jeanmarieward: (Default)
Because if you don't, you'll miss the York Emporium's SciFri Saturday with author signings, blooper reels (with popcorn!), a visit from NASA, stand-up comedy, an art show and meeeeee!  I'll be one of the authors signing.  I don't think I'll be contributing to the comedy or the bloopers, but you never can tell.  More details can be found here.
I'll also be appearing at DragonCon, August 29 - September 1.  It remains, in Teri's immortal words, my favorite summer camp for wayward adults.  I don't know my final schedule yet, but it looks like I'll be on at least three tracks.  
In addition, I'll be signing books with six other authors at the Fort Meade Post Exchange and Borders in Columbia, MD, on Saturday, September 13.  I'll be talking more about these signings later, but at the moment it looks like we'll be at the PX from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and the Borders from 2-4 p.m.  There will be giveaways and prizes, and wild and crazy writers.
Oh wait.  Wild + Crazy = Writers.  Guess it can't be helped.  ;-)
Finally, you may have noticed a new link on my LJ page.  A few weeks ago a friend introduced me to BookTour.com.  It's a great resource for finding author signings and events in your neighborhood.  I'll be using it to keep my calendar until I can get my new web site up and running.
Yeah, I'm behind on that too.  LOL
Cheers!
jeanmarieward: (Default)
My first--squeeee!
Lian Ikariyang, one of the two young women who stayed at our house for KatsuCon has posted pictures of Roarke and Theron, from With Nine You Get Vanyr, on her Deviant Art page.  Pics behind the cut for ease of loading.
Thank you, Lian.  I'm so honored.
The Guys )

 
jeanmarieward: (Default)
 Finished the first, very basic outline of My Big Fat Olympian Wedding From Hell and the Inner Critic is in rare form.  Oh ugh.  I knew the story of Persephone and Hades would be the romance-y of the four chick-myth stories in the current series, but it needs more--more action, more panache and, very probably, a lot more research to bring out what I want in the story.  
There are some good bits--scenes and conversations that may find their way almost unchanged into the first true draft--but not enough.  Not nearly enough.  Oh well, it's called an outline for a reason.  I haven't committed to anything, and I've got a week to poke it with a sharp stick before I head out to RavenCon next Wednesday.  My goal is to start writing on the book as soon as I get back from Richmond.  I'd like to complete the first draft before I leave for DragonCon.  Here's hoping I can make it.
Meanwhile, I've reposted my Fantasy & Enchantment blog on Adrienne Mayor on my MySpace page.  Now if I could only figure out how to tag my MySpace posts, I'd be a happy camper.
...Nah.  I'd still have to deal with that pesky Inner Critic.
Cheers!
jeanmarieward: (BenkeiSake)
I blush to admit I've been committing Blogspot again.  My new posting is up at Beyond the Veil.  Today's entry is seasonally appropriate--if you happen to live in Washington, DC.   April 12 is the high point of our annual Cherry Blossom Festival.  In honor of the occasion, Greg and I attended the geisha dance program sponsored by the Japanese Information and Culture Center--the same folks who feed our yen for live action anime movies.  (Hey, it's a totally guilty pleasure.  Why shouldn't it come with a bad pun attached?)
The free geisha dance program, which anyone who's ever been to Japan can tell you is a very, very big deal.  Man, I love living in DC!
jeanmarieward: (kick)
 Just shipped off a little story called "Hero Material" to the editor who requested it.  Don't know if he'll accept it, but I can't tell you how gratified I am he asked in the first place.  
Tomorrow it's back to Highway from Hell, specifically the synopsis.  It seems to be giving people the wrong impression.  I'm really happy I learned about the problem before I started sending the novel to editors.  Incidentally, the information came from a rejected query.  That's the kind of critical feedback which makes the agent query process worthwhile.  :-)
Cheers and smiles,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (LizSmall)
 I should've mentioned it sooner, but I posted another blog at Beyond the Veil.  This one shares a couple of my real life ghost stories.  Enjoy!
jeanmarieward: (shoe1)
Much as I've enjoyed the recent posts on [profile] fangs_fur_fey about picking your monster, the discussion that got my brain working this week centered on diversity.  Fantasy worlds, even the worlds of urban fantasy, generally resemble the world of 1930s movies.  All the people who matter are white, pretty and disabled only by their own preconceptions.  
I can see points on both sides of the issue.  When you're building detail into a world not your own, you have to cut corners or you wind up pulling a Proust.  And frankly, there are too many other white, middle class writers working on the same kinds of things to expect a publisher--even one who's done well by your work in the past--to pry the manuscript from your clutching fingers or hack it from your computer.
But if you create a world that ignores what's happening around you without establishing a good reason for the divergence you will ultimately alienate readers.  It happened to me, and I'm usually the dimmest reading bulb in the box.
A few years before the current fashion in shifters got hot, I read two volumes in an intense, sexy werewolf saga.  I liked it a lot, but one thing really bothered me.  All the werewolves were white supermodels--men and women--complete with the cheekbones and piercing gray eyes.  When I had the chance to interview the writer, I asked her if she planned to set future novels in other parts of the world where the shifters would, presumably, display different physical characteristics.  She said, no.  They all looked like that.
Somehow I wasn't surprised book number two turned out to be the last in that series.  Nobody ever raised the race issue in their reviews, but...
But how do you get into the head of someone of a different race?  How does someone with a disability cope?  Sociology and medical texts don't cut it for me.  Too clinical.  They don't tell you how it feels.  But nosy as I am, I have a hard time getting too personal with people I don't know, especially when the questions involve delicate, often painful issues.
Which is why "The Vision Thing" by Stephen Kuusisto in today's New York Times feels like such a gift.  There's a reason to read Op/Ed pages after all.  Who knew?

jeanmarieward: (LizSmall)
Submitting agent queries while under the influence of decongestants probably ranks right up there with some of the dumber stunts I've pulled in my writing life.  But ah, heck, how often do you get Donald Maass asking for "A fantasy set in the world of tunnels and homeless colonies beneath Grand Central Station" when that happens to be exactly the fantasy landscape of the novel you just finished?
Of course, I doubt if anyone's expecting the novel in question to be about Orpheus and Eurydice.  I also can't quite believe my excerpt will be his or [profile] arcaedia's cup of tea, but hey, a girl can dream.
But the Donald Maass Literary Agency isn't the only listing on my dream dance card.  [profile] raleva31had a rumba dedicated all to her the minute I learned her list spans Mark Del Franco, Melissa Marr and Eileen Cook.  IOW, all three of my major food groups--urban, angsty and funny.  So I sent her a query tonight too.  No sense in letting the a good dose of over-the-counter courage go to waste, now is there?
Now to get my sniffly, sneezy, aching, however-the-rest-of-the-ad-goes carcass to bed so I can wake up energized for work on my very first sekrit projekt.  
Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better...
I wish!
Jean Marie


 
jeanmarieward: (LizSmall)

Just a note to say I've reposted my F&E blog on the Chinese origins of Sinbad on MySpace page.  Enjoy! 

jeanmarieward: (Default)
 The good kind--conventions where you get to attend panels and hang out with your friends and (if you're on the program) hopefully entertain other people doing the same.  So far, my 2008 schedule looks like this:

April 25-27, RavenCon, Richmond, VA
I expect to go a little wild at this one.  I'm rooming with [profile] jer_bear711and [profile] cymreiges, both of whom have fabulous new books coming out this year and want to celebrate the arrival of same.  They're actually contemplating letting me loose in a room party.  Heh heh.  And, oh yeah, there will be great programming too.  ;-)

May 17-18, Philadelphia Book Festival, Philadelphia, PA
This one's a little unusual for me.  It's a book fair sponsored by the Free Library of Philadelphia. Samhain Publishing has reserved a booth, and I volunteered to help out with sales, etc.  I've never worked a sales table before, but with everything that's going on at the fair, it's got to be a win/win/win situation.  I get to promote a good product, maybe even sign a book or two (yes, Virginia, turns out my mother-in-law's square apple pie recipe really is in The Write Ingredients--go us!), and after it's over I can visit family and friends in the area.

May 23-26, Balticon, Baltimore, MD
No roomie for this one yet.  (I think I'm on probation after getting a little too enthusiastic about the whole room party idea.)  But lots of wonderful programming and fabulous guests--besides me, that is.  One of the things I especially like about Balticon is you always catch folks with fabulous new books you never would've known about otherwise.  It doesn't hurt that the conventon celebrates new authors, either.  (Go Compton Crook Awards!)

August 28-September 1, DragonCon, Atlanta, GA
Oh yeah.  My favorite summer camp for wayward adults.  [profile] cymreigeswill be there.  [profile] hundakleptisiswill be there.  Carole Nelson Douglas...  DragonCon qualifies as a highlight of any year.  It's pure madness, but how can you not love a con with a parade, concerts and the Ms. Klingon Universe pageant?

October 31-November 2, World Fantasy Con, Alberta, Canada
I don't think I'll be playing on any panels for this one, but I'm definitely going.  This will be my first time attending a WFC where I haven't been running ragged trying to nail down interviews for Crescent Blues.  I get to be a fan.  And what a line-up!

Capclave, the local DC sf/fantasy convention is always on my to-do list.  But after the last couple of Octobers, I'm not making any plans just yet.  Of course, this means I may have to attend it as a fan too.  Oh, twist my arm!  :-)
Now to get back to what I should've been doing this afternoon--working on a short story involving a hapless interstellar transport gate repair person and a dragon who resembles my mother to an alarming degree.  It's ironic, I spent years trying to keep her from overwhelming me, now I'm trying to channel her for dialogue and it's hard.
I also need to get this info on Wardsmith.com.  I've let the site slide for far too long.  Oh well, now that the dh has put the finishing touches on the new and improved Hail Dubyus, our new webmaster will definitely have more time.  Once he's recovered, that is...  Mwahahahaha!
Cheers,
Jean Marie
 
jeanmarieward: (TheaSmall)
 As you can see from my updated links list, after months of techno-blondeness, I finally figured out how to name my My Space.  (Insert pause for a minute of total mortification.  Yes, I am that clueless.)  In honor of the occasion, I've started populating the page with some of my old Fantasy & Enchantment columns before the page vanishes forever.  The first is "Shifting the Night Away".  Enjoy!

 
jeanmarieward: (LizSmall)
The slow slow process of recovery continues.  I finally finished revisions to Highway from Hell late Thursday night.   Friday I read over what I wrote, fiddled with a dozen fiddly things and declared it finished.  Again.  :D  In about a week, I should've forgotten enough to give it a decent proofreading.
Meanwhile, the usual suspects are welcome to give it another thrashing.  I can't copyedit myself worth beans.
Saturday's dance card is filled with tax prep, another Samhain copyediting job and checking out Christine Norris's Crown of Zeus.  Hey, us mythologically inspired writers have to stick together!
Also on the agenda is the long-delayed JeanMarieWard.com.  The link to the free WordPress web site course is still on Access Romance, and they still have my registration paperwork for the follow-up.  All I have to do is follow course directions.  (Erm, I can see a problem right there.)
Fortunately, this is just to get me smart enough to operate the site.  I've been talking with my husband's web designers about making it look good.  Between us, we should be able to come up with a first-rate product fairly quickly.  [profile] hundakleptisis' work on Wardsmith.com (and Crescent Blues) was fabulous, but there was no way I could take over when RL took him over.  Don't want to find myself helpless in a situation like that again.
Don't laugh.  I'm not that technologically inept.  Well, not quite...  ;-)
jeanmarieward: (Default)
No, that isn't my new tag line.  It belongs to the reconfigured co-op blog for Samhain's fantasy, futuristic and paranormal authors, Beyond the Veil.  I posted my first BtV blog a few minutes ago.  It's just an introduction, but it does include links for some of my more interesting contributions to the old Fantasy and Enchantment blog and the main Samhain blog.  I'll add a permanent link to BtV in the next few days.  But first I have to survive Katsucon.
Let me put it this way, you don't normally see the fire trucks lined up, sirens wailing, until the second night at DragonCon.
Hugs and sickly grins,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (Duzell3)
WriteIngredientsSomewhere out there Teri Smith is laughing hysterically.  My weird publication karma has struck again.
I realize you're probably scratching your head, wondering what's weird about it.  As far as most people know, everything I've ever written for publication made it into pixels or print.  That's true, but for some of the most important ticks on my personal writing scorecard, it's not the whole story.
Take my first published article.  When I was fourteen, my German teacher insisted I write a piece for a contest held by a national association of German students.  It wasn't because she liked my writing.  She didn't like my style or me.  But she made submission a requirement for a passing grade.
I don't have a problem with that.  Composition requirements are a language teacher's prerogative.  What I do have a problem with is the results were posted before the end of the school year, and the teacher never shared with me or the class the fact I finaled and was published in the association journal.  Instead, she told the class our submissions were so bad, none of us even rated a mention by name.  I didn't find out the truth until the following year when another teacher in a school district half way across the country recognized my name and made the connection.
Tonight it happened again.  I found my name attached to a publication I had no idea I was published in.  This time, however, I know there was no malice involved.  In fact, I'm tickled pink to be involved in the project.
The book is Lori Foster's The Write Ingredients: Recipes From Your Favorite Authors.  It's part of her ongoing fundraising efforts in support of U.S. military personnel.  As an Army brat and longtime Defense Department drone, I'm totally cool with that.
But I swear, I didn't know they'd accepted my recipe (my mother-in-law's famous Slovak apple pie recipe--unlike my mom, she was a great cook).  I remember writing it up.  It was during those dark days immediately following Teri's death.  I was pushing myself hard on the little things, because a busy mind keeps grief at bay.  But I don't remember signing the contract.  
I could've.  I was going through a rough patch.  I could've easily zoned out on the paperwork, despite my normally vigilant inner Virgo.
Oh well, it's tax time.  I needed to review the year's paperwork anyway.
And buy the book.  ;-)
Cheers,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (Default)
Bet you didn't know I could connect my dad's reminiscences of the Stork Club, the legends of King Arthur and dragons in the NY subways.  But I did.  Yep, I'm up to my old tricks at the FaE blog.  Enjoy!
Best New Year wishes,
Jean Marie 
jeanmarieward: (kick)


All right.  I admit it.  I was a DragonCon Bunny.  



The Press Room Gang: (from the left) Randi, Dorie, Dave (aka Silent Bob), me and Leigh.

You should be glad I didn’t look like this guy.


WTG, everyone involved—especially [personal profile] vampry(SFLit Track), Nancy Knight (Writing Track) and Cathy Bowden (Star Wars Track).  My pictures, as many as there are on my Flickr page, just don’t do you justice.  Can’t wait until next year!
jeanmarieward: (Default)

Sorry to be so last minute about this, but better late than never.  Especially since the DragonCon programming gods have been particularly kind, showering me with seven panels and an autograph session also featuring Chip Coffey, Elonka Dunin, Christopher Jones and Maggie Shayne.  The schedule is:

Panels

* Those We Love to Hate, Villains in SF and fantasy; who are our favorites and why?  Friday, August 31, 5:30 p.m., Greenbriar Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (SF/Fantasy Literature)

* I Love the Smell of Paper in the Morning, Print books vs. e-books...or should we even care?  Friday, August 31, 7 p.m., Greenbriar Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (SF/Fantasy Literature)

* Effective tools for making that first sale, Saturday, September 1, 2:30 p.m, Manilla/Singapore Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (Writing)

* The Past is the Future, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and contemporaries; are they truly the basis for our current genre?  Saturday, September 1, 4 p.m., Fairlie Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (SF/Fantasy Literature)

* Women in SF, Octavia Butler, Andre Norton, James Tiptree—is it any better now?Saturday, September 1, 5:30 p.m., Greenbriar Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (SF/Fantasy Literature)

* Wanted Alive...or Dead, Readership of sf is declining in favor of fantasy.  Is it the cool factor?
Sunday, September 2, 11:30 a.m., Greenbriar Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (SF/Fantasy Literature)

* Non-fiction for SF and Fantasy, Sunday, September 2, 1 p.m., Manilla/Singapore Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (Writing)

Autograph Session

* Monday, September 3, 2:30 p.m., Imperial Ballroom, Atlanta Hilton

Hope to see you there.  And yes, there will be chocolate at the signing.  I'm a firm believer in candy bribes.
Cheers!

jeanmarieward: (BenkeiSake)
As my late great Aunt Dolores used to say about old age, "There's nothing golden about these years.  They're rusted clean through."
In more ways than one.  I feel like Lady Macbeth again.  I can't get the smell of blood off my hands, and I didn't even have the pleasure of killing anyone first.
Spent most of the day in the ER.  Mom suffered another would-be killer nosebleed.  It's been a hell of a month for her.  Won't bore you with the details, but she's taken a sudden turn for the worse.  It's gotten so bad, even my stubborn little Iron Chipmunk concedes she needs help with just about everything.  So, sometime between now and August 29, I need to set up 24/7 care.
In the meantime, thanks to my darling spouse person (who delivered a cable modem and pizza to Mom's apartment this evening) I'll be posting from my mom's instead of my usual stand.  Now if I can only figure out how to get the cat here without freaking him out.  Greg's a lot more flexible that way.  *g*
Cheers,
jeanmarieward: (BenkeiSake)
Feeling a bit like Forrest Gump here.  Saw my first Kabuki with Greg earlier this evening, and I'm still processing.
Not that the production wasn't spectacular.  The Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary by bringing in top Kabuki actor Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII and his troupe to perform Kanjincho (the first Kabuki play ever to be performed before the Emperor of Japan) and the comedy Migawari Zazen.
It was incredibly weird and wonderful.  The orchestra (a flute, drums, shamisens and eerie sounding singers) sits on a bi-level, red-draped dais at the back or side of the stage.  Aristocratic male characters wander around in pants two feet longer than their legs, necessitating an on-stage handler to keep their clothing in line.  These koken, or "invisible" stagehands, remain on the stage for the duration.  The costumes are over-the-top fabulous--so over the top the white make-up seems almost restrained.
But I couldn't help it.  Every time I looked at Kanzaburo as Togashi in Kanjincho, I kept expecting him to launch into The Mikado.  The shamisens make me think of the Yoshido Brothers, which is a little more culturally relevant...but only a little.
I dearly wish someone had provided surtitles like they do at most operas.  Not knowing any more than the scene outlines of the two stories left me very much at sea.  Which meant my favorite moment in the evening happened at the end of Migawari Zazen, when Kanzaburo as the unfaithful husband who's about to get creamed by his much bigger wife sputtered in English: "Wait a minute!  Wait a minute!  Honey, it's not what you think.  Really, I was just at the Nationals' game."
The venue, DC's Warner Theatre, was a trip in itself.  It was built during the 1920s for vaudeville and silent movies.  Harry Warner, one of the Warner Brothers, liked it so much he insisted on the family name going on the marquee.  The last time I was there (when James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer played Othello) all the plaster reliefs had been painted white and were crumbling as I watched.  I spent most of the production staring at what was left of the ceiling wondering which way to duck.
Now it's a palace.  Every relief has been lovingly restored and gold-leafed.  There are heavily swagged velvet drapes and enormous, vintage chandeliers reflecting all that burnished gold.  Seeing a movie at the Warner in its heyday must've been an event.
And next month it's hosting Weird Al Yankovic.  You know, that says a lot about this town.  :D
Hugs and grins,
Jean Marie

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