Wig Crafting for AniCoz

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,780 / 1,800

There we go! First draft of AniCoz wig article. It’s a wrap for today.

Next steps:

1. Smooth out interview part.
2. Organize instructions.
3. Choose and add pattern sketches and illustrative pictures.

If I can do the first two in evenings, and the last one in two evenings, I should be on task.


After I get the wig article done, the writing journal will be full of these things for the foreseeable future.

1. Book Reports about what I’m reading
2. Favorite Reports (books, movies, television, and various other things that have impacted me as an author)
3. World and character building for the next novel
4. The writing process for the next novel.

Stay warm out there! We’re talking Brrrr here!


Why I Read the Classics: Arthur Clennam in Little Dorrit

As promised, I am finally getting around to writing about classic books. Little Dorrit is an 800 page book, so it takes time to get through it, and I did. I couldn’t help but noticing that the melodrama increases mightily in Dickens as we near the end, as does the sentimentality. I didn’t mind.

I think a reasonable question is what can a modern genre writer use from a classic book to improve their writing. In Little Dorrit, Dickens develops a true portrait of a good man undergoing midlife crisis–the character of Arthur Clennam. Arthur’s journey is a subplot modern writers can relate to.

Continue reading “Why I Read the Classics: Arthur Clennam in Little Dorrit”

Blood, Snow, and Corn Stalk Gypsies

Oh my stars and garters! Winter will be coming to Iowa tonight with a super vengeance. Freezing rain, snow, and then blowing. Will we get to have our final tomorrow, and continue packing our office, or will we be marooned in Blairstown, eating beans from a tin? Stay tuned!


I have finished my weekly entry of Blood is Thicker than Water.

AND, to echo Michael Jasper, here’s an update on Cornstalk Gypsies. I know there’s a powerful lot of requests for good works over the holidays, but please consider yet another good cause!

From Editor J.K. Richard:

I believe in the power of words.

I started Relief Anthology this summer as a response to the massive floods that the state of Iowa sustained in late May and early June. I felt like a helpless bystander as fellow Americans struggled to save their homes and businesses.

I noticed however, that I wasn’t alone in my feelings of uselessness. My friends, associates, and partners in crime in the auctorial communities wanted to do something to help Iowa as well. They wanted to give, to do something, but with the economy beginning to spiral (downward) we were all a bit inundated with our own personal finances to make a donation of modest enough proportions to impact flood relief efforts.

So we wrote and gave a gift of words. Today marks the first donation from ReliefAnthology.com to the public.

As I looked for either a charitable organization or a relief effort that was specific to our cause I came across the Donors Choose website. I found an awesome teacher with an awesome proposal: she wants to inspire her 3rd through 5th graders to write.

Mrs. W of Lincoln Elementary School in Waterloo, IA … we’re all about kids writing.

Mrs. W still needs $728.00 dollars to see her proposal fulfilled. $728.00 might seem like a lot of money in these tough economic times…but if you donate and tell 5 people, and they tell 5 people…and they each tell 5 peoplem then we might just be able to help provide the resources needed to inspire the next generation of SFF writers.


And that’s it for today, as I’ve got to do some grading and packing. Work on the wig article has begun!


Forrest Ackerman

I had an interesting conversation with Fory Ackerman when we were his guest liaisons for Icon in Iowa in 1998. Someone else had asked Fory about God, and it came out that he was a staunch atheist. I asked him about it a little more, and he suggested that his wife, Wendayne, had loved a man before him and had lost him in the war. He wasn’t sure how he would feel in the afterlife if they all three were standing around looking at each other.

When we first picked Fory up at the airport, he told us he wanted swordfish. In Iowa. Luckily, we had connections, and we found him swordfish at the Ground Round thanks to Whacked Bob, who worked there.

After his press conferences and interviews on Saturday night he was keen to have dessert, and Bryon took him out and found him wild berry pie. They sat alone in the hotel restaurant about midnight and talked.

For those of you who really don’t know how important 4E was to science fiction, MSNBC will catch you up. In 1999, we journeyed to see the Ackermansion and Fory’s vast collection of books, magazines, and SF/F memorabilia. If ever we had a historian, he was it.

Since Fory didn’t believe in the afterlife, he should know that his life here counted all the more, and we appreciated him while he was here.

Publishing Gets Beaten Around the Head

For the most comprehensive round up of the damage of yesterday I’ve found, you might visit this entry from Stacy Whitman’s Grimoire.

If I were a pessimist, I would say that it is a very bad time indeed to be breaking into the industry, or to be a newly published writer.

But I’m not a pessimist. I am grateful yet again for my day job, which, although I grouse about it occasionally, I still believe in the good mission of. As a matter of fact, given the current economy, I believe it is more important than ever that I am here, working to teach English to people who want that language skill, or to help displaced workers find a new venue for work. Yup, I love that my job means something, and although all writers would rather be involved in publishing all the time, I can take comfort in the security of my work, and help other people to re-invent themselves in a harsh world.

That said, I see NO reason for a writer at this stage in my career to be pessimistic. Come what may, I write stories, and I’m committed to that now. I have lots of stories inside of me, and they’d best be coming out. While I look forward to the day I am represented, marketed, and published, and I will continue to make those efforts accordingly, I am mostly about writing stories and sharing them.

Some of the writers I admire most are writers who circulated their works at times of censorship and in times of exile. These writers understood that the message was important. I will grant you that publishing is a great way to get that message out, but it is not our sustaining life blood as writers. Writing is. Story telling is. Supporting each other is.

So, please don’t think that your opportunity to publish is a thing of the past. It may happen slower now than we would like. However, in the end, people will still want stories, however we get them out there. The world needs storytellers more than ever in difficult times.

This office still isn’t going to pack itself.


Self Promotion

I know that I have a mixed audience for this journal, and that the lion’s share of you are not at the promotion stage of your writing. However, there was a very good post at Jim Hines’ journal speaking about some ethical guidelines about self-promotion that I rather liked. As a result, we link.

This is going to be an issue I have to think about, as I actually have a book coming out in September. Sonya has been pretty good about promoting Cats Curious and Cat Scratch thus far. How will I have to help?

One of the things that will help Hulk Hercules is that it’s a book for kids, and it’s got some educational content. School connections and visits seem like a good idea. I also have some friends with a book store in Michigan who want me to come for a signing, and there’s a nice local book store where we may be able to place our effort. I’m sure Sonya has more ideas as well.

Carts before horse for me, however, as we still have all that editing, rewriting, proofing, all that.

Jim has some rules here that seem golden. Don’t be a dick and have fun seem the most relevant. The idea that you must keep writing is also important. There must be another book in terms of long term effort. And of course, don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or squicky to support your book.

To my way of thinking, if you comport yourself like a professional, enjoy what you’re doing, and make a sincere effort to be honest and open when you interact with other publishing professionals, that’s half the battle.

Of course, since I’m such a noob, I’m always happy to be given hot tips by my more experienced peers. That would be Jim’s number 8. Learn.

Well. This office ain’t gonna pack itself.


Arrows Make Target

Well, cats and kitties, the cold kept me down for a day. There were some shaky moments this morning, but we hauled ourselves in for an INTENSIVE day at work. At work, I’m in one of those wait and see what wackiness is next. So, I’m trying to not think about any of those various things, and just finish the semester and pack up my office for the move to our new building.

Among the many issues, I have found out yet again, that no matter how well-intentioned you are, and no matter how much you advocate for your employees, regardless of what you do, some of your employees ultimately embrace the idea that you are a tool of The Man (TM) and part of the Vast National Conspiracy to keep them from getting What They Want. Yes, even if they have email to disprove it, and even if telling them about the issue would be proof enough that you are not the Anti-Christ.

If I WERE a secretive Machiavellian, bent on keeping them ignorant about a pay inequality, I would never have let them know an inequity existed. I would be a smart evil genius, people! So, I must be on your side. If I weren’t, you would never know what hit you. I mean really. Death rays. Deadly viruses dropped over the country from steam punk dirigibles. Minions, people!! MINDLESS minions!!!! And cooler clothes than I’m wearing now!

So, yeah, it’s been a day. I always think of myself as a very ethical person, concerned about and advocating for fairness. This sort of uninformed opinion stings. It really makes me want to get out the death dirigible.


Right. That’s off my chest. So, one other thing. My recent submissions have all hit their targets. Yeah.

D’you suppose I could do some writing tomorrow? Not being sick, scooping snow, or plotting overthrow and revenge? Sure. I’ll carve out the time.


Reunionizing, not Writing

Snow. I have choice words for it over in my other journal. It’s hear again, and I think all of us are flashbacking to last year’s very bad winter, so it’s making Iowans cranky anew. Let’s hope for mild weather.

I finished Mark Twain’s Daughter, and one of my reader has already given me some positive feedback, for which I am grateful. The next couple of days were eaten up by weather, travel and my class reunion.

Twenty-five years ago, I graduated from a tiny school in Southern Iowa. I’ve been to most of my class reunions. They’ve actually been fun, especially when I realized, as a high school/junior high teacher myself, that NO ONE is responsible for their behavior, or secure in their character at that age. A great deal of forgiveness for about anything comes out of that realization.

Anyway, a few nuggets. The first one for you writers, and then I’ll hid them under a cut.

1. So, have you written that novel you’ve always wanted to write, someone asked? Sonya will be pleased to know that I explained all about Hulk Hercules, but what amused me is the assumption that somewhere lurking inside of every writer is ONE book that they will write. Is this the layman’s idea of the GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL? What about you? Have you written that novel you’ve always wanted to write?

People often don’t understand writing anyway. The professor part of my life they get, and they were pretty good with the childless part, especially after Bryon and I made some good jokes about it. But you know, writing. How do you explain that?

Stereotypically: I sit around in my pjs and fluffy slippers, eating oreos, punching down whatever I want on a page until I decide on a bigger concentration of oreos for lunch. Then I do some web surfing and email response, punch down some more random thoughts, decide it’s time to have a creative crisis and pop a couple of beers and grouse at my spouse/kids when they get home about how no one understands me. Of course, everything I write is gold the first time. That’s just my gift.


Other class reunion things more meaningful to me follow.

Continue reading “Reunionizing, not Writing”