Potlatch 23 Writers Workshop

http://www.potlatch-sf.org/  Potlatch 23, February 21-23, 2014

Welcome to the Writers’ Workshop! The workshop is open to all speculative fiction writers, regardless of experience. It’s a place to get feedback on your writing and decide what you need to work on next. You’ll have the chance to hear a professional writer critique your work, along with several of your peers. Critiques will be done in a round-robin Clarion West style. This workshop style allows all the participants to read and critique everyone’s work.

Hugo-winner David D. Levine has volunteered to be the guest professional for our workshop.

Please submit a 2,000 to 8,000 word story in .rtf or .doc format to workshop@potlatch-sf.org by midnight PST on February 1, 2014. You may send your story ahead of time. Formatting for your story should follow the guidelines at http://www.sfwa.org/writing/vonda/vonda.htm

The stories will be rounded up and emailed to the participants. Please let me know if you would prefer hard copy mailings. Please bring hard copy notes or marked-up manuscripts to the workshop.

The workshop will be held Saturday during the lunch break. Lunch will be provided. Please let me know of any dietary restrictions.

Check the website for updates as the convention approaches. To attend the workshop, you must purchase a membership to Potlatch.

While it’s not mandatory, consider getting a ticket to the banquet.  You’ll rub elbows with Potlatch’s attending guests, famous (and not-so-famous) writers, and other folk interested in the genre community.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Any questions?  Send me questions!  workshop@potlatch-sf.org

Morning Glories

Flying close to the sun. The word “Perihelion” means: (and I quote)

The perihelion is the point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid or comet where it is nearest to the sun.

The word perihelion stems from the Greek words “peri,” meaning near, and “helios,” meaning the Greek god of the sun.

So I guess that means I’ll be flying close to the sun when my story, “MORNING GLORIES,” is published by Perihelion Magazine on October 12, 2013!

MORNING GLORIES is about an out-of-control science experiment that goes gloriously right. It’s based on something real, real science of flower genetics. And for those of you who’ve been forced to read my drafts, think “yams.”

Perihelion Science Fiction

n.b.: this was my Clarion West 2010 submission story.

Speculative Literature Foundation’s Older Writers’ Grant

Older Writer’s Grant

Did I mention that I was selected as the 2013 winner of the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Older Writer’s Grant?

Yep.

K.C. Ball, the previous year’s winner, tipped me off.  And then I received an incredible email from Malon Edwards, the administrator of the grant.  Let me show it to you:

SPECULATIVE LITERATURE FOUNDATION
PO Box 1693
Dubuque, IA 52004-1693

info@speculativeliterature.org – http://www.speculativeliterature.org/

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2013

SPECULATIVE LITERATURE FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES OLDER WRITERS GRANT WINNER

The Speculative Literature Foundation is pleased to announce that its
tenth annual Older Writers Grant is to be awarded to Jude-Marie
“Kelly” Green. The $750 grant is intended to assist writers who are
fifty years of age or older at the time of the grant application, and
who are just starting to work at a professional level.

Born March 17, 1960, Green is, in her own words, a child of the 60s
who prefers tie-dye and doesn’t wear makeup.

Growing up, she read her brother Steve’s cast-off comic books,
including Doctor Strange and Weird Tales, and her mother’s cast-off
novels, Valley Of The Dolls and The Godfather. Runaway Robot, another
hand-me-down from her brother, was the first science fiction novel she
ever read.

While Green doesn’t read science fiction and fantasy exclusively these
days, it’s not surprising that those two genres are, as she puts it,
most likely to delight her.

Writing success for Green has been relatively recent. Though she has
been writing all of her life, she says she only began applying herself
in 2004. Soon after, she sold her first short story to the anthology,
“Say, Why Aren’t We Crying?”. Two years later, she sold her second
short story.

In 2006, Green applied to both Clarion and Clarion West, but was not
accepted. Determined, she applied again to Clarion West in 2010, and
gained acceptance into what she calls a horde of splendid writers.
Green likes to think the Clarion West experience has improved her
writing, and it was there she “rethought everything, from what
constitutes entertainment to why some words are too much for a given
story structure.”

Now, a mother of three children in their 20’s – two who are science
fiction fans – Green writes about women, the intersection of first and
third world living, aliens, technology, romance, and hell.  The judges
for the Older Writers Grant appreciated the mix of a lead female
character, technology and romance in her writing. Grant Administrator
Malon Edwards said of Green’s entry, “A Three Percent Chance He’ll
Ever Know I Lied”: “The story is a compelling one, and I was on edge
until the very end. The narrative, heavy with sadness, is spun out
well to get the right amount of emotion. This is a well written,
high-quality piece of fiction.”

Honorable Mentions for the Older Writers Grant go to Lynne MacLean,
Janice Croom, Lise Brody, John Walters, and Ina Claire Gabler, who
made the selection of the winner a very competitive but enjoyable
process.

—————-
The Speculative Literature Foundation is a volunteer-run, non-profit
organization dedicated to promoting the interests of readers, writers,
editors and publishers in the speculative literature community.

“Speculative literature” is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span
the breadth of fantastic literature, encompassing literature ranging
from hard and soft science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to
folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern
mythmaking–any literature containing a fabulist or speculative
element.

More information about the Speculative Literature Foundation is
available from its web site (http://www.speculativeliterature.org/) or
by writing to info@speculativeliterature.org.

So, there’s that.

If you have a chance to support the foundation, please do so.  They’re all good eggs.

 

 

Publications

At Clarion West 2010, I wrote a rolicking space romance rescue story, loosely based on DEADLIEST CATCH, titled “Far, Far From Land.” After two years of frustrating rewrites and advice and learning, this story has been published by wonderful editors Kelly Jennings and Shay Darrach.

Fractal fishing in asteroid belts. It’ll be the hottest thing, I guarantee it.

looky here: MENIAL: Skilled Labor In Science Fiction

Mad scientists and guinea pigs. Zombies and death. Dreams and hungers. My thoughtty zombie story, “A Three Percent Chance He’ll Every Know I Lied,” is headlining Penumbra’s February issue, Zombie Apocalypse. Try it, you’ll like it.

http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=16&products_id=536#.UP2Ixic8B8E

The Next Big Thing

Boy that sounds very full of myself, doesn’t it?  Perhaps it refers to the meme cycle itself, a wonderful blog roll of the best writers you’ve never heard of (or maybe you have.)

I was tagged by the most fabulously talented Sandra Odell, Clarion West 2010 classmate and awesome author, to be part of this.  Let me to tell you about my current work-in-progress.

1) What is the working title of your book?
The current working title is STREET SIGNS.  It’s also been called “Lady California,” “Venice is Burning,” and “that f&cking book.”

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
My dear Jim often quizzed me about California and he was especially fond of the name “Alondra.”  My internet searches turned up a fascinating and gawd-awful novel (satirized by Cervantes, even) about a group of Amazons “rescued” by a conquistador who fell in love with their leader, Lady California, and brought her and her Amazons to Spain to fight the Moors.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Genre?  Shall I be defined by genre??  I laugh in the face of your “genre” labels!  (Trans. “I have no idea.”)

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Whoopie Goldberg as Lady Califa.  Her niece, Alondra, should be played by Dakota Fanning.  And the love interest has to be Russell Crowe.  Or maybe Aaron Eckhard.  Whoever could pull off the better werewolf.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
She thought she’d saved the world in 1503.  500 years, an ocean and a continent away, she has to do it again.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It’ll probably end up in a drawer somewhere, after touring the best novel slush piles.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Time will tell.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches and Jim Butcher’s Dresden books.

9) Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Jim and Don Quixote.  And a funny house in Venice, California, which is covered with bronze statuettes.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

What: Amazons, animate bronze statues, animate street signs, Whoopi Goldberg, and werewolves aren’t enough?
Are talents nature or nurture? How do you decide what’s evil and what is not? And when is it right to intervene?

I’m hoping that these wonderful authors will participate by posting answers to THE NEXT BIG THING by next Thursday January 3:

Kim Vandervort

Tina Connolly

Sophy Zs Adani

Brian Rathbone

 

 

 

Quantum Visions

My writers group, Orange County Science Fiction Writers Orbit, has wanted to showcase their writing for some years now.  After the success of my WFC chapbook, Travels Elsewhere, (see previous post) I volunteered to edit our first chapbook.

A month later I had accepted 9 stories, designed a cover, written an introduction, crossed my fingers, and used the room party at LosCon my daughter set up as a memorial to Jim Young to hold a release party for Quantum Visions.

Quantum Visions

A production of

Orange CountyScience Fiction Writers Orbit

Table of Contents

 

 

Introduction:

Writers And Friends

 

Jude-Marie Green, Editor

 

i

     
Spamhead Jim Young 1
     
The Enchanted Hatrack Jamie Cassidy-Curtis 5
     
Again, The Last Step Robin Walton 8
     
Event Camden Parish 11
     
Farewell To The Master Chrome Oxide 13
     
Colorado River Redeemed Timothy Cassidy-Curtis 16
     
Naked Prey David R. Moore 21
     
Honey From

Rube Engill’s Apiary

 

Will Morton

 

24

 

Moonlight,

Reflected In Dewdrops

 

Shauna Roberts

 

32

     
Author Biographies Appendix
     

And it was a stunning success!  Lots of happy writers and readers (plus a continuous loop showing of Nazis At The Center of The Earth, Jim’s last movie) combined for many chapbook sales.

And now I have here, exclusively for you, some few remaining hard copies of the chapbook before we publish this electronically.  For a $5 payment you can own your own 44 page copy, gorgeously-designed, thick with stories.

Here’s the cover:

Image

Travels Elsewhere

As part of my World Fantasy Convention project in Toronto this year, I put together a chapbook of 3 stories:  Slim and Benny-Be-Damned Take It On The Lam, Compass Rose, and Hellbend For Leather. 

My idea was to have something to sign at the autographing  session at WFC.  And people bought them!  And asked me to sign them!  And even paid me for them!  I am very pleased.  I mean, I love my stories, but that doesn’t mean anyone else would.

Slim and Benny-Be-Damned Take It On The Lam was originally published in K.C. Ball’s 10Flash Quarterly.  This is a very short zombie story contemplating the differences between slow zombies and fast zombies.

Compass Rose is a previously unpublished short story about physics, pirates, and parenthood.

Hellbend For Leather is a fun longer story originally published on Defenestration.  As I see it, if you can’t make fun of the devil, who can you make fun of?

So there you have it.  If you’d like a copy, you can contact me and I’ll send you one for a minimal payment of $5; or you can wait until I have the energy to create an electronic version.

Travels Elsewhere

World Fantasy Convention

World Fantasy Con is in Toronto this year (November 1 – November 4.) I got my membership and banquet ticket early, and booked my flight and after-journey (I’m off to New York for a day after WFC,) but missed out on the hotel block. The hotel I wanted sent a nice email advising me I could book a suite for $329/night.

So I’m staying at downtown Toronto’s youth hostel. Which means I’ll be trying out downtown Toronto breakfast spots during my stay.

I go to this particular small, insular convention for a variety of reasons: free books! splendid con suite :) great parties. Mostly though I enjoy connecting with my friends. I’m very much a hermit in my day-to-day life. Conventions reassure me that all those names on facebook and livejournal and twitter and email are connected to real and generally darned nice people.

But that’s my motivation. Every year there are some authors and editors and artists who have other very strong movitations to attend WFC. This year, Cat Rambo *almost* didn’t go until she discovered she was nominated for an award (“Special Award Non-Professional,” which is fairly obscure.)

(see the list of nominees here: http://www.wfc2012.org/pr-wfawards01.html.)

I’m highly interested in the SHORT FICTION category. My writers group reads (yes, out loud, together) major award nominee short stories. This year we’ve read the Nebula nominees and the Hugo nominees (and subsequently voted on our choices for best-of) but we didn’t read the WFC nominees.

Short Fiction
• “X for Demetrious”, Steve Duffy (Blood and Other Cravings)
• “Younger Women”, Karen Joy Fowler (Subterranean Summer 2011)
• “The Paper Menagerie”, Ken Liu (F&SF 3-4/11)
• “A Journey of Only Two Paces”, Tim Powers (The Bible Repairman and Other Stories)
• “The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees”, E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld 4/11)

Except, we had read Ken Liu’s THE PAPER MENAGERIE (not twice, that would have been silly) and E. Lily Yu’s THE CARTOGRAPHER WASPS AND THE ANARCHIST BEES.

Ken’s story won both the Nebula and the Hugo, and I suspect it’ll win the WFC award, but I liked E. Lily Yu’s story better. I was alone in that among my writers group, who voted for Ken Liu’s story. Ah well. I’ll still root for Yu’s story.

And I’ll continue to wonder what the award is named. SFWA awards a Nebula; WorldCon gives out Hugos. The Academy Awards have Oscars. Someone told me the little WFC statue of H.P. Lovecraft’s head (quite grotesque and stylized) is called a “Howie,” but I can’t find that elsewhere.

I did find a past online controversy about having such a racist as the emblem of the World Fantasy Convention awards. Ah, racism. That ugly stain which permeates human culture. We do best when we don’t try to hide it but do recognize it and then don’t do it again.

If you’re in Toronto, look me up.

Magazine Spotlight – James Gunn’s Ad Astra

http://adastra.ku.edu/issue-1/

 

James Gunn wrote “The Listeners,” a novel which bears a lot of resemblance to Sagan’s “Contact.”  He is one of the OG sf writers, is professor at Kansas State University, Lawrence (Got Chalk Jayhawks!), and was named Grand Master of Science Fiction by SFWA a couple of years back.  He has a series of books outlining the history of science fiction, “The Road To Science Fiction,” which qualifies as required research for our field.  And he has a how-to-write book, “The Science of Science Fiction Writing,” which served me well in my more-formative years as a writer.

 

And now he is debuting this gorgeous magazine.

 

The premier issue is themed “Communications & Information.”   The idea: poetry, short fiction, and scholarly articles (but not dry reading, oh no) about communicating with aliens.  Even if those aliens are us (those mostly, the aliens addressed here are not.)

 

I’ve attended several Gunn workshops in Lawrence, plus the attendant Campbell Conferences (if you don’t know what those are, you should find out.)  So, I know Professor Gunn, I know Chris McKitterick, and I know the authors of some of the articles and short fiction and poetry.  I’m terrible at reviews, I am always too gushy and enthusiastic, and if I told you my opinion of the material presented here, you’d agree: too gushy by far.  But these are good solid stories (look for a fun ride with Adrian Simmons’ story, and W.C. Roberts’ poetry shows up in all the best places) and good, well-researched articles (Jean Asselin’s article about Human Evolution As A Framework for the Themes of Science Fiction is a gas, and Sheila Finch throws in an article about mythology.)

 

This is a good venue for those of us writing fiction, but also intriguing, engrossing reading.

Deadlines and the Writer Brain

I have a monthly writers’ group meeting on Sunday.  Once again, I don’t have a story ready.

I tried.  I have half a story (admittedly it was written in May.)  Clarion West taught me that I can write a story ending in the few hours I’ll have available before Sunday.  There’s just one problem: we send in the stories ahead of time via email so everyone has a chance to read and edit and form intelligent comments.  I like this method.  I just have trouble with deadlines.

I love Duotrope.  I love Duotrope’s calendar of upcoming anthology calls and themed submissions.  I sometimes write up a story to order.  But invariably I miss the deadline.  Or actually, sometimes I don’t miss.  I write up until the last minute and then paste on the last words: THE END, and in a month or so I receive a polite form rejection that doesn’t (but should) say, “Why did you waste our time with this potentially good but obviously rushed piece? Where’s the respect?”

I am glad they don’t pull out the stops on the rejections.  Deadlines deserve my polished best, not my “what can I finish in this last hour?”

Many of my writer friends put down a set amount of words per day.  I’ve never been able to do this.  I use blocks of time for different tasks: a few hours to outline, a few hours to write.  I can brainstorm and jot ideas, phrases, character bits, in short periods of time, but I haven’t successfully trained myself to write for, say, an  hour and an hour only a day.  Or to a set word limit.

But you say, “There’s always 30 days in an open submission call!  That’s plenty of large tracts of time to write a good story!”  And… yeeesssss, there would be.  Except for the brain change.

I need quite a bit of time to switch from workaday brain to writer brain.

Gotta wake up the guys in the basement.  Gotta make my cheeks tingle with potential.  Gotta close my eyes and open my mind and grab a story from the ether.

A long time ago I learned that my muse leaves me alone if I leave her alone, but if I bother her she bombards me.  I carry pen and paper at all times because (even though I seldom use the jots that spring out of the air) I want to reinforce the muse’s involvement.  And I love what she says.  My editors do too; I sell stories that come from who the heck knows where, but I do: my muse.

Then I sleep and then I wake and work and my muse is stunned into silence.

And I gotta wake her up all over again.

The words call me, though.  Perhaps the muse dreams!  I feel the stories in there, just out of reach, so I do, I reach, I put in the effort and the hours to wake up and dream.

Because I like story.

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