Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week 6 of Clarion West 2014

It's Sunday afternoon, beginning of week 6, here at the 2014 Clarion West Writers Workshop in sunny Seattle. My fan rotates lazily behind me. Cars whoosh down the street outside my window.  My stomach is full of ham-and-egg scramble from the Mexican restaurant nearby. My tree puppet continues to be supportive, and uncannily wise.

And so we begin our week of lasts. Last critiques, last provided meals, last hanging out on the couch watching Kurt Russell movies. I have an annoying tendency to become sentimental about events as they're happening, so I'll try not to do that too much more. But even as I'm excited to go back to the real world again, I'm also sad to be leaving this place behind. Already I have one foot in and one foot out and I'm struggling to keep my focus on the present.

Tonight we meet our last instructor, John Crowley. We just said our goodbyes to Charlie Jane Anders.

Only 1 more story left to write. Only 17 more critiques left to deliver.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Starting week 5 of Clarion West

I'm sitting at my desk in my room at Clarion West on a Sunday afternoon. After a stretch of hot dry days, the weather has turned cool and I am enjoying a chance to wear jeans again, my old uniform. We're starting our fifth week, which means I only have two stories left to write and up to 34 stories to critique.

Not that I'm counting.

Time is strange. It simultaneously feels as if I've always been here and I've just arrived. The absence of television is probably a factor. The constant nap-taking definitely adds to the disorientation. Not to repeat last week's post too much, but I continue to be in awe of everybody's talent and work ethic and so happy to have been included in this experience. But I can feel the exhaustion tugging at me, the real world reasserting itself, and I am trying to cushion the landing by eating regularly, taking naps, being kind to myself.

Some days I am more successful than others.

Last night I lay in my bunk listening to party sounds from the street--mostly dudebros shouting at each other over terrible pounding music. A young man's voice rose above the din--aggressive, slurred, and slightly desperate. He shouted, "What fucking street is this? How did I get here? Where the fuck am I?"

I rolled over and fell asleep.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week Four, Clarion West

Hello, world. We've just passed the half-way point here at the 2014 Clarion West Writers Workshop. It is hot outside for Seattle and I am not used to this stifling heat so I am drinking a cold beer (Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery) and sitting in a basement (have I said too much?) trying to write my fourth week story.

There's a paper cutout of a gray turtle taped to the wall.

There's not much else to say. This is an amazing experience. I am in awe of everything all the time. They're feeding me well. I'm drinking a lot (both alcohol and water). I sleep on the lower bunk of a bunk bed. I brought two fans from home. When I leave I will probably be lonely because there is always somebody doing something and I haven't taken enough advantage of that yet. Later, will the quiet unman me? Stay tuned.

There is a lot of work to do here. Sometimes I nap. Often I nap. Sometimes I feel old and out of touch. I stare off into space. I read crazy wonderful prose and think about why it works and why it doesn't. I formulate opinions and express them. I eat. Things happen. Time contracts, expands. I make a fancy salad.

The hand crank on my window broke off. That is the worst.

So you see, everything is fine. Situation normal. I am working on my third short story out of five, in the basement, with an ice cold bottle of beer and Colonel Mustard. I am surrounded by clever folks. I am possibly going mad.

And that about sums it up through week three.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Why the month of May is busy

Hi!

Here it is an overcast Saturday morning after a string of warm dry days. I'm listening to the coffee gurgle in its maker and willing the process to go faster--which is a pretty good metaphor for my life right now.

GO FASTER.

In the next week I am delivering an audiobook to its rights holder for approval, and if all goes well, the audiobook will be available for sale on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible.com within a few weeks. This will be my third project through ACX, and my second narrated novel. This one clocks in at 77k-ish words, but I am still mastering the audio so I do not have an official time length yet. It is fantasy, where the previous novel I narrated was horror.

Narrating audiobooks is fun, but make no mistake, it is a LOT of work.

Because I am ... ambitious --definitely not some other less favorable word-- I have also accepted the great honor of narrating Cat Rambo's two short story collections: Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight and Near + Far.

Basically my life is all audio, all the time.

I am not complaining! I really really enjoy narrating stories and novels. Let me add in one more "really" to drive the point home. But I am super busy right now, and I feel like I should mention how busy I am for future reference, and why there's a chance I might be slow to return emails.

On the plus side, I received my first royalty statement for the first month of audiobook sales. It isn't much, of course, but I can see how it could add up and that is encouraging. Passive income, here we come.

Lastly, I have carved out some time to attend the World Horror Convention in Portland, OR next week. I will be bringing my laptop and headphones along, so when I am not hanging out or attending con-related activities, I can go hide in my room and master audio, and stay on track.

Optimism -- it's what for breakfast. :) Also coffee.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Five Narrator-Related Announcements for your Tuesday

Announcement # 1 (StarShipSofa)

StarShipSofa has re-posted a Beneath Ceaseless Skies story I narrated back in March 2013 along with Tina Connolly, Rajan Khanna, and Michael J. DeLuca. The story is “Boat in Shadows, Crossing” by Tori Truslow and starts 30 minutes into the podcast. This re-post is in honor of the story text being nominated in the “Best Short Fiction” category of the British Science Fiction Association awards. I read the part of Bue.

This podcast was also a 2013 Parsec Award Finalist for Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast.

Runs 1 hour 6 minutes.
Listen to "Boat in Shadows, Crossing" at StarShipSofa.


Announcement # 2 (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

I narrated a new story for Beneath Ceaseless Skies, "Golden Daughter, Stone Wife” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

Runs 59 minutes.
Listen to "Golden Daughter, Stone Wife” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew at Beneath Ceaseless Skies


Announcement # 3 (Horror Audiobook on Sale)

The horror novel I narrated, THE DEAD OF WINTER by Jack Night, is now on sale through Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. You can listen to a sample at the links. (Runs 9.5 hours!) I'm really pleased with how this audiobook turned out and I look forward to narrating more.

Now I'm narrating a fantasy novel that I'll be wrapping up soon, and then I get to start narrating two story collections by Cat Rambo.



Announcement # 4 (Podcast Class)

Speaking of Cat Rambo, I will be co-teaching an online class with Cat called PODCASTING BASICS. We've taught this one a few times before and it's always a lot of fun. The date is now set: Sunday, April 27, 2014, 9:30-11:30 AM PDT. $89 for former students; $99 for new students. More details at Cat's web site.

This may be the last podcasting class we'll able to teach for a while, so if you have any interest it's a good time to sign up.



Announcement # 5 (The End is Nigh)

I mentioned in a previous post that I had narrated two stories for THE END IS NIGH audiobook, the first of three anthologies on the subject of the apocalypse, edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey--audiobook produced by Jack Kincaid.

You can now buy THE END IS NIGH audiobook from the usual sources: Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. I'm not sure why I'm not listed as one of the narrators, but maybe I'm not famous enough yet. :)  Rest assured, I narrated, "Heaven Is A Place On Planet X" by Desirina Boskovich (which you can listen to for free at Drabblecast) and "Wedding Day," by Jake Kerr.


And I think that gets us all up-to-date. I hope you are having a wonderful Tuesday.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Clarion West Class of 2014

Long story short, one week ago today, I received the call offering me a spot in this year's Clarion West class. Of course I accepted. Of course.

Some of you know how much this means to me already. For those who don't, well I will tell you. Clarion West is a six-week intensive workshop for writers of speculative fiction--fantasy, science-fiction, and horror. The program only accepts 18 students each year. Each week a different instructor--a professional writer or editor type--comes in and leads the class. Each week each student writes a story, and each week each student critiques all of the other students' stories.

In addition to the heavy workload, there are socializing opportunities, readings you can attend, the occasional party, and all the while, the students live in the same housing and try to keep up with the workload.

This was my third time applying. I really, really wanted to attend. So to be able to share that it's actually happening, can be expressed in just about any happy-making cliché ever. If you're wondering I'm partial to "over the moon."

I look forward to meeting my classmates, reading the instructors' stories, and being there, immersed in writing and critiquing and learning for six overwhelming weeks.

Before the program starts in June, I still have to deliver three more audiobooks so I'll be keeping pretty busy. My first novel length audiobook has been approved by all parties and is in the process of going on sale as I type this. I'll announce it more formally when the audiobook finishes propagating to iTunes and Amazon, but here's a sneak peek at Audible for Jack Night's "The Dead of Winter." There's even an audio sample if you're curious.

So that's it. That's my news. I hope you'll all follow along with me on this new crazy adventure.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Beneath Ceaseless Skies Podcast

I neglected to mention, and I should have mentioned, in my last post that I also narrated a story for Beneath Ceaseless Skies: "Pilgrims" by Ann Chatham. The whole podcast runs about 27 minutes and the mp3 is available to download or stream.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies is a great market for fiction, one of my favorites. Their focus is on literary adventure fantasy in secondary world settings. You can read their stories for free online or for a small subscription fee ($13.99 for the year, as of this posting) have issues delivered to your eReader: subscribe to BCS here.