Drive By Linkage

So I’m back from Marscon, where our friends Aric and Kim were 3D Artist Guests of Honor. Which makes it sound like the rest of us are flat. Which we are not. But anyway, we had a pretty good time attending their panels. I also did a reading with my fellow Broads from Broad Universe, which was a good time. Also, had the opportunity to enjoy breakfast on Saturday with Caroline Stevermer.

You know, one of the best things about having breakfast with Caroline is she always makes me feel so good about my efforts to become a writer. This year, it was like the fresh air of spring, our get together. It didn’t hurt that the weather later echoed our conversation, a balmy 60 in Minnesota in March. Yup. All right.


And so, I work for a day. Tomorrow I have to do a bit of shopping, and I’ve also been asked for a synopsis for what I’m workshopping, so I’ve got to put that together. Um…what else?

Finishing up comments, sending them off to people, just getting things around.

So, here’s an interesting post from Jim Van Pelt to tide you all over while I’m out here getting critiqued. It’s about hard work and success, and it’s well done.

I hope to see you a little later in the week.


Writer Fiddly Bits

Good morning for writer fiddly bits.

Sent off questions for two interviews. For the first interview, I’m starting my series of writer’s drafting processes. I see a lot of interviews that capture first sales, but not as many interviews that look as much at drafting and other milestones in writer’s lives, and now I’m curious about that. Caroline Stevermer has graciously agreed to be my first interview with this, so stay tuned for her answers. She was kind enough to give Writer Tamago a great interview about themes in College of Magics. I expect this interview to be wonderful as well.

The other interview is one of the missing two Viable Paradise interviews. I heard from Drew Morby! So, I’ve sent Drew off a list of questions, and I await his answers. It’s a bit like collecting a rare comic….

Leah, I’m still happy to interview you. Have I sent you questions?


Also spent this morning thinking a little bit about the shape a novel support group is going to take. I have a couple of writer friends who are working pretty much only on novels and like me, are trying to go the traditional publishing/agent route. What does this mean? Lots of work with little immediate gratification. So, time for support. As I said in an email to them, it’s either that or drinking!

Well, I gotta go to bookstore two, where I’m going to finish reading some stories for the Dallas workshop. There are plenty to be had, so I doubt I’ll finish today. Friday’s my next writing session. I’ll get back to Abigail Rath on that day.


Some Reflections on Being a Good Leader

I’m not sure how many of you are aware of a concept called servant leadership. (Thank you, Wikipedia, for a concise summary.)

I’d like to post this relevant quote:

A servant leader is someone who is servant first, who has responsibility to be in the world, and so he contributes to the well-being of people and community. A servant leader looks to the needs of the people and asks himself how he can help them to solve problems and promote personal development. He places his main focus on people, because only content and motivated people are able to reach their targets and to fulfill the set expectations.

This is the management style that my workplace tries to teach all of its administrators. My job as an administrator is to work with my people and to help solve their problems so that they can do the work they need to do. It’s to believe in the philosophy of our college, and do what we can to help the people at our college reach both their potential and the philosophies of our college.

Sometimes when you are a servant leader, you have to suck it up. Even if you have an employee who is difficult or problematic from time to time, you need to work with that employee to solve the problem and help them work to their potential. And if you disagree with an employee, you listen. If you don’t know something, you learn it, so you can understand better. You open your mind and you listen. If you disagree, you explain, but you don’t dismiss. If you can’t do something because of company policy, you explain, but you don’t dismiss.

You never dismiss. This is a very, very important point.


Working at Kirkwood has been a great training ground for being on the board of Mindbridge, our organization that puts on SF conventions in Iowa. On the Mindbridge Board are also disparate opinions. Many of those people have the same goals, but radically different ideas about how to achieve them. Sometimes they see these oppositions as insurmountable. My job as a board head is to listen, to encourage compromise. You open your mind and listen. You don’t dismiss. Leaders have to do the hard work of not only managing people, but also respecting people.


Recently, a candidate for SFWA vice-president responded in a very poor way to another SFWA member who was offended by insensitivity in his opening platform. How to handle the situation? Someone who is going to be vice-president needs to open his mind and listen. If a potential leader closes ranks and is mostly concerned about criticizing an opposing viewpoint because it is not his, that’s a bad sign. Minimization is not a good sign. Unwillingness to explore unfamiliarity is a bad sign. Things to keep in mind now and in the future.

Because everyone in your organization teaches and adds to the strength of the organization. Open your mind and listen. Don’t dismiss. Defensive, self-centered leadership never help an organization reach its potential. Servant leadership is not easy, but it’s worth the work.


The Growing Season

In about 45 minutes, I have 3 Chinese delegates from the Wuxi Institute stopping by, so I can describe our English classes to them. Not that I expect that to be anything you’d know about. That’s the tenor of my day.


So. I’m still digging the new manuscript. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel of the sort it out/not so gloppy draft, and then we begin some real hard work on the actual manuscript. Some deep writing and some patching, some bridging and development. We’re not at the whack it down stage yet again. We’re at the grow it in a more focused, less gloppy way stage.

I’m in a place right now where I’m keeping my head down and I’m writing. I’m craving a little recognition for my work, but it’s rejection season here. Three things are circulating, and they are getting rejected. It’s not the end of the world. It just isn’t what I’d like.

Well, sometimes the field rests, and the next time you plant seeds, you get nicer results. I’ll try to focus on hoeing the rows.

I’m an Iowan. I *do* have a license for the extended agriculture metaphor, thank you very much. But really, who has my nice shiny bucket of fame? Get yer own! 🙂


What Does She Win?

It’s…a new car!!!


When last we left our heroine, she was going to get her car back. Well, the replacement transmission also failed, and suddenly the reliable newer car…wasn’t. So the hubs and I traded it in for another car, a 2012 Hyundai Elantra (not Touring) with bells and whistles. A doctor would drive this car…if doctors drove Hyundai Elantras, which I think they do not.

So our old 2000 Hyundai Elantra has survived a 2007 Nissan Versa and a 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring. Word to the wise, Touring owners. According to the Hyundai website, that lurch you feel in your transmission is a sure fire sign that you are about to undergo the same experience we did. Not so bad if you’re near a tow truck and you have a warranty, but not so good if you take a lot of longer road trips.

Straight Elantra is North American car of the year. I have high expectations, with my previous one at 300K.


But the real question–did she do any writing? Yes, she did. I also critiqued about 4 of the stories due for the Dallas workshop next week, and will get back to these efforts tonight.


Here are some useful links:

Courtesy of Jim Hines, Patrick Stewart on why domestic violence shelters are important.

Courtesy of Stephanie Burgis, Sara Zarr’s new podcast This Creative Life, which focuses on keeping the creativity flowing.

Have a great week.


And Now, Another Nugget of Joy from Zorak

Snow. It falleth from the sky. As expected.

Hi folks. This week is known officially on many calendars as the Week Both of Your Cars Will Be in the Shop. Regrettably, that coincided with Your Inbox is Full Day and Chinese Student Act Out Day. My absence is now explained.


So, what interesting things can I tell you about? Because recounting my woes is sort of an uninteresting entry. Well, it just so happens, here are a few nuggets.

Ford Fusion and Back Up Beeps: The Ford Fusion that we are renting has a teeny little back window, and we’ve been having trouble seeing out the back while driving and backing up. My friend Kim tells me this is the trend in new cars to make them safer. I guess they will crash more often, but you’ll be safer when they do! However, there is a preventative device, and that is the back up beep. If you are about to hit something, the car beeps at you. If you get closer to an item, it beeps more frantically. Like, “listen to me, you crazy driver! You are about to hit a telephone pole! No! No!! NO!!!” And then, you don’t hit the pole. So far.

Dallas Workshop: Look, Ma, homework for the Dallas workshop. Stories to read and critique.

A Weekend at Home: Since Cath and Bryon want to get their cars in their garage, forestall another hectic week next week, and generally want some piece of mind, they are giving their bimonthly gaming trip to Minnesota a miss. It’s a good thing. I’m not sure my friends will like me if I hung with them this weekend. My catch phrase this week is, “You kids! Get off my lawn!” Or something like.

Instead, expect late sleep-ins, long times writing and critiquing, and just general happiness building. Also, light driving until we trust our cars again. It’s not so bad, having Bryon all to myself.

Now that You Mention Dallas: My friend Yolanda and I are going to kick around decadently for two days before the workshop. Ritzy spa mani and pedi, and then probably John Carter. Tars Tarkas is looking good in the previews.

Beehive: Loving the sixties hair. Had the Audrey hair done again, will have it done again next week. I’m getting about 3 days out of it each time. As Catrina puts it, an affordable luxury.

Marscon: I’ll be reading at Marscon in Minnesota next Sunday at 1 pm. I’ll repeat that again later, at the top of some entry.


Okay. I’ve got to get Abby Rath to a Slumber Party of the Damned (TM), and then I’m off to lunch with Bryon before going in to wield my scythe on the deserving. And get some students for a practice session on Monday. And have a meeting about a student handbook.

Y’all keep writing. I am behind on my yearly quota, but that I’m doing any at all right now is really, really something. Or something else.