10 December 2010

Goodies Galore!

Today, I thought I'd bring you a few goodies from the writing world.  Giveaways, vlogs, and general funness.  First up:

 Words With Jam
Words With Jam is a fabulous (and FREE!) e-zine for writers and readers looking for something a little different.  You can subscribe via email on their site and receive the magazine right in your email every other month. It's available as a .pdf, or through the online viewer.  I received my December issue a couple weeks ago and looked through it using the online viewer - and it is gorgeous! High quality graphics, informative and fun articles, contests.  What more could you want?  Although they're based in the UK, the wisdom in these pages is appropriate for writers all over the world. Sign up now!

That Girl Tyson

Tee (or T.L., or Tina, or Tyson) is a fellow writer I "met" on Authonomy and have kept stayed connected with on Facebook.  She's been vlogging for a few months now, and it's a weekly six-minute smile for me.  Her vlog features some regular segments like weird crap around her house, what came in the mail, and Urban Dictionary words. Not to mention regular appearances by her pets that always put me into adorable overload. She's cute, spunky, and Canadian! This is her most recent vlog, but you can subscribe to her posts at YouTube so you don't miss any of the awesomeness.  You might watch the first time just for the endearing accent, but you'll keep coming back because it's good fun!

Win Stuff!

I came across Beth Revis's blog via a link from Elana Johnson's blog, and I'm glad I found it! Beth is a debut novelist whose first book, Across the Universe, will be released this coming spring. From her website, here's a tidbit about the book:
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awake on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into a brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Sounds awesome, right?  Well, she's having an amazing giveaway of 100 prizes, some of which include bookmarks, pins, and signed copies!  Check out the contest here, and while you're there, take a look around her website for some great stuff.  I love the layout and design of her site.  Maybe one day I'll have something that looks that nice. I'll have to keep up a more regular posting schedule first.... LOL.

Win More Stuff!

The two ladies mentioned above (Elana and Beth) also blog for The League of Extraordinary Writers, a group of debut YA dystopian writers.  In fact, Beth is the League's founder.  Elana's debut novel, Possession, is also forthcoming this spring, and she is having her own giveaway, as are the rest of the League writers.  To find out how to win this great stuff, check out their blog here.

Okay, last but not least in our goody bag today, is:

Contests, contests, everywhere! (Or: Win EVEN MORE Stuff!)

In another happy tale of link-clicking, I found the Just a Contest website when I went to the Words With Jam site just earlier today!  They list tons of writing contests for writers, both here in the US and abroad.  They list entry fees (if any), prizes, deadlines, and more.  You can search contests, export contest info to a calendar, and I'm sure there's more, but I haven't gotten a chance to look at it all just yet!  It's worth a look for anyone interested in writing contests.

That's about it for our goody bag today.  Who knows, if I stumble upon more awesomeness, I may make this a regular feature!

02 December 2010

Crit for a Cause

I just wanted to take a moment to let you guys know about a great opportunity this month.  Literary Agent Irene Goodman auctions off partial manuscript critiques on Ebay every month, with the proceeds benefiting charitable foundations.  This month (December) however, she is auctioning off FIFTEEN critiques!  This means YOU have a chance to have your partial reviewed by a top industry insider!  Or, you could bid on a critique as a gift for someone else.  Even better, the proceeds go to charity.

Irene's son has Usher Syndrome, which causes progressive loss of sight and hearing, so she has chosen to donate the proceeds of the auctions to three foundations doing research in these areas.
If you would like to bid on one of the auctions, there are links on the agency website.  There are five auctions for each of the three foundations.  Get feedback for yourself, and support a charitable organization.  I'd say that's a win-win, how about you?

09 November 2010

Random Shout-Out Sunday

Well, it's not Sunday anymore, but it is random!  Time for another shout-out!

If you've been following my blog for a few months or more, you've probably realized I have a bit of a literary love affair going on with the Dirty Prophet, Andrew Bowen.  I first made Andrew's acquaintance when he accepted a short story of mine for publication in his online lit mag, Divine Dirt Quarterly, late last year, and I've been a fan ever since.  In addition to being proactive and full of interesting ideas, he has a brand new project that I'm very excited to tell you about.

For a bit more background info on Andrew, make sure you check out my conversations with the Dirty Prophet (shame on you if you haven't read it already!)  He was also recently interviewed by Lynn Alexander at PRATE, and she mentioned Jello World.... I'd be lying if I said I didn't go squeeee! when I saw it!  So, Andrew is a father and husband, a student of theology, founder and editor-in-chief of DDQ, is pioneering his own genre of theological fiction, has a forthcoming novella, and his short fiction has appeared in various magazines.  How much more can one man do, you ask?

How about take on a year-long project to explore various religions from the perspective of a new convert to each one?  Take on Dirty Prophet and twelve months of "spiritual promiscuity" and you get Project Conversion.  From the Project Conversion website:
Humanity has lost its mind, all because of religion. For a cultural phenomenon that’s existed as long as Man has been afraid of the dark, religion remains a divisive and misunderstood subject. A recent poll by The Pew Forum found that many religious groups know little to nothing about one another, or even their own theologies. People are afraid of what they don’t understand and willing to kill and die over their concept of the divine.
It’s time to lighten up.
Project Conversion: Twelve Months of Spiritual Promiscuity, has a mission: To enlighten and entertain. Over the course of a year, I will immerse myself in one religion per month. With the help of spiritual mentors and research, every step of the journey will be documented here via photos, video, and blog entry.
Should be fun. Will certainly be interesting, and hopefully by the end a few folks who may have been reticent to find out about a rival faith will learn something by vicariously practicing for a month through me.
 While I think it's a great idea that people will be able to learn from, as well as be entertained by, there will be those who don't share my opinion.  Some people are concerned that some faiths may be "butchered" by their portrayal in this experiment.  Andrew has addressed some of those concerns on his blog, which you can read here.  Whatever your opinion - positive, negative, or neutral - Project Conversion is definitely something to keep your eye on.  Here's a brief video from the project's donation page on Kickstarter.

If you wish to support Project Conversion, you can do so here.

So, to recap, here are all the places you can find out about Andrew and Project Conversion:
Andrew's blog, The Dirty Prophet 
Project Conversion website
Project Conversion on Facebook
Donation page at Kickstarter

19 September 2010


I know, I haven't posted in a few weeks.  But to be fair, I haven't been spending ALL my time in slackerville!  At this very moment I am double-checking all my manuscript formatting and such because I've received my first request!

In other news, Agent Query Connect has moved to a brand new website and it looks grrrrrreat!  I'm moderating a critique group there and I've been busy setting that up.  AQC is now tied with Facebook for the most use of my time hahaha.

And, of course, I've been writing.  I'm making good progress with Confessions and I'm hoping to be finished and ready to query by Halloween.  That's the plan, at least.  The erotica is still just sitting there, but as soon as Confessions is done I'll be diving into that with all of my energy.

So I know it's short, but those are my updates for now.  I'll be back soon, promise!  I think it's time for another Shout Out Sunday or an Author Profile, or something... what do you think?

23 August 2010

The Reluctant Exhibitionist

EDIT: Since Oysters & Chocolate has been out of print for a while but this page still gets a lot of views, please go here instead to read this sexy little short story, along with four others.

The long wait is finally over!  My erotica short story, The Reluctant Exhibitionist, is now available to read on the Oysters & Chocolate website!  It's probably obvious from the title, but I'll say it anyway: this story is sexually explicit in nature, and is intended for mature viewers only.  That said, click here to read the story, comment, and give a rating.  Enjoy!

On a completely unrelated note, I will be enabling comment moderation because of the ridiculous amounts of comment spam I've been getting.  Sorry for the inconvenience of not being able to see your comments immediately after posting.

04 August 2010

Conversations With the Dirty Prophet II: Theological Fiction and Publishing

A continuation of my interview with Adrew Bowen, founder of Divine Dirt Quarterly.  To read part one, click here.


Jello World: So, thinking more about novels now, do you have any thoughts on the mainstream publishing industry? I know a lot of people who are going the self-pub route, or going to smaller indie presses, and even some who've started their own publishing houses. And since you've seen fit to start up something like DDQ, I thought you might have an opinion on what is (or isn't) currently being published.

Dirty Prophet: A lot. That's it; there's a ton of material being produced despite the image of so much rejection. And now with the relative low cost of printing and small-scale production, artists can in effect tell the companies to screw themselves. This democratization is a two-edged sword. At once, it's great that more and more art can be shared due to this freedom, but the negatives are that the ratio of artist to consumer is tilting to a point of inflation. It's in vogue to diss the big houses and authors who rake in five to seven figures per title, but put yourself in their shoes: would you say no? Artists have a hard time supporting themselves as it is, but now a non-paying market is the norm. The next few years will be interesting.

Jello World: I wouldn't say no! haha. I think it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few years, whether digital will make print books obsolete (I doubt it) and stuff like that. I know you've had a submission out with an agent for a while now. Do you plan to continue pursuing the traditional publishing route, or would you consider self-publishing or e-publishing?

Dirty Prophet: Oh no, "the submission". It's been with this particular agent for almost eight months. So I suppose that yeah, I'm shooting for traditional, at least at first. Like I told the agent, writing is a career move for me. Sure, I'm an artist and want to express myself and all that jazz, but when it comes down to it, I know that this is what I'm built for and what better result than to do what brings me joy and be able to support my family?

Jello World: Amen! I have nothing but respect for anyone who chooses to do it themselves. I just don't have the discipline and motivation to be my own marketing machine. Plus, at least for now, I think the pros of traditional publishing still outweigh the benefits of self publishing.

Dirty Prophet: This is an aspect artist folks tend to forget about publishing: it is a business and what you produce is a product. I'm not entirely reticent to the idea of going solo, it's just a business choice: publisher = less risk. Artists have to be able to see themselves as business people if a career (and therefore income) is to rise to fruition. Should I get a contract, I'll have no problem going from writer to pimp of my work quicker than Clark Kent to Superman in a phone booth.

Jello World: haha! So you'd kill your darlings, so to speak, at the request of a publisher or editor to make your product more marketable?

Dirty Prophet: No, to make it better. I have no shame and very little ego. There have been several pieces of my short fiction that were modified and edited due to an editor's suggestion. This doesn't mean I'm a whore to the industry, but I recognize that there are people out there whose job it is to analyze work, recognize weaknesses, and make corrections. Being a writer is just a link in the creative chain and if my ego weakens that chain, show's over.

Jello World: But there are limits to what you'll do? I know a lot of writers feel that there are editors out there who will want to re-work your book until it hardly resembles what you set out to create.

Dirty Prophet: There are limits. This novel I've written literally defines me as an artist. I'll move and mold a lot, but I won't relinquish my identity or artistic soul to make a buck for myself or anyone else.

Jello World: Good for you!  So do you think your "brand" will be theological fiction, or do you see yourself ever branching out into other areas?

Dirty Prophet: I actually think theological fiction has a ton of real estate. There are really just two areas here: Inspirational, where the literature is biased toward a particular mindset, and more literary work that sinks away into general fiction. The market has a tough time sorting the latter out. It's even more difficult to find this material (non-inspirational) in stores because they are buried in the "Literature" section. I'd love to see an emergence of this genre as it's own distinctive niche, like mystery or romance. This would make room for great sub-genres that, before, would have been unthinkable amalgams such as theo-erotica, theo-historical fiction, even theo-graphic novels...all of which center around this concept of theological expression and exploration.

Jello World: Sign me up for theo-erotica! I'm totally there. I think it would be great to see that kind of development, practically creating a new genre. Side rant: I really do hate how bookstores have that "Literature" section, because what it usually means is "we didn't know where else to put it" and just because you like one book in that section doesn't mean you'll be at all interested in the one sitting right next to it!!! *end rant*

Dirty Prophet: It's really like the Wild West of literally expansion. You realize this dream, this idea, that there's all this room to spread and build and then it suddenly hits you how enormous of an undertaking it would be.

Jello World: I have a friend who writes terrific Steampunk, bordering on erotica sometimes, and that genre is just starting to take hold too. I think she's on the leading edge of something that will be really great, and I think you are too. There are so many possibilities and so many stories to tell. The agent who snatches you up will be very lucky!

Dirty Prophet: Thanks! What's great about this genre is that it requires no baggage to contribute. To write Christian Inspirational, you kinda need to be a member, but with theo-lit, you could be an outright atheist and still have something to contribute. When you see theology and spirituality as something free to explore, it takes the barbs out it and suddenly we're all members of one diverse congregation.

Jello World: So true! And even under that heavy tag of "literary fiction" you have to have a certain something that not every writer has (or wants to). So you're envisioning more of a mainstream genre. Like you said, something more recognizable, like romance or mystery. Do you see DDQ almost as a first step in building the genre and getting the word out there?

Dirty Prophet: There are other zines out there. Image is a big one. A good friend of mine, Edward Simon started 31st Bird Review a few months before DDQ, Ashe Journal is another. There are others, but as I said, the horizon is wide open and there's certainly room for niches to develop and grow.

Jello World: Cool, I'll have to check out some of those too.

Dirty Prophet: Tell them I said hi.

Jello World: Will do! Wow... So this has been quite a productive chat! I think I've asked all the questions I had and have gotten lots of great material. Is there anything you wanted to share or tell readers that I haven't touched on?

Dirty Prophet: The standard I live by is this: We are all but neighbors, borrowing sugar (ideas, concepts, etc.) from one another to create our own pastries. Once we grasp this, that our humanity isn't stagnant, but a continual narrative where we share and make anew, the day gets brighter and the thunder of our lives becomes music instead of something mysterious to be feared.

Jello World: Prophet, indeed.

Andrew's fiction has appeared in Metazen, Full of Crow, Nanoism, Pulp Metal Magzine, and Prick of the Spindle, just to name a few. He is the founder/editor of Divine Dirt Quarterly, and he blogs at The Dirty Prophet. If that's not enough, he also wrestles with God and they share beer afterward.

01 August 2010

Conversations With The Dirty Prophet: Theology in Fiction and Divine Dirt Quarterly

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down for a chat with none other than the Dirty Prophet, aka Andrew Bowen, founder and editor-in-chief of Divine Dirt Quarterly.  After nearly three hours, some excellent mindreading on Andrew's part, and some bad spelling and grammar on both sides (to be expected from an instant messenger chat), I bring you Conversations With the Dirty Prophet!  I've broken it up into two parts for easy reading.  Today's installation talks about theology in general and in fiction, and Andrew's experience starting DDQ.  I think I even managed to fix all the spelling mistakes. :-)


Jello World: Okay so, to get started, can you just tell me a little bit about yourself, besides the awesome writing stuff?

Dirty Prophet: Well sure. I'm from eastern North Carolina. Grew up an Army brat and was generally a social outcast through most of school. Then I went to college, got drunk and/or high a lot, was kicked out of college, got my girlfriend/bestfriend pregnant and then married. And so here I am.

Jello World: Did you ever go back to college?

Dirty Prophet: Going back now. Ironically, I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up until the last days of my college career. I started writing my first novel the summer before what was supposed to be my junior year. From there I wrote a few more and it wasn't until I started working on my latest one in 2008 that I realized religion and fiction were what I was to spend my life in ecstasy and agony over.

Jello World: So a slightly random question, where did the nickname "The Dirty Prophet" come from?

Dirty Prophet: Haha well I have a great interest in prophets and the historic/metaphorical spiritual aspects of dirt, so I just made them my own. Prophets are folks who express a need for change or challenge those around them to think. I'd like to think that my work does that. As for dirt, it's a unifying element. We came from dirt, so to speak, in both scientific and theological traditions. We dig in dirt to find things: our past, our technologies, worms for fishing...Dirt keeps us human, connected, and real. That's how I want to be: human, connected, and real.

Jello World: Interesting! I like that.

Dirty Prophet: Not as cool as Slim Shady or Dark Knight, but it'll do.

Jello World: haha I think it's pretty cool. It's fitting.  Back to religion and fiction... as you know, I write erotica. It's not always a conscious choice, but rather something I fall into naturally. Even in my most mainstream stuff, the characters will probably hop into bed at least once. Do you find religion is something you just gravitate toward, or are you always making a conscious effort to write about it?

Dirty Prophet: Religion in general and writing with it in particular is something I merged into. My pre-theological material usually dealt with social issues like the teacher-student (minor) relationship or internet dating. I discovered my passion in religion while researching for my last novel. Suddenly a Pandora's box of subject matter and character types opened and my world hasn't been the same since. I think about this stuff 24-7. It annoys my wife sometimes.

Jello World: Funny you should say... my first novel ever dealt with a teacher-student relationship! Great minds think alike, I suppose.

Dirty Prophet: This is true!

Jello World: So does your wife have to continually change the topic to something besides theology?

Dirty Prophet: She understands my passion and so rolls with it. Because my spiritual background began with Christianity and she has just recently adopted that faith, we often discuss what she is learning. But for her watching me read about religion or write, I guess it's like watching a kid with Legos or a video game.

Jello World: Yes, the awe and excitement of it all, right?

Dirty Prophet: Religion (cosmology too) for me is like numbers to a mathematician or musical notes to a composer. The myths, the stories, the rituals and histories just make sense to me. Funny, it's my security blanket in a world where religion is a cause for death and strife. I see no duality, just the beautiful, trippy, human color of imagination and faith.

Jello World: You're reading my mind today, because my next question was going to be what is it about theology and religion that captivates you enough to want to challenge it, write about it, and to share it with your readers? Are you searching for you own truth when you write, or have you already found that?

Dirty Prophet: Interestingly enough, a search is how this mess started. When researching for my novel's protagonist (he's a prophet), I came across information on all sorts of traditions. It was inviting to settle with one, but just then, I'd fall in love with another. I was becoming spiritually promiscuous. My truth is that I have no damn clue. I've adopted a position of a nomad, roaming from faith to faith (and sometimes none) and finding solace within each oasis so long as there is water and shade. Then, I pack my bags and move on. I intentionally make my fiction ambiguous to reflect this.

Jello World: "Spiritually promiscuous" I love that! So you're not necessarily trying to lead your readers to any one conclusion about god or theology?

Dirty Prophet: No. That would be dishonest. If we subscribe to the idea of a perfect "other" or God, while admitting ourselves to be imperfect, then how the hell would any of us, being imperfect, be able to dictate absolute truth? I think faith, spirituality is a journey, something to dig for. It's curiosity, a kid digging in the dirt. No, I write to pose questions and challenge folks to think.

Jello World: So would you say that you personally don't subscribe to the idea of that "perfect" god? Or just that you don't feel qualified to say who or what god is or isn't?

Dirty Prophet: The latter. The Greek idea of God (Islamic as well) is unanthropomorphic. I'm in that category as well, though not definitively. I'm committed to my ignorance, so to speak, to the point where I'm open to new (and old) ideas. Always in awe, always surprised, and never in a comfort zone.

I think once people close the lid on their spirituality, they effectively limit outlets in which the divine might speak to them, because if you believe in a creative God, what size box would he/she/it be able to fit into?

Jello World: Don't you think that most organized religions are effectively closed in that way? They define the is or is not, the can and the cannot. They prescribe religious experience instead of letting it happen. Or am I just swayed by the institutionalized form of religion and not really seeing what each faith, at its core, has to say?

Dirty Prophet: Depends on the faith. Christianity happens to be exclusively based due to a doctrine of Christ's divinity. This seems strange because he was so inclusive in his ministry. Eastern faiths like Hinduism and Buddhism are very open due to one having literally thousands of modes of worship and the other not requiring a God, respectively. The first tenet of Sikhism is that "There is only One, and he is God." This is to say that we are all an aspect of the divine, so every path is basically valid. There is also the human element. Borders mean safety. Unfortunately, religion becomes a victim of this mindset.

Jello World: Yes, the human mind likes things to be compartmentalized, to make sense, to fit some kind of pattern. That's where stereotypes and things like that come from, too. The categories themselves aren't the problem, it's when we fail to realize that not everything fits into one neat category (and that it's OKAY for things to be that way!) that we start killing each other over something like who believes in the "right" god.

Dirty Prophet: Kafka once said that "Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy." In this way, we can think of each religious movement as a revolution to the "bureaucracy" of the old way. For Christianity, is was a revolution against the cumbersome Law. Islam resolved to return everything to monotheism and unite Arabia. Sikhism set out to destroy the caste system that crept in Hinduism. But each of these has fallen prey to its own purposes of change. Thermodynamics is a bitch.

Jello World: That's so true. My senior year in college I had a class that dealt with spirituality and religion and it really helped me dig and flesh out what it is that I believe (for the moment, anyway) and I pretty much came to that same conclusion. I don't think there's really any religion that has remained unchanged through the many years since they began, and it's because of the human element. I like to think that god, or what I like to call the sacred, never changes. Ever. The only thing that changes is our way of experiencing it and our ability to communicate those experiences.

Dirty Prophet: Exactly. We are finite beings trying to understand and articulate something infinite. We haven’t even mapped the entire ocean floor. So we have a ways to go. This is why I started Divine Dirt Quarterly. Because I believe the "human gospel" as I've coined it, is still being written by humanity. If we were created in the image of a creative spirit, then we can't help but be expression. The results can be amazing, and it's a crime against humanity to put a lid on such a thing.

Jello World: two points for you! your mind reading abilities really are stellar, because I was definitely going to ask about the inspiration for DDQ! I could totally sit here all day and chat about theology with you! But I suppose I should probably bring it back to the writing part a bit. Tell me a little about the process of starting something like that. Was it a difficult undertaking?

Dirty Prophet: The concept was as easy and natural as breathing. What was difficult was the technical aspects of building a site (I'm horrible with tech stuff) and getting folks involved. Religion is a taboo subject, especially in literary circles where most folks are abhorrent to anything religiously based (and in many cases, I can't blame them!).

Jello World: When I was looking for a home for my story On a Trans-Atlantic Flight, I searched Duotrope using Religious as one of the theme filters. And let me tell you, everything I found was about praising god, writing about the positive influence of god, living a godly life, etc. There really wasn't anything specifically for writing that was more seeking in nature, challenging traditional beliefs, or describing the untraditional ways people experience god and the like. And then, of course, I found DDQ! So I think you're really filling a void.

Dirty Prophet: Oh yeah. It's sad. Granted, I don't think there's anything wrong with those other markets, but as you said, they aren't conducive to material that sees theology as expression as opposed to a confirmation of faith. My own writing has a hard time finding a market, so DDQ is an effort to remedy that issue for others.

Jello World: Oh for sure, I have no problem with those other markets either. Except that that'd never publish something like our stuff haha. So how did you get hooked up with Yvette and Kat to be your editors? Were you already familiar with them from other literary circles, or was it a happy accident kind of thing?

Dirty Prophet: I actually met up with Kat Dixon on Agent Query (same with editor Cynthia Reeser and writer Stefin Bradbury). It was early in my writing career and so I tried to make friends wherever I could. She seemed cool and was committed to poetry, so I invited her along. With Yvette, I met her on Fictionaut. From the start she was very candid with her commentary on my fiction and supportive of the marginal genre that is theological fiction. We've been like peas in a pod ever since.
Jello World: Agent Query and Fictionaut are both great sites! It's great to be able to network with other writers, editors, etc.

Dirty Prophet: Internet-land is a great place. I've meet some awesome and talented people in the writing world. The company I keep couldn't be better.

Jello World: It really is! Being able to chat with you, or be FB friends with the editor of an erotica anthology, or meet tons of interesting published and unpublished writers and share their successes (and rejections because, well, they happen lol) is so amazing!

Dirty Prophet: Indeed it is. Who knows, perhaps Wikipedia, when our descendants look back on us, will be interpreted as the new Oracle at Delphi. The way History repeats itself and humanity's patterns are just too cool. Concepts like this are what get me up in the morning.


Stay tuned for the conclusion of my conversation with the Dirty Prophet on Wednesday, when we discuss the publishing industry and the blossoming genre of theological fiction.

Andrew's fiction has appeared in Metazen, Full of Crow, Nanoism, Pulp Metal Magzine, and Prick of the Spindle, just to name a few.  He is the founder/editor of Divine Dirt Quarterly, and he blogs at The Dirty Prophet.  If that's not enough, he also wrestles with God and they share beer afterward.

18 July 2010

Random Shout-Out Sunday

Let me say, I love the online writing community - small presses, indie authors who self-pub and/or take their marketing into their own hands, fledgling lit magazines seeking to fill a gap in the market, online writing communities nurturing the creative spark, etc.  All of these people/places are trying to give voice to ideas generally swept aside by mainstream press because they won't make money/are too controversial/will be difficult to market/[insert other ridiculous excuse here], desire to change the face of publishing so that it's more representative of quality writing, and respect the author as artist instead of cash cow.  There are a lot of great people in this movement, and I'm pleased to have made the acquaintance of some of them online.  Just the other day I was exchanging Facebook comments with Diane Nelson, editor of Dancing in the Dark, and erotica anthology I plan on submitting to, chatting with Andrew Bowen, founder of Divine Dirt Quarterly (stay tuned for an interview!), and exchanging comments on some excellent published and unpublished stories on Fictionaut.  I doubt you could find this same level of vertical access and communication in the big-box publishing industry.

So I'd like to take this opportunity to start a new feature on the blog: Random Shout-Out Sunday, where I pick a group, publication, or author to highlight, without them even having to ask for it.  Because if there's anything I love more than the online writing community, it's giving my friends lots of free publicity!  (Disclaimer: due to the malleable nature of Jello World, I wouldn't necessarily count on this feature showing up every week. :-P And it may occasionally pop up on days other than Sunday.  Just sayin'....)

Today's spotlight is on Dragon International Independent Arts.

From the About Us section of the Diiarts website:

For the reader, we believe we are giving you books which represent a break from the mainstream, not in direct competition, but as a parallel alternative. Through our forum here, we encourage our readers to interact with the authors, presenting as few barriers between the writer and the reader as possible and actively encouraging participation in the reading/writing process.

For the author, we believe firmly that you own your writing, and that you should retain all publication rights and final editorial control for your work. Our editors work closely with each author to help the author achieve what he/she wants for his/her work, and to make the manuscript as good as it possibly can be. We will also use what technological resources are available to employ innovative and effective means of promoting our authors’ writing.
What more could a reader or writer ask for?  Here are the books Diiarts has published so far, in no particular order:

In the war against Napoleon, there are no easy victories.

English gentleman seeks easy life featuring exquisite tailoring and fine women.
Tiresome encumbrances such as political intrigue, murder or Mafiosi need not apply.

Harbour by Paul House
Three cultures collide—the end of an Empire.

When Leah Elisabeth Browne accompanies her mother to southern France to visit her brother, Harry, she is unaware that the events and people she encounters there will puncture forever the facade of her staid suburban existence, and expose the many tragic follies hidden behind the prim respectability she has always known.
Wes Pennington finally has a mystery manuscript worth selling, but the price might be his life!

Die a Dry Death by Greta van der Rol
June 1629. Laden with treasure and the riches of Europe, the merchantman Batavia, flagship of the Dutch East India Company, sails on her maiden voyage from Amsterdam bound for the East Indies. But thirty miles off the coast of Terra Incognita Australis—the unknown south land—she smashes into an uncharted reef.

World War II has given Jack McGuire the chance to escape the confines of the Midwest and the family farm. An ace U.S. Marine fighter pilot, he risks his life each day with his squadron in the South Pacific theatre. For him, there’s calm and camaraderie up there in the cockpit. But when the war ends, Jack struggles to find his place in civilian society.

So, devoted Jello World followers, take a look at the Diiarts site, purchase a book or two or seven, and support your fellow authors!

I do hope the folks at Diiarts and the listed authors don't mind me using the graphics because it took me a very long to get everything formatted, linked, and aligned!  :-)  Plus, it just looks prettier than a big ol' block of text.

03 July 2010

The Erotica Writer's Manifesto

So I covered a bit of this in miniature on Facebook already (what?? You're not following me on Facebook yet?  Well why on Earth not??) but thought it deserved a more detailed post here.  Now that I've taken the leap and changed jobs with the intention of focusing on writing as more of a full-time occupation, it's time to come right out and say it:  I write erotica.  I've never been afraid to say so, but this is bigger than that.  I don't mean "I occasionally write an erotic story", I really mean I. Write. Erotica.

It's where I plan to focus much of my writing time and energy.  It's where the stories in my head naturally lead.  It's the type of writing I'm good at, and that I enjoy writing.

You may not think it's a big deal to stand up and say I write erotica, but you'd be surprised at some of the reactions.  Sometimes I think people want to ask me why I write erotica (as if the answer would be anything different than one they'd get from someone who writes in another genre).  Sometimes I get the feeling they want to ask how I got into something like that, like I've just admitted to a shoplifting addiction or secret life as a porn star or something else considered equally deviant.  I'm sure when I tell some people I write erotica it conjures images of all the really bad sex writing out there, which is NOT what I write.  It elicits giggles and blushes as much as blank stares and brows furrowed in confusion.

I want to let you in on a little secret.  Lean a little closer so I can whisper it...  A little closer...


Sshhh! Don't go spreading that around now, y'hear

Seriously, though.  People have sex.  It's been known to happen.  A lot of what's communicated - or not communicated - during sex is emotionally loaded, rich with meaning.  People relate to each other through sex.  People create and resolve issues with sex.  They learn about themselves and each other.  And aside from all that, sex is just plain sexy and fun, and there's absolutely nothing writing with reading or writing about it!

So I'm putting it out there for any reader, agent, publisher, editor, etc. who might want to take notice:  I write erotica, and if I may say so, I'm pretty decent at it.

I'm an erotica writer, and here is my manifesto:
  • I will not use ridiculous euphemisms for body parts or actions unless I intend them to be ridiculous.
  • I will portray realistic bodies and body images without being condescending, patronizing, insulting, sexist, or demeaning.
  • I will write characters who are realistic and easy to relate to.  I will write characters you care about, who will stick with you after their stories have ended.
  • I will write sex scenes that arouse and excite.
  • I will write sex scenes that are thought-provoking and touching.
  • I will make the sexually explicit scenes relevant to the story.  Even in erotica, I believe gratuitous sex is unnecessary and boring.
  • I will not write trash.
  • I will portray realistic sexual actions - including, but not limited to, mutual and solo masturbation, oral sex and all the hang-ups that may come with it, sexual dysfunctions, safer sex practices, birth control, sex aids, and much, much more.  Furthermore, I will handle these issues with humor, tenderness, valid medical/scientific research when necessary, honesty, and passion.
This manifesto may grow and change as my writing journey progresses, but these are my basic promises to my readers.  When you see my name on an erotic story, you can be sure I won't disappoint!

20 June 2010

A Few Updates

Hello fellow jello-lovers!  It's been a few weeks since my last post, so I thought I'd at least post a few random updates.

*  You have to check out the brand new look of Divine Dirt Quarterly!  The new site layout is nice.  They'll now be able to publish new pieces upon acceptance, instead of putting out one "issue" every 3 months.  AND they're now accepting music, film, and non-fiction!  If you haven't already, check the archives for my story, On a Trans-Atlantic Flight, in Issue 1.1 Fiction, and my poem, Unsuspecting Bodies, in Issue 2.1 Poetry.

*  I've finally done it - found myself a part time job!  I have two weeks left in my current full time position, but after that, I'll have loads more time to write and write and write and write and.....

* Oysters&Chocolate has accepted an erotic short story of mine for publication on their website!  It's not live yet, but I'm expecting to get the email any day now.  As soon as it's up, I'll have the link for you!

* You can now read some sample chapters on my Facebook Author Page!  I have one chapter each from Sorry's Not Enough and Confessions of a Non-Believer.  Make sure to click the "like" button while you're there!

02 June 2010

Check Me Out!

Recently, author Cheri Lasota and I swapped guest blog posts.  You can see my guest post on her blog here - it's everything you ever wanted to know about writing dialogue!

21 May 2010

Aspiring Author Profile: John Sankovich

Name: John Sankovich

Location: Oregon

Age…ish?: 28

Genre(s) you write: Young Adult Fantasy, Paranormal

Books/Authors you love: Stephen King stuff. I liked the Harry Potter series as well. I also like some of the old stuff such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis

How long have you been writing? Um... Been for a long time, I think I created my first Comic Book back in Kindergarten which was 12 parts. Seriously, probably about 12 years, first screenwriting and about 2 years ago started my first novel.

Do you have any professional/industry experience as a writer? I've done a little technical writing at my current job, but want to get into publishing/editing more, but my state doesn't have much in the way of that career.

Had anything published? Nope.

Agent status (please X all that apply)

[ ] Need one

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

[ ] Got one

[ ] We’re “talking”

[ ] I’m cyberstalking him/her, but so far they have yet to respond to my inappropriate sexual advances…. Erm, I mean, my query letter.

[ ] Agent? Who needs an agent?

Either/Or when you write:

Pen and paper, or computer screen? computer screen, but have written a few short stories with pen and paper.

Plotster (outlines, scene cards, etc.) or Pantster (writing by the seat of your pants)? Pantser. I like that word.

Music on, or off? I like music, but can't always have it.

Solitude, or surrounded by people, sounds, things? Solitude when at home, but I also write while at work during work. shhh don't tell my boss.

Cleanest first draft possible, or screw grammar/spelling/punctuation and fix it later? I'm more of a screw grammar I'll fix it later kind of guy.

Slave to the whimsy of your muse, or writing like it’s your job, even when you don’t feel like it?  I try to write 5 days a week if possible. Weekends are reserved for family. Some days, after an early morning due to kids its harder than other times, but usually I write Monday through Friday while at work, and on my lunch. If the mood hits me after work, but I think I get about 4 hours or writing in a day at work including an hour of it during lunch.

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

Where do you get your inspiration? I first get a what if going, like what if my characters all had powers controlled by their mind. (Gifts.) What if twin sisters were also deadly assassins and one wanted to leave the life? (Silent Souls.) Then I start to develop the characters, first the main one and then they introduce me to the others as I write.

What one thing do you really love about your own writing? I think I do action scenes well, coming from a screenwriting background, I feel I'm best at describing the actions as opposed to the emotional aspects.

What one thing do you wish you could do better? Up the emotional aspects and inner feelings of the characters.

Anything else you want to say? I think that if you learn to listen to life, the writing will reflect that.

Anything for us to read? This is the first page or so of Gifts:

Rebecca hurried toward the front gates of the football stadium, tired of always missing the first half. A few stragglers had started filing in as the halftime show came to an end. Mr. Gerrard, dressed in Peakside purple and white, stopped her. “Come on Rebecca, you don’t want to miss the entire game, do you?”

Rebecca sighed. “Sorry Mr. Gerrard. I got caught up in my book again. How’s Alex doing?”

“He’s doing well,” he said. She flinched at the sight of a piece of popcorn stuck between his teeth.

She slipped past and continued toward the bleachers. Before she climbed the steps up into the stands, a scream stopped her in her tracks and she turned to where she thought the sound came from. She took a quick glance back at Mr. Gerrard, but he was busy counting the receipts for the game, oblivious to the scream. Curious, she headed toward the sound, hoping she imagined it. The gravel crunched underneath her feet, grating on her nerves, as she approached the back alley of the bleachers.

Mixing with the adrenaline, her gift flooded throughout her. She cherished the power as it seeped into her, giving her a soft electrical buzz and some much needed confidence.

Behind the bleachers, Gretchen and three of her friends pinned Cindy against the wall. A flash of light reflected off the class ring on Gretchen’s finger when she slapped Cindy. Her friends snickered like hyenas while holding the struggling Cindy. The pained expression on her face revealed that this incident had been going on for a while.

Rebecca’s power increased with her anger as she moved into the alley behind the bleachers, away from the roaring crowd. The crunch of gravel gave her away and they turned toward her.

A crooked smile crossed Gretchen’s lips. “Rebecca? You’re the last person I expected to show up.”

“Leave her alone.”


Gretchen’s friends released Cindy. Cindy rubbed her red cheek where a red palm print glowed on her cheek. After a moment to catch her breath, she shoved her way through Gretchen’s friends, and disappeared into the shadows. Hoping Cindy was okay,

Rebecca felt the energy tingle at her fingertips, but she didn’t want to let it out, so she clenched her jaw. Now that her power teetered on the edge, she struggled to keep it contained.
You can visit John's website here, or his blog here.  Thanks John!

16 May 2010

Pre-Marketing Your Book

I'm still a relative newbie when it comes to marketing and promotion, but it's an important part of being a writer these days. So today's post comes courtesy of a guest blogger,  Cheri Lasota, who is much wiser than I when it comes to.....

Pre-Marketing Your Book

Most writers are beginning to understand that writing is only a small part of the equation when it comes to publishing success. It is no longer enough to be a good writer. One must be a good marketer as well. However, marketing can be learned and practiced. The key is to start early, and use what techniques you know you can master based on your skill set. It is never to early to start forming a marketing plan for your writing career. You may be in the revision stages of draft three or four or already out there submitting your finished manuscript to agents. It doesn’t matter. Every day can be an opportunity to spend five to ten minutes on building a marketing plan. How do you go about it? Read on . . .

Start the wave

According to literary agent Lily Ghahremani, a publishing house will be happy to support and fuel a marketing wave you’ve already started. It is not all that rare for publishers to supply secondary funding pushes based on an author’s own efforts at increasing readership. If you already have a sizable network of possible readers, publishers do take notice, and in the negotiation phase, it can make a difference between signing on or receiving another rejection letter.

Begin with who you know

Buzz begins with a core market and expands. You know more people than you think you do. Take a pen and paper and write down a list of as many friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintences as you can think of. All done? Now think of all the authors, organizations, bookstores, libraries you hope to make contact with when you’ve published your book. Don’t forget to include local newspapers and magazines as well as online e-zines. Keep this list. You’ll need it when you go about marketing before and after publication.

For a few minutes each week, work on researching or recording contact information for these sources. These are the people and groups you will want to reach first when your first book comes out in stores. Easy enough, huh? This is something you can start doing today. As an addendum to this list, think through the major elements that make up your novel or nonfiction book. Does a mother in your novel have to deal with a child who suffers from autism? Then research autism groups on the Net. Here’s another example: my novel is set in the Azores Islands. I have and will continue to research all sites related to the Azores, whether they are travel sites or sites run by Azorean geneology enthusiasts, etc. These are possible avenues for selling books, interviews, and perhaps speaking engagements.

Target your readers

Describe your target reader to yourself, and be as specific as you can. Here is my target audience for my first novel: Women 18-35 who love romance, mythology, and history. Within that target, I will need to create a marketing plan that focuses on each element. Those who love mythology might frequent mythology sites on the Web. Could these be possible avenues for trading links or getting the word out about my novel? Do these groups have links to other groups that could be avenues to explore as well?

Identify competitors

Identify competition, but don’t fear it. Competition indicates there is already a market for you to sell your books to. Read books in the same genre or about the same topic: can you tap those readerships? How do those authors market their work? Read other author Web sites to gather ideas, then see if you can put a new twist on those ideas.

When working on your book marketing, specifically, brainstorm several differentiation statements. These statements are often used in query letters to compare an author’s book to another’s to aid the agent in placing your novel in the marketplace. For example, you could say your horror novel is in the vein of Stephen King’s “Carrie”, or that your mainstream novel is a cross between Michael Crichton and Michael Connelly.

One caveat: don’t make claims you can’t back up. Saying your book would outsell the “Harry Potter” series would merely illicit raised eyebrows and snickers from agents or editors. They’ve heard it all before, ad nauseam. Use the differentiation statement as a quick way to let the agent know what kind of book you are selling, not to make claims of greatness.

You can work on all the above ideas immediately, no matter what stage of writing you are in. Working on your marketing plan, may only take a few minutes of your day or week, but you won’t regret the invaluable lessons you’ll learn, nor the expertise you’ll have once your deep into selling your published book.
Cheri is a freelance editor specializing in fiction.  She is also an author, and has recently signed with literary agent Bernadette Baker-Baughman of Baker's Mark.  Her YA novel, Artemis Rising, is an excellent read and I can't wait until I can see it in print.  Visit Cheri's author website to read excerpts, learn more, and view her book trailer.

01 May 2010

Fake Pocket Syndrome

Continuing the theme of strange analogies from my last post, I’d like to talk about fake pockets and writing today.

Fake pockets are the bane of my fashionable existence. Nothing’s worse than going to stash my bank card or chapstick, only to encounter resistance. No pocket for you! It’s a disappointment, to say the least. Words can scarcely describe the letdown. In your writing, you should be aware of Fake Pocket Syndrome, to avoid irritating your readers and turning them off of your story.

Fake pockets promise, but don’t deliver. So your hero is a tough manly man who finds himself relying on the aid of a sultry vixen to accomplish his mission. The entire book is rife with sexual tension, but in the end the two shake hands and part ways like old drinking buddies. I call Fake Pocket Syndrome (FPS)! You can’t string a reader along like that, and not follow through. I’m not saying you have to write a torrid bedroom scene, but they had better at least kiss, or you need to at least allude to what we’re all expecting to happen. If your significant other spends an hour getting you worked up, then heads to the bedroom and….. goes to SLEEP, you’d be pretty pissed, wouldn’t you?

Fake pockets have no function. Even their aesthetic function is questionable. If you’re going to do horrible things to my bum by slapping a set of flap pockets back there, there had better be a good reason for it - like a place to put my credit card and ID when I don’t want to carry a purse. If your book starts with a character going on for two paragraphs about what she ate the day before, there should be a good reason for that. And sorry, but “I thought it was funny” is not good enough. For example, she’s a hypochondriac who woke up with a slight cough and is convinced that something she ate was tainted and has given her a horrible disease. Well now, that could be an interesting introduction to your character. But if her eating habits have nothing to do with anything, why are you boring the rest of us by detailing them? Also, just because a passage “sounds nice” doesn’t make it relevant. Sometimes you gotta kill your darlings. It’s up to you, though, and if you can really justify something, keep it.

Fake pockets take time and energy to create. No pocket at all would be quicker, easier, and more cost-effective. Save yourself and your editor some time and effort, and be aware of FPS from the beginning, and avoid it at all costs. The less junk you put in, the less you’ll have to cut out later on.

So take a long hard look at your manuscript. Are you a victim of FPS? Fear not, with a few snipped stitches here and there, you’ll have those pockets functional in no time.

13 April 2010

Jello and The Art of Writing

Getting back to my roots a bit here, I thought I’d do a post concerning this blog’s namesake.

I’m quite fond of jello (whether it’s generic fruit gelatin or a Bill Cosby-endorsed brand name, doesn’t matter) as both a snack and a philosophy. That’s right, a philosophy. The philosophy of jello can be applied to writing, among other aspects of life.

Think of jello flavors as genres. Writers have a choice of genre to frame their story. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like much of a choice - even if I tried to write urban fantasy, it’d probably end up being women’s fiction or erotica, and even when I swear I’m going to try a new flavor, I end up falling back on an old favorite.

© Nikolay Okhitin/www.photoexpress.com
There are plenty of other bells and whistles for your jello, too. Fancy-shaped molds, a dash of alcohol, a handful of fruit, a dollop of whipped cream, a spritz of seltzer. All of these things are a writer’s tools of the trade. Dialogue, flashbacks and flashforwards, backstory, characterization, humor, sarcasm, hyperbole, story arc, plot structure…. A writer’s list is considerably longer than jello’s list, but the idea is the same.

You may be asking yourself if I’m saying anyone can write a great novel by selecting a genre and a few bells and whistles and fitting them together. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Think about it in terms of jello again.

Lime flavor. Sprite, pineapple, grapes added in. Not sounding too bad, right? Now take all those and make a cake. Or pudding. Or cookies. Not so great anymore, right?

Similarly, a person can’t just pick a few things and throw them together and be called a great writer: Romance genre. Love triangle, murder, family secrets. Oooooh, sounds intriguing, right? Sure, but that doesn’t mean Joe Schmoe off the street can turn it into a viable novel.

What makes jello so freaking great isn’t the shape, color, added goodies, or even the flavor. There’s just an innate awesomeness to jello that makes it irresistible no matter what you do to it. Think of your favorite book, or favorite author. I bet you’d never say “The realistic dialogue makes this book totally RAWK!” or “I’ve read all of his books because I just LOOOOOVE the way he uses flashbacks!” No, it’s something more, something even greater than the sum of all the little parts, something intrinsic and almost impossible to communicate.

Some may call it voice, or style, but I think it’s even more than that. I can’t tell you what it is, or whether I myself have it (I hope so!), or how to get it, or what to do with it. All I know is that it’s what I strive to create every time I write, and it is mine alone. You may not like my flavor of jello, but it’s still jello, and it is awesome.

06 April 2010

Art Imitating Life

I realized something the other day about my writing style and my real-life social preferences. Turns out, the same things I dislike about dialogue in writing are the same things I dislike when interacting with people: 
  • Small talk and meaningless words.  I never really understood the point.  Some people are just uncomfortable with silence.  Sometimes characters are too.  If that's the case, and a character rambling on and on about nonsense is part of their personality, that's brilliant.  But just to fill space, it's no excuse.
  • Sometimes you can get a sense that someone is saying something to you to get a certain reaction, for their own benefit - whether it’s fishing for a compliment, or making vague comments in the hope that you’ll ask questions and allow them to talk some more about their topic of choice. I equate this to dialogue that is rife with the author’s agenda instead of sounding true to the moment.
  • Taking twenty minutes to tell me a five minute story.  Get to the point, already!  Better yet, don't tell me the story at all.  If it were that important, you'd spit it out faster.  In dialogue, this is using 45 words where 10 would suffice.  Again, if something is important enough to say in dialogue, you should find the most precise words to say it.
You could argue that this is actually a case of life imitating art - that I'm so entrenched in my writerly mind it's rubbing off on my real life.  But anyone who knows me - especially if they've known me a while - knows I've always been this way.  I was the girl in the middle of a crowded, noisy room, who could tune it all out and take it all in at the same time.  Listening, I feel, is infinitely more valuable than speaking.


01 April 2010

Aspiring Author Profile: Maxwell Cynn

You may remember Max from the erotic poetry duet I posted last April (I can't believe it's been that long!).  Here's his profile.

Name: Maxwell Cynn

Age...ish?: 48

Location/Country: Matthews, NC - USA

Genre(s) you write: Everything, but always with a touch of romance.

Books/Authors you love: Tolkien, Lewis, Poe, Burroughs, Twain, Wells, I love the classics. Modern works that inspire me - Richard Bach, Douglas Adams, Stephenie Meyer (Host more than Twilight), Anne Rice (Lestat not Interview), and of course Dr. Seuss rocks!

How long have you been writing? An English teacher in the tenth grade encouraged me to be a writer after reading some of my short stories, but I seriously began my first novel about three years ago.

Do you have any professional/industry experience as a writer? No, but I built a website and published my first book "ArchAngelxx" online. Then I republished it, along with my second novel "CybrGrrl", as eBooks on MobiPocket and Kindle. I'm currently trying to break into print with three manuscripts I have ready, and two more I'm working on. I NEED AN AGENT!

Had anything published? ArchAngelxx (MobiPocket and Kindle), CybrGrrl (MobiPocket and Kindle)

Agent status (please X all that apply)

[X] Need one

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

[ ] Got one

[ ] We're "talking"

[ ] I'm cyberstalking him/her, but so far they have yet to respond to my inappropriate sexual advances.... Erm, I mean, my query letter.

[ ] Agent? Who needs an agent?

Either/Or when you write:

Pen and paper, or computer screen? Computer. I used to write on paper, but I hate going back and typing it out. It has to get on the computer eventually, so why not start there.

Plotster (outlines, scene cards, etc.) or Pantster (writing by the seat of your pants)? Both. I do a good bit of plotting, but when I write it often goes off in a new direction all its own.

Music on, or off? Off when I write, but I like music when I'm editing.

Solitude, or surrounded by people, sounds, things? I would love solitude, but I'm generally surrounded.

Cleanest first draft possible, or screw grammar/spelling/punctuation and fix it later? My first draft is pretty clean, but there are still plenty of revisions later.

Slave to the whimsy of your muse, or writing like it's your job, even when you don't feel like it? Total slave of my muse, but I do try to take the "job" approach. If I'm not into writing something new - I edit. I try to be productive every day.

Do you have a certain place/time of day/writing implement/obsessive ritual/etc. that is crucial to your writing process? No. I write whenever I have the chance - wherever I happen to be. I take my laptop with me everywhere.

Where do you get your inspiration? I generally start at the character level. I envision characters - then location, plot, and everything else comes from that. I get my character ideas from all over. I'm a people watcher, and after 48 years I've seen and met a lot of interesting people.

What one thing do you really love about your own writing? My characters.

What one thing do you wish you could do better? "Show don't Tell." I hear that all the time. I'm a natural storyteller and it's hard for me to just let the story unfold. I want to speak right to the reader and tell them a good story.

Anything else you want to say? Thank you, Jen. This is my first interview, and it was fun.

Anything for us to read? ArchAngelxx is available on MobiPocket eBooks and the Kindle Reader. You can also read the full version free on my website. CybrGrrl is also available on MobiPocket and Kindle, and I have excerpts of some of my manuscripts, as well as short-stories and poetry, on my website. Come visit.


28 March 2010

New Look!

So after a couple days with the bookcase background, I decided I really like it!  So it's staying.  I tweaked the layout a bit and some of the font colors, but I think I'm satisfied with the new look.  The book theme is very fitting.  And I even updated my blog description.  Maybe I'll do some jello-inspired posts some time.  I'll have to tie back in to my writing, of course.  As Elana so wisely tells us, our blog posts should be relevant!  I'm following her posts about building a better blog, so hopefully you'll be seeing more frequent, more interesting posts from me this year!

Stay tuned....  Next week we'll have another Aspiring Author Profile, this time from Maxwell Cynn.  Who's that, you ask?  You'll find out.  Although if you do a little (very easy) sleuthing around my blog, you may find recognize the name!

26 March 2010

Please Pardon Our Appearance

.... I got all excited about the new Template Creator and accidentally applied a new template.  Now I have to figure out where my old template is.  Or create a brand spanking, totally awesome, very cool new one.  Which will take lots of trial and error.  So you may see various colors, pictures, layouts and designs until I find just the right one.  :-)

25 March 2010

Divine Dirt Quarterly 2.1

The second issue of DDQ is live!  And yours truly (that's me!) has a poem there.  Click here to read Unsuspecting Bodies.  Thanks to Kate Dixon, poetry editor, for finding me worthy.

Quick shout out to Finnegan Flawnt, whose short story Taciturn is also in this issue, and whom I've read over at Fictionaut.  And who undoubtedly has the coolest name ever.

I haven't had a chance to read the rest of the issue, so I don't have any favorites to share with you just yet.

12 March 2010


Bye-bye, Authonomy.  I'll be taking down my books and deleting my Authonomy account.  It's getting a bit ridiculous over there.  Maybe after a bit, it will settle down again and regain some semblance of order, but I can't wait around for that.  I keep getting distracted by all the petty arguments - some shocking, some hilarious - in the forums, the begging for backings, the spam messages.  I did meet some awesome people there, and got some good feedback, but I think it's run its course for me.  I have to focus on other things.  My life, for instance haha.  And writing.  Editing.  Submitting.

So my last sort of cryptic post was about me looking for a new job.  I was thisclose, but the job fell through.  I'm looking to cut back to a part time job to make more time for writing.  I had something lined up, a part time assistant manager position, but then the store manager stepped down a week after interviewing me and took the position herself.  Go figure.  So I'm still looking.  Meanwhile, I'm still doing the 40 hour a week gig and trying to fit in the writing stuff around that.

I had my first short story published in Divine Dirt Quarterly a few months ago, and I have a poem forthcoming with them.  I also finished an erotic short story that I'll be submitting this weekend to Oysters&Chocolate for their print anthology.  Keep your fingers crossed for me on that one.  I also have another short story I want to polish and find the right venue for, plus a couple ideas for more erotic short stories.  Hopefully I can acquire some more publishing credits to put in my query letters, once I start querying again.  Sorry's Not Enough is simmering on the back burner, awaiting some major revisions.  I want to up the pace on Confessions of a Non-Believer and get that finished and out to agents.  Then I can delve right into my erotica series.

It's time to focus.  Quitting Authonomy cold-turkey is the first of many steps to do that.

25 January 2010

Change, it is a-comin'

Or so I hope.  I don't want to get ahead of myself, so my lips remain sealed on one of those changes.  *locks lips and throws away the key*

But for this new year, I want to renew and refresh my focus on writing (and yes, I realize my first post of the new year comes nearly a month in.  That will be something I hope to change, too.)  I think I'm going to try this newfangled thing called..... scheduling!  I'm not very good at rigid structure, so it might be a loose schedule, but I will be organized!

I still have some Aspiring Author Profiles saved up that I can use, and I'll have to solicit more from my writer friends (any volunteers?).  They'll come in handy for times when I either have nothing interesting to say, or don't have the time to say it.  I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but I'm going to start picking one day each week to write all of my blog posts for the week.  I haven't decided on a specific number per week, but we'll see.  Maybe just 2 or 3.  That's still more regular than I've been in the past!

I want to carve out time on specific days each week for my other activities and responsibilities.  That would include doing laundry, dishes, cleaning the house, etc. in addition to writing.  If I can get those mundane tasks taken care of, it'll leave me more time for writing.

And as for writing, I want to get Confessions finished as quickly as possible and start querying with that.  I still have to work out a timeline, but that will be based on this thing I can't talk about just yet.  I've barely scratched the surface with my latest round of major editing on Sorry's Not Enough.  And Marisol continues to give me bits and pieces of her story.  That one will have to go on the back burner for now, I think.  I need to do some more research for it, and I think I may have to take the unusual (for me) step of outlining and planning, since I want to turn that into a series.

On top of all that, I'd like to return to my poetic roots a bit.  I want to write (or at least try to write) poetry again, as well as trying my hand at some short stories.  Being published in Divine Dirt Quarterly definitely boosted my confidence, and I plan to continue submitting to literary magazines while I work on my novels.

Oh yeah, one last thing.  In addition to this blog, it's not a bad idea for me to expand my fiction platform and start marketing myself more aggressively.  What does that mean?  Well, I'm not entirely sure yet, but it will likely manifest in the form of a Facebook author fan page - maybe even separate pages for each of my books - and possibly new blogs to complement my books as well.  We shall see.

Sound like a lot?  Yeah, I think so too.  Then I read Elana's latest post about how she manages it all and I'm reminded of why she's so freaking awesome.  She makes it seem effortless.  I have to have faith in myself, though.  Maybe soon I'll be as adept at the balancing act as she is.

I think this will be a good year for me, writing-wise.  I plan on making the best of it, no matter what life hands me this year.