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    2011 - 10.08

    Anyone out there got a nice looking typewriter?  Karin’s wanting to do some author pictures, and I thought it might be fun to do also do a photo shoot that used a typewriter.  Just a thought.  If you have other suggestions for authory props, or author photos that you thought were particularly good or effective, please share them.


    2011 - 09.28

    If you follow along regularly you couldn’t help but know that Karin is now a published author and an award winning poet.  Yeah, I’m a little jealous.  I used to do a lot of creative writing personally, but it isn’t something that I’ve made time for in years.  I think that it was probably a few too many essays which kicked me out of the habit.

    Every now and again because of all the creative writing or I suppose just writing that she’s doing I think about doing some myself, but I mostly don’t find that I have stories which are trying to get out.  It’s not as though there aren’t ideas abound, but they aren’t ideas which require stories, it’s more likely that they are problems that I see and they are the solutions to those problems.  Important and useful skill, yes, conducive to keeping a reader interested, not so much.

    Well the other week, Karin started a new short story a paranormal noir story for a particular anthology (if memory serves).  Well, this time around I did get a bit of an idea, but it wasn’t so much an idea for a story as it was an idea for a character.  That said, it did lead to an actual paragraph or two.  Who knows if it will actually amount to anything more than that.  But here’s the first paragraph:

    I punched him, the bribe was insulting.  To think that I would compromise my principles for money, money!?  Idiot.


    Running low on books…

    2011 - 09.26

    If you haven’t already picked up a copy of Mirror Shards from Karin, she’s starting to run low on copies.  Of course we can always order in more, but the run of “first editions” is nearing an end.

    I am not alone…

    2011 - 09.18

    An anonymous writer calling him/herself Writer, Rejected has been compiling rejection notes from all over the intarwebz and posting them on a site called Literary Rejections on Display, or LROD.  His/her anonymous readers (called anonymice, or the singular “mouse”…so cute! :D Gives me a happy.) also submit them, including scans of old ones. So far in the archives, I ran across one for a film script from 1907 or so by Charlie Chaplin’s film company, one for Madonna back in the 80s and one from 1897 or thereabouts.  It’s a fun site to get lost in for a while.

    Author Page

    2011 - 09.17

    Everyone’s favourite new author, the award winning K.E. Abel has her very own Author Page on Shelfari.  Just saying.  If you plan to read Mirror Shards: Extending the Edges of Augmented Reality (Volume 1) or at least Gift Horses which is included in the anthology, you can add that to your Shelfari shelf now if you so desire.

    Pulled the Trigger: Surrey International Writers’ Conference

    2011 - 09.16

    Karin is going to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SiWC), which I think is going to turn out to be very exciting, especially now that she’s committed.  There’s lots of stuff going on that weekend, and it is a little pricey, but I think it will be worth it.

    She gets to sit down with Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette), author of Shades of Milk and Honey, and frequent contributor become co-host of the Writing Excuses podcast that we listen to.  Personally I think that’s really cool.  She’s also represented by the Donald Maass agency which is the same agency which represents* Brent Weeks (@brentweeks) who also lives in Oregon… hmmm.  Donald Maass himself will also be at SiWC.  So it’s pretty cool, or at least I think it is.

    In September, I’ll be a guest at the Surrey Writers Conference in Surrey, B.C. This is widely regarded as one of the better literary conferences for aspiring writers and I’m excited to be a part of it this year.
    – Mary Robinette Kowal, http://www.maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/surrey-writers-conference/

    Here’s another perspective:

    Granted, the chief goal of any writer should be to write for themselves, not for fame or for fortune.  Though, those are nice for those of us with crippling gambling problems and a desperate need for attention (not that I know anyone like that who is also named Sam Sykes, goodness no).  What’s even nicer, however, is the respect that comes with reaching a point where people will actually ask you for your advice on writing and not end the query with “you jackass.”

    Well, as per advice that is so unhelpful as to come from a jackass, I basically have three suggestions: get an agent, get perspective and get better.  Where does one find these, though?  Well, in consolidated form, they tend to all be present at Writer’s Conferences, which I’ve noticed are alarmingly rare.  However, they do exist, and one of them has invited me to come offer my advice to hundreds of burgeoning aspiring authors seeking a means of getting their work out there!

    The Surrey International Writer’s Conference is one I’ve been attending for several years now, back when Tome of the Undergates was but a wee Pamphlet of the Undergates and I was a wee, inexperienced writer with nary a clue as to what I was doing.  But now I am a big, experienced writer with nary a clue as to what I am doing and I can safely say that this is one of the best conferences to attend if you’re at all serious about becoming a writer.

    As they say in Quebec: por que?

    Three Reasons.

    1. Consolidated Networking (or “Dudes What You Want to Know”): SiWC (no, I don’t know why the ‘i’ is lower-case) is host to authors, editors and agents, the holy trinity of publishing, and attended by librarians, booksellers, book-buyers and, most importantly, other authors.  There is no one at this conference that you do not want to know, save for Steve who works at the front desk (you know what you did, Steve).

    2. Aggregate Accessibility (or “I saw Terry Brooks Throw Up Last Night!”): The purpose of this conference is chiefly to meet writers and drink a lot of beer.  These tend to go well together.  As a result, the professionals here are not going to wave you off or ignore you (unless they are on their way to a workshop, in which case you should not chase them down and hit them with a briefcase) and most are very open to hearing your pitch, your questions, what have you.  There’s even a few sessions of Blue Pencil designed just for that purpose!  Holy shit!

    3. KNOWLEDGE (or “BRAINMEATS”): The workshops here cover everything from plot to pacing, worldbuilding to genre influence, sex scenes to chase scenes to fight scenes to action scenes to parrot scenes.  If you have ever had a question about writing, no matter how weird you think it is, it is probably answered in a very helpful hour-long workshop.  I encourage you to attend every one that you can, as you never know what you might have needed to know until you know it!

    4. Sam Sykes Will Be There (or “You Can’t Escape Me!”):Yes, I will, in fact, be giving a workshop of my very own, entitled “The First Time Publishing Experience” on Friday at 3:00 PM.  We’ll be discussing everything a first time published author should know from networking to promotions to taking criticism and keeping motivated.  Even if you’re not published yet, it’s good advice to take, since motivation can lapse all the time!


    That was four?

    Yeah, it was!  What are you going to do about it?

    That’s what I thought, baby.

    Anyway, the Conference is coming up (next month!), so you might want to check it now if you’re at all interested!

    If you’re already signed up, though, please feel free to stop on by and learn a thing or two from me!  I can say with complete authority that I am worth listening to.

    Because I have a Presenter’s Nametag.
    – Sam Sykes, http://samsykes.com/2010/09/surrey-international-writers-conference/

    Amazing the things you can find out about something the more research you do, and the more research I do the happier I am that Karin is going!  Can’t wait to hear about how awesome it was.  I just hope she can resist the temptation to drop names of all the people she meets, unless of course Howard Taylor is there, because he’s so cool he can name drop himself. (Writing Excuses, Season 3, Episode 9-10)

    * Donald Maass also represents Jim Butcher (@longshotauthor) among others.

    Award Winner!

    2011 - 09.10

    Not quite an official press release, but it is a scan of the information from the Burnaby Writer’s Society bi-monthly newsletter.  Collecting the 3 place prize is everyone’s favourite new author: K.E. Abel.  Note: the K does indeed stand for Karin with an “i”, but typos like that really don’t diminish the accomplishment or her greatness.

    Burnaby Writers Society, Writing Contest 2011: Fire

    BWS’s 2011 contest on the theme of FIRE

    Our judge was BC poet Peter Trower. Peter, who has worked for years as the poetry editor for Raincoast Chronicles and has reviewed a lot of submissions in his time, said he was amazed at the high quality of work submitted for the 2011 Burnaby Writers Society contest, and had difficulty picking the winners. He was impressed to see a sestina among the entries. He knows of only one person that wrote sestinas well, Earle Birney.

    Winners and finalists will read from their work at our September 20th Spoken INK awards night, La Fontana Caffe, #101-3701 East Hastings (at Boundary Road), Burnaby .Readings begin at 8:00 p.m. Everyone is cordially invited to attend.”

    from http://burnabywritersnews.blogspot.com/2011/08/contest-results.html

    Publishing Buzzwords, Clichés and Euphemisms Decoded

    2011 - 09.08

    I believe that my sister pointed this post out to me: 40 Publishing Buzzwords, Clichés and Euphemisms Decoded.  Mostly they’re a little bit amusing, but this one I really liked:

    “literary”: “plotless” @MarkKohut Mark Kohut, writer and consultant

    There’s supposed to be 40 of them, I didn’t count, but they are alphabetical.  This one just seems to ring true in so many cases.

    “I don’t feel well…”

    2011 - 07.26

    Unfortunately Karin hasn’t been feeling well lately.  Fortunately she hasn’t really needed to do anything the last little while, so it’s more annoying than a true hindrance, but no doubt frustrating to her.  We’re assuming that it’s just Ménière’s, but I suppose technically speaking we don’t know that.  We’re doing our best to keep her away from the various triggers, or things which make it worse, but so far either we haven’t done enough, or they just aren’t working.

    What might be the most scary is how many more stories she would have posted for her beta readers if she’d been feeling better, as she’s still managed to be reasonably prolific despite it all.  I know that personally I’m at least two stories (and possibly three) behind at the moment.  In fairness to me, they are getting longer, and I do provide really detailed feedback, but still I really need to take this opportunity to catch up while I can.  I don’t know if she’s looking for more beta readers or not, but if you’re interested you should get in touch with her, for now most of that interaction is taking place on Facebook, so if you’re not a frequent user that might be why you’re out of the loop.

    Speaking of Karin’s writing, she had a tangential scare today, and I think I’ll not try to make the long story short.  In our building today, due to some maintenance which I don’t really understand we have no hot water from 8-5.  I believe the sign in the elevator called it “Emergency” maintenance, although I must admit I disagree, as the notice has been in the elevator for at least a week.  In my book that makes it at most “urgent”, but definitely not “emergency”.  If it were emergency the notice I’d read in the elevator would be:

    “We apologize for the hot water outage yesterday, it was unavoidable due to some emergency maintenance.  Everything is now working normally and we don’t expect any further outages.”

    Regardless, the end result was a false fire alarm this morning, so we got to wander down the stairs and out of the building for a few minutes.  Thankfully it was a false alarm, caused by the maintenance.  Having been through a few of these fire alarms before we’ve learned a few things:

    1. bring a book or some other form of entertainment, you might be a while
    2. make sure to dress appropriately, you might be there a while
    3. don’t expect to get back in quickly
    4. go to the washroom before leaving

    Today, we thought we might go for a walk while we waited for the building to be cleared, but Karin wasn’t feeling so well, so we only did a lap around the building.  Turns out that Karin had a few concerns relating to today’s fire alarm:

    • she was particularly glad that the Geckos were elsewhere and in no danger as a result potential fire
    • she was also very pleased that she’s been distributing some of here writing around to reviewers, so that her only copies were not on a computer which would have been subject to melting or water damage had it been an actual fire

    As a result of the last one, I’m doing some experiments with Google Docs to see if it might be an appropriate alternate method to help ensure that the single point of failure is not sitting in our condo.  If anyone has experiences, good or bad that they’d like to share, or alternate suggestions for “fireproofing” her writing do let us know.

    In talking to Karin last night, she is planning to post something about the Geckos, but given how she’s been feeling it might be a little while before it appears.  I think that’s all I’ve got.

    Goodbye and Waffles

    2011 - 07.25

    So another day of making changes to Random Synapses, at this point I think that the major changes are complete.  At least until Karin really starts to use it as more than a blog, but we’ll see, there’s undoubtedly room for lots of little changes and improvements.

    The Geckos: Sasha and Ennis have been with us since the end of the school year, but today they went to a students house (probably for the rest of the summer).  Karin misses them already!

    When we got home it was time for some comfort food, so I surprised her by making fresh raspberry syrup to go with the waffles.  We’ve still got some syrup left…

    I know I’m boring, but maybe we can convince someone else to write tomorrow, perhaps a retrospective of the gecko’s visit complete with photos, there really should be plenty of them.  We’ll see.

    Oh wait, we did finally come up with an author bio for K.E. Abel to send in for her inclusion in the first Mirror Shards anthology edited by: Thomas K. Carpenter for Black Moon Books.  I think that it turned out pretty good… but we’ll keep you in suspense, after all for those of you who don’t like augmented reality it will provide incentive to buy the anthology ;-)