Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Today's blog post

Today's blog post is up at Silence in the Library Publishing...

guest post at SitL Publishing

I talk about the most common questions I get asked at cons!

And if you haven't pledged, take a look at our kickstarter

We've got tons of great additions for backers at $5 and more!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Some cool stuff regarding Athena's Daughters

Wow!  In one day, we are less than $1000 from the original publishing goal (and therefore much closer to reaching my stretch goal!  Thank you so much to everyone who has backed us so far!

I wanted to go ahead and share some story summaries, links to previews and blog posts from some of the authors.

Danielle Ackley- McPhail: Looking Back - If necessity is the mother of invention, then desperation is its sire. Lady Clara is left with stewardship of her lost cousin's inheritance and the uncertainty of her own fate. She employs the dubious assistance of an American inventor to find her cousin before all is lost, only neither could have anticipated the unique nature of their...success.
Preview Looking Back
Daniell's blog post.

Maggie Allen:  Lunar Camp - Having to spend her summer break at Camp on the Moon is more (and in some ways less) than thirteen-year-old, botany-loving Bee bargained for.
Preview Lunar Camp
Maggie talks on the Silence in the Library Blog.

Conley Lyons: Oh, Sisters, Let’s Go Down to the River - Mary Walker thought there weren't nothing scarier than cleaning out the inside of the family well. But she didn't ever count on hearing voices while she worked.
Conley Lyon's blog talks about it as well.

Gail Z Martin: Retribution - A vintage silver hip flask and a Roaring Twenties-era poker set spell trouble for Cassidy Kincaide when old ghosts turn murderous.  Cassidy runs Trifles and Folly, an antique and curio shop in historic, haunted Charleston, SC that has a secret mission: to get dangerous magical objects off the market. Can Cassidy discover what ties the tragic history of an abandoned hotel to the maliciously haunted objects before more people die?
Gail's blog talks about the project.
Preview Retribution

Jean Rabe: Visage - When Peaches' father goes missing along the Amazon River, she hires a guide to search for him. Instead, Peaches uncovers a grisly secret that stretches back centuries.

Sherwood Smith: Commando Bats - Commando Bats: what happens when old women get powers.
Sherwood talks about the project on her blog.

Janine Spendlove: Millie - What happens when a modern day military pilot, Major Sara Colón, meets a time traveling aviatrix?
Preview Millie

Vicki Steger-Johnson:  Burly and Cavendish Blend - It looks as though archaeologist, Abigail Watts, obsession with ancient artifacts will lead to her demise, when she and her cousin, Dawson Willoughby, are left to die in an abandoned Egyptian tomb.

DL Stever: Vernon’s Angel - Gentle Vernon's desire to become popular with the tough high school basketball team is only in his dreams.  When help comes in a most surprising way Vernon's life changes for the better.

C. A. Verstraete: The Songbird's Search - Marietta was plain-looking, but she had a voice the men found irresistible. Now with time ticking, she hoped to find just one who would appreciate her true, inner beauty.

Jean Marie Ward: The Gap in the Fence - A ten-year-old girl will do anything to save her best friend's dog from being put down--even bargain with the fairies who live behind "The Gap in the Fence."
Jean Marie talks about it on her blog.
Preview The Gap in the Fence

Fellow stretch goal author, Tricia Barr, talks about the Kickstarter on her blog.
Fellow stretch goal author, Tanya Spackman, posted a preview of her story.

There's a discussion group over at Goodreads for interested folks.  Ask Athena's Daughters

And of course, here's the link to the Kickstarter in case you haven't pledged yet. :)


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Athena's Daughters Kickstarter Launches!!

I get to be a stretch goal!!!

I've partnered with Silence in the Library Publishing, Kickstarter, and a host of renowned authors including names like Mary Robinette Kowal, Gail Z. Martin, Jean Rabe, Janine K. Spendlove , and many others in a new Kickstarter project titled Athena's Daughters.

Athena’s Daughters is a collection of short fiction from some of the best female science fiction and fantasy authors in the industry. This anthology features stories written by women about women. We are also incredibly excited to have an introduction to the anthology by retired astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander Pam Melroy.

If the Kickstarter reaches the goal of $17,500, I, along with new author Tricia Barr, get to add stories to the anthology. If it reaches $18,000, every backer at $5 and up will receive a free digital download of my short story "Fires within the Blank Page."

Additionally, my fellow authors and I, and the staff at Silence in the Library Publishing believe that any good project should contribute something to improving the human community. In keeping with that goal, a portion of every book sold will go to RAINN. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

This is only a small portion of what is waiting for you when you visit the Athena's Daughters Kickstarter project page. Please join us and become a part of the Athena's Daughter's journey by visiting and contributing today!
Also, keep an eye on this space as I'll share more information about the stories and the authors as I get it!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Post over at Nerdiquette 101

My most recent post is over at Nerdiquette 101.

Nerdiquette 101 is a movement started by three women who all had "that guy" encounters at a science fiction convention in 2012.

Today's post is called "Extricating Yourself from Uncomfortable Situations" and offers a short list of suggestions for removing yourself from situations that make you uncomfortable.

I hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guest Post: Gail Z Martin

As part of Gail's Days of the Dead blog tour, she kindly offered to stop by my blog!

The Con-Going Writer

I met Tera at a con--I'm guessing many of you did, too.  In fact, I run into Tera at several cons each year.  Sci-fi conventions are part of the fun of being a fan or a writer, and every con I go to offers the opportunity to learn something new, meet fantastic people, hang out with other authors, and see new places.  That's why I'm a con-going writer.

Writing is a fairly solitary affair.  Once in a while you come up for air to connect with beta readers, agents and publishers, but most of them time is spent inside your own head.  My dogs make sure I get exercise, having an uncanny ability to smell the exact moment when I have gotten a great idea, at which point they need to go out to the back yard.  But on the whole, writing isn't a social activity.

Genre conventions are a way for me to include that social piece into my writing life and not get thrown wholly off track.  I've attended many panel discussions on historical or scientific topics and come away with new ideas for plots, characters or story twists.  I've learned a lot about the industry by sitting down for coffee or a drink with other authors and listening to what they're working on, how their relationship with a publisher or agent is going, or what new project they're developing.  In the new world of hybrid careers and professional self-publishing, I've learned a lot about how other folks are successfully creating their own ebooks or print runs, sourcing artwork, and finding the best software. 

Talking with readers is just as instructional.  It's good to hear from the other side of the desk, to find out what people are reading and why, what they're tired of, what they want more of.  Yes, it's anecdotal, but it's still outside input, and if you go to enough cons in a year (and I do), all that anecdotal information sifts together to form trends.

Cons are also places to get contracts.  I've come home from many a convention with a contract or an invitation for a short story in an anthology, and I enjoy talking with editors and publishers of all sizes of publishing houses because I learn something from every conversation.  Good relationships eventually open doors.  Besides, it's nice to talk shop with other people in the business who actually understand the highs and lows--writing is a strange occupation.

Going to cons also gives me plenty of grist for the social media mill, with photos to post on Facebook, bon mots to tweet on Twitter, and new ideas for blog posts.  Sometimes, I end up tagged in someone else's post, which is cool too.  And on many occasion, I've landed a magazine, blog or podcast invitation just by showing up.

Most of all, cons are an opportunity to reconnect with friends and meet new ones, talk about the fan stuff other people don't understand, shop the dealer room, and stretch your creative muscles.  All the more reason to be a con-going writer!

Come check out all the free excerpts, book giveaways and other goodies that are part of my Days of the Dead blog tour!   Trick-or-Treat you way through more than 30 partner sites where you'll find brand new interviews, freebies and more--details at

Ice Forged will be a Kindle Daily Deal with a special one-day price of just $1.99 only on October 31!  Get it here:

Reign of Ash, book two in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga launches in April, 2014 from Orbit Books.  My new urban fantasy, Deadly Curiosities, comes out in July, 2014 from Solaris Books. I bring out two series of ebook short stories with a new story every month for just .99 on Kindle, Kobo and Nook—check out the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures or the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.

About the author: Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga and the upcoming Reign of Ash (Orbit Books, 2014), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn  and The Dread) from Orbit Books.  In 2014, Gail launches a new urban fantasy novel, Deadly Curiosities, from Solaris Books. She is also the author of two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.  Find her at, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on, at blog and

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

30 Days hath September...

So it’s suddenly September. Hard to believe how fast the summer has flown by.  I had a blog already for August but then in between Vacation and school starting for the Geeklet…I kind of forgot to post it.  So here’s the scoop.

In writing news…
I spend the entire month of July attempting to write 250 words every day.  I had success in  that I managed to write every day!  I did miss the word count once, though.

Least written: 163 words
Most written: 1000
Total word count: 13,901

Overall, having the goal of tracking the word count and posting it to FB at least semi-regularly was good.  I appreciated the positive feedback I got from folks as I posted them.   

It was also interesting because I spread the writing around.  I worked on my short stories, my urban fantasy novel and blog posts.  I also counted some “new” words around the recap of the gaming sessions. Mainly because even though I take notes during our game sessions and basically just rewrite them, I also tend to include some character thoughts. I counted those as new words. J

I definitely think I’ll go back to counting in September.

I also got the first chapter in the Steampunk novel back from an editor!  So now it’s time to send the rest to be edited in terms of getting it publishable. J 

I also had another short story accepted for publication.  It’s by a very, very small press called KYStories that focus on Southern Writers and Stories.  My short story, Fires within the Blank Page, is included. 

This was an interesting story.  It got its start in an older writing group prompt.  The characters are mostly named after friends.  And the heroine and main Witch’s names were sourced via Facebook.  Special thanks to Misty Massey and Amy Wilkinson Ware for providing the names.

How many times/Do we swallow our ambitions 
Long to give up the same old way/Find another road to take 

Keep holding on so long/'Cause there's a chance 
That we might not be so wrong/We could be down and gone 
But we hold on

~Rush, We Hold On

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Movie Influences

We’ve talked before about how books and music influence my writing, but inspired by today’s post over at Mythic Scribes, I thought I’d talk about what  Antonio del Drago describes as “which fantasy movies have had the greatest impact on my writing, and why they are so meaningful.”

These aren’t in any particular order.

Labyrinth.   The music, the book reflecting the real world, the music, Jim Henson’s puppets, the music, the story about being yourself, did I mention the music?  Labyrinth probably helped define my love of the fantasy genre as both escapism and transformation.  It is one of those movies where the heroine realizes it’s okay to grow up and okay to still want for “childish” things.  Somewhere in my house I have a bumper sticker that reads…”I break for Unicorns.”  I’ve had it for more years than I can count, but it, like Labyrinth for me, is symbolic of it being okay to dream/to believe in the impossible.   And, yes, I had the biggest crush on David Bowie in that movie.  And the music!!!

Star Wars.  Now, obviously, Star Wars is a space opera, not a fantasy, but for the purposes of impact on writing…I have to keep it on the list.  Star Wars is all about the Hero’s Journey.  At the same time, it tells the story of someone accepting responsibility for “something greater than self.”  I find that a lot of my short stories and novel work focus on transformation.  I think a lot of that came out of Star Wars.  I think it’s one reason Han is one of my favorite characters.  He really moves from something of a mercenary pain in the @$$ to someone who believes in helping others and the cause, even if he is going to be grumpy about it.

The Princess Bride.  This is another one where the book and movie intersect.   For me, this is a love story.  It has Kisses! It is about overcoming adversity to be with the one you love.  I’ve read the novel and interestingly enough, I still find the movie to be more impactful.  I don’t know if it’s the cast or what… but the movie is one of those that I can stop and watch any time it is on.  It has a great ensemble cast.  While most of my stories center around one or two people, the paranormal fantasy I’m writing is leaning more toward an ensemble cast and I want that sense of reality and connection to appear in the work.  And lines… I want to write a book that when it’s made into a movie gets quoted everywhere… “Hello! My name is Inigo Montoyo,” “As you wish,” “I do not think it means what you think it means.” “Have fun stormin’ the castle!”

Sleeping Beauty/Beauty and the Beast: I put these together as the “Disney Films.”  While they tell two different stories, what appeals to me in both movies is Disney’s ability to capture the essence of dreams.  Sleeping Beauty is my favorite of the Disney Princess’s – a girl meets the love of her life only to be pulled away and sent into a magical sleep.  The love of her life turns out to be a prince who defeats the dragon and rescues the girl.  (Maleficent is the perfect Evil.  I want my BBEG to be like her.  No regrets just Evil.)  Beauty and the Beast takes a “bookish” girl and an “ugly” boy and they fall in love, seeing the beauty beneath each other.   I don’t know how many girls loved Beast more for his Library than himself… but I was one of them.   Both are completely different stories written in different times.  In reality, it is Belle who rescues the Beast unlike Prince Phillip who rescues Aurora.  But something about both stories is incredibly enchanting to me.

Later movies:

Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter/PoTC: These are all epic stories told with Epic descriptions and amazing visuals.  I want my stories to reflect that… but I have found it very challenging to write those kinds of descriptions.

Stardust/Enchanted:  This is another set of Love Stories where what you expect to “love” isn’t really what you want/need/end up with.  I like the twist.

While I am sure there are a ton of other great movies out there, these are the ones that I think have had the most influence on my writing style.

When I think about the connection between my favorite movies and my stories, it seems that I like to write stories about transformations.  My heroes are people who either change through the course of their actions or as a result of the actions of others around them. 

Clearly though…I need to write a love story. J

We don’t have to talk/We don’t even have to touch
I can feel your presence/ In the silence that we share
Got to keep moving/At the speed of love
Nothing changes faster/Than the speed of love
Got to keep on shining/at the speed of love
Nothing changes faster/than the speed of love
~Rush, Speed of Love

Friday, July 5, 2013

Back to the HR World

I got a job!!!

It’s an amazing opportunity to work for the Center for Creative Leadership.  I’ll be working in their Talent Management Department but what is truly cool is that it is a 30 hr week job which gives me time to continue to write as well as work on the house decluttering!

In writing news, I’ve got a few short stories out for submission and I’ve started a new series: The Last Scion.  It’s an urban fantasy but with an Arthurian legend influence.  I hope it works.

I’m also trying the Magic spreadsheet though I’m not brave enough to do the public one, I’ve downloaded the excel and am keeping track personally.  I’m also trying to remember to post to FB my daily word count and a teaser on the Last Scion Series.  I need to start plotting the Witches books as well.   Do background/plotting notes count for word count?

And in the grumpy, I just noticed that the brand new business cards I ordered…have my website address where my email address is.

And random sentence:  The thunder rumbled like a Harley left idling outside the house.

Time is a spiral -- Space is a curve
I know you get dizzy, but try not to lose your nerve
Life is a diamond you turn into dust
Waiting for rescue, and I know you just
Don't get it.
~Neurotica, Rush

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Post at Nerdiquette 101

Today's post can be found over at the Nerdiquette 101 blog.

Nerdiquette 101 is a movement started by three women who all had "that guy" encounters at a science fiction convention in 2012.

Today's post is called Dos and Don'ts for taking pictures of costumers and is short list of recommendations for interacting with costumers during conventions.

I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Books that changed my life

Inspired by this post:

Geek Mom Sarah Pinault describes it as “not books that changed my life through ‘because it’s great’, but books that you can use to pinpoint a change in your life, a change in your way of thinking, your growth be it emotional or otherwise.” 

I thought it was an interesting idea, and since I am in the process of de-cluttering (which results in the removal of some books), I thought I’d take a look at the books I choose to keep.

The first book/series that comes to mind is the Narnia Chronicles.  I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the fourth grade as part of a class reading.  I remember finishing the book and immediately heading to the library to find out if there was more.  There was!  I devoured the rest of the series by the end of the year.  It opened my eyes to the world outside of Judy Blume and Mary Ingalls Wilder.  By the end of fourth grade, I’d been introduced to the Chronicles of Prydian as well.  (Yeah fantasy!)

Fifth Grade for me was a defining year.  A lot happened in my personal life. My Dad spent the year stationed in Korea and my Mom hurt her back and spent several months unable to do much.  I learned a lot about responsibility that year, as I learned to cook, clean and take care of my little brother.   Thank goodness for my godparents, who helped with things like yardwork and errands. 

That same year, I had the most amazing teacher who introduced me to a whole world of books.  Mr. Nesbit introduced me to Mystery novels (first Trixie Belden, and then Nancy Drew), Shakespeare (we put on A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Madeleine L'Engle. 

He had this corner in his room that was wrapped in books.  I remember reading book after book. 
That same year, my mom was reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.  When she finished the book, she handed it to me.  By the end of the year, I’d finished all three books in the series… and thrown my first book across a room.  

In terms of changing my life, I think being introduced to Shakespeare so young gave me a love of English and Literature that has carried all the way through my adult life.   Mr. Nesbit kept the essence of the story while shortening the lines to make it easier for 10 year olds to memorize.  It gave me my first performance on stage and I remember reading more of the plays (in their original form) that same year.  Though a lot of the jokes went over my head, as I learned when reading it later in college, I remember reading it with a dictionary beside me and learning a whole new vocabulary.

Trixie and Nancy were female detectives.  I think more than anything, they started me down the path of belief that a woman can be anything, even something that was bit dangerous.   Growing up, I wanted to be a pilot.  Unfortunately, my eyesight was too bad to fly in the military. (Ah, well.)  I still love the fearlessness of both characters and while I am not anything like either, I like to think I have tried to bring some of that fearlessness into my life.

Then came Dragonlance.  Dragonlance (DL) opened my world to “adult” books.  That is, books written for adults not kids or even young adults.  Once I started reading DL, I never went back to young adult books.  I remember going to the bookstore and starting in the fantasy/science fiction section.  From DL, I learned about Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks, and of course, Tolkien.    Once introduced to Fantasy novels, I eventually made it to Science Fiction, devouring Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451 OMG!), though I never could get into Asimov for some reason. 

Shortly thereafter, my mom brought home Mercedes Lackey’s Arrows and Last Herald Mage trilogies.  Mercedes was the first person who wrote about “shay’a’chern” or gay relationships.  I think having been introduced to it in novels so young, is why I’ve never really been bothered by the concept of gay relationships or marriage.  In fact, it’s very likely that the stories made it so not only does it not bother me, but I feel strongly enough to have voted for and continue to support same-sex equality in marriage and in other laws.

There are probably tons more books that influenced my life. From the Star Wars novels of Aaron Allston, Mike Stackpole and Timothy Zahn, to the Forgotten Realms stories of Elaine Cunningham & RA Salvatore, there are tons of books that inspired me to become an author in my own right.

I knew he was different, in his sexuality/ 
I went to his parties, as the straight minority/ 
It never seemed a threat to my masculinity/ 
He only introduced me to a wider reality.
~Rush, Nobody's Hero

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thoughts of Stellarcon

UNCG’s SF3 announced yesterday that there will be no Stellarcon in 2014. The club plans to spend the year restructuring.

As someone who served as both president of the SF3 and a Con Manager, I must admit this news makes me sad.    I cut my teeth on convention running at Stellarcon.  In fact, I’d be willing to go as far as saying that without Stellarcon and SF3, there would be no ConGregate.

I met amazing people, who became dear friends, in the course of the years of running Stellarcon.  From authors and artists, to actors and fans, the people I’ve met at Stellarcon have almost always been incredibly kind and generous with their time.  The list goes on and on of authors who encouraged me to write, who gave me the confidence to write and without having met them at Stellacon, I don’t know that I would now be a published author.

My memories of Stellarcon are, of course, clouded now by the years.  I have incredibly fond memories of sitting at the Hams on Friendly, which is now closed, drinking Rum & Cokes (and White Russians) while planning out the convention.  Through SF3, I met my husband.  And certainly, we drew closer working together on the con. There were a lot of late nights putting the program together, laying out the convention or dealing with last minute changes.  A lot of blood (hey! paper cuts bleed!), sweat and tears went in to each year to make it a success.  And yes, I know there are negative memories as well, but I don’t think they overshadow the good ones. 

Memories like:

  • Having Fire Alarms often enough at the old Holiday Inn that we scheduled a random Fire Drill in the program (Fire Sale!), only to have the alarm not go off the one time we really had a fire!
  • The Vampire LARPs taking over all 6 floors!
  • Robert O’Reilly singing “The King of the Forest”
  • Star Wars Trivial Pursuit w/ Aaron Allston, Mike Stackpole and Tim Zahn
  • Cabaret at the End of the Universe!
  • Inside the Stellarcon Studio
  • Wearing the original Cubic Zirconia costume at DragonCon and having someone in a line jump out and shout “Stellarcon!”
  • Iron Seamstresses
  • The last page of the program…
My daughter’s first convention, at 3 months of age, was Stellarcon and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.    

Even as Stellarcon changed, moving to more student-run, and away from alumni involvement, I still went every year.  Being named Fan GOH by them was an incredibly meaningful moment for me.

Laura Haywood-Cory perhaps says it best: “End of an Era.”  Stellarcon may come back in 2015 or the club may decide to let it rest forever.  But for the first time in 21 years, there will not be a Stellarcon in March and that makes me sad.

More things than are dreamed about/Unseen and unexplained
We suspend our disbelief/And we are entertained
~Rush, Mystic Rhythms

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Some things are in your blood, in your soul, in your heart and you can’t not do them (Yes, that’s a double negative!).  Your passions.

In my case, I apparently have two of them…writing and conventions.

The Writing is going well.  I have 4 short stories published (the most recent coming out at the end of May!), the first chapter of the first draft of my novel being copy-edited, several more short story ideas are in draft form and an entire new series is being plotted.  So I feel like I’m making progress in that passion.

And then there are cons… After I had the Geeklet, I decided to get out of running conventions.  But it’s been 5 years and I miss it like an addict misses cigarettes or coffee. 

So when a small group of us started talking about running a convention…I was onboard.  Particularly if I got to do programming again!  Programming is my true love of conventions.  I love figuring out what topics to discuss, how to draw in the fans…and ConGregate is giving me that opportunity.  Plus we’re really focused on organizing a convention that fans want to attend.  So when it comes to topics and programming ideas, I want to hear from the fans as well as the guests.  We’re even going to put up a link for people to email me their ideas and if I can make it work, it’ll happen.

Congregate is a group of experienced conrunners from all over the South…we have staff from across NC, SC and VA helping out.  We have some of the best talent you can name from RavenCon, Trinoc-coN, MACE, StellarCon, ConCarolinas, Mysticon, and DragonCon. It’s an amazing staff already and I can’t wait to see what we can do. 

I hope you check us out, and share your thoughts and passions with us.   The tagline for ConGregate is “Where strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.”  We really hope that by the end of our first con, we’ll have made a lot of new friends!

 You may be right/It's all a waste of time
I guess that's just a chance I'm prepared to take
A danger I'm prepared to face/Cut to the chase
~Rush, Cut to the Chase

Monday, April 8, 2013

Today's blog post up at Nerdiquette 101

Today's post can be found over at the Nerdiquette 101 blog.

Nerdiquette 101 is a movement started by three women who all had "that guy" encounters at a science fiction convention in 2012.

Today's post is called We will not fail and is about what women in fandom could do if we weren't afraid to fail.

I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Too much writing??

So how much is too much writing?

That’s the current question of the week.  I’ve been invited to be part of a new website/blog, The Gamers Codex, run by Ron McClung and Jeff Smith of JustUs Productions.   I’ll be doing a semi-regular featured column on “Geek Girls Gaming” for them.  Look for our first few posts in the next few weeks.

In addition, Nerdiquette 101 has a blog that I’ve been meaning to write a post for, so I need to work on that and of course, I needed to do a post for my own blog (that would be this one).  Oy.  It’s been a busy week.  I am beginning to think I need to start scheduling writing time for blog posts in addition to my fiction.

In upcoming news, I will be a guest at Ravencon this weekend in Richmond, Va.   Come say hi at the following panels:


·         10am     Shared Worlds

·         12N        Steampunk Costuming


·         12N        Balancing Writing w/ the Rest of your Life

·         3pm       Short Story Techniques

Oh, speaking of news…my fourth short story is due to be published in May 2013!   “Knight’s Gambit”, a story wherein a new knight learns that some things really are black and white, will be included in the next volume of Tales of Fortannis: A Bard in the Hand.

I know this is a short blog…but I’m going close now so I can finish writing something for the other blogs! 

Wilderness of mirrors/World of polished steel
Gears and iron chains/Turn the grinding wheel
I run between the shadows
Some are phantoms, some are real
~Rush, Double Agent

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Soundtracks of our Life

Or in this case the soundtrack of a series...  I've never been one to "hear" songs for characters in story.   Until recently...

The new series I am working on is basically a paranormal retelling of the Arthurian legend.  My main character (Morgan) is the lots of greats - grand daughter of Morgan Le Fey and Merlin.   That being said...the story has a slight twist in so much as the other main character who may or may not end up as Morgan's soulmate, is the devil, or.. a devil, anyway.

Now...that all being said...I've started hearing a soundtrack for this story.

It all got started out of Bon Jovi's "One Wild Night" - which is the song that gave me the inspiration for the concept.  That song now represents Morgan's acceptance of her powers/history and her place in the prophecy (ie storyline.)

Lyrical sample:
It's a hot night, the natives are restless 
We're sweating by the light of the moon 
There's a voodoo mojo brewing at the go-go 
That could knock a witch off her broom 

Then as I was driving into work yesterday, I heard Rush's Losing It...which I realized is the Devil's theme song.

Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies
But most of us just dream about
The things we'd like to be
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind who once could see
The bell tolls for thee...

Now I've always been a fan of music....several of my favorite quotes from songs are put together in a collage that I post over my desk at helps inspire me.   But this is the first time that songs have started attaching themselves to characters and moments in a story.  It's a bit strange.

This is the story of my life/And I write it everyday
I know it isn't black and white/And it's anything but grey
I know that no I'm not alright, but I feel ok cos 
Anything can, everything can happen/That's the story of my life

~Story of My Life, Bon Jovi

Monday, March 4, 2013

Finding your voice

So I came across an interesting article last week…and I’m going to digress from writing a bit and talk about fandom in its broadest forms. 

The article in itself isn’t that surprising.  Mom tells girl who had a particularly rough time at school (a la most of us geeks/nerds/bookwyrms) to ignore the mean girls and chart your own course.   In and of itself, not that unusual, I suspect most of us have had the same conversation or a similar one either with Moms, Dads, Husbands or Wives.  

But what did strike me as interesting what the flood of comments that followed the article.  Almost universally supportive, positive and relatable.  There were over 200 comments most of which in the vein of “Been there, great article, great reminder.”

As a geek/former con-runner/author and participant in the NERDIQUETTE 101 movement, I think this advice to be ourselves is one that we still don’t hear enough.    Too often we are afraid of being made fun of or labeled (see the FAKE geek girl controversy) to speak out about our chosen interests.   And while movement’s like NERDIQUETTE 101 and conventions taking responsibility for their environment are a great start, I can’t help but wonder is there more we should be doing as fans?

Maybe it’s starting a conversation with the shy guy in line in front of you for the autograph of a favorite actor.  Or maybe it’s asking the girl in the corner reading to tell you about the book (if she seems willing and not just wanting to read for a few!)  Maybe if we start by asking questions of others, we can start to bring all of fandom a little closer.

As I learned two weekends ago at Mysticon, fandom has a depth and breadth to it that is amazing.  We can always stand to learn a little more about either our fandom or someone else’s.

As an example, I stood in line for over an hour at Mysticon (great con, btw), waiting for Peter Davison’s (one of the Doctors of Doctor Who) autograph.  Now, I’ll show my lack of geek cred here… I’m not a Dr. Who fan.  I’ve seen an entire two episodes of the Matt Smith Doctor and that’s it, but a dear friend of mine is a HUGE fan of the entire series, so I stood in line for her since she couldn’t be there.

Now while in line, I struck up a conversation with a young man from Maryland.  We got to talking about how Doctor Who fandom has a very wide breadth of fans ranging from older fans of the first two or three doctors to new fans in their teens that came into the fandom at the last two doctors.  What struck us both as interesting was that all Dr. Who fans seemed to identify themselves as Dr. Who fans. While there might be some teasing about which Dr. is “better,” the fans all accepted each other and congregated around each other because they were Dr. Who fans. 

I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve seen that strong/obvious amount of inclusion in some other fandoms.  Now I’m sure it’s there.   Certainly there is a good amount of inclusion amongst the Rebel Legion, the 501st and Mandolorian Mercs within the Star Wars costume groups…but at the same time, I can say I’ve seen sniping attacks between Star Wars the movies fans and Star Wars the Expanded Universe Fans or between ST:TOS and ST:TNG fans. 

But what I witnessed this past weekend was Dr. Who fans.  That’s it.  Just Dr. Who fans.

So while I do think we need to try to be more inclusive of others within fandom, at the same time, I think if we are “flag waving” fans of a genre, then it’s time we take pride in that.   We need to believe in ourselves enough to speak about our love of anime or Star Trek or Labyrinth and even if we do get a giggle from someone in the audience, it’s okay.  It’s okay to be a fan of something.  And ya know, maybe our passion about something will convince someone else to go read a book, rent a movie or watch a TV show that they otherwise wouldn’t have.  After all, it’s the love of “whatever” that brought us into this crazy world of fen to begin with.

You can fight/Without ever winning
But never ever win/Without a fight
~Resist, Rush 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I hate waiting.  It is easily the hardest part about being a writer for me.  Did I mention I hate waiting? I sent my most recent short story submission off in January.  And since I hate waiting (I mentioned that, right?) and I’m in revision mode on the novel, I want to work on a short story.  But I don’t have any ideas…so that leads me to Duotrope.

I wavered back and forth on whether or not to subscribe to Duotrope.  It’s not a huge expense but it is an expense and for someone who doesn’t make her living as a writer, I have to be careful about what I pay for when it connects to the writing side of the business.

But after discussing with Steve Long, another short story author (he’s also a game designer and friend), and my husband, I decided to go ahead and subscribe.  While the submission tracker aspect is really cool, it is the aggregate sourcing of open submissions that I really like. 

One of my own struggles as an author is that I don’t seem to have this unending pile of stories in my head waiting to come out.  (I think I’ve mentioned this before.)  So having an anthology with a theme or a shared world is a good way for me to get my brain moving in the direction of writing.

So after joining Duotrope, I found 3 anthologies that I might be able to submit something to:  An Urban Fantasy Anthology, A Pirate Anthology and a Devil/Incubi anthology.  Plus there is a company that is reprinting time-travel stories.  I may send them my first story from Rum&Runestones since it is time-travel.  J

Of course all have short deadlines but I tend to write better under pressure.  I play around with a couple ideas and see what bites during Mysticon the most.

Speaking of Mysticon, both James Fulbright and I will be there and paneling.  Here is my schedule, stop by and see me!

Fri 5:00 PM Genre Mashups
No longer does a writer have to stick to their particular genre, like science fiction, fantasy or horror‐‐now they can mix steampunk with paranormal romance, science fantasy, mystery with any other genre, and so forth. Does this make it harder for the author or easier?  Does it take them to go beyond what they knew before?
Stuart Jaffe (M), Jason Cordova, Betty Cross, Glenda Finkelstein, Tera Fulbright, Misty Massey

Fri 10:00 PM Writing On The Edge of Your Seat
Panelists discuss how to structure a mystery and keep the reader's interest without frustrating them or giving ttoo much away
Tony Ruggiero (M), H. David Blalock, John L French, Tera Fulbright

Sat 9:00 AM Signing Table Sharon Stogner, Tera Fulbright (I’ll have copies of the anthologies for those who don’t have one for sale!)

Sun 1:00 PM "Hook, Line and Sinker" How to Begin and End A Story
Join our panelists as they discuss how to create a captivating beginning that lures readers in and an ending that satisfies.
Peter Prellwitz (M), Betty Cross, Glenda Finkelstein, Andrew Fox, Tera Fulbright, Zachary Steele

On an unrelated side note, I still find it incredibly cool that after running cons for a number of years and scheduling guests for panels…I’m actually sitting on panels with folks like Misty Massey and Tony Ruggiero.

Some need to pray to the sun at high noon
Some need to howl at the midwinter moon
Reborn and baptized in a moment of grace
We just need a break --
From the headlong race
~Rush, “Between Sun and Moon”

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stories of Vanished Times

Greetings in the New Year!

Only 22 days in but it’s been a bit busy already.  

I submitted a short story to Belladonna’s Black Apples anthology which had an early January deadline.   This was a bit of a challenge insomuch as they were looking for a Gothic twist on Princess stories.   I took an interesting celtic story of Fair, Brown and Trembling with a ghostly twist and combined it with the recently watched with my daughter - Cinderella.  The hard part was making it “dark.”  I tend to write happy stories or at least stories that are more light hearted in nature.  This one wasn’t.  I’m hoping I captured what they were looking for. (Grrr…that sentence ends with a preposition but I’m not sure how to rewrite it.)  Anyway, I’ll know in another 4-8 weeks if I made the cut! 

I have begun editing the first chapter of my novel.  I found a potential editor/copyeditor for the piece but I need to actually place the body somewhere before I send it off to her!  J

February starts con season for both James and I.  We will be guests at Mysticon in Roanoke the weekend of February 22nd so please stop by and say hello.   

Driving down the razor's edge between the past and the future
Turn up the music and smile
Get carried away on the songs and stories of vanished times
~Rush “Workin’ them Angels”