blogging, publication

The Next Big Thing: My Contribution

There are the authors everyone has heard about: George R. R. Martin, Stephen King. But what about all those books written by people you’ve never heard of? Some of them are treasures just waiting to be found, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about, the authors you might end up loving.

This blog hop is like a game of tag. One author posts and then tags other authors who link back to their website the next week and tag new authors. If you follow the blog hop long enough, you’re bound to find some writers you’ll love! Maybe you’ll even discover a book that ends up being the next big thing.

I was tagged by Sarah Hans. She’s in my former writing group (WriteShop), and is on her way up. In addition to writing awesome steampunk, horror and dark fantasy, Sarah is involved in editing. She’s editing Sidekicks!, an anthology being published in early 2013 (which will include one of my stories). I am slightly in awe of the energy and enthusiasm she brings to her work, and I’m sure she’s going places. You can follow Sarah’s blog at

This blog hop includes ten questions to help you learn more about an author, so here’s a little info about me:

1: What is the working title of your current project?

I’ll answer this as ‘my latest accepted short story.’ The title has been changed from the working title of “In the Shadows of Greatness” to the final title of “Worthy.” Titles have always been hard for me, despite knowing how important they are. I think this new title is a change for the better (and it’s thanks to Sarah Hans, the editor).

2: Where do your ideas come from?

Ideas from different areas cross-pollinate in my brain. Many of those idea-kernels come while I’m walking in the woods (or in nature of some sort), some from things I read or places I visit. Then a juxtaposition takes place and two completely unrelated ideas come together in some weird way, and I just have to write about it.

3: What genre do you write?

Mostly Fantasy, and of any stripe: contemporary, magic realism, slipstream, other-world, etc. I’m edging nearer and nearer to finishing a science fiction story, which I enjoy reading but which I have a hard time writing well.

4: Cat-person or dog-person?

While I like cats (really, I do), I’m a dog person at heart. Currently, though, I have only two fish as pets. Maybe once the move is over that will change.

5: What’s a one-word description of yourself?

Paradoxical. Or maybe “enigmatic” since it sounds better?

6: Will your work be self-published or traditionally published?

I’m sending work to various magazines and anthologies, so I’m seeking tradition publishing at the moment.

7: How long does it take you to write a first draft?

Hmm, for a short story that can vary from a few days to months. It entirely depends on the story, my schedule (and health!), and how finished my idea really is. Generally, about 1-2 weeks.

8: Whose work would you compare yours to within your genre?

Oh good grief. I wouldn’t dare. I mean, can I really say “my stories have the broad appeal of Anne McCaffrey and the elegant prose of Ken Liu” and not sound full of stuff and nonsense? I simply try to write the best story I can, each time. Each may have a different flavor, but underneath, I think a reader will find it’s all me. (Hmph. And like that doesn’t sound conceited either. Well, I tried.)

9: Who are your favorite writers?

In the past, they would’ve been Tolkien, Anne McCaffery, Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, Anne Rice, Ursula K. Leguin, James Tiptree Jr, and Sherri Tepper.

Current writers would include (but not be limited to) Charles de Lint, George R. R. Martin, Mary Robinette Kowal, N.K. Jemisin, Amanda Hesser (yes, a food writer!), Jason Sanford, Ken Liu and Nancy Kress.

Oh, these lists are so short! There are so many more great writers I should include–but maybe these will give you the basic idea of who has influenced/is influencing me.

10: What else might pique a reader’s interest?

I’m heavily influenced by the natural world around me. As my surroundings change, or when I go on a trip, my stories touch different ‘spices.’ Seeing as how I’m moving from Ohio to New Jersey in the very near future, I’m anticipating a difference to start sneaking in, subtly (or not so subtly!) changing the end results.

Also, I’m involved in Write 1/Sub 1 this year, so I’m hoping there will soon be much more of my work available in the near future.

Here are the authors I’m tagging to continue the hop. Click their links to head over to their blogsites.

Jennifer Mason-Black
I found Jennifer Mason-Black’s blog shortly after I began blogging, and I was struck by how similar our blog-voices sounded. One post in particular made me feel I’d found something I’d written and somehow forgotten about, it was that eerie. Later, I read her words, her stories, and was smitten. She has a wonderful way with prose, with characters, with a story. I suggest you go out and read some of her work.

Brent Smith
Brent is a recent graduate from Odyssey Writing Workshop. That alone shows his dedication to the written word, since Odyssey (like the Clarions) is a 6-week ‘boot camp’ for writers to hone their craft. He’s doing some fine writing, and I believe we’ll be seeing more of his name, and soon.