Potpourri – Summer Edition

I’m thrilled to announce Implanted finaled in the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal RWA chapter’s PRISM contest for best Sci-Fi and Futuristic Novel. The award is bestowed by one of the largest chapters in the romance community to celebrate excellence in published romance with speculative elements. Be sure to check out the other great books featured in the different categories. Winners will be announced at Nationals in New York City later this month. Fingers crossed!PRISM2019Badge

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My short story “No Regrets on Fourth Street” was made into a podcast by StarShipSofa. It’s narrated by Larissa Thompson, a talented voice actress, and it’s exciting to have another story featured at StarShipSofa, which published my story “Jump Cut” way back in 2016.

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If you ever wanted an opportunity to be mentored by moi—or other amazing NM-based judges—you’ll get your chance by entering The Land of Enchantment Romance Author’s The Writer contest. Our local RWA chapter will be accepting the first 5k of unpublished romantic works through July 31st. Check out the rules here.
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This Friday at the Albuquerque Science Fiction Society, Sarena Ulibarri and I will be reprising our presentation on Climate Fiction that we did for Creative Santa Fe in May. If you are local, I hope you’ll join us for readings and spirited discussions on solarpunk, cli-fi, and what’s next for our field.

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Finally, be on the lookout for my schedule for Armadillocon in Austin, TX, August 2nd-4th, and Bubonicon in Albuquerque, NM, August 23rd-25th.

Implanted wins a 2018 SFR Galaxy Award!

Yesterday, I received the happy news that my novel Implanted won a 2018 SFR Galaxy Award. The Science Fiction Romance community may be small relative to other genres but it is mighty, and every year for the past seven years, the SFR Galaxy Awards highlight “standout” books in the field.

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You can learn more about the awards here, but basically:

The SFR Galaxy Awards is an annual, multi-award event for science fiction romance books. The theme of the SFR Galaxy Awards is inclusiveness. Instead of giving an award to a single book, this event will recognize the worth of multiple books and/or the standout elements they contain. Each of the seven judges are reviewers, book bloggers, librarians, editors and/or avid readers. Authors do not enter to win and are not aware they have won until the awards are announced.

Judge Lee Kovan singled out Implanted for the way in which I incorporated communication technology into my story, saying, “Teffeau presents the possible consequences of the evolution of smartphones. She also shows how much maintenance time we have to put into our technology, a cost we rarely think about critically.”

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It’s always so wonderful to know when someone not only gets what you’re writing but appreciates it too. I put a lot of rigor into building the world and technology of Implanted, and I’m grateful that effort was recognized. Needless to say I’m thrilled, and my thanks go to Lee, the other judges, and the organizers of the SFR Galaxy Awards.

Be sure to check out the other winners across seven different judges and add them to your TBR pile stat!

Managing Critique

I’m a firm believer in the benefits of critique—regardless of what shape they take.

Since getting serious about writing, I’ve experienced a wide range of critiquing styles and formats:

Reading Work Aloud – On one end of the spectrum, there’s things like open mic nights where tepid applause or catcalls tells you how well you did. I’ve done this once, and although I didn’t crash and burn, I don’t want to repeat the experience. On the other end, I’ve been in groups where you read a predetermined number of pages aloud and then discuss them. Great for problem scenes or seeing if your story or chapter opener hooks readers.

Exchanging Work – I’ve done where an agreed upon number of pages (up to 10 pages, up to 1 chapter, first 50 etc.) are exchanged in advanced and then discussed in small groups. Great for fostering local connections and looking at stories more in-depth. I’ve also exchanged full and partial manuscripts with critique partners and other trusted readers, marking up the text and making micro and macro level comments. It’s a lot of work but it allows you to evaluate a work as a whole, and as we all know, good readers are priceless.

Contests – There’s a wide variety of these for both short and long form work. Things like Miss Snark’s First Victim provide a forum for novel openers to see if readers are hooked. Query contests also abound on blogs. Plus there are a wide variety of contests sponsored through local and national writing organizations. Contests can provide you with feedback if you are in a place were you don’t have a trusted reader in your corner, but beware contest fees as not all contests are created equal.

Then there’s writing workshops like Taos Toolbox, where a lot of feedback comes your way all at once.

And that can be overwhelming. Strike that. It is overwhelming.

So how do you incorporate it all?

Well, when I have the opportunity to collect feedback from a variety of sources all at once, I like to focus on macro-level issues first.

These are general vibes my CPs and trusted readers get from my story or, in the case of the critiques from Taos, what stands out most in my mind as people went around the table and told me what was wrong with my stories.

Based on those things, I do a revision pass. That way I’m proactively working through what I perceive as problems with my story.

Only after I’ve done my initial revisions do I go back through the more detailed individual crits. That way I find I’m less reactive to individual comments that can often lead to changes in my story that serve the critiquer, not necessarily the manuscript as a whole.

Granted this process won’t work for every project, but I like to use this model whenever I can. Besides, by tackling the “big” issues first, because usually by the time you get to the smaller nits, many of them have already been fixed or eliminated.

There’s also some caveats to critiquing more generally.

As Kristine Kathryn Rusch pointed out in her post Perfection:

Critiquers get the manuscript for free and they’re asked to criticize it. Of course, they will find something wrong with it. In that circumstance, we all will.

So remember, just because someone says there is a problem with your story, figure out if it’s because they’ve been asked to find a problem or if there really is something wrong.

It’s also worth noting that not all critiquing advice is equal. Some people may not understand your vision for your story or be unable to divorce themselves from what they would do in your stead.

Fellow Toolboxer Catherine Scaff-Stump in Technique versus Vision explains:

If you ask me to give you feedback on a story, my job is to talk to you about your technique, but it is not to suggest you move in a different direction. I am not going to ask you to compromise your vision. You know what you want to do.

Worse, why would I pass judgment on your vision? I can say, “Your piece isn’t very good.” Unpacked, that should mean that you are vague, or your characters are underdeveloped. There should be things I can do to help you with technique. But I shouldn’t be thinking that your piece isn’t very good because I don’t like it. Because it’s not my thing. Because it’s not my sub-genre. That’s besides the point. I should be focusing on your technique, not telling you to like what I like.

Another great resource for figuring out how to incorporate feedback comes from How to Tackle Critique Notes from Writer Unboxed.

What other tips and tricks have you learned from your own critique experiences?

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Contest for The Memory Eater Anthology

I wanted to let you know that there’s a contest going on right now to promote The Memory Eater Anthology I’m apart of.

There’s a number of great prizes available to folks who help promote the contest via social media outlets, and I will also be offering first chapter critiques to the first five people who donate to the kickstarter fund.

We’re little over 75% funded and need 1k more in just 9 days, so please spread the word. And if you are interested in all things speculative, consider pre-ordering the anthology.

 Memory Eater Links:

 And remember, if you are interested in a crit from me, the first five people who email me (thebluestockingblog AT gmail DOT com) their Kickstarter acknowledgement get a first chapter critique.

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Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge 2011

Magemanda from the blog Floor to Ceiling Books is spearheading a Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge, where participants read and review at least 12 speculative fiction books over the course of 2011. To learn more about the challenge, go here. I first heard about the challenge from follower KB Lawrence *waves*.


I have a bunch of spec fic books on my Christmas list and some still hanging out in my TBR pile like:

If anyone has any female spec fic writers (besides Atwood and LeGuin) they can recommend, please do so in the comments.

Want to join in but not sure where to get started? Check out iO9’s 10 Recent Science Fiction Novels Which Make Great Gifts.

Happy reading!
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