How can I help?

I wrote earlier this week about writing for my niece. The second piece of this is something I’ve been struggling with for a while.

Why me?

I created a podcast. (You might have heard of it, 600 Second Saga.) This makes me a gatekeeper of sorts. Not a super fancy gate wearing gatekeepers (that’s what real gatekeepers do right? wear gates?) but one nonetheless.

I read a lot of other submission guidelines along the way to creating mine. Some of them said something about accepting or soliciting work for underrepresented groups. A few called out specific populations. Some didn’t. I thought, only a monster wouldn’t want that. Only a person who is a garbage person would need to even say that. Of course, I want a range of experiences and stories.

Not a monster

And then Trump got elected. On a wave of people who think that it is more important to have false change and loud shouting than to disavow actual Nazis. So…here we are today. I would like everyone who reads my blog, listens to the podcast, or reads my books to just know, of course, I’m not a monster. Just like the day after the election at work, even though I didn’t talk about it at all before directly, everyone knew how I felt. Because when someone needed to say, hey it’s not cool that we only have white dudes as avatars, that was me. When someone had to say it’s not ok to say that word/thing/etc it was usually me. And eventually, they just stopped saying them (around me at least). Because they just knew that about me.

I wish everyone here knew that I wasn’t a monster. And I wish that everyone felt free to say, hey! Not ok! Every time I said something out of line (if I do, please do, I try hard, but I screw up often).

So here I am. Saying I am not a monster. I do, of course, want work from underrepresented groups. Especially groups that are going to be feeling the pain the worst in the next few years. I want to help lift your voices. I want to do what I can. And that is the absolute bare minimum that any decent person should be doing.

I want work that is about being who you are. I want work that edges on political. (Not that I haven’t already got that, just wait for the inauguration day episode, which was written and recorded before election day.) I want work that doesn’t file off your edges.

I don’t get demographics on authors, but I know for a while I had more authors outside the US (this is the easiest demographic for me to keep track of, though I’m not 100%, but if your email is clearly outside the US I have a hint) than from inside, which is a good component. But I want to keep doing better.

My offer

What I think I can do is make this tiny little offer. If you think your voice isn’t welcomed, isn’t heard, and isn’t represented and you are struggling and aren’t sure if your story is a fit, or is ready, or you want feedback? Let me know. As long as it meets the other guidelines (link at the top but basically, ~1K, no swearing, sff) reference this post in your email, and I’ll do what I can to help, make suggestions, etc.

2016 by the Numbers

Every year at my day job I have to pull together information for everything I’ve done for the year. Usually, this comes this week, someone several levels above me running through and saying they need it. I try to be prepared.

So this is my 2016 Roundup of all the shit I’ve done.

ALL the numbers from my 2016!

Quick review of my goals?

Back at the start of 2016 I made a post about my goals.

Narrating

I really dove into narration this year. While I’ve done some of it elsewhere and at other times in my life, I’ve never done as much or as all in as this year.

I narrated 3 novels. One of my own, one for another author, and one for another author under a penname. (You can see narration at Audible.) Three novels this year! I narrated three goddamn novels this year.

Oh but we are just getting started.

I also narrated 7 novellas.

Plus I narrated 2 parts for the anthology I’m an author in. (That isn’t out yet, still waiting for the other parts next year.)

Something like 50 hours of professional narration that I did in 2016.

Podcasting

While we are on the topic of talking into a microphone. I created a podcast. Yup 600 Second Saga was an endeavor of this year. I’ve had 46 episodes so far. (A Halloween bonus episode and 5 preseason episodes.)

I’ve gotten the chance to work with a lot of amazing authors. I’ve gotten the chance to share their stories in a new way and share something I love. Bite-sized stories and audio. It has been a lot of learning, but I also feel like, at least as of now, I made some good decisions at the start.

I still love the name. I still love the format. I still love the time limit.

Some of the stuff I tried I didn’t like as much. I wasn’t thrilled with Halloween month. I liked the episodes, but I just didn’t feel like I did what I could have with it.

Marketing! I need to get better at marketing (Like! Share! Subscribe! Submit!) but I think I have a good, high-quality product. When I started the podcast I subscribed to a few other shows that started at the same time…I’m the only one left.

Studio

Going along with these two I’ve seriously improved my studio. Overall I’m really pleased with it, with the quality of sound I get, with how long it takes to produce things. I’m still improving and changing. But I really did all of this in 2016. So…created a studio.

Publishing

This was the first I did any self-publishing. In 2016 I self-published 1 novel and 3 novellas (1 under a penname).  HOLY SHIT I PUBLISHED. Plural. A fucking novel. I published a fucking novel.

I’ve learned a lot from what I’ve done. A lot of time was dedicated previously, and in this year, learning about publishing and what I needed to do to be successful. I feel good about what I’ve done. I have so much distance to go. But I’m more determined than ever to keep going.

I’ve got plans for publishing a few things in 2017 as well. I have 1 novella in a penname that is 85% of the way there. I have a Smoke Jumpers novella planned for, I believe, March. I’m hoping for a second Smoke Jumpers piece in the fall but I’m less sure on that one. I am very much hoping the anthology I’m a part of (Monsters in the City!) will come out this year. My piece for that is done and has been for…a while…a long while.

Writing

Holy shit I wrote this year on top of all that up there?

I wrote 4 novellas? Wow. I wrote 4 novellas. Wrote, edited, edited, edited, and got to various stages of ready.

I finished editing 1 novel, I am still working on editing another novel.

I wrote…mumblemumble 40 plus flash fiction pieces. Not all of them were good. Many got tossed upon finishing.

Huh. I’d been feeling like I was doing bad at writing this year. Maybe not that bad?

Goals

Most of my goals were writing goals – 30 in 3? Done. So very done. In less than a year at that. I did not write a novel. (Fail.) I did more than the 1 novella. I did not get a full anthology worth of Smoke Jumpers. But I did get a few pieces, and one published.

Other

Also this year? I started an email list. I’ve been trying to be really consistent with blogging. I’ve started trying to use FB and Twitter and Pintrest as an author and better.

Goals

Reading. I did quite a bit more, and in other genres. Not quite as much as I planned, but very much on the right track.

Critiquing. I did a couple of novels. I tried to sign up for Scribophile.

(I had a giant thing at work where I’m part of a training program that has taken a lot of this fall and will take a lot of spring. I also got a promotion to a fancier title this year.)

And I’m sure other things I’m not even remembering.

Holy shit it has been a hell of a year. No wonder I’m exhausted.

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December check in

Now that we are over halfway through I wanted to do a December check in based on my December plan

Project?

I think I’m done. I sent the email this morning saying final final final should be done. So…fingers crossed nothing goes wrong in the process and I’m done with this.

Podcast promotion:

Pt 1: I did to a little bit of a push, I did a giveaway, I got some more reviews. Can always do more. Submissions are open and I’m looking for pieces for February and March. (I also took part in Raimey Gallant’s Blog Hop which falls under this a little maybe. Hi, new readers! Submissions are open for the podcast for February and March!)

Pt 2: I haven’t reached out to other podcasters. This is one of those things that makes me nervous beyond reason and sense. Checking to make sure the door is locked for 10 minutes kind of anxiety. I am totally interested in being a guest on a podcast. I can talk about lots of stuff. (For an actual list, ask!)

Pt 3: Make playlists. This I have done! Fantasy playlist on YouTube and SciFi playlist on YouTube. I’m open to other playlist suggestions. I’m thinking humorous episodes might be on my list of things to make as well.

Writing/Editing

Write 2 flash fiction pieces….I started and abandoned one. It was…not good. That’s ok.

Brain break: For reasons I haven’t really done this. I really need to. I’m concerned it won’t happen.

Jenna’s first book: I took a swing and a miss at this. I need to swing again.

Audio

Finish the current project: Nearly done

Finish the novella: Got another chapter and a half done

Check in with anthology: did, there is nothing yet, check again in January

(And as always podcast just sort of lurks here in the audio section, unspoken.)

How’s your December plan coming along?

S1.38 Gray Walls

Gray Walls is written by Kyriakos Chalkopoulos


Kyriakos studied in England, the University of Essex, and has a degree in Philosophy. He works as a seminar organizer for the municipality of the city of Thessaloníki, in Greece. Seminars created include ancient and enlightenment philosophy, literature and computer 3d modeling.
Published in a number of Greek periodicals and newspapers, he also has a collection of stories- titled Chrysalis- printed since October of 2015, from local literary publishers Anatypon.

Read more

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5-star review on iTunes.

December Plan!

November is easy to plan for as an author. At least if you are planning for NaNo.

I read a recent post planning for the whole of 2017. I’m not sure I’m ready to plan out for all next year. Not that I haven’t done that. Just when I do that I tend to over plan, and then panic, and then stall. So…let’s not do that.

Winter landscape
Winter landscape

My December plan!

I have a couple goals for this month.

Finish up a project I’ve been working on for another author with a pen name. I’m like 85% of the way there. I’m looking forward to being done.

Podcast promotion.

I’m hoping to do a few things:

  • do a little push for ratings and reviews on iTunes (this makes a huge difference in helping the podcast be discovered by new listeners)
  • try to reach out to some other podcasts to possibly appear as a guest
  • make some playlists to promote the episodes on YouTube

Writing/Editing

I have a couple different things I want to work on here. I have been slacking on writing my own flash fiction, so I want to write at least two flash pieces.

Take a brain break. (This might be next weekend!)

Redouble my efforts on editing Jenna’s first book. I’m not going to try to push to get the whole book done, I just want to get through a couple more chapters. Which should be entirely doable.

Audio

  • Finish the current project
  • Finish a novella I have half way done
  • Check in with the anthology project (there may be another novella for me to do there)

So that’s my December plan. Brain recharge is important. I want to spend at least 1 day not working, not my full time day job, and not my podcast and not authoring. …It’s been a long long time since I’ve done that. But a 100% day off day.

Hopefully I’ll also be able to get out and enjoy the snow.

What’s your December plan?

Peeves?

A couple of interesting posts about pet peeves when reading made me think about it a bit. (Thank you Allison Maruska and the link she shared to A Writer’s Path!)

My pet peeves

I think these change.

Mary Sue?

I’m currently kind of unbothered by Mary Sue and I have thoughts about how much is that really a problem in the way that we hate the character, and how much is it a problem in the way we talk about women being all over badass in society. Especially looking at some of the characters who get lambasted for being Mary Sue, but they have problems and they aren’t flawless.

I also think there is a bit of learning curve. It’s ok to write Mary Sue as you are learning. Or if you feel like you have very little agency and feel shitty about your life? Write all the Mary Sue you need. Go for it. Live your life. Share with others. Not all writing is about being a giant big name author. Some of it is about learning about yourself, or escaping into a fantasy world of your own creation. I think that’s ok.

If I don’t like it I won’t read it. But that doesn’t mean people should write it.

The words the words

Grammar and spelling bug me when I can’t understand what the author mean. But right now that concern is way down the list. I care if it sounds good. If it is perfect grammar and spelling but it is stumbly and confusing to hear? I don’t care that it is perfect. I’d much rather have “ok” or even “eh” grammar and good flow. I would say writing that spends more time and focus on “correctness” than how it sounds and flows is my biggest pet peeve right now.

That could be a little bit because I have a podcast and I do audiobook narration. When I’m recording and something makes me fumble over and over? That is frustrating.

Even when you read silently to yourself you are subvocalizing (unless you are speed reading and you’ve worked specifically to try to get rid of that, but if you are doing that with fiction I don’t know why you are reading this post, seriously, I have nothing of value for you, move along) which means you are making those sounds. You are reading aloud. So having something that reads smoothly is really valuable.

Overpunctuate if you need, if it will make your sentence flow better. Throw in more commas and whatever else. I would also put things that are unintentionally alliterative in this words peeve. One or two instances can be cool and can give it a boost. But there is a big space between that and something that starts to arrive at Seussianly cool on the other side where entire blocks of text are alliterative.

POV

I feel like this might be the peeviest peeve on my list. I’ve been reading a lot of things lately that play fast and loose with the POV. One minute you can hear what Sally thinks and the next John. Even though it isn’t an omniscient narrator. Scene breaks. Expressions. Something. But stop cheating! Stop dipping into someone’s brain when it is convenient and then moving on. I have no idea why this bugs me so much but it does really crawl under my skin in an irrational way.

That said?

I make all of these errors. Frequently I’m sure. When I’m recording audio for my own work and I stumble, I have a good swear fest at myself. (Releases the frustration and – bonus – gets the wrong way of whatever was happening out of my head.) Then I rewrite it. But even though I am the one who read it, I will still listen later sometimes and get frustrated with how clunky it sounds.

I’m sure I’ve screwed up POV.

And I know I’ve both written Mary Sueier characters and bashed them.

I’m trying to be better on all the things.

Bonus

Having an arc ship or a rebuild society plan with nearly all dudes and no uterine replicators. MATH PEOPLE! 9 men + 1 woman = 10 babies in 10 years, maybe maybe. Try 9 women + 1 man… Seriously. Before you fill your apocolypse with dudes who can’t carry babies, check out the numbers for the next 100 years and how many babies you can make. I know you want something like well over 10K to not have it be a horrible disaster of inbreeding, but I’ll let you hand wave that with science. But either say you have a tech that lets you make babies outside of the female body or bring more bodies that can have babies.

S1.21 An Axe

An Axe is written by Mariah Avix.

An Axe is a Smoke Jumper story. Look for Faye’s novella, Summer Solace, in the spring.

Mariah Avix is the creator of 600 Second Saga. A space for developing authors to explore the realms of science fiction and fantasy in 10 minutes or less every week.
Mariah writes magical tales of how technology will change our world, and technologically laced tales of magic, that probably isn’t real.
She is currently working on a series of novellas about shapeshifters who fight wildfires, a trilogy about a woman who refuses to admit that she has the M word (magic), and endless flash fiction.
When she’s not writing she walks along the rivers and parks throughout her city looking for inspiration.

 

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5 star review on your podcast tool.

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Dangerous Metal

I’ve been a bit busy and haven’t been posting as much last week and this. But it is all for a good reason. I’m putting the finishing touches on my novel and getting it ready for launch. Dangerous Metal is a cyberpunk thriller and I’ve got some brand new things to share.

Covers

Dangerous Metal ebook cover
Dangerous Metal ebook cover

I will, of course, be doing an audiobook version as well. (Recording is what has been devouring my time.)

Dangerous Metal audiobook cover
Dangerous Metal audiobook cover

Description

Eva is happy to get her life back to normal, or as normal as it can for a woman who had half her brain replaced by a computer implant of her own making. Then Ernie, the ex who put a hole in her skull, shows up for dinner with her parents.

Preorder

So it is up and ready for preorder at Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords and plenty of other places. Or add it to your Goodreads shelf.

It isn’t up for preorder on audiobook but as soon as that is live I’ll be sure to post a link. I’ll also be giving away a few audiobook codes.

Warning

I keep warring with myself about this. Do I warn people? This isn’t a nice book. One of my beta readers called it unglamorous and a book that sits cold in your gut. This isn’t a warm fuzzy book. This isn’t about people taking a happy vacation. It is a cyberpunk thriller so it really shouldn’t be, but even for cyberpunk…it isn’t just a noir with pretty tech. Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of pretty tech. I love the tech. But it isn’t a detached story.

Part of me is like NO!! don’t tell people to not read your book, you have got to be kidding me! That is the worst idea. You are supposed to tell people how awesome it is. (And it is awesome, another beta reader said it had all the feels.)

But…I don’t want someone to pick this up thinking it is a light-hearted romp. So, buy my book, but be aware.

Another week

As I mentioned I still have some finalizing pieces to do so I think I won’t likely post again this week. Podcast episode on Friday (and it will be a light-hearted romp!) but that’s all until next week.

Thank you!

Is it ok to like your own work?

Paperwork
Paperwork! (Sarah@Flicker)

I’m currently recording Dangerous Metal (which I hope to have out by the end of August!) and I’ve a few times run across lines that have genuinely made me smile and go, oh I really like this.

Today’s:

“You watch too many movies. I do more than drive recklessly and shoot blindly.” He was smiling, the tension easing. “I also do paperwork.”

It isn’t entirely a light-hearted romp about paperwork. (Read not at all light-hearted.)

I was going to write a fancier post today but I’m entirely amused with this line and have to go handle some other things, so I’ll leave you with this.