jeanmarieward: (DuzWriter)
I've always admired people who write consistently and complete stories at nicely spaced intervals.  Somehow, mine never, ever work like that.  This one isn't my fault.  Really.  I had a request. 
So, anyone interested in beta-reading a 1300-word funny story about a dragon, an old guy and a pig?  It's about as far as you can get from "Setseg's Choice".  And Anne, in case you're interested, the only female is the pig, but she's not romantic.  Honest.
Hugs and smiles,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (DuzWriter)
New story, set in ancient Mongolia, about a girl picked by a lottery to appease a dragon, needs beta readers.  It's about 10,000 words long, and not my usual style.  It's got a lot of emotionally scary stuff, but on the bright side, the structure's a lot better than "Siren Bridge" and I don't need the comments for at least a month.  Any takers?  Thanks in advance.  Cheers, Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (shazam!)

Because this is absolutely, positively, the perfect thing to read on Friday the 13th.  Thanks [livejournal.com profile] kradical !

50 Reasons Why No One Wants To Publish Your First Book by Allan Mott

Cheers and grins,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (Default)

Wheeeeeeee!
I get to hang with my buds in the DC Area Storytellers at the Annapolis Mall Borders in Annapolis, Maryland, this Saturday, February 7, from 2-5 p.m.  Joining me for this signing will be D. Renee Bagby, Dana Marie Bell, Stephanie Burke, Monica Burns, Margaret L. Carter and Melissa Schroeder.  There will be books, there will be giveaways, and most importantly, there will be fun.  Hope you can make it if you're in the area!
Cheers and smiles,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (lexluthor)
The spouse person and I have been very busy lately.  Today saw more than one inauguration in the Washington DC area.  Greg unveiled his very new cartoon blog, Intravenous Caffeine.  Don't worry the link's a lot easier to spell (www.ivcaffeine.com), but the snark remains the same.
And I've been blogging, first posting a Thursday Thirteen for the vampire lovers in the audience and today, in honor of National Squirrel Appreciation Day (yes, really) thirteen reasons why squirrels make good romance heroes over at the Samhain blog.
Of course, I am warped.  Your point?
jeanmarieward: (Default)
As in jazzing up the program.  And I need help.
One of my major failings as a writer is the direct result of working for the Fed too long.  I think like a bureaucrat.  Yes, it's true.  A nightcrawling fan girl bureaucrat, but a bureaucrat just the same.  Which means my descriptions for entries in to program books can be a bit pedantic.  Ordinarily, I just deal, but this time I'm a little stumped.  So I was hoping the brighter sparks on this list could help.
Every year, Allen Wold leads a hand-picked group of RavenCon's writing guests in a first rate writing seminar composed of four parts:

- Character Building: what makes them real, distinctions between heroes and villains, depth and development versus action.
- The Hook: the all-important first paragraph of the story.
- Plotting: the basics and what to do when you get stuck.
- Editing: either a hands-on review of a pre-selected work or a critique of something the participants bring in.

They've been calling it "Fundamentals of Writing", but Programming Director Tera Fulbright thinks that's a little blah.  New guests and participants change the seminar mix every year.  Why shouldn't the description change too? 
Since RavenCon is E.A. Poe, mystery and horror friendly, I was thinking of going with a break-out on the order of:

- Unusual Suspects
- The Hook
- The Twist
- The Final Cut

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Any ideas to jazz up "Fundamentals of Writing" would be welcome too.  Thanks!
jeanmarieward: (DuzWriter)

J. & K. took me on a brief tour of the Catholic University campus this evening.  In the rain.  Greater love hath no woman for her friend than to help her scout book locations after dark in the cold December rain.  Fortunately, the visuals were lovely.  A male friend they hadn't seen in a while tagged along.  I'd forgotten how very very cute college guys can be.
No I hadn't, but let's keep that our little secret.  I wouldn't want to depress the dh, certainly not on a night when he did the dishes without prompting.  :-)
Anyway, I was finally settling down with the cat to finish Carole Nelson Douglas's second Delilah Street novel, Brimstone Kiss, when the opening to my demented Urban Fantasy started whispering in my head.  I don't know if this will survive to the final version, but it feels like a good way to start the first draft.

Going up two levels in EverCrack with a guy you know from Math 101 does not a deathless romance make. But try telling that to a freshman.

No, you try. I’m not that dumb. I was doing what they tell you in all those student safety lectures. I was varying my routine so he couldn't stalk me, taking the long way round from my last class in the Hartke Building through the side door of Ward Hall and out front. That was the plan, anyway, until I walked past the dumpster outside Ward Hall and it groaned. 

I froze. That part of Catholic University isn’t dangerous, or it shouldn’t be.  Our campus rent-a-cops occupy the building between Hartke and Ward. But all three buildings face Harewood Road, where CUA meets the big, scary badlands of Northeast Washington, DC.

But. But. And I so never took a self-defense course in my life.          

The groaning got louder. It sounded like somebody trying to pray smothered under a blanket—or the lumpy plastic tarp wedged between the dumpster and the low retaining wall behind it.

I edged closer. I knew it was a bad idea, but my feet kept shuffling in the stupid direction. 



Hugs and smiles,
Jean Marie
*who's kinda sorry we didn't get any snow--of the ordinary kind*
jeanmarieward: (lexluthor)
Tonight I am so doomed.  One cable station is running 13th Warrior while another plays Desperado.  Have I ever mentioned this SERIOUS jones I have for Antonio Banderas.  He was the physical model for Fynn, one of the Vanyr you don't meet in With Nine You Get Vanyr and among the best reasons I know for writing the sequels.
One day.  One day.
In the meantime, I suspect the Girls in the Basement are going to go to town tonight.  All the more reason to continue working on the research questions needed for the current projects.
But oh, teh pretteh!
Cheers and grins,
jeanmarieward: (Default)

It's official.  Barron's has decided to buy the fantasy art book for publication in January 2010.  The working title is "Scan and Trace: Fantasy Templates".  Rafi, the artist, is fabulous.  I wish I could share some of the art used in the proposal, but I'm afraid you'll have to make do with this link
Barron's boasts a very strong line of how-to books for fantasy and graphic novel illustrators.  But nothing quite like what Rafi and I are about to do.  Can't wait.
Cheers and big, big grins,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (DuzWriter)
Fashionably late, as always.  But that doesn't change the feeling.
I'm thankful for a wonderful spouse, who once again proved he's a turkey chef without peer.  I'm thankful for a family of people who never fail to entertain me--even if their antics sometimes sound a lot better in retrospect.  I'm thankful for my friends, on- and off-line.  Folks, I wouldn't have made it this far without you.  I'm thankful, too, for the cat who consents to live with us.  In a different wa than Greg, he grounds me and makes me laugh.
And this year, I have something else to be thankful for.  Yesterday, I received an email from one of my British editors announcing my book proposal had been approved for publication in January 2010.
Unfortunately, she neglected to mention which of the two proposals on her desk it happened to be.  LOL  I guess I'll find out when she sends my marching orders.  Either way, there's no down-side.  Both projects are made of fabulous.
And a big additional thanks to sandyinstep and her dh for inviting us to share the holiday with them.  The company couldn't be beat.
Hugs and smiles,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (Default)
You can always tell when a lot is happening in my RL; my LJ gets werry, werry qwiet.  But I haven't been hunting wabbits--more like vampires. 
Yeah, vampires, the creatures I never planned to write about, because I couldn't think of anything new to say.  It's amazing what somebody waving money in my face will do.
Especially when it involves the Frankfurt Book Fair.

(Vamps & Me) )
Then there is the convention news.  I will be attending both Capclave in Washington, DC, October 17-19, and World Fantasy Con in Calgary, Canada, October 30 - November 2.  I don't yet know if they'll be able to squeeze me into the WFC program, but my Capclave panels and readings are:

Friday, 6 p.m.

Do U Rd on Scrn?

How is technology changing writing and reading? Do you write differently on a computer than with a pen or typewriter? Do you read differently on the Internet? How will e-texts, audible books, and the Kindle change the act of reading? How will writers write for readers accustomed to reading twitters and text messages? Traci Castleberry (m), Neil Clarke, Resa Nelson, Jean Marie Ward

 

Friday, 8 p.m.

SF Pictionary

Fun game show comes to Capclave. Can you communicate SF ideas through your drawings? Danny Birt (m), Steve Stiles, Jean Marie Ward

 

Saturday, Noon

Appeal of King Arthur

What makes so many writers from Twain to Mary Stewart to Lerner and Lowe produce their own takes on 'the matter of Britain'? Why do King Arthur books thrive while other legends like Robin Hood get far less attention? What are the best takes on the Arthurian legend? Christopher Cevasco (m), Tom Doyle, Jean Marie Ward, Mattie Brahen

 

Saturday, 1 p.m.

Reading


Am I the only one scared of the prospect of Pictionary?  I should be scared of the empty room I'm going to have for my reading, but I figure it'll be a good time to catch up on my sleep.  Writer/editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail will be staying at the house for the con, and if past experience is any indication, we could be talking all night.
There are worse fates.
Cheers and grins,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (wristpad)
My latest Samhain blog, "Friends Don't Let Friends", is live at the company web page.  Couldn't resist using Greg's photo of the Duz as an illustration one more time.  It's such a perfect writer shot--and so true.  I'm reaching over the cat to type this, and it ain't easy, especially since I'm using one of the larger laptops instead of the little Asus captured in the photo.  Not that the Duz cares.  But I'll have my revenge.  One of these days I'll catch him in a LOLCAT pose, and I'll upload it mercilessly.  Mwahahahaha!
But that could take years.  In the meantime, I need to get back to work on the siren story.  Another beta reader weighed in tonight with some great comments--and I'm not just saying that because some of the things she mentioned in her cover lletter were things I'd been fratching over and rewriting over the last couple weeks.  Now I just have to work up the courage to go past page one of her commentary.
I always take what my beta readers say to heart.  It just takes me a while to nerve myself to read it.  :D
Yeah, cowardly and cat-whupped.  I so am a writer!
Hugs and headshakes,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (lexluthor)
I don't post word count progress, because I write so slowly I'd just get depressed.  That said, I'm feeling pretty good tonight.  With many apologies to the beta readers of my siren story, I think I finally thrashed the nasty middle bits into acceptable shape.  I'll know for sure when I read it tomorrow.  But don't worry.  I don't plan to inflict the rewrite on you.  Promise!  Especially since it appears to have grown a hundred words in the process.  *headdesk*  Action is short; motivation, long.
I also finished a short short story for the York Emporium's "Yesterday, I Will" contest.  Actually, I finished the day after SciFi Saturday, but since I usually write far too long (see para. 1 above), I felt compelled to do lots of sanity checks before submitting.  The results were encouraging, so into the email it will go.
I also know what I'll be writing for my Samhain Publishing blog on Friday: "Friends Don't Let Friends Publish America".  After all that's been said and all that's been written and all that's been published on the Web and elsewhere about vanity presses, you'd think there wouldn't be a writer left who didn't know the score.  Wrong.  You know the old saw: "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it"?  Seems there's always someone who never knew the past well enough to forget it.  Don't know that my blogging about it will help, but I figure it can't hurt.  Will post the link when it goes live.
Cheers and smiles,
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: (BenkeiSake)

...The cave was decorated. And if that wasn’t weird enough all by itself, it looked like the designer followed every rule set down in the collected works of the Margravine von Stewhard, including the ones that contradicted each other. Painfully symmetrical fans of exactly seven glowing feathers were arranged in as close to a checkerboard pattern as the pits in the walls allowed. Winking gems organized by color and sized turned a stone niche into homemade abstract art. Directly below it, a line of crevices boasted rolls of gold, silver and copper coins stacked as neat as bank rolls. The place didn’t even stink like it should--unless your definition of a monster was a little old lady who lived alone with a parrot and never opened her windows.

Where were the mounds of treasure? Where were the crunchy bones and late-night body part snacks?

 
Sorry to have been out of the LJ loop for so long.  A trip to Florida and a little bout of surgery will do that to a girl.  
Fortunately, the surgery went well, and I think I got some good photos of our stay in Tampa.  Fingers crossed I'll get to download and tweak them soon.  We visited Haslans, the bookstore supposedly haunted by Jack Kerouac.  I didn't see him, but that doesn't mean anything.  After all, as Teri said, I'm too stubborn to see most human ghosts.
Besides, I don't know what he looks like.  ;-)
Cheers and grins,
jeanmarieward: (Default)
I'm in over my head in research mode for My Big Fat Olympian Wedding From Hell, the working title of my Persephone story.  In my version, Sephie is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Olympic University, which I decided to model on Columbia.  Making the story work entails a lot of research into Columbia and Morningside Heights, and the stuff I'm digging up proves, once again, synchronicity defines my world.  
My current favorite is a description of St. John the Divine, the world's largest cathdral, as a key center of "episcopalian paganism".  Well, duh, Olympic was founded by Olympians...  ;-)
Another funny: My story moves from Manhattan to Laguna Beach to wind up in Iowa.  So I probably shouldn't have been surprised that the Stoneyard on the grounds of St. John the Divine provided cut stone for the restoration of the Iowa State Capitol.
Plus, so many of the local hang-outs are Greek-owned.  And I never knew this existed, but now that I do, I absolutely, positively have to write it in
Sometimes I really love my job.
Cheers and grins,
jeanmarieward: (Duzell3)
 Yep, it's that time of the month again, time for me to blog about writerly stuff over at Beyond the Veil like I know what I'm talking about.  This month's topic is the natural storyteller.   I planned to make this announcement a little wittier, but that was before I realized I'd be typing with the laptop balanced on my shins cradling Duzie the Octo-Cat.  If it's rainy he must be needy.  LOL
jeanmarieward: (lexluthor)
 Wheeeee!
"Hero Material", the short story several folks on the f-list critiqued in late March, has been accepted for an anthology scheduled to be published this August.  I still don't quite believe it, but I've got the contract and the check (fastest evah!) to prove it.  Just one more reason to look forward to DragonCon.  :D
We will now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.  But I'll be back Thursday with 13 pics from RavenCon.  Didn't plan to make a T13 out of it, but that's the way it wants to go.
Cheers and big, big grins,
Jean Marie
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: (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

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