Archive for September, 2009

Goggles and Booth Babes… Oh, the horror!

Recently I cleaned out my basement and I came across a late 19th century typewriter and really wished I had the mind of an engineer. Okay, specifically the mind of Jake von Slatt.

If I had half the ability to do what he does I would make my 2nd Empire Victorian home into a Steampunk living museum. Yes, I know my fellow nerds, that Steampunk is more than the aesthetics, but how else can I show my love? Wearing brass goggles to a job interview is NOT going to work in my favor unless Terri Cunningham of DC/Vertigo Comics has decided to hire me. Yes, I’m looking at you Terri!

Though my hope is to one day work for Vertigo, I know as a writer I must be proactive in making my own breaks so during these next few weeks I’m busy finishing  my latest short story entitled L’Chaim. I want to have it finished, edited, then reedited in time to pitch it to some of every sci-fi geek’s favorite magazines, but mainly I want to have it finished for my mum as a belated birthday present.

L’Chaim touches on the vein of one of her favorite shows, the original Outer Limits, and I thought what better way to say, ‘I love you mom’ than with a sci-fi story with a touch of horror?

It’s amazing that the stories that have come to me have allowed me to pay homage to past influences but also allow me to break free of my own personal writing constraints. I’ve also learned that I write each scene to different types of music, but one constant is when I’m writing an action scene I always have electronic/techno playing on my laptop.

Oh Prodigy, Carl Cox, and NIN, I heart you!

This totally makes for one heck of a soundtrack for each one of my stories. Yes, I actually put a soundtrack together after I finish my stories and then read them in conjunction with my music selections. I wonder if there are other writers that do the same thing. Maybe I’ll ask when I go to the several Conventions that are on my schedule beginning at the end of November until October 2010.

Speaking of conventions, I’m planning my costumes for PhilCon, Comic Con San Diego and in NYC. If I get invited to more in the next 12 months I’m more than happy to oblige someone an experience with my dry humor and my naturally perky disposition.

For my friend, the horror writer, Gary Frank, I’ve offered to be a self-imposed booth babe and dress up in Intuitional Memory garb along with vicious copper tubing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t offer him another character to dress up as because I’m a wimp. What? You ask. How can you, Nerd Grrl, fearsome creature be a wimp?

I’m not into horror.

Ask everyone and they’ll tell you I only watch scary movies if I have it on mute and I’ve activated the closed-caption. It doesn’t seem so scary when you read “AAAAAAHHHHH” instead of hearing the scream. No, really. Try it.

When I bought Gary’s book I decided to read it during my meditation vacation in England. In my tent.  AT NIGHT. Yeah, I got to page 9.

It’s been over a month and I’m still scared. When I saw Gary and his wife recently I asked him if he could go through the book and write in parenthesis, wherever applicable, “This is the scary part coming up.”

He stared at me like I had a stack of pancakes on my head.

I love change and reading outside of my genre is definitely a change I’m willing to make and I’m sure that when I find a few hours to myself I’ll finish the book in its entirety (only 388 pages to go) and be too afraid to sleep.  This should make Gary smile since we both know that it’s all in good horrific fun!

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Gainful Employment

When you don’t listen to your gut you wind up in situations you wish you weren’t in and pray for the nearest exit.

This explains the past decade of my work life– except for the parts that involved working in the culinary environment. Now, despite the multiple challenges I’m facing around me I have unleashed my passion for writing and currently pursuing a full-time career in the field. As I told Ben during our meeting: “If I had any more passion I’d set myself aflame.”

In the past couple of weeks I’ve discussed this new found freedom with new friends and discovered that, though blatantly obvious now, I want to work in the publishing world of comics and books. I’ve worked as a freelance editor for multiple projects and written various articles, but I long to work with others.

Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing my piggy slippers and working from home but those jobs are rare and I think it wise to work with other creative minds. Lengthy isolation for a writer can lead to lack of professional growth. In order to avoid such a path I’ve been a member of various writing organizations including the awesome Liberty States Fiction Writers. There are familiar faces of the group and I’ve met so many new people that I’m grateful for their experience and mentoring. Yes, I’m lookin’ at you Gary Frank!

As I write this I’m gathering my fiction portfolio and planning to add a couple of new short stories for my admission to New School University’s Masters Program. (Keep your fingers crossed.) In the past I liked romantic elements to stories and thought I was suppose to write romance novels but unfortunately every piece I wrote screeched to a halt.

I wanted to write stories that took place in the 40’s or alternate histories; stories that my sci-fi/Twilight Zone lovin’ mom would love; stories that involve strong black women in action-packed plotted stories where romance was a small portion of the story.
Well duh. I wasn’t meant to write romances; I’m supposed to write speculative fiction. Once I figured it out the potential writers block ended and I found I was more comfortable writing short stories and novellas. I also found that I have a knack for writing TV treatments and Comic Book scripts.

If Octavia Butler and Neil Gaiman’s work had married in another life I wanted my writing to be the result. (Still do, but let’s not get too crazy) They are the two authors that have kept me writing despite life’s distractions. They were and are a constant inspiration to keep moving forward.

I have been inspired and kept jotting down my notes in my journal and gave myself permission to want to write in multiple fields. Nowadays, no one in their right mind would tell Neil Gaiman to focus on only one field in writing. Could you imagine the past when Mr. Gaiman came onto the scene?

“Mr. Gaiman, while it’s nice you have written a few novels, you may want to refrain from writing a comic book. I mean, this little idea for this new project you’re calling Sandman may not be good for your career as a novelist.”

Ha!

I think the lesson here is to not limit yourself as a writer.

Many times people ask writers were they get their ideas and for me my answer is a little different from other writers. I usually get new work from sleeping.

Yep, earlier this year I had about 3 months of ideas after waking from a night’s sleep. I had so many that I had to write synopsis for over two dozen ideas. If I wanted to limit myself I could pursue each one as a potential novel but they are not to be clustered, and as I mentioned before, I realized that some stories were TV treatments, Comic Scripts, Novellas, or Short stories.

In the midst of a feast of creative ideas I am proactive enough to send my resume to every NYC publishing house seeking a writer or Editorial Assistant. Until then I’ll work on my New School portfolio short story and remember something that Mr. Neil Gaiman said:

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”