Sunday, April 13, 2014

Draft #4 Completed

It's 2:30 AM as I type this, and it has been 275 days since I first began to plan my current novel. 275 days, and draft #4 is done! I went through 10 chapters within the past 12 hours, editing them all and adding on paragraphs to a few of them. Yes, there are patches of roughness that I'm mortified about, but after tinkering with several passages for hours upon hours and days after days, it's time to get feedback from beta-readers.

From Hayao Miyazaki's latest film The Wind Rises


I've had other people read up to the first 11, 13, or 14 chapters, but now, for the very first time, all 39 chapters shall receive critique. Bring it oooooooooooonnnn!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Break Novel Progress

It has been 260 days since I started planning my novel. I'm still working on the New Adult Steampunk BDSM Little Red Riding Hood novel. I'm currently on draft #4, and printed out my entire manuscript, and went through the entire thing with a red pen.


Right now, it's a matter of trying to make some horribly-written passages sound prettier before I seek out round #2 of beta reads.

*Sigh* I failed to finish that this spring break. But hopefully soon!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Amok Anthology News

So, back in January, while I was in Taiwan, I made the announcement that my short story "Moon Rabbit" will be in Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction. The cover and summary is now on Goodreads! Publication date is April 30, 2014.

Amok cover by Jun Hun Yap
Check out the gif for the making of the cover too! :D


I'm so excited for this anthology, and so proud to be part of this. So far, we've received 5-star reviews. There's a Crowdfunding Campaign on IndieGoGo, and even though we surpassed our goal of $500, that's only the minimum. If you'd like a copy of the anthology, or any other books from Solarwyrm Press, or a t-shirt of the anthology, or a personalized story, or any other goodies, please support us and purchase something from the IndieGoGo website. I just bought my t-shirt a few days ago, and am excited to wear it!

The editor of the anthology, Dominica Malcolm, graciously accepted my offer to interview her as well about this anthology.

INTERVIEW WITH DOMINICA MALCOLM
Q: What did you see in all the stories you chose to include? Aside from good writing, obviously.

A: Haha, obviously! Still, when it comes to good writing, I actually look for a good story first; something I can connect with, which is usually human emotion within the characters. Love, loss, pain, fear, that sort of thing. I also looked at stories that had a sense of realism in them, which can include those human emotions even in the not-so-human characters, but particularly realism in the future-set stories. Possible futures I could see existing based on current happenings in the world. And, of course, one of the primary things I was looking for was diversity. The stories themselves did not need to include a great range of diversity between their characters, but the anthology did. I wanted stories about characters that are seen less frequently in Western media. 

Q:What would you like to see more of in the speculative fiction genre?

A: More diversity, which I talked about above. Characters from many different backgrounds (religious, cultural, racial, etc). Bisexual characters (bi erasure is kind of a pet peeve of mine). But where these character backgrounds aren't really a big deal. I don't need someone to make a song and dance about it. People are people. Just show me different people interacting with each other.

Q: Choose three words to describe the sensation of editing this anthology.

A: Enjoyable, educational, and pride.

Q: Any last words for the readers of this Q&A?

A: If they like diversity, they should check out Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction. The racial diversity is the greatest part, but there are also characters with disabilities, a few LGBT characters, a couple of Muslims, and characters of different ages.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Darker Edge of Desire" Cover Reveal

My short story, "Devoured by Envy," was written over a year ago. I remember planning the story in December 2012, writing it in January 2013, and kept editing and revising it on my own until I submitted it to Mitzi Szereto, the editor, last spring. I heard back about a month later that I was to be included in the anthology. Oh gosh, I don't think I'll ever get tired of acceptance emails. Well, here's a timeline:

December 2012--planning story

January-March 2013-writing, editing, and submitting story (I had no beta readers for it...everything was all on my own)

April 2013--heard back from Mitzi about story being accepted into anthology (wootwoot!)

August 2013--signed author rights and release for Cleis Press

Now it's March 2014. Cover reveal!



Look at it, isn't it a beauty? My inner-middle-school-and-high-school-baby-bat is just screaming with sheer delight. October 2014, you can't come soon enough! I can't wait to get my hands on my contributor copy and feel the glossy smoothness of the cover and creamy pages with all the wonderful stories to be read. It is now available for pre-order on Amazon!

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour


Tahira Iqbal
Fellow writer Tahira Iqbal invited me to take part in this "My Writing Process Blog Tour." She and I have known each other for a few years now, since we have been published in two different anthologies from Mitzi Szereto. Her blog post can be found by clicking on this link. I don't know who was the original catalyst for this blog tag Q&A, but these were fun to answer.




1) What are you working on?
I'm currently working on a Steampunk BDSM Little Red Riding Hood-inspired New Adult novel, and a few speculative fiction short stories on the side. Here's a novel summary:

Scarlett vows to save her virginity for marriage. Haunted by the sexually-transmitted disease VAIN, which killed both of her parents, Scarlett studies at Sylva University with the hopes of researching for a cure. While she is determined to stay innocent throughout her academic career, one wolfishly handsome professor, Jude Tanner, sees her virginity as a prize to be won. As much as Scarlett denies his advances, he knows that she is not as innocent as she seems. When Jude catches Scarlett violating a university policy, he sees this as an opportunity to toy with her and put her virginity and future at stake. He makes a deal: she can choose to stay a virgin until marriage, or be expelled from Syla University and become his slave.
Of course Scarlett chooses the former, but the deal is not so simple. Scarlett becomes Jude’s housemate, and during their time together, he takes her to a sadomasochistic amusement park, tempts her, and slowly breaks down her innocence. Will Scarlett be able to honor her parents’ deaths by remaining a virgin and finding a cure to VAIN? Or will she succumb to her primitive desires and become Professor Tanner’s slave?

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Well, with a fairy tale retelling that includes mashup elements of steampunk and BDSM, would it be too presumptuous to say that it's going to stand out?

3) Why do I write what I do?
Without trying to sound too melodramatic, I'm a total junkie. A writing junkie, that is. I keep diaries, and I am constantly writing, especially when I'm working on projects. With my novel, I write and edit at least a little bit every single day. I cannot let a day go by without writing because it numbs the pain of the real world and becomes my escape.

4) How does your writing process work?
I try to write whenever I have free time during my day. With the first draft of my novel, I like to write hand-write in a notebook. Then, from the second-draft and onwards, I prefer to type in Google Docs. If there's internet access, I'm going to take as much advantage of it as I can. Listening to music helps immensely, depending on certain mood and tones in the story. I've been listening to these certain albums lately.

Aesthetic Perfection's 'Til Death
Standout tracks: Big Bad Wolf, Lights Out (Ready to Go), Showtime, The Dark Half, The New Black.

Saving Mr. Banks Soundtrack
Standout tracks: Chim Chim Cher-ee (East Wind), Walking Bus, Laying Eggs, The Magic Kingdom

Frozen Soundtrack
Standout tracks: Do You Want to Build a Snowman?, Let It Go, For the First Time in Forever (Reprise), Whiteout, The Great Thaw (Vuelie Reprise), Epilogue

Three Days Grace's One-X
Three Days Grace's self-titled debut

Standout tracks: I Hate Everything About You, Pain, Just Like You, Never Too Late, Animal I Have Become, Home

In This Moment's Blood
Standout tracks: Blood, Adrenalize, Whore, Scarlet, Comanche


Now I will hand on the blog tour tag to my dear friend Meg Elison!

BIO:
Ernest Hemingway shot himself in Idaho in 1961.
In 1964, Hunter S. Thompson visited the house in Ketchum to investigate the author’s death, which had been reported as an accident. Hemingway did not die by accident. He had made the decision to put an end to the pain in which he lived. Thompson knew that and admired it. When he left that house, he stole a pair of antlers that Hemingway had hanging on the wall of his writing room.
Thompson wrote under those antlers until 2005, when he decided to opt out just as Hemingway had done. Thompson shot himself in his house in Woody Creek, Colorado.
In 2005, I was living in Portland, Oregon. I loved the rain and the casual alcoholism and weirdness of the city. I shared an apartment with my monstrously selfish gay best friend, but I couldn’t stand to go home most nights. I was drinking in a bar by the airport and eavesdropping the night that it happened.
There was this tall, thin guy. He was standing with one knee up in that pose that makes a man look like he’s trying to air out his testicles, leaning over a woman who was far too young for him.
“So you know Hunter S. Thompson died?”
The girl looked at her drink, not at him. “Who?”
“The writer. The guy who wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” His grin was sliding off him.
“Like the movie?” Mild interest.
“Well, the book the movie was based on. Yeah, the movie.”
“Oh. Ok. That’s sad.”
“He wrote a lot of other- anyway. He shot himself, in Colorado. I just came in from there, from Aspen. I got some shots of his office, but I couldn’t get an interview. But I got this.”
On the table sat a canvas bag that poorly concealed a pair of elk antlers. They poked out on either side, reaching off the table. I sipped my whiskey.
“You know who these used to belong to?”
“Who?” She looked up at him, drawn in.
He lit up like a pinball machine. “Ernest Hemingway. Thompson stole them from Hemingway, and I stole them from Thompson. That means I’m next. It’s like they passed me the torch.” He lifted his drink to his lips and watched her over the rim of the glass, waiting.
“Oh.”
“But see, I knew what I was going for. I knew the story from way back, so I bought another pair of antlers at a flea market and I switched them. I dropped these out the window and picked them up on my way out. They’ll never know. Isn’t that awesome? It’s the perfect crime.”
“Who’s Herman Hemingway?”
His face fell a little bit. “You’re an undergrad, aren’t you?”
“Yeah. I’m a philosophy major.”
“It’s a good thing you’re cute.” He reached out and chucked her chin. He got out of his testicle pose and set down his drink. “I’m going to the bathroom.” He stalked off.
She watched him disappear around the corner. Then she found her purse, scooted out of the booth, and walked out the door without looking back.
I finished my whiskey and looked at the time. I laid a ten dollar bill on the table and walked over to where the antlers sat in their canvas bag. I looked around and made my decision.
I slung the bag over my shoulder and walked out at a calm and leisurely pace. I caught the MAX train back home and put the antlers into my trunk. I was already packing to leave. The trunk moved with me to California, where I hung them on my wall.
I don’t know if his story was true. I don’t know if I stole a talisman of talent, of suicide, or of bullshit.
But I believe they are good luck. And so they are.



Links:


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Beta Reading and Draft #2 Updates

I sent out draft #2 of the first 11 chapters of my novel to a few beta readers who have graciously expressed interest in wanting to read them. I received quite lovely and helpful feedback and critique, and I'm so grateful for them!

I just returned from Asia and am suffering some jetlag. I finished typing crappy drafts of the rest of the novel (35 chapters in total), and I am going to go through lots of edits.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Moon Rabbit" to be Published by Solarwyrm Press

I'm in Taiwan with limited wi-fi as I write this, but when I checked my email a couple of days ago, I found that I had received an email from Solarwyrm Press on January 1, which also happened to be my 21st birthday.

"Oh great," I thought, "here's another rejection letter."

I clicked on the email, and I just JUMPED and gave a little scream:

Hi Jo,
I really enjoyed Moon Rabbit and would like to include it in Solarwyrm's Amok anthology. If you're still happy to be included, I'll send you a contract once I have them written up.
Cheers,
Dominica


OMG, I was so shocked. I had totally rushed through writing the ending of "Moon Rabbit," and thought my short story was total crap and would receive an instant rejection. But then, I thought it wouldn't hurt to send it anyway, and the worst that would happen is another rejection letter anyway, so I sent it to the editor of the anthology back in November.

Cute moon rabbit illustration by SAkURA-JOkER on Deviantart


Edits are underway now, in addition to my work on my novel. Speaking about my novel, I'm more than halfway typing through draft #2. I've been typing a lot while I was in Japan and Taiwan (I'm typing from a fancy motel in Tainan right now. Holy moly, this motel puts American motels to shame!), and I'm hoping to finish draft #2 before Spring Semester at Cal starts.

ALSO, the Amok anthology, which contains 25 speculative fiction stories that take place in the Asia-Pacific region, is now looking for reviewers. Visit the link for more info: http://solarwyrm.com/2014/01/09/reviewers-needed-for-our-upcoming-anthologies/

Off to edit!