Fifteen years ago, I thought Barnes and Noble was second only to Powell’s City of Books (incidentally, if you haven’t been to Powell’s, it’s pretty awesome). The nearest Barnes and Noble to me, back then, was 75 miles away and fuel for the drive there and back cost as much as two paperbacks. I loved the enormity of the store, the fact that they sold coffee, and that amid the spacious sprawl they provided places to sit. The community I lived in had no library back then and my other bookstore options at the time were grocery stores (the nearest mall’s Waldenbooks had vanished) and two used bookshops, one badly disorganized and the other with a cranky, sharp-tongued proprietor (you couldn’t buy sci-fi books there, “trade only!” was the snarling response the two times I tried). Naturally, I was an eager purchaser of books online once that became an option. Continue reading
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According to Hugh Howey’s advice, aspiring writers should blog every day. I’m not one to argue with successful authors. The reasons I haven’t blogged more in the past fall into two camps: I don’t have any successful-author advice of my own to share (yet); and the rest of what I have is just strong opinions. But I’m trying to embrace the idea that maybe there’s nothing wrong with a strong opinion or two. So, here goes. Continue reading
I’m headed to Spokane in August for WorldCon 2015 and have narrowed down my list of tourist activities (not that I’m going to have time for even these few). Within walking distance, there’s the historic River Front park carousel, which I will absolutely go get in line for, but mostly I want to ride the one tiger it features. (One tiger! One!) Continue reading
Before the madness of Nanowrimo starts up, I wanted to say something about Mark Sheppard‘s appearance at Boise’s first-ever comic con. He was awesome. You can see a clip of him speaking at the event. The audio is a little hard to make out in spots (the venue’s acoustics were not great) but if you really listen you can catch some of what he’s saying. (I was just delighted to find a clip from that day.) Even without getting all the words, you can tell how sincere he is. What he’s saying, basically, is how cool fandom is. He starts by saying that he doesn’t trust anyone who’s not a fan of something, and goes on to say that finally fans’ loyalty is starting to pay off, at least a little. There were, naturally, people in the audience in costume, and he said how great it was to see people “wearing what they love.”
His enthusiasm and respect for his fans made me like him all the more. And I liked him plenty to start with, he’s been in some of my very favorite TV shows. As much as I enjoyed the fact that I was seeing the guy who was Badger in Firefly, and Lampkin in Battlestar, and Crowley in Supernatural, I was really, really impressed with his public speaking skills. He was engaging the entire time, he spoke clearly, he took questions with great aplomb, and he was perfectly at home addressing a crowd. It made me wish I could be half that effective when I speak. It also made me reconsider the value of participating on discussion panels at writing-related events. Because after hearing him talk, if Mark Sheppard had been selling a book, I would have been first in line to buy one.
(I wanted to add thanks and credit to Natasha Stephenson, whom I do not know, but whose video I’ve shared here. You can find more clips she recorded from the convention here.)
When the Taos Toolbox workshop ended in July, I left better equipped to tackle my writing and with lots of new ideas to consider when it comes to publishing. And then I got back to the nuts and bolts of daily life. Throw a couple of wrenches into the works, and it’s suddenly September, and I don’t seem to have accomplished a thing.
I kept planning to take the time to say something about Taos, but the experience was so complex that I couldn’t sum it up quickly or neatly. I kept planning to apply what I’d learned to my novels-in-progress, but what I’d learned was too much to put into immediate practice (like trying to unpack boxcar in a single afternoon).
So here I am, adding a blogpost to say that I’m doing things. Just not things coherent enough to report on -yet.
I am pleased to announce that In a Land Far Away, a collection of fairy tales, is available at Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats. I have two shorts stories in this one, and highly recommend the work of my co-authors as well. As with Out of Time, proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders, so you can enjoy some great new fiction while supporting a good cause.
All the authors involved are currently working on stories for yet another collection and are all working on independent projects as well. So, get a copy, get to know the writers, and keep an eye out for upcoming projects!
There’s a reason I prefer writing novels. Usually when I have an idea big enough for a novel, I already have a good grasp on the main elements. When I have a short story idea it’s generally confined to something I’m not as familiar with. (My ignorance is the thing keeping the idea small!) So, today I’m learning that there’s a whole lot more to weaving than I ever dreamed.
Ever wonder about color restrictions when you’re writing about old-timey buildings? Check out Valspar’s paints approved for historic structures. The National Trust for Historic Places has documented 250 colors used in America, and you can see them at the website listed below. Granted, you might not want your characters to use the phrase “Mark Twain House Gold” — but you can get some idea for what shades were (and weren’t) in use. http://www.valsparpaint.com/en/explore-colors/find-ideas/national-trust-historic-colors/victorian.html?preview=true
I’m getting an absurd amount of joy (and a little frustration) out of trying to figure out the cost of leather boots in 1880’s Europe.