Monday, July 21, 2008

Seaborn in the wild contest

Okay, it's officially open. Seaborn will be showing up on store shelves sometime this week, and I'm giving away a few things to those who send me pictures of the book on a store shelf.

(My email:

1. The first person to send me a picture of Seaborn in a store wins a 13 x 18 inch print of my watercolor, Syren Tears, or the digital scene painting, Sea Dragon, which is from Sea Throne, the sequel to Seaborn. Email me a pic and you choose which one you want me to send you.

Click the images for the large view:

Syren Tears (watercolor, 13x18 in. print) Sea Dragon (digital, 13x19 in. print)

Syrentears5crop Seadragon16

2. The second person to send a pic wins the painting not selected above.

3, 4, and 5 pics of Seaborn in the wild, and you get smaller but equally cool art print.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Adulation, Fantasy, Creative Procrastination

Ever had the feeling that something has passed you by? Or ever jumped on a bandwagon when it's a bit too late? Well there I was, working away on The Constant Tower when I decided to go youtubing. I spend waaay too much time on youtube sometimes. I'll admit first that I have always loved fantasy. Deep fantasy, painful fantasy where you feel the deepest part of your heart is being yanked out for some great and noble good. The soul pain in fantasy, the psychological pleasure of seeing beautiful noble people doing beautiful noble things, the sexual and warlike passion! Ah the joys of fantasy!

So when I happened upon some wonderful soul-feeding Final Fantasy videos --Wow!!! A forum/clique/enclave of creative folks who looooooove Final Fantasy capture videos from Final Fantasy games and use popular musical tracks to do a kinda theme and variation kinda thing. Often, they use the same songs..but wow, the subtle differences! So, okay, I was never into Final Fantasy but after watching sooo many of these videos yesterday I am a total fan. I wish I could get into playing video games and creting videos like these.

But, of course, I got to thinking. It's such a fine line for me to walk. I think I've mentioned somewhere else that I love beauty --especially male beauty. I could just stop and stare at beautiful men all day. Very close to loving the Creature more than the Creator, very close to falling into the sin of adulation and idolatry. So on the one hand the beauty, the heartfelt passion, the utter lack of restraint of the creator of these videos and the creator of these games....were just totally awe-inspiring and helpful in my losing my soul and restraints in my present WIP, The Constant Tower. For lack of a better word, I love the naked emotions of these videos. Heck, I love naked emotions period. Especially the painful emotions found in fantasy literature. But on the other hand, dangnabit, I am now in love with a couple pixellated character. There is a joy and a passion that touches the soul and can also taint the soul. And there is a joy and a passion that touches the spirit. I always try to get both soul and spirit in my stories. By which I mean, I want to talk about human pain, grief, longing, etc...but I also waht to talk about the human relationship to God. I would hate to write a purely soullish book. May God help me with this new book as He did with the other.

Anyway, for your enjoyment, here are some of my favorites. They're favorites mostly because they were done so well and because the tracks over the videos are some of my favorite songs and performers. (Don't waste too much of your time as I did, though.)

Final Fantasy The Way of Love Cher
Final Fantasy Don't cry Guns and Roses
Evanescence - Bring me to life
Final Fantasy The Way Clay Aiken
Final Fantasy Invisible Clay Aiken
Truly madly deeply
Truly Madly Deeply another creator

Sunday, May 18, 2008

See, I get to take credit for that

"See, I get to take credit for that."

That's one of my favorite author quotes.

In order for you to understand it, I guess I should tell you about the circumstances in which Edward Albee came to say it.

He was being interviewed by someone about one of his plays. The interviewer said, "Oh I love the way you brought in this myth and this religious allusion and this societal issue."

Sorry, I don't remember the specifics but you know what I mean. There are times when you write a book or a story and reviewers find such lovely things in it...things you had never consciously put into it. When I wrote Wind Follower I was aware of a few of the myths, social history, historical and political events I was addressing. But when the reviewers and critical text analysts got to it, wow!!!!! They saw such glories in my book.

Well, I suppose when notified of all the wonderful subtexts happening in my novel I remembered Edward Albee's words and said, "Actually, I wasn't even aware that that was in there, and I had no conscious plan to put it in the book. Thanks. I get to take credit for that."

I don't know about other folks but I was a lit major. I like analyzing stories in the larger context and I like being analyzed. Makes me feel valid. Some of my stories are thin, mind you and they have no resonance. But it's so wonderful when a story has all these layers and readers can see such interesting cultural, religious, and social issues in them.

Most writers tend to be pleased to see that their stories are rich enough to carry so many subtexts. When a reader finds stuff in a story that the writer didn't consciously put into the story, it shows the writer is A) listening to the universal unconscious B) allowing true creativity to flow through him and through his own experience of life C) taking part in the great creative communal conversation of his time, D) well-read and E) downright deep.

It is that odd writer who says, "no, my work is not that rich. My work doesn't connect to these primal, or cultural, or social issues. My work only goes to this area and I refuse to see in it what I myself did not put into it."

Who wants to write stories that don't resonate? Who wants to write stories that echo only what one consciously puts into them? What is the glory of a story that is utterly man-made and lacking the true spirit of the universal subconscious?


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Thing About Living at The Beach

The thing about living at the beach is that you have to actually LIVE at the beach. You have to go through the everyday-ness of life, while you're living 2 blocks from the beach.

I still have to get up and sit down at my desk and write my pages. I still have to go to work. I still have to cook dinner and wash laundry and scrub bathrooms and pull weeds (though the weeds are winning in the back-yard rose bed...) (And since it's really humid and takes everything a long time to dry out, the bathrooms have to be scrubbed a lot because that black stuff grows everywhere constantly--ugh!)

But the thing is--today (and Monday) I got to sit down at my desk after going out to walk along the beach. Not just along the beach, but actually in the water. I get to look at the birds (I really, really need to remember to look up those kildeer-like plover things) and the rocks and the shells and the sky. The wind blows my hair every which way, and the salt makes it stick like that. And I'm at The Beach.

No, I can't spend all day hanging out there, floating in the waves or digging in the sand--I could, I suppose, if I wanted to. Some Saturday could be available. But it's probably a good thing that I don't really have all day, because every time I spent all day at the beach in the past, I got sunburned. Badly, if it was pre-sunscreen days. Even these days, I'd get sunburned, even with the sunscreen, because I'm that susceptible to the sun. So, yeah. An hour or two, when the sun's on it's way down, or up--that's probably best. And then I can go home and clean up and eat sand-free supper.

I simply need to remember not to take it for granted. Remember to spend time there, walking on the sand or in the water, biking down the Seawall, floating on the waves.It's my happy place, in this town. My place to commune with nature and God and to Where's yours?

Clockwork Heart trailer

I totally loved the trailer for Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliasotti! Published by Juno Books.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Character artists

X-posted from

How many of the characters in the stories you write are artists? Any kind of art. What do they do? How deep do you get into it as part of the story? Do you find—or think it's the case—that visual arts would be more difficult to portray in writing—or is it pretty much the same? Unless your character's a writer or poet—in which case, you can simply include some of their work to pull it off—or you're writing a graphic novel, it's tough to get the art across to the reader.

I have three different artsy characters in Seaborn. One who paints and draws, one who dances, one who's a composition major at a music college. I'd guess these abilities or interests help define a character. A dancer would certainly be athletic, someone who plays music, paints or draws might be thoughtful.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Book Publishing Timeline

Or, What happens between the acceptance of your manuscript and the launch of your book from someone who barely knows what he’s talking about.

What does happen to your manuscript after the publisher accepts it? I've always been curious.

What follows is my documented ordering of the events, editing, extra work, writing, pitching, and other stuff an author has to do before one precious copy of the book hits the shelves in a bookstore.

Anyone writing for years and breaking into the published market, reading the blogs of authors, agents, editors, will have heard all the terms and processes, things like copyediting and ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies--books printed ahead of the release date specifically for book reviewers, sometimes handed out by the thousands at conventions like Book Expo America).

But I've never understood the order of the activities clearly. When a writer says his book's "gone into copyediting," where exactly is that in the process? How far along the road to release is it?

What I've done--and I'd love some feedback from those who know a lot more than I do--is mark the road with all the various things I've had to do, attend to, understand, agree to, and receive in order to get to that glorious release day...July 20, 2008. (Obviously some of the stuff in the timeline has not yet happened, so I'm guessing with the dates there).

Click the image below to view the readable version.

Here's what the process looks like from my perspective: