Sunday, April 11, 2010

Broad Universe Blog Out: Jaleta Clegg

Welcome to the Broad Universe Blog-Out Tour I've been talking about!

The first bodacious Broad on this tour is the woman who had this fabulous idea to start with: Aleta Clegg. Thank you, Aleta, for being on my blog and coming up with this idea!

Aleta Clegg, who writes as Jaleta Clegg, was born some time ago. She's filled the years since dabbling in many things - cooking, sewing, rock hounding, costuming, quilting, slaughtering virtual zombies, freeing zillions of Snoods, and of course, much storytelling. Aleta caught the writing bug over fifteen years ago although she has only recently reached publication status. Her first novel, Nexus Point: The Fall of the Altairan Empire Book One, came out in December 2010. The second one is scheduled for release in early 2011.She further describes herself, "I live in Utah with a horde of my own children, my husband, and one elderly, toothless cat. Cats are required for SF/F authors, aren't they?"

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

My website is, Facebook under Jaleta Clegg, Twitter under ursulasquid, and my blog, The Far Edge of Normal, on Blogspot.

Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

I write mainly science fiction - space opera, where the characters and stories are the main focus. My first novel, Nexus Point came out late last year. It's a tale of desperate survival on a primitive planet. Only sort of - the main character literally crashes into the middle of a undercover investigation into drug smuggling on a planet that, for cultural reasons can't know, about advanced technology. Complicated? Yes. Add in a dash of romance to complicate everything further. It was lot of fun to write. I absolutely love the characters.

I've got several short stories in print, mostly comic horror. I'm working on a vampire story that just makes me laugh. What happens to the poor vampires when people become too medicated with high cholesterol? I love twisting things on their heads and poking fun at tradition. The first section of the vampire story is on my website as a teaser.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure (be it food, a habit, a show…)? And how do you rationalize giving into it?

Computer games like Plants vs. Zombies. Slaughtering zombies is very therapeutic. Virtual violence makes me feel so much better when I'm frustrated. I rationalize it as self-therapy. It's cartoon violence so it doesn't count, right? And the game includes levels where you get to play the zombies so it teaches empathy for the underdog. I can rationalize just about anything. I'm a fiction writer. And a mom.

What is your favorite comfort food or drink to help you write? What do you save as reward treats for meeting goals and deadlines?

Chocolate, in very large doses. Although I learned the hard way that fudgesicles and keyboards don't mix.

"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

I laugh. So many author photos include their cats you'd think it was a requirement, especially if you write speculative fiction. We own a cat, the second one recently died. Considering she was 16, it was about time. The one we have left is just as old, toothless, and a source of endless amusement. I'm not much of a pet person, though. I can kill any houseplant in a matter of weeks. How do you think pets fare? The cat belongs to my husband and kids, not me. He stole a spot in my author picture by climbing into my lap while we were shooting. As soon as the camera left, so did he. Silly animal.

What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

Main advice: Just do it. Write, and write, then write more. Keep at it. Eventually you'll think, "This is good enough to be published." At that point, find some good editors who aren't necessarily your friends to read through it and rip it apart for you. If you can't handle that, you aren't ready for publication.

For those still looking for direction and help, Forward Motion ( is great, although it can be overwhelmingly large. Critters ( is also a great resource if you're looking for feedback and aren't quite ready for the brutal editing phase.

What brought you to Broad Universe, and what do you like best about the organization?

I'm a relatively new member. I only joined last November. I ran into a group of "broads" at World Fantasy. They were doing a rapid fire reading. I loved the feeling of support and the positive enthusiasm they had. So many online groups are critical and negative, I've never felt that from Broad Universe. It's a great way to find that extra support and encouragement all authors need. It's also great to find other women who are sci-fi geeks, just like me.

Broad Universe also doesn't discriminate on the basis of your publication list. Whether you're an established author with multiple books on your resumé or a newbie who hasn't published a thing anywhere, you get the same support and friendship. I'm new to publishing so this group is just what I need.

What do you feel is the greatest challenge and the greatest asset of being a woman author?

Finding time. I seriously need a wife or at least an Alice from Brady Bunch - someone to cook, clean, schedule appointments, do the shopping, pick up the carpool, deal with the kids, clean up after the cat, etc ad naseum. I love being a wife and mom but it doesn't leave a whole lot of time for writing most days.

The greatest asset? We're few and far between in the SF field, which makes us stand out. And we have this great support group called Broad Universe. We also have a great legacy left by other women authors. Andre Norton is my writing hero. Her list of published works is more than just impressive - it's astounding. And she did it in the days when women were not supposed to have careers.

What the greatest lesson you've learned so far as an author?

Be willing to take criticism, but always with a big dose of salt. Hearing people pick your writing apart hurts. Writers want people to gush over their work with positive remarks, but most of what you hear will be criticism, what you did wrong. Learn to listen without getting defensive. But also learn which opinions matter to you. I put a lot more weight on my editor's critique than I do in a neighbor's.

What is your favorite organizational trick for meeting all of your goals and deadlines?

Buy my kids new video games. I'm guaranteed at least a few days of peace. Quiet comes only if I lock myself in my bedroom.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

CONduit in Salt Lake City UT the end of May. Fun local con. I do the hospitality suite. This is my first year attending as a published author not just a local fan. I'm excited for our Guest of Honor - Barbara Hambly, another one on my list of author favorites.

Priestess of the Eggstone: The Fall of the Altairan Empire Book 2 will be out early next year.

Thank you so much, Jaleta, for visiting my blog and putting together this wonderful blog tour for all of us!

Please leave a comment for Jaleta or Trish… and keep following our great Broad Blog Out tour!


Kaz Augustin said...

Snap, Jaleta!! You know, when I used to tell people that I needed a wife, they looked at me funny. Nice to know I'm not the only one. Great interview.

Jaleta Clegg said...

Thanks, Kaz. The first time I told my husband I needed a wife, he looked at me and asked, "You want to practice polygamy?" I think I'd rather have Alice.

Trisha Wooldridge said...

LOL! Actually... I wouldn't mind a clone of my husband... let one go to work and the other stay home and work. ;)

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