I have a terrible habit of guessing who the bad guy in within the first fifteen minutes of a mystery show. Or I suppose it’s not bad that I guess, but that I announce it out loud to the person watching with me. And because television is based on formulas, I’m most often right. (I have learned to keep my mouth shut in movie theaters, for which my husband is grateful. *laughs*)
The other night I started reading a new author, and within three chapters, I’d already guessed the bad guy and his motivation. Sometimes an author intends for his reader to know who the villain is right away, but this book is trying to keep it a secret until the big reveal at the end… and there I was, already nailing it. Which means that the author didn’t do what he wanted. The writing was solid, but the […]
Continue reading It’s All In What You Consume
I was on vacation at Edisto Beach all last week. My family rents a house there every summer, and we spend the week building castles in the sand, swimming in the ocean and playing bocce on the beach. Every year, while we’re there, my husband and I start fantasizing about living on the coast. It would be much better for his asthma, since we currently live in the worst part of South Carolina for people with allergies and respiratory issues. For me, it would be going home. I’m very much a creature of the coast, and I’d prefer to live somewhere that the air actually moves now and then. (Even now, after living here for decades, it still creeps me out to walk outside and realize there’s not a breath of wind at all.) In years past, we’ve toyed and talked but done nothing concrete about our wish to move.
Continue reading Planning It Out
Hey folks, I’m on vacation this week, but I’m still working. I’ve got a short story rewrite, another short story to outline, and two not-yet-released novels to read, all of which is pretty cool stuff to do even if I am supposed to be taking a break. Reading is a vital part of being a writing pro – you’ll learn what works, what doesn’t, and who’s writing what. This week, I want you all to take a minute and tell me what you’re reading. Title, suthor and a quick synopsis, and maybe your thoughts. I think we can all benefit ftom knowing what other readers like.
I’ll start… Half Resurrection Blues, by Daniel Jose Older. It’s a noir urban fantasy, and so far pretty good. Carlos is both dead and alive, and works for the Council of the Dead, keeping things between the worlds of the living and dead relatively […]
Continue reading What Are You Reading?
Well, another successful ConCarolinas has come and gone. I’m a little sad this morning, since for the last three days I’ve been surrounded by a thousand of my closest friends, so it’s a little quiet around here now that we’ve all gone home. *laughs*
But one of the nice things about going to cons, either as a writing professional or as a fan, is all the great ideas you come home with. During breakfast Sunday morning, I was asked if I’d had any new projects come my way, and at that moment, I hadn’t. An hour later, I had. It can happen just that quickly. (Before you ask, the new project is still in its birth throes, so as soon as I have solid information to share, I promise I will. It’ll involve some of you, after all, so feel free to be excited!) One writer I talked to received […]
Continue reading Ah, Con!
They’re expensive and time-consuming. You generally have to travel a long way to get to them. You’ll spend your weekend surrounded by people, some of whom you like, others not so much. You’ll ruin the healthy eating pattern you’ve spent months turning into a habit by eating in restaurants for every meal. And you know what? It’s worth it.
IT’S CON TIME!
Yes, that’s right, this coming weekend is ConCarolinas 2015, my home con and an event I look forward to all year long. Authors, cosplayers, actors, scientists, gamers and all manner of fandom come together in Charlotte NC to celebrate the geek life. It’s sometimes one of the only chances I get to see certain people I’m fond of. I’m absolutely thrilled about it!
Some of you may be shaking your heads right now, and saying, “It’s a waste of good writing time. Why don’t you stay home and […]
Continue reading It’s Con Time!
As I’ve mentioned, I’m editing an anthology called The Weird Wild West (coming from eSpec Books in the fall of this year!) and in the course of reading the stories, I’ve learned and relearned many lessons about what makes a great story great. One of the problems I’ve noticed in some stories is with the characters themselves. Not their personalities, but just how very many of them decide to make an appearance.
Have you ever seen those viral news stories about teenagers who post the details of their upcoming birthday parties on Twitter or Facebook? They only mean the information for their friends, but strangers for miles around decide to show up to the party too, leaving the house in a shambles and the local jail full of weeping kids waiting for their parents to come get them. A short story with too many characters can feel just as out […]
Continue reading Inviting A Crowd to the Party
As you’ve probably heard by now, I (along with Emily Leverett and Margaret McGraw) am editing The Weird Wild West, an anthology of speculative fiction from a frontier point-of-view. Lately we’ve been reading all the submissions and choosing the best ones for inclusion in the book. It’s been a real learning experience for me, and I’m going to spend the next few Mondays talking about things I’ve learned (and in many cases, relearned) from doing this job. Today we’re going to start with starting.
Many years ago, I submitted a short story to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine. At the time, it was a highly-regarded publication which paid actual money for accepted work, and I wanted in. I crafted a story I thought would fit perfectly with what she usually published, slapped the stamp on my SASE (those were the day!) and sent it off. A few weeks later, my […]
Continue reading Where’s The Starting Line?