Fanning the Flames

 

It’s been a long time since I have felt the fire to write. Oh, I’ve made notes and played with l64-bradbury-wp1the odd scene here and there. But to actually want to sit at the computer and write…it’s been a long time. Two things have helped to reignite that spark.

One is a meme I came across on Facebook. It said, “Don’t cling to your mistakes just because you spent a lot of time making them.” While the nagging doubts and crippling anxiety were nurtured when I was a child, I can’t allow myself to use them as an excuse not to do what makes me happy. Yes, my mother taught me to doubt myself, to hesitate instead of taking the chance. But life has taught me that I can take control of my destiny. I can create the future I want. As long as I don’t get in my own way. That’s where the “clinging to mistakes” comes in. It is my mistake to allow myself to wallow in self-doubt and self-pity. I have to forgive myself for getting into that habit and break out of that cycle.

The second thing is a post a friend of mine shared. The original author was posting about binge writing. He said it was not that he didn’t want to write, but the words didn’t flow for him except in bursts that hit at random times. He would spend every waking hour thinking about writing and stories and characters but he would only binge write when the Muse struck him. I understand this binge writing he talked about. It’s how I have written most of my life. I think my binge writing comes from anxiety. I have to work really hard to break through the doubts and worry to get to that free space that feeds the flame.

These two things together have helped burn off the fog for me. Why do I have to be afraid to write? Why do I have to be afraid to submit a story? Because I was never taught to have self-confidence? Because someone else instilled their anxieties into me? Why can’t I act like the strong independent woman I try to project?

I am strong. I am confident in my abilities to write a compelling story. I have the power to silence the voices that tell me I can’t do it. Those voices lie. Those voices don’t know the real me. They don’t know what I’m capable of. They only know fear and shame. I will not listen to those voices anymore. Do you hear me? I WILL NOT LISTEN TO THOSE VOICES ANYMORE!

I spent the morning going through some writing stuff I’ve been hoarding. I have no less than 12 story ideas in every stage from concept notes to a finished story needing rewrites. I’m getting all my shit in a pile. I’m going to start finishing these stories. I am going to submit them. I am going to write more stories. I will prove to myself that I am the confident woman I know I am deep inside. But I do ask you to do me a favor. If you see me falling back into that negative cesspool of doubt, remind me to hold my head up and get back to writing.

 

You can find John Ringo’s post about his writing process Here.

This is the article on High-functioning Anxiety.

Be True 2 You

How many masks do you wear? Are you one person at work? Another person at home? Someone else around your friends? Do you know who the real you is?

A friend of mine on Facebook posted a meme today about being true to your authentic self. It struck a chord with me. I’m certainly a different person at work than I am at home. The real me is still inside there but she doesn’t come out much. Why do we do that?

For me personally, I only feel like Me when I’m alone or with someone I trust a whole lot. I was Me when I was in my dorm room alone, dancing with my headphones on. I was Me sitting up until 3:00 am reading because I loved the story so much I couldn’t put it down. I’m Me when I put down the car windows and sing at the top of my lungs.

I’m the most Me when I’m passionate about what I’m doing. If I can’t show you how I feeldancingfairy about something then I either don’t like it a lot or I don’t feel comfortable showing you the real me. The problem starts when other people tell us how to act. Don’t get me wrong. There are times and places for everything and appropriate behaviors accordingly. But when you’re a child and you’re told to put down the book your reading or to stop singing and go clean your room or to go change clothes because those colors don’t match…you lose a part of who You are.

Find the parts of you that you hide from the rest of the world. Find those things you are passionate about. Share them with someone who has no clue who you are. Go play in the rain. Dance and sing. We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing. Remember the things that make you happy and bring them out for the world to see. Be true to you.

REVIEW: Jacked by Kirk Dougal

I’m not sure I can write this without any spoilers but I’ll try. Okay, how to describe Jacked…awesome, well written, fast paced, edge of your seat, unrelenting… Should I keep going?

First, the technical stuff. Jacked is the launch of Per Aspera Press, a Ragnarok Publications jacked-cover1500-blurb_1024imprint. If you have read any of my other reviews, you should know I LOVE Ragnarok’s very talented authors. If Dougal’s novel is any indication, we will all love Per Aspera Press and all the SF yumminess they will bring us. Jacked is about a teenage boy with a talent for fixing technology in a world that has lost technical capabilities. He faces a lot of fears and dangers and grows up in a hurry. This is so hard without any spoilers! I want to tell you everything! Let me say that I read it through a second time and noticed some interesting correlations to Rowling’s Potter series. I missed them the first time because I was too engrossed in the story.

Now, the goodies. Dougal delivers with Jacked. I read it in one sitting. I just couldn’t stop. It’s like a roller coaster you want to ride over and over so it doesn’t end. It’s fast paced and keeps you racing through each page.  Even when you think you know what is going to happen next, you have to devour every single word. It has gangs, fights, seriously evil bad guys, chases, escapes, even some angsty teenage romance. There are surprises and they are delightful. And the ending is very exciting. I’m trying not to give too much away. It’s a very good book. You can find it on Amazon at this link. You need to read it.

Do it.

Now.

What are you waiting for?!

 

Evolution

Don’t get your panties in a wad. I’m not talking about diverging arguments on the origin of life. I’m talking about how we change as people. Maturity comes with time and experience. Note I didn’t say age. You can be in your 40’s and still act like a 12-year-old. I said maturity, all the changes you go through (hopefully) as you experience life and learn how to interact with other people.

Think back to the person you were at age 9, 15, 18. Are you the same person now? I know I’m not. I have learned so much in those years since then there is no way I could still be the same person. Experiences in life change us, whether for better or worse. If you become a famous writer, would you want new readers to know the person you are right now? Or do you want them to judge you based on memories of the kid who sat behind you in English class? If you meet someone and they talk about how a person was in high school or college, there’s a really good chance that person is nothing like they are now at 30, 35, 40 years old.

Whether we like it or not, we judge other people. Everybody does it to some degree. We learn to judge because we learn to make comparisons. As little kids we are open to everything and absorb the world like a sponge takes up Kool-aid. Then we start to compare things. Do I like the blue one or the green one? We may not understand our choices but we make those choices just the same. As we get older, we realize we love blueberries but we hate green apples. Green apples become evil. We judge them. We look down on them. But there is nothing inherently evil about green apples.

The same thing happens with people. We may not like certain behaviors so we vilify people who exhibit those behaviors. But people change. You can’t judge a 40-year-old person you have never met based on the opinion of someone who knew that person when he/she was 16. Well, you can judge that person but how is that fair to them or yourself? You limit yourself when you don’t do your own research and form your own opinion without bias.

We all have our own behaviors that others might find strange or disagree with. Does that mean our behavior is wrong? Does it mean the other person is an asshole? Why does it even have to be an issue? In order to grow as human beings, stop judging people. If you don’t want to get butthurt every time somebody disagrees with you, stop worrying about what other people think. Learn. Research. Study people and life and behaviors and the universe and everything else. Then form an intelligent opinion without bias from somebody else. That is maturity. That is evolution.

Review: War God Rising

Tim Marquitz has done it again. His work is always interesting and War God Rising does timagainnot disappoint. War God Rising is funny. We’re talking Mel Brooks funny. Quick asides, tongue-in-cheek, make you spit your soda out your nose funny. Marquitz writes with a quick easy style that makes you want to keep reading long past bedtime. His characters are clear and stand out as individuals that blend together into a symphony of humor. I’ve seen other reviews compare War God Rising to Monty Python. I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of Monty Python. However, I’m a HUGE fan of Mel Brooks. Marquitz has the same timing and cheeky attitude you would find in any Brooks film.

You get a bonus with this book. Marquitz has a teaser for his novel ZILF tagging along. Even more hilarity for your enjoyment. He also has a new kickstarter for another novel in his Demon Squad series. The man is a machine. If you haven’t read anything by Tim yet, what the hell are you waiting for? You can find the Marquitz madness on his webpage, Amazon, Kickstarter and he has a publishing gig at Ragnarok Publications.

A whole forest or just some trees?

Sometimes we need a little help to figure stuff out. The big stuff. Deep stuff. Stuff we don’t always like to examine in the light of day. I came across a blog post today that really struck a nerve. Here is the part that brought me to tears:

“When I feel better, I am more creative and more willing to allow myself to take the risk of feeling good about myself. Isn’t that strange? It’s a thing that I do, that I’ve done for my whole life: I don’t want to take the risk of feeling good about myself, because I’m afraid that I’ll get complacent, or arrogant, or someone will discover the Truth that my Depression tells me: I’m not that great and I don’t deserve to feel good about myself.”

I’ve never felt like I was depressed. Sometimes aggravated and upset with myself that I haven’t ended up where I thought I would be by now. But I never considered it depression. When I found this blog post from Wil Wheaton, I realized that what he described is exactly how I feel. I don’t know when it started but I have the feeling it goes way back. Mom had a way of making me feel guilty for doing something well, even my grades. I wasn’t given a choice but to make good grades. Yet she would fuss at me for always having my nose in a book whether it was for school or not.

How do you learn to break free from that when it’s all you were ever taught by the one person who’s supposed to love you and encourage you and nurture you above all others? For a lot of the time I remember, my mother was a miserable person. Nothing I could do to make her happy, nor my dad or my brother. She seemed to revel in it. The more I read about depression, I’m not sure she had a choice. That doesn’t make it any less tragic to instill that thinking into your children.

Now that I recognize what’s going on, I have to stop the cycle. I don’t have kids but I do have friends and family. I don’t want my behavior to be a negative influence on anyone. I recently had a meltdown. I hit my breaking point. And I am now medicated. Hopefully, the medication will help me find my way back to the right path. The path I should have found my way to when I was supposed to be learning who I was.

Here’s the entire blog from Wil Wheaton: http://wilwheaton.net/2015/10/seven-things-i-did-to-reboot-my-life/

Karina’s Back!

Okay, we finally have the Audible link for Karina Fabian’s book, I Left My Brains in San Francisco. This is the second book in the Neeta Lyffe series. If you like your zombies on the funny side, you need to read/listen to these books.

NeetaLyffe_ILeftMyBrainsinSanFrancisco_audio_MED

Interview with Karina Fabian

I’m on vacation this week and giving myself a birthday present. I’m interviewing my NeetaLyffe_ILeftMyBrainsinSanFrancisco_audio_MEDfriend and fellow writer Karina Fabian. She has a new audio book that should be dropping this week.

Do zombies take vacations?

Zombies are dead people whose hind brains haven’t clued into the fact yet. While they sometimes keep enough brain function to do things like return home, shamble through a drive-thru or try to vote, they aren’t really making conscious decisions. So, if one dies while on vacation and was really, really invested in doing something while on that vacation, its soulless corpse may return to hang out on the beach or go skydiving – likely what may have killed it in the first place, but zombies don’t really learn from their mistakes, either. However, it would not take a vacation.

What’s been you experience with audio books? Do you like it or not? Will you do it again?

I’ve had a great experience working with Becky Parker on the audiobooks. She has a good narrative style, fun voices and has fantastic special effects. It puts a new spin on the story. I’d love to do it again. In fact, I suggested to my publisher we just jump right to producing Shambling in a Winter Wonderland in audio, too, and have the print and audio come out together.

Do you have a bazillion notes on Neeta like J.K. Rowling has on Harry?

Nope. Neeta tells me what I need to know as I write the story.

What’s next for Neeta?

Neeta and Ted are heading to Utah. Neeta is showing off her exterminator’s van as part of the publicity agreement she made with HumVans, and they’re hoping to enjoy a zombie-free vacation snowboarding.  (Yeah…guess how that turns out.)

NeetaLyffe_ZombieExterminator_300dpi_eBook - CopyHow has writing Neeta Lyffe impacted your other writing universes?

My universes stay separate. I don’t see them crossing over, ever. They each have their own histories and population, and I enjoy moving from one to the other. Each book I write does teach me lessons I can apply to other novels, however. I’d say Neeta’s books help me remember to keep in mind how the wider world affects the doings of my characters.

I know you’re teaching a world building class. How did you build Neeta’s universe? Actually, the worldbuilding class was in August. This month, I’m teaching monster creation. You can learn more and register at https://www.anymeeting.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=EB59D786854E39.

Neeta’s universe was the easiest one to build, since it’s ours 30 years in the future. I took current social and political trends, projected them to ridiculous extremes (or what I hope would be ridiculous), and then added the zombies. I took a different approach to zombies. I have a hard time believing in the overwhelming apocalypse model, especially as we were in the middle of the H1N1 scare at the time I started the series, and while some people were sure we’d wipe out a significant amount of the population, strong controls made it a tempest in a teapot.

I figured the same thing would happen with zombieism. Even if we didn’t figure out what caused it or how to cure it, we would put controls in place to contain it. Thus, zombies as pests, not pestilence.

If you could ask Neeta a question, what would you ask her?

Why was it so hard for you and Ted to just admit you loved each other? It was the hardest part of the book to write.

Slider-ilmbiSF-audio-tour Karina

I always enjoy having Karina on the blog. You can find her and all of her universes at Fabian Space.

Get moving…

It’s raining again. I’ve been wanting it to rain. I have arthritis. I feel the rain coming three or four days before it gets here. After the first few hours of rain I stop hurting. I’ve been looking forward to the rain. But now it’s been raining for almost five days. Did I mention I’m allergic to the mold spores that are now piling up on the ground because of all the moisture? Yeah, the weather will always find a way to get me.

The lack of pain that commenced with the rain has helped boost productivity the last few days. Today I’m not feeling very motivated. So I turned to my drug of choice: music. For motivation it needs to be fast and loud and usually rocking. Here’s something to get you started:

Show a little love

You knew this day would come. It happens without fail. Every week of your life. Yes, it’s Monday. Stop whining.

I don’t understand why so many people fear Mondays. We all know it’s going to follow Sunday. Maybe it’s because I don’t work a regular Monday-Friday job. Nah, I’ve done that before and I still didn’t hate Monday.Smile-960x854

This is how I look at it. I woke up. I have a safe place to sleep. I have food to eat. I have people who care about me. I have music and books and football games and crafts to make.

Do I have everything I ever wanted? Am I wealthy? No. And I’m okay with that. I have all of what I need and enough of what I want. Next week when you start to complain about it being Monday again, stop and count all the things you have that you are grateful for. Then think about where you would be if you didn’t have it. It’s time to remember how to be happy for what you have.

Let’s show Monday a little love for a change.