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Showing posts from 2012

The Hobbit: A Soundtrack Review

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Well, likely many of you reading this today got a chance to head over to your local theater and join the craziness that was the midnight showing of Peter Jackson's rendition of The Hobbit. I was not among that throng, but I have been able to get a good listen to the soundtrack over the past few days, so that's what I'll review for the time being.
I have not been disappointed in Shore's return to Middle Earth. Well, except for Neil Finn’s performance of “The Lonely Mountain Song,” which will run under the film’s credits. The light, reverb-laden vocal interpretation of an otherwise excellent theme did not succeed in capturing the essence of the Tolkien universe the way Annie Lennox’s “Into the West,” or Enya’s “May It Be” did.
That small failing aside, The Hobbit soundtrack strikes a wonderful balance between resonance and awe. The interpolation of themes Shore used in TheLord of the Ringscreates the exact feeling that readers who return to Tolkien's work time and time…

On Productivity in Writing

Well, I got to post my "winner" badge for NaNoWriMo on November 30th, with 12 hours to spare. Looking back, the question I ask myself is this: will I ever do NaNo again?

For those of you unfamiliar with NaNo, November is National Novel Writing Month, and NaNo is a challenge to authors to write 50,000 words in one month. This boils down to just under 1700 words each day, but for most real people, works out to many more words per day they write, because very few people I know (if any) write EVERY day on the same project.

Like most NaNoers, I slumped in the middle. A nasty cold got a hold of me and obliterated my plans for getting up at 5 am to write every day. Or maybe the cold was just an excuse. While there are things I did genuinely like about working in the quiet of the predawn hours and starting my day off with some creativity, I am, by nature, a night owl, so I probably only got up at 5 for about two weeks total.

I may get back to the getting up at 5 routine after the ho…

The Agony and The Ecstasy: Why Being Creative is Sometimes Painful

Sometimes having ideas is a real pain in the neck.

When I was younger, I was never consumed with artistic passion. Certainly, I enjoyed making things--films, drawings, the occasional sculpture. They were a natural outgrowth of who I was and am. But I'm finding as I get older, my ideas are beginning to take hold of me in a way they never used to. While I can never hope to aspire to the level of genius of one of the "old masters," I do begin to see what people mean when they ascribe the phrase, "the agony and the ecstasy" to the life and work of Michelangelo.

When I began to write, I really only had one idea, the idea that birthed Curse Bearer. What began as just a toe in the water of writing quickly became an overwhelming flood that swept me away in the current of creation. I nurtured that idea for several years, and then began to realize quite a few other ideas were rushing along in the current as well.

The Windrider Saga was born and entered the public eye. The…

In Pursuit of a Title

Well, NaNoWriMo isn't going too badly. I'm still scheduled to finish ahead of time, even accounting for two days off from writing due to a really persistent cold that has been keeping me in bed instead of writing at 5 am like I'd planned. It's probably because my husband was so impressed how I managed to bolt out of bed at 5 for about a week and a half. Then the combination of sleeplessness, coughing, and eventually Nyquil shattered that illusion.

But I hope to recover in the coming week. Being Thanksgiving week, I only have three days of work, so I will be able to indulge my night-owl productivity more than usual. Hooray for that!

Now that the book is what I'd call mostly roughed out, I think it's about time to stop calling it WRIIINanoDraft. (That's the lovely file name it has right now.) It deserves a real title, and I historically rot at titling anything.

The current phrase I'm looking at to entitle this installment of the saga is...

Valor's Wort…

Post-pourri--NaNo, Interviews, and More

Well friends...I headed into this month thinking I would keep you updated on NaNo, but I fear my little sidebar widget has been all I've been able to depend on for updates. It seems trying to write 1600+ words a day leaves me for very little time to blog. There are a few things I wanted to make sure you knew about though, aside from my NaNo mania.

This week, Jennette Mbewe is hosting a three-part interview and giveaway on her blog. We're trying to get as much word out about Curse Bearer as possible, so please drop by her posts. You can find the first one here: Jennette's fine blog interview. There will be subsequent posts on Wednesday and Friday.

You'll see there is a giveaway associated with the interview, which is hosted at my facebook page. By liking my page, tweeting or posting about my work, or reviewing Curse Bearer, you can gain entries into the giveaway for books, ebooks, tshirts, and artwork. Jennette worked hard to set up this excellent giveaway, so gain some…

NaNo, Day 1

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Well, NaNoWriMo began today, and believe it or not, this is my first time to give it a shot. Three books published, and I've never done NaNo. I was beginning to feel like I wasn't entirely sold out to this "writer" thing, so I took the plunge this year.

Believe it or not, it was not hard for me to get up at 5 am to start writing. Who knew that creative time would be powerful enough to defeat my love affair with blankets and warm coziness? Well, at least for one day. As the battle continues to rage throughout November, we shall see how well I continue to do.

Honestly, though, I can see how early risers have a bit of a love affair with the pre-dawn and dawn hours. Right now, because we haven't gotten back to standard time, the sun comes up at about 7:30 am, and I get to watch the sunrise on my way to work. It really tends to be a glorious display of pink and gold beauty. And since I now take winding country roads to work, I can appreciate it way more that I would s…

A Once in a Lifetime Type of Release

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Curse Bearer, the first book in The Risen Age Archive released in early October, an I have been swept up in a whirlwind of activity in my efforts to work the promotion angle for this book. As many of you may recall, back in the end of August, I ran a successful Kickstarter Campaign to fund the marketing campaign for this book. We reached the $3500 funding goal in about 19 days, and even after the campaign was over, the donations continued to come in. We ended up raising $4997, all told.

The Kickstarter campaign, in and of itself, worked as a marketing tool for the book because it generated some presales of the novel as well as interesting some of my local media outlets in what I was doing...something that might not have happened without taking a trendy approach to this book release. With the funds raised from the campaign, I will be able to push the book in targeted markets. With the extra donations, I will be able to enter fiction contests and try to win some accolades for the novel.…

Do You NaNo?

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November is coming. And November mean NaNoWriMo...or to those of you newer to authorial circles: National Novel Writing Month. It's a sort of "compete against yourself" contest where authors try to write 50,000 words in one month. That's about 200 pages, at least the way I set margins and line spacing. This requires a per-day average of a little over 1600 words, but really, it's more, because I don't know anybody who writes every day of the week.

I have never yet in my 5 years of writing fiction tackled NaNo. Every year, it comes around and I think, "I'd really LIKE to do it this year, but..." This year, I am going to kick myself in the tush and do it. Why? Because the fact is, every project I've got on my hard drive right now is published in some form or another. (Two of them will be self published in the next couple of weeks in order to fulfill rewards for my Kickstarter campaign, and all my completed Windrider and Curse Bearer stuff is n…

Curse Bearer is Officially Out of the Bag

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Many different people have referred to the process of creating books and movies like this: A book is never actually "released." It just eventually escapes.

Now, I have to admit, for as long as I have been working on my current release,Curse Bearer, I know I'll  never feel entirely sure I have done everything I possibly could have to sharpen the book. But the fact is, if I was allowed to rework everything I possibly could, I would rewrite the book over and over for my entire life, and it would never come out. There is a great lesson to be learned in calling something done and allowing it to be what it is at that point.

The reviews from my advance readers are coming in, and most of those reviews are from writers. I'm amassing a pile of solid, four-star reviews with a couple of fives thrown in. At first, the four stars were giving me heart palpitations, but the more I read them, the more at peace I am. The points that my reviewers have cited in withholding my final star…

Writing Circumstances Beyond My Control

The day a book goes "live" on Amazon or Barnes and Noble is exciting in a sickening, hang on for dear life, all I can do is watch everything unfold sort of way.

For the past five years, my imagination and efforts have been consumed (for the most part) by the creation, rewriting, tweaking, overhauling, and details of a book I once called The Sword of the Patron. It was the first novel I ever began to write, and now I would say it is in something like its third version since its inception. And that labor of much angst, joy, struggle, and triumph is now available for sale, over a week before I thought it might be on the virtual shelves.

Until now, the fate of my work has been more or less in my hands. I could have my say about what stayed or went. I could advocate for the story, or the look of the book, or the promotional information. But now that the book is released, it's like sending your child  away to college. You've done all you think you possibly could to prepare…

Curse Bearer Gets Its Cover

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Yes, fantasy fans, here it is! If you aren't one of my facebook contacts, perhaps you haven't seen this yet: The cover for my book releasing October 2012!

I have known what the cover painting for this book was for quite a few months, actually, since Christina Hess did such an awesome job of getting it to me so quickly. I even had a pretty clear idea how the text would play out. But still, when you see it attached to an email that says "This project is done and going to the printer in the morning..." that's still pretty exciting stuff. I don't know if that ever gets old, no matter how many books you write.

So keep your eyes open for Curse Bearer at your favorite book etailer...I will be sure to post an announcement when I know the book is up for pre-order or regular sale.

Thanks for dropping by!

Great Crowdfunding News!

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I'm excited to report: with just a couple of days to go in the Launch Curse Bearer Kickstarter Campaign, the small army of backers has reached the campaign's goal of $3500 worth of funding! As of Thursday morning, the amount raised tipped over the "success" level, so that means all of the marketing stuff I have planned for the book is a go. Of course, the campaign remains open to donations until midnight of the Saturday, September 15th, so if you or someone you know was still thinking of contributing, it's not too late. The one thing about advertising and marketing--there's no such thing as too much of it.

The crowdfunding trend is one I am finding very interesting. Projects tend to have excellent success or crash completely. From what I am seeing, it has about 20% to do with what the project actually IS and 80% to do with how that project is presented.

For example: a book project with a garbled description is pretty much doomed to failure. The general publi…

Of Books and New Names

Today, I got the official word that the adjustments to the series name on my novel releasing next month are locked down. The journey through titles on this coming book has been something like canoeing through rapids.

I wrote two-thirds of the manuscript back in the rough-draft stages (wow, that seems like ages ago) calling it nothing but "Danae's Story." I have always had a deep an abiding loathing of titling my works. I never title my drawings. I always struggled to affix a title to my films in college, and then they usually turned out to maintain the name of the works I was adapting for film ("The Highwayman," based on the poem by Alfred Noyes, and "The Cat and the Fiddler," based on the short story by Lloyd Alexander, for example.) This title-phobia extended quite naturally into when I started writing fiction.

I finally settled on a title of The Sword of the Patron for my novel, since I was going to start showing it to people and I figured I better…

The Home Stretch

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For those of you who have been waiting for moreWindriderSketches, I do apologize there haven't been more forthcoming in the past few weeks. It seems my attention has become completely monopolized by the last stages of gettingCurse Bearerready for its release this October.
I imagine it's possible that some of you who frequent this blog may be familliar with only Vinyanel and his exploits, so maybe a little summary is in order...
Curse Beareris the novel I started before I wrote a single word of Windrider stories. Back when it went by its old name,Sword of the Patron,  I can credit the connection I made with Diminished Media toCurse Bearer'spresence on a forum. You see, I was participating in an online critique forum over at ChristianWriters.com, and Tim Ambrose caught sight of the type of work I was writing and asked me if I would consider submitting a story to the then brand-new Digital Dragon Magazine. Hence,The Windrider Sagawas born, and grew up quickly, while I also plod…

Kick it Into Gear

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Have you ever heard of Kickstarter? I hadn't until very recently, when a few of my very talented artist friends started promoting projects they were working on through Kickstarter.com. Kickstarter exists to help creative people fund projects they want to complete, but need financial resources to make it a success.

My former college roommate, Christina Hess, sponsored a campaign to create a book of illustrations of animals portrayed as historical figures. Who knew the world of the internet that animals in clothes would be so wildly popular? (Christina did, apparently. She exceeded her fundraising goal. And of course, her work is so stunning, it's easy for backers to get behind.)

Then there's Drew Gilbert, who (as of this writing is in the final days of his campaign) who has been working on a documentary about people who have undertaken "wireless" careers in order to see the world while still gainfully employed. They are 80% of the way to an ambitious goal, and I…

Windrider Saga Character Sketch Series #2: Majestrin

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All right, commentors and fans, you got it--the consensus on the next sketch to go up on the blog was in favor of Majestrin, so here we go.

Majestrin is a mature silver dragon (mature meaning being just over 1800 years old during the time frame the Windrider stories take place.) His natural habitat is the colder northern reaches of the country of Radromir, high in the peaks of the always-snowclad Triastead mountians, the main mountain range on the western side of Argent. While he prefers colder climates, he can manage in just about any environment. Whether he'll be happy about it is another story.

The dragons of Majestrin's world employ breath weapons of huge variety, from freezing liquid (think liquid nitrogen) to paralyzing gas, to chlorine, to magma, and of course, the old standby, fire. All dragons are limited in how often they can utilize their breath, however, as a mixure of biological processes and magical replication determines the potency of the gas cloud, liquid, or …

Windrider Saga: Character Sketch Series #1

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As I work my way through the third book of the Windrider Saga, I find myself struggling to claim writing time from life. Less writing time means the gears get rusty and the inspiration flows more slowly. This particular book is demanding that I know the characters of the series in different ways than I've put on the page before, so in order to get my mind working in that direction, I've decided to do a little doodling on them. It always seems to get the ideas loosened up.

Now, maybe this is all self-indulgence, but I figured I'd share these little doodles with you as well.

Meet Veranna, Half Elven Prophetess of Creo


Veranna is 53 years old, which is the half elven equivalent to being in her early 20's. She was born to a Thelenese gypsy mother and an elven father who was a minstrel of Celevonese in origin.

Cultural pressures drove Veranna's parents apart, but Veranna's father was of greater means than her mother, so he took custody of the infant half-elf. As a rul…

A Drive-By of ConnectiCon

The sci-fi and fantasy convention scene is one with which I am relatively unfamiliar. You would think with my gaming background, the number of friends I have who are into comics, and my media immersion, that I would have spent a lot of time flitting from convention to convention, but that's not the case.

On the spur of the moment, I decided I was going to jump in the car and head for Connecticut in order to take a look at ConnectiCon, not so much for entertainment purposes, but to research the setting for the sake of using as a possible sales venue for the Faith and Fantasy Alliance.  (If you're wondering what that is all about, it's still pretty undeveloped, but you can find the gist here: http://faithandfantasycon.wordpress.com/about/ )

It's interesting to view a fan event through the eyes of a potential vendor, that's for sure. One of the things I saw that was glaringly obvious: if you want to sell at a Con, you DON'T want to be in the artist/author's ar…

Grouchy, Sedentary Writers

First, I will open with an apology that I have only been dropping a post into this space bi-weekly at best. I know infrequent posting is a good way to kill an audience, but like the bulk of the US right now, I'm in a drought. If my writing life were a front lawn, you'd better not throw your partially-extinguished cigarette butt on it, because everything would go up in an instant inferno.

Its not that I haven't been writing. I've actually been writing quite a bit--just different stuff than usual. Happily, my day job now has me working on blog posts and press releases, which gives me permission to write about a strange combination of geeky band stuff, movie sound tracks, and self-publishing. But as for fiction, that world has been a wasteland for me, to the point where I have been wondering if the project I have going needs to hit the shelf for a few months, since every time I open the file, I write about seven hundred words and grind to a halt. The irony of that is the …

Brave: A Case of Inflated Expectations?

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I will be the first to admit--from the moment I first spied the luminescent grass and the gorgeous musculature beneath the black shire's coat in the Brave teaser trailer that came out last year, I have been dying to see this movie. The gorgeous visuals set my limbs trembling, as good animation always does. I waited with impatient mouse clicks of checking and re-checking for a full-length trailer, and when that day came feasted with even more savor over the beauty Pixar had in store.

We bought tickets in advance for Friday's showing. I prepped my kids that it was going to be a great treat Friday morning to go see the movie together on one of my rare weekdays off.

So, in the blazing heat of June 22nd, we hoofed across the parking lot of the newest theater in town and took our seats twenty-five minutes early so we could be in the high-center of the theater, my preferred place for seeing a film for the sake of both visual and sound experience.

And from a visual and sound standpoi…

You Can Only Account for So Much Stupidity

I am a huge fan of David Farland's Daily Kick in the Pants, a column of writing tips he sends out now and again. Today he was talking about how you can't expect every one who reads to be a rocket scientist, but sometimes, it can be astounding how completely...well...numbskulled people can be when they comment or complain about books. Here's just a part of what he had to say about one such reader...

Yet sometimes a reader will be so obnoxiously asinine, so resplendently stupid, that you just have to sit back in awe. For example, I got a review on Amazon.com from a young person who just found that the Runelords had too many unintentionally comic images. Mainly he objected to the word “ponies,” which only came up once in the novel.


Ponies, of course, are breeds of horses often derived from populations found in mountain ranges. They tend to be heavy-bodied, small-hooved, large-chested, and have great endurance. When you ride one through thick brush or trees, you’re less likel…

A Nit to Pick: Passive Voice

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As writers, we all have the ginormous job of learning the craft of writing. Just like you wouldn't try to build a house and expect it to stand without first learning something about carpentry and architecture, you can't expect to just sit down and punch out a story with the expectation it won't stink unless you get a sense of what rules exist and why.

When I was in junior high and high school, we spent a lot of time focusing on eliminating passive voice from our writing. Though I may have cursed the Downingtown Area School District's secondary English department while I learned under their tutelage, I am immensely grateful for the way they taught me good mechanics back in the day. Now, when I say passive voice, I mean the classic, grammatical definition, which is:  "the voice used to indicate that the grammatical subject of the verb is the recipient (not the source) of the action denoted by the verb." It is a very specific construction rule...not a nebulous,…

Reviews for Friends

We writers, especially Christian writers, are a small, tight-knit group.  That group gets even smaller and tighter when you narrow it to Christian Speculative Fiction writers. I am deeply grateful for the good friends I have made, if only virtually, in this writing journey I am on.

It was a lot easier, though, when we were all pre-published. At that phase of the game, we were exchanging critiques, delivering the hard truth to one another on our manuscripts, because we all wanted to see these embryonic books grow to maturity and find homes in the publishing world. We could say what needed to be said back then, because we could all see the goal--we all needed iron to sharpen iron so our work would be as honed as we could possibly get it before it went out a-courtin'.

I'm finding myself in a new, much more difficult spot, now that I'm reading published books, written by friends, whose manuscripts I never saw during the iron-sharpening-iron phase. For those of you who have kno…

On Being a Band Geek in a Christian School

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Tonight marked the spring concert at my kids' school--always a crazy time for my family, since my husband teaches k-12 music at the school, which includes general music classes, elementary chorus, middle school chorus, and high school chorus, and my sister is the band director at the school as well. The only program we have at our little Christian school that someone related to me doesn't run is the string program, but I have a child in that, too, so that program adds to our familial hubbub in its own way.

Some people might think we're crazy to perpetuate such seasons of insanity in our lives, but honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I was a band geek to rule all band geeks during my educational years (as well as a choir member, though band was a more deeply-ingrained part of my being, I have to say), and when we decided to send our kids to Christian school rather that home school them, I was a deeply disturbed that my eldest (a french horn player) was going to …

The Latest on the Art Side

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Lately, I've been in the mode of producing art work for several projects while I wait for the copyedit back of Curse Bearer, my novel set to release from Other Sheep (an imprint of Written World Communications) this summer. What sorts of projects have I been working on?
Well, related to Curse Bearer, I have been noodling some ideas for chapter heading art, which I'm thinking might take the form of three symbols represented in the book. You see, Curse Bearer is a book that will function in three parts.
Part one of the book deals with Danae Baledric's conflicts in her home city of Dayelston, where an occupying army has a choke hold on the natives. For this section of the book, I'm thinking it would be appropriate for the header image to be that of the occupying Theocracy. The symbol? The gargoyle of Queldurik.

The conflicts and issues in Part I drive Danae from her homeland, and it is within this section of the story she learns some unsettling truths about what's rea…

Sober cheesecake

Today is my day over at the group blog, The Cheesecake thickens. If you're new around these parts and wondering what that's about, it's a little place those of us who have "graduated" from the New Authors Fellowship (and graduation means having landed a publishing contract) now blog together for the sake of readers and writers alike.

Today's post is reflective and quiet, which is a bit of a departure for me, but I hope you will stop in. I felt there was no other topic upon which I could write, with so many people around me mourning the loss of family, friends, colleagues, babies, even pets.

May you have a week full of unexpected joy!

http://thecheesecakethickens.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/just-a-step-away/
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Hello friends of the speculative arts!
Have you ever had an idea that just won't leave you alone? I keep trying to ignore the concept of creating an annual event for lovers of fantasy, science fiction, and other "weird" stories--for people who also happen to be  trying to live their lives with their faith emblazoned upon them for all to see--but the idea keeps rearing its head no matter where I try to tuck it.

And so, here is the first public introduction to this idea: FaithandFantasyCon2012.

Here's the concept as I see it:
For a couple of days, authors, filmmakers, artists, musicians, fans, anyone at all interested, really, would come together to celebrate what about the speculative arts can serve as a conduit of our worldview to the world, in ways that are effective, winsome, and just plain cool. A time to discuss how to live as a person of faith who also happens to love things not of this world.  It would be a time to encourage one another, that althou…

Earning Your Keep

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For those of you who read my Facebook posts over at Rebecca P Minor, Author and Artist may have seen my update that I have "earned out" on my inaugural effort at published fiction, The Windrider Saga. (Meaning my publisher has been able to recoup the cost of producing my book through sales.) Now, this is not a giant amount of money that has moved around, since I am dealing with a small publisher who is using print-on-demand technology, but it is significant in that Diminished Media has been able to help me make available a book that isn't leaving them in the red, given the staggering number of books in the publishing industry that never "earn out." I am pleased that I have a very good chance of significantly surpassing the average performance of speculative fiction in the Christian market.

That all being said, however, I am keenly aware that I have reached the point where you might call the honeymoon over. Many authors I have spoken with have a strong start, on…

Small Press Reality

Earlier this week, my comrade in arms Diane Graham posted on her blog about her sales numbers on her inaugural novel, I Am Ocilla. Diane has challenged herself to sell a minimum of eight hundred copies before December, in an effort to justify the cost for her publisher to enter her book into the Christy Awards for 2013. When Diane had first embarked upon this challenge, she spoke of how the average Christian Speculative Fiction book sells about three hundred copies in a year.

Three hundred copies.

I remember watching movie not that long ago--the disaster movie 2012. It wasn't very good, but we had gotten it from Netflix and wouldn't have anything else until we returned it, so I figured we might as well see it through and get our money's worth. Anyway, one of the characters in the story is a writer--a guy who poured himself into his book, and apparently wrote a pretty good book--that only ended up selling about four hundred copies. He basically lost his wife over his rabid …

A Thanks to Morgan L Busse

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Today, I found out Marcher Lord Press author Morgan L Busse posted a new review of the second book of my Windrider Saga on her blog. Drop by Morgan's little corner of the universe and check out her thoughts on A Greater Strength. And while you're there, why not read some of her other posts about life and faith? I'm sure you will come away with an appreciation of a tender-hearted woman of God if you do.

Thanks, Morgan!


Depression, Your Lease is Up

And as your landlord, it seems to me it is not in my best interest to renew.

As I contemplated my current state of mind as I drove to work this morning, my eyes often glazed with a haze of tears, it occurred to me that I have probably been fighting a battle of dreading every day for the last 25 years. For the bulk of that time, it's been sort of a low-grade pain--one that I have pretty much aways chalked up to having a melancholy personality. During certain seasons, that perpetual sanding on my heart spikes to crushing agony, though, and when that happens, my desperation to feel better kicks in. The trouble with depression, however, is its uncanny way of making you too paralyzed to do anything about the very thing you want to nip so you can stop suffering. And my personal struggle is that once I don't feel absolutely horrendous, I don't stay ticked off enough to pursue the help I know I need. I get back into the "I can survive, I just need a better outlook," mode…

Anyone for a little cheesecake? Or a shiny, new book?

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I freely admit, this is going to be a little bit of a non-post today--most of my brain cells went into signing my first case of books last night in order to ship them out to those who have ordered and paid for them. It was definitely cool to see a whole pile of books arrive in a heavy box! As much as the release of the individual ebooks that comprise this print edition of the Windrider Saga are just as "real," there's nothing quite like hefting that first paper book.

The rest of the brain cells I had left last night funneled into creating a post for my day over at The Cheesecake Thickens. We newly published authors who are writing together at TCT are working hard to build a consistent audience for the blog, so we would all be deeply gratified if you dropped by. My post for today reflects on what it takes for a dreamer to become a doer. Easier said than done, right?
http://thecheesecakethickens.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/dreams-are-not-enough/

Finding Like-Minded (Weird) People

I've had this niggling little idea in the back of my head for a while now that I keep pushing away like I would a cat that's trying to rub on my chin while I'm reading. But, like that metaphorical cat, the idea is persistent, so I may just have to think about it in a more serious way to quiet the noise in my mind.

What is this notion? It has to do with the way those of us who write speculative fiction mourn the fact that at Christian writers conferences, we always feel like the red-headed step child. We don't quite fit with Amish fiction authors, romance writers, and the mom-lit crowd. In an effort to remind ourselves we're not alone in our freakishness, we band together. We like our zombies, our swords, and our dirigibles. We don't even ask that you understand.

But I can't help but feel like it's high time we speculative fiction authors stop fighting the current for recognition and respect. Don't get me wrong--I am very glad for the strides the Ch…