Tag Archives: writing

My Odyssey Workshop Experience: The Slam

The Odyssey Slam occurred exactly halfway through the workshop. Normally, so I’ve heard, the Slam would occur at a local bookstore. Instead of a bookstore, we did a Zoom “party” where only the person reading at that time would have their camera turned on.

We got to invite three people. One of my invites was my mom. Unfortunately, my family got double-booked that day with my niece’s second birthday also being held as a zoom event with the overlap being across the first hour of the Slam.

This meant I had to request a late time slot in order for my mom to get to see me read. Boo :(

I’d been really wanting one of the first slots so I could do my freak out, get the read over with and truly enjoy everyone else’s stories. Instead, I sat in a puddle of anxiety that ticked higher after each subsequent person read their story. I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember a single word of the story of the person who went directly before me because I was sitting in a haze of don’t-panic thoughts.

This was the story I read during the Slam

The story I chose to read was the flash piece “Cessation of Civilization” that had originally been published in December 2019. This meant that I didn’t have to write a piece for the Slam (thank goodness). I practiced it all morning, with my partner giving me tips on how to “look up sometimes!” So I made it through the read generally unscathed. Continue reading

Recommended Book: NETWORK EFFECT by Martha Wells


NETWORK EFFECT
by Martha Wells

Are you surprised to see this one here? I doubt it. I am one of those people who adore Murderbot in all its glory and have already recommended the previous novellas. In fact, I could probably go short-hand and just say that from henceforth, if the story belongs to Murderbot, then I recommend it. But there would be no fun at all in never gushing writing  about my love.

In this novel, an old friend of Murderbot’s returns and doesn’t seem to be friendly any longer. Some of Murderbot’s humans are kidnapped, leading to it having to determine how to keep them safe, while also investigating the mystery of what happened to its friend.

Science-fiction done from the perspective of a merciless killing machine, who really isn’t so merciless, and certainly isn’t just a machine. And who, really, would just like to be left alone in order to binge drama shows.


Eligibility Post for 2020 Awards!

I have never written one of these before despite having stories published in prior years. But there’s a first for everything!

In 2020 I had a grand total of 1 stories published :) But it’s a story I’m proud of; it’s a story I think touches the hearts of most, if not all, writers.

Click to Read!

The Pop-up Artisan of Drink Me Café, published in October in both print and audio at Cast of Wonders, is my one eligible story during this awards season. It’s about 3400 words long and is about a girl escaping her grief and subsequent abuse and neglect by hiding in a café every one of us wishes existed, a café that changes decor and coffee offerings to match favorite fantasy and science-fiction books and shows. There she reads to find solace in other worlds as she struggles at home, at school, and in life. There’s something about her situation that speaks to the dreamers in us, just as there’s something magical in those cafés and coffee shops writers frequent :)

I hope you’ll give it a read or a listen in consideration of your nominations this year!

<3 Marie C.

Recommended Book: WEAVE THE LIGHTNING by Corry L. Lee


WEAVE THE LIGHTNING
by Corry L. Lee

This debut novel weaves together political intrigue and a circus with an interesting magical element. The characters in this story see double, literally, for in order to access the power to enhance items in their world, they must allow themselves to be immersed into the power of the storms that help draw out an intensity in their emotions. It’s a power that is illegal to use unless one is part of the government’s military, allowing them to be controlled and used.

Celka is a performer in the high wire act in a traveling circus along with the rest of her family, all of whom are also part of a resistance. On the other side is Gerrit, a young man trained within a specialized branch of the military and expected to produce enhanced weapons as part of his duty. But there are costs to enhancing, dire ones that may destroy him and all those who’ve trained beside him. The two of them come together in a meeting that might help them both or lead to their destruction.

There’s romance, betrayal, and secrets all at the core of this resistance novel. With a Russian backdrop and a brand-new set of magical rules, this is a fun story hiding much more sinister issues under its big top.


Goals & Resolutions in 2021

In 2019, I didn’t have clear, quantifiable goals so I had to generalize, but this year, I have very clearly laid-out goals I’d wanted to hit on both the writing front and the personal front. The situation with the virus this past year notwithstanding, I’m incredibly pleased with what I’ve managed to accomplish.

WRITING FRONT

1) 250,000 words spread between short stories, writing exercises and novels. This goal I barely managed to hit. As long as I add in blog posts, failed stories, removed words, and critiques, I’ve passed the 250,000 number with flying colors, but otherwise, I’ve come up slightly short. That being said, in 2019 I’d written less than 80,000, so instead of being upset with myself, I’m satisfied. The amount of words shows just how much time I’ve put into my writing, both in finished projects and in practice.

2) Maintain a rolling 7 submissions out at any given time. Coming to do this post, I thought I had made a goal of 15 or 12 or 10, and was utterly shocked to realized that I’d only demanded 7! 7 concurrent submissions out at any one time, with the number never going below. I’m beyond stoked because by mid-year I had gotten myself to a rolling 10/12 (that shrunk slightly during the Odyssey Workshop) and then shot all the way up to over 20 in the last quarter of the year. I am at a pretty stable 15 at the moment, with a couple of holds and a couple more that feel like holds. My total submission number ended at about 97. [After writing this I received an acceptance for a story that had been sim subbed to three places, so my total submissions number is actually at 12 at the publication of this post.]

3) Attend at least 2 conventions (I toyed with the idea of requesting to be on panels, but I’m allowing myself to not fulfill that eventual goal.) This one, which was most assuredly the hardest going into the year, ended up a little easier thanks to COVID. So many conventions took to doing virtual experiences because in-person was cancelled, that I ended up having opportunities I never thought I’d have. I did not attend Balticon because I couldn’t figure out what they were doing and by the time I did I had committed to DreamFoundry, which was the weekend before or after and Odyssey was about to begin so I was super stressed. However, I did participate on my first panel at DreamFoundry. (I was awful and only just signed a release form for it to be posted, because I had to first swallow all my anxieties about it.) I also attended the Nebula Conference as I’m officially a part of SFWA, as well as WorldCon—ConNewZealand—and Capclave, none of which I did panels for, but I did attend kaffeeklatsches, which I think is just as brave in terms of social anxiety practice.

4) Not disappear off social media. Sooo, I did sort of disappear off FaceBook. I don’t like FB at all and there’s a good possibility I might just link my blog posts over there and ignore the whole platform other than that. I also struggled with blog posts in the back half of the year. However, I did slowly begin to be more social on Twitter, which I’m quite proud of, as well as joined a few Slack and Discord channels, which, while my participation is still spotty, I am striving to exist. This is a goal that I think I can do better this coming year, but am pretty happy with how far I’ve come this past year.

Quantifiable Writing Achievements:

I submitted a total of 97 times. Of that, I received 3 acceptances, the first of which was published in October 2020. The second two are forthcoming in 2021. All three of these stories were written in 2020.

The Pop-up Artisan of Drink Me Café
to Cast of Wonders

Drop Shipment Standard Procedure
to Dark Matter Magazine

Dance of Wood & Grace
to Zooscape Magazine Continue reading