Friday, January 07, 2011


Iconic face of Rosie the Riveter poster died recently. I really wish I'd known this story, ya know, before she passed away.  She was a Michigan factory worker and seeing as her service is being held in Lansing, I'm betting she lived in Michigan all her life.

Odyssey Workshop has a new podcast up online from editor David Hartwell's 2010 Odyssey Workshop lecture on titles, titling, and using pseudonyms (Podcast #43). It was great because I find that a lot of writers worry about how to title or when to use a pseudonym and it seems like something the knowledgeable people in the industry don't want to talk about--perhaps it is more tedious than other aspects, but here we have a guy who's been an editor in the SF/F industry for over 40 years and he's willing to talk seriously about the small stuff.

The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop is now open to applications. As is the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop (early admission deadline: Jan. 31; regular deadline: Apr. 8). Both are great workshops.

Nocturne, Son of the NightOne of my Odyssey workshop classmates (or Odfellows, as the alums are called), put out a novella (40,000 words) for Kindle titled Nocturne: Son of the Night.  I haven't read the whole thing, but my understanding from the first chapter is that it's a high fantasy vampire world.  40k is an awkward length to sell to a publisher -- it's about half as long as a novel and a about 20k too long for all but a couple magazines to deal with (though as I understand it, it might be the kind of thing BlackGate would serialize).  You can read the first chapter on Smashwords or buy at  And maybe even buy at Samshwords if you need non-Kindle formating.

I got my cats a "cat bed" so that they would stop sleeping on top of my cloth suitcase. They seem to have mixed feeling about the bed, so I doused it in cat nip and now Rosie's all about it. Ash is currently sleeping in the old box lid on my desk. I guess they'll never be happy until they have the ultimate house for cats.

Kristen Lamb has had a great series of posts of the last week about dealing with "Crappy Excuse Trolls and Procrastination Pixies." The posts are long, but it's worth scrolling back to her Dec. 31 entry to catch the entire week's notions of how to behave better beyond the New Year's Resolution.  This awesome picture is from her blog as well.  It's a "Rare Photo of Actual Procrastination Pixie Disguised as a Hamster Cage that Needs Cleaning Instead of Doing Edits on Novel."   Love it.

Over at Third Coast, Nathan Norton posts his thoughts on Resolving to Remain Resolute with Regards to Writing Resolutions.  Nathan's post, as always, is insanely witty.

Speaking of which, my New Year's Resolutions are sorta holding. I've already finished reading one novel--another freebie download from eHarlequin. What can I say? I'm a sucker for free books that you can read quickly. And the writing 500 words a day goal? ... well I have written everyday, which is a start. Haven't really broken the 500 mark every day though and that's worthy of a demerit.

In the spirit of all of the writing is what I love posts I've read and *ahem* written myself, I bring you this from The Onion:
I guess you could say I have always had a love affair with the written word. The simple, solitary act of contemplating the white expanse of the blank page, and then putting pen to paper and seeing where the words take me, is my one constant solace in an otherwise turbulent world. Yes, I must admit it: I am only truly happy when I'm writing.

Or if I'm having dinner with family and friends, or a new and interesting acquaintance I happened to meet that week and hit it off with. I'm pretty happy then, too.

But for me, it always comes back to the writing: the discipline, the stamina required, the unrelenting determination to give voice to my innermost thoughts, thoughts that illuminate the cracks and crevices of the human condition. That is my only satisfaction. That and watching a really good movie on late-night TV, like Suddenly, Last Summer. That's a great feeling, especially when you haven't seen the film in some years, and you discover anew just what it was that you loved about it in the first place. I also enjoy canoeing and windsurfing when I get a free weekend down at the beach.

And Frisbee. I love Frisbee. (read more)

The more I read about the publishing business the more I think ahead. This is good, right? Maybe. It's hard to tell when your tell your friend, "hey I'm thinking about this and this, what's your advice?" and her advice is to stop thinking so far ahead and write the damn book. Then there's things like this very interesting guest post about author branding on Sierra Godfrey's blog. And the post says yes! think about it now!
I know, I know. Those of you out there who are plugging away at writing your book or maybe just sticking your toe in the writing waters are probably thinking...look, I just need to get this book written, find an agent, get a book deal, etc. etc. and then I'll worry about a public image. I've got time for that. Publishing is a slow business.

You're right. The book should be priority number one and publishing IS slow. I got my book deal a few months ago and my book won't hit the shelves until 2012. But let me tell you, when all the good stuff starts happening, it can happen fast. And you'll be thrust from "writer" to "Author" with a capital A in a moment's time.

That's great news. You won't really feel any different (though you'll be excited) and writing will still be just as difficult (believe me.) But the change means your blog, website, twitter, facebook, etc., you know all those things you've been doing to build your platform/presence, are now your brand.

So if you've spent your time on your blog bashing books you don't like, cursing like a sailor, or only posting pictures of cats in doll outfits (or even *gasp* not blogging/tweeting/pick your poison at all), you may have to do a major overhaul or start from scratch. You don't want this stress when you're going to be facing the new stress of being contracted, editing and writing against a deadline, and figuring out all it means to be a paid author. So why not get your brand in place NOW?
And then I'm like, aha! gotcha Roni Loren, I comprehend now. (read more of her guest post).

Lastly, I am in love with Lightspeed magazine!  All SF, all online (although they have other formatting options if you're interested).  They have a really intriguing layout/look--both clean and enticing.  And they're publishing a range of writers, lesser known folk and then, last month, Ursala Le Guin.  Though I could tell it was a Le Guin story because I finished it and went huh?

Highly Recommended