Friday, August 21, 2009

Continued Writer's Block

Well, my writer's block continues, but at least I managed to figure out how to log back into this account. To my surprise, it wasn't the password I had wrong -- it was the USER ID. Lord, but I hate the brain fog caused by fibromyalgia!

I glanced through the posts on this blog and realized that I had never announced the publication of the DemonSpawn -- on the Run anthology, in which I have four stories. The book is available from at Although Amazon does not list my name, over 50% of the anthology consists of my stories. "Storm Surge" and "Midnight Sun" are reprints from DemonSpawn II, which is now out of print. "Seesaw, Margery Daw" and "Nevermore" are first-time publications by Sybaritic Press.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Long Time No Post

I've been suffering from long-time writer's block lately, including posting to this blog. It's basically the result of depression from being down-sized from my day job and not being able to find anything new. Of course, in today's depressed economy, I'm not the only one in the same boat.

So, here's to getting back into writing mode again. I'm getting ready to try some new writing venues, from an advice page to writing about my newest passion, knitting. I'll be posting updates here as I go along.

Wish me luck.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another Honour...

Good news seems to come in bulk. :-)

While scrolling through nominations in the Horror Short Story category of the 2006 Preditors and Editors Readers' Poll, I discovered that my own story "The Midnight Sun", published in DemonSpawnII by Sybaritic Press, had been nominated. Of course, I was jubilated. I've been nominated for (and won) a number of fannish awards (such as those in yesterday's post), but this was my first nomination for any of my pro writing.

Anyway, after my exhileration died down (and after I'd notified everyone far and wide of my nomination), I pulled out the anthology for a good look at it (and to give it a few loving pats, to tell the truth), only to discover that it was published in 2005, not 2006. So, the story is not actually eligible. Bummer! Irregardless, I'm still thrilled just to have been nominated.

Maybe, next year, someone will nominate me properly for one of my storie in the soon-to-be-published DemonSpawn3, also from Sybaritic Press. The three stories that have been accepted for the horror/romance anthology are "Seesaw, Margery Daw...", "Mine!" and an expanded version of "Nevermore".

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

FanQ Awards

I'm dancing with joy over receiving two 2006 Fan Quality Awards and an honorable mention, plus Blackfly Presses, of which I am editor-in-chief, won quite a number of other FanQ Awards.

Want to see? Here they are:

Fandom: ANGEL
Story -- Slash
“Cenotaph” by Jenny Saypaw, Horizontal Mosaic Vol. 10

Story -- Slash
“Nevermore” by Jenny Saypaw, Horizontal Mosaic Vol. 7

Fandom: NCIS
Story -- Slash
“A Most Delightful Spectacle” by Angelise, Horizontal Mosaic Vol. 10

Story -- Gen
“For Friendship” by Annie, Chinook Vol. 2
Story -- Slash
“Ghost in the Machine” by Stormy StormHeller, Jim and Blair Do the Timewarp
’Zine -- Slash
Jim and Blair Do the Timewarp

Story -- Slash
“Secret Identities” by CJ, Horizontal Mosaic Vol. 7


Fandom: CSI
Story -- Slash
“Teaching the Greg-O” by Angelise, Horizontal Mosaic Vol. 9

Artist -- Slash
Olivia, The Rescue Series by Angelise

Artist -- Slash
Jenny Saypaw, various Blackfly zines

Poem/filk -- Gen
“Sonnets from the Jedi” by Portia MacBeth, Chinook Vol. 2

Fandom: X-FILES
Story -- Slash
“Thirteenth Day” by m.butterfly, Horizontal Mosaic, Vol. 10

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Progress -- Not!

Oh! How I wish I were independently wealthy so that I could spend my time and energy on writing and not on on the daily struggle to keep a roof over my head and catfood in Sheldon's bowl! I'm on a contract now that has me working full-time on the far side of the city, with a 1 to 1.5 hour commute each way (depending on weather and traffic). I used to write on the subway, but back then I was commuting at an hour when there were actually seats left and elbow room to scribble on a notepad... As for writing on the bus portion of the route, need I mention "motion sickness"? And there's no way I can write while standing waiting at the bus stop with the wind howling in my ears, snow swirling around me, and my fingers too frozen to hold a pen! I did try composing in my head, but I get caught up in that, and people look at me funny. This week I was plotting out a suicide/death scene and got so emotionally involved that I started crying. The other passengers were either looking at me strangely or offering to help...

Sigh. It's just that working for a living has cut severely into my time to write, and the exhaustion from the daily grind/commute is leaving me brain-drained. After editing technical documentation and pseudo-code all day, I have to force myself to turn on the computer at night just to read my email. I've become allergic to Microsoft Word.

Anyway... I have started the DUG novel, but it's not progressing nearly as fast as it was while I was between jobs. Right now I'm working on the flashback of how Joe finally agreed to be turned.

The Van Helsing WIP is almost done. It's stalled at the love scene I need to write to complete it -- and the stall isn't due to a missing muse. It's due to lack of time/energy to write it.

I've got the Chinook story all plotted out and have even completed the prologue. The bad guys have just appeared on the scene.

I've done some illustrations for some upcoming zines, but haven't found time to work on any art for myself for shows.

And that's where it stands right now. Indeed, I'm writing in this blog right now because I'm procrastinating doing the technical writing I've been contracted to do over this weekend...

Sigh and double-sigh.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Having just emerged from the latest round of editing for three zines that debuted at Zebra Con this past week, I find that my thirst for writing has come back with a vengence. It's time for me to produce my own words, rather than reviewing those of other people over and over again. The plot bunnies are in full stampede, and there aren't enough hours in the day!

As usual, I'm over-researching everything. In doing background research on aboriginal tribes in the rainforests of Peru, I've become fascinated by the Machiguenga culture. Modern civilization could learn a lot from these people.

So, my current projects are:
  • Finishing the "Vampire in the Vatican" WIP I've been working on for over a year now
  • Writing a Demon Under Glass novel entitled Blood Hostage
  • Writing a TS story for Chinook 3 (that's the one I'm doing the Machiguenga research for)
  • Writing a ghost town story for Jim and Blair Do the Town
  • Finishing my "Leave of Absence" DUG WIP that I've been working on for more than two years now
  • Doing up some pictures for artshows in addition to all the illustrating for zines that I do

Monday, August 15, 2005

Writing Process

Someone on one of the lists I’m on asked all the writers what their writing process was. I ended up putting together the following explanation of how I do it. After I posted it there, I thought it might be something good to put up here as well.

I usually start a story when my muse hits me over the head and says, “Hey, here’s an idea. Work with it.” That can be anything from:

1. A personal challenge (example: Firefly’s River character is very complex and speaks/acts far from what would be considered “normal”. I’d been asking myself if I could catch her voice. Then, as I was free-associating poetry for my own pleasure, I realized that something I had written sounded like River. That poem became the nucleus for “Burning Bright”. See previous post in this blog for details.)

2. A setting interests me so much it begs for a story to go with it (example: I became fascinated with the violence and fury of hurricanes and decided I wanted to do a story about surviving one. The next question was to look at my fandoms and figure out who would logically find themselves in the path of such a storm. Thus my favourite Demon Under Glass guys got up close and personal with a hurricane in “Storm Surge”.)

3. A moral, ethical or intellectual issue starts me wondering how would handle it (example: Could a millennia-old vampire have lived that long without having developed some sort of moral compass? I ended up writing “Midnight Sun”.)

4. What happens next? (example: So, after the Delphi debacle in the DUG movie, did Gwen move on to other things or continue to obsess? My supposition of what she ended up doing is the basis for “Leave of Action”, the DUG story I am currently working on for Sybaritic Press.)

5. What if [fill in the blank]? (example: The winner of my What’s-Your-Pleasure? story in the Moonridge auction last year asked me to do an AU /DUG/ story based in Baltimore. In discussing Baltimore, the subject of the Poe Toaster came up, and I decided to use the annual event in my story. In my research, I noticed a passing resemblance between Poe and Joe, plus found an intriguing description of Poe’s death. I ended up asking myself, “What if Simon had known Poe and that Poe’s death was an unsuccessful attempt to turn him into a vampire? How would that affect his subsequent actions and his relationship with Joe?” The result was “Nevermore”, published in Vol. 7 of Horizontal Mosaic.

6. Someone asks me, “Please write [fill in the blank].” (examples: Almost any themed zine I have ever tribbed to.)

So, I guess I’m saying that my inspiration can come from any number of sources.

The next step is to figure out a plot to go along with the inspiration idea. It’s sort of like doing a sketchy outline in my mind. I usually end up with an idea of where I want to start and where I want to end, with a tentative plan on how to get there. In the past, I have tried to work with a detailled outline the way I was taught in school, but I found it too restrictive , and my writing ended up stilted. I also found I was writing myself into corners because the original outline had not allowed for an unexpected question or constraint turning up in my background research. I ended up going back to the sketchy mental outline as working better for me.

After that, I start researching anything impacting the story: geography, historical background, laws, biology/medicine, discussions of moral issues, whatever. I’ll also gather a list of appropriate words and phrases dealing with things I plan to put in the story (example: variations on words dealing with the supernatural, phrases quantifying different qualities of light at night, etc.).

Finally I start writing. I write linearly, although I may frequently go back to earlier parts to tweak them to match what I’ve written since that point. Usually I visualize the action in my mind, then describe what I see. In a manner of speaking, the characters tell their own stories as I try to figure out what the next logical response would be to whatever I have already down.

I suffer from brain fog due to fibromyalgia. Over the past few years I have noticed a definite slowing in my mental processes. Sometimes the story just flows, but more often than not, I have to struggle with it word by word ( the thesaurus is my very best friend). Sometimes it becomes so bad that it can take me up to four hours to write a single paragraph... to find the right words and cadence before I lose the thought entirely. But basically, I set myself a goal of writing a minimum of one paragraph a day.

The next day I review whatever I wrote the day before in order to get myself back into the flow. Almost always I see better ways of expressing myself and end doing considerable re-writing. Then I start on the new text.

When the story is finished, I send it to a minimum of two betas, preferably more, and ask them to look at everything and anything. After I do all the rewrites based on their feedback, I am finally ready to post the story or submit it to a publisher.

And basically, that is my writing process. I know—more information than anyone wanted, but for some reason the words are flowing better than usual tonight.