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Oct. 13th, 2010


365 Days of Women Blog

The 365 Days of Women blog discusses my recent ChiZine story "A Loss for _____." 

The blog has an interesting focus on women's writing, sparked by blog friend and excellent writer sandramcdonald, as discussed here. Chance is one blogger who's taking action. More power to her! 

Check our her blog for links to other women's writing. I think you'll find eXXcellent recommendations!

Oct. 4th, 2010


"A Loss for _____" Now at ChiZine!

My story "A Loss for _____" now appears on ChiZine. I wrote that story after contemplating what scared me most as a writer.

Many thanks to short story contest judges 
Brent Hayward, Gemma Files, David Nickle, Paul Tremblay, and Mike Carey  for selecting my story as part of ChiZine's short story contest.

ChiZine Issue #46 contains fiction by Brenta Blevins, Nadia Bulkin & Dave Chua and poetry by Arlene Ang, Bethany Powell & Steve Vernon.

Sep. 26th, 2010


RetroSpec Review

There's a review of RetroSpec, an alternate history collection of speculative stories and poems, which provides a mention of my poem, "Mercury 13--And Beyond." My poem is based on the Mercury 13 women, well, an alternate version of them to be sure.

Aug. 27th, 2010


Another Product Gone

*sigh* And now Pantene has discontinued the shampoo I've used for years. I liked their color-enhancing shampoos; they did not have a highly perfumed odor that I've found in others (John Frieda, for ex).

Well, Pantene, you are now dead to me. 

Anybody else have other options to suggest? 

Aug. 2nd, 2010


ChiZine 15th Short Story Contest

I'm pleased to say my story won third place in  ChiZine's 15th Short Story Contests.  My story is what resulted when I thought about what scared me most...as a writer.


1st place: "Pugelbone" by Nadia Bulkin
2nd place: "Last Days" by Dave Chua
3rd place: "A Loss for _____" by Brenta Blevins

Honorable Mentions:

"East on West I-90" by Gregory Wolos
"Semblance Market" by David Austin
"Calling Gideon" by Ian McHugh

My thanks to ChiZine for hosting the contest and the judges for their selection of my story!

ChiZine will publish the winning stories in the October-December issue.

Jul. 13th, 2010


Random Things

Sting remains incredible. Check out the symphony rocking behind him. Looks like an aerobic workout, no? My husband said he never played the viola with such gusto. I love how much fun some of the symphony members seem to be having.

I so want this t-shirt of Ada Lovelace

I've had one of those days today where I wanted something to save the day; apparently, however, I can' t rely on Cat Lassie's help. And, on that note, I hear my cat snoring in his bed behind my chair....

Jul. 6th, 2010


Clarion West Write-a-Thon 2010

So, rachel_swirsky used her Jedi mind powers and I agreed to participate in the Clarion West Write-a-Thon to support the Clarion West workshop. Clickie the link to see my smiling mug and to find out what my early career aspirations were.

My Write-a-Thon fundraising goals: The first person (writers have to dream, right?) to donate $100 to Clarion West as my sponsor will get a gift box from me of things like a copy of my favorite movie from last year, one of my favorite books, awesome tea, and origami art. Donate more than that as my sponsor and I'll add more: a signed copy of an anthology I've been in, a print of an original photo, and so forth.

Anyone who donates over $25 to Clarion West on my behalf will be eligible for a Tuckerization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuckerization) in one of my stories, provided you want a Tuckerization in one of my stories.

If you sponsor me at any level, let me express my sincere thanks for donating to the worthy cause of Clarion West.

Any donations are tax deductible.

My Write-a-Thon goals: 6 story submissions to pro markets. However, my goal is also to help raise money for Clarion West, so if people donate more than $100, I'll up my goal to submitting more stories. Feel free to challenge my writing goals.

If I sell one of the stories submitted during the Write-a-Thon, I'll donate a portion of that sale to Clarion West, too. It's a win-win, no?

So, we're beginning week 3 and how am I doing? Excellent; I've subbed to ChiZine, Writers of the Future, and Clarkesworld, as well as some semi-pro markets as a bonus. Win-win.

Jul. 3rd, 2010


Words, Words, Words

According to my table, I have written just over 305,000 words on "finished" short stories (beginning, middle, and end). I do not include in the total my one finished (and trunked) novel draft, nor any unfinished novels, short stories, poetry, articles, and so forth. 

It's interesting to see how I've been coming on my way to my million words

How many words have you written? Do you keep track? 

Jun. 21st, 2010


FAQ - Kyle Cassidy on Becoming a Photographer (Artist)

I think Mr. Cassidy gives brilliant advice on becoming a photography (or, really, artist of any variety). The part that really resonated with me was the line: Do this for the rest of your life. Yep. 

He's an extraordinarily talented photographer.

Originally posted by kylecassidy at FAQ
A Reader Writes: I want to be a photographer someday. Any advice?

Yes, lots.

Photography is a mixture of Artistic Ability and Technical Skill -- the magic of the mix isn't written in stone. The world is filled with technically proficient but artistically uninspired photographers, there seem to be a smaller number of artistically gifted but technically unsavvy artists, but they're out there as well. But the most successful people have a mixture of both -- they have an artistic vision, and they posses the technical skills to know how to make that a reality. The technical skills are the easy part, you can learn them from a book -- f-stops and shutter speeds and light modifiers, etc. The difficult thing to come up with is an idea.

0) Possibly the most important thing of all: Find creative people and make them part of your world. They don't have to be photographers. They can be writers, or musicians, or actors or puppet makers. Have a peer group of people who are doing things. They'll be your inspiration, your facilitators, your idea makers, your artistic partners. Do this for the rest of your life. Artists rarely survive in a vacuum.

1) Get a camera. It doesn't matter what kind. Eventually you'll most likely end up with a Digital SLR but in the meantime a point and shoot, your cell phone, a 1946 Brownie Box Camera, all these will work to start out.

2) Study photography -- this doesn't mean go to school for photography, but it means pay attention to photographs tear photos that you like out of magazines and keep them in a scrap book, get photography books from the library, from the bookstore, at yard sales. Learn what types of photography you like. Landscapes? People? Bands? Artificially lit? This will start to provide you with your visual vocabulary -- which will be important in figuring out what you want to photograph. Given a camera many new photographers are left baffled as to what they ought to be taking photos of. Subscribe to photography magazines, fashion magazines, travel magazines.

3) Take photos. What is it you're interested in? Enlist friends. Take trips, set up elaborate hoaxes, copy great works of art, copy not so great works of art.

4) Make a portfolio of your 12 best photos. these can be 4x6 1 hour prints. Every month try and replace at least one of these with a better photo. Do this for the rest of your life.

5) Evaluate your equipment. When you know specifically why what you have can't do what you want, it's time to think about upgrading. Do this for the rest of your life.

6) Find someone who will pay you to take photographs. It's always easier to learn on someone elses dime. It doesn't matter what the job is -- assistant to another photographer, part time local newspaper, photographing houses for a Realtor, etc.

7) Go to school. You can learn a lot more quickly this way. Things like advanced lighting techniques, gallery framing, etc. can be more quickly figured out in an environment like this.

8) Show your work. It doesn't have to be in a traditional gallery, it can be in your parents garage, or in your stairwell. Some friends and I used to have an open-air art gallery we called "Show up and Show" where we'd meet along a length of chain link fence, hang out photos up and stand around and talk to passers by.

9) Take lots of photos, throw out the bad ones, only ever show people your best. Do this for the rest of your life.

10) Stay busy. The opposite of busy is bored. Don't visit that place. Do this for the rest of your life.

Hope this helps.



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Jun. 6th, 2010


Self Promotion

I've been thinking about this post for the past several months because I can't keep track of writers' publishing schedules and I realized I'm now "behind" in at least one author's series. Speaking as a reader not as a writer (I'm not a published novelist), I think writers who are publishing books could do certain things to help promote their works (at least to me).

1. Others may disagree with me, but I don't mind if writers that I've friended (hey, there's a reason I've friended them) post routinely about their novels/short story collections/other books that are coming out. As a member of the modern media-consuming populace, I see a lot of blog posts and sometimes posts don't stick (in detail) in my gray matter. I'm happy with reminders that a book is coming out in a month, in a week, it's out today, it's been out for a month. To mitigate complaints about writers who do nothing but self-promotion, maybe writers could tie topical commentary into these posts; maybe they can talk about the process of getting to each stage, what's happening, and so forth.

2. I need reminders about which book an author is discussing (promoting) in a blog post. Writers know their titles better than I do and sometimes I can't tell whether the book the writer is talking about is one that's coming out soon, one that's already out, one that's coming in three years (it's okay to tantalize me with these), one that's had a name change, or one that's not under contract. For writers who are putting out novels in a series with similar sounding names, I run into a similar problem: do I have that novel or not? Maybe writers could include a brief definition ("#5 in the XXX series" or "the short story collection" or "my first novel due out in fall 2012" or "the book that's been out in Australia, but is now coming to the US") or link to their web site where all of these are defined.

Do you lose track of which book a writer is discussing or is this a phenomenon local to me?

Any other suggestions for writers to promote their books to the blog public?

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