December 31, 2012

Another Dang Year

Well, the world didn't end at the end of the Baktun, and I think I speak for everyone when I say, "Crap."

But in the meantime, life and writing happened. I finished a novel, and though reports from early readers are uneven at best, at least it's finished. I hope to find it a home in 2013.

It was a very good year in short fiction. I sold nine (9!) stories this year, which is more than in all my other years of story-selling combined. Five were published in 2012, three of them by Every Day Fiction. Links to all are on my "publications" page.

Two of the as-yet-unpublished stories were commissioned, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, like a "real" writer. More information on these to follow in the new year. One of them has a cover illustrated by a totally badass artist, which also makes me feel "real."

The remaining two sales are stories I wrote prior to attending Clarion West in 2009. "The Final Testament of a Weapons Engineer" will be in After Death, an anthology edited by Eric J. Guignard and published by Dark Moon Books. "A Fairy Tale" is a story I wrote in my MFA program, which I used to apply to Clarion West. I just learned it will be sharing a TOC in The Colored Lens with CW classmate Kris Millering's application story, a coincidence that is as random as it is awesome.

And yeah, I also wrote a few stories, some of which are starting the long slow trip through slush piles.

Here's hoping life and writing continue to improve in 2013! As far as I know, there are no apocalypses planned for the next few years. Yay?

December 19, 2012

The Last Big Thing

Here is your installment of The Next Big Thing, that chain-letter blog post for writers that's been making the rounds. Like all parties, I find myself late to it. But better late than never!

What are you kids doing in there?

1) What is the working title of your next book?
I despise titles. After many deranged ideas, mostly cribbed from the text of Romeo and Juliet, I'm now calling it STARS CROSSING IN THE NIGHT. While I was drafting it, I simply called it Romeo and Juliet in Space.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
It actually came to me in not one but two dreams. In the first one I was trying to describe my previous novel to someone at a convention and told them it was Romeo and Juliet in space. I woke laughing from that dream, having never written anything remotely like that. The second dream provided me with an opportunity to do so, handing me Earth as a prison planet and an alien race that's been watching us throughout history.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
But despite the above, it's really not a cheesy space opera. It's post-apocalyptic, near-future SF, but it's also a love story. Is it paranormal romance to have a human fall in love with an alien? My writing group saw it as YA, but I didn't, so take that for what it's worth.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I'd like Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) for Mona and CG for Frangi. 
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
One woman and one alien will do anything for each other--even if it leads their species to war.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I really can't say.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The first draft took about two months, which is so! fast! that I can hardly believe it. The next draft took four months, and the one after that took seven. I hope I don't have to do any more, because at this rate of change the next one would take well over a year!
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Um? Do I have to? Okay, then: THE ROAD (only not as depressing), CAT'S CRADLE (only not as funny), and Nancy Kress's STEAL ACROSS THE SKY.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Isn't that the same as question #2? 
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
UFO chases, rogue robots that hunt humans for food, whole planets destroyed! Alien-human sex scenes!
So. Despite knowing a gaggle or more of writers, none of them would consent to being tagged in this chain letter. Many had already participated, and some were just stubborn. You know who you are.

It dies with me! Apologies to Jeremy Zimmerman (who tagged me). You didn't know you were choosing a loser, did you?

*update* The fabulous Lori Rader Day, colleague from my MFA days, has taken up the baton. Check out her next big thing over at her blog.

December 07, 2012

Tigers and Unicorns*!

Last weekend I saw something rarer than a unicorn: a movie based on a book that doesn't disappoint!

I loved Life of Pi when I read it. I mean, who wouldn't? Shipwrecks and tigers and floating acid islands full of funny little mammals! So I was therefore hesitant about the movie, even though previews looked gorgeous.

Worse, husband wanted to see it in 3D, which I think is generally gimmicky and unnecessary. Plus, 3D hurts my nose. See, I wear glasses, so a 3D movie means wearing two pairs of glasses, and they rarely line up quite right, so then I have to tie them together with hair ties. And even so they sit heavily on my face. When we saw Avatar, my nose ached for hours afterward. I know I can't be the only one with this problem; I'd be interested in hearing other glasses-wearers' solutions.

But anyway, at the end of Life of Pi only my eyes hurt, and that was from crying. The movie was so well made that everything else faded into the background. I was only occasionally aware of the 3D, or the lousy service and terrible food at the theatre (one of those food-serving theatres), or anything else. The story was all that mattered.

This is a great adaptation. Everything I remembered (with only tiny exceptions) made it into the film, and without it turning into an epic. I think it's about two hours long. The main character, Richard Parker (the tiger), looked so good that it was easy to forget he wasn't real. The human actors were also great, pulling off wrenching scenes.

Just go see it. It won't even ruin the book for you. Tigers! Shipwrecks! Crazy cannibalistic islands!

* Note: there are no unicorns in the book or the movie. Or this blog post.