Monday, September 30, 2013

This weekend: CROSSROADS WRITERS CONFERENCE



True story: I never attended a writing conference until after I was traditionally published.

Also a true story: If I could go back in time and change that, I would tell 2009 Delilah to go to the Crossroads Writers Conference in Macon, GA.

Here's why:

1. I'm the keynote speaker. It's my first keynote address. There's a good chance I'll flub it horribly, and you could catch that on tape and blackmail me.

2. If you're in Atlanta or one of the surrounding states, it's rather close.

3. It's reasonably priced, as is the hotel. If you just drive down for Saturday, the main day, it's only $99.

4. Not only can you attend panels and ask questions, but you can also catch writers in their natural habitat: the bar. Lubricate us and ask that secret question you're dying to ask but, for some reason, won't. And we won't remember, because we'll be drunk!

5. There are panels for traditional publishing, self-publishing, fiction, non-fiction, comics, screenwriting, freelancing, blogging, promotion, agents, editors, graphic novels, poetry, history, and MORE. 

6. While some conferences are about killing your dreams or ripping your words to shreds, Crossroads is about inspiration, about finishing that first draft, about how to keep writing when the writing gets tough and reach the next step. I left last year filled with renewed purpose and started writing a new book the day I got home.

7. You're going to meet amazing people. Writing is often a solitary activity, pursued behind a screen. When you're starting out, it can be hard to build connections and find your colleagues. But here, you'll meet people at all stages of their writing journey who are willing to share and commiserate. The people I met at Crossroads last year have truly become my friends.

8. There's a long list of Crossroads success stories. Writer Cat Scully met agent Carrie Howland last year, and now Carrie is Cat's agent. My own Shadowman: Follow Me Boy e-novella commissioned by Amazon's Kindle Worlds sprung from a Crossroads connection. You never know when someone you meet might help you reach the next level.

9. You'll end up with all sorts of inside jokes that people will never let you hear the end of. Ever. Because Crossroads is helpful, but it's also FUN. But don't bring a flip phone or everyone will make fun of you until you go buy a smartphone, which will actually make your life 100x better, and then you'll be all, MAN, CROSSROADS WAS THE BEST AND SHUT UP ABOUT MY PHONE.

10. Because what do you have to lose? If you're within driving distance and you're a writer who wants to up your game, make new connections, and refill your inspiration spring/still, there's no excuse not to go.

I'll be at Crossroads, starting with the keynote address at 1pm on Friday. And I hope to see you there, too!

You can also follow Crossroads on Twitter or Facebook.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

SERVANTS OF THE STORM: an excerpt! Read by me! Woohoo!


Please blame all problems on YouTube, including the fact that the video is backwards and that my bangs won't behave.

Here's a link to SERVANTS OF THE STORM on Goodreads.

You can also follow me on Twitter or LIKE my author page on Facebook so that you'll have a pre-order link as soon as one is available, because YOU WANT TO GET YOUR PRETTY MITTS ON THIS CREEPYPRETTY BOOK.

Yes?

I hope so, yes.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Suicide Prevention Week - Your annual reminder that IT GETS BETTER.

I told my story last year. You can read it here.

My message remains the same. I tried to kill myself, and I'm happy that I failed. It gets better. You are worthwhile. Life is worth living. There is help.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two things I couldn't say during Dragon Con. So I'm saying them now.

Not a round-up of pics and panels. Sorry. Still haven't recovered.

But two things have been bothering me about my Dragon Con experience, so I want to address them while I'm still fresh.


1. During the Fairy Tales and Campbell panel on the new (and AWESOME!) Urban Fantasy Track, Deidre Knight mentioned how storytelling has changed now that you can "click PUBLISH and have your book up in five minutes." And I added, "But you probably shouldn't."


And Ted Naifeh looked at me like I was the antichrist.


So, to clear it up, I will refer directly to Chuck Wendig's 25 Steps to Becoming a Self-Published Author post. I agree with him wholeheartedly on step 1, and this is quoting directly from Chuck:

NOTICE THIS LIST HAS MORE THAN TWO STEPS

If you thought the two steps of this process were STEP ONE: WRITE A BOOK, STEP TWO: CLICK “PUBLISH” ON THAT SUMBITCH, you need some deep brain rearranging. If you’re going to do this, you need to take this seriously, and not just upload every barf-bag with your name on it to the Internet at large. Some of these steps are practical. Some of them are about your mindset. These steps are not universal nor are they meant to constitute an exhaustive list. But this process should never include just two little steps.
So please don't hate me, Ted, because you're too damn cool. I just support thoughtfulness in self-publishing vs. speed.
2. During the Women in Steampunk panel, an audience member asked about how to write strong women, and we all had a lot to say on the topic. When it was my turn to speak, I mentioned considering the many aspects of a woman's life that a man might not normally think about. I mentioned menstruation, and my fellow panelists went on attack as if I wanted writers to spend entire books including every bathroom trip and the careful weighing and description of every bodily emission possible.
Unsurprisingly, that's not what I meant.
I think that when a man writes a female character, he wants to make sure she isn't a dude with boobs. And you know what? The way my body works plays big-time into my day to day life. If I ride a horse all day, my thighs ache and my chest is sore from bouncing. If I have cramps, I'm going to be a bitch, and the week before that, I'm going to be extra sharp. If I have a big vacation or trip coming up, I'm counting out my cycle. And if I'm going to do the things that happen in a romance novel, I'm going to be thinking about what I want to prevent or encourage down there. 
THE UTERUS IS INESCAPABLE.
So you don't have to mention every occurrence of every aspect above, but if, say, your lead female character is a buxom elf archer going on a two week, cross-country journey on horseback with a guy she likes, it's not going to be all carefree boinking. 
Simply put, there are things on a woman's mind that rarely cross a man's mind. Speaking only for myself, I'm always aware of situations in which I might become a victim, be overpowered, or be approached in a way that makes me uncomfortable. I have to worry about different kinds of clothing for different occasions and what they'll say about me to others and how they'll work for the physical things I have to do all day. If your girl runs away from a zombie in heels, she's going to have to trade 'em out for boots off a corpse soon. And there's one day of the month that I call Irrational Tuesday in which my hormones are totally out of whack and I'm a mess of tangled rage, sadness, and hopelessness on the inside, no matter how calm and collected I seem on the outside.
In conclusion, you won't see me writing a series on AUNT FLO AND THE RED RIVER MYSTERIES any time soon, but I think a man writing a female character would do well to consider how the world looks through the eyes (and Fallopian tubes) of someone driving this kind of body. At the very least, find a female beta reader who's willing to give honest feedback.
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If you came to see me at Dragon Con, THANK YOU I LOVE YOU YOU ARE AWESOME. 
Now, back to recovering from 9 panels, 2 readings, and a signing at one of the biggest cons in the country. AND BOY, ARE MY FEET TIRED FROM THOSE HEELS.