Day 1: I-CON 32 – SciFi Con

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Wow. I’m here. I’m attending, and vending, at I-CON 32. The cosplay costumes are pretty amazing! The thought, the energy, the attention to detail — gorgeous! I’ve seen a full Victorian dress complete with bustle in gold satin!  I want to dress in a costume!!!

But, I’m “working” so the dress code is simple — book t-shirt & jeans.

Alrighty, it’s time to figure out how to cover stuff down for the night.  End of  Day 1 approaches.

 

Get your #horror fix: Fury From Hell

Here’s the quickest update you ever did see: https://www.inkshares.com/books/fury-from-hell.

That book that first came poking around back during Hurricane Sandy in ’12?  It’s getting a re-do, re-vise and and upgrade.  A slightly expanded version will become available via Inkshares.  Once the book reaches 250 pre-orders, Inkshares will edit it, put it into production and publish it!

What do I have to do in the meantime?  Uhm, figure out how to tell 246 more people that this great cop thriller with strong brushstrokes of horror is available for $10.  Here’s a teaser to whet your reading appetite.

Fury Abatu seeks revenge for abused women.  Yet, when on Earth, Abatu must find a human host & eat men’s flesh to survive…

Buy a copy.  Support a starving novelist.  Put me out of my misery. [So, I can go back and start this all over again with another book. :-)]

Now, lets’ get our sexy horror on by pre-ordering today — while dancing with JT.

Captivate, Inspire…Dream.

Sometimes writing’s hard to do.  At other times, it’s effortless.  But then there are the times when you’re like — Writing, who?

I’m a writer and I confess.  I get writer’s block. <sitting down>

Most of  the time the wordless time periods come from having a lot going on in my personal life.  For instance, the last 3 years has been rather dry.  Why?  I am an older woman who now has a 3-year-old, a son in college and one in his last year of high school.  <Dumb.  I get it.>

That leaves me in a position of parenting up, and down.  Needs have changed.  Diets have morphed.  And my need for sleep has skyrocketed.  <Yeah, uh-huh.>  Then, there’s just the shocks of life, the absence of life via passing to that next realm of which we know little.  That happened late last year to three close family members.  I was devastated.

How do you move forward without negating their existences?  Without “properly” mourning them?  This is what I’ve finally learned — you LIVE.  You continue to do what you know you’re supposed to do.  For me, that’s to write.  To go to my day job.  To have deep conversations with my children.  To play with my daughter.  To wrestle with my budget to make it stretch further.  To be human.

That’s why I’ve stopped the madness and forced myself to look at my ‘inventory.’  My longer works still are in need of editing.  However, my short fiction was in pretty decent shape.  So, The SciFi End of the Supernatural, a collection of science fiction short stories came into being.  It will be available on Jan 30th in print and ebook formats.

This book wouldn’t have been possible without my writing communities #WriteStuff and #StoryDam.  Both groups support me, and listen to me, and I them.  They help me get it that writers are a kooky bunch.  We’re NOT normal, nor were we ever meant to be.  That’s the way it is.

Our job is to translate the madness in our psyches into readily digestible written forms of entertainment so that you can pass the time away when your life becomes overwhelming.  That’s what we do.

What do you do to captivate, inspire and dream?

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Day 1: MDC3 Con: Creatures, Crimes & Creativity Conference

Friday, September 30, 2016 — At the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel, Columbia, MD

Website: http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com/

PANEL: Writing Outside the Box: Crossing Genre Lines to Tell Your Story

Panelists: Dana King (moderator), Bruce Kingsolver and Sandra Webster

Sandra’s salient points:

  • Write for the art of writing, OR write for the business of writing — you cannot do both and do them well
  • She ignores “genres.”  She allows others to put the genre(s) to her books (after the books are written).  Instead (of writing to market), she strives to tell a story that pulls you in, and the story she wants to write.
  • Question from audience: If she sees an opportunity to add a genre trope to the story will she go with it?  Yes, she will if it will not take away from the story.  She will do it, if possible, in order give that particular group of readers what they are expecting.
  • Some people write their endings first and then write the rest of the book

Bruce’s salient points:

  • When you cross genre, you can do anything you want.  But, there are certain tropes you must have, within the book, if you claim that genre.  If you miss a trope of that genre (you claim) it’s unforgivable.
  • He analyzes his work and will decide its genre after reviewing what’s in the book (after it has been written).  If the tropes of a specific genre are not there, or not strong enough, he will refrain from using that genre category in his marketing efforts.
  • Question about where do writers get ideas from.  Ideas are not the problem.  It’s the implementation and the expression of the idea that is the issue.
  • Question about how to keep a story moving throughout the middle.  He remembers a quote but cannot recall who said it, “In the middle, make sure no one has time to sit down.”

Dana’s salient points:

  • He does a simple chart of the book and writes a sentence for each chapter of the book.  Then, when he sits down to write, he knows what has to happen for the chapter — but doe not know how it will all come to pass.  He has to write it to find out.
  • Ideas are everywhere.  We trip over ideas, but which one will we write.  And, more importantly, which idea(s) do we have the expertise to write?

PANEL: Mysterys – Noir, Cozy, Police Procedural, Detective, etc.  What makes them so different?

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Panelists: Allan Ansorge (moderator), Dana King, Donna Andrews and Millie Mack

Donna’s salient points:

  • In complete battle with the term “cozy”; her books do not contain recipes, nor tips on a craft.  She feels that a sub-genre has colored the entire term and therefore, many expect organizational tips, recipes, and step-by-step how-to’s within a book in the genre “cozy”.  She feels this expectation should not be the case.
  • Any subject can be used (within a story/genre) if you handle it properly.  She had pornography in her first cozy book but she did not tell the reader about the images seen.  She instead described the character’s reactions to what she was seeing on the computer screen — multiple screens popping open, the character’s facial expressions, etc.
  • Definition/distinction — Mystery: Is a Whodunit and then solve it.  Thriller: Something bag is going to happen but what, and where will this bad thing happen is unknown.  This is what the hero must figure out.
  • Show your detective character and how they can assist cops in seeing what the cops cannot/will not see

Dana’s salient points:

  • Writes hard-boiled cop procedurals
  • A typical police procedural = Barney Miller
  • A typical classic mystery = Agatha Christie
  • An awesome line of detective mystery are the Mickey Spillane books [Mike Hammer]
  • Current forensics are currently changing constantly. It’s always being upgraded.  So, if you write about a specific forensics test in your book, by the time it’s published it could be out of date and no longer utilized.  This is why his books are set in a small town with limited forensic resources.
  • 90% of the crimes that take place today are solved by cops talking to people; not by forensics.
  • Forensics rarely solves a case; forensics come more into play for the court case if the results come back in time.
  • DNA testing results take 16 – 18 months to come back, if it comes back at all.
  • Important to take note of: In most states, there are no medical qualifications are necessary to become a coroner.  A coroner is an appointed position.  So it becomes very difficult to label a murder, a murder, if the coroner doesn’t say it is.  There’s no leverage for anyone to say, do an autopsy because the corner has no medical knowledge!
  • The biggest asset to cops in the solving of cases is TIME and the changes wrought in the people involved in the cases.  In cold cases, a man now with a daughter approaching the age of a girl murdered, may have a change of heart and spill his guts about his doubts/observations of what he knows of xyz during the time(s) in question.  Thereby giving the detective new pieces to add to the puzzle of the long cold case possibly enough to solve it.

***

Need a Nudge? Here’s a few.

You know when you’re sick of facing the same sh** each and every day?  Not speaking of people and situations, I’m speaking of your own internal (read: mental) garbage that traps inside of a limited (read: tunnel vision) view of the world and how it works?

But, wait — you may say.  How do you even realize that you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Easy.  You have no energy.  You cannot settle on any one thing that you want to do.  You dream of doing things and then find EVERY single reason on the planet you cannot get it done now (or, ever).  A bleak outlook on life.

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That’s how you know.

What am I leading up to?  Got no clue.  I just came back from vacation! 🙂  I’m still floating on high from the sun, the gorgeous skies and the clear crystalline sea water. <sigh>

However, back in New York, on the train?  I see faces that are sick and tired of even thinking about their situations.  I see frustration, anger, anxiety.  I see pain on so many faces that are desperately trying to distract themselves from their doldrums with technology and entertainment distractions.

What do you do about it?

Find your passion.  Or, if you can’t find that — find something that interests you.  That makes you smile. That makes you want to interact with others in a manner that approaches normalcy.

Try kayaking on the Hudson River (it’s really a strait but, hey — that’s nitpicking, right?).  It’s absolutely FREE and you’ll definitely get shaken up a bit.

Or, why not try something new like experiencing an escape room game?  Komnata Quest has several locations — Long Island City and in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  They’re opening up a new location in Manhattan later this year.  Get lost for an hour in a robbery heist — you’re the robber!  Or, why not get locked in a box and have to use your noodle to escape?  (If that doesn’t get you out of your comfort zone I don’t know what will!)

Or, why not go hiking upstate?  New York State is gorgeous especially this time of year when the trees are beginning to turn.  Saratoga Springs is a great place to visit.  And, you can visit the racetrack when you’re there!  (Ooops, race course only open in the summer.)

Perhaps these things are too far off the beaten track (pun intended).

What about discovering a new social media platform that’s a combination of FaceBook, Ebay and WordPress all wrapped up in an easy-to-use interface?  And, it has an app, of course!  You get to click through folks’ hilarious updates.  See their pics (or, close your eyes praying you’ll never see that image EVER again…).  And, you can go shopping for cool stuff, read blogs, and join groups with common interests — all in one spot.  Check it out here.

If none of these suggestions move you in any way — hey — I tried! 🙂

Seriously, stay sane by seeking what makes you happy.  Read a good book such as: Taking the Leap by Pema Chodron, or Start Where You Are also by Chodron.

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Don’t want to read?  Check out Brain Sync with Kelly Howell.  These CDs have music that incorporate meditation, binaural beats and subliminal messaging.  The topics cover the gamut of life experiences/issues including losing weight, attracting wealth, stress management, awakening Kundalini, etc.

Okay, I’m done.