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...