Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Flash Fiction: The Dream of Flight

Valin hunkered down in the cave corridor, waiting for the Inventrix to leave her latest and most powerful creation. With her familiar granite features set in a frown, the Inventrix moved like time nipped at her heels. Because it did. For all of them. Especially if there was another enemy attack on the way. But the head of the Cog Clan strode away, wearing her flying leathers snug against her lithe body, her farviewing goggles perched atop her graying head.

The clockwork of the security door was more intricate than he thought, especially for a second level techwork like himself. But he broke the pattern. The cogs clicked in their eerily silent housings when the massive door swung open on smooth hinges, folding back on themselves like a parchment letter creased four times.

If Valin would never become a Navigator, he still yearned to touch one of the bomber-dragons.

He moved into the vast vault of his leader's genius and saw spying microfyers, intricate farviewers, and separatory funnels filled with the acrid stench of one ingredient created for pseudo-metal. But he saw two glowing lights rising above his head by the height of four men--no, by several meters.

And a cheery baritone voice intruded on his study, "Hello!"

Surprised, Valin jumped to the nearest wall sconce to increase the gaslight.

The light increased...and the luminescence glinted off of a massive creature of brass pseudo-metal.

While other flying bomber-dragons were about the size of three full grown men, this one was--so much more. Not only massive in scale, but remarkable in make. Its eyelids blinked with a faint sigh, its pseudo-metallic skin crinkling as its great quicksilver eyes narrowed on him in curious speculation. Its great feet weren't mere holding clamps for chemical pot-bombs filled with acid, but rather were long and lithe as a man's hands, though possessed of sabre-like claws. And its wings twitched upon its back, not like the ornithopter dragons--the ones Valin so desperately wished to pilot--but like a true winged animal.

The dragon blinked and hunched its serpentine neck down to his level, its skin possessing neither greaves nor grooves, only smooth metal-flesh as elastic as a man's. 

"Hello," came the voice again from within its muscular seeming chest.

Valin was so fascinated he forgot the gnawing fear eating at his insides. The muzzle was precariously close, and warm air vented from its nostrils nearly the size of his own head. The chest moved in and out--another breath. A cooling system!

"Are you to be my Navigator? Mother says I need one, but that I'm not ready to fly just yet." The dragon's nose vented more breath upon him. "She says I'm not ready for many things."

The creature sounded petulant as a child. Never mind that this machine was speaking. None of the Inventrix's other creations could do more than spit out tiny preset parchment messages. And the sound of the voice, it couldn't be recorded on wax cylinders for the movement and heat of the beast would disrupt--

"Perhaps you are young like me," the dragon chirruped pleasantly. "I didn't know how to speak at first either. But I can teach you. Mother taught me."

"Mother?" Could it mean the Inventrix?

The creature seemed almost to smile, its mouth stretching back in a manner unnatural for any real animal. The teeth within the maw was a land of pointed daggers...

"You do speak! Come, I've found you, and you must be my Navigator." Its wings unfurled, the metallic sinews contorting. Cooling wire veins could be seen pulsing within the membranous skin of the wings, almost opaque. "Now I can fly at last. To your position, Navigator--um, sir."

"Valin," he supplied, at a loss.

The dragon pushed its soft nose into his chest like a young wolfling pup wishing to be petted, and Valin's hand unconsciously stroked at the muzzle, soft as velvet, cool as the touch of the cave's wall.

As he stood dumbfounded, a mournful sound came from the creature. Its optics--those quicksilver eyes and the obsidian chips of its pupil--seemed to mist over. "Do you not want to be my Navigator?"

“I-I...all I've ever wanted is to be a Navigator. To fly. To soar among the clouds. But you must not need a're sentient."

"That's what Mother called me," beamed the creature proudly. "I was created to learn things out on my own. Adapt, like she says. She said I can choose whether or not to fight, and that if I do, I'll be fierce because I'll know what it means to love. She said my Navigator would be smart and brave enough to break in here to see me. She designed it that way. Now come fly with me, Valin! Oh, please! I've waited so long!"

As Valin touched the muzzle again, the beast nudged harder, making him stumble. When he peered around, he saw two large doors at the end of this massive vault--a doorway to topside? Feeling an elation he'd never known in the caverns of other techworkers, he found the locking mechanism and quickly discerned how to open it. The doors hinged outward and the cool breeze ruffled his hair.

The dragon pranced on his feet and its wings unfurled to their utmost length, its neck straining forward and its eyes closed to half-mast in pleasure.

In the light of the moons, he could see the dragon's fitted harness. With a firm grip he began to climb aboard the dragon's back, and settled himself into something that was different from a battle-fitted seat. There were no levers, but rather a set of buttons that seemed to imply directions in three-hundred-and-sixty--a communication device, not a controlling panel.

Up. They could rise into the clouds. When he pressed the ascension button, the dragon bugled in excitement and launched itself out into the morning air.

With a whoop, Valin and his new companion were airborne.

995 words
This story was based on an actual dream I had of a man stealing his ruling inventor's flying battle dragon. Even my subconscious lives in a sci-fi/fantasy world.
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Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Art of Sharing

"It isn't art if you aren't sharing it."

I had a semi-recent conversation with a fellow writer friend about art, life, the universe, and everything (including why we should vacation in Svalbard and get hired as polar bear spotters). And when we were discussing promotion, being traditionally vs. indie published, and all of the things in between, she kept telling me: "You have to share. You can't keep it to yourself."

For some reason, these words hit me hard. I've been collecting gigabytes of stories, novels, and notes for years. And until a couple of years ago, I'd never shared them with anyone. Not with friends, not with critique partners, not with people bound to me by the ties of blood whose only response I feared would be umm, that's nice. I was madly scribbling away at the keyboard, bleeding my brain, and heart, and soul (if I so possess one in whatever form you prescribe to) onto the page. Trying desperately to find my voice, to write from the deepest parts of me, consigning myself never to share it with the world because I'm not good enough this sucks everyone will hate it I'm not ready it's too dark too scary too weird too experimental not experimental enough too literary not literary enough too unclassifiable too genre too shallow too serious no one will publish me is this like [famous author's work]?

I'm currently reading with relish Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

In it she has a name for these thoughts. "The Fraud Police." Because "when you're an artist nobody ever tells you or hits you with the magical wand of legitimacy." In fact, "you're an artist when you say you are. And you're a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected."

That's what I wanted to do. But I couldn't do that if I kept it to myself. So, while I still dream of being traditionally published in all of the professional SF magazines, and I'm working hard at mining my inner self for the real, the deep, the sacrificial, some part of me wanted to share. To split wide the doors to something I'd worked on. I started posting bits on my blog and connected to Facebook and finally let people see some of my work shown the light for the first time.

And it was the most freeing thing I've ever done artistically. It was like staring at a cliff with warm, sweet, calm oceans below and I'd finally grown the cajones to leap. I didn't expect responses. Part of me didn't want responses. Didn't want the rejection it would bring. I didn't want the umm, it's, uh, good? responses from those who thought they owed me something.

The internet didn't give me tons of responses.

But people did in person.

I was surprised to find such support. And it didn't go to my head. It wasn't the I'm awesome and great and I shit out gold onto the page. It was more about connecting with people without knowing I had connected with people. It was about sharing some part of myself, my art, and revealing that there were people reading and listening.

Amanda Palmer says that the artist, in whatever medium, does three things: "Collecting the dots. Then connecting them. Then sharing the connections with those around you."  

I'd been doing a decade of collecting, of viewing my experiences, of mentally observing the world with an eye for recounting it on the page. So too was the connecting. Of taking that ride on the Tube an connecting it to my inner fear of the proximity of strangers in enclosed spaces. But I hadn't done the third. I'd been stuck on the third. I'd been zealously throwing reams and reams of paper into a box with all of the hard copies of my stories, there to stay in such a lightless abyssal plain. (Many of them are still there).

Lately, I've been attempting to throw those stories to editors in the hope that someone somewhere might want to give me money in exchange for my work. And I know that many of them won't. And that's okay. I realize it's a business. I also realize that I can't connect with everyone. And that's okay too.

But I also realize I should share more.    

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Triangulation: Lost Voices is Available!

My first ever published short story "Loss of a Second" is now available in Triangulation: Lost Voices.

"Loss of a Second" When everyone in the world has two personalities in one body, what is it like to deal with the sudden loss of that other voice in your own head?

Experience twenty-one separate visions of what a lost voice sounds like, from a silenced voice inside your head to the screaming of a long-dead alien species careening through space. Within these pages, you'll find superheroes and ghosts, living statues and vengeful wildlife, polar bears and sailing ships.

You can purchase a fine copy of this anthology:

Or now--for a limited time!--the publishers are giving away a free paperback copy of Triangulation: Lost Voices over on Goodreads! Enter to win!

¡More exclamation points!

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hobbies that Influence Your Writing

A Baroque guitar piece arranged for the ukulele

So, like last last last month I missed the topic of "what hobbies do you have that help your writing?"

That answer is fairly simple for me. And yet, complicated.


Hands down. Listening to it, singing it, playing music, coming up with tunes that just blurt out of my brain. Half the time I don't even realize that I'm humming, much less what I'm humming. I semi-beat box when I'm bored. I tap my pencil to polyrhythms (usually three against four), and it happened often enough in high school that my Spanish teacher yelled that I was cursing in Morse Code. And sometimes even when there are people around (not just in the shower) I'll jazzy scat for minutes on end, or wind up quietly humming arpeggios.

For no reason at all other than this is a constant never ending stream in my brain.

Kind of like story ideas. And plot bunnies.

Little me grew up listening to a wide variety of music. I can even remember the first time as a child that I truly understood that songs were made of different parts--the clarity of that moment when I heard by itself the bass line, the drum line, the way they worked in tandem. That I knew more than just the lyrics, that I could hum the guitar solo, and be-bop the bass in the back of my throat. It was like a lightning bolt of realization for the complexities of something I took for granted.

This happened when I was around seven. Yes, I remember it that vividly.

And writing is the same. Complex. Working together in vast parts. It has it's own bass line of setting, the solo of character, and the steady drumbeat of plot.

Many of the things I've learned about the creative process has come from the creative flow of playing in a band, from the discipline of practice, from the repetitive motions and the rote memorization. And the sheer frustration and anger at not getting it quite right. Writing for me recreated hitting that stride where things just flow in the "zone." Falling into a beat pattern becomes a sort of meditative high. Writing is the same for me. It became the improvisation of my creative landscape.

I firmly blame my time playing jazz with the reason that I'm such a writing 'pantser.' Writers often claim there are two types of writers: 'ploters' who plan out a lot of details before hand, and 'pantsers' who run down the street not wearing pants screaming "I'm a writer!" Okay, no. 'Pantsers' just fly into the story, not knowing where they're going. And I've always felt it's a bit like soloing--you've practiced your rudiments for so long that it's second nature, so improvising comes from the heart and not the brain.

Then I mostly gave up playing music.

Since I now kinda' suck at playing the drums (though one of my teachers once told me I will remember how to play a basic 4/4 rock beat until my dying breath), I've picked up an intentionally not-so serious instrument. I wrote before how playing the ukulele changed how I view writing short stories.

Some of my best stories have come from asking friends to give me a random song. The three acceptances I've received for my work were all written to music: one of them to Gary Jules' melancholy version of "Mad World," another to a folk mix of Iron and Wine, Nick Drake, and Sufjan Stevens, and the last while listening to YouTube videos of violinist Joshua Bell, violin virtuosos playing the sheer insanity that is Paganini's Caprices, and a bunch of different sopranos singing the 'Mad Scene' from Lucia di Lammermoor.

Playing music influences my writing because music was my first jump into the world of creative endeavors. 
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Fencing with Live Steel: An Experience by Peter Morrow

A while back I asked, encouraged, and outright cajoled my friend, Peter Morrow, to write about his fencing experiences. I hope you learn something from his experiences with Historical Fencing, and encourage you to ask him questions!

Take it away Mr. Morrow.
Historical Fencing: Not Just for Porthos, Athos, and Aramis

About seven years ago, I took a chance on a new experience: Historical Fencing. 

Historical Fencing is the martial arts granddaddy of the modern sport of Olympic Fencing. It generally deals with the period of swordplay between the 1300s and the early 1800s and teaches forms of Rapier, Saber, and Small Sword combat. It differs from both Classical and Olympic Fencing, which focuses on more modern forms of Epee, Olympic Saber, and Foil.

Historical Fencing also differs from its more modern children in that you aren't confined to a fourteen meter strip with your other hand behind your back. You may move in a circular fashion, and have access to your other hand, to either be used in defense or to hold another weapon or small shield.

My first day of my first class, my instructor told us a story about the history of fencing. Life in the Renaissance for many people was horrible. With sanitation standards being nonexistent, and life expectancy being short, honor was all that mattered to most people. Criminal courts were almost unheard of, and the idea of civil courts hadn't been thought up yet.

Disputes and matters of honor were settled by the blade.

It paid to know how to fight.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Goals for 2015


Hopefully, 2015 will be a very good year.

I've received two acceptances for my short fiction, and I'll be published for the first time later this year in anthologies.

One of my shorts is slated to appear in Volume XIII of Spark: A Creative Anthology.

I haven't received the contract for the second mag yet, so I'm keeping quiet until it's signed.

Like last year I have lofty writing goals:

·        Keep sending out more short fiction.  I think I'll try to binge write a few shorts in March. I also need to edit some shorts that are hanging out on the hard drive. They're not doing me any good there.
·        Work on my 2-Year-Novel Course novel, The Crossroads Troubadour. I'm going to take my sweet time with this one.
·        Organize the re-writes for my 2012 NaNo, Blood and Brass. I approached the big re-write haphazardly so I need to learn to organize like a non-crazy person.
·        Create a legit website. Whoo-boy. This will involve me thinking about how to market based on the style of my writing. Hmmm...

Other non-writing goals:

·        Take the dog for more walks.
·        Finish setting up and restoring my vintage banjo-ukulele (which is like 80+ years old). My, my but it's a purdy 'lil thing.
·        Take a goddamn vacation from the Day Job.
·        Test cook more new recipes during the week.

So, my puppies, what are some of your goals for 2015?
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Forgiveness, Not Writing Every Day

Sometimes there's a crushing guilt when I don't write every day. It gets even worse, this almost sour feeling, when that non-writing time extends a little to a couple of days or--GASP--an entire week.

Because people keep telling us that "YOU HAVE TO WRITE EVERY DAY." Otherwise you're a hack, you're not a serious writer, you'll never make anything of yourself, you're a lazy bum, your writing will suffer, and quite clearly you suck a million kinds of suckage at the suck farm. This mantra keeps getting bantered around to newbies and old hopefuls. 

I've been stalking author Daniel José Older online a little, and in a series of tweets he mentions that it's "increasingly clear that procrastination is a guilt trippy interpretation of taking much needed time to process before sitting down to write." Not only that but "writing a book is in so many ways a gigantic, beautiful, painful act of faith [and] guilt will never be a healthy engine to do anything least of all anything creative."

I think much of the "write everyday" advice comes from the fact that many people say that they want to write, but many people I've met who say this...never do. Ever. In their lives. That "one day I'll write a book" thing that some potential writers sling about, but never actually take the plunge.

Like with many things, practicing every day is a good way to learn. In music, I was told absolutely by a variety of teachers that I was to practice every single day for a bare minimum of an hour, preferably longer. Music is a lot of repetition, muscle memory, and learning to listen, but it's something else too. Just like writing you have to see your errors, accept them, work on them at your own pace, and move on. 

As Older says, "Can't slink up all guilty and twisted. Gotta bring that swagger to the process, to the writing desk, to the keyboard. Gotta bring the love."

It's the love part we forget about sometimes.

Do I write every day? Yes, I try. But sometimes those blue periods in between the active writing sessions are when my writing problems suddenly become clear. The problems character. That weird plot hole. That slightly creepy atmosphere I was struggling to get right.

Have any of you ever had problem you had to get away from to solve? Is there something you try to practice every day?
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Monday, December 22, 2014

2014, a Year in Review

I had a lot of lofty writing goals for 2014.

Like most of my goals, they always go from: do this, and this, AND THIS, and OMG THIS! To Hey, maybe I should like, you know, focus on one single thing.

This year I stuck almost exclusively to writing and submitting short stories, which I've always considered the weakest part of my writing craft.

Here's a slice of what submitting shorts looks and feels like:

·        Polish shiny new story! Yay! Excitement! It's awesome!
·        Write down a whole bunch of places to send it.
·        Look up guidelines and realize that Kick Ass Ninjas Magazine doesn't accept stories about monkeys (hey, my shiny new story is about ninja monkeys!) Cross off list.
·        Look up guidelines for next place and realize they only accept gritty stories about monkeys in zoos. Cross off list.
·        Finally find a mag that likes ninja and/or monkey stories. Read guidelines and make sure it's formatted in Evil Helvetica, written in your own blood, underlining all the exclamation points!
·        Gleefully send it in.
·        Wait.
·        Wait a bit more.
·        Wonder if the long wait means they really, really like it.
·        Wait longer.
·        Obsessively check your e-mail/mail every day.
·        Anywhere from a couple of days to 2-4 months later you see an email/mail in your inbox and your heart skips for a second. Did they like it?
·        The letter begins: Thank you for submitting "Ninja Pirate Monkeys in Space" to Big Bad Magazine. Unfortunately, this does not fit our needs at this time. Thank you, The Editors
·        Wonder if you suck, if your writing sucks, if the world is telling you to quit.
·        Look at next mag on your list, make sure it's formatted ALL IN CAPS, written in someone else's blood, with no exclamation points, and add a bad ass biography listing all of your previous publishing credits (uh…credits?).
·        Send it in.
·        Go through all the previous bullet points.
·        Try to send to next magazine on your list only to find they're CLOSED to subs between May and Forever Infinity and Beyond.
·        Repeat. Start on new story. Repeat with that one.
·        Keep all of those balls in the air, keep them all moving.

So stats for me this year are:

8 short stories
37 rejections
3 dead markets, no response
1 acceptance
7 pending responses - still got one out at 265 days and counting

The quickest rejection response: 3 hours
The slowest: 146 days

So what's in store for 2015? Not sure yet. Pretty sure I should legit finish the re-writes and edits of at least one of those three novels. I'll continue to sub out various short bits in the meantime, but probably won't write a ton of new shorts unless an Anthology theme catches my eye.  

Here's to the non-suckitude of 2015.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday: Exploration of Immortality

So this link I got from Lynn Viehl over at Paperback Writer had a random generator for fake French book titles and book covers. You can play with it here

I decided "Hey wouldn't it be fun to write stories based on them? Especially with the bad Google translations?"

For some reason the above photo reminded me of something you'd see at a community pool, which got me thinking of water.

The title translates as "Exploration of Immortality."
Exploration of Immortality
1,000 words

"And I'll send ya' ta' yer watery grave" was the last thing she'd ever heard.
That stupid Bobby Finnegan had said that they were playing pirates and ladies, even as he kissed her. She'd wanted to agree because he was a whole year older--a worldly seventeen--and he'd called her a wimp. She wasn't a wimp, not ever.
And as a lady he should tie her up with real rope, take her out on that crappy little paddle boat on the lake, and then tie her ropes to a big rock.
Jenna had struggled. And tried to scream.
He waved at Jenna with his big dumb lopsided grin, even when the water had filled her mouth and down her throat with a burning trail of fire.
The sloshing noises of the water in her lungs still bothered her, even as she stirred now from her dreaming. The water in her ears had long ago become a constant buzz, like the world was a big drum head to hum into, deep and constant.

Maybe one day she'd stop trying to get out of these dumb ropes, stop trying to climb out of the muddy, silty bottom of the lake. Maybe one day they'd dredge it and find her here. But no kids really played hookie here anymore.

Who knew how long it'd been.         

Sometimes when she was awake the fishes would give her their nibbly fishy kisses, their pucker mouths almost tickling at her distant toes in the mud. Sometimes if the hunger was too much, she'd snap them up in her teeth and chew on their slimy, bloody guts as they tried to slither out of her mouth. But she always ate what she caught. That's what Papa had taught her when they used to go fishing together.
Today she was awake.
She flexed her long fingers in front of her. Funny thing was, she'd grown since being down here. Her hands were lily white like all those flowers at her granpapa's funeral, and delicate like her Ma's. Out of eternal boredom she decided to gnaw on the thick ropes, but even after all this time--maybe years?--she'd barely made a dent in the thick fibers. Sometimes she gnawed on her own wrists, but that only left wispy bits of flesh hanging from her like some big hangnail. The fishes wouldn't leave her alone when she chewed on herself too much. For whatever reason she didn't bleed.

When Jenna blinked, she saw that the little tree roots had grown closer to her. So close now! The water seemed to scrape over her heavy eyelids and down over her pupil. The sand always got in her eye, especially when the fish decided to kick up some mud. Her hair no longer flew over her face, because so much gunk and old leaves weighed it down.

She glanced above her to see the light above her for the first time since she'd sunk. Maybe this was a drought year. Ma said sometimes the lake went dry. If she stretched…

She could make it.

Then she'd find Bobby. Punch his ugly freckly face. She'd tell everyone what he'd done to her. Even if she hadn't really died. Even if the still water made her float to the end of her tether, bobbing so softly that she wanted to sleep again.

Today, she'd escape.

She saw a large almond-shape above making a small wake in the placid water.

A boat.
She reached out to grasp the tree roots, bigger and sturdier now. Jenna hooked a finger around the slimy outside of one and bobbed closer. She strained her weak muscles, and it seemed as if grasping the root took all the time in the world. Maybe days. She'd have to lift herself and the rock tied to her out of the water.

When she pulled, the root snapped.

She reached for her hair and pulled out a twig. She reached as far as her tether would let her and she hooked it over yet another root. But that too snapped. Her face felt all hot the way it used to when she tried not to cry. Bubbles no longer escaped from her mouth; there was no air in her lungs to push out. Her rock was too heavy to move, like it'd always been.

But there. A sharp rock beneath the tree root she'd broken. Hidden all this time. With a smile of glee, Jenna reached for it. It fell beneath her numb fingers. And she began to saw.

 When the ropes parted, it felt strange to have her arms float apart from each other. Her legs too. Weakly, she pushed against the familiar silt over her lily white toes.

Jenna crested the barrier between her watery world and above. The light scorched her eyes. Water and mud flowed over her lips, dribbling.

The boat. It was almost on her.

She tried to wave.

A middle-aged man peered down at her, his oars half-lifted.

She vomited, trying to form words around a mouth that couldn't feel, with lungs that didn't pump. A gurgle-sound escaped her, like a busted hose with a hole in it.

Her fingers curled around one of the oars.

The man simply continued to stare at her, sitting there in his flannel shirt and fishing vest, and he slowly lifted his beer can to his lips to take a long pull.

She inhaled around the pond-slime in her nose and made her first word in years, "Hellllp."

Then he grinned.
The freckles were faded but still there.
"It's Davy Jones's locker for the likes o' you lass," he drawled.
The oar came up and crashed into her skull.
Nothing really hurt anymore. Bunching her muscles, the weight of the world bore down on her.

Jenna wasn't just going to punch him in the face.

She'd snap up his guts with her teeth, just like the little fishies.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Your Writer's Platform

Here I shall stand upon my Writing Platform, doing…er, writing platform-y things…Vote for me based on my platform, and I'll give you four years of awesome.

Or not.

Being an unpublished writer has its drawbacks. I don't have any material to push in order to say "buy from me!" I don't have my VOTE FOR ME pamphlet that I hand out to all yous guys. I feel if I had even one tiny insignificant piece pub'd somewhere any-goddamned-where then it would be easier to sell me. The writing "me" as a persona could then be traded, and promoted.

This is most obvious when I submit to pro and semi-pro markets that ask for a cover letter (usually listing your publishing credits) with a short bio. I've had a helluva time writing my bios. They're damned excruciating considering that most editors are looking for 1) a sentence or two about what makes you mildly interesting as a human being, and 2) your most recent and/or most impressive publishing credits.

I ain't got none of those, kids. (And no this isn't a pity party…Okay, maybe a little).

And I feel like I need at least four or five different bios based on whatever genre I'm submitting. I try and inject a little humor and/or sarcasm into my bios no matter the genre, because hot damn, that's who I am at heart. I've finally got my crap together and instead of altering a single bio each time, I'm writing and saving about five different ones. Dark Fantasy and Horror? Evil hell-yea. Science Fiction and Fantasy? Sindarin word for yes. The couple of Light Romances I've written? Sexy yes-OH GOD YES. Literary with the barest whisper of SF? Of course, I'm glad you inquired.  

I'm selling me. And it's hard. Because I'm not a brand yet. I'm not even sure what my brand is. Do I have a voice specific to me? Do I have a style? I'm sure I do. But I'm not certain what the hell that is yet. I feel like my persona is splintered between whatever genres and subgenres I'm writing in and exploring. It's like I've got multiple personalities, and they're all struggling with what façade to put forward in order to sell sell SELL!

There are venues to try promoting yourself out there. Hello, my old friend the Internet! But again, it's difficult if you've got squat to sell. My granpappy always told me I could get by on ma' charm and personality, and man am I tryin'. At some point I plan to have a real live legit website, all tricked out and purdy, because I've seen some terribly designed websites for authors before. There's actually one paying horror market I refuse to send work to because their website is such a unprofessional looking mess that it makes me cringe. Hopefully, I know enough HTML (and IT Crowd types to help me) and have enough aesthetic sense to put together something clean, good-looking, and easy to use.

In the meantime the best thing I can do is to work on is the writing itself. And send more stories out into the submission aether. And deal with rejection woes. And then write even more after that.

This topic brought to you by the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, where other profesh-n'-noobie writers are all standing up on that platform. I'm sure they're not gonna' fall off. I'd VOTE FOR THEM. Really, I would. Your Candidate for tomorrow's tomorrow is Senator Gilroy Cullen over at Swords vs. Pens (The Senator part is really more of a honorary title, I'm sure). 
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