Last month I was contacted by author Rosemary Claire Smith, one of my fellow students at Taos Toolbox 2013. She very graciously invited me to participate in a blog tour to help readers discover new writers. If you like dinosaurs, love stories, and adventure, she’s someone to watch. Find her online at rosemaryclairesmith.com.
And now, here are some things that you might find interesting:
What am I working on?
Lots of things. I’m always looking for ideas for cool short-stories as well as novels. My novels-in-progress include one about the anti-Hogwarts, one about vampires in space, and a couple of NSFW ones that I hope to publish under my pen name. I have two novels out for queries to publishers and agents right now; one is a middle-grade story about a girl with an unconventional family, and one asks the question, “what do girls like Buffy do after they save the world?”
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I like to think that I differentiate myself with three things:
Why do I write what I do?
A combination of curiosity, planning, and wish-fulfillment. I’m told that I over-plan everything, that I’m not spontaneous. That’s not entirely true, but it’s not entirely false. Sometimes I write stories because I want to know what it would be like to do thing x, thing y, or thing z; I read, research, and write… until I have the answers I’m seeking. Then I try to make real life fit the story. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes I’m successful.
And sometimes I just see something cool online and it becomes a story. Like that picture floating around Facebook of the list of chores where the three grounded kids can earn “points”, and when they reach 200 points they’re un-grounded. That led to a 6500-word YA-focused fantasy piece about a witch.
How does my writing process work?
I can only write when I’m supposed to be doing something else. Working, cleaning, editing, recording, shopping… as long as I’m not supposed to be writing, I’m writing. It’s kind of annoying, actually. But sometimes I can just sit down and get it done. If I’m in the mood.
I’m what’s called a “pantser” — I sit down and write, and go back and fix the problem areas later. My manuscripts are littered with [square brackets], which I use to remind myself that something needs to go there — a detail, some research, whatever. I write in a linear fashion, too, and if you read my work you can see where I abridge things because I want to get to a certain scene.
For short-stories, I might make a few notes. For novels, I usually write a couple of chapters and then go back and make an outline; occasionally I’ll write a one-page list of bullet-points and use that instead.
Meet more writers:
As part of the blog tour, I’m going to recommend three more writers that you should check out. In alphabetical order:
Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to check out Jonathan, Beau, and Terra!
(PS: I’m terrible at self-promotion, but if you like Christmas stories, you might like Secret Santa, which is available for only 99 cents from Amazon.)
(PPS: I know the post title says “again”, but this is my first blog hop. It was too good a bad pun not to make.)
I was not aware of this, and I’m a book reviewer… although not regularly on Amazon.
Here are some things I have done this weekend that might be relevant to your interests:
Submitted “Aubade”, “Bittersweet Symphony”, and “Dreaming of Suzanne”, bringing my number of stories out in the wild to 12.
Finished writing a new piece of science fiction and submitted it to the crit group I belong to. Or, if you want to get technical, to which I belong.
Recorded — but have not yet edited — a performance for Starship Sofa.
All of this information, by the way, is available on my twitter, for consumption in small, easy-to-read chunks. Just saying.
I’m terrible at titles. If a story doesn’t have a title when I start writing it, I can sometimes sit there for hours trying to figure one out. Sometimes I’m lucky — “Greener” had its title almost immediately, as did “Aubade”. “My Pillow” is a story about the main character’s pillow; in “Dreaming of Suzanne”, the main character dreams of Suzanne. Simple enough.
But then there are those days when a title escapes me. I couldn’t think of anything funny for “Section 3A”, so I named the story after something discussed in it. It’s a humor story, so I wanted something amusing. “Belief” was a nightmare — it started life as “I For One Welcome Our New Robot Overlords”, but as I wrote it, the story changed so much that that didn’t make sense; while I sold it as “Belief”, I’m still not thrilled with the title. And when I wrote what eventually became “Amid the Steep Sky’s Commotion”, I spent almost two hours finding the perfect Shelley quote for the title (because the airship is named Ozymandias, which is from a Shelley poem) — I eventually found the title in Ode to the West Wind.
And then there are those stories where I’m completely at a loss and I have to find a good song title.
I learned something this past week from the editor of Asimov’s: there is no fair use when it comes to song lyrics. Well, the story I sold them is called “Bring on the Rain”, which is the title of a Jo Dee Messina song (which I’ve never heard; I’m not really into country music). I was looking for songs about rain, and I thought the title fit. Then I ended the story with the lyric “Tomorrow’s another day / and I’m thirsty anyway / so bring on the rain.”
The lyric is gone now. I’m fine with that; it’s not necessary.
Well, as I said in the afterword of 27 Jennifers, when I heard the song I knew that would be the title and the topic of the story. I didn’t know how, but I knew there would be 27 Jennifers, 16 Jenns, 10 Jennies, and one more woman (“her”). It actually worked out really well, and I ended the story with this lyric:
You might be the one that I’ve been seeking for
You might be the strange delightful
You might be the girly who shall end all girls
It makes sense when you read the story.
Well, unfortunately I’m about to e-mail the Dunesteef and suggest they take the lyric off the site, because as I said there’s no fair use for song lyrics. Which, in my opinion, kind of sucks. I mean, I’m pretty sure Mike Doughty is a cool enough guy not to sue people because they like his music, but given the RIAA’s penchant for lawsuits… better safe.
So that’s the lyric that used to be on the story. Now you know why.
Here are various and sundry useful links you might enjoy:
Here’s the generic “about me” text I provide when I’m having something published. It changes slightly from time to time, but this covers most of it.
Josh Roseman (not the trombonist; the other one) lives in Georgia (the state, not the country). His writing has appeared in Asimov’s, Fusion Fragment, Port Iris, Big Pulp, and in audio form on the Drabblecast and Dunesteef, where he won the 2009 Broken Mirror Story Contest. He is a reviewer for Escape Pod; a writer for MedZilla; and a performer whose voice has been heard on the Hugo-winning StarShipSofa, the Parsec-winning Pseudopod, and the Parsec-nominated Dunesteef. He also has more than ten years of assorted news, features, and sports writing experience. When not writing, he mostly complains about the fact that he’s not writing.
And now, a photo:
Why did I switch from my minimalist website to a Tumblr blog?
First of all, updating it is much easier. I can update from anywhere that has internet, and since I have a smartphone with tethering enabled, everywhere has internet.
Secondly, while there are a lot of CMSes out there, I’ve found Tumblr to be the fastest when it comes to posting content. I do wish I could fully install it on my site, a la Wordpress, but them’s the breaks.
Third, Tumblr is exceptionally simple. Seriously, if you haven’t tried it, I strongly recommend doing so.
Now you know.