babarnett: (statler waldorf evil geniuses)

The obligatory intro text:

There are the authors everyone has heard about: George R. R. Martin, Stephen King. But what about all those books written by people you’ve never heard of? Some of them are treasures just waiting to be found, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about, the authors you might end up loving.

This blog hop is like a game of tag. One author posts and then tags other authors who link back to their website the next week and tag new authors. If you follow the blog hop long enough, you’re bound to find some writers you’ll love! Maybe you’ll even discover a book that ends up being the next big thing.

The Taggening, Part I:

I was tagged by Brent Smith, who is a 2012 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. Brent and I met this past summer at the annual shindig held at the end of Odyssey where the graduating class and old fogey alumni like myself get to hang out. Odfellows are made of awesome, so please do hop over to Brent's blog to learn more about him and his writing: http://fossilist.wordpress.com.

The Q&A:

1. What is the working title of your current project?

The novel that I've been in an on-again, off-again revising relationship with is currently called Future's Gambit. I'm not happy with the title, though, so I usually refer to it as My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel. Once upon a time it was called Prophecy's Sons, but then I decided it would be a much better story without the prophecy, so there went that.

And then there are all of those shiny little short story projects clamoring for my attention. I have a few flash-length first drafts that I plan to revise in the coming weeks. I wrote them for a contest over at Codex Writers' Forum where our entries remain anonymous until the end, which means I can't reveal their titles without giving myself away. So if you really want to know what the titles are, ask me again in two weeks when the contest is over.

2. Where do your ideas come from?

The better question would be, where don't I get ideas from? The little buggers are everywhere. I pretty much spend my life looking around and asking myself, "Is there a story in that?" Sometimes there isn't. Sometimes there is, but it's a sucky story that no one wants to read. But often, there's something cool there worth exploring.

3. What genre do you write?

Most of my work falls under the fantasy, horror, and science fiction umbrella, but I write the occasional mainstream piece too, usually of the quirky variety. I write more fantasy than anything, but even within that genre, there's a whole mess of sub-genres that I've tackled—epic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, steampunk, humor, alternate history, dark fantasy, magical realism, etc. At the end of the day, I just want to tell a good story, genre be damned.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition of your novel?

This is the really sad part about my on-again, off-again relationship with my novel-in-progress: I finished the first version of it back in 2005, which means some of the actors I first pictured as the characters are now too old to play them. Whether reading or writing, the cast in my head tends to have a direct correlation to whatever TV shows I'm watching at the time. So in my head, a movie version of my novel would bring together actors from Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape.

5. What would you do with your spare time if you weren’t writing?

Theater. I used to perform in community theater productions, but I haven't done a show in about eight years now. Finding the time and energy for both that and writing just wasn't happening.

6. Will your work be self-published or traditionally published?

I prefer the traditional route. Self-publishing involves a level of self-marketing that I just don't have the time or emotional energy to invest in. Not that there isn't any self-promotion involved when you're publishing the traditional route, but I think you have to work twice as hard when you don't have an established publisher putting their weight (and money) behind your work. I'm an introvert who constantly has too much going on as it is, so my self-promotional energy needs to be carefully rationed.

7. How long does it take you to write a story?

For short stories, anywhere from a couple of hours to a month. It all depends on the scope of the story, what else is going on in my life (trying to write while in grad school has been a challenge), and whether it's one of those stories that just flows onto the page or one that I have to pull kicking and screaming out of my brain.

For my novel, it's taken too damn long. First, I wasted the better part of my 20s constantly rewriting the first two chapters without moving forward. Once I finally got serious about writing and started doing it regularly, it took me a year of writing during my lunch break to finish the first draft. After that, I spent a few months getting feedback and revising. I queried agents next, failed to land one. Then I attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2007, saw all of the flaws in my writing, and realized why I had failed in the agent search. Cue brilliant epiphany on how to revise the novel! Unfortunately, I've only been revising in fits and starts since then due to divided loyalties—I'm excited about the novel, but after finishing the first draft, I discovered just how much I love writing short stories too.

8. Whose work would you compare yours to within your genre?

I'm such a horrible judge of my own work that I honestly have no clue. About the best I can offer is that I've gotten several comments on my novel that say it has a George R.R. Martin vibe to it, though thankfully not in a derivative way.

9. Who or what inspired you to write your novel?

When I was in high school, I wrote a novella that I of course thought was brilliant. Several years later when I was in college, I pulled out the novella and was horrified at how derivative it was. Among the numerous epic fantasy clichés and one-dimensional characters, there was your stereotypical white-bearded wizard. I was sick of white-bearded wizards and decided I needed a different one. While mulling that over, I sat down to watch Deep Space Nine. Epiphany! My wizard would look like Captain Sisko and be just as badass. As soon as the DS9 episode was over, I started writing a scene with this new wizard, at which point my years of constantly rewriting the first two chapters of my novel officially began.

10. When and where do you do your best writing?

I can write just about anywhere, any time. The less distractions, the better, but sometimes I don't have much of a choice. Right now most of my writing gets done on my train ride to and from Ye Olde Day Job.

The Taggening, Part II

Here are the writerly types I'm tagging to continue the blog hop. Alphabetical order is boring, so I'm going to tag them in order of how long I've known them:

Rebecca Roland: Becky was one of my awesome-sauce classmates at Odyssey. She's also a fellow member of the Codex Writers' Group, as well as a fellow wine and chocolate addict. Her first novel, Shards of History, was published by World Weaver Press last year and grew out of a story I had the pleasure of critiquing at Odyssey. She has also had short fiction published in Uncle John's Flush Fiction and Every Day Fiction.

Shveta Thakrar: Shveta and I have been through two writing groups together—a Philly-based spec fic group where we met, and then what we dubbed the Awesome Ladies of Awesomeness. Shveta writes Indian-flavored fantasy that very often makes me hungry, so it's a good thing we live close enough to go out for Indian food on occasion. She recently finished Sipping the Moon, a YA novel set in Philadelphia and featuring Indian fey, and has had short stories in PodCastle, Demeter's Spicebox, and Steam-Powered 2: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories.

K.A. Magrowski: Krista has been one of my fellow Awesome Ladies of Awesomeness critiquing partners and often incites me to mock Giorgio Tsoukalos's hair. Like me, Krista is determined to achieve novel-selling success before the zombie apocalypse arrives; unlike me, she has actually finished her novel, a ghostly YA tale called Small Town Ghosts. Her short fiction has appeared in Dreams of Decadence and Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey.

babarnett: (doctor who happy face)
In 2012, babarnett resolves to...
Volunteer to spend time with wbledbetters.
Pay for my jamietrs on time.
Go reading three times a week.
Ask my boss for a horror.
Connect with my inner yoga.
Find a new theater.
Get your own New Year's Resolutions:

babarnett: (pushing daisies ned with pie)
A - Age: 35

B - Bed size: Queen

C - Chore you hate: I have to pick? I'll go with vacuuming since I seem incapable of doing it without totally tangling myself up in the cord.

D - Don’t eat: Eggplant. Mushrooms. Lima beans. It's mostly a texture thing.

E - Essential start-your-day item: Coffee, coffee, and then more coffee

F - Favorite board game: Winerd (yes, it's actually a board game, and yes, it's my favorite because it involves drinking wine)

G - Gold or Silver: No preference

H - Height: 5'5"

I - Instruments you play: I sing (the voice totally counts as an instrument in my book). Also piano and clarinet.

J - Job title: Grant Writing Consultant

K - Kid(s): None

L - Love or lust: Both please, thank you

M - Mom’s name: Susan

N - Nicknames: Barb, Bibsy, Babs, and probably others that are escaping me at the moment

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: None, thankfully

P - Pants or pantyhose: Pants. Pantyhose are of the devil.

Q - Favorite Movie Quote: Aaaaw, I seriously have to pick only one? OK, fine: "How to start? I'm hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. So I need to establish the themes. Maybe a banana nut. That's a good muffin." ~ Charlie Kaufman, Adaptation

R - Right or left handed: Right

S - Siblings: Older sister

T - Time you wake up: Varies, but generally as late as I can possibly get away with

U - Underwear: When appropriate

V - Vegetable favorite: Carrots, asparagus

W - Ways you run late: It would be easier to list ways in which I actually manage to get out the door on time

X - X-rays you’ve had: Teeth, foot, chest, and an oh-so-pleasant mammogram

Y - Yummy food you make: Chicken with wine sauce 

Z - Zoo favorite: Polar bears
babarnett: (spock)
1) Received a compliment on my Halloween costume from Tippi Hedren

2) Had a polka dedicated to me during a 4th of July concert on the National Mall

3) Won a Subaru mini Brat go-Kart from McDonald's (though unlike the one in the picture, mine was yellow)

4) Taken a plane ride with the entire Philadelphia Orchestra

5) Been serenaded by kazoos playing the Mickey Mouse Club theme song at my wedding

6) Performed a song written by my mother

7) Performed in a children's show with a former Miss America (who was at that time a soon-to-be Miss America)

8) Read the script for a new play starring Kathleen Turner before its premiere

9) Eaten Munchkins backstage with a world-famous pianist

10) Actually been dropped on my head as a child
babarnett: (doctor who chair)
Killer migraine today.  Haven't accomplished much as a result (unless vomiting counts as an accomplishment).  I will therefore meme at you all since it doesn't demand much of my achy brain.

Rules: Go through your LJ calendar and find the the first entry of each month (excluding memes, twitter recaps, etc). Copy and paste the first line or two of the entry from each month. That's your Year in Review!

JANUARY: A new year, a new look to my website and LJ.

FEBRUARY: I heard back today on the I-think-it's-a-sale from last week, and it's actually more of a minor rewrite request, but of the "We enjoyed this story and are very interested in purchasing it" variety.
 
MARCH: So, this is supposed to be a writing journal or something.  I should probably return you all to your regularly scheduled programming.

APRIL: This rambling will eventually come around to writing, so bear with me.
 
MAY: Manos: The Hands of Fate, with one of my favorite MST3K moments: "Do something!"

JUNE: David Hasselhoff + cheap Star Wars knock-off = Bad Movie Saturday

JULY: Ah, three-day weekend that has allowed me to accomplish so much, how I will miss thee. 

AUGUST: I'm back, and my sense of what day of the week it is has been shot to hell. 

SEPTEMBER: Oh, so this is what my LJ looks like. Hello there, LJ.

OCTOBER: 1. Thursday morning, I get up butt early to hop on a plane to Colorado with [livejournal.com profile] shvetufae  for Sirens

NOVEMBER:



DECEMBER:
Sorry this LJ has been almost nothing but pimp central lately.  Hopefully I'll have time to resume talking about something other than myself soon, but in the meantime, it's more pimpage.
babarnett: (lost boys)
I plugged in the text of one of my most recent short stories and got this:

I write like
William Shakespeare

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


Don't I wish.  Out of curiosity, I tried again with the novel chapter I'm currently working on and got this:


I write like
J. K. Rowling

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!



I write sex scenes like J.K. Rowling!  And why stop there?  I decided to try the first chapter of the novel, for which I got:


I write like
Kurt Vonnegut

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


Vonnegut does epic fantasy!  And when I plugged in chapter two:


I write like
Charles Dickens

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


Either my writing is very confused, or this meme is.
babarnett: (angel wesley crazy fu)
I've been tagged by [livejournal.com profile] isleburroughs  and didn't have anything particularly interesting to blog about anyway, so I might as well play along with the meme and tell you ten unusual things about myself. Sadly, I haven't led the colorful life that David Bowie lookalike [livejournal.com profile] marshallpayne1  has, but here are my ten:

1) I really was dropped on my head as a child.  My father was dancing with me, picked me up to flip me, and accidentally dropped me, resulting in a concussion and a trip to the hospital.  I know, explains a lot.

2) I have tiny hands.  One of my challenges playing piano is that I can just barely make an octave reach.

3) Being a chick with a low speaking voice and low singing range, I often played male roles in high school musicals due to a shortage of guys.  Ask me about my Camelot-inspired gender confusion.

4) Aforementioned low voice meant I was put into the alto section in chorus.  But then I started taking private voice lessons in high school and discovered that I had high notes.  Lots of them.  My high school chorus director declared rather strongly in regards to my voice teacher, "He's trying to turn you into a soprano, but you'll always be an alto."  By my senior year, she had moved me to the soprano section and started taking lessons with the same teacher.

5) Tippi Hedren once complimented my Halloween costume.

6) I do a pretty decent Yoda impression.

7) In 7th grade I won first prize in the school science fair for my project on dreams.  The inspiration for the project was my obsession with A Nightmare Elm Street films.  And some people say horror movies are corrupting our youth.

8) I began college as a journalism major and a music minor, switched to a double major in both, and then switched the journalism half of my major to English.  No wonder my four-year degree took five.

9) I met my spousal unit (aka AsYouKnowBob) doing a production of Gilbert & Sullivan's Iolanthe, and we were engaged on opening night while doing a production of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance.

10) One of my proudest moments of athletic achievement was a game of dodge ball in elementary school gym class.  It was girls vs. guys.  I became the only the girl left on the court, but there were still several guys remaining who were confident that they would now easily win against one measely little cootie-infested girl.  But I totally KICKED. THEIR. ASSES.

Ok, I'm supposed to tag five more people or something.  But I've followed too many rules for one day, so I will leave it at this: if you're bored and haven't done this yet, consider yourself tagged.
babarnett: (torchwood ianto monday)
To indulge in a brief moment of procrastination, I'm joining in on the writerly meme to post the first lines of current works in progress.

The first line (at least until I change it in subsequent drafts) of the short story I'm currently working on:
Calix felt the color drain from his face when the undertaker offered him Achim's death mask.

And the first line of the novel I'm revising:
A rumble of thunder, and the vision came.
babarnett: (get fuzzy talented bucky)
Age when I decided I wanted to be a writer: 8
Age when I wrote my first story: 8 (it was a 3-page fantasy adventure starring my stuffed animals and written in play format)
Age when I got my hands on a typewriter: 13ish?  It didn't last long thanks to those newfangled computer things that became all the rage.
Age when I finished my first novel: 29, though that novel's now getting a serious reworking.  And when I was about 16 or 17, I wrote what I thought was a novel, but glancing at it now, it's more like a novella.
Number of novels written: 1 and a half
Age when I first came close to selling a novel: That would require having come close.
Age when I first submitted a short story to a magazine: 20
Thickness of file of rejection slips prior to first story sale: Surprisingly thin, though I was rather half-assed and not overly ambitious about submissions until only a few years ago.  2 rejections and a rewrite request before my first paid-in-copies sale; 9 rejections and 8 did-not-place contest entries before my first paid sale.
Age when I sold my first short story: If we go by paid-in-copies sales, then 21. If we go by paid-with-actual-money sales, then 26.
Age when I finally got serious about writing and submitting short stories: 29
Age when I killed my first market: 30 (still haven't managed to re-sell that damn story)
Number of short stories written: Not counting most of the pre-college crap I wrote, 45.  Though 4 of them are in need of revising, and 15 of them are flash, which I can crank out rather quickly.
Number of short stories sold: 21 (19 for money, 2 for copies) and I've managed to score a reprint sale with 3 of them
Lifetime number of rejections: 279. Wow, that's depressing.  And it's 299 if you count contests I entered and didn't place in. I was big on entering contests before I got a clue and figured out what the hell I was doing.
Age now: 33
babarnett: (Default)
Copy this sentence into your LiveJournal if you're in a heterosexual marriage and you don't want it 'protected' by anyone who thinks that gay marriage hurts it somehow.
babarnett: (last unicorn)

When you see this, post in your own journal with your favorite quote from The Princess Bride. Preferably not "As you wish" or the Inigo Montoya speech.
 

***

VIZZINI:
He didn't fall? Inconceivable!

INIGO:
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

babarnett: (Default)
Since I have time to play while waiting for pizza, I'll be a lemming and follow others off the latest meme cliff:



And if you're so moved to play too...

The Rules of the Meme:
Take a picture of yourself right now.
Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing.
Post these instructions with your picture.



babarnett: (animaniacs)
Since [profile] ellen_denham tagged me and I actually have time to do something other than breathe and critique, my mission is to pick up any old book, go to page 123, and blog the fifth line.

*runs to bookshelf and grabs something*

Ok, I have here Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea, and the fifth sentence on pg 123 is:

Blood was on the beak of this one and white feathers stuck to the claws of another, and no gull skimmed beyond them over the pallid sea.

Bloody seagulls.

Time to close my eyes, point my finger at my friends list, and choose my five tagging victims at random.  Ok, [personal profile] rcloenen_ruiz[personal profile] marshall_payne, [profile] rogue_psion, [info]ckastens, and [livejournal.com profile] kristajhl, consider yourselves thusly tagged...and free to ignore said tagging. :)

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babarnett

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