Categories
Authoring Teacup Posts Whimsy Writing Life

CapriCon 40 coming right up!

My first convention of 2020 is only 20 hours away!
CapriCon is happening February 13-16, 2020, Westin Hotel, Wheeling, IL

Several wonderful author friends are sharing a dealer’s room table with me. We have quite a variety of delightful books and book-related shiny things. Wait, let me try that again with more exclamatory excitement:
Seven authors! So many sub-genres! Meet us! Browse the pretties! Maybe buy a thing or two! (BUT NO PRESSURE!) 

I’ll be in several programs too, conveniently listed below. Plus Friday night at 5:30 I’ll be doing a a Book Speed-Dating event in room River C. Join the panelists for entertaining & thought-provoking discussions!

O Captain, My Captain
Thursday 6:30 PM
Room: Ravinia B
Join us as we recognize women in roles of leadership in SF/F. Captain Janeway, Commander Ivanova (who is ALWAYS right), Captain Marvel, Admiral Honor Harrington, and Captain “Starbuck” Thrace demonstrate that it’s not strictly a “boy’s club” anymore. Who are your favorite women in leadership roles in SF/F? Your inspirations?

Nonfiction for Fiction Writers
Friday 10:00 AM
Room: Botanic A
We often hear writers advised to read widely, both in and out of our genre. What are some kinds of nonfiction reading that can help broaden your fiction writing? Our panelists recommend memoirs, history, cookbooks, podcasts, subreddits, true crime, whatever else has caught their interest and driven them to write more deeply.

Just Deserts
Friday 11:30 AM
Room: Ravinia B
Tropics doesn’t just mean Caribbean islands or fabulous tropical rainforests. Deserts are part of the tropics too. Many recent fantasy stories have desert settings, many bearing more than a passing resemblance to North Africa. Camels, beautiful horses, long robes, independent tribes, and more than a little misogyny fill these stories. Can we do anything else with desert settings? What other societies could develop there?

The Future Climate of Chicago and the Midwest
Saturday 11:30 AM, Room: Willow B
What do global warming trends predict for Chicago and the Midwest? As our local climate becomes more tropical, what will the impacts be on people, plants, animals and our environment?

Pirates are Not Just in the Caribbean
Saturday 2:30 PM
Room: Botanic A
Captain Dan Seavey stole lumber, alcohol and even whole ships right in Lake Michigan. Piracy was a global phenomenon that persists to this day. Our panelists discuss the past and future of global piracy. Why do we romanticize historical pirates, who were often really vicious bad guys? What does modern day piracy say about the socioeconomic impacts of the world we live in? Is climate change playing a role?

So Bad it’s Good
Saturday 8:30 PM
Room: Willow B
Our panelists discuss their favorite “so bad it’s good” films. And what about supposedly “good” movies that are actually bad?

When not at these events, I’ll be most easily found in the Dealer Room.  This is a super-friendly, super-fun, convention. I’m excited about meeting new friends and catching up with old ones.

See y’all on the other side of the con.

Image by adamtepl from Pixabay

 

Categories
1. Storysculpting Authoring Writing Life

Would You Read This Book?

My upcoming novel is one step closer to reality.  I have a description to go on my lovely book cover, plus a shorter blurb for online sales sites.  Now I just have to condense it into a one-breath quick pitch.  Yeah. “Just.” Like that won’t take hours and days and weeks of practice.

But I digress. Behold!


The Sharp Edge of Yesterday:

Grace Reed is on the run with devastation hot on her heels. She escaped a religious cult and rescued her children from her ex-husband, but she cannot escape her fate. She is due for rollover – her midlife superpower coming into play—and only time will tell how powerful she will become.

That puts her on the government radar as a threat to society.

Big rollovers mean big trouble, and big problems get eliminated. Department of Public Safety Agent Valerie Wade is assigned to Grace’s case and must choose between following orders or fighting for her client’s life. Grace must not only overcome her past traumas and survive rollover, she also has to protect her family and safeguard their futures.

Luckily for Grace, she has super-powered friends on her side. Valerie’s allies Jack, Elena, and Amy will pit their every skill and talent against all odds to flip the outcome in Grace’s favor.


Does the blurb tempt and tease? I sure hope so. If you haven’t met the characters yet (except for Grace) they each have a story in the book Rough Passages, available now from many libraries & booksellers online & off.

(THERE’S ALSO A HANDY LINK HERE ON THIS BLOG, WOW!)

The Sharp Edge of Yesterday is on target to release (or at least be ready for pre-orders) by Gen Con at the end of July. (Have I mentioned that I’ll have a table on Author’s Avenue at Gen Con again this year? I WILL!)

And before that, I’ll be at Capricon (THIS WEEK!) and Cleveland ConCoction in Late March. With books. Rough Passages and all the books from the Restoration series too.

There. I think that’s everything. We’re all caught up. Happy reading.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Authoring nuts & bolts Writing Advice Writing Life

A blog post about my blog posts

My author website started getting a ton of re-directs from my old blog address recently, so I of course looked into it. Bots, I thought, or maybe someone following up on old contact information.

Nope! The activity on all come from search term hits that once led to writing process posts.

What a total blast from the past.

Back in the day, I wrote a lot of process posts, sharing discoveries I made while writing  books and then about all the work that came after writing them.  I wrote a LOT about all the issues that have to be tackled before and after hitting “publish.” Book design. Marketing. Merchandising. Publicity. Finances. Distribution channels. ALL THE THINGS.

Basically I wrote little guides to all the different facets of working as an independent author as I came across them. 

Here’s one I re-read and updated Monday: Little Details: font choice

Another of my favorites: Books are pyramids

I wrote process posts like those because writing things down is how I process everything. When I need to learn new skills, methodologies and systems, I researching how other people do them, then test by trial and error (and error and error) then analyze the successes and failures until I know exactly how and why I ended up choosing one over all others.

Even if I’m only explaining things to myself, writing out the facts helps me codify, clarify, and set in practice whatever personal system I’ve cobbled together.  And it made sense to me, back then, to share what i was learning in case it might help someone else.

Somewhere along the line I stopped writing those posts. Not because I stopped learning, no. Life got complicated, and I ran out of energy needed to put private thoughts into a sharable, coherent public format. When that little voice in my head convinced me I wasn’t saying anything other people couldn’t say better, well, it was easy to drop writing about writing.

(I know,  it’s a liar, that voice, but it was loud, and I was tired, and it was easier to curl up in my shell and cling to story writing instead.)

I want to get back into sharing opinions about this indie authoring gig. Recent experiences have convinced me anew that I have plenty to contribute. First I’ll do some posts with links to updated older posts on perennial topics. (There’s one earlier in this post, even!)  And when I think of a new interesting topic, or someone suggests one, I’ll write about that.

It’s a start, and that brings us to the end of this post. In a way I suppose this was a process post about process posts.  A very meta way to begin.

Until later.

Categories
1. Storysculpting 3. Other Things Whimsy Writing Life

It’s nippy out there.

The air temp was up to a balmy -15 °F when I took my walk today. That’s before wind chill. The wind chill has been at “OH HELL NO” since last night. -15 marked the high point between -24 last night, and -23 projected for tonight. -50 wind chill anyone?

Yes, I went outside in that kind of cold. Yes, on purpose. Yes, without a job location I had to travel to reach, or a pet who needs walking, or any other external justification.

Why? Why not? Being able to do things like stroll around in the killing cold by choice remind me how lucky and rich I am, relatively speaking, and how grateful I am for so much in my life.

Also, if I don’t get my body moving and keep moving at a steady pace for at least 30 min a day, I hurt, but I could do enough walking indoors to cope. Not easily, and going around and around inside the house is boring as hell, but hey. I have done it.

But given the choice between boring laps and going out into the deep freeze? No contest.

It was a fantastic hike and meditative too. I spent the time focusing on my breathing rhythm, maintaining awareness of my body’s position, location, and surroundings (the whole world changes in incredible, beautiful ways when it’s super-cold)

..at least, that’s what I was doing when I wasn’t concentrating on ways to keep my glasses from frosting over.

I’d been out about a half-mile when I realized why I was enjoying myself so much. Dealing with weather like this is a lot like swimming. You’re deliberately exposing your body to a medium that will kill you if you’re immersed in it too long, but with the right gear, training, and effort, the experience can bring you a satisfying thrill.

When it comes to gear, I have tons. Decades worth. I ruthlessly toss or donate clothes that wear out/don’t get worn, but cold weather kit keeps well. And scarves? Well. Textiles are my dragon hoard.

My winter coat is literally designed for Antarctica– it came from someone who went on a cruise trip with a company that uses old Russian icebreakers. It has a patch on it and everything.

My closet is packed with thick, plushy hoodies & warm socks and so on. I am spoiled for choice.  I not only have sleek, soft long underwear comfort-rated to sub-zero, I have fleecy versions I can layer over it and under my outerwear.

Hats? Ear protection? insulated gloves with mitten covers? Scarves and ear bands to keep everything but the eyes safe from wind chill? YUP.

And boots with thick soles to keep my toesies in a dry, temperature-controlled environment are my year-round standard.

Basically, I was all set for today.  Note, please, none of my stuff is new. A purple wool scarf my friend Jody found for me and the sparkly red scarf gifted to me by my other friend Tess are the  youngest pieces in the ensemble. Some of the long underwear is old enough to drive, and I think the coat is old enough to vote.

But it’s all good gear, so when I wrap up to go out in the killing cold, I am covered top to toe in cuddlesome coziness and feel super-rich and thankful for every protective piece.

I’ve had training too. Nothing rigorous, just enough to make me comfortable navigating a populated neighborhood.  There were many lessons in cold weather survival in my youth, plus I’ve done a lot of independent study since then. (hello, I’m a writer)  Knowing when to stop is a key skill, and listening to my body saying “enough!” is a thing I have learned well.

Once I find some goggles (frosty eyeglasses are a real PITA) I will be able to easily handle hikes on days far colder than this one. Goggles have been on a vague quest list for years now. Since Polar Vortexes are likely to be a recurring issue, I think I will make a point of hunting some down before next winter.

Because it really was a lovely walk today, and I want to do more.

By the way, if anyone is wondering, no,  I wasn’t the only one out there. I wasn’t even the only person out here without a dog on a leash. I spotted one hardy soul out running, and no one was even chasing them.

Was there a point to this post? I don’t know. But we’ve reached the end of it.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.

Categories
1. Storysculpting Book reviews Writing Life

Inside my head right now

Recent random doings:

Read:

Ardulum Book 1. Juicy space opera goodness. I saw a recommendation by Seanan McGuire online,  and I second the recommendation and third it and give it many thumbs up.

Other than that, I’ve been reading seed catalogs, longform online articles about sunscreen & vitamin D. Also re-reading my own writing a lot in the process of revisions.

View:

Venom. Much more fun than I expected. Tom Hardy was entirely believable as a loser coping with an alien parasite. Slight letdown at the end with the alien.

 Smallfoot. Um. It could’ve been worse? I don’t feel the 90 min of my life were wasted.

First two seasons of The Good Place, and caught up with the current season.

Kitchening:

It’s “eat all the summer’s saved fruit!” season. I am perfectly willing to eat frozen blueberries as-is, raw & rinsed off, but Spouseman much prefers me to bake them into things. So. Faux cobbler gets made a lot (what’s that? I take a baking dish, pour in some rinsed frozen fruit w/a little sugar & lemon stirred in, dig out a couple of frozen apple doughnuts, enough to cover the fruit when chopped up and sprinkled on top, and bake until bubbly, browned on top, and delicious.)  I make it with sliced, peeled apples too, but mostly berries.

Gardening:

Garden things in January? In Chicagoland? WEIRD, right?  I helped with a seed bank seed-sorting project at Chicago Botanic. It was lovely. I got to play with screens, and pans, and an air column . Bergamot, penstemon, and prairie dock. My hands smelled like summer all day long, both times. Hoping I get to do that again.

 

Flashback cat pic:

Atop the chair, Bruce the Magnificent. Beneath it, Scootercat in Lurking Evil mode.

No Context WIP snippet. I post these because I like them but am uncertain whether they work, by the way.  Yes, I would like to know if they’re totally meh, or if you like them too.

Jack saw the rising column of smoke in the distance as soon as the teleport haze cleared around him. The tree-lined neighborhood street was empty, but shouts and wailing sirens were audible at a significant distance.

He bit back a snarl. The smoke meant they were going be late to the incident site no matter what they did, when every second counted.

And that’s a wrap.