17 April 2014

Writers Write About Writing (Blog Hop)

Greetings! If you’re here reading this, you probably found your way from the blog of the lovely and talented Raina James. Or if you arrived here along another path, well, that means you still have the fun of reading her post on the topic of the Writing Process ahead of you. This is a cool blog hop that I’m delighted to take part in. I’m also finding other authors’ posts on the subject fascinating. Seeing what’s similar and different between their processes and mine, and also seeing what they’re all working on right now so that I can make up my To-Read List.

That said, here is my hop along the blogosphere.

1) What are you working on?
I have three things in various stages right now. I’ll start with the one closest to finished. That one is an f/f erotic fantasy romance that is in the final stages of polishing before submission to publishers. This is a novel set in the same world as my other fantasy works, but this time I’ve moved to a tropical archipelago with a matriarchal society where family and business are deeply entwined. I love world-building, and this one world has given me many opportunities to invent different cultures. I love it!

Second is a YA novel that I would classify as light urban fantasy. It’s in the present day, in our world, and in first person. Three things I never write. LOL! This one is close to ready and I will probably self-publish it since it’s not anything like what I’ve released through my publishers, and they wouldn’t want it anyway.

Third is a North American steampunk m/m novel that is currently under construction. There’s a bit of mystery, a bit of romance, and a bit of I-haven’t-a-clue-what’s-coming-next. Ah, the joys of being a pantser!

2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?
This is a tricky question. I know that my choices of sub-genres put my work in a niche within a niche within a niche (Is that enough niches? *counts* Yes, I think that’s right.), but I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here. I like to think my stories are a little less predictable than most. Yes, they still have to fall into the designated “acceptable endings” (HEA or HFN), but within that framework, I want to believe that there are moments in my stories where readers say, “Oh! I didn’t expect that!” or even, “Really? That was an odd choice.” Because, honestly, I’m okay with readers thinking my brain is a little odd.

3) Why do you write what you write?
World-building! For me, the most important part of my long list of sub-genres is the Sci-Fi/Fantasy label. You can take the girl out of Middle Earth but... You know the rest. SF/Fan gives me the perfect medium to create new worlds and new cultures. I’ve read science-fiction and fantasy my whole life. From Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, which my mom first read to us before I could read chapter books on my own; to Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, which I seriously ought to re-read because, let’s face it, I did not really understand it when I read it in middle school; to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, which I re-read yearly through high school (at least) after first reading them in the fourth grade. Each of these is a unique example of world-building at its best. I might layer all sorts of other genres into my stories, but for me they are all secondary to this one.

4) How does your writing process work?
In fits and starts. ;-) At its simplest, I work character => world => story. Characters make themselves known in my head before anything else comes along. When they’re ready, they start talking to me, giving me an idea of where they belong, in what universe or country or culture. That gives me context so that I can construct the right world around them. Once I have that established, they start telling me their stories--if I’m lucky. Sometimes I have to drag it out of them. Sometimes they lie to me and I have to go back and dig out the truth. Sometimes I have to get them drunk so they will reveal all their secrets.

Also, I am a dedicated pantser. I’m the kid who used to write her school report first and then write the outline. I actively dislike plotting out a story. If I know how it ends, I find no joy in the journey. This is why the urban fantasy crime novel I started will likely never be completed: I know how it has to end, and where’s the fun in that? Although I’m a little sad about it because I really like the characters.

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed this peek into my writing process. Hopefully I'll find someone to tag so you can continue the blog hopping. In the meantime, there are already many out there. Just follow the link back to Raina, and she'll take you on a branch of your journey. :)

08 April 2014

Opening Night!

Not the theatrical kind, which is more common in my life, but the baseball kind! My team opened the season on the road this year, so we've had to wait an extra week for them to come home to play. (Boo! *pout*) I won't be at the sold-out game, alas, to watch those tight-panted young men run the bases, but I shall be watching from home. It's a bit of a springtime ritual for me to make a dinner in keeping with the day (baseball-geek-meets-foody), whether it's the classic hot dogs and apple pie or a homemade version of Ivar-dogs and slaw. I believe last year I bought sushi for the occasion. (Yes, at our ballpark, sushi is an option.) This post about some of the new menu items is making me hungry already!