Monday, December 13, 2010

Back in Time Reviews: Galaxy Quest (1999)

"Articles on sci-fi films should focus on the deep philosophical roots of the work, not the creepy sexualized fan culture it inspires." ~ Fake AP Stylebook

The great thing about Galaxy Quest is that it's a geek tv show inside a geek movie all covered over with a fondant of satire. The basic concept is that a short-run 80s science fiction TV show called "Galaxy Quest" is living a half-life in the convention circuit, like Star Trek in the 70s and Battlestar Galactica in the 90s. (Yes, feel free to cite other examples in the comments: Lost in Space, etc.) There is the friction among the cast members that you would expect in such a situation - inequality of their star power, the serious actor who feels this has ruined their career (think Alec Guiness), the co-stars who seem trapped in this life and sort of aimless. The twist comes in when the lead actor Jason Nesmith (a la Bill Shatner) who played Commander Taggert on the show (a la Captain Kirk) tells his co-stars that he has actually been on an alien ship - and that the aliens believe they are really the characters from the show. Without giving too much away we can just say "hilarity ensues." Sort of a modern geekling Comedy of Errors.

When I consider the impact of movies one of the metrics is "quoting." Do I still quote this movie 11 years later? Oh, heck yes. Pretty much every character has a line worth repeating at some point. You will find yourself teasing your friends in tense moments with Guy's, "Did you guys ever WATCH the show?" Frustrations at work will be met with Gwen's voice in your head saying, "Look! I have one job on this lousy ship, it's *stupid*, but I'm gonna do it! Okay?"

One of my other metrics for a movie is the number of high profile actors. As you may have noticed often there is an INVERSE relationship between the number of 'stars' and the quality of a movie. Somehow Galaxy Quest manages to defeat this curse. Which stars am I talking about? Probably some of your favorites. Tim Allen (voice of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story), Sigourney Weaver (Ripley from Alien), Alan Rickman (Snape in Harry Potter), Tony Shalhoub (Monk from the TV show Monk), Sam Rockwell (Zaphod Beeblebrox in the latest Hitchhiker's Guide - not his best role, but one of his sci-fi ones), Daryl Mitchell (Dexter on The John Larroquette Show), Enrico Colantoni (Eliot from Just Shoot Me!), Patrick Breen (Reggie from MIB), Missi Pyle (Mrs. Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), and Justin Long (pretty much every movie that's come out for 10 years, also the Mac in Mac vs. PC ads). And that was just listing one thing from each actor's resume. I could write a whole page on Alan Rickman alone (or, as Kevin Smith calls him, Hans-f'ing-Gruber).

So, in summary - hilarious geekgasm of a movie. Highly recommended.

The Commander's Rating: Five out of five Vulcan salutes.
Pros: Every last little bit of it. Concept, script, actors - it's all brilliant.
Cons: If you aren't a geek you won't get it. If you haven't been to a science fiction convention you won't get parts of it. 
Recommendation: If you're a geek and haven't seen this, GET ON IT. If you're not a geek but know a geek, watch it to understand them a little better through the power of humor. If you're not a geek and don't know a geek, well, you're probably not reading this blog. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fillin' Out a Job Application Playlist

Think good thoughts for me. This is what the random iPod gave me for a playlist (first ten).
  1. One Week - Barenaked Ladies
  2. All For You - Sister Hazel
  3. Thank You - Dido
  4. Torn - Natalie Imbruglia
  5. Stay (I Missed You) - Lisa Loeb
  6. Hands - Jewel
  7. The Remedy (I Won't Worry) - Jason Mraz*
  8. Underneath Your Clothes - Shakira
  9. It's All Coming Back to Me Now - Celine Dion
  10. Music - Madonna
Special note on Jason - I've worked with his mom. Having grown up with musicians for brothers and lingering on the edges of the "music scene" for most of my life I smiled indulgently when she told me how great his music was. Well, we can see how that worked out. Good on ya, Jason, for making your mama proud.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Grilled Cheesus

This week on Twitter for a brief shining moment "Grilled Cheesus" became the top topic. Some of my favorite tweets are below.

Denial of Cheesus:
"I can't accept Grilled Cheesus as my Lord and Savior. It's not that I'm an Atheist, I'm just lactose intolerant." Not Gary Busey (@GaryJBusey)

Praising Cheesus:
"My life is complete. @TillamookCheese is following me. Praise the Grilled Cheesus for this miracle!" M. S Vich (@MischaVich)

Being Forsaken by Cheesus:
"I tried to make a Grilled Cheesus, but alas, the sandwich has forsaken me and instead I had a V8."

God's Total Quality Management Questionnaire

4. What factors were relevant in your decision to acquire a Deity?
Please check all that apply.

___ Indoctrinated by parents
___ Needed a reason to live
___ Indoctrinated by society
___ Needed focus on whom to despise
___ Imaginary friend grew up
___ Graduated from the tooth fairy
___ Hate to think for myself
___ Wanted to meet girls/boys
___ Fear of death
___ Wanted to piss off parents
___ Needed a day away from work
___ Desperate need for certainty
___ Like organ music
___ Need to feel morally superior
___ Thought Jerry Falwell was cool
___ My shrubbery caught fire and told me to do it

Check out all of God's Total Quality Management Questionnaire.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Do you ever wonder why we are so bad at predicting what will make us happy? Maybe you don't have this problem. In fact, I hope you don't. Since I've recently read a book on the topic (Stumbling on Happiness) it seems there are quite a few of us, though.

The biggest shame is that what makes me happy now are things I never would have predicted. Why is that a shame? Well, because I couldn't plan ahead for it - I was busy investing myself in other things. If you had told 16-year-old me tonight's happy evening would be spent listening to my husband singing folk songs while I sipped hot cocoa and the dog slept on my feet I would have thought you were mental. My vision then of what I thought would make me happy was completely different (ok, there might have been cocoa and a dog). First off, I was never one to dream of marriage or domestic bliss. It wouldn't have made my top 100 list of concerns back then, yet it has nearly dominated my life since meeting my romantic, energetic, outrageously intelligent husband when I was 17. Second, I had never heard of folk bands like Brother's Four and The Kingston Trio, music that he had grown up with while I was fed rock, blues, and R&B. So I wasn't even capable of correctly envisioning tonight's entertainment or imagining why I would enjoy it.

Because of tonight's deep happiness I have developed a formula: your attention span / (predisposition +  something unexpected). In tonight's example there are multiple pieces to my predisposition that fit in: love of music, a tendency to be quiet and contemplative (thus enjoying a "night in"), and a desire to see the people I love being happy. The something unexpected comes from both enjoying what I call "living in each other's pockets" (being in constant company with one another), and from him sharing something I didn't know before meeting him. Seriously, I don't think that things I can come up with on my own ever delight me as deeply as things I gain from others. Lastly is the first part of the equation. The importance of attention span has taken me the longest to learn. As a child I was blessed with that contemplative nature and not many responsibilities so I had attention span to spare, but starting in my late teens I was constantly on the go - too much to do and no time to do it. Come to find, if you don't have the energy to be present you can't be happy. Probably the most important point of Stumbling on Happiness is that happiness needs to be enjoyed when it's here.

While I've been typing up my reflections my husband, unaware of the direction of my thoughts and pleased that I have "indulged" him in being able to perform some of his favorite music, has tried to make it up to me with one of "our" songs that served as the first dance at our wedding, "What a Wonderful World." What a wonderful world indeed.

I hope that your day has some measure of the happiness that I've enjoyed tonight.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Book Review: Immortal

Immortal Immortal is probably the modern (and historical) fantasy you've been seeking

By the end of the first chapter I was fairly convinced that Gene Doucette had found this manuscript between seats on the subway because it had clearly been written as a collaboration by some of my favorite authors while they were sharing a bottle of whiskey. He has the wit of Douglas Adams, the sarcasm of Jim Butcher, the droll plotting of Spider Robinson, and the sly twists of Neil Gaiman, just to mention a few. But don't think that this means he seems imitative because he doesn't. "Immortal" was clever, fascinating, and endlessly entertaining.

I'm tempted to quote all the clever parts (which I highlighted because they were that good) but will let you discover them for yourself. As an example, one of my favorite bits from the first chapter: "I was suicidal for two solid centuries once. That was during the early part of what they now call the Dark Ages, in medieval Europe. Suicidal tendencies were de rigueur at the time, and I’m nothing if not trendy."

If there is a God, which is something that main character Adam sincerely doubts, then Mr. Doucette will write a series and get a TV show.

GoodReads links:

ImmortalImmortal by Gene Doucette

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Friday, August 27, 2010

Reminder for Author Interviews

In case you missed it, the author interview series "FreshVoices" and "Blooming Authors" have migrated over to their very own blog at Writing Insight. Didn't want you to miss out on the fun.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


So... beards. What do they say about the character of a man?


We all know the Wil Wheaton #GenCon story: He came. He saw. He took some dice.

And because of our Mission he got a Dragon Chow dice bag! He picked the caffeine molecule one, and got one of GeekSoap's D20 dice for his collection.

If you're not familiar with Wil, here are some of his books:

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Touched Wil Wheaton

Now that Wil Wheaton has instituted a "no touching" policy for cons (go to this post and scroll down) and therefore stories of actually touching him will go to an all-time low,  I want to brag about the fact that *I* have touched him before. Well, alright, it was more of a glancing blow and a quick check to make sure we were both still standing upright, and it happened years and years ago, but I think it counts. Doesn't it?

Ok, so let me set the scene. It was the early 90s on a weekend before Halloween. My brother was a bartender at a local hotel that was throwing a party and said we should come by. My boyfriend (now husband) and I aren't really party people but we like to go out and see what's going on before being geeks and going home to spend the rest of the night reading or gaming. We were lingering on the edges, meaning pretty much hanging out the hallways between the lobby and restaurant, trying to decide whether we wanted to wait to see if more of the costume contestants were going to show up because some of them were pretty good. We knew that some actors were staying at the hotel as part of a film that was in town, but we weren't sure which ones and sort of assumed they would be laying low when there were so many people around.

Well, it turns out lingering in hallways can be a somewhat dangerous hobby when young men with access to caffeinated sodas are roaming them. The only warning was some chaotic laughter that rose above the din of the party right before a pack turned the corner with their water guns. Oh yes, a thundering herd of young Hollywood stars hopped up on sugar, caffeine, and freedom - and armed with super soakers if I remember correctly. (I'm assuming sugar and caffeine, it may have just been youthful enthusiasm.) Wil Wheaton came around closest to the corner, almost on top of where I was standing, and did that oh-my-God-I'm-about-to-run-over-you dodge while I flattened up against the wall. Although we both rolled pretty well on our dex checks the Giant DM in the Sky decided that with the turn, momentum, and proximity we couldn't completely escape contact.

A shoulder bump, hey-are-you-okay-pause, and then he was gone.

If only we'd known we should have invited him over to play D&D. Princess Sidra of Redmond really could have used some extra help right then, too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mission: Dragon Chow Dice Bag for @WilW

About seven hours ago Wil Wheaton tweeted "I'd like to test the theory that you can't have too many dice. If I see you at #GenCon, would you give me one gaming die?" Don't know about you but my first thought was, "Dude, you are going to end up with a LOT of dice."

Then it hit me. I just happen to know one of the best dice bag makers around and she will have HER dice bags at the G33Kmade booth at GenCon. Let's commit to getting at least one of @GeekyLyndsay's awesome Dragon Chow Dice Bags into Wil Wheaton's hands before the end of GenCon!

We need to get you kids together:

Wil "Batman" Wheaton
Dragon Chow Dice Bag


Dragon Chow Dice Bag
Wil "Happy Face" Wheaton (Clown Sweater)

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm Freakin' Fascinating

Denise Brody wrote a great, but what I consider ill named, article. I say this because I'm EXTREMELY glad I read it, but almost didn't because the title was a turn off for those of us already on Twitter have a writing-good-time: "Twitter Does Not Sell Books. This 5-Point Plan Does."

But please, do go read it. You'll be glad you did. And then you'll also understand the title to this post.

My Life in Comics

Did you hear? I was interviewed by! Check out A (Not So) Silent Interview with Sue London wherein it is revealed what Superhero I'm married to.

And in case you missed it, I've been interviewed before. Keep up with my interview series on this page.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bloggerversary: 7 Years Old

I traveled back in time 24 hours just to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the Thoughts. Don't worry, it was great for racking up the frequent flyer miles anyway. For those of you who have been with us this whole time - well, wow. Thank you so much! For those who are new - thanks for joining in, we hope it's fun and you stay with us for awhile.

To infinity and beyond!! Or, er, never give up, never surrender! Oh, uh, I mean... that frood really knows where his towel is! So let's go where no one has gone before and, um, stuff like that. Have I really been doing this for seven years? That's like 49 in dog years. That's a long time. You'd think I'd be better at it...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Send Sue to Celebration V

Hey, it's worth a try. Anybody want to chip in to get this geek to Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando?

Or buy stuff through the Thoughts Amazon Shop to help out:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How To Find Jesus In An Emergency

Do you remember when the Worst-Case Survival Handbook was big and it was funny because, well, it kinda wasn't trying to be funny? Problem solved. With The OTHER Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: A Parody it really IS supposed to be funny. Let's try a sample:

How to Find Jesus
Finding Jesus can be critically important in an emergency. The key is knowing where to look.

1. Don't Panic Many people, after realizing they have lost Jesus, become panicky. This can be very dangerous. Instead, take a few deep breaths, relax, and think: where was the last place you had Jesus? Go there.

2. Look Around Be thorough. Did you look behind the couch? He might be there. Don't just glance around the room, either. Lift things up. He might be in the clothing hamper, for instance. Check there. He's probably right where you left Him.

Tuesday 2/10/11 Update: Now on Kindle (10th Anniversary Edition with new content)! Order here or check out Gene's new page about it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back in Time Review: Sneakers (1992)

Unbelievably, we missed this one when it came through the theater. I say its unbelievable because, in the first place, look at the cast: Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, etc. Second, it was basically a spy mystery movie which is always entertaining. And third, we used to see just about everything and I love Robert Redford and SERIOUSLY HOW IN THE HECK DID WE MISS THIS? Fortunately, a cousin came for a visit and recommended it. Just one of the many reasons why family is important.

Our hero Marty, portrayed by Robert Redford, is a bit of a rebel. He's always stayed a few steps ahead of the law - even working as a security consultant - but this time he has gotten into a bit more trouble than he expected. Can he, along with his ragtag group of security freelancers (plus his ex-girlfriend), stay far enough ahead of the bad guys to avert an international disaster?

The Commander's Rating: Five out of five Vulcan salutes.
Pros: The cast, as mentioned above, which also included an earnest version of River Phoenix and an entertaining cameo by James Earl Jones. Plus David Strathairn, Mary McDonnell, Ben Kingsley, and Stephen Tobolowsky. (Seriously, there are so many great actors that I've probably overlooked someone.) The film also has a great sense of humor, mostly manifested as those quips and eccentricities of a tight-knit group.
Cons: That they didn't turn this into a fun series or at least do a sequel.
Recommendation: An excellent movie for watching with friends because it is all about the friend vibe. Well, and international espionage. But if you have a group of friends like mine that's sort of the same vibe. An excellent follow-up movie if you want to make a day of it is Spy Game, where Redford really is a spy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I've Been Cursed

Lucky, lucky, lucky me -- I won an autographed hardback copy of Jeremy C. Shipp's "Cursed" (featured at left) and it came in the mail today! Although I promised myself that I wouldn't start to read it on a work night I'm... staying up and reading it on a work night.

Synchronicity and Internet LOLZ

One of the things that entertains me is coincidence. When I was a cashier I always liked it when the total came to the same number as the current time. And one of the cool things about Twitter is that it is a nest of synchronicities. Every few days two or three tweeps will tweet about the same topic around the same time without realizing it - usually people who don't even follow each other so they have no idea. But today's was, for me, the funniest yet. Received at the same minute:
"Who needs an alarm clock when you have a cat that wakes you up at 6 every morning." ~ @INTP73

"morning for an early morning run...thinking of taking the cat with me and accidentally feeding it to a deer" ~ @WhyIsDaddyCryin
Two people, two cats, one early morning, shared irritation, and very different ways of expressing it.

No cats were harmed in the creation of this post.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Astro Profiles... with Kissing and Stuff

ARIES - The Aggressive
Outgoing. Lovable. Spontaneous. Not one to mess with. Funny.. Excellent kisser EXTREMELY adorable. Loves relationships, and family is very important to an aries. Aries are known for being generous and giving. Addictive. Loud. Always has the need to be ‘Right’. Aries will argue to prove their point for hours and hours. Aries are some of the most wonderful people in the world...

TAURUS - The Tramp
Aggressive. Loves being in long relationships. Likes to give a good fight. Fight for what they want. Can be annoying at times, but for the love of attention. Extremely outgoing. Loves to help people in times of need. Good kisser. Good personality. Stubborn. A caring person. They can be self centered and if they want something they will do anything to get it. They love to sleep and can be lazy. One of a kind. Not one to mess with. Are the most attractive people on earth!

GEMINI - The Twin
Nice. Love is one of a kind. Great listeners. Very Good at confusing people… Lover not a fighter, but will still knock you out. Geminis will not take any crap from anyone. Geminis like to tell people what they should do and get offended easily. They are great at losing things and are forgetful. Geminis can be very sarcastic and childish at times and are very nosey. Trustworthy. Always happy. VERY Loud. Talkative. Outgoing. VERY FORGIVING. Loves to make out. Has a beautiful smile. Generous. Strong. THE MOST IRRESISTIBLE.

CANCER - The Beauty
MOST AMAZING KISSER. Very high appeal. A Cancer’s Love is one of a kind.. Very romantic.. Most caring person you will ever meet in your life. Entirely creative Person, most are artists and insane, respectfully speaking. They perfected sex and do it often. Extremely random. An Ultimate Freak. Extremely funny and is usually the life of the party. Most Cancers will take you under their wing and into their hearts where you will remain forever. Cancers make love with a passion beyond compare. Spontaneous. Not a Fighter, But will kick your ass good if it comes down to it. Someone you should hold on to!

LEO - The Lion
Great talker. Attractive and passionate. Laid back. Usually happy but when unhappy tend to be grouchy and childish. A Leo’s problem becomes everyone’s problem. Most Leos are very predictable and tend to be monotonous. Knows how to have fun.. Is really good at almost anything. Great kisser. Very predictable. Outgoing. Down to earth. Addictive. Attractive. Loud. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Not one to mess with. Rare to find. Good when found.

VIRGO - The One that Waits
Dominant in relationships. Someone loves them right now. Always wants the last word.. Caring. Smart. Loud. Loyal. Easy to talk to. Everything you ever wanted. Easy to please. A pushover. Loves to gamble and take chances. Needs to have the last say in everything.. They think they know everything and usually do. Respectful to others but you will quickly lose their respect if you do something untrustworthy towards them and never regain respect. They do not forgive and never forget. The one and only.

LIBRA - The Lame One
Nice to everyone they meet. Their love is one of a kind. Silly, funny and sweet. Have own unique appeal. Most caring person you will ever meet! However, not the kind of person you want to mess with…you might end up crying. Libras can cause as much havoc as they can prevent. Faithful friends to the end. Can hold a grudge for years. Libras are someone you want on your side. Usually great at sports and are extreme sports fanatics. Very creative. A hopeless romantic.

SCORPIO - The Addict
EXTREMELY adorable. Loves to joke. Very Good sense of humor. Will try almost anything once. Loves to be pampered. Energetic. Predictable. GREAT kisser. Always get what they want... Attractive. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Loves to party but at times to the extreme. Loves the smell and feel of money and is good at making it but just as good at spending it! Very protective over loved ones. HARD workers. Can be a good friend but if is disrespected by a friend, the friendship will end. Romantic. Caring...

SAGITTARIUS - The Promiscuous One
Spontaneous. High appeal. Rare to find. Great when found.. Loves being in long relationships. So much love to give. A loner most of the time. Loses patience easily and will not take crap. If in a bad mood stay FAR away. Gets offended easily and remembers the offense forever. Loves deeply but at times will not show it, feels it is a sign of weakness. Has many fears but will not show it. VERY private person. Defends loved ones with all their abilities. Can be childish often. Not one to mess with. Very pretty. Very romantic. Nice to everyone they meet. Their Love is one of a kind. Silly, fun and sweet. Have own unique appeal. Most caring person you will ever meet! Amazing in bed..!!! Not the kind of person you want to mess with- you might end up crying.

CAPRICORN - The Passionate Lover
Love to bust. Nice. Sassy. Intelligent. Sexy. Grouchy at times and annoying to some. Lazy and love to take it easy. But when they find a job or something they like to do they put their all into it. Proud, understanding and sweet. Irresistible. Loves being in long relationships. Great talker. Always gets what he or she wants. Cool. Loves to win against other signs especially Gemini’s in sports. Likes to cook but would rather go out to eat at good restaurants. Extremely fun. Loves to joke. Smart.

AQUARIUS - Does It In The Water
Trustworthy. Attractive. Great kisser. One of a kind, loves being in long-term relationships. Can be clumsy at times but tries hard. Will take on any project. Proud of themselves in whatever they do. Messy and unorganized. Procrastinators. Great lovers, when they’re not sleeping. Extreme thinkers. Loves their pets usually more than their family. Can be VERY irritating to others when they try to explain or tell a story. Unpredictable. Will exceed your expectations. Not a Fighter but will Knock your lights out...

PISCES - The Partner for Life
Caring and kind. Smart. Likes to be the center of attention. Very organized. High appeal to opposite sex. Likes to have the last word. Good to find, but hard to keep. Passionate, wonderful lovers. Fun to be around. Too trusting at times and gets hurt easily. VERY caring. They always try to do the right thing and sometimes gets the short end of the stick. They sometimes get used by others and get hurt because of their trusting. Extremely weird but in a good way. Good sense of humor!!! Thoughtful. Loves to joke. Very popular. Silly, fun and sweet. Good friend to other but needs to be choosy on who they allow their friends to be.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fresh Voices: Interview with Lydia Ondrusek

You can check out Lydia's interview here because Fresh Voices has moved to a blog dedicated to writer/publishing interviews: Writing Insight. If you follow these interviews on Google Reader you may want to follow the new blog.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fresh Voices: Interview with Bethany Harper

"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - E.E. Cummings

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Voices. We are delighted to share with you the winsome yet spooky voice of Bethany Harper.
1. What is your ultimate writing goal?

I want to be able to walk into Barnes & Noble/Hastings/Borders/Whatever and be able to buy my own book.

2. Why do you write?

I write because it's fun. I enjoy watching words spill across the screen, the sounds of keys clicking. I like the way pen feels when it meets paper. I love the chunking sound of a typewriter. The part I love the most is leaving Oklahoma, leaving my living room (or my
bedroom or school or wherever my body happens to be) and going somewhere else.

3. Your writing style is sweetly gothic. It reminds me of whispering in the dark with my sister, or making up ghost stories with my friends. Have you worked to achieve that voice or is it just a natural style for you?

I have never really worked on a specific voice as much as I've worked on being consistent and clear. The work published on my blog (so far) has been stuff I've done quickly, with no editing, so it's probably as close to my natural voice as you can get.

4. Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?

I love Stephen King. I find the characters he writes fascinating, and I love how all of his books seem to exist in the same universe-characters mentioned in one off that were the stars of other stories. I also owe him a debt of companionship, as I do to everyone I read.

5. What most attracts you to the life of a writer?

One of my many crafts is crochet. I've been doing it as long as I've been writing. I've never been sophisticated with my crochet, but building something stitch by stitch, row by row, and having something completed and recognizable at the end is wonderfully satisfying.

I feel the same way about writing. Sentences start with letters and words, stringing the sentences together makes paragraphs. Before you know it you've gone through a gallon of tea and there's this story. It needs some work (doesn't it always?), but the shape is there, the form.

It's the difference between buying a handmade blanket and making the blanket. Some people love handmade blankets, love the way they feel, but don't possess the talent (or the drive to learn the talent) to make them. Some people see a handmade blanket and want to do it. I'm the latter.

6. If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what would you choose?

I crochet and sew as well, and doing that (one or the other) for a living would be nifty.

7. If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?


8. What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?

Stephen King's On Writing became something of a Bible of Writing to me, and there's a quote in there about criticism that I try to keep to heart. "If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that's all." It's especially worth remembering in the age of the Internet, where the trolls breed and lurk. They will deliberately be cruel, and they will hurt you. Write anyway.

Bethany Harper is short, has pink hair, lives in Oklahoma, and has a house full of animals-- 3 cats, 2 dogs, 3 gerbils. She's been voted 'most likely to turn into a crazy cat lady' at work. She crochets, sews, writes, program, games, reads, and spends the rest of her time working, going to school, or sleeping. You can find her online at Twitter (@MartianBethany) or on her blog.
Thank you for reading this edition of Fresh Voices. Feel free to follow the Fresh Voices list on Twitter or nominate yourself or another author as a Fresh Voice.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Blooming Author: Ashley M. Christman!

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to
become the person you believe you were meant to be.” ~ George Sheehan

Ashley M. Christman is an urban fantasy writer whose book, The Witching
Hour, will be available from Lyrical Press November, 2010.

Tell us about The Witching Hour. What is it about and where will it be available?

Here’s the blurb:
Lucky Sands is anything but. His wife is cheating on him, his job sucks, and when she walks out on him and dies in a car crash, the only thing he can think of is drowning himself in cheap booze and cheaper sex. But when he finds his childhood friend Tuesday Peters working in a brothel, his luck
takes a steep downward dive after he finds out her twin sister is dead...and that Wednesday's death was no accident. Together Lucky and Tuesday embark on a search for answers, plagued by spirits and deities alike. Every clue along their path points not just to the truth of Wednesday's murder, but to divine machinations that prove everything Lucky knows about life to be wrong--and
prove there's no such thing as luck. Only fate...and the madness of the gods.

The Witching Hour will be available November 22, 2010 in ebook version at the Lyrical Press Website, Amazon, Barnes and, Fictionwise, Sony, Mobipocket, etc. We still don’t know about a print run yet, if it goes to print, the answer will be wherever books are sold.

What were your inspirations for The Witching Hour? What sorts of thing inspire you as a writer in general?

For The Witching Hour, I was inspired mostly because of my extensive research and knowledge of various pantheons and mythology. My inspiration in general can come from a number of places. It can come from a piece of music—I find that classical pieces inspire me the most, or a conversation
with someone. Sometimes, I’ll see a picture or think of a location and a character’s voice will come to me. That’s when I know that I have to write (my characters have a way of screaming in my head until I release them by writing their story).

What is your writing process? How do you approach a story, do you start with outlines or something else?
A process would mean there is some method to my madness ~laughs~.  My process is a simple one. If I’m in front of my computer, I’ll just start typing, see where the voice in my head (yes, I am referring to my muse. I have enough problems without other voices) takes me. Once I have an idea, I’ll usually write a crude working pitch. Its three lines that tell me who are the main characters, what’s going on, what’s the problem.  From there I create a very basic outline. I have to say that my outlines are usually only chapter outlines. Now that I am working on more complex plots, I have a board where I pin up my plot points, characters, etc…so I remember to fill in all the holes.

Where did you work when writing The Witching Hour? Do you think it was the optimal writing environment for you?

I literally wrote everywhere. I would write in my cubicle, the car, the coffee shop. Anytime I had any downtime I was writing. I’m finding that doesn’t work for me anymore—at least for revisions. I now make quiet time where I set up candles, incense and a can of  Red Bull (as you can see in
one of the pictures on my site) on my dining room table and work there. Now that we’re moving to the upper Midwest from the lovely western coast (I am going to miss the sunlight) one of the priorities was a room of my own. I find that the quiet time with the atmosphere helps me focus better, and thus
craft better tales.

So to answer the question, the environment I used initially for The Witching Hour, not optimal for me. I found that I really do need a room of my own and that is something that every writer needs to discover on their own. On a side note, I still have a fantasy of me being a broody writer with a cup of
coffee in a chic Parisian café. I can dream, right?

Tell us about your "story of getting published." How long did you submit before you were accepted? How did it feel to get accepted?

Goodness. That’s a long story, do you have all night. ~Chuckles~. I literally submitted hundreds of times between the five-six manuscripts I submitted prior to getting the yes. It was a long process. When I was subbing The Witching Hours, I had gotten a lot of personalized rejections rather than forms with the whole “we like it, but…”. I think those hurt the most, although I couldn’t help but find humor in one that basically said, “we like it, don’t change a thing, but we won’t publish it because the
heroine starts off as a prostitute”. I was like, people start off doing a lot of things, but it doesn’t define them.

When I finally got my golden ticket, the magical letter that every subbing writer hopes to get, I was ecstatic, excited, elated, more words that begin with “e” ~laughs~. It was an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. It felt like I had done something right or maybe just gotten really lucky. I read
the letter several times. I kept waiting for a second one to come my way saying “sorry we made a mistake”. I don’t think there are really any words to describe the range of emotions I went through. When I finally signed the contract, I still couldn’t believe it. It didn’t really sink in that this was happening until I saw my name on my publisher’s website as one of their authors and my books title there as well.

What are the publicity plans you have coming up?
I am planning a virtual book tour and some readings at the moment. I also will be doing signed bookplates, so anyone that buys the book and wants a book plate can request one. Promotion is an on-going thing and as I come up with ideas, I add it to my marketing plan. And of course, the best type of publicity is to write another book.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Getting Ready for 5/25

Thank goodness that this year I realized that Towel Day was coming! Don't you hate it when you find out around noon that the one day you ABSOLUTELY need to know where your towel is you left it at home? Yeah, I hate that.

But now we find out that 5/25 is ALSO Geek Pride Day. And the anniversary of the opening of Star Wars. Considering I've often been on my way to Star Wars Weekends around this time we'll just pretend that I've de facto been celebrating those geek holidays.

But to get us ready for what 5/25 means to all us geeks, let's review:

The Geek Pride Day Manifesto

  1. The right to be even geekier.
  2. The right to not leave your house.
  3. The right to not have a significant other and to be a virgin.
  4. The right to not like football or any other sport.
  5. The right to associate with other nerds.
  6. The right to have few friends (or none at all).
  7. The right to have all the geeky friends that you want.
  8. The right to not be "in-style."
  9. The right to be overweight and have poor eyesight.
  10. The right to show off your geekiness.
  11. The right to take over the world.
  1. Be a geek, no matter what.
  2. Try to be nerdier than anyone else.
  3. If there is a discussion about something geeky, you must give your opinion.
  4. Save any and all geeky things you have.
  5. Do everything you can to show off your geeky stuff as though it were a "museum of geekiness."
  6. Don't be a generalized geek. You must specialize in something.
  7. Attend every nerdy movie on opening night and buy every geeky book before anyone else.
  8. Wait in line on every opening night. If you can go in costume or at least with a related T-shirt, all the better.
  9. Don't waste your time on anything not related to geekdom.
  10. Befriend any person or persons bearing any physical similarities to comic book or sci-fi figures.
  11. Try to take over the world!
Source: Wikipedia Geek Pride Day

And for 5/25? Oh, what to wear, what to wear...

Geek Love Poem T-shirt - Black, M 2+2=5 - Black, M Shakespeare - Olive, L SQL query - Users: Black, XL Deluxe Jedi Robe There's No Place Like (XXX-Large) Halfling/Dragon - Black, L generic humanoid carbon unit - Black, L

Other Options:
Zombie Protest Tee (XL)
Enough Social Interaction Tee (Medium)

Search for thinkgeek

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fresh Voices: Interview with Kerry Schafer

"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - E.E. Cummings

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Voices. We are delighted to share with you the wry and enchanting voice of Kerry Schafer.

1. What is your ultimate writing goal?

My ultimate writing goal? The pat answer is that I want to sell enough successful books to be able to quit my day job. I want to travel around with my wonderful partner, and write in fabulous hotels with the ocean outside my balcony. Honestly, as much as I daydream about this, and would love to have a fairy tale life, it's not my ultimate goal. My ultimate writing goal is to write a book that I, myself, consider brilliant, and that gets respect from my fellow writers. This may not be a book that the publishing world loves, and it may not be the sort of book that climbs the charts. But, feeling that I had achieved that goal would mean more to me than money or fame. I think. On Monday mornings I'd just take some money and fame.

2. Why do you write?

The answer to that question is - it depends. Some days I write because I love it and it's an escape from reality. Some days I write only because I'm too stubborn to leave something unfinished once I've started it. I do know that if I don't write I get snarly and all tangled up inside. There were some years in my life when I didn't write, and I regret them. I think if you're born with the itch to write and the ability to do so, you'd better do what you were meant to do, or there will be trouble for you later. Psychological trouble, I mean, which can happen when you block something integral to your being.

3. Your writing style is edgy but also has a feeling of wonder. Have you
worked to achieve that voice or is it just a natural style for you?

My voice has just developed over the years as a natural extension of myself. My personality is this way - I have a side that is cynical and sharp, and another side that is always looking for magic and wishing there were fairies hiding in the woods. When I write, sometimes there is magic, and sometimes there is gritty cynical reality. I love it when I find both.

4. Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?

That is the sort of question I always have trouble with. How can I have a favorite when there are so many that I love for different reasons?
When I was a child I read and re-read everything by Louisa May Alcott, Lucy Maude Montgomery, and Laura Ingalls Wilder to the point of memorization. I never felt like I quite fit in with my friends and schoolmates, and the likes of Anne Shirley and Joe March were my companions and role models.

I had a Dickens phase that started late in high school, and I read every novel he wrote, most of them repeatedly, except for the Mystery of Edwin Druid. I didn't want to read something that wasn't finished. I still haven't read it.

As a child I devoured anything about King Arthur, and I've always loved good fantasy. C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Madeleine L'Engle, Guy Gavriel Kay, and more recently Terry Pratchett are among my favorites, but let's not forget Douglas Adams.

I could go on at length. I also adore good thrillers and mysteries, especially if they have a protagonist I can really connect with. I'm in love with Jonathan Kellerman's marvelous Alex Delaware and Martha Grimes' Richard Jury.

And now I feel guilty, because there are so many others I love who I haven't mentioned. I'm sure you begin to see my problem - I just can't pick a favorite.

5. What most attracts you to the life of a writer?

I remember the first time I wrote something that made somebody cry, and the feeling of wonder that something I'd put on paper could do this. I also remember the time I wrote an essay that made a whole roomful of people angry and caused a big argument. By the time things settled down my hands were shaking, but there was this amazing feeling of power, that I had somehow accomplished this fuss by the act of putting words together on paper. It is an amazing feeling to be able to create an emotional response, to maybe make somebody think or feel something new. There is nothing like the feeling of totally losing yourself in the words for awhile, of creating something that wasn't there before.

6. If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at
a different career, what would you choose?

I already have a different career. I'm not sure whether it chose me, or I choose it, but at this point I can't imagine doing anything else. I'm a mental health professional, and I work in crisis services. One part of my job is to serve as a DMHP, (Designated Mental Health Professional) which means that in the state of Washington I am entrusted with the responsibility of making the decision whether someone who is mentally ill should be involuntarily sent to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. It's a job that shares certain things with writing. It is often difficult. The solution to a problem is often to be found only by creative thinking and stepping outside of the box. But it is also necessary and it is important.

7. If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?

I can't pick a couple of favorite authors and you want me to pick one word for my writing? How about this: Mine. I think I have a strong voice that is unique to me.

8. What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?

My best writing advice has, like everything else, come from an eclectic variety of sources. One of the earliest bits I remember, and perhaps the most important, was from a book on writing by Madeleine L'Engle, Walking On Water. I haven't read it in years, but the gist of it was that everybody has a story to tell. The great writers are rivers, but even those of us who are just little streams have a job to do and had better do it. Then there was this wonderful professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, from whom I was privileged to take an English class. Her name was Joan Rothstein Vandergriff, and among many other things she taught me to never settle for the easy version. My favorite writing book is The Right to Write, by Julia Cameron.

Kerry Schafer spends more time in jail than the average law abiding citizen. Fortunately this has everything to do with her job, and little to do with her morality. She inhabits an acreage of trees and grass and rocks which she shares with four males - one of the adult variety, and three of the adolescent species. It is safe to assume that she seldom gets her hands on the TV remote. Pets include the domesticated component: two cats, a dog, and a rescued fish (not kidding), and the regularly fed but not tame birds, deer and wild turkeys. Kerry carves out writing time wherever it fits. She has completed two novels and has one that is undergoing what she fervently hopes is the last round of revisions. In the background, lurking and not happy about it, are a number of others in various stages of completion. You can find her on Twitter as @uppington, or at her blog, All Things Good and Other Stuff.
Thank you for reading this edition of Fresh Voices. Feel free to follow the Fresh Voices list on Twitter or nominate yourself or another author as a Fresh Voice.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Random Playlist

Been forever since I've done this. What's spinning up on the iTunes...
  1. Goin' Nowhere - Chris Isaak
  2. River - Natalie Merchant
  3. Save Me - k.d. lang
  4. 200 More Miles - Cowboy Junkies
  5. New Beginning - Tracy Chapman
That's niiiiiice...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fresh Voices: Interview with Adrien-Luc Sanders

"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - E.E. Cummings

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Voices. We are delighted to share with you the crisp and recherché voice of Adrien-Luc Sanders.
1. What is your ultimate writing goal?
Wow, you'd think this would be the easiest one to answer. I used to be able to glibly trip off, "To be a full-time writer!" Well, now I'm a full-time business writer (and fiction editor), but that was never really my goal. And although I'd love to be a published YA fiction writer, I don't think that would satisfy the goal either--as any published writer can tell you it's not exactly a profitable full-time job. Plus while it would be nice to be published...I think what would bring me the most satisfaction is to finish every story I've got brewing in my head. I have so many ideas that the hardest part for me is following through on all of them, but I think if I looked back in 50 years I'd be more satisfied with finishing two dozen stories than publishing just one. So that's my goal: to follow through on all my unfinished stories, while striving to improve my writing skills with each one. If one happens to get published it's a nice bonus, but considering the odds in the publishing industry I'd like to think my goal is more attainable. Does that mean I'm going to stop trying to get published? Heck no. But finishing the work is more important.

2. Why do you write?
I write because I enjoy the emotional reaction that good storytelling evokes--and because I'm too impatient to draw. I used to think I'd be a graphic artist, even tried putting together a comic, but I draw very, very slowly. In the time it takes me to draw one multi-page scene I can write five chapters, and frankly I'm a better writer than artist. So I write, hoping that when I share these stories they'll draw a strong reaction from the reader. I love to imagine stories and situations that evoke emotions and tangible response, whether it's a startled burst of laughter, the soft hitch of a heartbroken breath, or the white-straining knuckles of adrenaline and excitement. If I succeed in conveying that to a reader, in drawing that from them, then I'm happy.

3. Your writing style is elegant. Have you worked to achieve that voice or is it just a natural style for you?
My writing? Elegant? Since I've never tried for elegance, I guess you could say it's natural--though it feels like hubris to claim something like that. I do struggle to progress my writing and improve overall, though I'm seeking more lean, effective prose that's concise while still remaining evocative. I think my style has grown from a complex combination of factors: the variety of things I read as a child (including the encyclopedia), the broader range of things I continue to read in my adult life, critiques from friend and professionals, my life experiences with various storytelling styles from different languages and cultures, and the influences of various English instructors starting at the grade level and moving through college. It's as natural as any process of evolution could be, but I wouldn't say it's self-generated, if that makes sense.

4. Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?
Oh dear - how much space do I have here, again? I love so many authors in so many genres, but for the sake of brevity I'll pick just three. Four? Five? Okay, three.

Diane Duane: Her Young Wizards series is one of my childhood favorites, and one of those that still stands the test of time even when reading from an adult perspective. Her prose practically effervesces; there's a joy in her writing that sweeps you up and carries you along. You can tell she loves her stories, her worlds, and her characters, and her wordcraft is beautiful: clean, yet so vivid and compelling. There's a breathless wonder there that captures the imagination of youth without dumbing down the story in the slightest.

C.S. Friedman: Her dark portrayals of antiheros and the gray area between good and evil are amazing. While her writing can be a bit heavier, she delivers descriptions that border on the tactile, rhythm and sound combining for something lush and decadent that makes her books a thrill to read. Her worlds are well-crafted, just familiar enough to be comfortable while alien enough to intrigue, with unique spins on old tropes that reinvent them as new. I love her dialogue, her characterization--even when I hate the characters. I hate them as people with traits I despise, not as poorly-fleshed-out characters. They're very real, and even when I loathe them I love them.

And now I can't pick between Julian May, Charles de Lint, and Richard Adams. Er. Problem. Well...Julian May is one who uses the English language beautifully, creating intelligent yet immersive prose in complex science fiction worlds that provide dramatic tension without venturing into space opera (though I do love a good space opera). Charles de Lint's stories of the Animal People and the world beneath the world we know have always pulled at my part-Native heartstrings; and he creates a very strong mythic voice that combines ethnic mysticism and folklore with gritty urban realism. He grabs your heart and holds it in Jack Daw's beak, or Coyote's trickster jaws. As for Richard Adams...while many might groan to find him on the required reading list for school, I enjoy the intricacies of his world-building and cultures. Maia in particular has an exotic flavor that combines political intrigue with diverse cultures to create a colorful and powerful world.

That was three, right? ~shifty eyes~ Oh, hush, I'm allowed to break a self-imposed limit. Stop looking at me like that.

5. What most attracts you to the life of a writer?
The glamorous image of me as a long-haired Bohemian boy, sitting out on my balcony with my laptop, a cigarette, and a martini, pondering word choice while studying the glittering lights of the city below. Um. No? It doesn't work that way? What? That's never going to happen and I'm out of my mind? Oh. Okay. Well, for a more realistic answer: it's sure as heck not the money or the work hours. I sleep so little that it's becoming a running joke on Twitter. I can't easily say what's so compelling about this, which is kind of pathetic for someone who's supposed to have a talent for words. I think the only way I can explain it is this: writing is the only thing I do in my life where the frustration makes me happy. I could be stomping around the house at 3 a.m., snarling about how this stupid sentence just won't work or the blasted character isn't developed enough...but despite the eyestrain, raging headache, and exhaustion, I'm in my element and wouldn't want to do anything else. That's what makes it so attractive. It's a job and a life where even the difficulties are enjoyable, and you don't find that in many other places. But ask a professional athlete why they keep pushing themselves, why they keep running or lifting or whatever even when their bodies scream and their lungs threaten to burst; they'll tell you because even the pain is part of the joy of it. For me it's the same with writing and the writer's life.

6. If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what would you choose?
Nanoscience. My interest in nanotechnology originally rose from reading science fiction, which led me to get into computer engineering in college...which led me back to writing. If it came full-circle again, I'd definitely go back into computing--even if nanoscience is venturing more into biology than technology these days.

7. If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?
Here we run into that hubris issue again. I don't know if it's really possible for me to objectively describe my own writing, and would feel arrogant choosing a word with a positive connotation. If I had to settle on one, though...I'd say "primitive." Take that in whatever context you will.

8. What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?
My freshman university English professor said, "Learn the rules, then break them the best way you know how." I think that applies not just to writing, but to everything. Learn the foundations; learn the right way to do things, so you have a solid base to stand on as you explore ways to break the rules and create something better than pure convention. When you have a strong grasp of the tenets of good writing, you'll know how to bend those laws to your will in ways that are unique, innovative, and compelling without crossing that fine line into disaster.

I'm still working on that part, but I'll let you know if I ever get there.

Adrien-Luc Sanders is a New Orleans transplant currently living in Chicago with one man and one cat, who both make enough mess for two. Or two dozen. A freelance writer and editor, Adrien works for companies such as Lyrical Press and, while harboring daydreams of publishing YA fiction that brings ethnic and LGBT characters into the mainstream spotlight. He finds his own name entirely pretentious, has a secret love of romance novels, freaks out every time he finds another grey hair, and tries to convince himself that 1. they're silver, and 2. going grey at 30 makes a writer look "distinguished." (Really. Let him have his illusions.) He pretends to be professional on his blog, while acting like a total cynical spaz on Twitter. As he's writing this, his cat is trying to chew off his toes.
 Thank you for reading this edition of Fresh Voices. Feel free to follow the Fresh Voices list on Twitter or nominate yourself or another author as a Fresh Voice.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Say Hello to the Winchester Boys

After listening to @MireyahWolfe rave about "Supernatural" I had to check it out myself and now *I'm* addicted.

So I'm encouraging you to check it out (this link should be an Amazon Video on Demand).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fresh Voices: Interview with Mireyah Wolfe

"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - E.E. Cummings

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Voices. We are delighted to share with you the audacious voice of Mireyah Wolfe.
1. What is your ultimate writing goal?

My ultimate, long term, die-with-a-smile-on-my-face goal is to write stories people love to read—stories that make people go “Oh gosh, I wish I’d written this!” because those are the stories I love to read. My current goal at the moment is just to finish writing a story!

2. Why do you write?

I’d have to say that I write first for my own enjoyment, second for my own sanity, third for the people who poke at me to do it, and last for the possibility of being published, making the NYT Bestseller List and making a bucket load of cash. (Hey, a girl can dream, okay?)

3. Your writing is spunky and sassy. Have you worked to achieve that voice or is it just a natural style for you?

Judging by some of my *cough* early attempts at writing, I’d have to say that it’s both natural and that I’ve worked at it. I’ve been writing since I was nine, so everything I did at the start of this was very rough—especially my Voice. I like to think I’ve gotten into a rhythm over the past few years, but I imagine I’ll only get better with age.

I think my parents definitely influenced how my voice has progressed—I was not a witty child, honestly, but when my parents started homeschooling me, my own personality really began emerging, and with it, my Voice. (I may be less witty than I like to think, but we’re going to say that I am. *wink*)

4. Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?

I’d say that my favorite authors are Rob Thurman, Karen Marie Moning, and Laurell K. Hamilton. All three of them have very distinct styles—strong, sarcastic, powerful voices, but they’re very similar in that their books are first person POV, and that their characters are alternately strong and vulnerable in regards to the secondary/supporting characters.

5. What most attracts you to the life of a writer?

Oh, it has got to be the ability to sit in a chair with mussed hair, grungy PJs, tapping at a keyboard, playing on Twitter and calling it “work.”

6. If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what would you choose?

Hm. I actually have thought about this in those moments when I want nothing to do with writing. I’d open a small bookstore, help the local schools with their texts, the local library with supplying books…things like that. Or I’d work for a library. (And, obviously, I’d have to be the SuperHero “The Librarian” at night. Is it a plane? Is it a bird? No! It’s the Librarian! Come to snatch all your overdue books away!)

7. If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?

Emotional. Regardless of what I’m writing, it has to be filled with emotion or it’s not genuine.

8. What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?

The best writing advice I’ve ever gotten was from a friend of mine, SM Blooding, which was immediately backed up by Maureen Johnson in her video “Dare to Suck.”

You are allowed, you are expected, you are required to suck. And that’s okay.

Trust me, that makes it a lot easier when I’m writing and I think, “Oh my god, that’s TERRIBLE.” Because then I can say, “Hey! That sucks! Awesome!”

Positive reinforcement is amazing.

Mireyah Wolfe is the kind of person who gets shocked by a joke phone buzzer, then follows the owner around to do it again. (Four times.) She is a stay-at-home student, library lurker, addicted tweeter and prolific blogger. Her genre of preference is Urban Fantasy with dashes of other genres for good measure. Dean Winchester is her muse. Mireyah can be found at her Blog, Twitter, or her Facebook. (Be warned: Although she tries to keep everything “Safe for Work,” things do have an occasional tendency to get a bit R-rated.)
Thank you for reading this edition of Fresh Voices. Feel free to follow the Fresh Voices list on Twitter or nominate yourself or another author as a Fresh Voice.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Flow, Ebb, Struggle, Repeat

Life works in cycles.
At least it does for me.
Over the course of the last few weeks I have been barraged, inundated, assaulted, buried, and deluged with an overabundance of....well...everything.
Some of that has been unquestionably good stuff like catching a standing room only concert of Green River Ordinance and Lifehouse, finding a gorgeous dress on sale, and singing with my son,our own lyrics to Michael Jackson songs in the car. But it also has involved unpleasant assorted varieties of dealing with disrespectful educators, mountains of work projects, and resisting the urge to throttle certain people who do not have the good sense to recognize the proper time for righteous indignation. (Get a spine! Take a stand! Stop reasoning away the unreasonable! If there's repeated evidence that requires a call to action, wait and see is the WRONG approach!)

Regardless of the 'goodness' or 'badness' of the busy-ness, it has left me drained. Big drained. I don't mean "Calgon-take-me-away" drained, I mean like "it's-a-good-thing-I-don't-have-a-heart-condition-because-I'd-be-done-for" drained.

I spent a few days trying to deny the drain. But, I recognized it lurking in the shadows. Then, it inched forward where I recognized it in my impatience. Rather than heed that warning, I found myself clinging to snarky remarks and hateful rapid fire response. Even though I wanted to be nice and I wanted to smooth things over, I kept roughing them up. It was as though I'd become possessed by a demon puppet-master and I had no choice but to be a bitch.

Definitely time for a de-compress. But how when that usually requires some sort of plan or activity? I didn't want activity and what I wanted even LESS was being glued to a computer as I had been for WEEKS. I usually enjoy the time, especially for writing.

I found myself totally dreading the idea of even LOOKING at my PC not even for writing. WRITING? Ugh. No plotting or wordsmithing or character development or stringing together coherent thoughts. Ick.

Thus, by the weekend, I decided to distance myself from my technological appendage. It was a lovely, much needed respite. I didn't do a lot. In fact, Sunday was dedicated to magazine-leafing, Netflix, and channel surfing. My brain got a reboot.

Now I find myself slightly more re-charged and ready to resume again...hopefully with a better attitude.

Back to flow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fresh Voices: Interview with Liz Borino"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - E.E. Cummings

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Voices. We are delighted to share with you the thoughtful and thought-provoking voice of Liz Borino.
1. What is your ultimate writing goal?

More than anything I want to publish novels, and perhaps non-fiction books, that reach and influence a lot of people. In my deepest heart I long to see my name on bestseller lists; (New York Times, please). But that’s not what I’d base success on. I’ll base my success on how many people’s lives I've touched and views my words have changed. All that being said I would like to be able to support my family with my writing.

2. Why do you write?

I write because I got too old for imaginary friends. Seriously, when you’re five you can get away with walking around and talking to yourself, not so when you 15 or…23. So, I had to do something with all the stories that were/are constantly running through my head. I guess the short answer is I write because it sustains me. It keeps me sane, while at the same time not letting the world know how crazy I really am.

3. Your writing is very thoughtful and sincere. Have you worked to achieve that voice or is it just a natural style for you?

Given those two choices I’d say it’s natural for me. I like my readers to feel like they’re having a conversation with me. On the topic of conversation, I’m big into dialogue because I feel it’s the best way to understand characters. The books I remember reading most, The Outsiders, Little Women, A Home at the End of the World, to name a few, it was never the gripping story that held me fast and made me want to turn to the next page. It was the identification with the characters. That’s what I always want to convey with my writing. I want these characters to be your friends, just like they’re mine.

4. Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?

My favorite authors are Michael Cunningham, S.E. Hinton, Victor Hugo, and William Goldman, just to name a few. S.E. Hinton wrote The Outsiders and I always looked up to her because she did that at age 14. This encouraged me to write despite my youth. I read Michael Cunningham’s A Home at the End of the World once a year. Hugo wrote Les Miserable, I saw that play when I was nine and finished the book when I was 12. I like Louisa May Alcott, but I can’t read any of her books while I’ve got a work in progress because I start to adapt her language use, not great for today’s reader! But I hold almost all authors in the highest regard. They all have something to contribute to the literary world.

5. What most attracts you to the life of a writer?

The excitement of telling stories for a living, the opportunity to alter people’s perception of a situation or even their lives, to give readers an escape when the world becomes too much, there are so many true answers here.

6. If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what would you choose?

I’d want to be a motivational speaker. I might do that as well, but people get messages more easily if they’re told in stories. That’s why I want to be a writer.

7. If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?


8. What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?

Steven King said something to the effect of “Treat writing like a job. Don’t wait for inspiration to write. Just sit down and write.”

Liz Borino is a passionate writer who is finishing a degree at Hofstra University and then looking for somewhere warm to migrate where she can change the world, one word at a time. You can find her on Twitter here: She would love to hear from all of you there and has been featured on Soon her own blog will go live.

5/7/10 Update: The blog is live!

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