Wordsmith Studio Homecoming 2015: What are you reading?

For the best effect, please read the headline of this post with an incredulous tone 😉

WSS Homecoming 2015

1) What are you reading?

Just like I work on multiple project in my writing, I read multiple books, both ebooks and print, cause I kind of have this problem. I can’t stop buying books of any variety (!)

So here’s my current reading list:

  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Although I’m sure it suffers in translation, I’m enjoying this novel immensely.
  • InFusion by Scott Overton. I’m beta reading this SF novel for an author friend. I’ll save my specific feedback for him, but, just so you know, I think it’s great 🙂
  • The Art of Work by Jeff Goins. On finding your calling. It’s kind of serendipitous that I found out about this book back in January.
  • Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. I picked this up last year after seeing Patricia at Ad Astra. I figured I should get off my butt and read it . . .
  • Pain, Porn, and Complicity by Kathleen McConnell. An academic work on SF&F movies and television series. It’s been a while since I dipped my toes in that particular non-fiction pool.
  • Lock In by John Scalzi. I’m listening to this on Audible. Narrated by the inimitable Wil Wheaton.

2) What was your favorite read in the last year (or month, or…)?

My favourite reading of recent recall is A Turn of Light by Julie Czerneda. I rated it five stars, though I haven’t written a proper review. Yet. This is the kind of fantasy novel I love to read. It’s also the kind I write and there were a lot of similarities between Czerneda’s Jenn Nalynn and Ferrathainn Devlin, the protagonist from my WIP. I was enthralled to the end 🙂

3) Do you have a favorite genre?

Yes and no. I favour fantasy novels of any age range, but I also read science fiction, historical fiction, the classics, mysteries, and romance novels (though I must say I haven’t read many of those recently). I try to alternate fiction and non-fiction reading, as well. Again, most on my non-fiction reads tend to be writing craft books, but I also read as a form of research for my various works in progress, and sometimes, stuff that I’m just interested in. I learn something from everything I read, even if I don’t particularly enjoy the book. In other words, I read as a writer.

4) Bend one step further: are there alternative forms of writing or art that you have found inspiring or even dabbled in?

In my “searching” phase of university (the undeclared years) I majored in music and art at different times. Performance anxiety put the brakes on my music career, though I still love to sing. I was summarily drummed out of art class when my professor called me nothing more than an “illustrator.” From time to time, I still sketch, but I’ve honestly never been very good. I’ve sunk all my creativity into my writing for a number of years now. In 2000, I did the crazy, being in between jobs, and auditioned for a Theatre Cambrian production of Hair (Y2K). I sang and danced in that, for what it’s worth 😉

6) Back to your main inspiration: Do you have “mentor” titles for the writing you are working on?

I’ll reframe this in terms of “comps,” or comparative works. As I mentioned above, I learn something from every book I read, so I don’t have any “mentor” titles, per se, though I would identify several novels/authors whose work I aspire to.

  • The above-mentioned Julie Czerneda and her A Turn of Light. I’ve committed to read more by Julie.
  • Juliet Marillier’s Celtic legend inspired Seven Waters series.
  • Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels. Though he writes in a created world, it is based on painstaking historical research. I’m not that dedicated, but I love the stories he writes. He’s actually made me cry in the reading.
  • Sherri S. Tepper. Just anything she writes. I love her ideas. Or should I say lurve?

6) If you didn’t already do this for #4, what music inspires your writing?

Okay, now you’re going crazy. Or you will if I offer up all 963 songs on my iPod (!) Suffice it to say that any music I like is generally something I’ll add to my playlist. I have music from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and the new millennium. I like some pop, a lot of alternative, celtic, and world music. I also have more eclectic selections on CD: The Rites of Spring, Satie’s gymnopedies, The Symphonie Fantastique, Carmina Burana, Gregorian chant, a number of Sequentia recordings (including the Eddas), gamelan music, Tibetan singing bells, shakuhachi flute music . . .

My favourite artists (I’ll pick up just about anything they release):

  • Imogen Heap
  • Tori Amos
  • Sarah Slean
  • Florence + the Machine

7) Have you ever thought of this: what book is your main character reading?

Interesting question. I’ll even answer it.

  • Ferathainn Devlin: Sadly, all of Fer’s reading would be studying for her forthcoming initiation, so all of it would be history, scholarly works on magic, or non-fiction works on herbs and simples, astronomy, and the like.
  • Charlene Kalveras: School textbooks, and, because of what’s happened to her father, true crime.
  • Gerod: Owing to his impoverished upbringing in an environment of medieval feudalism, Gerod doesn’t know how to read. He learns, though.
  • Marushka: She hasn’t had any formal schooling, hopping around the world in a magical hut, so she’s had to teach herself everything. She steals books from libraries and reads omnivorously.

8) Do you have a favorite book, article or magazine for writing advice?

Again, I have several 🙂

  • Writing the 21st Century Novel, Donald Maass. Currently on loan to a member of my critique group. Actually all of Maass’s books have helped me immensely.
  • Any of K.M. Weiland’s writing craft books.
  • Any of Roz Morris’s Nail Your Novel series.
  • And the books that have helped me find my way to the writing life: Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones; Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write; Heather Sellers’ Page After Page and Chapter After Chapter; Stephen King’s On Writing; Terry Brooks’s Sometimes the Magic Works; Jane Yolen’s Take Joy; and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Wave in the Mind.

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Alrightie, then!

I’ll have a wee Sundog snippet tomorrow about miscellaneous stuff, ‘cause sometimes you need miscellaneous stuff, you know?

Muse-inks

The next chapter: April 2015 update

Where I’ve been

I don’t know how to say this, but April kind of sucked.

Due to the situation at work, I decided to give myself a true break for the Easter long weekend. So, no writing there.

The next weekend was Ad Astra and I knew better than to even promise a blog post. No writing that weekend either.

After having left things for so long, it took a while to get restarted.

I didn’t get either of the two stories written that I had wanted to, and only revised one story, but incompletely.

You won’t be surprised by my progress, or lack thereof.

April 2015 progress

11,907 revised words on Initiate of Stone. I’m about 70% finished.

5,541 words written on the blog.

2,931 words written on Marushka. This is so far below what I’d hoped for in progress that it makes me weep a little. According to my original goal, I’m just over 50% of the way to finishing the draft. I’m closer than that, but I don’t know how much more.

38 words is all I managed on my short story.

20,417 was my total for the month.

April 2015 summary

I submitted my story “The Broken Places” for consideration to the Aurora Awards and several people were kind enough to nominate me.

I’ve also sent it to Sandra Kasturi for consideration in the next Imaginarium anthology.

Will be sure to let you know what happens.

Where I’m heading

Friday was my last day as a consultant. It’s truly a relief to be back at my old position with the training team. I’ve realized that I appreciate my position so much more now because I actually get to see the results of my work.

Even if I’m frustrated because my learners tend to hear what they want rather than what I’m actually teaching them, I maintain relationships with many of them and can see how they’re doing.

I’m burnt. I’ve actually been so tired I’ve felt sick, but when I’ve tried to nap, I don’t actually sleep. I close my eyes and my mind won’t settle down. It happens at night, too. I just need a break.

I have only two weeks at work and then I’m off for five.

Since I need the rest, I’m not going to be slaving away over my break, but I do intend to get some work done and finish a few small projects around the house.

I aim to have my revisions on IoS and my drafting of Marushka all, or mostly, done by the time I start my leave.

Then, I’m writing my query and synopsis, researching agents, and I’m going to send IoS into the world to see how she does.

I’m trying to arrange a bit of a promotional visit for a new author friend, Madeleine Callway, some time in June as well.

Because of that, I’m not aiming high for the next couple of months, though I do intend to pick up with drafting Gerod and the Lions once I’m finished Marushka, and trying to pull together Apprentice of Wind, the second book in the Ascension series.

Since I’ve been working toward the goal of querying, I’ve taken a load of courses, including Jane Friedman’s MBA for Writers and I’ve picked up Jeff Goins’s The Art of Work.

I’ve had Julie Czerneda and another author friend review my opening (‘cause openings still kick my arse).

I’ve ordered the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents and signed up for Publisher’s Weekly, ShelfAwareness, and Publisher’s Lunch free newsletters.

I’m getting serious about this writing gig in a whole different way.

Of course, I’ll let you know how all of this pans out.

One more post today and then I think I’m done.

See you in a few!

The Next Chapter