Only Doesn’t Matter

The world is much smaller and the ability to connect with people a lot easier these days.

Jamie EybergMaking friends online is, in my opinion, akin to making them in real life. We share our thoughts, our words, our lives, often in a way that is more intimate and in no way less meaningful than were we to meet face-to-face.

Although I had never "met" Jamie Eyberg, he was a friend. We shared chit-chat, jokes, commiserated over the push & pull of life on our writing time; bonded over music, encouraged and lent an ear, a shoulder or just a friendly 'hi' throughout the day.

As many of my readers are fellow writers and friends of Jamie's as well, we were all shell-shocked and devastated to hear of his & his wife Ann's passing in a tragic accident on their farm last weekend. It took me some time to gather my thoughts for this post because I was literally blind-sided, almost winded, when I heard the news, as I know everyone else was. It's still difficult to believe.

To the outside observer, we may be considered as "only" online friends. To me, "only" doesn't matter. "Only" denies the importance of these friendships and the impact virtual friends can have on our lives. There is still a hole in all of our hearts as we all miss a wonderful, funny, creative, loving friend and mourn for the loss of his wife, ache for the pain his children are feeling and feel deeply for their families and friends.

"Only" doesn't matter – to me or to those who never had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face with Jamie. We miss him all the same.

RIP, friend. 

If you want to get involved:

  • Aaron Polson is donating the proceeds of this year's 52 Stitches Anthology to Jamie & Ann's children
  • Doc Pus & Kody Boye are collecting donations & auction items whose monies will also go to the Eyberg children
  • Doc Pus & the Library of Horror will donate proceeds from the Witches Anthology to the fund
  • You can sign the book of condolence & find out more about the Memorial Fund here

Writing Wednesday: Winding Down

Photo: Janelle Vanden BergAs a freelancer (and sometimes work-a-holic), taking time off can be a struggle. We feel like we should always be working, doing more, and when we don't, we often guilt ourselves into compensating the next day with more work than we started out with.

Not this time.

I'm taking next week off and I am SO ready for it. I have blogs I want to write, articles I should finish beforehand – but it all amounts to doing double the work this week, and I just can't get my head into it.

The good news is I have fallen back into a regular writing routine after struggling for a few months there. But I'm afraid I'll slip right back into my funk when I take the entire week off.

On the other hand, we have some fun activities planned and haven't I said before that sometimes you just need to decompress and be inspired by life in order to have something that's worth writing about?

So really, the guilt and pressure are all self-imposed. How about a little self-imposed pleasure? Dip my toes in the pool, soak up some sun, eat some ice cream and get away for a while, right? It'll all be waiting for me when I get back.

My Works-In-Progress

  • Well, it took a few weeks longer than I thought but I finally finished my tweet-inspired tale! Maybe once it finds a home, I'll spill the beans on whose tweet inspired me
  • I haven't even started planning my WeSeWriMo project yet, not really! I've tried but keep getting stuck. Maybe my week off will allow my thoughts to settle and the perfect idea will come to me. I hope…
  • Instead of driving myself completely insane, I'm going to hold off on my RPP idea until later. I haven't even looked at it since NaNoWriMo – I imagine it will need a lot of reworking, which isn't a bad thing. Sometimes the editing goes smoother than diving into something new
  • I've been meaning to finalize my swag giveaway but it keeps getting pushed to the backburner. I'll need to tackle it when I'm back.

So, how to you cope with being constantly on the go and finding it hard to take some time for yourself? Think I'll be able to cope?!

Fellow WIP Wednesday posse:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.

Fellow members of The Creative Alliance:

Want to know where all the cool kids go? Check out TCA and join us! Writers, artists, musicians – unite!

Writing Wednesday – Frankensteining It

Stitched UpMy current WIP is almost done. The thing that's holding me up? It was originally a flash piece, but after a bit of researching (shout-out to KV Taylor!), a few seeds sprouted into tidbits that I couldn't resist adding into the story.

So, the research coupled with a late-night brainstorming session has enabled this story to grow beyond its meager beginnings.

Not that I'm complaining. These little extras have given it an added dose of intrigue as I try to piece the two parts together. Good to know I can still get excited about writing. I don't imagine that I'll ever tire of it – but after a few stalled stories, I'm really enjoying writing this one and happy to be excited about it again.

My Current WIPS

I think I said it all above. Working on that story plus also polishing another. Plans still brewing for #WeSeWriMo.

Fellow writers, do you also work on multiple stories simultaneously?

Fellow WIP Wednesday posse:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.

Fellow members of The Creative Alliance:

Want to know where all the cool kids go? Check out TCA and join us! Writers, artists, musicians – unite!

Writing Wednesday: Deadlines for Flitters

Photo: Ali TaylorDeadlines are a good thing for flitters like me.

My WIP pile is evidence of the creative chaos in which I work. With a billion and one projects on the go right now, it speaks a lot to my need for some sort of schedule.

When I am working on a story that doesn't have a specific deadline in mind, it's easy to get caught up in every minute detail or simply flit from one project to the next and never finish anything.

[ Photo: Ali Taylor  ]

So, when I heard about WeSeWriMo (Web Series Writing Month), I was instantly curious.

NaNoWriMo is good for me. Sure, it's a crazy undertaking, but having that specific deadline and daily word count to work toward is made for me.I've been wanting to offer some free/minimal payment content for a while now, and an online serial has always been on my to-do list.

So, I have decided to take up the challenge. I'm a bit worried that our annual camping trip might hinder my progress a bit – but then again I tend to get up early when we're camping – and what better setting to jot down some words than sitting lakeside every morning with my cup of brewed-over-the-campfire coffee?

Come August, I'm taking the plunge. Care to join me?

In other news, I've got a pile of stories to be read that rivals my mountain of WIPs. With tales from Jenny Hudock, Barry Napier, Aaron Polson, R. Van Saint, and Jason Tucker, to name just a handful, I've got loads of inspiration just waiting for me to partake.

Black Wreath by M. JonesI've also started reading Melissa Jones' Black Wreath. M is actually the culprit responsible for letting me know about WeSeWriMo in the first place, so if you are looking for a dark mystery with an exquisitely distinctive voice, check it out!

All in all, there is always a lot going on and that's how I like it.

WIP WednesdayMy Current WIPS

  • final edits to tweet-inspired tale, i.e. sprinkling it with Creep and Cringe
  • lightbulb moment with one of the stories from my NaNo 2010 collection; plan to finish and submit it next week
  • ideas brewing for WeSeWriMo

Fellow WIP Wednesday posse:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.

Fellow members of The Creative Alliance:

Want to know where all the cool kids go? Check out TCA and join us! Writers, artists, musicians – unite!

WIP Wednesday: Ever-Changing Perspectives

Photo: Alessandro PaivaSo, a few days away from my latest WIP and the good news is I was quite excited by it when I gave it a quick reading before diving back into it. That's good, right?

Except…there's this other idea. Another new idea. It came to me after reading a few lines of an article. There I was, happily diving into a little light reading and bam! Two sentences in and there was a flash in my head of a story idea.

I'm not complaining. I love it when that happens. But didn't I already mention that I have a WIP pile that rivals my collection of argyle socks? (Author's Note: I have many,many pairs of argyle socks)

Needless to say, I'm kind of torn. My pile of WIPs is eyeing me suspiciously now. But what have those WIPs done for me lately? If the words (and ideas) were flowing, I would have completed them already. All I'm doing is running where my Muse takes me. I can't help it if this Shiny New Idea seems to hold more promise at the moment.

I'm a magpie. I like sparkly things. And this new idea – she's all blazing and brilliant right now.

Ooh…shiny!

My Current WIPS

  • a tweet-inspired tale that creeps me out a bit. I hope it does the same for my readers when it is complete!
  • that crazy, dream-inspired WIP has stalled at the moment. Not enough of a creep factor yet. Maybe the plot needs tweaking…
  • another idea for a serial is percolating behind-the-scenes. I've managed to stave it off for now. We'll see how long that lasts. But the outcome could be quite "dreadful"…
  • novel-series idea that I might try to explore in short story form first

That is barely the tip of the WIP-iceburg, but I'd rather have too many ideas than none.

Fellow WIP Wednesday posse:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.

Fellow members of The Creative Alliance:

Also, be sure to check out Part One of my interview with fellow author Ian Rogers. Part Two will be up tomorrow! And my interview with Jenny Beanses is coming up this Friday!

Above kaleidoscope photo:  Alessandro Paiva

WIP Wednesday: Preliminary Squee

Shroud 8In anticipation of the release of Shroud 8, I am practicing my squee.

My story, Like Flies to Honey, is included in the Winter 2010 issue:

108 pages of With Bram Stoker Award winner, Brian Keene, Kealan Patrick Burke, Kevin Lucia, Gemma Files, Derek M. Fox, Nathaniel Lambert, Belinda Frisch, Craig D.B. Patton, Jeff Edwards, Richard D. Findlay, Mary Rajotte, Glen R. Krisch, Joe Nazare, Norman L. Rubenstein, Lawrence Vernon, Ginger Nielsen, and Tim Deal, and more.

Interviews with Joe Morey, David Conyers, Joe Schrieber and Lisa Mannetti. Beautiful cover and woodcut embellishments by Danny Evarts!

Brian Keene's Seminal Screams; Kevin Lucia's Top reads for 2009! Norman L. Rubenstein's Specialty Press Showcase.

Did you catch that? My name is on the cover. On. The. Cover. ~cue squee ~

I'm so stoked, you don't even know. Then again, you probably do know, since many of my readers are fellow writers and published ones at that.

If you're so inclined, the Winter 2010 issue of Shroud is available for pre-orders now from the Shroud website.

Once the issue has been released, I'll be putting up a dedicated page to my story, and I'll include my inklings column, which gives a little background info on how I came up with an idea for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing. There may even be a little giveaway ~wink~ so stay tuned. You can see Inklings in action on the page for my Northern Haunts tale, Creepy Crawleys.

Now that my excitement has been shared, it's time to get back to work so I will have other publishing credits to celebrate in future.

WIP WednesdayCurrent WIPs

  • didn't get as much done last week as I'm still working on the same two WIPs
  • Made some edits last night to the short story which I'll be typing up today    
  • flash piece still needs a bit of tweaking (does the tweaking ever end?)

Fellow WIP Wednesday participants:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.

Fellow members of The Creative Alliance:

WIP Wednesday: What A Muse Wants…..

Something happened. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing yet. It all depends on me.

Last weekend, I dozed off on the couch. Nothing is sweeter than the afternoon nap. But our couch isn't conducive to a comfortable snooze, so after waking up and moving to my more comfortable bed, I was wide awake while my mind played over all the things I should be doing instead.

I put in my earplugs (required tools for a writer w/a snoring mate), donned my sleep mask (any writer/insomniac worth his or her salt must have one) and gave it another try.

Just as I dozed off, a strange little scene played out in my head.

And now I can't stop thinking about it.

It sneaks into my thoughts when I'm doing the dishes. Sometimes it calls to me while I'm working on another story. It just won't leave me alone.

I'm a bit afraid of this little idea. It's so not me. It's something completely different; a challenge; and like the kid who has been told to stop poking the family pet, I've got my fingers poised over my keyboard, itching to relent to the idea, to just…poke at it a little…

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments!

Fellow WIP Wednesday participants:

Photo: Jakub Krechowicz

WIP Wednesday: Hup, Two, Three, Four

Still soldiering on with my NaNo WIP. I am continually swinging on a pendulum between enthused (about some of my ideas) and horrified (that the rest won't come together in time and I will end up blowing things out of proportion and ditching my ideas a week before NaNo starts, forcing me to either scramble to come up with a new idea or bow out altogether). No wonder we writers are a little crazy…
    
As a few good friends reminded me, however, I've been writing for a long time, and I shall continue to write still.          

So…the good news. Even though I'm a bit behind where I should be in terms of outlining, I'll be able to tweak the FD30D method to suit both my own style & my needs; i.e. some of the tasks can be condensed or sidetracked altogether, since I'm doing shorts and not a novel this time around.          

With that being said, I've got 5 or 6 solid ideas. Of course, it's those shaky ones that I seem to be focusing on. Typical pessimist's downfall, I tell you. And here, I thought I was an optimist.

WIP Updates:

WIP #1: NaNo – outlining continues. Hoping to nail down my final ideas by the end of the week, while still working on the actual piecing together of my master plan for each story
    
WIP #2: Only Our Dust has been sent back out to Submission Land. I'll keep you posted…

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments!

Fellow WIP Wednesday participants:

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Trouble commenting? You can always send comments via this handy-dandy form! I love feedback and talking writing!

[NWC]

WIP Wednesday: No WIPS, Ands or Butts

I'm kind of at an in-between stage where I have no WIP (work-in-progress) to speak of. I do have an IWIP (impending work-in-progress), however. And I have a related confession to make…

I'm still on the fence about it. Partially, mind you. Like…one butt-cheek's worth. No. Less than that. A toe. Yeah…one toe, my baby toe. I've got my baby toe on the fence about my IWIP. The rest of me is more or less on the verge of diving right in.

It's the sheer volume of work I've set myself up for that's got me freaked out. And it isn't really about the writing part of it, either. I know I can write 10 stories in a month. It's mad, but I can do it. It's the outlining. 20+ characters, 10 settings, 10 plots – oh my!

Maybe I should have started earlier. Maybe my doubts are founded and I'm setting myself up to fall flat on my face. Maybe this, maybe that, maybe the other.

You know what? I'm sick of waffling. I'm giving myself until the end of the weekend. If I don't have the most basic of plots and characters for each story by Sunday evening, I'm shelving the entire project and going to one of my novel ideas. Did I mention I only have maybe 2 novel ideas? Is it just me or does it seem like I'm making it more difficult than I have to?

Oh, well. It doesn't matter to me what roundabout way I come to a decision. As long as I do.

So, there you go. The madness direct from the mind of a writer.You've been warned.

WIP Updates:

WIP #1 – was rejected to the market I submitted it to. Giving it another look-over then sending it right back out

WIP #2 – see above. Still kind of up in the air. I hope the anticipation doesn't kill you…

Did I also mention I've added a handy-dandy section in the sidebar to keep track of my WAC tasks?

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments!

Fellow WIP Wednesday participants:

[NWC]