Answering the Call
Oh, my stars and whiskers! Today, I was asked to take on something I've been putting off for a long time. I've considered it in a couple different career paths--both theatre and writing, but I never really wanted to do it. But I'm now jumping in with both feet...
Starting in August, I will be teaching a weekly hour-long course on writing a novel.
So...what are you thinking, you ask. Yes, I am asking that myself.
Someone from my place of work approached me and asked if I would be interested in teaching this class to staff members from various departments. I am honored and humbled to even be asked! And of course, the opportunity to pass on what I've learned...I am overjoyed!
But wow, what a responsibility.
I am thankful to have a wealth of resources. I know many writers here in town who can contribute, and I also have my fabulous folks at Pikes Peak Writers who offer such great support. I know I won't be doing this alone.
Since last May, I've been feeling a call toward teaching. I tend to butt heads with self-doubt. I feel like this is a good way to launch into it. See how I like it. See if I can do it! My dad was a high school and college level math professor, so teaching is in my blood somewhere. I'll just have to pinpoint that and go for it.
In other news, the physical copy of my latest release (Poison) just arrived. And I've accepted the position of Pitch Coordinator for the 2015 Pikes Peak Writers Conference. I'm super excited about working with all the fabulous PPW/C people again!
Ah, the writing life! Wouldn't trade it for the world!
Recently, I was tagged by an author friend on Facebook with a couple of "challenges." I thought I'd post them here as well.
5 things about the main character in my work in progress (FUSION):
And go to page 7 or 77, 7 lines down, and paste 7 lines from my work in progress (FUSION)...
Blazing down the stairs to the second level, Kaine dashed through another empty hallway that led to his favorite respite. Walled in by three sides of the massive Carrick mansion was a small courtyard with a balcony that overlooked the stone gardens surrounding the house. Most afternoons, sunlight from Aevum would spill across the cobblestone terrace, warming the cold brick. No such luck today with the looming fog that had settled on the landscape. Kaine couldn’t shake the shivers that now took over his body.
Does this whet your appetite? Heralds of the Crown: Fusion will be available in November 2014. In the meantime, you can read the first book in the series, Poison! It's available in both ebook format and print!
10 Things My Dad Taught Me
Yes, today is Father's Day. I wish I could give my dad a great big squeeze, but he passed away four years ago. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a little tribute to him, as that was the anniversary of his passing. (Click here to read.) But with the celebrations of dads everywhere, I wanted to share again about the great Marty Hodges.
After he passed, I wrote Ten Things My Dad Taught Me. While the thought behind these ten statements is a few years old, the principals remain the same.
#1: Don't call people during the dinner hour.
My dad hated it when people called while we were eating. He always told me not to call folks between 5 and 7 pm, in case they were eating. I still hold to that.
We spent many a long winter's day indoors when we lived in Woodland Park. My dad gave me an intellectual treasure when he taught me about the game of chess. I miss those childhood days - wind and snow blowing outdoors, while we waged war on the checkerboard battlefield.
#3: Classical Music.
My dad instilled in me a deep love for classical music. For as long as I can remember, he had an elaborate stereo system and a collection of LPs that would rival any enthusiast's. I remember that he would lovingly wipe off the vinyl before and after playing them. He gave me Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and even lesser-knowns like Glinka.
My dad was quite possibly the world's best math teacher. He made math look easy and did all he could to help people understand it. I learned a lot from him...and it's from him that I get my tendency to figure number patterns when I'm bored. He loved, lived, and breathed math.
#5: Enjoy a good steak.
I remember a time when I was little. My mom and brother went to the mall, and I went with my dad to Black Angus. Who wants to shop when there's steak involved?! I loved eating out with my dad. He always picked the best places.
#6: Everything you do will take longer and cost more than you expect.
Yep. That about sums it up.
#7: My love of science-fiction.
My dad took me to see Star Wars. My dad made me watch Star Trek. Somewhere in that magnificent brain of his, he had a dream to fly among the stars. And through science-fiction, he's helped me reach them.
#8: Correct vocabulary/pronunciation/grammar
You're vs. your, regardless instead of irregardless, recurrence instead of reoccurence, etc. Thanks to Dad, hearing those irksome words (and a whole list of others)...and seeing them in writing...drives me bonkers.
#9: California is a great place.
My dad always had a thing for Cali. When I was fortunate enough to land a position with Disneyland, Dad came for several visits. He loved watching the sunset at the beach. I'll always treasure those moments with my dad...and Cali will always have a special place in my heart.
#10: Treat your elders with respect.
I still remember the day my dad decided that we (the kids) were to say “Sir” and “Ma’am” when talking to an adult. I thought he was the meanest dad in the world. Today, I’m so thankful for that. That little showing of respect has made a huge difference in my life, and it’s something I intend to pass on to my kids.
Hug your dad today. You never know when he won't be around to do so...
Afternoon of Blessing
You remember that moment in Mr. Holland's Opus when all his past students come together to play his music as a way of thanking him for the impact on their lives? He'd been through so much, and it means everything to him to have those who've loved him throughout this life gather. Oh, how the tears flow. It's a beautiful moment, and how very few of us get to experience such a moment like that in real life.
I did today.
For a get-together celebrating the release of Poison, it was only natural to plan it at Fargo's Pizza Company in Colorado Springs. I have quite the history with Fargo's. It was established the same year I was born. My dad always claimed we moved to Colorado from Kansas because of this place. And he loved it. We spent many childhood moments there. I brought my husband there on one of our first dates. We had our wedding rehearsal dinner there. We enjoyed my dad's memorial lunch there. We've even dubbed our usual table "The Marty Hodges Memorial Table." And we celebrated Asylum's release there a couple years back. Yes, Fargo's holds a special place in my heart and in my life.
Precious friends spanning many years joined us! Of course, my family was there. Pikes Peak Writers friends, my fifth grade teacher, my mom of my heart, and a dear couple I met through my husband... I couldn't imagine a better group of folks! Yes, quite a few were missed, but I know they all had good reasons for being unable to make it. But to those who were there, I am so grateful. You are all awesome!!
While I'm no Mr. Holland, I am certainly blessed. I spent the afternoon surrounded by special people who love and support me. We shared hugs, kisses, and encouraging words. My cup is overflowing, and I cannot tell you how much this time meant to me.
Until the next book, my friends!
The List Goes On
I had a few quiet moments to myself today. (I know! Can you believe it?!) So I wrote a list of writing things I need to work on. While it was a good exercise to see what I have going on, it kind of blew me away. As I told my husband the other day, "I sure wish I knew what it was like to feel bored. Just for a moment."
I plan to re-read Poison. Yes, I am intimately familiar with the details of the book I wrote, but I did step away from it for a while after I finished the edits. I'm doing this in order to gear up for the revising/editing phase of Fusion. While I'm working on that, I will launch into writing Reconciliation to round out the Heralds of the Crown trilogy.
Meanwhile, I have two other manuscripts in the works. One is a dark fantasy, while the other is an unrelated sci-fi. Beyond that, I've had a brand new series come to mind. This is a time travel story, and I swore I would never touch time travel. It will even have some steampunk elements. I'm super excited about it, and I look forward to getting started!
Of course, this means I have five manuscripts in the works at one time.
Oh, and I forgot to mention I am self-publishing Checkmate this summer. I want the experience of self-publishing, and I think this is the best one to put out there in such a way. This means re-reading, revising, editing, and the details of the publishing process.
That's my big picture right now. Honestly, I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have this much going on. I love the stories I've been given, and I can't wait to share them!
A Little Lift
I'm in a weird in-between phase of launching a book and watching the sales number dwindle. Oh, that first week was so exciting! Poison ranked pretty high on the Amazon Bestsellers Rank...and then it started to fall. That can be discouraging to an author. (I was smart, though. I took a screen shot of my high Amazon rank to capture the moment.)
So today, as I'm trying not to think so much about my book sales, I found my name mentioned in a Speculative Fiction blog dated February 14th, 2014. I cannot tell you what a boost that gave me! Here's a small portion:
So, that was it. Boredom. Didn’t find the quality up-to-snuff when I compared it to what I was reading in the ABA.
Wow! For my name to be among that list of authors, I am blown away! I am honored and most blessed.
This brings to mind another topic I've had on my mind lately. As I've been promoting my book through various groups on Facebook, I've been trying to come up with catchy one-liners that will pique interest.
Those one-liners are more than just snappy words, though. They are promises that I must make good on throughout the story. As a reader, you're entrusting me with a block of time that you will commit to reading my made-up plot and characters. That's precious and valuable, and I can't take that without giving something in return.
So with that, I do pledge to give you the very best story I can craft. I'll work with a team of editors and beta readers to make it as flawless as possible, given that human (and programming!) errors can occur. And I'll thank you, repeatedly, for the gift of your time and the emotional investment you're making to take in my characters' stories.
The reader makes the writing all worthwhile.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3