Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Writing Recap

It's hard to believe this is the last post for February 2023. The days may be long sometimes, but the years get shorter and shorter as one gets older. Since it's the end of the month, here's a quick recap on my writing projects.

I recently had rejections on two short stories. One I'm going to hold for possible inclusion in my The Season Between collection, which will be set in my fantasy Season Avatars universe. The other one has already been submitted to several markets (I haven't kept good records regarding its submission history), so I'll probably keep it on the back burner until I see another potential market for it. I still have two more stories out for consideration, but I don't like to say much about submitted stories for fear I'll jinx them.

Speaking of short stories, I'm working on another solarpunk story for an upcoming annual contest; the current working title is "Inside, Outside." I recently finished the first draft, which is about 4,700 words. I haven't been completely satisfied with previous submissions to this contest, so I've started working on it earlier, before the submission window opens. That gives me more time to revise it. (I'm not the kind of person who can bang out a short story every week; I need several drafts to make it worth reading.) 

I've also managed to resolve a subplot in Restaurants and Revenge, so hopefully after a few more tweaks, I'll be done with the major edits. Then I can work on line edits and maybe order the cover art.

Once I finish these current projects, I want to return to The Season Between collection and finish editing the stories (and deciding how many to include). I also need to go back to writing the first draft of Bubble Tea and a Body, the next book in my cozy mystery series.

An author's work is never done, so I guess it's time to get back to it. I'll be back next week with another IWSG post.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The Skeptics' Guide to the Future

I started listening to The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast a few months ago. I'd read the book with the same name and thought it was quite useful. So when Dr. Steven Novella and the rest of the podcasters mentioned they'd written a second book called The Skeptics' Guide to the Future: What Yesterday's Science and Science Fiction Tell Us About the World of Tomorrow, I had to (literally) check it out. If you're interested in futurism--as science fiction writers are by definition--then you'll want to do the same.

The book is divided into five parts. The first one is an introduction to futurism, which is the art of predicting the future. It discusses how previous predictions about the future were right or not and looks at general trends. (We tend to overestimate short-term progress and underestimate long-term progress. We also assume the institutions and culture we have today will persist with little or no change.) The other four sections deal with various aspects of technology: current, future, space travel, and science fiction tech. Each part is broken into several chapters, with each chapter focused on a specific type of technology. The authors discuss what types of technology are possible (they cover everything from stem cells to light sabers) and when they might be developed or become feasible. (Some familiarity with the technology is assumed, as this is a general overview, but the authors provide some history and current status for each type of technology.) They also discuss ideas that might not work; unfortunately for my stories Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes, we are unlikely to be able to travel to alternate universes through wormholes. The first four parts end with snippets of future fiction set anywhere from a few decades to more than twenty thousand years in the future.

Not surprisingly, the overall message of the book is that technology will continue to become an important part of our culture and change it in ways we might not be able to foresee. The general assumption is that humanity will continue to exist in some form or another; the authors ignore most potential catastrophes with the exception of artificial intelligence turning against us. They do discuss the possibilities of humans using brain-machine interfaces, uploading our minds into computers, or colonizing space. 

This book is worth reading not just if you're interested in science or science fiction, but the future. After all, every new day brings us closer to it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Writing on the Weekend

When you have a day job, it seems like the best time to write for extended periods of time would be on the weekend. However, that's not always the case. I typically spend a lot of time on the weekend catching up with chores and getting ready for the week ahead. There can also be special events that disrupt your routine. I try to compensate for this by setting aside blocks of time for writing. For example, I clean Saturday morning so I have time to write in the afternoon. I normally also like to write my weekly blog post on Sunday morning. However, there are days where even those blocks of time get usurped by other activities. Some days you just have to accept the fact that you won't be able to write much.

Are weekends typically good writing days for you, or are they taken up with other things? Feel free to discuss in the comments.

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

IWSG: Covering Covers


Is it just me, or did January seem to pass by pretty quickly? It hardly seems time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Learn more about the IWSG on their website and Facebook page

Our hosts this month are Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner

Our question this month is about covers: If you are an indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

I'm technically a hybrid author, since I have a few stories published in anthologies. I don't have any input on those covers, so I'll focus on my indie covers. Most of those are purchased, since my photo editing skills are minimal. Here's one cover I created for a short story collection called Ordinary Wonders. About all I did to the photo was add the text.

For my fantasy Season Avatars series, I purchased covers from my friend Maria Zannini, also known as the Book Cover Diva. I think she did a great job with the entire series, but I'll just highlight two of them here: Fifth Season and Summon the Seasons

Since my Abigail Ritter series is a different genre (cozy mystery), I decided to go in a different direction and ordered the cover from 100 Covers. See below for Murder at Magic Lake. I've already pre-paid for the next two book covers in that series; I just need to finish the books!

I've been very happy with these cover artists, and they've done a great job of designing covers to meet my visions of the characters and setting.

How do you get your covers if you're indie? Do you have any favorite covers for your books? Feel free to share in the comments.

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