It’s amazing how quickly life can get derailed when you move across country. In September, I moved from Southern California, where I’d spent the last 15 years of my life, to a mid-size town in Washington state, just a few miles south of the Canadian border. I went from hot, dry, and flashy, to cool, damp, and quiet.
I couldn’t love it more.
However, the move and associated life circumstances put my writing on hold for a while. But I’m back and ready to rumble! Here’s what’s currently going on now:
1: New books. They are in progress! My most recent story, Titan Rising, is out to readers right now and I am awaiting feedback for the next draft. In the meantime, I’m working on finishing a story from 2013, Europa Passage.
2: Other writing! Most of my non-fiction writing has been going up on my blog, but I’m going to republish some of it here. It’s time to centralize everything.
3: Bookmark contest. Due to the move, this got shelved, BUT. I want people to have cool bookmarks. Drop me an email with your address, and I’ll send you some, even if you didn’t officially enter the contest.
That’s all for now. More soon!
I asked for this. (No, I literally did.) My friend Spectacles occasionally poses his blindbag My Little Pony figures in funny ways to tell a story, so I encouraged him to act out some of the scenes from A Circle of Salt for the contest.
He did not disappoint.
“This is your doing, daughter of the earth!”
“No answer, little not-a-horse? No matter, I do not care what your story is.”
“Do not misunderstand me, Ivan Petrokova. I have seen things you cannot imagine.”
“Doubt all you like, feygirl. Even if my words are not true, I’ll not be killing you today.”
Oh my goodness, the bookmarks arrived, and they look SO GOOD.
I cannot wait for people to see these in person; this pic does not do them justice.
Also, GIVEAWAY ENTRIES! Two pics have been entered so far; remember, you have until midnight on April 3rd to enter! Post a pic to Twitter or Facebook, and tag me to make sure I see it. Here are the current entries!
To celebrate the release of my book, I’m printing up some bookmarks with all-new art based on A Circle of Salt!
(The bookmarks and book cover art were done by Sabrina Zbasnik.)
First, you need to have a copy of my book: doesn’t matter if it’s digital or hard-copy.
Second: take a picture of the book (preferably, a pic of you with the book, but you don’t have to be in the pic if you don’t want to) and post it to me on Facebook or tweet it to Joi_The_Artist. All photos will be put here on the website so everyone can see them: be creative!
You can send in photos until midnight Pacific time on April 3. On April 4, I will choose my three favorite photos: those lucky winners will each receive a full set of 3 bookmarks. I will also do a random drawing of three photos, and each of those winners will receive 1 bookmark.
Ready, set, READ! And, um, take pictures of it! (And please consider leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads!)
It’s been an interesting few years. After losing my job in 2011, I was unemployed until 2014. I spent a lot of that time sewing, and a good bit of it rewriting my Russian folk tales book. After much hemming and hawing, I finally decided to release it into the wild:
Vasilissa is accustomed to spending her days in a world of eternal summer, but when her carelessness causes harm to a human being, she is exiled to the human world. Vasilissa tries to keep herself aloof, but as she interacts with men and women and learns about their struggles, cares, and bravery, she begins to care more than she thought possible. But Vasilissa is not the only magical being in that world, and it will take all of her strength, wits, and magic to survive. The ancient witch Baba Yaga, and her servant, Koschei, are intent on ruling the world with blood magic. And only Vasilissa’s blood will do.
While enduring my first real stretch of unemployment, I’ve been attempting to put in full time hours on my writing. It’s not an easy habit to build, especially with the distractions of the Internet (Internet…forever!), but I’m getting there.
Since I find it near-impossible to write for 8 hours a day (I can do it, but then I burn out for the next few days, so it’s a wash), I spend the rest of the time reading agent blogs. It’s been enlightening, to say the least! I’ve used the ideas found on those blogs to craft a query I really like for the novel I’m writing, begin to draft one for the novel that I’ll be revising, and start to think about verbal pitches for both.
It’s also led to some frustration. For instance, after reading several agents’ negative feelings about prologues, I began to wonder what I should do with the brief prologue in Beltrunners. It’s an exciting scene (the second word is “explosion”), but it doesn’t involve my main characters at all. Suddenly, it hit me: instead of describing an explosion in space that none of my characters see, why not have it happen at the spaceport where they’re all preparing to go on their trip? It will be a more integral part of the story, not to mention adding immediacy and drama to the first chapter.
But it’s going to be a pain to rewrite. I suspect there will be some headdesking involved.
I did something today that I’d been thinking of doing for a while: changed my main character’s name. Jassmyn Stewart is now Jassmyn Sharma. There’s a reason for this.
I originally gave my heroine a European surname because the Mars of my invented future is the ultimate “melting pot.” People from all over Earth move there to get a new start; these people meet, fall in love, have kids, and hey presto, surnames are no longer the indicator of ethnicity that they once were.
But I began to realize that, short of explicitly describing my heroine’s appearance in terms of ethnicity, it would be very hard for a reader to remember that she is of Indian origin.
What finally prompted me to make the change to a more typical Indian surname was the uproar over the casting in “The Hunger Games.” Some fans were outraged that Rue had been “changed” to be black. The funny thing? She’s described in the book as having satiny brown skin and dark eyes. Suzanne Collins made the choice, correctly I think, to not specifically state the ethnicity of her characters, but to make it obvious from the descriptions. The problem, of course, is that readers don’t always catch what is obvious to the author.
Jassmyn is a strong woman of Indian origin who lives on Mars. Hopefully the name change makes this clear.
It’s so frustrating trying to get back into the swing of novelling after a break. I spent most of the day Saturday baking a cake for my best friend’s birthday (it was worth it: 6 layers of amazing! http://twitgoo.com/5nm92t?cx=u), most of the day Sunday at church, and Monday getting ready for my reading group (we were discussing Kristin Lavransdatter, so I just HAD to make lefse)! Come Tuesday, there was the Open Office document on my computer, needling me with guilt every time I glanced at the icon.
My word count goal is 2,000 words per day. That’s actually not very much for me; when I’m in my stride during NaNoWriMo, I can do up to 5,000 words a day for up to 20 days at a time. But there’s usually a post-NaNo crash, and the “off-season” is much harder for me. Still, I really like this novel and want to finish the first draft so I can get to my editor as soon as possible.
Since I’m approaching the end of the story, I had a few subplots that I want to tie into the climactic scenes near the end, so I re-read through a few older chapters that I wrote back in November.
Crap. Crap crap crap.
So many plot holes! Usually I don’t worry about them too much on the first draft, because my editor will help me fill them, but I’m ashamed to even show these to my editor. I guess he’ll be seeing the second draft instead.
Welcome to my new website and blog, made possible by the ever-amazing Tracy Chiappari.
In the next few weeks I’ll be posting more of my writing, fiction and otherwise, so please check back!