Wednesday, January 22, 2014
It's been a year since my own Pitch Wars experience. I've learned a lot since then. I also, I think, made quite a few mistakes. For one thing, I let my lack of success in the contest get in the way of my writing. I'm STILL struggling to get over that.
For another, I stopped working on new things, dragging all my old manuscripts out for another trot around the block. There's nothing inherently wrong with this except that maybe there's a good reason they all were in the drawer in the first place? I guess I thought I could fix them if only I tried. Maybe I can. Maybe someday I will.
But for me, the joy of writing has always been in the Shiny New Idea. Whatever captures me at the moment is the journey I want to be on at the time. I LOVE getting Shiny New Ideas. Except for the last year, I didn't. I had one idea that I really loved. To put that in perspective, usually I get about 4-5 Shiny News in a year and have to pick and choose between them.
But I'm not blaming that on Pitch Wars, or anything else I did last year. I'm blaming that on me.
Anyway. Back to the part about you. Whether you get a lot of requests today or not, or whether you get an agent in the next week/ month/ six months, or not, here's the thing:
This contest (or any other) does not define you. It does not define your writing. It does not mean you will make it, or you won't. I've seen people in contests get 10-15 requests and still not have an agent a year later. I've seen people get 1 request and find the agent of their dreams and a book deal and so on and so forth.
That thing people keep telling you about publishing being subjective? They are not broken records, nor are they just saying that to make you feel better. It's SO TRUE. Nothing can be everyone's cup of tea. I know people who didn't like the Harry Potter series, for crying out loud.
Today they are judging you on your pitch and first page. Not even what you would send in a query letter. That is a very, very small portion of your work to make decisions on.
But, just making it into the contest means there is something special about you. THAT is a success. No matter what happens today and tomorrow, you've done something incredible. Rest on that for now, and try not to let the agony of waiting get to you. (As The World's Most Impatient Person, I am well aware of how that feels).
And, to take another Industry Advice Cliche, perhaps most importantly, keep writing. Why? Because you deserve to do that for yourself.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
I won't list everything that happened in 2013, even here in this post, because frankly, most of it you don't have any context for, and the rest of it you don't want to know. There are a few highlights I'll mention though, because together they show why, exactly, 2013 was the year that made me feel like I didn't know what I was doing, wasn't worth much, and would never amount to anything.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Every. Single. Year.
The scene: Pony's stall, first cold and rainy night of the winter.
ME: *approaches with Pony's blanket* *lets her smell it* *attempts to put it over her shoulder* I'm going to slowly and carefully put this on you and it will keep you warm and dry.
PONY: WHAT THE F IS THAT GET IT AWAY FROM ME
ME: Calm down.
ME: It's the same blanket! We do this every year!
PONY: I DON'T WANT TO BE WARM GET IT AWAY
ME: For cripes sake. *throws blanket on Pony as she shuffles backwards away from me.*
PONY: *immediately freezes* Oh. That-- that wasn't so bad. *lets me put it on without any further trouble.*
ME: You're ridiculous.
PONY: *looks at self* I LOOK ridiculous. Thanks.
At least by now we can have this exchange more briefly and without the aid of a halter. It's gotten a lot better. But still.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Now. I know what you're thinking. But I don't want to spend an hour and a half of my time pissed off, so there's that. It's my choice.
I also don't have network television and refuse to support the filmmakers by seeking other avenues.
Being a zookeeper myself as well as a former employee of a large, well-known aquarium (in fact an aquarium that is EXTREMELY relevant to this topic), I have a lot that I WANT to say about BLACKFISH, and a lot that I won't. I also want to say that I don't personally, on a moral level, 100% support SeaWorld. But I have come to terms with it because of what I'll say below.
I will say that every documentary has an agenda, and this one is no different. This documentary's agenda is an attack on SeaWorld and all aquariums that keep cetaceans in their pools. BUT.
You would probably not even know what a killer whale was if SeaWorld didn't exist.
Our ocean, our planet, is changing at an alarming rate. Since I'm already being controversial I'll just go ahead and close the soap box loop and say that climate change is a really big freaking deal, whether we want to admit it or not. Without zoos and aquariums it would be so much easier to not care about these animals, about what we as humans are doing and have done to them and their homes.
If you didn't know what a killer whale was, you probably wouldn't have bothered to watch BLACKFISH.
Zoos and aquariums do a lot of good. We expose people to new things, educate them about things they thought they already knew, get them to care. And it's so, so important that you care MORE about the animals in the wild than the ones in the zoo.
To put it a bit harshly, if it still really bothers you, think of it as a sacrifice of the one for the good of the many. But know that (most) zoo animals do not sacrifice-- they live longer, are healthier, and suffer less than their wild counterparts. They have a steady food source, plenty of mental stimulation, lots of personal space and choices, and, in a good zoo, are never "forced" to do anything. They also have personal nutritionists and doctors, something that most humans don't even have.
I'm keeping comments closed on this post. No offense, my lovely Google visitors. But I don't want this to turn into a debate. These are my thoughts, take them or leave them.
Friday, November 15, 2013
This is a picture-heavy post (obviously), focusing on the work that I've done over the last year and the things I took to the first of several craft fairs I'll be attending this holiday season.
All images in this blog post are of my original art work and belong to me. Click on any of the photos to view them larger.
This is a (very poor, sorry!) picture of a steampunk desk clock I made for Husband's cousin last year. I'm currently working on some more of these, including a wall-clock sized version. I've gotten a lot of ideas and grown as a builder over the last year so I'm really excited to see how they turn out!
Friday, November 8, 2013
So the lovely Amalia Dillin recently gifted me with an e-ARC of FATE FORGOTTEN, the 2nd book in the Fate of the Gods series. Her first book, FORGED BY FATE, was a great read, and I'm so excited to share my thoughts on book 2!
Book 2 picks up where Book 1 left off. Eve is perfectly content in the present with Garritt, and baby Alex. Except Adam is still very much in the picture, and to make matters both better and worse, so is Thor, coming to the DeLeons this time as Lars. The other main threads follow Eve's past after her life with Thorgrim, and even venture into the future, where the archangel Michael has even more to worry about from the two destined lovers. In the future, there might not be anything strong enough to keep Adam and Eve apart.
The thing I love about Amalia's writing is that she has such a versatile voice. Both the first and the second book span literal millennia of history, with the second book even dabbling in the future. Split timelines, split POVs, and split narratives all would be completely unwieldy in the wrong hands, but Amalia handles all of these masterfully. She seamlessly blends time periods, cultures, mythologies (PLURAL), and on top of that, a huge cast of characters.
I also loved that this book didn't feel like a transition between books 1 and 2. It was a complete story, with threads from the first book carrying through (so read book 1 first... You won't regret it anyway!) but it also left a major opening for book 3.
One of my favorite parts of the series is how Dillin handles the mythos. She finds a way to juggle thousands of years of religion and main characters that reincarnate.
The characters, despite being mainly immortal, are relatable and human. The settings are sweeping and beautifully described. There are several surprises in store, too!
Don't forget to check out the novellas in the series, too. Don't miss a moment :)
FATE FORGOTTEN is out in print and e-book from World Weaver Press. Pick it up on Amazon.
Edit: hyperlinks don't seem to be working for some reason, sorry folks! I'll fix them tonight.