My Odyssey Workshop Experience: The Aftermath

Where the beginning of Odyssey began slowly and ramped up, the end of Odyssey came abruptly. One day we were at lecture and critiques, had a graduation party that evening. The next day…nothing.

I wandered around, feeling lost, confused, pacing because my mind and body felt as if it was supposed to be doing something specific.

This was my life for six long weeks. I lived and breathed on Odyssey time. If I wasn’t attending lecture, I was reading a story to critique. If I wasn’t at a critique session, I was writing a story. If I wasn’t doing any of those things, I was working on a journal entry.

It got to the point where my daughter no longer asked me for tuck-ins at night. Six weeks of dad giving her nightly kisses. Six weeks of mom being locked in her office or buried in her computer or taking a walk with printed-out critique story and pencil took its toll. [I’m please to say that it only took another six-eight weeks for me to become the nightly requested tuck-in-er once more :)]

In terms of my writing, and all the things associated, my first week off Odyssey I did really well. Got back into the swing of things, went into writing-mode immediately M-F. Only, then I went on vacation, had the vacation cut short because of a hurricane and felt…morose. Partly because that vacation had been something I’d considered my reward and partly because suddenly I was smacked with all the things I’d let slide for two months.

I work on two pen names at once, so the list I compiled of projects to finish suddenly felt astronomical. Both blogs needed attention and posts; a novella needed finishing; promo work for a novel needed to be done; my submission number had dropped to a measly 1-2 out and stories desperately needed to be sent out; I had a stack of stories from Odyssey and before that needed editing; another novel to start preparing to write; my house was a complete wreck; my book club needed to meet; I was behind on reading I’d wanted to do; school was starting and would be at home; family felt partially abandoned by me and needed time and attention; and I’d agreed to do small extra things, like critiques & practice sessions that were now on the calendar; …I began to get that frozen feeling ones does when they feel like nothing you do will get you closer to finishing that goddamned elephant. Continue reading

Recommended Book: BLACK SUN by Rebecca Roanhorse


BLACK SUN
(Between Earth & Sky I)
by Rebecca Roanhorse

Roanhorse has an easy reading style that quickly immerses you into this wonderful world filled with tales of gods and sea-people, crow-riders and spearmaidens. There are giant water spiders and blood magic and a city that stretches vertically above a river. And that’s just the tip of the awesome world-building.

This is a political drama mixed with an adventure journey featuring three lead point of views: a Sun Priest, a Crow God and a woman of the sea. This is a tale about setting right past wrongs, about vengeance and power and, ultimately, the desire for peace and respect.

Serapio, a blind man from the mountains, journeys with Xiala, a captain in need of a ship, toward the great city of Tova where the Sun Priest and all her dedicants prepare to welcome the eclipse. This is the beginning of an epic fantasy trilogy inspired by historical cultures in the Americas.


Recommended Short Fiction: SHE’D NEVER HAD A NAME BEFORE by J. R. Dawson & YOUR OWN UNDOING by P. H. Lee


The stories for this week are both about possibility. They’re about what might have been or what might be.

SHE’D NEVER HAD A NAME BEFORE by J. R. Dawson is a story about a woman who meets the sister she never had, the two of them from neighboring universes. They discover parallels about themselves and their lives. At its core, this tale delves into what-ifs in a literal sense, touching on what-could-have-beens had things been just a little different. Published in Lightspeed Magazine.

YOUR OWN UNDOING by P. H. Lee is a second person narrative where a familiar takes on different shapes in order to sneak in where their witch is being kept. They tell her a story, the story of her life, pushing her to understand what is real and what is story. This is a dark tale with a beautiful metaphor. Published in Apex Magazine.


My Odyssey Workshop Experience: The Graduating Class!

And here we are! Brand new graduates! Survivalists! Word-Wizards!

I wanted to say a few things/memories about everyone, maybe show you how they’re people and not just faces :)

TOP ROW (Lf-Rt):

Jeanne – our fearless, ingenious leader. Ever insisting that a character’s uppance is coming. Always giving us one-on-one encouragement. Never allowing us to wallow in despair. A taskmaster. But a kind one, who sees and acknowledges our development and progress.

Adam – Out of all of us, he was the one who liked to move around, his background changing to another part of his house now and then. He had a huge amount of energy during a Conan reading! That could not be forgotten for the rest of the workshop as people would tap him to read passages of passion. I’m pretty sure he’s a borderlands fan and he’s been giving us all marketing tips as that’s part of his background.

Ola – My virtual roommate! We got to talk before the workshop started and would chat in private messages (but only during casual conversation time, of course). She lives in New York City, is incredibly organized and super driven. She commemorates aspects of her experiences in script tattoos on her wrist (that I thought were bracelets at first) and I find that to be an amazing way to keep those experiences alive. [She has also started a brand-new pro-paying magazine called khōréō magazine that has a focus on elevating stories of immigrants and those affected by diaspora, so be sure to give it a check!] Continue reading

Recommended Book: A DEADLY EDUCATION by Naomi Novik


A DEADLY EDUCATION
Naomi Novik

This novel is what you get when you mix Hunger Games and Harry Potter together. In fact, I could easily imagine that as the actual pitch for A Deadly Education. So if that combination sounds fascinating to you, you will likely enjoy this one!

The protagonist of this book, Galadriel (or El for short), is a student in a deadly, underground school where all the lessons are taught without teachers and monsters literally crawl up from cracks and lower floors in an attempt to eat the students who radiate power and magic. The students band together in alliance groups resembling raiding guilds or fellowships in order to have the power needed to survive their graduation day—when they’ll be forced to fight their way free from the school.

The writing style is a little more YA than Novik’s previous books, a style more in-line with recent series that have been incredibly popular. This comes from the easy, chatty first person point-of-view, her limited scope, and occasional unreliability as she views herself as a loner in the beginning and has to learn to truly understand the other students around her. There’s a lot of coming to terms with reaching out socially, seeking help when needed, as well as being willing to give of oneself in order to help the group as a whole in order to see wider success.

Please Note: there was some controversy over the use of the word dreadlocks in relation to being dirty and this is most definitely a line that is unsightly in the novel, however, the author has come out with an apology and future runs will not have the comment.