Archive for May 2015

Book Expo America!   Leave a comment

BEA 7BEA HC GretchenBEA 4BEA 6BEA 3

Once again, my sister Gwen and I found ourselves at Book Expo America, located at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York City.  If you have anything to do with books – read, write, sell, publish, lend, stack or otherwise handle, this is it, folks, an action-packed book and publishing extravaganza, meant to pull the forces of the written word in every available direction.  It’s not for the faint of heart or feigning writers, either.  If you’re serious, you’re here.  No argument.  Every May this trade show and convention takes place, attracting literally anyone and everyone who has a connection to the written word.  If you think I’m kidding, just click here to see who showed up.  Wheeler-dealers haggle over contracts, agents meet editors to sell the next big thing, authors sign books and everyone checks out the free swag.

Gwen and I went to meet up with our agent, Marisa Corvisiero, but also to wander the aisles in search of our genres (Gwen – Women’s Fiction, me – Sci-Fi).  Even more, though, are the trends that surface during these events.  China, holding the Guest of Honor position, displayed every single genre from children’s to serious modern literature.  In the back of the floor, many digital publishing and other services commanded a large swath of space.  It seems as if writing the actual story is only a tiny portion of what digital services offers.  It’s getting the word out about everything surrounding that book that counts here.  All business regarding the writer’s craft, folks!

Of course, there’s always room for a bit of fun, natch.

BEA Gretchen Selfie

Our friend Sam Bremekamp, a Young Adult agent and writer, couldn’t make it this year, so we photobombed her way in…sort of…

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I made a couple of friends, too.

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And, of course, visited the latest in Sci-Fi.  I tweeted a few of these, but for some reason my Twitter app shamefully didn’t recognize the term “sci-fi” and instead put either “sci-on” or “sci-it.”  Kind of odd, but then again, so is the genre, so I suppose it’s okay.

BEA Dot & Annie

We ran into a few acquaintances during our travels…

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…and we couldn’t quite determine what the message was here, other than magenta and black is a must-have color for a young woman.

As we glanced around the swirl of activity throughout the ginormous floor, gazing at whole booths devoted to famous writers, outsized signs blasting their names while long lines queued up to obtain autographs from hot bestselling authors (books were free, too!), the thought crossed both of our minds: that’ll be us, one day.

Not “some day…” as in waxing wistful.

ONE DAY…as a very achievable goal.

So keep your eyes open, folks!  We’re coming to a bookshelf near you.

The Elixir of Life   2 comments

Desk Stuff

Wow.  I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I’ve actually written anything.  Just goes to show you how quickly time flies when you aren’t paying any attention to it…and maybe should.

Truth is, I’ve been doing a lot of writing on my second novel and I got stuck in a loop – bad one.  Knew what I wanted to write, but somehow, the words just refused to form.  I have a wide screen display hooked up to my laptop.  On the left is the outline and on the right is the actual first draft.  The whole idea about leaving the outline up on the screen is to refer to it.  And boy, did I ever.  And still, nothing refused to come.  Inspiration took a vacation, leaving me with no indication of blossoming imagination leading to elation.

Okay, I’ll knock off the rhymes.  See?  It’s wasting time, but fun.  How many words can you come up with that flow well with “inspiration,” eh?

scarecrow1

I wondered what could I possibly be missing?  Over and over I read my outline and it seemed great.  Nice plot development, character growth, trail of crumbs leading on the reader, no saggy middle, a great ending and bridge to the third novel in the four-novel series.  And yet, my brain stuck like an ancient bug in amber.

So I did what any self-respecting writer would do: eat chocolate.  That took about 30 seconds.  Then I straightened up my desk.  Two, three minutes.  Got a cup of tea, pet the cat, spoke to several members of my household, went through my email, stared out the window.  Still no good.  Brain…dead.

All right, all right, I said to myself, what’s the problem.  Part of it is, I’m a research whore.  I can’t stop myself.  If I need to find out how pins are made, often I’ll go back as far as the mine where the ore was extracted to create said pin.  Will it help the plot to dig so deeply into whatever I need?  Probably not, but one can never be too sure.  I have a comprehensive notebook filled with details of all sorts.  There’s a manila file chock-filled with info printed out.  Articles saved on line.  Sites bookmarked.  All this so I make sure my characters speak with authority, even if they’re in the future and all this research will be ancient history.

Trouble is, none of this helped me stick a few sentences together and I was no further along in my writing.

ARGH!

Usually my husband’s good to bounce around ideas.  We had a very good, very long chat about plot devices that might work.  Lots of them had real potential.  Hammering them out in my head, they all sounded better than great.  But then, facing that blank screen?

ARGH!

“You know what,” my sister Gwen said, “what you mentioned, the plot devices that you and Andrew came up with, that is, are good.  Really are.  But they’re separate pieces.  You need that simple elixir that’s going to drag the whole plot along.”  Thing is, I thought I had that aspect hammered and nailed down tight.  In a way, I did, but not fleshed out enough to make the whole series sing.

And then the helpful hint came that changed everything: Dorothy.

Dorothy

 

You know, as in “The Wizard of Oz.”

What was that one thing Dorothy wanted most of all, so much that she was willing to drag a cast of weirdos, witches, a wayward wizard  and commit murder twice?

She wanted to go home.

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That’s it.  That simple.

Apply one good think to my lead character and…ah HA! Out it came, the shining star, the exploding microwave…my elixir.

And what a breakthrough!  Suddenly, my mind won’t shut off.  The words pour out of my fingers as they glide across the keyboard.  All I do now, it seems, is come up with exactly what I want to say and get it out.  No more stuck, no dead imagination, I’m going all guns blazing and seem to be making up for lost time.

Now, please excuse me while I get back to writing…

An (Overly Simple) Explanation of the Difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy   Leave a comment

Here’s a quick reblog of a quick explanation of the difference between science fiction and fantasy, and I happen to like it very much. It might take you a minute to read, but the content will stick with you for good.

Jeremiah Kleckner ~ CynicalScifi.com

I had a conversation with an author friend of mine about this yesterday.  There are differences between science fiction and fantasy, but few understand how to explain those differences.

Definitions

Dictionary.com defines Science Fiction as “aformoffictionthatdrawsimaginativelyonscientificknowledgeand speculationinitsplot,setting,theme,etc.”

Meanwhile, Wikipedia states that “Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element, theme, or setting.”

Both definitions are adequate enough.  However, the most important factor in distinguishing the difference between the two is also the simplest.

The (Overly Simple) Explanation

It is all in how the author explains the characters and the situations.

Don’t believe me?  Try this…

519a0-hulk-scatena-la-sua-rabbia-in-una-scena-del-film-l-incredibile-hulk-61199Hulk steps out onto a street and throws a car.  He can do this because his cells are juiced with gamma radiation.  He’s a science fiction character.

Thor_Lifts_BoulderThor steps out…

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Posted May 11, 2015 by seleneymoon in Uncategorized

Oh, To Be On The Radio…!   7 comments

Gretchen on the Radio

That’s me!  Credit: Karen Kenney Smith

Yes, I know it’s a bit hazy, but look!  There’s books behind me, a sure sign of a literary radio program.  And if any of you have the inclination, you can follow this link to the actual show: http://livestream.com/accounts/3269343/events/4004757.  It’s an archive of the webcast.  At the very least, you get to see what I look like, or part of me, anyway, since my head was tilted towards our host.  Hey, you get a fabulous view of my hair.  Occasionally, my profile pops out, and there’s a bit where my entire face is visible.

It was quite an honor to be asked to participate in “Authors in the Round,” hosted by Karen Kenney Smith of Three Worlds Press.  Gwen Jones (my sister), Allison Merritt and me were the featured speakers on this program.  Gwen writes Women’s Fiction, Allison writes historical/paranormal/fantasy romances and I write science fiction (of course!).  It was a lovely evening at this wonderful place named Murray Grove Retreat and Renewal Center in Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey, about a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean.

Karen led us three writers through the writing process, including what made us sit down in front of a computer, let loose our imaginations and string words together like a pearl necklace.  What’s weird for me is I never gave much thought to where all my ideas come from and how I managed to squeeze them out into coherent sentences.  Talk about putting oneself out there: I even had to read some of the stuff I wrote.  I might not be the best person to do that, but I sure had fun acting out one of my main characters.  You can hear me talk about my work somewhere in the first 45 minutes, and again towards the very end.  Gwen also reads from her work, too – from “Wanted: Wife” and a slam fiction piece for which she wrote.  Allison speaks about her latest work, a Viking romance, although, unfortunately, I forgot the title, but it’s on the video.

Take note, fellow bloggers: I mentioned a few of you.  I’ve selected a few followers with whom I’ve had some dialogue over writing and such.  Wonder who you might be?  Well, you can either go to 1:16:00 (approximate) on the link and hear my actual voice speak your names, or you can cheat and let me tell you: Hugh’s News and Views, D.R. Sylvester/Writes and Responsibilities, One Lazy Robot/AntVincino and The Editor’s Journal (I’m sorry I misspoke; I said “The Ladies Journal” instead).  I wish I had time to mention all of my followers, for whom I’m very grateful!

So sit back, relax, watch the show and let me know what you think!

 

 

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