New Fun: A Giveaway!

OK, this is pretty awesome. I get to give away 2 copies of Sidekicks! to readers of my blog. (Can you believe this?? I can’t!)

SIDEKICKS_COVERHere’s how to be included in the giveaway: leave a comment on this post by midnight (EDST), Saturday the 23rd of March. If you want an extra chance, in your comment give a great idea for a supervillain’s sidekick’s name, with whatever explanation is necessary. (Give the pair of names if it helps explain why the name is so awesome.) On Sunday, I’ll draw one name at random. Then I’ll choose one sidekick’s name as my favorite suggestion. I’ll contact both of those people for their mailing addresses and ship the books to them. I’ll even autograph the first page of my story if you’d like!

Unfortunately, because I’m picking up shipping, this contest is open only to folks in the USA. (And just so you know, I’m not¬†writing a story using your sidekick’s name. It’s only a means of choosing a second person to receive a copy of the book.)

The comments are open!

publication, Uncategorized, Writing

My Story at Every Day Fiction Today!

What an amazing thing to see–I opened my email and saw a subject line containing my story’s and my own names! So yes, today is the day that “I Promised You a Miracle” is up at Every Day Fiction. It’s a romantic tale with a slight SF vein.

How this story began is an interesting little tale, too. A member of my writing group wrote a post about the story she’d written for Chuck Wendig’s Song Shuffle Challenge. It sounded like an interesting concept, but really, I didn’t have time. I did hop over to the original posting by Chuck Wendig and, well, just for grins and giggles, flipped to iTunes to see what I’d come up with if I were writing this story: “I Promised You a Miracle” by Simple Minds. (yeah, I’m that old.)

My mind latched onto that idea and just wouldn’t let go. So what if I didn’t have time; it didn’t matter. I tried to talk myself out of it for half a day. After all, I don’t write romance. And I was just too busy! I shouldn’t have wasted that time, because, in the end (as you can plainly see) I did have time and the story was written.

So, thank you, Sarah Hans and Chuck Wendig, and thank you internal editor/muse. Your presenting this idea, and not letting me shake it off, got me here.

Now I’m interested in hearing what story you’ve written that surprised you, or that got written “against the odds.” Post a comment and lets hear from you.


Byline Blues

When I started submitting work for publication, I had a dilemma to face, one that I’d never considered until that moment. There I was, final-checking my manuscript for proper formatting and double-checking the submission guidelines. The editors asked me to include in my email: my name (check), story title and genre (check), my email address (check), and my byline (?).

It dawned on me that I could be anyone I chose. Mildred Smith. Sanji Dalwallah. Chris Anygender. Chen Anyrace. I’ll admit my mind ran wild as I considered the possibilities. In the end, I wanted my name on my stories. Not in order to brag, but, well, to mark them as mine; my attempts, my failures and yes, my successes.

But what me?

My given name is Mary. I’ve never been fond of it, especially since I became an aunt at age three. In my mind, “Aunt Mary” is plump and wears red or blue gingham, has round cheeks, short gray hair of no style, and cools apple pies on her windowsill while a properly-attired scarecrow looks on from the meticulous vegetable garden, and warns away crows and larcenous cats. Ugh! That’s not me. (Well, other than loving pie-baking. And lusting after a proper vegetable garden.) “Mary Garber” as my byline was out.

I’ve never been a fan of folk using their first initial and middle name. It seems to contrived and mysterious to me. Add to that the facts that a) I don’t particularly care for my middle name much more than my first name, and b) I don’t identify with myself with my middle name.

Great. What’s left? My initials.

My oldest brother is named Mike. He’s M. Garber, too — as we both learned when we emailed one another the first time from out separate internet providers. We were both “m.garber@” which was a little creepy until we realized it was just us, not some strange ghost/other “me” in the machine.

So, that left M. E. It’s gender-neutral, but not really. I tend to see any author using two initials as a byline as female, harking back to “the good old days” when women had to hide their identities to write, since men knew they couldn’t. So I’m not trying to hide my gender, but I think gender is irrelevant, and hope most readers now do, too.

The cursor was blinking, waiting for my decision. I chose. M. E. Garber I am. Anything else seemed way too complicated.

Why did you choose your byline?