Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell is an author, engineer, Navy (Seabee) wife and mother of three wonderful sons. She is a Rhysling-nominated poet and a member of the SFWA, IAMTW, and SFPA. She also serves as an editor for Mindflights. Her latest novel is SKEIN OF SHADOWS (2012), a sequel to 2011's THE SHARD AXE, published by Wizards of the Coast. Wizards also published her first novel, LEGACY OF WOLVES, in 2007.
Happy April, all!
First off, the SUPER WINNER for this year's Crossing the Streams contest has been announced, and it's none other than our own Karl, who won my and writing partner Jeff Mariotte's individual contest with his great Calvin & Hobbes answer. Congrats, Karl, and thanks to everyone who entered any or all of the various contests - we hope you had fun and found some new authors to read, even if you didn't win any books.
In other news, this year's Scribe Awards nominees have been announced. Congrats to all! (No, I wasn't a nominee; I didn't have any eligible tie-in work that came out during the judging period. Maybe next year.)
In other, other news, I mentioned last year that I had participated in my local police department's Citizen's Police Academy. Well, I finally got to do my ride-along this past Friday, during the graveyard shift. The night included a few traffic stops (one that ended in an arrest for felony possession of meth), a sexual assault case, and a possible break-in where I got to come inside while they cleared the building with their guns drawn. Lots of great book material, I learned a lot, and felt completely safe the whole time. If you have the opportunity to take part in something similar in your own community, whether you're a writer or not, I highly recommend it. It's a great way to find out things about your town and your police force that you probably never knew.
April is, among other things, both National Poetry Month and Autism Awareness Month. In honor of both of those things, here is Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken." It's not about autism, per se, but as my friend Stefan (whose little boy is autistic) says, it's certainly applicable to how autism affects the lives of the families who deal with it.
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
So, after much intense debate, arm wrestling, and consulting the Gods of Random, my writing partner Jeff Mariotte and I have selected our winners for the Crossing the Streams book giveaway. We had some great answers and it was hard to choose a favorite duo, but ultimately we had to go with original and timeless (and also the one that reminded us most of ourselves) - Calvin & Hobbes! (Karl, I'll be emailing you shortly to find out which books you'd like and where to send them). The Gods of Random chose one of several Han & Chewie entries (specifically, the one by dbcooper, whom I'm trusting will see this and contact me with choices/shipping info). Other popular answers were Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser and Paul Kemp's Egil & Nix.
However, the Super Winner, who will get signed books from ALL the participating authors, has not yet been chosen, and everyone who entered my and Jeff's contest is STILL in the running for that. So don't despair just yet - you may still be a winner! (Or in the case of Karl and DB, be a winner twice.) We'll announce the super winner soon, so check back! And thanks to everyone who entered - without you, it couldn't have been much of a contest!
This past weekend saw both my and Max's birthdays, and there was much celebrating done and fun had. Hard to believe that my little guy with a hole in his heart and neuroblastoma is 5 years old and heading for kindergarten. He was and continues to be my best birthday gift ever.
So, the Crossing the Streams contest is over for another year. Thanks to all who entered! Since it's my birthday weekend, I'll be contacting the winners Monday.
In addition to being my birthday (and the real first day of Spring), today is also World Poetry Day and World Down Syndrome Day. Why not celebrate/acknowledge all three with my collection, Bridges of Longing? It's got Demeter & Persephone like you've never seen them, Rhysling Award-nominated poetry, and "The Short Bus," a tale about a little boy with Down Syndrome who is so much more than he seems. And a lot of other cool stuff, too. Buy it as a present to yourself and me! ;)
A fitting image for all my fellow Aries.
Last day to win free books from me, writing partner Jeff Mariotte, and almost 20 other authors! Don't miss out! Enter here: Crossing the Streams!
In other news, I just scheduled my ride-along with a couple members of my awesome local police department. Graveyard on a Friday - when the most "interesting" stuff happens, according to them. Can't wait!
It's also, coincidentally, the last day of winter (at least according to the calendar). Goodbye 70 degrees, hello 90 degrees! Heh.
Don't forget, the Crossing the Streams contest ends on Wednesday. If you've been delaying entering for whatever reason, now's the time to pony up and get 'er done! (Sorry. Went to the True Westerner Award Reception at TFoB this weekend with my writing partner Jeff Mariotte and must have caught something there, heh.)
Speaking of Tucson Festival of Books, I had a great time there selling books with Jeff and Gini Koch and T.L. Smith and a multitude of other authors. Got to see lots of old friends, meet some new ones (including Erin Quinn, Deena Remiel, Jonathan Maberry and others) and spend time talking books with some of my favorite people. Pictures or it didn't happen, so...
(me and a Wild Thing, photo courtesy Jeff Mariotte)
(me and Jeff at our tables, photo courtesy Joseph Gaxiola)
(me and Gini in the booth, photo courtesy Joseph)
Happy Drink Green Beer and Get Rid of Snakes Day!
First, before we get to the writing process stuff, don't forget that you only have a little over a week left to enter the Crossing the Streams contest. FREE BOOKS from nearly twenty authors! How can you pass that up? The correct answer is that you can't, so get those entries in!
Also, don't forget to come see me and my super-talented writing partner Jeff Mariotte (and tons of other amazing authors) at Tucson Festival of Books this coming Saturday and Sunday (March 15th and 16th). We'll be in booths 107 - 109 and 118 - 120. (Well, in one of those - not sure which one just yet, but they're all together, so if you find them, you'll find us.)
Okay, on to the tour...
I was invited to take part in this blog tour by funny girl, Gini Koch, who writes the fast, fresh, and funny Alien/Katherine "Kitty" Katt series, as well as lots of others. She's made the most of multiple personality disorder by writing under a variety of pen names, including G.J. Koch, Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch. Buy her books - her meds don't come free, you know.
For this one, we're asked to answer the following questions and then tag three other authors to do the same in a week:
1) What are you working on?
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
3) Why do you write what you do?
4) How does your writing process work?
So, here goes:
1) I'm currently working on three things. One is the second book in that contracted trilogy I'm writing based on a comic-book property created by one of the biggest names in fantasy. Unfortunately, I'm still bound by my NDA and can't tell you any more than that. (Trust me, no one is more frustrated by that fact than I am.)
The second is my series about a female FBI profiler who is tasked with tracking down a killer she let go free...1,500 years ago. My agent's currently shopping that one and we both have high hopes for it.
And the last project is a novel and related multi-media stories I'm developing with my aforementioned super-talented writing partner, Jeff Mariotte. That one has it all...serial killers, the NSA, a meteor strike, and maybe even the end of the world. Fun stuff!
2) Most of my work is dark and twisty, but still (generally) hopeful, and it usually carries at least a hint of romance. Since I'm also a poet, my work tends to be more lyrical than you usually see in gritty urban fantasy/fantasy noir (for example) – I enjoy using striking metaphors and unusual word choices to evoke images in a way that readers might not be expecting.
I'm also not afraid to kill off main characters who readers have become invested in. I wouldn't call myself a female GRRM (though others have), but I think readers can't really buy into a threat to a character unless there is a real chance that character might not survive (or might lose something terribly important to them). I want the reader to be as worried as the character is. Or, you know, more so.
3) I write what I like to read. I enjoy beautiful language married to dark stories that are both poignant and action-packed. I don't see too many of those on the shelf, though, so I try to write them myself. Just in case there are readers out there with the same unusual tastes I have, heh. (There have to be, right?)
In a broader sense, I gravitate towards fantasy because I believe magic exists in the world – in the miracle of life, in the beauty of a sunrise or a mountain valley or a forest stream or a desert vista, in the power and endurance of love. Writing fantasy allows me to touch that magic, to bring it to the fore in ways that I hope will help readers discover and appreciate its traces in their own lives.
4) My process really begins with a detailed outline. I need to have that roadmap to start writing, to know my destination and the general path I want to take to get there, and some stops I want to make along the way. Having an outline doesn't mean I'm chained to that path – if I find a better, more scenic route, or if there's construction or a twenty-car pileup blocking the way, then I'm free to deviate from the map whenever I need to. But I can't start without it – I even outline poems these days, which seems counterintuitive to some people, but it's what works for me.
I also tend to be a very immersive writer. I do a lot of world-building and research and just thinking about my story before I ever (figuratively) set pen to paper. I need to feel my way into a story or a setting, to feel like I know it as well as I do my own neighborhood, that it's that real. Which sometimes makes it very difficult for me to switch back and forth between projects, because it takes time to get that immersed, and then to climb back out of that immersion again. Which is also why I'll probably never be one of those people who is able to write several novels in a year. I've done it, written novels in six months or less, but it's not how I prefer to work, given my druthers.
One of the benefits of the way I write, though (aside from, hopefully, giving readers a story that they can immerse themselves in), is that my first drafts are very clean and I seldom need more than one light revision pass after my editor has seen it. So there's more work on the front end of the process the way I do it, but less on the back end. Plus it keeps my editors happy, because it means less work for them. And I'm all about keeping my editors happy. And, hopefully, my readers, too.
Christopher Baldwin was born in Massachusetts, and started drawing comic strips around age 5, comic books around age 12. He writes and draws for MAD Magazine, illustrates children's books, and self-publishes webcomics. His graphic novel, LITTLE DEE (based on his online comic), is forthcoming from Dial Books for Young Readers.
Erin M. Hartshorn is a desert rat (native Nevadan) transplanted to a humid climate. She is a moderator at Forward Motion for Writers (an online writers community), a member of Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers, and a member of SFWA. Her fiction has appeared both online and in print in various places, placed in the PARSEC short story contest, earned honorable mentions and semifinal status in the Writers of the Future contest, and been shortlisted for the UPC Award for science-fiction novellas. She also publishes mysteries under the pen name Sara Penhallow; her most recent release is THE MINIATURE GOLF COURSE MURDERS. She blogs online at www.erinmhartshorn.com/blog and can be found on Twitter @ErinMHartshorn.
M.H. Van Keuren quit a perfectly good job to devote his life to writing science fiction. He lives in Billings, Montana, with his wife and two sons. [MY NOTE: I went to high school with his lovely wife, who was a fellow National Merit Scholar.]
I think this post is quite long enough, don't you? Heh.
Quick reminder - today's the day for the big multi-author AMA (Ask Me Anything) for the Crossing the Streams contest over on Reddit. Stop by and leave a question, or ten!
Also, I'm taking part in a Writing Process Blog Tour. I was tagged by my BFF Gini Koch and will be talking about my own process next Monday (and tagging three other authors), so come check it out!
Happy Pancakes for Supper Day (AKA Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras/National Grammar Day)! Tomorrow marks the beginning of Lent, and I have decided I'll be giving up sweets this year. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Heh.
So you all know about the Crossing the Streams contest I and my writing partner Jeff Mariotte are doing with about twenty other authors, right? Maybe you still have questions? If so, most of us will be taking part in an all-day AMA (Ask Me Anything) over on Reddit on March 4th. (It was supposed to be today, but had to be rescheduled due to Reasons Beyond Our Control.) Anyway, Jeff won't be there, but I will, so if there's anything you want to know (within reason), pop on over and post your question! Hope to see some of you there!
Also, Tucson Festival of Books is coming up in a few weeks, and Jeff and I will have adjoining tables there in the Arizona Dreamin' booth. We should have a special preview copy of the Neverland's Library antho available by then, which contains our first collaborative story to be published, "A Soul in the Hand." The ebook version of the anthology should also be available by then, though physical copies will take a bit longer. Come by and check it out - we'd love to tell you all about the story and some of the other projects we have in the works! (Or you can ask about it at next week's AMA!)
I haven't updated you all on Max in a while, so I should probably do that. He saw his oncologist in December, the cardiologist in January, and had Survivor Clinic just last week, and he is doing amazingly well on all fronts. We're still waiting for some lab work to come back from the clinic, but we don't expect any abnormalities. Max is good to go for Kindergarten in the fall! And we're so happy to be making it to this milestone, and so grateful to all of you for your continued love and support through it all. It takes a village. Thanks for being part of ours.
It's finally here! The big, ginormous, multi-author Crossing the Streams contest! Enter to win a free, signed copy of one of my books AND one of my writing partner Jeff Mariotte's books, and enter these other awesome authors' contests to win one of their books, too:
*Richard Lee Byers
*Erik Scott de Bie
*Erin M. Evans
*Erin N. Hoffman
*Howard Andrew Jones
*Paul S. Kemp
*James L. Sutter
*Wendy N. Wagner
And one lucky "SUPER WINNER" will win a free, signed book from EACH of us!!!!! That's right - twenty(ish) free books! Woohoo!
The contest runs throughout from today until March 19th and you can keep up with it on Twitter at #crossingthestreams. Just follow the link in the first paragraph for details. Don't miss out - this one's gonna be HUGE!
And some of the other authors' links probably aren't working yet/correctly. We're writers - we stay up late! I'm sure they'll fix them when they, you know, eventually roll out of bed this morning/afternoon. ;) (Just kidding! Be patient - the contest runs all month. Plenty of time for you to enter once everyone gets all the kinks worked out.)
So, I and my writing partner, Jeff Mariotte, are joining forces with a bunch of other authors & artists to bring you something really special. We'll be announcing it sometime in the next week (most likely), so check back - it's going to be awesome, and you don't want to miss out!
Happy 104th Birthday, Boy Scouts of America! You're looking great for your age - keep it up!