Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shadowbridge reviews

My Shadowbridge reviews are now up at Mostly Fiction. Shadowbridge and Lord Tophet by Gregory Frost. I recommend them both, but heed my caveat at the end of the Shadowbridge review. ;)

My copies of The Best of Every Day Fiction 2008 just arrived, complete with a Wall Street Journal review saying it's "worth checking out".

Very impressive volume.

I'm sick in bed with bronchitis and fighting with bookmark designs. The good news is that Borders here in Santa Rosa, CA will be poppin' them in SF/F book purchases before the Awesome Lavratt launch there on the 25th.

I can also pass them out at the next Odd Month Reading in Santa Rosa on the 10th. Here's more info on that in case you're local.

Redwood Writers presents
the Odd Month Reading Series...

into the new year!

January 10, 2009 2 - 4 PM

Rincon Valley Library

6959 Montecito Blvd, Santa Rosa
707) 537-0289

Redwood Writer, Ann Wilkes, will emcee this afternoon of literary delights from Sonoma County authors.

Redwood Writers is one of 17 branches of the California Writers Club, the nation’s oldest professional club for writers, founded in 1909. Its motto is "writers helping writers." 2009 is our centennial year – one hundred hears of literary history.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Favorite SF novel series? ... and randomness

This question was asked on my LinkedIn SF group. I had some ready responses I thought I'd share here:

Uplift War, David Brin
Ender's Game(first series), Orson Scott Card
Thursday Next, Jasper Fforde (okay, so it's fantasy...)
Foundation series and Robot series, Isaac Asimov
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, Douglas Adams
Grand Tour of the Universe, Ben Bova

Anyone else want to chime in here?

Awesome Lavratt
now has three Amazon reviews to add to those I've had elsewhere.

Just watched Sixth Day again. I think it's almost time to watch The Thirteenth Floor again, too. Hmmm...I detect a pattern here. Perhaps I'm gearing up for another movie that involves only a number? 2012?

The Star Trek preview looks promising, too.

I now have a speaking profile (see link on right near the top). If you need a speaker, let me know.

I spent Christmas in bed with bronchitis. :( It's amazing the amount of email that accumulates in just a couple of days!

Finally, this is too funny not to share. Brought to you from the Brunching Shuttlecocks: The Geek Heirarchy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Victimized! and Awesome happenings

Someone, somehow got a hold of my bank information and made a purchase at an adult website in my name. As a result, I had to close my bank account today. That was the easy part. Now I have to track down all those recurring payments that won't be able to recur... Not to mention the online billing information at a dozen different sites. And then there's the surviving without the ATM cards until the new ones come. UGH!

Well, on a brighter note, the Awesome Lavratt book launch is scheduled for Janurary 25th at Borders in Santa Rosa, CA. I'm also going to be on the radio promoting it on the 7th at 7PM. The radio station is at 91 FM out of Rohnert Park, CA but is also streamed on their website.

I just joined yet another social network. This one is for speakers. And within it is a subgroup of speakers who are writers. And then, since they didn't have one yet, I started a subgroup of Toastmasters. I had a dozen new members overnight. I have mentioned that I'm a networking junkie...

I've also volunteered to speak for the American Cancer Society. Did I mention I also suffer from volunteeritis?

Of course, the problem is that what with the FT job, the book publicity and the holiday preparations, there hasn't been much actually fiction writing of late. >>takes a deep breath<< I have to get better at budgeting what little time I have. I think I may have to blow up the TV. Of course, it's going to become obsolete in less than 60 days anyway...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Awesome Lavratt available now!

Lookie, lookie! Awesome Lavratt is at Amazon

Ask for it in your local book store. If you've read it, please give it a review. :)

In bed with a cold...more in a couple days.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Grasping for the Wind's Book Reviewers Linkup Meme

My friend Linda McCabe found this gem and shared it with me. This will keep me busy forever updating my sf book reviewers site.

This was posted on Grasping for the Wind: Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Reviews.

Here's the deal:

My list of fantasy and sf book reviewers is woefully out of date. I need your help to fix that. But rather than go through the hassle of having you send me recommendations or sticking them in comments, what you can do is take the following list and stick it on your website, then add yourself to the list, preferably in alphabetical order. That way, I will be able to track it across the web from back links, and can add each new blog to my roll as it comes along. So take this list, add it to your blog, and add a link to your blog on it. If you are already on the list, repost this meme at your blog so others can see it, and find new blogs from the links others put up on their blogs. Everybody wins! Be sure to send the list around to others as well.

7 Foot Shelves
The Accidental Bard
A Boy Goes on a Journey
A Dribble Of Ink
A Hoyden's Look at Literature
Adventures in Reading
The Agony Column
Andromeda Spaceways
The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
Ask Daphne
Australia Specfic in Focus
Author 2 Author
Barbara Martin
Bees (and Books) on the Knob
Bibliophile Stalker
Bitten by Books
The Black Library Blog
Blog, Jvstin Style
Blood of the Muse
The Book Bind
The Book Smugglers
The Book Swede
Breeni Books
Cheaper Ironies [pro columnist]
Cheryl's Musings
Critical Mass
Damien G. Walter
Danger Gal
Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews
Darque Reviews
Dave Brendon's Fantasy and Sci-Fi Weblog
Dear Author
The Deckled Edge
Dragons, Heroes and Wizards
The Discriminating Fangirl
Dusk Before the Dawn
Enter the Octopus
Eve's Alexandria
Fantastic Reviews
Fantastic Reviews Blog
Fantasy Book Critic
Fantasy Cafe
Fantasy Debut
Fantasy Book Reviews and News
Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin' Blog
Feminist SF - The Blog!
The Fix
The Foghorn Review
Frances Writes
From a Sci-Fi Standpoint
Fruitless Recursion
The Galaxy Express
The Gamer Rat
Genre Reviews
Graeme's Fantasy Book Review
Grasping for the Wind
The Green Man Review
Highlander's Book Reviews
The Hub Magazine
Ink and Keys
Jumpdrives and Cantrips
Lair of the Undead Rat
League of Reluctant Adults
Literary Escapism
Michele Lee's Book Love
The Mistress of Ancient Revelry
MIT Science Fiction Society
Monster Librarian
More Words, Deeper Hole
Mostly Harmless Books
My Favourite Books
Neth Space
The New Book Review
OF Blog of the Fallen
The Old Bat's Belfry
Outside of a Dog
Pat's Fantasy Hotlist
Piaw's Blog
Post-Weird Thoughts
Publisher's Weekly
Reading the Leaves
Realms of Speculative Fiction
Reviewer X
Rob's Blog o' Stuff
Robots and Vamps
Sandstorm Reviews
Sci Fi Wire
Sci-Fi Fan Letter
Sci-Fi Songs [Musical Reviews]
The Sequential Rat
Severian's Fantastic Worlds
SF Diplomat
SF Gospel
SF Reviews.net
SF Revu
SF Signal
SF Site
SFF World's Book Reviews
Silver Reviews
The Specusphere
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Speculative Fiction
Speculative Fiction Junkie
Speculative Horizons
Spiral Galaxy Reviews
Spontaneous Derivation
Sporadic Book Reviews
Stella Matutina
The Sudden Curve
The Sword Review
Tangent Online
Tehani Wessely
Temple Library Reviews
Tor.com [also a publisher]
The Road Not Taken
Urban Fantasy Land
Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic
Variety SF
Walker of Worlds
Wands and Worlds
The Wertzone
With Intent to Commit Horror
WJ Fantasy Reviews
The World in a Satin Bag
Young Adult Science Fiction
Ann Wilkes' SF Reviews List
Science Fiction and Other ODDysseys

Foreign Language (other than English)

Cititor SF [Romanian, but with English Translation]

Elbakin.net [French]

Foundation of Krantas [Chinese (traditional)]

The SF Commonwealth Office in Taiwan [Chinese (traditional) with some English essays]

Yenchin's Lair [Chinese (traditional)]

Fernando Trevisan [Brazilian, Portuguese]

Human 2.0 [Brazilian, Portuguese]

Life and Times of a Talkative Bookworm [Brazilian, Porteguese]

pós-estranho [Brazilian, Portuguese]

Fantasy Seiten [German, Deustche]

Fantasy Buch [German, Deustche]

Literaturschock [German, Deustche]

Welt der fantasy [German, Deustche]

Bibliotheka Phantastika [German, Deustche]

SF Basar [German, Deustche]

Phantastick News [German, Deustche]

X-zine [German, Deustche]

Buchwum [German, Deustche]

Phantastick Couch [German, Deustche]

Wetterspitze [German, Deustche]

Fantasy News [German, Deustche]

Fantasy Faszination [German, Deustche]

Fantasy Guide [German, Deustche]

Zwergen Reich [German, Deustche]

Fiction Fantasy [German, Deustche]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Being funny on purpose

I joined Toastmasters back in 2002 or so, to hone my public speaking skills for those book tours I knew would come. Conceit? No, determination. Which, of course, is the positive side of stubborn.

Anyhow, after taking a few years off, I'm one speech away from my ATM-B certificate. The last project I had to complete was delivering a humorous speech. It's the one I saved for last. I've delivered plenty of humorous speeches. But they didn't have to be funny. Humor wasn't the point...wasn't a mandate.

So, I finally wrote a speech on Saturday. Tossed the whole thing Saturday night and wrote a different one Sunday...for delivery tonight! I'm never at a loss for words in front of a crowd. I'm a ham, in fact. But make me tailor a speech according to rules and make me include this or that and I falter. It's just not my style.

So, I think I've finally got it. Of course, I have to deliver it at a restaurant in a noisy room our group is sharing with another group... But I can't wait.

And the book tours I knew would come are here! I'm planning my first one now. If anyone knows of a venue or an organization that would benefit from a presentation by a SF author, drop me a line. I especially love talking at schools. All contacts welcome (within the Bay Area, though, for now).

The new back cover of Awesome Lavratt is going to be great!

Friday, December 5, 2008

EDF Anthology available - just in time for Christmas...

I didn't get a contributor copy in the mail this time, but Every Day Fiction's The Best of Every Day Fiction 2008 anthology is now available. You can buy it on their site or contact me if you'd like a signed copy with free shipping. I'm only offering this between now and Christmas.

I'm so excited. So many things getting published and coming out all at the same time.

If you're local, I will be at the Center for Literacy Cafe in Healdsburg, CA next Tuesday reading Awesome Lavratt. I'll also have copies available for sale.

Here's the scoop and address:


An Evening of Community Spirit Performance & Holiday Cookie Exchange

December 9, 2008 7—9 pm Doors open at 6:30

Donations appreciated

Plan to join us and close out another year of Literary Café

Program: All open mic ◊ Prose, poetry, drama, musical accompaniment ◊

Sign up by telephone, email OR be spontaneous and take your chances for the free slots on the night of the performance

Bring your cheering fans

Five minute maximum…timed by a festivity bell ringer

Attention all Cookie Bakers: bring a plate of holiday cookies to share with Cookie Lovers (or other goodies)


Contact Cynthia Helen centerliterarycafe@gmail.com

Healdsburg Senior Center

133 Matheson Street (first block east of the Plaza)

Healdsburg, CA 95448

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This Ain't No Rodeo

My kind of mail!! This came in yesterday's mail. My story, "Bullheaded", is in print. You can get your copy of This Ain't No Rodeo, a collection of bullriding stories, now at Amazon.

Friday, November 28, 2008

OryCon report

My interview with Irene Radford will be published in The Broadsheet at www.broadunivers.org very soon. It was great getting to know her. She also writes as CF Bentley and PR Frost.

The panels went well for the most part. There were two panels that had topics that didn't have enough staying power. That actually happened twice. There was no discussion because all the panelists and all the audience were on the same side.

The first one that happened with was the "Selling your integrity to pay the bills: are you really selling your soul as well?" panel. Our side? We all said no. We did have certain limits, but for the most part, if you pay us to write something, we'll write it your way.

The second one was "Will blogs replace conventional media?" Again, our answer was no. At least all two of the panelists thought so and the audience agreed.

So what do you do when you've exhausted the assigned topic in fifteen minutes or less? You tangent. Thoughtful tangents that the audience would be interested in and get them talking and asking questions. It all worked out. They got to participate more.

I really enjoyed the "Women role models in SF" panel and the "Portraying workplaces in SF and F" panel. We had some great panelists and great audience participation and discussion.

The Broad Universe reading was great. We had a superb line-up of readers. I believe there were 8 of us all together.

I was introduced to "toxic waste", a standard RadCon alcoholic beverage that is made with dry ice for full effect. And of course is served out of a container with a radiation symbol on the side. It was surprisingly sweet. I only had a sip and that was of the leftovers the next day. I had to leave the hotel to get to where I was staying Friday night just 10 minutes after I arrived at the RadCon party so I didn't taste it then. But it was worth showing up just to see it.

I had a second opportunity to congratulate the Endeavor Award winner, Brenda Cooper at the Endeavor Award party on Saturday night. I also met two editors from IROSF there: Stacey Janssen and Bridget McKenna. I had a wonderful conversation with Bridget and hung out with Stacey and her fiance and Radcon programming guy, Bob Brown the rest of the evening.

On Sunday, in the dealers room, I got a card from a publisher that does (among other projects) short story collections. I've had so many short story sales of late, I'm starting to consider putting them together when they're all available again. Oh, the publisher is Wheatland Press.

Well, perhaps the biggest thing that went wrong at OryCon was mixing up the time for the Critiquing Workshop. I showed up an hour late. My bad! I was able to meet with one author briefly and still need to email the other one. I can't believe I did that!

And I missed every photo opportunity. I don't know why I brought the camera. I should have at least got a picture of us Broads at the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading but I was waiting for the last person to arrive and she was late. Then I had another panel right after and so did someone else. And then I could have gotten most of us at lunch and forgot. >sigh<

I'm going to post the first Chapter of Awesome Lavratt on my website tomorrow for your reading pleasure.

I'm half done with the Chelan bus tragedy fantasy story. I had wanted to have it finished on the anniversary of the event but didn't quite make it.

So, I'm considering RadCon. But Valentines Day falls in there (It's Feb. 13-15). Must make hubby come with. Also, a large pull for me is that they have the guests speak at the local high schools the day before.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just a shout - Story sale!

I just heard from Beyond Centauri. They're publishing "For Chance to Dream" in their July issue. It's a SF/F (and ewww gross) print magazine for 9-18 year-olds. This is my first sale to a print magazine and also my first sale to a publication for this age group. Woo hoo!

I'll post a run-down on OryCon when I've recovered from same. Just had to get my victory dance in. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Networking Junkie

It's official. I'm a networking junkie. I'm thinking that should be my tag line for my speaking profile. The one I still need to write... I'm in about 8 LinkedIn groups alone. That's in addition to the Yahoo groups, Face Book, My Space and a number of published author online groups. And Broad Universe. I've probably missed ten or so, still.

I've cut way back on volunteering, but the networking is now getting extreme. But I love it! I enjoy meeting people and sharing ideas and tips.

This Ain't No Rodeo is now available. My story, "Bullheaded" is in its pages. 75 percent of the proceeds go towards the Resistol Relief Fund for injured bull riders and their families.

Two story rejections arrived in the last two weeks. I should be getting an acceptance soon, then right?

I finished Lord Tophet by Gregory Frost and have started on the review. It will be at Mostly Fiction eventually. Meantime, I'll just say - AWESOME! Can he ever weave a story within a story and turn a world inside out -- or in this case -- upside down. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pot pourri

Oh my goodness! I haven't posted for ten days! Shame, shame, shame.

Wednesday night I attended a NaNoWriMo write in and got 1200 words written on my sequel to Awesome Lavratt. The rest of the week, it seems, I've been dragging. I'm trying to adjust to getting up earlier. Since I walk to work, the nearing of winter and daylight savings time has thrown me. I don't want to walk home in the dark, so I have to start earlier. Of course, going to bed earlier would be the smart thing to do, but I haven't quite managed to do that yet...

I'm getting ready for OryCon. I'll be reading with 6 other Broad Universe authors Saturday morning. Friday night, I'll be interviewing Irene Radford for BU. Saturday and Sunday I'll be busy going from panel to panel. Sunday night before I return, I plan to have dinner with my Aunt, who lives in Portland.

I also attended a funeral this week. I told that family of my good friend what a great sense of humor she had. They didn't know that about her! Amazing. Perhaps they weren't close, or didn't bring out the best in her.

I've started my story about the Lake Chelan tragedy in which a school bus went off an embankment into the lake, resulting in the deaths of 16 people. It should come as no surprise to anyone who know me that I'm turning it into a fantasy story. I wanted to interview any surviving parents, and do a retrospective but when I discovered that it happened in 1945 rather than in the fifties, I realized the youngest would be 96, if any were still alive at all.

So, true to form, I'm starting with a reasonably close description of the event followed by pure fiction complete with merpeople of a sort. I'm hoping to finish in time for the anniversary of the event, which is November 26th. (63 years ago)

A friend of mine, who invited me to the NaNo write-in said she had a dream about me. Something about that I had to keep the stories coming. It was somehow imperative. Stories, not novels. Hmmmm....

So here I am wedging a story in during my big push to get the novel done. I also got a "dear Jane" on my apocalyptic tale of 7K words. It's a reprint, so harder to find a home for. >sigh< I'll have to find a new market for it tomorrow and send it out again.

I'm almost done reading the second Shadowbridge novel, Lord Tophet by Gregory Frost. Check out my complete (well, almost) list of books I've read this year at Good Reads. You can also find my TBR (to be read) list there. Most of the finished ones are reviewed at Mostly Fiction.

And if you haven't yet, come follow me. Click on the Follow This Blog link and your avatar or pic will be proudly displayed. More cyber real estate. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"The Heist" is hoisted, the Guy is burned

It's November 5th. Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

I'm slightly English and an Anglophile. Can a person be both? Anyway the English are quite morbid, but because this falls on my birthday, I like to celebrate. More reason to make merry. I even hosted a Guy Fawkes Party one year, complete with a Guy (Guy Fawkes effigy), fireworks and bonfire. And, of course, roasted bangers and spuds. And someone even knew the words to the old rhyme.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I can think of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

For those able to attend, here's my Orycon schedule:

Saturday 10AM Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
Saturday 11AM Portraying workplaces in SF/F
Saturday 6PM Writing Workshop
Sunday 10AM Women Role models in SF
Sunday 11AM Who is Mary Sue and why does everyone hate her?
Sunday 1PM Selling your integrity to pay the bills: Are you really selling your soul as well?
Sunday 2PM Will blogs replace the conventional media?

And I'll be interviewing Irene Radford for Broad Universe. :)

And hanging out at the Open Read and Critique Saturday night.

Every Day Fiction has hoisted my story "The Heist", which they published in June, to their year's best anthology. The letters haven't gone out yet but the authors were listed on the forum and picked up by some who blogged the Table of Contents. This is where my Google alert of "Ann Wilkes" came in handy. Anyway, woo hoo!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Un-Post Post

This is the 'why I'm not posting today' post. You see, I've become a Grandmother this week. My daughter had her first baby early Tuesday morning and I was with her in the hospital. I got home at 4AM Tuesday morning. Thursday I went down again after work. I have been a zombie this week. I've also not managed to write today. Today is also not today anymore.

I tried to take a nap after work but the marching band at the football game down the road kept me awake. Then I vegged when I should have been writing or editing. Then I edited the manuscript I've been contracted to edit by Sunday. The same one handed to me while my daughter was in labor, mind. Now it's tomorrow...


Must go to bed. I have to go grab some 0-3 onesies for Trey before I meet my friend for breakfast. All his clothes are too big or not warm enough. I'm going back to see the him tomorrow. They're an hour away.

So, I'm not really blogging today. You just thought I was. But here, how about a picture of the cutest baby in the world?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Come follow me

If I have any friends out there that aren't completely saturated with web 2.0, or is it 3.0 now?, social networking and SEO (search engine optimization), here's another thingy for you. Google Blogger now has a "followers" feature. If you're following someone's blog and they have turned on that function and checked the "show my followers" box, then your little pic or avatar will be on their website.

Why should you want to do this? It's more cyber real estate, of course. So all you bloggers who use Google's Blogger, aka blogspot blogs, come follow me. :) And I'll return the favor if you have a similar site or one that interests me.

While musing over an article for work yesterday, I made an interesting observation. It was about resolving personal conflict. What struck me as I sat staring at the screen trying to come up with a list of meaningful bullet points was this:

People struggle with each other over seemingly trivial matters because of their need to be:

in control

Have I missed anything?

Another observation that I made is that the things that we're not supposed to talk about at the dinner table: money, politics and religion, are the very same things wars are fought over. Those and power, which translates into land and conquest on the grand scale and meddling on the personal one.

I'm having fun with Horace. He's the (first) main character in Awesome Lavratt. He's the main character in a sequel I'm working on now. I have so much fun making him squirm. Poor guy...

I'm almost finished with the fantasy novel, Shadowbridge, by Gregory Frost. I'll probably have it finished tomorrow. I'll be reviewing it at Mostly Fiction along with its sequel.

Next up is editing a ms for a friend and critiquing more of same for OryCon. I got a picture of myself holding my book yesterday in the mail. I had completely forgotten about it. Joe Collins took pictures of the authors in attendance at SpoCon and sent us a copy to keep and a copy to sign and return. And a third copy goes up on a wall at U of W. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Balancing Act

Three weeks into the new job I'm finally starting to get to my novel, the sequel to Awesome Lavratt. Before this week, I'd been spending my spare time, what little I had left, tying up loose ends - projects I promised people and book reviews. It feels good to be writing about Horace again. I'm still searching for the rhythm though. It's so hard to find and so easily lost.

I console myself with the fact that I am writing for a living, and writing every weekday. Now to make the daily novel writing happen... I need to be accountable. That's what deadlines are great for. I find that my own self-imposed deadlines are easily alterable. Because, after all, if it's not tied to a contract, it's ... here it comes ... wait for it ... my new word that needs to get in the dictionary in 10 months' time ... PROCRASTINATABLE. Was it worth the suspense?

Brent Anderson
was the guest speaker at the local SF club I'm in. He shared some comics and graphic novels in various stages. He handed out copies of a couple of comics to the group, and of course, I had to give him a copy of Awesome Lavratt. I asked him to have a look at it with the idea of creating a graphic novel version. We'll see...

I'm making plans for OryCon. So far, all my SF writing buddies that are closer to Portland than I am aren't going. I do have a new buddy coming from WA, though. It will be a whirlwind trip as I'll be arriving in Portland at 5PM and back again Sunday night, late. Hopefully, the guest list will be posted soon on their website.

I'm doing some beta reading, writing a book jacket and doing some editing on the side. I've quit my last critique group. Hopefully, I'll find some willing honest souls to tap to beta read for me when the time comes.

Anyone looking to teach spec fic in CA? I found this over at my friend, Mallory's blog on LJ. Senior Position in Science Fiction/Speculative Fiction/Related Genres in the Department of Creative Writing

Monday, October 13, 2008

Review - GUD (Greatest Uncommon Denominator)

I met the editor of GUD over at LinkedIn and scored a review copy of GUD. It took me a while to get through the pdf version, as I'm an ink and paper miser and don't like reading on the screen. But, at long last, I've finished it.

GUD bills itself as: "GUD (pronounced "good") is Greatest Uncommon Denominator, a print/pdf magazine with two hundred pages of literary and genre fiction, poetry, art, and articles."

First off, I'd have to say that GUD could just as easily stand for Gloomy Utter Doom. Of course, if that's what you're into, it's a veritable banquet. Now that I've peeled myself off the floor and listened to some Blues to pick me up, I'd like to tell you more about it.

The issue I reviewed is the Spring 2007 issue. It's chock full of stories, poetry, and art. It also has a couple of non-fiction pieces. I won't go into the poetry as I'm not the best judge of poetry. I'll stick to what I know. The stories were, as I said, very dark. But they were also well written and unique.

John Mantooth's "Chicken" was so full of emotion as to make me almost gasp. His treatment of a young man's bravado, fear and regret overlaid onto a troubled alcoholic seeing another troubled young man who is frighteningly past caring was a moving, credible symphony of bitter memory.

I enjoyed Jason Stoddard's "Moments of Brilliance". He set the bread crumbs along my path. I knew where they led, but it made me want to run there all the more. Besides, I'm a sucker for the musings of how other beings or even robots might think. The gradual awareness, the piecing together of the various visual and aural input to decipher its surroundings and the meaning of life. Can't say more...

In AB Goelman's "4 Short Parables Revolving Around the Theme of Travel", I found a welcome respite from the doom and gloom and a fun time travel romp.

"Cutting a Figure" provided a bit of comic relief while still making some social commentary. Charlie Anders had me hooked with his dual duty breast implants. Need I say more?

Last, but not least, I'd like to mention "She Dreams in Colors, She Dreams in Hope" by F. John Sharp. His well-rounded characters deal with sweat-shop socialism. The man who seems the most resistant, lets another man's dreams invade his own and imbue him with hope that he carries into the waking world.

If you don't buy the magazine to experience it for yourself, I suggest you head over to their website, if for no other reason than to check out the cover art by Konrad Kruszewski. He also has another very striking image within.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Interview with Ben Bova

It was my great pleasure to have the opportunity to interview science fiction author, Ben Bova. Dr. Bova has penned over 70 novels and 34 non-fiction books. There are 15 novels in his Grand Tour of the Universe series alone. After reading the interview below, make sure to scoot over to Mostly Fiction for my review of three Grand Tour books, including the latest,
Mars Life.

AW: Dr. Bova, I'd like to first take this opportunity to tell you how much I've enjoyed every book of yours I have read. With Mars Life, I was astounded at how thrilling you made the exploration of a relatively barren planet - and without the use of first contact with little green men. I also appreciated your rich characters and expert sprinkling of present and near future science. The obviously well-researched science enhanced the story of planetary discovery and Jamie's struggle to save Mars from exploitation.

AW: Given the opportunity, would you spend a year on your vision of Mars?
Dr. Bova: I certainly would! I think Mars is at the frontier of our search for life in the universe. If we find life on Mars – even if it’s been long extinct – it means that Earth is not the only place where life can exist. It can change our vision of who we are and what our place is in the universe.

AW: What inspired you to give control of your Mars to the Navajo nation?
Dr. Bova: It began when I first started writing the first novel in my “Mars” trilogy, the novel titled Mars. I lived for a while in the southwest, because the landscape of the Navaho lands reminded me very much of the pictures our spacecraft were sending back of the landscape of the red planet. Of course, the Navaho lands are a blooming Garden of Eden compared to the planet-wide freezing desert of Mars, but still the comparisons struck me. It was then and there that I realized that the protagonist of my novel was part Navaho. Jamie Waterman was born in my mind, and his is still the central character in all three of my Mars novels. From Jamie came the idea to give control of Mars to the Navaho nation.

AW: How has the current political situation affected your writing?
Dr. Bova: Most of my novels have a strong political theme. In Mars Life and others in my Grand Tour series, most of the nations of Earth have come under the rule of very conservative religious-based governments. I think this is a real possibility for the United States, and could be a grave danger to our individual liberties.

AW: Your nanosuits would certainly enhance the experience of exploring other planets. How close are we to having something like it?
Dr. Bova: Not very close, I’m afraid. On the other hand, Mars Life is set about half a century in the future, and a lot can happen in fifty years.

AW: Do you foresee humans colonizing other planets and moons in the next 100 years?
Dr. Bova: Not colonizing, in the sense that large numbers of people settle on other planets. I think we will see permanent communities built on the Moon, because of the mining and industrial operations that can become very profitable there. But those communities will have to be built underground, since the Moon’s airless surface can be very dangerous. Mars and the other planets and moons in the solar system are too far and too different from Earth to be likely places for “colonization.” I don’t think terraforming a planet is either feasible or desirable. I do believe that large habitats will be built in space (mostly out of lunar materials) for permanent residence. But the actual number of people who leave Earth to live off-planet will be comparatively small. Still, what they accomplish in those off-planet sites will change life on Earth – for the better.

AW: If and when we do, should we adapt the planet to our use or adapt ourselves to the alien planet if we can?
Dr. Bova: As Jamie Waterman would put it, leave Mars to the Martians. The other worlds of the solar system should not be transformed into Earth-like places, even if we had the ability to do so – which we don’t. As I said above, we can build habitats in space that are completely Earth-like, such as the Goddard habitat in my novels Saturn and Titan.

AW: What's your stand on Pluto? Planet or not? Do you plan on getting out that far in your Grand Tour?
Dr. Bova: Pluto is still Pluto, no matter what we call it. I don’t have any immediate plans to take the Grand Tour that far, but then I had no idea that I’d be writing more than a dozen Grand Tour novels when I started writing Mars.

AW: What are you working on now?
Dr. Bova: I’ve turned in to my publisher (Tor Books) Voyagers IV: The Return, a novel that brings together the Grand Tour sags with my earlier Voyagers Trilogy. I’ll be doing a high-tech thriller next, then probably return to Jupiter for Leviathans of Jupiter. Oh, I’ve also written an historical novel, titled The Hittite. It’s about what happened to Helen after the Trojan War.

AW: Thank you for taking the time to field a few questions for our readers.

My review of Mars Life at Mostly Fiction.

Dr. Bova's home page.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Writing and SF Turned Science

The new job is great (staff writer for a trade journal). I'm finally getting paid to write. I mean really paid. Story sales just don't do it. I shudder to think what the amount I get paid for a story looks like when divided by number of hours spent. But let's not discount the joy of creating something unique and (hopefully) entertaining. I'm planning to really crank out that sequel to Awesome Lavratt in November with all of you NanoWriMo participants. Nothin' like a deadline and peer pressure.

I'm making plans for OryCon30 in Portland, OR. Looks like a lot of fun panels in store.


While scaring up facts for a column a few things stuck with me. I thought I'd share.

Researches at Purdue University have invented a tricorder! Check it out.

Affordable electric cars coming later this year. Read about the 2009 models. Chrysler is getting into the game. They have three prototypes for 2010. Dodge sports car, Jeep Wrangler and a Chrysler minivan.

On Sunday, the first privately developed rocket achieved Earth orbit. Go SpaceX!

Coming soon:
Interview with Ben Bova along with a review of Mars Life.
Review of GUD (Greatest Uncommon Denominator), a SF magazine.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spread the Word - literally

What word? This one: Procrastinatable. A task that can be put off until a later date or time.

I came up with it while blogging one day this summer. Now, your mission, if you decide to accept it is to spread it. Use it liberally. Forward this post. Let's see if we can get it in the dictionary in under a year. With the internet, I don't see why we can't. Go forth and utter!

The release of the anthology, This Ain't No Rodeo, is expected late October/early November. Here's the link. My story, "Bullheaded", can be found within.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Post Glendi Post

Thursday I accepted an offer for a FT writing job! You'd think I would have posted about it that very day. I have been looking since June. It has nothing to do with my lack of enthusiasm. I've been consumed with festival stuff before, during and after the Glendi. On the plus side, it was a very successful event. I even managed to sneak away for a few hours to the Sonoma County Book Festival.

Okay, so now I'm going to brag about the job. I'm a staff writer for a trade journal. And the best part...I can walk to work! :)

I'll blog more later. I'm exhausted.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Festivals, Mixed Up Senses and Mars

This weekend I'm doing the unthinkable. I'm sneaking away from the festival that I've been coordinating for several years to attend the book festival. I've always lamented the fact that they are always on the same weekend. Well, now that I have a book of my own, it's a no-brainer. I have to sneak over there.

For all you folks that are local, listen up! The Sonoma County Book Festival is this weekend in the Old Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa, CA. It's the literary place to be this weekend. But when you're hungry or you want to dance, well, that's when the Glendi comes in. Glendi is an ethnic food festival held in Santa Rosa with live bands, dancing and food from Eritrea, the Balkans, Russia and the Middle East. It's the best party in town. It's open 11-9 Sat and noon-6 Sun.

The following weekend, Sept. 27, I'll be reading from the new RWC (Redwood Writers Club) anthology, Vintage Voices: Four Part Harmony at North Light Books and Cafe in Cotati, CA. My piece in the anthology is "The Rosary", the true story about finding my sister. It's the two-for I mentioned a while back. It will also be included in a themed anthology about fate.

I don't have any more appearances after that until November, unless I crash an open mic around here. I have to stay close as I have a new grandson making his debut toward the end of October. :)

I just watched a show on the science channel on synesthesia called When Senses Collide. I'm fascinated by synesthesia. I read a story some time ago, probably in Asimov's, in which the protagonist was a synesthete. I think it was set in Brazil. I can't remember what particular senses were crossed with him, but the whole idea really got me thinking.

Synesthetes can hear colors, taste words, see numbers suspended in air, associate color to numbers, etc. This is more prevelant in novelists, poets and artists. Do you know someone who has mixed up senses? Do you have mixed up senses? I'd love to hear about it.

I'm reading Ben Bova's Mars Life and lovin' it. I got to wondering today whether we'll always be looking to change our environment to suit our needs or whether we'll some day be able to change ourselves to adapt to the environment. Why not? What with global warming, sun dimming, super volcanoes, meteors, etc., we may have to adapt to our own changing environment. Maybe we'll have to become Martians to live on Mars instead of Terraforming every planet we settle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fringe and Change

Watched the pilot of Fringe last night on Fox. Wow, what a ride! I'm hooked. Like I really needed another show I have to see every week. If you like stuff like time travel, teleportation, astral projection, etc, you'll have to see it, too. The writing was good, there were no obvious cliches and there were some moments that completely took me by surprise. That's hard to do. I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I'll only tease a bit. An airplane lands itself with the next level auto-pilot software--on time. The passengers, however, arrive with much less flesh than they started with. All dead. Two of the investigators are having "a thing" and while checking on a lead, he's infected with something similar. His romantic interest, our heroine must seek the aide of a man who's been in the loony bin for 17 years with the help of his son, who she must first fetch from Iraq.

A lot of the pilots I've seen lately are big on character development and short on action. This was an exception to be sure. If you missed it, don't worry. There's an encore presentation on Sunday.

Meanwhile, back in the real world...
I don't blog about my animals. It's like a rule with me. Plenty of people have that covered. And good for them. I just figure that this is a SF blog and therefore the blogger's pet's are irrelevant unless they're alien. George was not alien, but he was my beloved kitty for 18 years. He died in the night. At least he's no longer hurting.

On the job front, I actually applied for two FT, local writing jobs in two days! They don't come up very often. Fingers crossed. Oh, to be able to say I write for a living! :) I also have an interview with an arm of the county that I'm hopeful about.

I just signed on to do even more book reviews. I'll be reviewing books for Pantechnicon, a cool SF ezine I just stumbled upon. I've already put in requests for great upcoming titles. Stay tuned for my review of Mars Life by Ben Bova, complete with author interview.

I'm still working on the sequel to Awesome Lavratt. Poor Horace keeps coming back for more.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Literary Cereal - that's right cereal, not serial

Snap, Crackle, Pop!!! Saturday, "Your Smiling Face" went up at Every Day Fiction. Yesterday, my funny, short SF story, "Jolaneering" went up at Nanobison AND (Pop!) I sold "Bullheaded" to an anthology. It was the bull riding story I've been working on throughout the summer that was due last weekend. Very exciting to have so much happen at once. Now, it's time again for those SSIAWs (Short Story in a Week challenges) over at OWWW (Other Worlds Writers Workshop). Do I or don't I? Perhaps I'll just do two, although I should really be concentrating on the sequel to Awesome Lavratt.

I made a discovery over Labor Day weekend. I've been job hunting since June. I've figured out why it's so darned depressing, aside from the rejection. We work hard to convince ourselves and sometimes actually know that what other people think doesn't matter. We learn that our worth doesn't need to be validated by others. (If you haven't even considered this concept, run, don't walk to an al-anon meeting or get yourself a book on co-dependence or self worth.) Anyhow, then we job hunt and it's ALL about what others think of you. Suddenly we have to quantify our worth and sell ourselves. Every time I see the "must have ______ degree" or "must have ________ experience with ________ systems", which I don't, I feel inadequate. A call for an interview and I'm doing mini victory dance--until I get the mail and the Dear John/Jane letter is staring me in the face, mocking me.

There's a gem of a job out there somewhere--one that is perfectly suited to my talents and abilities. I just wish I could find it sooner rather than later, so I can get off of this emotional rollercoaster of job hunting.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Your Smiling Face" up at Every Day Fiction

My second story for Every Day Fiction is available today! "Your Smiling Face" is a departure from my usual fare, but is already getting great comments. Please add yours today.

I've finished my bull riding story. Now for the final polish. I'm still enjoying my new word: procrastinatable(s). Spread my word. Maybe it will make the online dictionaries in a year or two. :)

It would look like this:
n: procrastinatable
a task that can be put off to a later date. a task that does not require immediate attention.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nothing Like a Deadline...

I just blogged about procrastination on LJ today. Then I was reading over at SF Novelists and found I wasn't the only one that had that theme for their blog entry today. Is it because of the time of year? Summer is coming to a close and play time is over?

I can accomplish great things when given a deadline. If you want me to do something, tell me you need it by such and such a date, or it may get forgotten or buried in my pile of procrastinatables. Oooohhh...I like that word. Procrastinatables. Procrastinatables. Can I keep it? Oh yessssss my precioussssss. :)

So here's links to the aforementioned blogs if you need tips on how to -- or not to -- procrastinate:
My LJ blog
SF Novelists (an entry by Mindy Klasky)

Meantime, my goals for this week are: 1)finish, polish and send out a contest entry, a 7K word story I've been wrestling with on and off (okay, mostly off!) for a couple months. 2) finish the the outline, proposal and rough of a magazine article. 3) finish two of the books I'm reading. 4) Review one and start two more.

I'm currently reading (and immensely enjoying) Ben Bova's Mars. I thought it might be good to read that for comparison before I read and review his new book, Mars Life. His shiny new ARC of Mars Life is beckoning to me. Stay tuned for an interview with him right here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SF TV - There's more than two shows to choose from!

Remember Max Headroom? I just remembered him the other day. Here's a Max Headroom video clip. He's interviewing Sting.

And here's a
piece of the episode in which he was "born"

What about Starhunter? Crusaders? Remember when we only had two SF shows to choose from? I'm not talking per night. I'm talking about all week. The SF channel didn't help much for years. It was mostly horror, not SF.

Dead Like Me was great, too. And of course, I'm still mourning the loss of Invasion.

Now we have prime time slots on tons of channels. People who think they don't like SF are hooked on Lost and Eureka. Aside from Star Trek in all its forms, I'd have to say that Firefly is the best. I have them all on DVD and we watch them again every 6 months or so. Awesome writing.

And look at all the new Dr. Who fans we have now!

Well, hubby's waiting for me to stop blogging so we can watch the latest Eureka we recorded on the DVR.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Review and Greek Dancing

My review of Tigerheart by Peter David is up at Mostly Fiction. Next up, Ben Bova's latest, Mars Life. Stay tuned.

I just made a crazy suggestion to programming for a possible contribution by yours truly to LosCon in LA in late November and I'm still smiling half an hour later. Go check out their theme on their website before you scoff. Did I mention that I dance like a Greek? And that I can teach it, too? Why not learn Greek folk dancing "on the way to the 'LosCon'"?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Writing Novels & Word Economy

Here's a great article in the Boston Globe: So, you want to be a writer? Here's how. by Allegra Goodman.

I agree with everything except why to read poetry. Of course, I'm one to talk since I rarely read it. (I do listen to it often at readings, however.) I would say that we should read poetry to learn to be more concise. Notice how much imagery poets pack into such a small space.

Of course, another great way to learn this is by reading and writing flash fiction (stories under 1000 words). Yes, a novel takes the long way home and should, but we shouldn't meander down uninteresting alleyways, or visit the cafe if nothing worthwhile happens there. Likewise we don't need more than a sentence to describe a chair. Or the word "very" ever! Flash and poetry teach word economy, which is another important thing to learn if you actually want to get the novel published. Gone are the days when you can spend the first three pages describing the room in the opening scene. The editor will make his/her decision whether to read further often before the third page. It's a fact of life. They have piles of manuscripts to read, so we have to grab them immediately.

I'm a novelist who also writes flash. It's good practice. I have another piece coming to EDF (Every Day Fiction) on August 30 (Don't worry. I'll remind you later). EDF only publishes flash fiction and you can even have it delivered to your inbox every day. Way better than the news.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Awesome Lavratt Sale and whining and ranting...

For anyone who hasn't purchased their copy of Awesome Lavratt yet, for a limited time (till September 1st-ish), you can get a signed copy with free shipping (US only). Just email me. You can send a check or pay through pay-pal. $12.99.

So, everyone but me is at Worldcon. It's amazing how many of them find time to blog about it while they're there. May I just say, "Wah! Wah! Wah!"? Okay, I'm done boo hooing.

Now I'll rant. Job hunting sucks. Yesterday I went to an interview for a position for nothing. They asked for salary requirements and then apparently ignored them and had me come in for an interview anyway. Their pay scale wasn't even close. Today, I was STOOD UP for an interview! Not a call, an email, nothing! And I drove ten miles and bought my own tea at Starbucks. I guess I should have been leery anyway, that they do their meetings there. Fingers crossed for another job I have an interview for. This one is in walking distance. Pray I get it and you'll save fuel, fuel emissions, and the planet. :)

I have an exciting e-interview with a major SF author coming up right here. Stay tuned!

Horace (Whistlestop) from Awesome Lavratt is coming up on more heroics and adventures. Spent some quality time with him today. I still don't have a name for the sequel, but it's early days yet.

Monday, August 4, 2008

SpoCon - final report

So, I remembered to bring the camera. It helps if you use it. I did have my friend, Sue, take a shot of my fellow writers at our autograph session on Saturday.

L to R: Jane Fancher, Ann Wilkes, Toby Bishop (aka Louise Marley), Kij Johnson, MJ Engh.

The panel was a blast. I learned before going in that it was born from a typo. Someone misspelled parapsychology as parapiscology, and after a 12 hour programming meeting, the said, "why not?" and added it to the slate. The four of us, Mark Ferrari, Deby Fredricks, Jeff Knutson and I, had the task of creating a story during our hour-long panel involving a paranormal fish. We tried for around twenty-five minutes before things started to break down. The tangents, however still involved the creative process, which was the real point of the panel – to show the creative process in action.

In the end, if nothing else, the panelists and audience alike learned one thing: three writers and one illustrator can not a story make. We had some lovely ideas that perhaps all could work. It would be fun to continue to run with it and see what we come up with as individuals after what was essential a brainstorming session. So what do you think of a mind reading fish who can communicate with a mute boy via telepathy? And then what? What can a fish with special powers possibly accomplish? Well, for one thing, if he also happened to be your pet, you could fly him to Loch Ness and he can tell you if Nessie really exists. Why not? We were fifteen minutes in before we decided what kind of fish he/she was. It never even occurred to us to assign the fish a gender, let alone a name.

Saturday evening they showed Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog (Joss Whedon). You have heard of it right? Seeing it on the big screen with someone who had never seen it was still more fun. Will it rival Rocky Horror?

I left at the crack of dawn on Sunday and had breakfast with my daughter, son and daughter-in-law who live in the East Bay before heading back home just in time to turn around and go back out for the monthly RWC (Redwood Writers' Club) meeting.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Another story sold and SpoCon

I just got word on Wednesday that Every Day Fiction is publishing my story, "Your Smiling Face". I have been feverishly working on Denvention bios, job hunting and getting ready for SpoCon, so haven't had time to toot my horn yet. :) It will be available August 30th.

SpoCon, aside from a few problems interfacing with the University, has put together a good little con. Next time I'll stay off-site and all will be well with my world. I'll post a full repost upon my return.

I had a very long day(Friday), beginning with a 6:45 AM flight I had to get up at 3AM to catch. Since I'm tired and cranky, I'll rant. Why did high school teachers (back in the day) drill their students on always spelling the abbreviation of until as 'til, if the illiterate get there way in the end anyway? When I was in high school English, the word "till" only meant cash register. And here's another for filing in the pet peeve department: If someone asks you, the question, "Is that clear?" please, oh please, don't respond with "crystal" – at least not where I can hear you. Otherwise the next thing you'll hear is my anguished scream.

Okay, I feel better now.

Prior to my reading on Friday, I met an online buddy from Other Worlds Writing Workshop, a founder of same, in fact. We went off site for dinner. Real food does wonders. Now for real sleep. What a concept...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I found my lost plot!

Well, my little hairy, purple alien smoke alarm story went off the rails, and then I realized my bull riding story was no better. I shelved the smoke alarm story, but the bull riding story, I think, is fixed. I hacked off the last two thousand words. Now, to the writing. That's the easy--and fun--part. Like so many other stories that tried to do too much, one of the things it needed was character consolidation. For a short story, never try to do with five characters, what can be done with two. I made his love interest and the loved one of the...well, I can't tell you that part...one in the same person. Voila! Instead of him getting gored by a bull and having to stay in hospital, he's only got broken ribs. Instead of being a raving alcoholic that takes a while to see the light, the trajedy already built in to the story becomes his bottom, and he's sober! It's so hard to switch gears between short and long form. It helps when I'm only writing and reading one or the other.

Meantime, that nasty bug has bitten again. Volunteeritis. I find myself doing way more stuff than I should be, while trying to still write and find a job. I'm currently doing stuff for Redwood Writers, Broad Universe, and Denvention. And trying to squeeze in my requisite critiques for Other Worlds Writing Workshop and reviews for Mostly Fiction. Did I mention Glendi? It's a two-day Ethnic Food Fair that I coordinate for my church. We have over two hundred people working to feed and entertain over two thousand attendees. Obviously, something will have to give when I get a job.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tandem Reading and SF Reviews

Been doing some tandem reading these days. I finished one of the best books I've read in a while yesterday. And another good one today. And a review I wrote of another of my favorites just went up at Mostly Fiction today. Quite a literary day. If only I'd managed to get some writing done as well...

Yesterday I finished Louise Marley's The Maquisarde. Bravo! Marley knows how to produce well-rounded characters with inner conflicts and outer conflicts that transform them. A woman goes from famous musician to grieving widow, to a vengeful mess of a person who manages to function and help others to a humble servant doing penance to heroine. I'm in awe. Best of all? I get to meet her at SpoCon. :) Think her literary genius is contagious? I hope so!

I finished Tigerheart by Peter David today. I enjoyed it very much. If you like Princess Bride and Peter Pan, you'll love it. The narrator is quite a character. Look for the review soon at Mostly Fiction. In fact, go there now to read my review of The Key by Pauline B. Jones. It's a masterpiece. Jones is another author who can deliver rich characters that both change the world around them and are changed by it.

So, what am I reading now? Tandem reading again. Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn and Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1 by PJ Haarsma. The latter is a YA I'm reading for review at Mostly Fiction. The former, I'm reading because, hey, he's the guest of honor at SpoCon and I haven't read anything by him yet.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Truly Different, Truly Remarkable Novel

I finished Port Eternity, the first novella in Alternate Realities by C J Cherryh. Wow! What a ride it was. Very impressive blend of identity crisis, caste struggle, and nostalgia with rich characters in a future where the cloned servants' mistress sails through the stars on a ship, the insides of which are decorated after her fancy for the Arthurian Legend that has survived that far into the future. But what happens when the programmed servants learn of the legendary people they were named for? What happens when the ship is marooned, and the servants and those served face danger together? Brilliant!!

I love it when a book can utterly surprise me with something so different. Practice Effect by David Brin was another of those. He takes physics and turns it on its head and makes it work. Tools get better with use, even changing their molecular structure. Beautiful mix of fantasy and sf.

What's yours? What novel surprised and delighted you? Do tell!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Great Resources for Published Authors

I hate to just link and run, usually, but this was such a terrific find that I had to share. Enter the Octopus is the blog of Matt Stagg's , who is a publicist for the arts.

I especially enjoyed this post: Long Live the New Flesh: the internet, tribalism and book publicity.

I found him when I was going through my backlog of some 30 "Science Fiction Book Review" google alerts.

Just a reminder and to any new readers, visit my site for book reviews and where to find a reviewer: Ann Wilkes' Science Fiction Reviews List.

Shall I give you one more? Can you take it? There was great stuff over at Contrary Brin. When he puts together one of his link lists is mostly fascinating stuff to do with science and science fiction. And if you haven't read his books, you're really missing out. He's one of my all time faves. Especially the Uplift War series and Practice Effect.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Contracts, Dates and Deadlines

Just signed the author agreement for "The Rosary" to appear in a new fate anthology. They haven't named it yet, but it's really happening. It's also appearing in the upcoming RWC anthology: Vintage Voices: Four Part Harmony. So, I get a "two-for". "The Rosary" is a memoir about finding my sister.

If you're in the area, I have two more appearances this month. I'll be emcee and a reader at RWC's Odd Month Reading, "Heatwave", in Sonoma at Barking Dog, by Sonoma Mission Inn at 2PM on the 26th. More details at the RWC site here. Next night is Finbar's in Petaluma for Poetry, Pints, and Prose at Finbar’s Irish Pub emceed by Michelle Baynes. My friend, and 2006 Poetry Slam champ, Juanita Martin will be the featured reader. Finbar Devine’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, 145 Kentucky St., Petaluma. Phone (707) 762-9807 or (707) 762-9800.

August brings SpoCon in Spokane, WA the first through third. I'll be reading Friday, on a panel and signing Saturday. Then it's back to CA for the next RWC meeting on August 3rd.

August also looms large with a personal writing deadline. I have to get that PBR (professional bull riding) story whipped into shape by August 31 for the contest deadline. I'm also developing an interactive thing for kids to present for free at libraries and a talk for high schoolers to take on the road to area schools in September. It's back to Toastmasters I go for help in developing and honing my presentation. I love to talk to groups. I'm a ham.

Great news for Awesome Lavratt fans! I've started a sequel! A standard-sized novel with more adventures of Horace Whistlestop. So many people expressed a desire for more, I didn't want to disappoint. ;) And I have such fun writing it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Blurb for Awesome Lavratt - Awesome!

Awesome Lavratt is a fun ride on a spaceship of fools. Great characters, wonderful humor. Can't wait to see Ann Wilkes' next venture into the outer galaxies of her imagination.

Shelley Singer, Shamus nominee and author of Blackjack (as Lee Singer)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Some Days Are Like That, You Know...When You Water Your Living Room...

What can go wrong does go wrong. Case in point: You're awakened from a sound sleep, which you only managed to enter at 1:30AM, at 3:30AM by your charming offspring who has locked himself out. Now you can't go back to sleep. You get up at 6AM remembering that it will be a hot day and you might as well go downstairs and shut the windows to keep the predawn chill in the house a little longer before the onslaught of the day's heat.

That's when things get really interesting. While you're reaching over the antique library chair to close the front window, you notice the back of the chair is wet. Congratulations, the maladjusted sprinkler that you already knew about watered the living room through the open windows you also knew about it, even as the noise of them helped keep you awake when they went off at four AM. The dots just didn't connect in your sleep-deprived brain.

You're almost done sopping up the water off the floor, the back of the huge stereo speaker that comes up to your waist, and the honeycomb blinds. There's just one more spot on the other side of the overstuffed leather chair, which was thankfully spared. That's when you bump into the chair which knocks the aforementioned speaker, complete with the one houseplant which has defied all your efforts to kill it by neglect, sideways, barely missing the stereo before it crashes to the laminate floor.

What good can come out of a day with such a beginning? You turn for solace to your writing. Oh good! Your writing buddies want to help you brainstorm a way out of the corner you've painted yourself into with your current story. God bless them. Really. You are truly happy to have friends like this. The fact that they both picked today to IM with you almost at the same time to agree with you that yeah, well, what's the point? I mean why him? Why should the reader care? and What's at stake? was a little hard to handle on the three hours of sleep. But all true. Back to the drawing board, or the keyboard, as the case may be.

What about the job hunting? How about a school job. That sounds great, right? Now you need three letters of recommendation in a week. You know who to ask. But they're busy, too. Will they have time? >sigh<

So, what about the side job? You have some clients lined up for web design. But you still haven't dealt with the broken Photoshop program. Turns out you're just outside the 90 day grace period for free tech support on the now "old" version. And how long has it been busted? That's how much you hate to make those calls. >sigh<

After a less than productive day, it's still too hot to eat at 7PM. You decide to get some of the reading you need to catch up on done. You wake up and it's dark. Oh, well. A bad day can only be followed by a bad evening. Why mourn its loss? There's always tomorrow...ugh!...and that tech support call. The new version of Photoshop you decided to get for just a "few" dollars more than the "pay per issue" tech support has the same issue. The support is now free. But you still have to make the call.

Well, let's just hope it's not still dark the next time you wake up...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Reading and Writing

I had a signing at a comic book store that was not well attended, but a reading at a pub that was. Was it the beer? More likely, it was the featured reader, Luke Warm Water. My reading of "Jolaneering", however, was well received.

I had someone contact me on MySpace the other day. Sure looked like my niece from Texas I haven't seen in years. It was! And she was reading my book and is a young writer herself. What a kick!

The job hunting is going, well, it's going... I did have an interview last week. Even found some part time jobs with benefits! Imagine that! Do you know how stupid I feel when the job requirements say "must have BA" or "must have AA". Shoulda, coulda, woulda. I can do a lot of those jobs with one hand tied behind my back, but they'll never let me try without that piece of paper. Hmmmm. Go to college!

My smoke alarm story is coming along. We actually had a little break from the smoke for a couple of days. It was back today, but not as bad as it's been. Truly CA has been burning! But I was talking about the story. I have the character development and the setting. No plot, no story. I have to decide what that smoke alarm really is, that's attracting all these strange people to my protag's door. It's alien. I can't do mind control device. I've already done that in the Lavratt. I'm toying with...no, I can't tell you...you'll have to wait.

The bull riding story (no, not space bulls, this is not a spec-fic piece) is regrouping. I kept trying to bring in elements from my novel even though the point was to take this character out to play with him in a different setting. It's back to the "batting it back and forth with my muse" stage. I still have some great bull riding scenes and character development, but everything else is subject to change. >sigh<

It's a lot easier than it used to be. Just starting out, I couldn't bare to delete a paragraph for fear I could never come up with that "good writing" again. Now, I can delete pages or even start completely from scratch again without too much pain.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Just got word on the weekend that I'll be doing a reading/signing at SpoCon in Spokane, WA the first weekend of August. Last time I was in Spokane was for Expo '74 when I was a pre-teen.

I'm also working on lining up a school tour.

I've been tossing around ideas for a sequel to Awesome Lavratt. No promises yet, but I'm working on it. I'm thinking Horace should make a comeback. And then there's still the Lavratt...

Just a reminder to my local fans: I have a signing in Rohnert Park at The Comic Book Box in University Square this Saturday from 1 to 4 PM.

I noticed that Nanobison has movement. They now have a table of contents for their last issue with a promise that it will be up before the end of this month. My story, "Jolaneering" will be there.

The blinking light from the smoke alarm gave me an idea for a new story...

Speaking of smoke, the air here is filled with it. Many wild fires in the area. Speaking of fires...the second house fire on our block within a matter of a couple months happened last Thursday. Each was several houses down, but in opposite directions. What are the odds? One was started by kids playing with matches and gas. The other looks like a teenage mischief thing or at the very least a tossed cigarette. The bushes next to the house were ablaze when we were coming back from a walk. Good thing I'm not superstitious... (threes)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Writer's Conferences

Get thee hence, people with suggestions for interesting workshops and topics for a writer's conference...My fellow RWC (Redwood Writers Club)writer, Linda McCabe, is looking for ideas for a one day RWC conference. There are already 15 responses. Add yours now.

My bull riding story is really taking shape. Quite a departure from my usual alien stories. It's for a contest that benefits the Resistol Relief Fund for bull riders. It's doubling as a way to flesh out a character, who happens to be a bull rider, in my mainstream novel. Did I mention how much I love bull riding? Best 8 seconds in sports!

I have three more signings and/or appearances this month and two more the following month. I'm looking forward to all of them. Meantime, I'm job hunting... And, of course, all the good writing jobs are taken. I'll wind up in an office again. I'm looking into temping. That wouldn't be so bad. I like to go in and organize an office and move on. My husband calls it my Mary Poppins routine. :)

Now would be a good time to scale back on the volunteer positions. How do I always manage to do this to myself? It's a simple little two letter word. One of the first I ever learned. Why can't I use it more? NO!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Camille's New Book

Camille Picott's book launch is tomorrow in Healdsburg, CA. You can find more info on her blog. Meantime, here's a picture of the two of us at her first reading. Raggedy Chan is a great book. Think Chinese fairy tales, racial tension, Princess Bride.

Okay, now I must go WRITE! :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"The Heist" up at EDF

"The Heist" is the story that tried to be funny AND suspenseful. I had to pick one or the other. I chose suspenseful and rewrote it. A couple of rejections confirmed what my gut was already telling me: that I chose wrong. I rewrote it as funny flash and it was published by the first mag to which I sent it. Find it now at Every Day Fiction.

A fantasy writing friend of mine over at MySpace gave me a lead on a little item you may have noticed in my right-hand side bar. It's Blogrush. It helps generate more traffic to your blog. Like Google's Adsense, it looks for similar products. It's like swapping links without doing a thing. If you sign up, be sure to use the link below because I get even more traffic for referrals. It's easy, free, and so far, I've seen no downside.

Heres the link: http://www.blogrush.com/r17116443

I updated my appearance schedule. They're all Sonoma County events in June and July. Unless I get a windfall and can afford to go to another Con. Going as a guest pays the entrance, not the travel and lodging. And hubby is still on workman's comp. I may even have to go back to the work force. Ugh!

I've also added links to all the other places that I can be found on the web to my bio page on my website. And I've added a sell sheet for Awesome Lavratt to the Lavratt page.

Monday, June 2, 2008

"Key" words and story published

At the Writers of the Future panel at BayCon, Tim Powers mentioned the fact that some themes, settings or words become rampant in the many manuscripts that come through the contest. He mentioned the word "smirk" as being a current favorite among new authors. Also, beginning a story with waking up screaming, waking up naked, waking up in a white room, waking up naked and screaming in a white room. You get the idea.

I'm currently reading a book by a fellow Broad (Broad Universe), Pauline Baird Jones, entitled The Key. It's a great book so far (60 pages in). Love her sense of humor. While at Bay Con, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was fortunate enough to hear Kage Baker read from Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key. Yesterday, I heard of another book with "Key" in the title. Then I started seeing them everywhere. So I did a quick, less than exhaustive search.

Published in 2008, we have:

Duma Key by Stephen King
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Key to Redemption by Talia Gryphon
Key to Conspiracy by Talia Gryphon
The Gaudi Key by Andreu Carranza and Martin Esteban
The Stone Key by Isobelle Carmody
The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich
Cathy's Key by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman
Bone Key by Keith R A DeCandido
The Blackstone Key by Rose Melikan
The Golden Key by Dan Lee
Or Else my Lady Keeps the Key by Kage Baker
The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle
The Skull Cage Key by Michael Marriott
The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda
The Other Key by Dave Hartman
The Three Keys of the Three Thrones... and the Storm by Anthony Scalici
In the Key of Death by Robert S Levinson

In late 2007:

The Key by Pauline Baird Jones
The Dagger-Key: And The Lost Treasures of Kebadon by Daniel L. Ferguson
The First Key of Kalijor by Paul Lell
George's Secret Key to the Universe by Stephen Hawking and Lucy Hawking

Okay, so if you have a great novel you're working on now, just don't use the word "key" in the title. That ship has sailed. And please, no smirking. I've also noticed the word "darkening" a lot all of a sudden within the text of recent books.

Now on to my good news. I have a date for the appearance of my flash SF story, "The Heist", at Every Day Fiction. Mark your calendars for June 9th! That's next Monday as I write this.

I'm reading a Kage Baker Company novel, The Children of the Company right now, at the same time as I'm reading The Key. I finished the previous, The Life of the World to Come, before BayCon. I'm hooked. I just read the story, "Let the Word Take Me", by Juliette Wade, whom I met at BayCon and have since corresponded with. It's in the July/August issue of Analog. I highly recommend it. She delivers a thought-provoking piece on bridging the (alien) culture gap to break the language barrier. That's a gross over-simplification. Just read it. Trust me. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

BayCon report

I had a blast at BayCon. I brought my buddy Judy, who loves conventions. My husband doesn't do Cons. My con journal follows. Bear in mind, I'm still sleep-deprived.

After only two hours of sleep...
Day 1: Betrayed by my eleven-minutes-slow watch, I made a late entrance to the first panel I was sitting on. I made the best of the History vs. Historical fiction panel, in spite of the fact that my histories are made up, being...well...of future humans or aliens. Walter Hunt and I exchanged cards. After discovering that Walter is a Douglas Adams fan, I gave him a copy of Awesome Lavratt.

Before heading back down stairs for a panel on “Is the Short Story Dead?”, I received an email that my story “The Heist” will be published in Every Day Fiction! ☺ I guess it’s not.

We hung out on the party floor for a while and I spoke with the BASFA (Bay Area Science Fiction Association) folks.

After six hours of sleep...
Day 2: I mentioned California Writers Club at the Sex, Lies and Publishing panel, which Tony Todaro (aka TN Todaro) was sitting on. He approached me afterward to talk about the CWC briefly and we exchanged cards. We spoke again at length the following morning in the dealer's room where I met his wife Lilly, an artist with a table and art in the gallery. I was also able to plug my SF Reviews List at that panel.

Tony introduced me to Tim Powers, who accepted a copy of my book, Awesome Lavratt, and handed it back to me with a pen for a signature! "This is so backward," I said to him. I spoke to Tim about The Anubis Gates (great book, btw!) and being on panels. I bought a copy of his book, Declare, before leaving the dealer's room. WWII espionage meets fantasy. It doesn’t get any better than that. I made sure to have him sign it on Monday.

I moderated the silly panel, My Dream Geek, and sat silently on the Evolution of Dr. Who panel. The latter ended up being the history of Dr. Who instead, and didn't get to the ones I've seen until it was time to vacate the room. The former was surprisingly well attended and very lively. See picture below.

The Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading I led that evening was, eventually, well attended. Valerie Frankel, author of Henry Potty and the Pet Rock: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody, and I were both reading funny spec fic. I signed books after.

Back to the party floor.

After four hours of sleep...
Day 3:

I shared a panel with Deborah J. Ross, Tony Todaro, Maya Bohnhoff, ElizaBeth Gilligan, and Juliette Wade. (see picture below) Julia sold her first story recently. To Analog! It can be done. Find it in the July/August 2008 issue.

L to R= Tony Todaro, me, Deborah J. Ross (flash didn't cooperate)Everyone is excited about "firsts". I'm introducing them to my "first".

Did I mention how much I like to sign my book?

L to R= Tony Todaro, me, Deborah J. Ross, Juliette Wade, Maya Bohnhoff, ElizaBeth Gilligan. Notice the "firsts" smile on Juliette's face. :)

After a leisurely lunch on the terrace (the law of inertia, aided by the lack of sleep, prevented further activity for some time), we watched JPL watch the progress of the Phoenix landing in the ballroom on a big screen.

We went off campus for a nice dinner and then hung out in the room with my friend Cindy Pavlinac, who rode down with us to the convention. Then we danced every which way (the swim, even) to modern Trance? Techno? music in the ballroom. Next, we explored the warrens on the party floor where we found better music.

After two hours of sleep....

Day 4 (AKA Day of the Dead):

Everyone moved in slow-mo. We didn’t attend any panels. Hung out in the dealers room mostly and lunched on the terrace again. A fan from AZ found me at the closing ceremonies for an autograph. Will I ever get tired of that? I doubt it! Bless Serena’s heart, she carried a sign around her neck with the authors she was looking for for signatures and I was at the top. I’m glad she waited till the closing ceremonies to find me. Free advertising! ☺