Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SFWA Nebula Weekend

For today's blog, I figured I'd ramble a bit about the Nebula Weekend event I just attended this past weekend. This event is put on by SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) and is built around their pinnacle awards ceremony, the Nebulas.

This was my first one of these (but not my first convention ;)) and I've only been a SFWA member for less than a year (you do not have to be a SFWA member to go though!). 

First impressions--very, very, small. LOL. Yes, I have been going to Comic-Con, International San Diego for 25 years, so my world is skewed. But even compared to other writing conferences I've been to, this was by far the smallest. While it was kind of nice it being so tiny, I'm hoping more can be done to get the word out and make this a bigger event. I think that it's a great way for both members and new writers to mingle, network, and learn. Perhaps different panel tracks will eventually emerge for different levels of writers. The way for SFWA to grow is to support the new writers while bringing in established writers as well.

Everyone was extremely nice and helpful and they gave me a huge bag of books which will always win me over (thank you TOR and the other publishers who sent book copies ;)). I met some really great folks in the mentor session, at the signing, just walking around, and at the banquet--it was great to be around my tribe ;).

There was an amazing Grand Master- Jane Yolen. She is funny, charming, extremely intelligent and an amazing person to listen to. I'd say she was an excellent choice for Grand Master.

We also had a great Toast Master-- astronaut Kjell Lindgren. He was funny, poignant, insightful and had great stories--another excellent choice.

There were some very good panels-- just wish there had been more, but like I said, they are building this event still.

All in all, this was a wonderful event, and I would recommend ANYONE who is writing Fantasy, SF, or any sub-genre within, to attend at least once.

I'm now going to start pleading for them to move one of the cons to San Diego ;).

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Riding the rollercoster

Eons ago--seriously, in the dark ages folks--I read Battlefield Earth. It's a huge book, and while I sort of enjoyed it  at the time, nothing sticks with me except really tall aliens and that L. Ron Hubbard was very verbose.

Except for the concept of rolling in a plot. 

That was the first book where I became conscious of the ups and downs in storytelling. At the time I thought of it like a roller coaster. Or what I call down time. We've all read books where things just keep building and building with no let up, no quiet moments. They can be exhausting! (Some folks love that--more power to you!)

For me as a reader, a book needs to have an ebb and flow as it works its way up to the "Everything has gone to hell and we're all gonna die" moment. I like those quiet moments in a book. I can breathe a bit (a good writer will have you racing alongside the characters), there's often a bit of humor, or character development that makes the characters a little more real. Then I'm ready when the next massive battle, attack, mission, or whatever, happens.

This is more noticeable for action heavy books. For me, if there's too much going on and not enough down time hanging with my peeps (aka book characters ;)) I usually don't enjoy the book. I'm all for a great plot, but I LOVE characters I can fall in love with.

But even more subtle stories can benefit from the roller coaster. They too, can benefit from stepping out of the story for a moment. The sitting around a kitchen, the club, the favorite diner. Just a chance for the characters to decompress and show sides that might not have been noticeable before.

 But please, don't just use that time for an info dump or recap of what just happened in the story ;).

Sunday, May 7, 2017


For a VERY limited time--the ebook version of The Glass Gargoyle is FREE! If you know someone who could use some mayhem, murderous mages, and drunken faeries- send them over to get started with the series now!

(It's the faeries who made it free---I can't get them to sober up enough to unlock my Amazon password!)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

#IWSG Goals versus Desires

Welcome to yet another monthly round of the Insecure Writers Support Group. Join us on a blog trip around the world looking at our hopes, dreams, and insecurities.

Join us!

Lately I’ve been thinking about how to make sure I enjoy what I’ve done with my writing—and at the same time keep improving, growing, moving forward.

I’ve noticed that no matter what goal I reach, no matter how much I think, “OH! I want that to happen!” once it does, I’m no longer as thrilled. I’m still excited and happy, but I feel like it’s not as cool anymore.

Then if I have a hope (desire) and it doesn’t come through, I’m bummed and feel like a failure (there’s a timing component to this post folks—two contests I’ve entered books in will be announcing their finalists in a few weeks ;)).

My ‘desire’ for awards, recognition, sales, etc. is threatening to drown out my ability to enjoy what I have achieved and why I do what I do.

As I’m looking into this I’ve realized there is a difference between goals and desires.

A goal is something we aim for and control. I can have a goal to complete three new books in a year. I control it (within reason, I do have a full time day job ;)). There are no other folks involved. I do it, or I don’t. I am solely responsible for controlling that goal.

Now a desire is that I wish for lots of people to buy and love my books. To be well off and be able to quit my day job and write full time. There are a LOT of other people (whom I have no control over) involved with that. The room for disappointment for a failed desire is HUGE!

If I don’t make one of my goals, it’s on me, and I regroup and figure out how to get back on track to make the goal. But if something I desire falls through, there is really nothing to do but feel bad. About something I had no control over. And that failed desire can negatively impact my ability to achieve my goals.

So, after this long talk with myself, we’ve decided to focus on goals (the setting and reaching of them) and avoid desire. If I want something to happen (such as a book contest) I need to make it a goal to meet the criteria to submit the book (my steps, my goal)—THEN forget about it.

I have a feeling this is going to be a work in progress ;).

What about you? How do you deal with goals and desires?

Happy IWSG day!