Blog Archives

MARCON

I will be serving as one of three game heads for MARCON 50. We will be at the Hyatt convention center in Columbus, Ohio. When I’m not running games, I will be participating in panels and working game operations. If you’re into science fiction, fantasy, write either of those things or you want to come game with us, pick up a badge!

Columbus in Darkness will host a Live Action Role Play (LARP). We have an Amptguard team on staff who will be training us how to fight. (And you know I’ll be in the middle of that as long as Branden will have me.) We have tabletop games, we’ll have computer and system gaming and board games available all weekend.

The panels this year are really interesting. There are several writing oriented panels as well as gaming and general science fiction geekery. I had to severely limit myself on how many panels I wanted to participate in. There are panels I want to attend because I know absolutely nothing about the subject and I want to know more. And that’s not even talking about the presentations.

We have been hard at work putting together prize packs for the various tournaments. I don’t want to let too much slip, but there have been rumors of a super awesome giveaway by the Amptguard group and I also heard rumors of super awesome dice bags. Not to mention what I’m making and giving away. You all know I’m a massage therapist, right? I’ll just sit here and nod knowingly at you while you figure that one out.

We have an entire area specifically for children’s gaming and I will be running Faery’s Tale. Parents and children can play together in this tabletop RPG and I’m SUPER STOKED to play with you guys. Seriously stoked. I even made little prizes for the kids who play. And the parents. Because I would TOTALLY want one of these things. It doesn’t make a lot of noise and it’s pretty. And some of them are sparkly.

Plus there will be NASA things there. I can’t tell you what, but it’s super awesome!

The convention runs May 8th, 9th and 10th. I want to meet people!

Advertisements

Formatting for submission

When I had my first shiny draft ready for submission to my dream publisher, I cruised over to their website and clicked on their submission page. “These are the submission guidelines for all writers seeking publication.”

And the list was extensive.

I perused the list and finally about three quarters of the way down the page, they listed submission guidelines that I thankfully read. They wanted a .doc file and suggested including your contact information not only in your email, but also in the document. They wanted manuscripts formatted in traditional format. If we didn’t know what that was, we were told to Google it.

Google I did. I found William Shunn’s Manuscript formatting. Not only did he give the information, he did so by writing it in a document so you could actually SEE what he was talking about. Excellent!

I set up a Word document that was correctly formatted and saved it as a template. I use that for each short story I write.

How to format your manuscript: 

  1. In the upper left hand corner:
    1. Your legal name (what they would use to pay you)
    2. Address
    3. phone number
    4. email address
    5. Approximate word count
  2. Your title should be centered and begin half way down the first page.
  3. Your by line is also centered and should be beneath your title. This is where you put your pen name if using one.
  4.  Your story begins two double spaced lines under the by line.
  5. Your story should be double spaced.
  6. Use 12 point Times New Roman, Palatino or Garamond fonts
  7. Single space after a period.
  8. Do not tab indent. Use the .25 indent feature in Word.
  9. Double space
  10. 1.25 margins all around
  11. Include a header or footer with your name, title and page number.
  12. Do not use extra lines between paragraphs.
  13. Left justify the document.

If you would like your own copy of my document, you can download my Formatted Submission Template

Writer’s Block Party: Divide and Conquer

life_of_a_writer__by_seetheduck

Life of a Writer by Seetheduck on Deviantart

Ah, writer’s block! The harbinger of death for writers, poets and authors.

No writer or author in my small sample has escaped the clutches of their best frienemy. You sit in front of a blank document rather it be Word, Open Office or Scrivener and stare at the screen. You want to write. You need to write. Nothing is coming. Not even the repulsive drivel you’ll later delete or edit away. Not a single word enters your brain. Every attempt wafts like smoke through the empty chasm of your mind, arid like the Mohave and complete with tumbleweeds.

And those stupid weeds don’t give you a damned bit of help, either.

The longer you stymie in the Block, the more locked down your brain becomes. You have to write. But you can’t write. But you need to write! But nothing comes out! No ideas. WHAT DO I DO!?

You browse Twitter. You filter through Facebook. You find something to occupy your mind while you sit in front of the computer screen. You get distracted, but you can’t wander off and go do something else because you’ll never get anything written.

And so it begins and ends. Day after day. Everyone else comes up with something. But you? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Things that work for me?

Browse various publisher’s calls for submission. I’m not talking just the genre they’re looking for, but the short stories they are looking at. Sometimes the prompts they give will spark an idea. Check out Red Moon Press. Their descriptions of what they’re looking for can sometimes spark an idea. Can’t write short stories? That’s fine. Maybe it will give you a book idea. How about Carina Press? Or my personal favorite Jupiter Gardens Press. I’ve always had good luck with Circlet Press as well. Sometimes the ideas just leap right out of the page and smack you in the face like a tiny dwarf ninja.

Didn’t work for ya?

Why not try putting down the keyboard and coffee and picking up a good book to read. Grab an old favorite and read it again. Pick up that book your great aunt Linda has been shoving in your face every holiday dinner since 2006. Peruse book blog sites and see what the reviewers pick as a decent read. Read some good fanfiction. Or other good fanfiction. Or some really terrible fanfiction. Nothing gets me cranked up faster than reading something horrible and thinking “I could do better than this”.

Not yet?

Watch a movie.  I have a thing for From Paris with Love, Sin City and Bunraku. All of them give me ideas.

Nope. Okay. Here’s the big kicker.

A lot of the time, I’m so busy on social media that I can’t write or get ideas. I refresh Twitter every time I see there are new posts available. I read and read and click links and post in the #amwriting tag. I respond to people there. All in all, these are good things. But not while you’re writing. While you’re focused on everyone else and what they’re doing, you’re distracting yourself from your work. This is good when you’re on overload. But when it comes down to time to write again, close the window. Do it. Stop reading Twitter. Stop browsing Facebook. The great thing about social media is it will be there when you get back to it. It’s out there in cyberspace. Put it down, set a timer and write for ten minutes. It helps.

And now that I’ve just told you to close social media, it can also help. I chat with friends in a chat room. We do power hours. The same can be done on Twitter. Just as long as they aren’t distracting you, it can be a big help just having someone else to sit with you and share the burden of block.

Did any of these help you? Do you have something I didn’t list? Please put it in the comments. There are times when I can’t break the block with the things I do. I could use your suggestion, too.

 

This is part of the WordPress daily post. To participate: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/writers-block-party/

Photo courtesy of Seetheduck on Deviantart

Web Serial: Introduction

I want to be regular about blogging. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at it. Without a schedule or some idea what to post, I flounder until I am broadsided by something terrible I have to comment on or I post book reviews and stuff about other authors.

This doesn’t tell anyone anything about me or my writing, however, and I need to be more diligent. Yes, I will still post reviews and author spotlights, but I won’t be doing quite as much. If you are interested in the author interviews and book blurbs, you can check out my website Yeah Books! where there will be a lot more of that information available.

I plan to write an off the cuff web serial about a massage therapist (since that’s what I do in my day job). I’ll post unedited versions just as it comes to me. I might do something about repetitious words or something or I might do some fill in work later.

Each section will be around 500 words and I’d like to post every Monday. I’ll have links to all the serials from my Free Stuff page.

Comments? Suggestions? Lemme have ’em!

My Awesome Ideas Book

As I was cleaning out my bin of crap (I have a catch-all three drawer thing in my kitchen where I write), I realized tonight I have a complete stationary problem. I have an entire pencil pouch full of highlighters. Another holds my sharpie markers. I have a third for colored pens and another for drawing pencils and erasers.

In among this I also found a huge amount of sticky notes. I have seventeen different packs of sticky notes in various sizes and colors.

2014-06-04 02.14.39

Over the years I’ve bought a LOT of journals. Some of them have cool sayings. Some of them were made of pressed paper. Others had gilded edges or leather covers. I have kept them and never done anything with them because nothing I can think of to do with them is cool enough and I feel like I would be wasting them. I buy them, I keep them and they sit and collect dust.

That is, until this one:

2014-06-04 02.15.35

I picked this up on clearance during a late night run to WalMart. I thought I could fill it with all the story ideas I have running around in different binders. I could put the storyboards I’ve done into it and have everything all in once place. I brought it home, opened it up and then the inevitable happened.

I froze. I couldn’t write anything in it because then it would be ruined and I wouldn’t have it forever AND be able to keep all my notes in it. Once it was full, it was full. There was no way to organize thoughts and once it was on the page, it was there. I couldn’t move it around or change anything.

Permanent. And unacceptable.

Well, until I could convince myself to write in the pages, I would take the stack of sticky notes I’d been storyboarding on and tuck them safely inside on the first page. I could go back for them later.

And that was when it hit me. I didn’t have to write on the pages at all! I could write on STICKY NOTES and TACK THEM TO THE PAGES!

2014-06-04 02.14.00

If an idea needed moved, I would move the note. If I got more information about book promotion, I could shift all my ideas down a page. If I screwed something up, I could pull it off the page, throw out the sticky note and write a new one. My journal destroying days were over! No longer would I have to watch a beautiful journal sit on the shelf unused!

It has been really handy. The inside cover has my Scrivener key, my Vent info for guild chat and the password to the WiFi that I am constantly losing. I have information about recent things I need to keep a hand on, like my doctor’s info and my sales info for DoTerra. Then there’s information about my Flight Rising account, what armor I was working on for my World of Warcraft Warrior (that is probably seriously outdated at this point) and promotion efforts for books. I have useful email addresses like the people I send beta reads to and my crit partners. I have blog entry ideas and submission calls I want to submit for. And then there are the pages shown above.

The image above is what my storyboards look like. I have questions from my editor on a little arrow. I have research about the story on sticky notes. Little plot ideas are tucked in on tiny notes. Big plot points are on the larger notes. Right now they’re all spread out. I get an idea, I jot it down, slap it on the page and worry about the rest later. I can spread it out over other pages or I can keep it all on one.

I have at least one page for each story I’m plotting or writing.

Now I can have my journal and use it, too.

Song Sung Blue

Write-Drunk-Edit-Sober-Ernest-Hemingway

Why is it I am only inspired to write under certain circumstances? (Don’t get me wrong, I write rather or not I am inspired!) Generally those circumstances are under intense emotion such as sadness. I have the urge to write when I’ve had coffee or with a glass of whiskey, particularly a good scotch.

I have a difficult time expounding on the background of my novel. Who cares what color the tablecloth was? Why do they care how the house looked or where the furniture is arranged? I have difficulty putting emotion into my writing unless I am feeling what the character would be feeling at the time. Many times my writing inspires that emotion in me if I really let myself go.

Personally, I have trouble letting myself go because the emotions of my writing, when I really let myself feel it to write, bleed out into my everyday life. If my character is stressed and overwhelmed and angry, that carries through. In a job where we provide peace and tranquility and work to actively de-stress people, it seems like a contraindication.

Drinking lowers inhibitions and gives false courage. When the whiskey dries up in the morning, the emotions dry up with it. We can go on about our day to day lives and live.

Or can we? Does anyone else experience the three day crash after drinking? We drink. We have a good time. We talk to people we otherwise wouldn’t and do things we normally wouldn’t like dance instead of standing at the sidelines or make silly jokes because we no longer fear the social repercussions. We go home that night and sleep like a baby. Work the next day is great. We had fun and we’re refreshed!

Then the crash hits. If my character is intensely sad, I become intensely sad. I start to doubt myself and all the aspects of my life. The world is terrible and everyone hates me! I’m a talentless hack. I can’t write. My day job sucks because people are always whining at me. I’m hyper sensitive to everything. And in the pit of this sensitivity, we look back at our writing.

My MC (main character) loses her best friend into a potential pit to hell. At first she is angry. Then she moves into the fiercely determined phase. And then she devolves into frustration and, finally, hopelessness.

The fiercely determined phase isn’t so bad, but the other two leave me with coworkers scratching their heads and clients sometimes picking up on the energy. But is there a way to write emotionally intense scenes without letting it carry over? Or do we need to let it flow through our pores and let the raw emotional nature pour into the page?

And won’t we just take it out in editing anyway?

Do you write drunk? Or do you have some insight to writing emotion without letting it creep into your life? I’d love to hear it.

 

A few articles I found poignant while searching for actual medical science to back up my crazy idea:

Whiskers

From the time I was small, I had cats. When I was little, my mom kept a pair of black cats. They followed her wherever she went. Their yellow-green eyes glowed in the dim light of her study. They slept in the shadows of her bedroom and would take turns curled up at the foot of my bed when I was small.

When I would sit at the dining room table after school to practice my letters and numbers, they would tickle their whiskers across the bottoms of my feet. As I got older, their whiskers traced lines higher and higher on my shins.

Once I hit high school, too much homework and too great a social life left me with little time. They rubbed the length of their body across the pointed folds of my blue jeans and curled around my calves, dancing between the rungs of the chair in typical feline grace until I bent down to scritch their heads. When the requisite petting had been met, they would either curl up before the drawer of my desk or in the footwell over my toes.Their scrubbing around my legs went with barely a notice as I worked with facts and figures or scribbled an essay before running off with friends.

Once I got to college, the accustomed feline rub wasn’t anything I missed or even noticed until I felt the familiar shift of my pants leg in my dorm room one afternoon as I typed a paper. The sensation passed over me three times before it registered what I felt. Someone must have smuggled a cat as a pet despite the ‘no pets’ rule.

When I looked down, however, there were no cats. Nothing could have simulated the press of the body or the faint purring I heard. My door was tightly closed. I went back to my word processor with a shrug. I must have missed home a little more than I thought. I became ensconced with my writing once again only to feel the scrape of whiskers against the bottoms of my feet that were planted flat against the floor.

Obscure Colour Words

My girlfriend often sends along writing advice she finds on Tumblr. I have a Tumblr account, but it’s usually to reblog things like cute kittens and wiggling foxes. While I reblog writing advice on my Tumblr, it makes it really hard to find it later. Anyone who reads this blog might just see advice on writing and, to be honest, I think it’s a good thing. Anyone who reads, I believe, will eventually attempt a novel.

What I might do is make another blog simply for writing advice and keep this blog for important updates (pffft hahahaha) and save the other. For now, however, I think this is interesting enough to share.

Obscure Color Words

http://octoberspirit.tumblr.com/post/63995511136/obscure-color-words

  • albicant: whitish; becoming white
  • amaranthine: immortal; undying; deep purple-red colour
  • aubergine: eggplant; a dark purple colour
  • azure: light or sky blue; the heraldic colour blue
  • celadon: pale green; pale green glazed pottery
  • cerulean: sky-blue; dark blue; sea-green
  • chartreuse: yellow-green colour
  • cinnabar: red crystalline mercuric sulfide pigment; deep red or scarlet colour
  • citrine: dark greenish-yellow
  • eburnean: of or like ivory; ivory-coloured
  • erythraean: reddish colour
  • flavescent: yellowish or turning yellow
  • greige: of a grey-beige colour
  • haematic: blood coloured
  • heliotrope: purplish hue; purplish-flowered plant; ancient sundial; signalling mirror
  • hoary: pale silver-grey colour; grey with age
  • isabelline: greyish yellow
  • jacinthe: orange colour
  • kermes: brilliant red colour; a red dye derived from insects
  • lovat: grey-green; blue-green
  • madder: red dye made from brazil wood; a reddish or red-orange colour
  • mauve: light bluish purple
  • mazarine: rich blue or reddish-blue colour
  • russet: reddish brown
  • sable: black; dark; of a black colour in heraldry
  • saffron: orange-yellow
  • sarcoline: flesh-coloured
  • smaragdine: emerald green
  • tilleul: pale yellowish-green
  • titian: red-gold, reddish brown
  • vermilion: bright red
  • virid: green
  • viridian: chrome green
  • xanthic: yellow
  • zinnober: chrome green

Good News!

I have been accepted by two anthologies this year. The first is from Circlet Press. The second is from Jupiter Gardens Press. I signed both contracts this month. I’m incredibly excited. The Circlet piece has gone through edits. I am to begin edits very soon on the Jupiter Gardens piece.

This year has been amazing for my writing. I have other pieces I’m working on. I have a young adult I’m working on for NaNoWriMo this year. I have a good feeling that I will actually get this novel finished in November, edited in January and submitted by the summer.

When those anthologies are released, I will have them posted not only in a blog entry, but also on my work page.

In what Universe?

I’ve been trying to edit a piece of fiction from a few years ago for a submission call. I’ve made some pretty major changes to the story and rewritten about half of it. And then I come to this line:

His only response was grabbing her hips, jerking her against him, and jamming his dick inside of her. ” 

Because somehow, somewhere, on some distant planet, I thought that would be sexy to somebody. Or something. I don’t even know. Every time I read this line I facepalm so hard I’m no longer able to edit and I wander off to do something else. Then I come back to it and repeat. For three days.

Today I deleted the line. But it was too epic a fail for me to ignore. I am now sharing with all of you. I’d say you’re welcome, but I think that would be a breach of friendship in most countries and states.

::EDIT::

From further in that piece, I actually used the line: “He fucked her with the passion of a starving man given a fresh meal.”

OH COME ON NOW.

~*~*~

And this entire infodump has NOTHING to do with the story other than it shows Dimitri likes Winter. So I will give it to all of you.

Enova was Dimitri’s betrothed, the woman his father had chosen for him to marry, and the biggest of the demons Dimitri had to slay. He had only been married to her for a month before her death. He still held himself responsible. She had haunted him since he left home. He had been able to put Enova slightly out of his mind with the white-haired eleven year old girl he had met in California and rescued from the prison of her foster home. This respite was short lived, however, as soon as Dimitri realized his little girl had grown into a beautiful woman. He had noticed she blossomed into a woman when he had caught her dressing after a shower. He shouldn’t have been watching. He should have closed the door and went about his business, but he hadn’t. He stood and watched her until she reached for the doorknob and was gone before the door opened. He had felt guilty about it for several months. It had taken him that long to forget the look of her porcelain skin, droplets of water clinging to her flesh as she shivered. He watched as she rubbed the towel over her body, shivering involuntarily as she reached her breasts. He could very nearly feel the texture of the towel against his fingers as he imagined she was allowing him to rub her dry. Her nipples stood erect against the slight chill and the touch of the terrycloth. His mouth watered as he imagined rolling her pink nubs between his fingers, pinching them gently between his fingers as be barely flicked the points of her nipples with the tips of his tongue. He very nearly moaned out loud when she rubbed her pussy, longing to feel her wetness against his fingers, his mouth, and his tongue. He had finally vowed to keep his hands off of her. Unfortunately his resolve wasn’t as strong as he had hoped. He had allowed her to slip into bed with him one night even though it was against his better judgment.  

 

%d bloggers like this: