Writing Is Not a Solo Sport

aly_drew

photo credit: Arne Parrott

Striking a hero’s pose here is Drew Mierzejewski. I briefly met him two years ago through Alyson Grauer. Now if Aly’s name sounds familiar, it’s because you can find her lending her voice to one of my podcasts here, hear her rock the steampunk here, do it again here, and then giving good panel at DemiCon 25. Aly’s got game. So does Drew. That might be one of many reason these two got married.

Check it out, Chicago. This is an up-and-coming power couple to watch. I’m just sayin’.

Thing about Drew—I wish I knew him better. Something just tells me we’d be talking to the wee small hours in the morning about…stuff. Deep stuff. I especially got that impression when I saw a random Facebook post from him yesterday about the road creatives walk. The entire thread is here, and you really should check it out or even chime in if you like, but this was the part that made me stop and think…

Therefore, I would like to place a hypothetical to each of you. Why do we do walk this road alone? There are many of us! Why do we not band together in a great bonfire of creativity and make art? Is it impractical? It is idealistic? Is it too terrifying? What is stopping us from creating a massive company that makes art year round, in which we pool resources and talent to make the best of what we have to offer? Now, I want to reiterate that I ask this in hypothetical but I do want to hear your thoughts on this. So please take a moment and tell me in the comments what you think. Tell me why.

Continue reading

5 Things to Help Keep Your Works-in-Progress in Progress (and Avoid Overcommitting to Other Projects)

 

IMG_4191.JPGIf you have been listening to the podcasts, you may have heard that I’ve got a few ideas percolating in the brain. This week, with the close of the summer rapidly approaching, I’m looking at the following projects:

  • Various short stories for the final season of Tales from the Archives
  • A novella for a special collection of science fiction, available only at RT 2016
  • A new fantasy epic, co-written with Pip
  • The fifth novel in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series
  • An urban fantasy novel (that has been sitting on a back burner for WAY too long…)

These works-in-progress are just that: in various stages of progress. That sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Five projects, and today I got an invitation from this guy… Continue reading

Authors & Self-Promotion: Why This Isn’t Someone Else’s Job

delilahThis week has seen a week of self-promotion posts. Not necessarily a week of authors hardcore-pimping their latest book or sounding from the rooftop news about their latest work-in-progress—and it should have been as Delilah S. Dawson released Hit while Pip and I kicked off the fourth season of Tales from the Archives—but a week of writers blogging about self-promotion. Two authors of infinite awesome—Chuck Wendig and the afore-mentioned Delilah Dawson—posted strategies on what to do (and what not to do) when it comes to talking about your own work. Continue reading

My Writing Process: A Blog Meme for 2014

iStock_000021621315XLargeAs you all know, I’m always game for something new online, and last week I got an invite for something new—a blog meme. The concept is I go on and share with you all what’s happening in my writing life. I then introduce two people where, next week, they post their own answers to these questions. Hence the blog meme—from my answers, you jump to two new authors who will take you along on their journey.

While our intern-of-awesome K.T. Byski had a hand in making this happen, the invitation come from author Emily Swartz, a recent graduate from USM’s Stonecoast MFA program in Creative Writing. She has a work-in-progress called The Midnight Thief, a drama set in Appalachian Kentucky, but a freelance writer’s life is peppered with experience and it is that experience she brings to her work.

Thanks, Emily, for this invitation. This should be fun.  Continue reading

Paying Attention: A Secret Behind Inspiration

iStock_000006201684XLarge “How do you get all those ideas?”

I rank this question up along with “How do you learn all those lines?” when I was the actor. It was a question actors dreaded, but I rarely think we were asked it when we had a “Meet & Greet” with the audience. It’s a fair enough question, though; and since I never got it when I was an actor, I’ll answer it here. “Rehearsal and repetition.” That’s the key in learning your lines, be it for a play, a presentation, or for a very important one-on-one you have on your books.

Now, as a writer, the ideas question tends to be the one that earns an eye-roll, but I don’t think it’s fair. People are genuinely curious how authors come up with what they put down on paper. Maybe it’s because they wonder how someone can think up Victorian secret agents investigating the unknown, or a dwarf-detective solving crimes in the Prohibition Era; and it’s a sincere question. I know that when I’ve read books I love, or enjoyed an episode of Almost Human or True Detective, I marvel at the air tight dialogue or incredible situations these talented writers come up with and wonder what drives them. It’s good to know where ideas come from and what makes them happen because inspiration keep you busy as a writer.

If there was a magic bullet in finding great ideas, it actually ties back to a trick I had with acting: Pay attention. The world around you is teeming with ideas, and inspiration can happen at any time. With technology, jotting ideas down has been made insanely easy, so now instead of carrying around the writer’s notebook, journal—or ledger as The Taxman does—you can whip out the smartphone and take notes. What’s key though in finding inspiration is paying attention to what’s around you. Many times, that’s all you need to get an idea going. 

Case in point, today the third season of Tales from the Archives launched; and I’m particularly proud of this story that Pip and I put together as it came from the unlikeliest of places: church. Now church is probably not the place where I should be in “Writer’s Mode” but Trinity Episcopal of Manassas prides itself on being a different kind of church. This particular day, Dennis Reid, was giving a sermon on Judas Iscariot; but not the kind of sermon you would think. He said something that struck me hard: Continue reading

MINISTRY PROTOCOL: The Cover Reveal (and other stuff that I’ve been up to…)

IMG_0450So yeah…I do this on-the-edge post about OSC, get the traffic, get the comments, and then…I disappear.

All right, let me explain…

No, is too much. Lemme sum up…

Shortly after that post, the Kickstarter for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences’ anthology and role playing game launched. Pretty much, that was my life. It was a new world of stress, of statistics, and of sensational results, the sum of it all that we made 152% of our goal. We did it! Yay us!

Oh crap, we did it — better get cracking on that anthology.

So I hunkered down with new steampunk from Delilah S. DawsonLeanna Renee HieberAlex WhiteJared AxelrodTiffany TrentPeter WoodworthJack ManganJR BlackwellDan RabartsLauren HarrisKarina Cooper, and Glenn Freund from The League of S.T.E.A.M.

How’s that for a line-up?

Ministry Protocol: Thrilling Tales from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences promises to take readers across the Empire and around the world, introducing new agents and delving deeper into the organization’s history. I’m not only thrilled with this collection, but I’m excited to present it to everyone.

So hold on, it’s coming. Soon.

Until then, allow me to tease you with its cover from the far-too-talented-for-his-own-good renaissance man, Alex White… Continue reading

Parsec Awards Finalist

There may be a good possibility you are new to this blog this week. If you are — I hope you had fun in New Orleans! I hope to see you again in Savannah!

(If you are curious as to what I mean by that, stay tuned. I have another blogpost in the works about that.)

Being new to the blog, I’d like to bring you up to speed on some good news from the podcasting front, made official on receiving this badge:

If you are not enjoying podcasts because this is the first time you have heard of them, a podcast is some sort of online media (usually audio or video, but really any kind of file) automatically delivered using iTunesJuiceBloglines or some kind of app that can subscribe to its feed. It sounds complicated, but trust me — it isn’t.

The 2012 Parsec Awards, now in their seventh year, honors podcasts featuring Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, celebrating the best in speculative fiction. I’ve not been up for a Parsec since 2008 when Billibub Baddings and The Case of the Singing Sword won that year for Best Audio Drama (Long Form).

This year, however, I’m apparently making up for lost time…

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation

What makes this year’s Parsecs so special for me is that this year marks the first time Pip and I are appearing as producers, not just podcasters. Tales from the Archives also appears twice in the Best Short Story (Large Cast) category, and I don’t know who is more excited — Starla, Paul, or Pip and myself. We are so proud of the talented authors appearing in the Tales from the Archives (all of them — even the ones that weren’t nominated), but the Ministry’s presence at this year’s Parsecs only validates what we already knew. Thank you, everyone!

And to everyone in the Final Round, congratulations. To make the finals in the Parsecs is practically standing in the Winners’ Circle as far as I am concerned, and it’s a nice place to be. I wish you all the best of luck!

Onward to Dragon*Con…

From the “Coming Out of Left Field” Department: The 2012 Parsec Awards

Holy Hanna on a hotplate!

This past Thursday, it turns out, was the day the 2012 Parsec Awards were announced. Now if you have never heard of the Parsecs, don’t sweat it — you’re about to get schooled on one of the most prestigious awards in podcasting and Science Fiction.The Parsec Awards, now in their seventh year, is awarded to podcasts featuring Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Whether it is fiction, fan news, or even geek-a-licious music, the Parsec Awards celebrates the best in speculative fiction and do so as part of the wild ride that is Dragon*Con.

(Pictured here is the 2011 Parsec brought home by Technorama. Good on ya, guys!)

It’s been a while since I’ve been up for a Parsec. In 2008 Billibub Baddings and The Case of the Singing Sword won that year for Best Audio Drama (Long Form), although you could argue last year I was in the Parsec Run as Tales from the Archives gained a nod for Best Short Story with “The Astonishing Amulet of Amenartas” by Nathan Lowell.

Nah. Pip and I produced that episode. “The Astonishing Amulet of Amenartas” was all Nathan, and more of a nice feather in the cap for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.

Now we’re up to this year’s Parsecs. I was chatting with Veronica Giguere when the announcements went live. I know this because she started chuckling and then said, “I’m laughing about the Parsecs, and about you in the Parsecs.”

I’ll say it again… Continue reading

A New Look and a New Venture

As you may have noticed, in the midst of edits for Of Cogs & Corsets, planning the trip to FenCon in September, and launching a brand new podcast (more on that later), I have decided to finally upgrade my blog to Thesis. So please, mind the dust and ever-growing changes as I try to get this site into some kind of order.

A lot is going on with me right now, hence the lack of blogposts here. Right now, one of the biggest developments for me as a writer (and now, I guess, independent publisher?) is my jump into the digital arena.

Well more like push. Between Pip and Laurie, they both got sick of me waiting at the end of the high dive. Continue reading

A Steamy Treat for Tuesday…

Hey, everyone!

Just in case you missed the big launch last week, Pip and I premiered Tales from the Archives,  a collection of short stories from the Victorian England of The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. With original theme music composed and created by Alex White, we are featuring original steampunk short stories from…

Last week, Pip kicked things off with “The Evil that Befell Samson” and this week we present the supernatural steampunk “Dust on the Davenport” by author O.M. Grey. Continue reading