Thursday, May 29, 2014

What Drives You to Write? Blog Tour

This post was inspired by the My Writing Process Blog Tour from Jami Gold: What Drives You to Write? As Jami says, writing can be a difficult creature - so many different hats to wear, balancing our own creativity against an ever-changing market, and so on. Not to mention the effects of continually plumbing the depths of our psyches and laying the results bare for the world to see. So why keep doing it?

Simply put, because we can't stop.

What Are You Working On Now?

Ostensibly, a short story that combines knitting and Chinese vampires into a darkly humorous urban fantasy. At least, I hope it's funny. That's what I'm aiming for! I haven't had much time for it lately, I confess. But now that some other real-life distractions are out of the way, I want to get back to it.

I have several more ideas simmering, including a second-world fantasy retelling of The Little Mermaid, a modern-day story of an empath, and a fairy-tale-esque love story of magic and transformation. They keep jockeying for attention in my mind - we'll see which one wins out.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of its Genre?

That's a good question. I'm not sure of the answer!

I would like to think my characters set me apart more than anything. Characters have always been my primary interest, both as a reader and a writer. I'll keep reading a so-so book with an amazing character. Likewise, 99% of my stories start with a character, and plot always comes later (usually after much hair-pulling).

Why Do I Write What I Write?

Basically, because it's what I want to read. It seems so often that SFF tell the same stories, over and over - finding something outside of this rut can be a real challenge. I have no interest in writing a medieval-esque fantasy with all white characters and strict gender roles, because my library is filled with shelves of those stories already. But a race of characters who can shift genders? A trans-specied mermaid who becomes human? Those are stories I want to read. And since no one has told them so far, maybe I'll give it a go.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

Um… erratically?

OK, in all seriousness, I'm still working that out. I'm a pantser by nature (outlines give me hives) but if I just blunder into my first draft blind, it never ends well. So far it seems I work best by doing extensive character and world building in the pre-drafting stage, then going into the first draft with a general idea of plot points. And the ending. If I don't have an ending in mind, then I don't know what to write toward.

I liken it to watercolors (you knew I'd have to go there eventually). I start a painting with a detailed sketch, and a basic knowledge of which colors will go where, which areas will be dark and which areas will be light. Then I add paint and water, and see what happens. And I'm always surprised at what turns up - and how it's often more interesting than what I'd expected.

In short, it's an organic, ever-changing process.


Thanks to Jami for the open invite to join the blog tour, and for the opportunity for a little self-reflection (which is always good - in small doses).

Sunday, May 25, 2014


My scifi novella LAST NIGHT IN GHOSTTOWN is officially available!

In the Maharajah’s Consortium every aspect of citizens’ lives is monitored by the GRID. Throughout the galaxy, on every planet: money, property, even lives are tracked by General Resource Interactive Display. Everywhere, that is, except for Ghosttown. Ghosttown: slum, theme park, holy city, the city that time forgot. 
Enter Dev. In five days he leaves for Misra 7, a planet entrenched in a war so deadly it’s known as The House of Death. So it’s one last hurrah before he ships out. 
Despite being on a strict time table, Dev allows a would-be thief, Rishi, talk him into handing out expensive med-gems to the sick and needy. What Rishi gets out of this, Dev doesn’t know. What he does know is that he keeps putting off his departure date, and he can’t deny that Rishi is the reason. 
Does Dev stick around for Holi, help the people trapped in Ghosttown, and risk getting branded a deserter? Or should he clear out before he gives up his heart to Rishi?

It's been a long, strange journey for this tale. I've said before that when I first started it, my only goal was to finish it. And here I am today announcing its debut to the world!

My eternal gratitude goes out to my amazing beta readers, Claire and Shannon, for believing in LAST NIGHT even when I didn't. And of course huge thanks to Raechel Henderson of Eggplant Productions, for giving a new author her first break.

Official page • Buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Tomely

Saturday, May 24, 2014

All Quiet on the Western Front

It's been awfully quiet around these parts lately, I admit it. May is usually a bit of a whirlwind for me, and this one has been no exception. I've had family in town and a big painting to distract me from all things writing-related. I had big plans to (finally) get back to the short story this past week, but unfortunately I've been distracted for a much less pleasant reason - the start of wildfire season here in Arizona.

I confess to lately being glued to both computer and tv for the latest news on the Slide Fire. Oak Creek Canyon is one of the most scenic and beautiful parts of an extraordinarily scenic and beautiful state, and I've spent many hours there over the years, wandering through the pine forests, watching the river flow and daydreaming of characters and stories. It's been horrifying to watch it go up in flames the past five days.

So if you have any spare good wishes, vibes, prayers, happy thoughts or whatever else you might deal in, send them on over to northern Arizona. We sure could use it!

In better news: LAST NIGHT IN GHOSTTOWN releases in two days! Woo hoo! More to come on that very soon.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Link Soup: Blogging Edition

Like every other writer on the internets, I struggle with balancing time between writing and this whole online presence we're supposed to have. Here are some really helpful articles for social media newbies such as myself:

How to Write Blog Content ~ Anne R. Allen
Nine steps for a more interesting blog. I've bookmarked this one, and will be referring back to it. Frequently.

Ways Authors Waste Time "Building Platform" on Social Media ~ Anne R. Allen
#5 alone made me love this article - I'm a slow writer (for both fiction and blog posts). And I'm all for quality over quantity.

Writing Tools ~ Writers Helping Writers
An array of excellent articles on everything from character development to social media.

How to Keep Up Online Without Losing Your Mind ~ Kate Hart
Good advice for how not to lose your mind (or your writing time!)

Seems like, in the end, it comes down to this: write. Tweet or blog when you can. And then keep writing.