Sunday, February 24, 2013

Birds are Awesome

It hasn't been particularly cold this winter, but the birds are still all about the bird feeder. Usually they take off as soon as I approach the window, but this time I managed to snap a couple robins and (I think) a chickadee before they fled. For some reason the robins like to eat the old, dried-up crab apples still clinging to the tree rather than the delicious bird seed.

We also have a large picture window in the living room and at least three times a week a bird flies into it. Often when I glance outside I see a red-tail hawk chilling on the electrical pole in the yard. I suspect she scares the birds into our yard, and when they crash into the window and knock themselves out she just swings by and scoops them up.

Clever girl. Birds are awesome.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day, Love Richard III

A few days ago I started working on a long Valentine's Day post about great love stories in literature. I was only a couple entries in when I was struck down by something like the respiratory plague mixed with mono, so I've been either sleeping or coughing up gross stuff since about Tuesday (while my kid- I'm a stay-at-home mom- watches far too much TV).

I'll get that post out eventually, but I didn't want today to pass unmentioned. So here's a shameless self-promotion post.

If you waited too long to get your sweetheart some flowers or a box of candy or whatever people get on Valentine's Day (we don't exchange gifts), why not buy them some fine e-books? For instance, here is my list on Amazon. (and no, I am not actually in Into Thin Air with Ellen Burstyn, I have no clue why that comes up when you put my name in). They're cheap and even if you don't like me, most of them are anthologies so there's other writers in them too. Plus, they're romantic! Um, Buster is romantic. Well, it has kissing. A kiss. But it's a really hot kiss.

And there's sex in my story from the Lovecraft ezine issue 11. And I just gave you a link to read it for free too. See what I did there?

I leave you with a trailer for the movie the husband and I will be watching tonight. It's kind of a tradition- last year was Zombie Strippers and the year before was The Midnight Meat Train. 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Play This Game and Tell Me How it Is

I will have a real post up in a couple days. I just wanted to share this trailer for an upcoming video game because it looks so incredibly awesome. I don't really play video games so I'll probably not play this one either, I just love the trailer.

It also has a very Ghost in the Shell vibe, which is great because I'm a big fat fan of that franchise. I've never read much cyberpunk though, aside from Neuromancer. It just doesn't interest me. I guess having a visual on all the circuits and bytes and whatnot helps me see it in my head better than a description.

Also, aren't those scythe-arms just the coolest?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Writing Groups 101

When you're a writer, or in any sort of creative field, it sometimes feels like no one understand you. They don't get the drive, the triumphs, the letdowns, the exhaustion of opening your veins on a piece of paper (Or computer screen. Whatever) etc etc.

The crazy thing, there's a lot more writers out there than you might think. And sometimes they get together in groups and commiserate and share ideas and even give feedback to each other, real honest feedback. And these magical conclaves are called writers' groups. They meet monthly, weekly or perhaps every couple weeks, and they are full of - you guessed it- writers.

(note: no one my writing group looks like this- especially not me)

I've attended writers' groups and run a couple of my own. I've even tried some online groups. So I think I can say I know a bit about it.

Where can you find a writers' group of your very own? Start with libraries and bookstores. I've run a group at a library, one at a bookstore, and currently attend a library group.

And here's the thing: going to one meeting doesn't mean you're stuck. Try as many groups as you need to find the right one. You'll need a group where the majority of members are on your level: if you are looking toward a professional writing career, you need feedback from people with the same goal. If you're writing fanfic, you'll want feedback from people also writing in pre-created worlds. If you're writing family history meant to be seen only by your progeny, it's helpful to have advice from people in similar projects.

But not everyone needs to be doing what you're doing; it's helpful (and fun) to get feedback from hobby writers, or published novelists, or creative nonfiction authors. So a variety pack is a good thing, as long as it's skewed toward what you do. It's also useful (and fun) to read things you wouldn't normally read, in order to provide feedback. The people in my group are writing a pulp novel, SF, memoirs of fighting in the Vietnam War, poetry, a series of funny family stories, and a Supernatural fan script (this one is really fun, because we all take parts and read the script aloud. Last time I got to be Sam).

If you can't find a writing group near you that fits, make your own. Go to the library and ask how to start one, or the bookstore. Most places have an area you can reserve for meetings. Then advertise. On Craigslist, the bulletin boards of libraries and shops, anywhere writers might happen to pass. Before your first meeting you have to decide how you want to run this thing; as a pure feedback group, or do you want to do writing exercises and brainstorming as well (having done both, they're all fun and useful but right now a pure feedback group fits my needs better). And don't be discouraged if you don't attract a lot of members right away; writers by nature tend to be solitary beasts, and it takes them some time to emerge from their lairs and interact.

So good luck in your search (or organizing)! And don't be afraid to share with the other writers in your group. Trust me: no matter what we write, we all get it.