Odds and Ends

The last few months have been a whirlwind in my personal life, making wording a bit more difficult than I’d like. But! Some fun things have been happening.

 

StarShipSofa Podcast of “Jump Cut”

One of my favorite stories has been turned into a podcast by the team at StarShipSofa! “Jump Cut” originally appeared in Unlikely Story’s Journal of Unlikely Cryptography last year. The story is wonderfully narrated by Mike Boris and includes an interview with U of Washington professor Ryan Calo on robot law. Check it out!

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It’s also cool to see some of the scifi elements I included in the story become closer to reality. Recently, Ars Technica profiled a company called Halo Neuroscience that uses electrical impulses to stimulate parts of athletes’ brains to boost performance. Very similar to the performance-enhancing implants central to my story. To see more how Halo’s technology works, check out the video below:

 

 

SF Signal Mindmeld on the best writing advice

I was recently asked “What’s the best writing advice I’ve ever received?” for SF Signal’s Mindmeld feature, a roundtable of SF/F writers. Over the years, different nuggets of writerly wisdom have stayed with me, often as a function of where I am with my craft. Check out the column to see what’s guiding me these days.

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There’s also more fantastic advice from Alex Kourvo, Nghi Vo, David D. Levine, Pear Nuallak, Jon McGoran, Janet Harriett, Adrian Van Young, Yolanda Sfetsos, Robert Kroese, Kallen Dewey Kentner, and of course moi.

 

 

Reprint of “Forge and Fledge” in Spaceports and Spidersilk

Earlier this year, my story “Forge and Fledge” was included in the January 2016 issue of Spaceports and Spidersilk, a speculative fiction magazine for young adults. It was originally published in the now-defunct but not forgotten Crossed Genres Magazine and focuses on a young teen’s yearning for a better life than a hydrocarbon mining rig floating in the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon, Titan. Support the magazine and all the other talented authors in the issue.

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Recently, Titan’s been in the news thanks to Cassini spacecraft’s most recent flyby, confirming that methane fills one of the largest hydrocarbon lakes on the moon’s surface. Cool stuff!

 

 

Paperback release of The Change anthology

Last but not least, The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth, featuring my story “Against the Wind,” is now available in paperback! So get yourself to the bookseller of your choice, and snap up a copy today for a great collection of post-apocalyptic adventure stories.

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That’s it for me!

Interview with Lori M. Lee

Today I’m happy to bring you an interview with my critique partner Lori M. Lee. 
In December of 2011, she signed with Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary, and her book deal (!) with Skyscape was recently announced. She blogs about the writing life at http://lorimlee.blogspot.com/

Thanks for stopping by today, Lori! For the uninitiated, could you give us a brief overview of your writing journey up until now?
Thanks for having me, Lauren 🙂 It’s been almost four years since I began my first manuscript-with-intent-to-query/publish in 2009. It was a NaNoWriMo, and I spent a year editing and rewriting it based on feedback from my amazing CPs (like you! :D) before querying. While querying that project, I began working on Gates of Thread and Stone. This story so much fun to write, and I was extremely fortunate to receive an offer of representation in November of 2011 after only a few weeks of querying. But the work definitely didn’t end there. A major revision and a year later, I finally got that yes from an editor!
What is something that surprised you about being an agented writer? Many aspiring writers put so much emphasis on getting an agent without necessarily thinking about what happens after reaching that milestone.
This is sort of dumb (and a good example of how my brain works… or doesn’t, in this case), but when I began my next project, I had brief moments of panic when I thought about writing the query. Then, at some point, it struck me—I don’t have to write a query. My agent doesn’t require one. The query was always such a stress-filled requisite of writing a new manuscript-with-intent-to-find-an-agent that it didn’t immediately occur to me I didn’t need one b/c I already had an agent. And believe me, when that realization hit, it felt AWESOME.

I’ve gotten the impression from other writers in the blogosphere that being on submission is kind of like Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. What can you say about your time on submission and how you coped for other writers going through the same process?
Being on submission had even greater ups and downs than querying. When an editor loved the book, but it got shot down in acquisitions, that hurt a million times more than an agent rejection because I was so, so close. Being on sub was exciting and terrifying, but also emotionally draining. I coped with everything first by working on something new and then inadvertently by getting pregnant lol. With my mind focused on a new world and new characters (and the impending baby), I had less time to worry about what was happening with the book on submission.
The Gates of Thread and Stone will be published by Skyscape (Amazon Children’s Publishing) in 2014, and it is the first book in a series. Tell us about the book.
Going with what was revealed in the deal announcement (since I don’t know how much more I can talk about yet), Gates is about a girl who stays carefully under the radar to keep her ability—to manipulate the threads of time—a secret. But when her brother disappears, she has to risk getting caught up in a revolution in order to save him.
What was your biggest challenge writing this book?
This particularly book came really easily to me, which is not typical. The world building was probably the biggest challenge because world building, in itself, is fairly intricate, but the plot and the characters were very clear in my mind.
What excites you most about this next stage of your career?
Reader feedback. Good or bad, I can’t wait to hear what readers think. It’s definitely scary, and I’ll probably fumble through it all, but I’m looking forward to it.

Finally, what is the single best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Work on your next book while you’re waiting for query responses. Write while you’re on submission. Write while you’re waiting for feedback from CPs or your agent or your editor. Having that shiny new idea to focus on really does make the waiting more bearable, and the bonus is if that ms doesn’t work out, you’ve got your next one ready to go.
Thanks so much Lori!

Be sure you check out her blog (http://lorimlee.blogspot.com/) and follow her on twitter (@lorimlee).

Lori’s always been an incredibly supportive writer, and I’m so happy she’ll be able to share her stories with the world!

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Next Big Thing Meme

I was recently tagged by Fran Wilde, a fellow writer and friend I met at Taos Toolbox, to talk about my current Work-in-Progress. Be sure to learn more about her WIP Bone Arrow, Glass Tooth, which I had the privilege of reading part of at the workshop.

1. What is the title of your Work in Progress?

Fireproof

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Well, for starters, it wasn’t always a book. It started out as a short story. My response to a particularly bad season of wildfires—one actually got very close to my house. I wondered what it would be like to live under threat of fires all the time, how that would define you as a person and shape your culture. And the idea evolved from there.

Around that time, Wily Writers announced their YA post-apocalyptic theme, and I wanted to submit Fireproof. But I soon realized that wasn’t possible—my short stories are often novels in disguise, and Fireproof was one of them. So I set it aside and wrote Chicken Feet (which was accepted by Wily Writers and later reprinted in The Shining Cities anthology). I then returned to Fireproof with the new goal of fleshing it out as a novel.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

YA Science Fiction

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Let’s see if it gets picked up first.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

I hate writing these. How about a paragraph?

Tanwen’s father trained her to be a survivor, but the colony will train her to be a spy. When a rogue collective takes aim at the colony’s water supply, she’s ordered to infiltrate enemy territory. Away from her family and friends, Tanwen must come to terms with all she thought she knew about her life. And when her mission objective changes from recon to sabotage, she’ll learn what’s really worth saving.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Representation, I hope. One day. Fingers crossed!

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The idea was kicking around in my head Spring/Summer of 2011. Starting in Fall 2011, I started treating it as a novel and had a full draft by late Spring 2012. It’s complete and polished and I’m largely pleased with it, but still making the occasional tweak.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

The dreaded comparables question? I think this meme hates me 😉

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See Q2. I also wanted to explore a couple different themes:

  • Sacrificing what you want for the good of the community
  • How specialized education/skillsets can lock you into unwanted trajectories
  • We don’t have to repeat the mistakes of our parents
  • Grief and all the different shapes it takes
  • And, of course, hope in the future

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The southwestern setting is a huge part of the story, despite its SF trappings. Many elements are rooted in the culture and the people who make the high desert their home—and some things were ripped straight from the headlines. Granted most readers won’t care about all that, but it was important for me to have that extra layer of authenticity.

I also wanted to present a possible, if not probable, apocalyptic scenario because so many other books gloss over what happens in the past. In Fireproof, the connections between what happened and its impact on the resulting society are tightly drawn, showing the messy transition from apocalyptic event to resulting post-apocalyptic society. One of my trusted readers called it a pre-post-apocalyptic story, which is awkward to say, but in some ways accurately captures my intention.

***

Thanks again to Fran Wilde for tagging me!
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My Story "Chicken Feet" Now Available

I’m pleased to announce that my story “Chicken Feet” is now available for your listening or reading pleasure through Wily Writers.

Wily Writers is a twice-monthly podcast series. Stories are speculative in nature, responding to monthly themes. I wrote “Chicken Feet” for their call for young adult post-apocalyptic tales back in October 2011. I actually wrote a story before this one, but realized I had a novel on my hands. I went back to the drawing board and wrote “Chicken Feet” and the other story has taken over is now my novel-length WIP.

Big thanks to Wily Writers editor Angel Leigh McCoy, guest editor Ripley Patton, and voice actor Leah Rivera for her audio performance of my story.

Wily Writers just started offering professional rates for stories in 2012. I’ve had a very positive experience working with them and would encourage you to take a look at the guidelines for their upcoming calls for the year.

Thanks!
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Get Thee to WriteOnCon

What, you actually expected a post today with actual content? During Day 2 of WriteOnCon 2011? Silly human.

In case you don’t know (somehow), WriteOnCon is a free online conference put on by Kidlit authors, agents, and editors. It is the place to be if you write picture books, middle grade, or young adult.

The full schedule is here.

You can register here to post in the forums and potentially have your work critiqued by ninja agents.

There’s also a forum dedicated to matching up critique partners.

Missed yesterday? Lydia Sharp has a post with the highlights of Day 1.

And if you want to start at the beginning, read my 2010 Write On Con Recap covering the best content from last year.

Happy Writing!

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