Love is in the Airlock

So…

Maybe this post should have gone live two days ago, but I don’t post on Fridays anymore. More importantly – and hear me out on this – maybe it’s appropriate regardless of what day it is.

I think that personal relationships, including – and perhaps especially – romantic relationships are not only good for your writing or good for your stories. I think they are good for genre fiction as a whole.

Before I go on, I’m going to acknowledge that there are those who would argue that “Entanglements” between Science Fiction/Fantasy and the Romance genre are – much like Imperial Entanglements – are best avoided.

But that’s the trick isn’t it?

Even Star Wars couldn’t avoid a bit of romance and, do you know what? Nobody seemed to mind.

And to my way of thinking that’s a good thing.

Why is that, you might ask?

Because people are, well…people. And relationships between people will happen – even when they shouldn’t – even when a character doesn’t need that kind of distraction.

Of course they’re going to happen.

If you, as a writer, purposefully ignore that, you’re doing yourself and your characters – maybe even your world – a disservice. Think about all the fields of conflict, character building and world building you have harvest when one of your characters looks at another and has FEELINGS!!

How do they act on those feelings? What can you show about a character from how they show (or don’t show) their feelings. What can you show about a culture that may or may not approve of any kind of blossoming relationship. What are you as a writer saying when you show a world that has *Zero* problem with two consenting adults regardless of who they are entering a relationship?

So don’t be afraid to introduce a bit of romance in your work. Search your (and your character’s) feelings and weave them into your work. Your story will benefit from it.

I’ll see you on Thursday. Be Excellent to each other.

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

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Five Thing Thursday: February 13th

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: This week, I submitted my application for the Taos Toolbox writer’s workshop. I should hear back from them in a couple of months. If you’d cross what you’ve got for me, I’d take it as a kindness.

Thing #2: This week, (so far) the writing has been not quite as productive as I’d have liked, but I’ll take any forward progress.

Thing #3: Sometimes a scene is hard, and you struggle with it because…it doesn’t need to be there.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Alice Cooper and Bon Jovi. Yeah, not sure how to categorize that mix my own self.

Thing #5: Sometimes your teams win, and sometimes they don’t. And, on some level to be sure, it doesn’t matter because it’s still Rugby – which is awesome.

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What am  I reading this week?

Fortress in the Eye of Time by C. J. Cherryh

Things She’s seen (Northern Circle Coven Series, Book 2) by Pat Esden

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? This has been a long week. No doubt about it. This weekend, the priority is going to be sleep (which always seems to be the first to get damaged, doesn’t it?) After that, I’m slipping into a bit of Rugby, a bit of gaming, and reading, and taking advantage of a long weekend – which really couldn’t get here too soon. If you’re feeling like I am – There’s only a couple of days left. Kia Kaha, my friends.

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

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Small Steps to Writing

I have a confession to make:

Lately, I’ve been struggling with a couple of scenes, and it’s taken me longer than I would have liked to get through them. Further confession: I’m still not completely through one of them.

The first scene took just over a week before I reached the point where I didn’t want to just tear the whole thing down.

That “Just over a week” is also kinda an estimate. It feels like it’s been months that I’ve been working on this scene – though I know it hasn’t been that long.

From here, I was going to go off into a “Good News/Bad News” direction where I lamented the time it did take, but was happy that I was (mostly – this is a first draft after all) done with it. But this isn’t about “Good” or “Bad,” it just is.

I was struggling and there were some barely productive days but I’m not struggling as much as I was even though it’s still rough going.

And there are all kinds of reasons why it may be rough: I’m trying something new by including multiple points of view in this work. Maybe I don’t know as much about the POV character in these scenes as I thought I did. Maybe it’s because I’m tired. Or that it’s dark and cold this time of year and I haven’t seen the sun in days.

Maybe it’s all of the above – or none of the above.

The point is to realize that it won’t always be easy – especially when you’re stretching yourself, which is something that I try to do with every book. When you’re trying something new – and sometimes even when your not – that first draft is going to be a mess in some places. They don’t call it a rough draft for nothing.

Despite it not being easy, I’m still chipping away at it. And that’s how stories get written. Sometimes it’s in tiny, splinter-like chips, other times it comes in great boulder-like chunks. Both are good. Both get you closer to where you want to be.

Even a small step forward moves you along.

I’ll see you on Thursday. Be Excellent to each other.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

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Five Thing Thursday: February 6th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: Keep doing what you’re doing. There will always be someone who has written more than you have on any given day. Someone who’s gotten up earlier. Someone who appears to have done more. Don’t compare yourself to that. Do what you can do, for as long as you can do it, and let that be enough.

Thing #2: The Sun came out this week, and it was glorious.

Thing #3: It’s snowing today…

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… The Entire Lord of the Rings Soundtrack (I don’t have the soundtrack for the Hobbit movies…yet).

Thing #5: It won’t always be easy. Sometimes it’ll be hard. Those are the times when the work is important. It’s not the quantity, or the (initial) quality of the work you do during these times. I think that during those times that you’re struggling, you’re also learning. And that’s bound to be messy. What matters is that you’re working.

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What am  I reading this week?

The Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

His Dark Magic (Northern Circle Coven Series, Book 1) by Pat Esden

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? This past week, I’ve tried to, specifically, make time for myself. With Mixed results. This weekend is shaping up to be another Rugby Weekend, but I’m going to find the time to get other things done as well.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

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Jump Starting

There will come a time where you sit down to do “The Thing” and nothing comes. You may be experiencing something like that right now. Well, maybe not right, right now because you’re reading this, but you now what I mean.

You’re all set to do what it is you do and…nothing doing.

I’ve experienced this a lot and I’ve developed some tips and tricks for dealing with it.

First, don’t get caught in the “Big Empty.” I also do that a lot. I’ll sit there and stare at the Big Empty page or, when I can’t do that any longer, I’ll look out the window – not really seeing anything because I’m twisting and curling up inside my head trying to figure out where to begin.

And here’s the hardest thing for me to reconcile in my head. It doesn’t matter “Where” you begin, only “That” you begin.

That’s how this post happened. I like to get these written ahead of time and schedule them to post really early in the morning.

(*Note: 8 in the morning is, in fact, really early for a Sunday. Don’t argue, I will die on this hill.)

So Saturday afternoon rolls around and I sit down to write this and…nothing.

Not even a title.

It got to the point where I contemplated passing it off to Future Me and seeing if he could come up with anything after whenever he gets up tomorrow.

That never sits right with me though.

So I stared for a bit into the Big Empty.

And I stared a little more.

Then I had the idea to change things up. I shut down the blog page, so that I wasn’t looking at the Big Empty screen and turned to my notebook.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s another Big Empty, but I love writing longhand, and I love writing with the fountain pen.

I had no idea what I was going to write about then, but it’s always been easier for me to brain dump through a pen than a keyboard.

And that was the plan: To just start. Jump right in and get going. That’s where the title of the post came from.

And that’s my advice for the both of us – yes, I sure as hell need to remember this as well:

Where you begin doesn’t matter.

It only matters that you do begin.

I’ll see you on Thursday. Be Excellent to each other.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

Posted in Challenges, Inspiration, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Five Thing Thursday: January 30th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: The full manuscript of Jade Moon Waning is in the hands of some agents. If you all would cross what you’ve got for me, I’d take it as a kindness..

Thing #2: Chapping through 3-4 inch thick ice on your driveway isn’t as glamorous as you may have heard. Don’t believe the hype.

Thing #3: Sometimes, despite everything you do, you can have a day where simply making it through to the other side is all that you can do. That’s ok. Do what you can. Tomorrow is another day. maybe it’ll be better. Take care of yourself.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… The Conan the Barbarian soundtrack.

Thing #5: This weekend kicks off the 2020 Six-Nations Rugby Tournament. I’d love to see Wales take it all again, but there’s so much shaken up among the teams that it’s anybody’s title. One thing I do want to catch more of is the Women’s Tournament. With any luck, the website, or maybe Youtube will stream the matches.

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What am  I reading this week?

The Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

His Dark Magic (Northern Circle Coven Series, Book 1) by Pat Esden

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? Like I said in Thing #5, this is probably going to be a Rugby Weekend.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

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The 2020 Sticker Experiment

This year, I set off to try something new. Well, something new for me anyway. Here’s a picture to show the results of the first month:

To clear things up, every day that I get some kind of writing – and by that, I am not including Blogging, Tweeting, etc. – done, that earns me a star sticker. The other sticker is for days where I hit the number of active minutes recommended by my FitBit.

So, I’ve learned a couple of things about myself over the past month.

The first is that I kinda like stickers. I don’t see myself covering a whole bunch of stuff with them, but I enjoy putting them on the calendar.

The second is that – probably almost immediately – I went about this *All Wrong.*

It started, as most mistakes often do, with the best intentions. The problem was that my focus was always on the “Next Day.” That next empty slot was always waiting there, challenging me.

Now, that’s fine – up to a point. Up until you fail to “Do the Thing” and earn yourself a sticker, and you feel like you’ve failed yourself.

Life is going to happen. Some days – note that three day stretch where I didn’t get my writing sticker – you need a break. If I had a third set of stickers, I might start giving myself one when I’ve practiced some form of self-care.

There will always be that next day waiting. In fact, there is only going to be one day in my entire life where that next day isn’t going to be waiting for me.

My focus was all wrong.

I shouldn’t be looking at the next empty day slot without also acknowledging all of the other slots that came before. Look at all those stickers!!

That’s what’s important: The Bigger Picture. The challenge of the day ahead, encouraged by all of the work I’ve already done.

That is going to be my focus going forward. To come to the end of the month with a new appreciation of all of the effort that’s gone on before.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.

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Five Thing Thursday: January 23rd.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: This week is the First Week back from ConFusion. The Con was great, and I had a fantastic time. It was good to see old friends – some of whom I only see at this con – and make new ones.

Thing #2: Coming back to “Reality” from a convention is challenging. It may take a day or two to get back into the swing of things. Be sure to take the time you need.

Thing #3: Every time I return from a convention, transitioning from one environment to the other tends to cause a change in perspective. Sometimes, I can get so stuck in the day-to-day that I lose sight of what I’m working toward. On the other hand, spending three days(ish) among my fellow writers, while it doesn’t give more than the barest glimpse into the world of the Full-Time writer, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the idea of just doing the writing thing and losing sight of the support structure that some (ok most) of us will need, probably for the rest of our writing careers. Making those two perspectives mesh gives me a hand in dealing with it when the day-to-day non-writing grind gets heavy.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… A bunch of groups. I’ve been all over the place this week. Here are a couple that are on the rotation: Unleash the Archers, Amaranthe, Beast in Black, Scorpions, Hammerfall.

Thing #5: This Sunday I’m going to look back upon the month of January and talk a bit about the Sticker Experiment and how it’s going.

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What am  I reading this week?

The Lost World by Michael Crichton

His Dark Magic (Northern Circle Coven Series, Book 1) by Pat Esden

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? This is going to be a resting weekend. I loved seeing everybody, but jumping back into the day job right away makes me need a weekend where I don’t “People” as much.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sunday’s ConFusion Schedule:

Hey Everyone! This Weekend, I’m at ConFusion! Here’s my Schedule for Sunday:

Laser Guns and Gravity Canons: War in Deep Space

Sunday 1:00PM Petoskey
We’ve come a long way from Flash Gordon’s pew-pew laser effects. From Ninefox Gambit’s eldritch special attacks to The Expanse’s inventive use of real-world physics, what does warfare look like in modern space opera and scifi? How do space empires protect themselves when borders are three-dimensional and vast? What can we learn from Mass Effect’s biotics and Eve Online’s multi-player strategic webs? Jeff Beeler (m), Ken Schrader, Phoebe Barton, Patrick S Tomlinson.

This is going to be an Epic Discussion. Come on by and check it out!

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Saturday’s ConFusion Schedule

Hey Everyone! This Weekend, I’m at ConFusion! Here’s my Schedule for Saturday:

Effective Training Sequences in Prose Fiction:

Saturday 1:00PM Interlochen
In movies such as How To Train Your Dragon, the sequence in which our dashing hero bumbles through training and eventually triumphs usually has a stirring score and a lot of quick transitions to back it up. In prose, conveying to the reader that a bunch of training has happened can be a trickier matter. What are some good strategies for convincing the reader that our zero is now a hero without dragging down the story’s pacing? Steve Buchheit (m), Ken Schrader, Jennifer Blackstream, Corry L. Lee

Reading: Ken Schrader, Lucy A. Snyder, Phoebe Barton

Saturday 3:00PM Saugatuck
Ken Schrader, Lucy A. Snyder, Phoebe Barton read from selected works.

Come check out the great discussions and hear some fantastic stories.

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