28 December 2009

'Purple Heart' Available in Ebook Format

If you remember, back in August I interviewed Terry Gould, author of How Can You Mend This Purple Heart (read the two-part interview here and here.)  Print copies of the book are available at http://www.purplescribe.com/ but I'm pleased to inform you that Purple Heart is now available as an ebook through Smashwords

18 December 2009

Divine Dirt Quarterly, Issue 1

..... is live!  Check it out here.  It's a great collection and I'm honored to be among those chosen for the inaugural issue.  If you really want, you can go straight to my story here.   But I encourage you to read everything else too!  A couple I especially enjoyed were Persephone's Day by Nikki Loftin (poem) and Cinnabar and Catalpa by Kyle Hemmings (fiction).

Go have a read and let me know what you think.  :-)

14 December 2009

Kreativ Blogger Awards!

Posting Jean's Aspiring Author Profile reminded me of this.  Way back in the beginning of November, she was so kind as to mention me on her blog as a recipient of the Kreativ Blogger award.  I was so flattered, I completely forgot to do my part and pass it along!  (That's my story, folks.  Procrastination had nothin' to do with the delay, honest.) Apparently, these are the responsibilities that come along with the award:

  •  Copy the Kreativ Blogger Badge onto my blog.
  •  Thank the person who gave it to me and link to their blog.
  •  Write 7 things about myself that my blog readers don’t know.
  •  Choose 7 other bloggers to pass the award to.
  •  Link to those 7 other bloggers.
  •  Notify my 7 bloggers.
So, a big THANKS! to Jean Oram, whose blog you can read here, for bestowing upon me such a nice award.  I'm tickled that you'd think of little ol' Jello World when passing along the award. 

Now, for seven things my readers don't know about me.
  1. I still have baby teeth - Jean does too!  That's so crazy.  Never met anyone else who still has baby teeth in their mouth.  I had four, but had one pulled and replaced with an implant a couple years ago.  How many do you have, Jean?
  2. I was one lucky lady in that my first boyfriend turned into my only boyfriend, and he's now my husband of two and a half years.
  3. I lovelovelove British television shows - Dr. Who, Torchwood, Top Gear, Cash in the Attic, and just most of the stuff they show on BBC America.
  4. I'm half Puerto Rican.  I'm indoors a lot so my pasty ass (and the rest of me, for that matter) doesn't see a whole lot of sun.  So sometimes, especially in winter, you might not realize I have a bit of latin sabor just by looking at me.
  5. If it's green, I probably love it! Limes, apples, jello (duh!), pine trees. That goes for fragrances too. If they thought to make it green in color, it's probably a scent I enjoy.
  6. Despite #4, I can't dance.
  7. I have big feet. Wide. You don't even know.  If you ask nicely, I might tell you how big.
And now, to pass along the Kreativ Blogger honor, here are my winners.  Drumroll please........

In no particular order, they are:
My sincerest apologies to KJ, Max and Jason for the uber-girly award!  Hope you enjoy the honor anyway.

    11 December 2009

    Aspiring Author Profile: Jean Oram

    Name: Jean Oram

    Age…ish?: I was born in the ‘70s, baby. Yeah!

    Location/Country: Western Canada, eh?

    One thing people always find interesting about me: I grew up in an old schoolhouse and I grew up working on beehives as my parents were beekeepers. And yes, I got stung a lot, but there is nothing as calming as working on a hive of bees on a warm day. Sometimes, I kind of miss it.

    Genre(s) you write: Women’s fiction and chick lit at the moment. I have also written a nonfiction kids’ book. You can learn more about that one at http://www.itsallkidsplay.ca/

    Books/Authors you love: Meg Cabot, Jane Green, and Jennifer Weiner. Out of my writing genre, I also like Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood. Basically, I will read just about anything. :) I’m a bit of a book slut.

    How long have you been writing? About 3 years. Although, I kept a diary as a kid—does that count?

    Do you have any professional/industry experience as a writer? As a way to get free admission to movies, art shows, concerts, etc, in university, I wrote entertainment articles for the school paper. Other than that, nothing huge.

    Had anything published? Just newspapers.

    Agent status (please X all that apply)

    [X ] Need one

    [ X] Want one. Desperately. Want. One.

    [ ] Got one

    [ ] We’re “talking”

    [ X] I’m cyberstalking him/her, but so far they have yet to respond to my inappropriate bribes, gifts, wheedling, whining and…. Erm, I mean, my query letter.

    [ ] Agent? Who needs an agent?

    Either/Or when you write:

    Pen and paper, or computer screen? Computer. However, I do have a pad beside the bed for when ideas, poems, etc, keep me up at night. And a whole other notebook full of story ideas.

    Plotster (outlines, scene cards, etc.) or Pantster (writing by the seat of your pants)? You had to ask, didn’t you? Being a panster has gotten me into a heck of a lot of trouble. Can we say never-ending edits? However, the story I wrote as a true plotster bores the heck out of me. People say it is good though and the edits have been very reasonable. The last story I wrote, I tried a bit of both and I think that is working for me.

    Music on, or off? Depends. Mostly, Sirius Radio’s Coffeehouse. Lots of Jack Johnson. L7 and Garbage if I am feeling the angst. If editing, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra—they don’t interrupt while I am thinking.

    Solitude, or surrounded by people, sounds, things? SOLITUDE!!! However, I am a stay-at-home mom, so that doesn’t really happen. I can work anywhere—it just takes longer and sometimes makes me a frustrated, hair-pulling, crazy lady. I did do some writing in the public library for NaNoWriMo. That was heaven. I even made a library boyfriend out of a 70-year-old. (Don’t tell my husband.)

    Cleanest first draft possible, or screw grammar/spelling/punctuation and fix it later? Spelling has to be right, but other than that, all systems full speed ahead! In my latest story, I simply put in things like [insert appropriate seasonal adjective] into my story as I wasn’t sure of the seasonal timeline—just that the story would take place over the span of a year. So, in order not to get bogged down in details, I left myself notes for later. It worked well. I wrote over 80,000 words in about 60 hours. However, I haven’t gone back and touched it since (it’s been 8 months and I haven’t had time), so maybe it is all a delusion dream that it worked well.

    Slave to the whimsy of your muse, or writing like it’s your job, even when you don’t feel like it? Both. But when do I ever not want to play with words?

    Do you have a certain place/time of day/writing implement/obsessive ritual/etc. that is crucial to your writing process? Tea. Lots of it.

    Where do you get your inspiration? Uh. Hmmm. It’s just there, I guess. Let’s sing the song together, shall we? “You’re the meaning in my life, you’re the inspiration…” On our home network, my laptop is named “muse”. Does that count?

    What one thing do you really love about your own writing? When I go back and read my work and find myself pissed off because someone has come and written an amazing line in my story. Then I realize it was me. That feels good. After the anger and jealousy washes away, of course.

    What one thing do you wish you could do better? Faster edits.

    Anything else you want to say? Writing rocks! And come visit me on my blog: www.jeanoram.com/blog. I talk about writing, do book reviews and more. As well, thanks to Jen for having me. I love these kinds of things!

    Anything for us to read? Sure. How about the opening scene from “There’s No Place Like Home”. (This was the plotster story I was talking about.)

    Here’s how it starts:

    “It’s funny Beth, a year ago I expected to be putting you in a wedding gown for another man.” Her mother threaded another pearl button through its tight hole, stealing even more of her daughter’s diminishing breathing room.

    “Mom,” warned Beth’s sister, Cynthia.

    “Well, it’s true,” her mother said.

    “You promised.”

    Beth kept her back to the warring women and took a restricted breath, the scent of her bouquet assaulting her.

    “Cut it out.” Her mother gave Beth’s back a light tap. “I can’t do up these impossible buttons when you horse around.”

    Instead, Beth began taking short, unfulfilling breaths. The church’s tiny upstairs dressing room seemed to lack enough oxygen.

    Her mom squeezed the last button through its hole and spun Beth around, beaming, hand to her chest. “You look beautiful.”

    Cynthia strode over in a fluttering silk robe. “Your Nash sure can sure pick a wedding dress.”

    A stray chestnut tendril fell in Cynthia’s eyes and Beth brushed it away. Her sister’s hair was perfect in a sexy, tousled way making Beth think of movie stars and champagne and left her thinking she shouldn’t have bullied her own curly hair into a slick chignon. Beth dragged in a long, uneasy breath.

    “Cynthia,” said their mother, “go put on your dress.”

    “If you need me—for anything—” Cynthia shot their mom a warning look, “I’ll be down the hall.” She waggled a finger at her mom. “Don’t mess with her head!”

    Want more? Check it out here.

    I’m always curious to hear what you think. You can contact me at jean at jeanoram.com.

    Thanks for having me!

    No, thank YOU, Jean!

    01 December 2009

    Flash Fiction to be Published

    As in - MINE! 

    I've been digging around Duotrope's Digest, which lists magazines, journals, publishers, etc. of fiction and poetry.  It's a great resource for finding places to submit short stories and poems.  I figured I should try to break into some magazines with small pieces as a way to gain publishing credits I can use in my query letters.  Plus, I have a couple older pieces that I really love and felt were good enough to be published somewhere.  It can be difficult to find just the right outlet for your short stories/poetry because you have to read the actual journals/magazines to see what their tastes are, and not every one offers archives or samples on their websites.  And I don't know about anyone else, but I don't want to spend $10 per back issue, or $20 or more per yearly subscription just to find out if that publication would be a good fit for me.

    So anyway, I started looking for outlets under the theme of religious/spiritual, because the two pieces I was looking to submit are spiritual in nature.  Unfortunately, they're not particularly Christian, or Jewish, or about the nature of Christ, or related to Scripture, or...... you get the idea.  Lots of the publications were overtly religious, and my pieces are not.  They're more skeptical and questioning of religion.  Finally, I came across Divine Dirt Quarterly, a brand new e-publication that describes themselves as "theology's tabloid, here to spread the dirt on the divine."  And I thought - perfect!

    So at one o'clock this morning, I was sitting with my laptop, doing one last fine-toothed edit on my two pieces (one poem, and one long-poem-turned-flash-fiction-story) and emailing them off to their respective editors.  I was all prepared to sit back and wait for a few weeks for a response, because the website said the slots for the inaugural issue were full and they were currently reading for the second issue.  Imagine my surprise, when I checked my email and saw a response from the fiction editor - he wants to publish my flash fiction in Divine Dirt Quarterly's inagural issue - which will be out later this month!

    I'm so freaking excited I can't even express it properly on screen!

    Aside from my high school literary magazine, I've never had anything published!  While searching for potential publications, I found myself giving preference to print publications (I mean come on, who doesn't want the satisfaction of holding pages in their hands??) but Divine Dirt Quarterly is online only.  And that's okay, because I felt it was such a great fit for what I'd written that it didn't matter.  Not only that, but the subject matter is something I would enjoy reading, and that I could write more about and possibly submit to them again in the future.  How awesome is that?

    So as soon as I have details - like a publication date - I'll post it here!