I’m Going to Hollywood!

Last night, I turned off my alarm so I could catch a few extra Zs, so naturally, this morning, I woke up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 4:45.

What’s got me so excited I can’t sleep? Well, telling you requires spilling a secret. So are you ready?

*phew!* Here goes.

I have a secret life as a fantasy and science fiction author.

There. Now the secret is out. It’s why I’ve been neglecting my blog. Instead of writing blog posts, I’ve been writing stories, and I got the news in November that one of my stories is getting published!

I’m a real author now, y’all!

The Writers of the Future contest is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious writing contest for new authors of fantasy and science fiction. Every year they publish an anthology featuring the three winners from each quarter, and though my finalist story wasn’t one of the winners, they reached out to me in November and asked if they could publish it in the anthology anyway along with the winners.

Um… YES!

My story, “Obsidian Spire,” is the story of a young warrior who sets out on her first mission on her own. She has been sent by her father to quash rumors that a long dead wizard has returned to wreak havoc on the countryside, but when she grudgingly accepts a village boy as her guide, she discovers that there’s more to everything than meets the eye.

The anthology goes on sale next Monday, and you can pre-order your copy today from Amazon! There are TONS of great stories in there. Some science fiction, some fantasy, a little dash of horror… Whatever floats your boat, and all of these stories are from some incredible, brand new authors, at the very beginnings of our careers!

When Gwen’s husband is found murdered, she’s the only suspect. After all, they were the only two people on the moon. —Moonlight One

Flora’s father is a mech-soldier of the Slayer Class, but how much of him is really left inside the machine? —The Armor Embrace

When an alien with godly intelligence is discovered watching the earth, one man must try to learn if its motives are pure. —Envoy in the Ice

If you were stranded in an open boat and the only hope for rescue came from a ghost ship, would dare to ride? —The Devil’s Rescue

Some gifts come with heavy price tags, and the giver must rise to the occasion. —Tears for Shülna

What if an alien asks for your help with a question, and the answer affects the future of the whole human race? —The Drake Equation

Barlow has a talent for finding the dead. Or do they find him? —Acquisition

When Varga sets out to explore the ancient stronghold of a long-dead wizard, she discovers that the ruins aren’t as deserted as she thought. —Obsidian Spire

If only that reptile in the sewer were something as predictable as an alligator. —Gator

On a distant world among the cloud peaks, the light-hawks promise a rich reward for those daring enough to harvest one. —A Glowing Heart

In a world where memories can be stripped, Bill discovers that he has a family he has never known. —The Long Dizzy Down

Not all spirits have the best of intentions, and they must be dealt with. —The Woodcutters’ Deity

You can put an end to something wondrous, but only at a cost. —The Dragon Killer’s Daughter

In a life-or-death situation, sometimes you wish that you had a really powerful spell. But that begs the question—what is power? —Useless Magic

Some devils are as old as a dream, and more evil than men can imagine. —Adramelech

When the world needs saving, three children are called to the task. —The Fox, the Wolf, and the Dove

Can an aging sorcerer find a way to track down his old nemesis with the small bit of magic he has left, or is he just fooling himself? —The Magnificent Bhajan

But it gets better! Not only is this a new author contest, it’s an illustrator contest, too! So each of our stories gets an gorgeous illustration by an up-and-coming artist! So it’s a book full of great stories and great art.

But it gets even better! (And this is why I’m up early bouncing around instead of sleeping in.) The contest organizers will fly all of us–authors and artists–out to Hollywood for an amazing week long writers workshop where we will get to learn from some of the most successful authors in the industry. I mean, even if you don’t read fantasy and science fiction, you will have heard of these people.

And at the end of the week, they have an incredible gala and awards ceremony with a red carpet, crazy fancy dresses (thank goodness for Rent the Runway*!–more on that later), amazing performances from EMCirque, and more. You guys. I’m going to have to get up onstage and give an acceptance speech! Aaaah!

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, tickets may still be available and they’re free, so all you have to do is RSVP (but you must RSVP)! Here is the event invitation. If you’re not in the LA area, but you still want to check it out, they will be live broadcasting online from www.writersofthefuture.com starting at 6:30 PM PST.

So now you understand why I’m so excited! Keep an eye on my Instagram feed for updates on all the fun!

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of the book. I’ve gotten to read all the stories ahead of time, and they’re all just fantastic.

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NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month

It’s time to come clean and confess.

I’ve wanted to be a writer my whole life. I spent my childhood adulthood devouring book after book after book. I dreamed up worlds and characters and stories and conflict. In college, I took a few creative writing classes, but I told myself that I wouldn’t be able to make it, so I focused on technical writing. My passion for reading dissipated in the face of book assignments for classes. As an adult, I discovered that, while I could write a damn fine user manual, the process was bone achingly dull.

Still, writing books was in the back of my head, and my husband would remind me sometimes when we were both feeling glum. “Hey, hurry up and write that book, so we can buy a house by the beach.”  No amount of explaining to him has convinced him that this is not how writing works, but that’s another story.

A few years ago, I noticed something popping into my blog and facebook feeds. What is this NaNoWriMo thing? National Novel Writing Month? It annoyed me. Here were people doing what I had longed to do. I felt a twinge of resentment. I told myself that things had changed and my priorities had shifted and that I was okay with that. I made excuses about why this thing with the annoying name that got stuck in my head was definitely not for me.

I was busy, alright? I had one kid. Then another. I was writing a blog. I was reaching out and helping other people. I was doing a service. And darnit, I had a full time job, okay? Didn’t I have enough on my plate already? I didn’t have time for anything else. So I ignored it. Except when I rolled my eyes when I saw that silly word pop up in one of my feeds.

Then I met a friend who reminded me how much fun it is to read. I started picking up books at the library. She showed me how to check out e-books from our local library. My imagination started working again.

A few months later, I joined the Writing 101 program that wordpress put on with the idea of helping me get a jump start. At first, I was turned off by the assignments. This felt a little more like creative writing than blog writing. Who wants to read that?  But I had signed up for it, so I went ahead and gave the assignments a try.

I discovered that I had forgotten how much fun it is to just… write!  And read!  I found other bloggers who were having just as much fun as I was!

Then I remembered that NaNoWriMo thing, and the book that had been pouting around in my brain since college gave its bedroom door a good hard kick.

So I’m hear to announce that this year, I’m going to be participating in NaNoWriMo.  In the month of November, you won’t see many post from me.  I will be working furiously on my book.  I will be trying to get down 50,000 words in 30 days.  I keep telling myself over and over that that’s just 1667 words per day, the equivalent of just 2 and a little more blog posts.  That’s not so bad, right?  Will I create a polished novel at the end?  No.  The goal is just to write a first draft.  Get it out.  Get it on paper.

NaNo

So that is my goal.  I’m telling you all here, right now, so that I can hold myself accountable. Sometimes I need a kick in the pants and a deadline hanging over my neck, so that is what this post is.

Is anyone else doing NaNo this year?  What got you started?

 

 

Featured image courtesy of the NaNoWriMo website