Monday, January 28, 2013

January Update

I know it's not quite the end of the month yet, but it's close enough.

As of today I have four short stories in the nebulous realm of "forthcoming".

The Collections Agent and Caught are forthcoming from Stupefying Stories. At some point. I blame the delay on the fact that one is just smidge over 7k words, the other just about 500.

In the Cool of the Day is forthcoming from Abyss & Apex. They have a new fiction editor which has resulted in a bit of a shuffle. (And Ms. Dalmater had never given me a solid publication date, so I'm practicing patience.)

Legacy is forthcoming in The Beast Within 4: Gears and Growls - edited by Jennifer Brozek. I believe the anthology is scheduled for publication later this summer.

I also wrote a short story this month. One of the first shorts I've written in a while. (The last one was Legacy.) This means I met my Write 1, Sub 1 goal for the month and gave me four stories I needed to get out to markets. As of this afternoon I have the following sitting in slush at various markets (including a few new-to-me like Waylines, Kalideotrope and One Story).

Made - contemporary paranormal featuring vampires, sex and magic (This is my January story)
Mother - literary
The Weather's Always Fine in Paradise - cyberpunk noir
Call-Center - contemporary not-a-zombie story
Love Like Dysphoria - dark contemporary flash
The Spider-thief and The Sorcerer - sword and sorcery featuring a thief who talks to bugs
The Hardest Kiss - dark fantasy retelling of Hades/Persephone with steampunk elements

Not my best month for sending stuff out (although I did send four of those seven out this morning) but still, not too shabby on the short story side.

In noveling news: I've been querying The Steampunk Novel since early December.
So far I've sent out 40 queries (in small batches).
I've had sixteen rejections.
20 queries are still pending.
3 partial requests.
1 full request.

That's not too shabby either.  :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Strong Female Characters

I must admit, I'm a lousy feminist. Why? Because I like female MCs that are strong and smart and funny, but apparently some feel that's just taking the qualities displayed by male MCs and putting them in a feminine body. Apparently in order to be a strong woman you have to be something other than the things that strong men are.


Just to be clear, I don't buy into the whole idea that when women do certain things they're demonstrating girl power and when men do those same things it's just stereotypical. I don't think I deserve extra credit for being a woman who knows how to replace the battery in her car. This is not a skill that should be more extraordinary when one gender does it compared to the other. (Of course, these days it's hard to find anyone who knows how to do basic maintenance on their car themselves, no matter if they're male or female.)

So I get a bit, well... pissy when someone suggests that in order for a woman to be a "strong female character" she has to have more depth than a "strong male character". I even start to twitch when it's suggested that "true strength" encompasses more than physical dexterity. Are you kidding me? 


But this doesn't mean that a female MC needs to be less kick-ass. And it doesn't mean that a male MC needs to be all sensitive and caring and shit. It means that all main characters need a certain level of complexity. Regardless of gender. Or sexual orientation. Or boob-size. It means we need to stop fretting over what it means to write "strong female characters" and focus on writing "strong characters" period. Better yet, let's just strike that whole concept of "strong" from our character formation vocabulary and focus on "complex" or "real".

Whether they use their brains or fists or boobs or smart-ass humor or really big guns to get what they want. Complex characters. 

That is all.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Don't Forget!

You can check out S.R. Mastratone's Next Big Thing blog post HERE 

Happy Thursday! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Next Big Thing

The marvelous M.C. Hana tagged me for this blog meme last week. Somehow when I drafted this, I totally forgot to put her name and a link to her post up front. Editing has eaten part of my brain. >_<

So. Without further ado: M.C. Hana - The Next Big Thing

And, of course, my own entry.

What is the working title of your book?
Currently it's Saba, a term for the Zen practice of finding beauty in the act of decay.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
This novel grew out of a number of different influences, but the kernel of the idea started when I first saw Cowboy Bebop. I was so impressed with the movie and the show and I thought “I have to write something like this.” I wasn't even sure what “this” would look like. Cyberpunk? Dystopian near-future SF? But I was determined to find out. As I started brainstorming other influences jumped into the mix: the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa (especially Yojimbo); the Spaghetti Westerns (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly; Once Upon a Time in The West); Asian action new classics (Hardboiled, Old Boy). In the end I discovered a world with an odd reverence/preservation of certain aspects of Earth culture (villains who speak in jive, characters who swear in the mother-tongue of a country they've never seen), a corruption of the “law” by corporations and the wealthy that opens the door for a sub-culture of bounty hunters dispensing justice for price, and the slow death of Humanity outside their home-world. In the middle of it all was a young woman of half-Japanese descent with a lot of ink, traditional swords and a gift for violence.

What is the genre of the book?
Science-fiction with cyber-punk and noir mystery elements.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
    Olivia Wilde as  Onarilla Taiomi.
    Ron Perlman as Sixty.
    Ken Watanabe as Miike Taiomi.
    Dev Patel as Morgan.
    Peter Sarsgaard as Nicodemus Quinn.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A monk turned bounty-hunter searches for redemption for her life of violence and defies family and government to save Mankind from death on The Outer Seven planets.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher?
Hoping to be represented by an agency. Currently searching for the right person to represent my    Steampunk Novel Series and the assorted stand-alone projects (like Saba) I've produced over the     past six years.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Currently it's still in-progress. I think because it's a collection of pieces that form a whole it's taken    longer to get on paper. My normal process of throwing words at the page until the right ones stick     doesn't work as well for this format, but it grows a little bit every year.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Neal Stephenson's Snowcrash is pretty much a given, though there's not as much “hard science” in    Saba. It's also got of touch of the weird and mystical like Cordwainer Smith's Norstrilia.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The protagonist, Onarilla Taiomi, got in my head and wouldn't leave. She's such a dark and funny and fundamentally broken character that I just couldn't put her story back on the shelf. As I wrote more of the bits and pieces of the novel I found the other characters in the novel were equally interesting and challenging to write – from her sociopathic father to the stalker turned love interest to the robot spider who is her constant companion, they all have something to say about what it is to be human. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It's written in a serial or mosaic format with each section taking place in different part of the MCs life/story and in different parts of the solar system. There are also some haiku, flash fiction interlogues and swearing in a bunch of different languages. If you're into that sort of thing.

I'm tagging S.R. Mastratone - The Written Absurd and Jessica Burde - Jessica's Ramblings
They'll be posting next week about their current WIP.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

It is interesting how ones mindset changes with the calender. In many ways, January is no different than December, but it marks that official "fresh start" for setting and reaching goals and that does make a difference.

I have my goals for the year. I also have some semi-detailed plans on how to achieve those goals. And an arse-load of enthusiasm. It's easy to believe that big things can happen in 2013 when there are still 364 days to look forward to. I can only hope that faith in my writing will be as strong when I reach December 31st, 2013.

I do think that this will be the year to see a few blog giveaways, too. Stay tuned for more details!

Wishing all of you a year of good things.