Something awesome and dreaming up new story ideas . . . literally

Earlier in the week, a friend of mine posted to Facebook that he’d received his copy of the Fall 2014 issue of On Spec—with my short story, “Downtime,” in it!

On Spec Fall 2014

Woohoo! See—that’s my actual name on the cover!

Further, my friend (also an SF writer, incidentally) said he liked it 😀

Heck, my mom was enthusiastic about it. You would expect that, but my mom would tell me if she didn’t like it.

I brought one of my precious copies with me to work, and my coworkers said they’d have to buy copies and get me to sign.

I have yet to convince Phil to read it. He will or he won’t and I’m cool with that. I’m just curious to see what Mr. Science makes of my science fiction-y self. To be honest, he hasn’t read anything I’ve written, and he’s only heard my poetry because he was kind of obligated to be at the book launch.

Of course, I read my “love” poems, the ones he’d inspired, and that embarrassed him. Maybe that’s why he’s so gun shy of my fiction . . . Trust me, dear, my fiction is not based in real life to any recognizable extent.

In any case, to any of you who live in Canada and are interested in seeing my story, you should be able to find it at your local Chapters, or your local indie shop.

For those of you outside of Canada, please visit On Spec’s web site to find out how you might be able to get your wee mitts on some of the best SF&F in Canada.

If you like speculative fiction, you might consider a subscription.

Gettin’ dreamy with it

For those of you who haven’t been following me for very long, one of my main answers to the question, where do you get your ideas? is, from my dreams, of course.

Although it doesn’t happen very often now that I’m an adult with a full time job and stress (tends to mess up my sleep), I dream in story. There are ususally one or two really good ones a year, but I’ll dream partly formed stories an additional four to six times a year.

I’m not going to tell you the content of my dream, per se, except that it’s a new adult science fiction romance (didn’t see that coming, did you—I didn’t see it coming) and the working title would be The Reality Bomb.

I’ll probably slot it in for 2015’s NaNoWriMo and let things ruminate for most of the year.

That’s what happened with Marushka. Though her story is a YA urban fantasy/fairy tale retelling, I dreamed her up January 1, 2014. TRB was a dream of January 4, 2015.

There was another dream, which I’ll call Bright and Far Away that was a space opera story with military elements, but that one didn’t grab me as firmly as either Marushka or TRB.

So dreams coming true. It’s a theme.

Tomorrow, I’ll be wooing my soul (more on that in a future post) and Tuesday, I’ll be delivering a workshop. This is a good time for creative Mellie.

How have your creative lives been going?

More guardians, more growing up …

I’ve always dreamed very vividly, and in story.  As a child, I was an insomniac, mid-cycle onset.  I’d wake at two or three in the morning and rehearse my dreams until I went back to sleep.  Either that, or tell myself new stories if it wasn’t a dream that woke me.  I told my dream-stories and nightdreams (as opposed to daydreams) to my best friend, Margaret, at lunch and recess.  I dreamed about characters and settings from my favourite television shows and movies: G-Force and Star Wars mostly.

Resources for dreaming and creativity:

I was also big into comics at the time.  Not the typical ones.  I wasn’t fond of the male heroes, and instinctively disliked the groups, in which the women were neither strong, nor independent.  I gravitated toward Wonder Woman, Huntress, Batgirl, and other solo heroines.

Unfortunately, my waking daydreams were also populated by Greg Evigan from “BJ and the Bear,” and Shawn Cassidy from “The Hardy Boys Mysteries.”  For better or worse, Margaret shared in all of that too, and was a regular reader of my stories.

Though I was a huge “Doctor Who” fan, Tom Baker never made it into my dreams, go figure.  More recently though, David Tenant’s made the short-list 🙂

I read C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, Madeline L’Engle, Zylpha Keatley Snider, and even checked out Pierre Burton‘s The World of OgJoan Aiken, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Lois Duncan, and Joan Lowery Nixon joined the list soon after.

Grade six was a rough patch.  Though I’d auditioned and made it into the choir, which was great because I liked to sing, the practices were after school, and one day, I was in an unfortunate situation.  **Those of delicate constitution may want to skip this next part.**  I’d gotten my period, always painful and heavy, even then.  Feeling like crap, and on the verge of bleeding through my clothes, I needed to go home.

My teacher came out into the hall where I was at my locker, preparing to leave, while other students walked the halls and the rest of the choir waited in the room, right next to me, and asked me what I was doing.  “Going home,” I said.  With increased volume, she asked me why.  I tried to tell her that my mom needed me at home.  I wasn’t about to tell her, and everyone else, the real reason.  She berated me for my fickle loyalties and tried to bully me into staying.  I committed to the choir and that meant that I had to be at every practice.  Did I want to be a part of the choir, or not?  Cornered like that, I had no choice.  I quit.  Once again, I was left out of the performance, and the choir, for the rest of the year.

Though I was terribly upset, there was no going back.  I would not be allowed to explain the situation in private.  That wasn’t my teacher’s style.  I wasn’t about to reveal my shame to the class, and wasn’t going to ask my parents to intervene for the same reason.  So I remained embittered for the year.  It was my own fault.  I hadn’t learned the trick of standing up for myself yet.  At the time though, it felt like persecution.

It was another low point on the teacher graph for me.

English: A bottle of Liquid Paper correction fluid

English: A bottle of Liquid Paper correction fluid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That same year, someone I thought of as a friend asked to read my stories, and flattered, I consented.  She used an entire bottle of Liquid Paper to obliterate my words.

Another guardian, another lesson: even your friends can’t be trusted.

As you can see, I identify with the hero/heroine’s journey, writer’s journey, or whatever else you’d like to call it.  My guardians have been the defining, or crisis, moments in my creative development.  In that respect, I’m a slow learner.  It took me years to realize that what these people did to me, or to my work, had nothing to do with its value or my own.  I let those formative lessons inform my inner critic (the worst guardian of them all) and it told me that I was worthless.  I believed it for far too long.

So again, I will ask you to share guardian experiences.  Who has put a roadblock in your creative path?  What lessons did you learn?  Did you find a way to overcome your guardians?