Monday, June 27, 2016

Novella Announcement!

I am pleased to announce my sci-fi comedy novella Anachronism is going to be published by Kristell Ink! (Read the announcement here)

A time traveler enlists the help of the future president to help him stop a nuclear war from destroying her country. Hilarity - and a few preemptive assassination attempts - ensue.

It's hard to get a novella published, especially for previously unpublished, unagented authors. When I finished Anachronism and started submitting it, I only found five or six publishers even willing to accept submissions in my genre and wordcount, so I am incredibly thankful to Kristell Ink for this opportunity. It took a long time for me to write, compared to other works, and even longer for me to feel comfortable letting anyone read it, but I'm ecstatic to share it with the world.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Notes from the Editing Room - Chapters 6 and 7

I'm surprised at how... not awful this draft actually is at times. In my head, it was an absolute mess. Won't stop me from mercilessly mocking myself, though. (And in other news, I've just cashed my first check ever and am now calling myself a professional writer!)

  • You used a bird to represent a different bird? What amazing symbolism!
  • No hovering cars! If they have hovering cars, some of them could survive the disaster and it would be .00001% less tragic!
  • Alternate theory: A few survivors makes it more tragic?
  • I literally have no idea if "a shipload of enemies" is a typo or just space slang you invented. Guessing the latter since you don't like to swear, but...
      • "opened up like a bleeding wallet"? Oh my god, Jen. What kind of way is that to describe a surgery patient?
      • I have no idea what kind of religion they practice except "vague desert Incan/Aztec/Mayan type deal"
      • I officially ship Jack with every other character
      • Is there Swiss cheese in space?
      • "but [planet] was a planet". No, REALLY?
      • "If I'd have been in the kind of guy who kept [scrapbooks], Merulo and mine would have [burst at its seams] with [pictures of space pirates we punched and other examples of us being little scoundrels]." I love how Jack's voice is lost the instant I use a placeholder.
      • Hey, is space amazing and beautiful? I can't be sure, since you only mention it every chapter.

      Saturday, June 18, 2016

      Notes from the Editing Room - Chapters 4 and 5

      I'm pretty much incapable of taking myself seriously, which is why I think, even though I am extremely stressed by the thought of editing (and by most things), my notes for this read-through still have a sense of humor to them. It's a dark, self-depricating kind of humor that runs in my family. As my mother likes to say, "I'm laughing because it's better than crying and tearing my hair out."
        • I keep misreading "booths" as "boobs" and it's changing the tone of my carnival. Significantly.
        • This is a night scene? News to me. I totally remember it being daylight, maybe evening, with the sunset over the water and stuff.
        • Oh, nope. You continued to talk about the night sky. That is bizarre.
        • And suddenly it isn't nighttime underwater? I'd like to think you had a strange, rapid rotation of the planet in mind to explain this phenomenon, but I know you aren't that smart.
        • If the other ship is easily leveling trees and hills, it probably wouldn't be stopped by a rock wall. That's just physics, man.
        • Think I'll rewrite [its laser turrets turreting right at us].

        • Jack's dad is a drunken, loudmouthed, liar? You'll definitely need to change that, or your own dad might think it's based on him.
        • I forgot why you made Jack's home so swampy until I got to the word "levee." I don't care if your plot is inspired by American Pie. You can't just be going around making up whole worlds just to fit in song references!
        • Oh, for god's sakes, Jennifer! You've got space rednecks (good old boys) drinking hard liquor (whiskey and rye), joking that the sun is going to explode (this'll be the day that I die)! Keep this up and Don McClean is going to sue you for copyright infringement.
        • Oh, Jack. Poor, innocent little Jack full of hope and love. Chapter 8 is going to destroy you so bad. I will try not to laugh too much.
        • Jack's brain when presented with any pretty girl, apparently: "I'm going to condescendingly explain the concept of stars to this person who has lived in space her entire life!"
        • All girls when he does this: "Stars are so magical!" *heart eyes*

        Tuesday, June 14, 2016

        Notes from the Editing Room - Chapters 2 and 3

        So, I've discovered that my first draft isn't as awful as I expected. There's a lot to be fixed and I'm not looking forward to that, but rereading is actually kind of fun.

        I also discovered that I am not very nice to myself. I guess I always knew my inner monologue was skewed towards the negative, but putting them into words as I read my first draft has been interesting. At least it's amusing for me, or else I'd be worried for my self-esteem. :D

        • I see you briefly tried to turn Parthen into Sarah from Orphan Black when it's quite clear she's the Allison of the group.
        • Did you seriously call this a "fancities shop"? Try "luxury goods emporium." Sounds far less stupid
        • [space ivory] and [space martini]. I mean seriously. Use better words.
        • "Her words hit me with a [space wallop]." That is a sentence you wrote, you ineloquent turnip, as is "[I ran to her, except with feelings and suspense and stuff]." I just want you to know that these lines will be tattooed across your forehead if you ever dare to think you're the next great author.

        • Fun as it sounds, "designated arts and crafts person" isn't a position on a spaceship. Parthen needs an actual job.
        • That lizard just turned into a monkey. Fix in rewrite by making it a bird. (yes, this makes complete sense to me. No, magic is not involved)

        Friday, June 10, 2016

        Notes from the Editing Room

        When I edit, I say very cruel and sarcastic things to myself. I thought it might be amusing to document them as I read the first draft of my space opera, Freak Show. This is chapter one of sixteen. Remarkably few [vague and unhelpful placeholders] found in this one.
        • Oh lookit that. You were shipping Jack and Lily on page 1 and you didn't even realize it
        • Hey, remember that first version of this scene where Jack and Lily spent waaaaaay too much time talking about llamas? I'm proud of you for realizing how awful that was.
        • Yeah because in a world where people have artificial gravity and stuff, the violin will be the instrument of choice. I mean, at least go for a theremin (how does my spellcheck not know the word "theremin"?) or glass 'armonica. Something that sounds... space-y. Spacious. No, that's already a word that means something else.
        • You describe music weird.
        • Seriously. Have you ever heard music before?
        • What are you trying to accomplish with the triplets here? They sound like zombies. Either rewrite the entire book to be about space zombies or make them interesting characters in their own right.
        • That line is actually nice foreshadowing but I know you didn't do that on purpose because it foreshadows something you came up with months later.
        • Literally no clue what this means: "a [space pingpong table] weded in a corner of the galley." I'm guessing "welded" but that doesn't make it mean much in context.
        • [look up plane words]? That's helpful.
        • Really? [more plane words]? I don't even know where you expect me to begin with this research.

        Wednesday, June 1, 2016

        IWSG: Publishing and the Insecure Brain

        On the first Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group encourages writers to talk about their insecurities. So here we go.

        So here's the thing. I've been submitting stories to publishers and anthologies since January 1 (not a New Year's resolution, just one of them ol' coinkidinks). And since then, my work has been accepted by three (an announcement about the third to come when I get the info).

        This is happening way faster than I ever expected, faster than it should happen. Haven't we all read about how we're going to struggle for years and hope that someday we'll be published in some obscure journal one day?

        And you'd think this would help with my confidence and adequacy issues, but I'm realizing that, even though this has absolutely validated my life and having my name on a book is literally all I've dreamed of since I was a wee little mugwamp, it isn't an instant fix. My issues are still there; they've just been forced to get creative in how they torture me.

        Part of me truly believes this is all a mistake, that even though I've signed contracts and had multiple correspondences with people involved, someone or everyone is going to say "oops, we meant Jennifer Sue Rossman, not Jennifer Lee."

        Another part feels guilty that it's going so well. Why me? Surely I'm taking away a chance from someone else who has been trying for longer and deserves it more?

        It's going to take a lot of retraining for my set-in-its-way brain to accept that we might actually be talented. But at least I now have the most amazing "problem" I've ever had: How often can I mass email my extended family with publishing news before they get sick of hearing from me?