said.

“I guess she was used to being in charge, especially when it came to the kitchen. Wyatt was her birth name; did you know that? Dad agreed to change his, when they married, because she was the brand, the star.”

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at http://www.wewriwa.com/.


Race score down one (for now,) Rejections count up one

January 17, 2014

Yesterday I got an apologetic form-letter rejection from Sheila Williams at Asimov’s, passing on ‘Return to Civilization.’ I think this is only the second rejection I’ve received since getting back from Odyssey, so I need to kick the submissions up as much as I can.

First step would be sending Return to Civ out again somewhere else. I’m thinking I could try Analog but I’m not entirely sure. I’ll try to get it submitted before the weekend is out. That’ll bring my race score up to three, and then I can see what I can do about getting ‘Gotta Have that Look’ or “Orpheus and the Cameraman” whipped into shape to submit too.


What’s Up (is finally back on a) Wednesday!

January 15, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! After skipping Wednesdays for the holidays, and fudging the date last week for IWSG, it’s great to be back on Wednesday.

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still plenty of magazine stories on the Kindle. Catching up on F&SF’s November/December issue at the moment. I didn’t really follow ‘Success’ but rather liked “Through Mud One Picks a Way” and “Hell for Company.” Still listening to the library digital audiobook of “Vampire Diaries: Shadow Souls.”

What I’m writing:

Finished the revision of “Orpheus and the Cameraman” I’ve been working on, yay! Also finished my Making Magic exercises with Kitchen Scale, and started the synopsis/outline.

What inspires me right now:

Soundtracks and collage! Odyssey Team Ambitious friends, and talking about conventions and markets and local workshops.

What else I’ve been up to:

Made it into Toronto for the Buffy Fan club dinner, which was a lot of fun. The cold weather has me mostly hunkered down and working on creative stuff, which is definitely a good thing.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


Generating creative magic

January 14, 2014

So, I’ve been working for a while at the Storywonk Making Magic class. It’s taken me a little while to get into the magic groove, actually, (odd since I’m such a fantasy fan,) but there’s some great stuff in the course. I totally recommend it, especially for the encouraging tips Lani has about different ways to go out and hunt your magic; activities to help you get in touch with your muse, and sort out the inspiration you need for this particular book.

The first big exercise was the soundtrack. I love using music to fuel my inspiration, and Lani had some good tips for how to pick a good soundtrack, and avoiding the dangers of using something with too many memories that don’t really fit the book. On the other hand, I found I had some problems with her approach of going out and finding brand new music, because it takes me too long to figure out how I feel about a new song. So for my ‘Alien Love on a Kitchen Scale’ soundtrack, I ended up going through the ‘mid-tier’ of my music collection, considering a bunch of songs that I kinda liked but hadn’t rated with high numbers of stars. A few B-list songs snuck in there, mostly because I couldn’t shake the fact that they’d shown me something important about my characters, and I had to work for a few days cutting the list down to a length that seemed reasonable. Here’s the final soundtrack, more or less in the order of priority I was using to axe the last few stragglers:

  • Love Is My Witness, by Amanda Marshall
  • Clueless, by Billy Gilman
  • If My Life Was a Movie, by Steve Fox
  • That Was Us, by Alexz Johnson
  • Clocks, by Coldplay
  • Not That Different, by Collin Raye
  • Variations 1-4, by Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • More Love, by the Dixie Chicks
  • Snow Globe, by Chely Wright
  • Benefit of Doubt, by Chris Cummings
  • I Just Came Back From a War, by Darryl Worley
  • Waiting For Angels, by the Ennis Sisters
  • Haunted (Acoustic version) by Taylor Swift
  • Life For Rent, by Dido
  • I Wonder, by Aaron Pritchett
  • St John’s Waltz, by Ron Hynes
  • Blown Away, by Carrie Underwood
  • Summertown Road, by Brad Johner
  • Must To Be Free, by The Watchmen
  • Reasons Why, by Nickel Creek

Read the rest of this entry »


%d bloggers like this: