Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Obligatory Writers Block Post

Every author everywhere gets the question, "What do you do about writers block?"

At the event last Wednesday, it was one of the first few questions presented to Neil Gaiman, who has answered this question multiple times already if you've ready any interviews with him.

The crux of the message is that "Writers Block" is a made up ailment by a super-creative group of people who are suffering the same apathy anyone else does of just not wanting to work at the moment.  Engineers, doctors, plumbers, secretaries all have days when they are in a funk and are not as productive as they usually are; they don't decide to take time off due to engineer-block, doctor-block, etc.  Writers are clever folk who decided they get to say this.

That’s not to say writers don't get stuck or bored with a project.  The point is that Writers Block is no excuse to stop working.  Someone in any other career will feel bored or stuck, too, but they have to show up and force themselves to perform.  Period.

If writing is your job, you do it.  If you’ve been writing for a while, you probably have several projects you could be working on if you are stuck on something.  If what you're stuck on isn't on immediate deadline, great! Work on something else.  Don’t spend hours on an online game or in front of TV.  Write.  Something.

If you are stuck on what's deadline, congratulations, you're working like everyone else in the world. :)  You have to plough through and force words on the page.  And then edit them.

As Gaiman also pointed out, when he looks back on a finished manuscript, he knows he had days where the words flowed like magic from his fingers and he knows he had days where he fought to get 100 words on a page, but he cannot tell which was which.

Over the past few weeks, I've had a number of projects that needed to get finished.  I was working on my short story for UnCONventional, and found myself at a stuck point.  I knew there had to be a face-off between the protags and the antags, and I knew who would win, but I wasn't entirely sure how.  Fortunately, I had plenty of other deadlines, and some new characters for a story I may or may not write (It depends how long they stick around in my head) distracted me in my "down" time of laundry and dishes.  Spending a few days not thinking of my issue, but working on other stuff that was due and letting my imagination just wander, was exactly what I needed.  The "fix" came to me in one of those almost-awake dreams that I could still remember – the ones that arrive between smacks of the snooze button.

Now, if I had to, I probably could have just buckled down and written through it – but it would have taken more words and edits.  It still would have gotten done. 

The lesson?  Start work ahead of time so you have room to play with when you get stuck.  Have multiple projects you can work on to give stories a rest.  Never, ever give up and give into the myth of Writers Block as an excuse to not write. 

Just write.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Pride of June ((LGBT, LGBTQ, Feminist, Women, Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance))

Broadly Speaking: Pride Month by Broad Universe Listen on Posterous

Welcome to the June episode of Broadly Speaking, a podcast about the adventures of women writing science fiction, fantasy, horror - and everything in between.


The Broad Pod is sponsored by Broad Universe, an international, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, honoring, and celebrating women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.  To find out more about our organization, including new fiction released by women, more podcasts, and information about writing and publishing for women, visit our website at


Trisha J. Wooldridge hosts this month's episode of Broadly Speaking. In the United States, June is celebrated as Pride Month, a time to show support of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer members of our society.  Broad Universe is happy to wave our rainbow flag for members who identify, write, and publish in the GLBTQ communities. Our earlier June podcast, the Broad Pod, was dedicated to fiction featuring GLBTQ characters, and now, Broadly Speaking is happy to interview five of our members on GLBTQ fiction, publishing, and activism.


Catherine Lundoff and JoSelle Vanderhooft recently edited a Hellebore & Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic.  Both have written and edited numerous excellent stories and collections.  Elissa Malcohn, member of the Broad Universe motherboard, is author of the Deviations series as well as a prolific poet and activist.  Cecilia Tan is owner and founder of Circlet Press and author of the popular online serial - now available in paperback - The Prince's Boy.  Racheline Maltese focuses a lot on non-fiction and academic prose related to queer topics and activism.


Join us for a spell or two while we wax with Pride on multiple topics related to writing, reading, and publishing!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Go to Bed!

Inevitably, my pre-dawn posts inspire well-meaning friends and family to order me to get some sleep.  I understand, I do.

Sometimes they're right.

I will often stay up late trying to fit in all of the to-dos that I overbooked myself to accomplish in a day.  Sometimes I wander off to read some of my favorite webcomics and lose track of time.

Other days, it's not my fault.

Tonight I'm awake and typing on L'il Rosie while Big Rosie is getting a huge scan to kill some piece of malware that attacked earlier this evening.  Scott stayed up as late as he could, but he has less flexibility than I do in scheduling – especially this month.  So, I'm up, babysitting a malware scan.

My note for tonight actually had written on it (in caps): BED BY 1AM.

Ha!  The Universe continues to focus on me as a bit of late-night entertainment.  Obviously, some celestial being/s appreciate the irony of me being mostly able to complete my to-do list and moreso at the expense of being unable to meet a particular list item.

(Well, two list items.  Broadly Speaking was supposed to go up tonight.  Yeah… let's not post a file that may be infected! The link is for last month.  In the mean time, enjoy this month's Broad Pod.  It's still the PRIDE theme!)

Another loss, all of my short stories and poetry are on Big Rosie.  While I had one WIP that got sent out tonight – so I DID meet my "send subs" list item, I could not send out more.  :( 

As I am doing a bloggy-type-blog and not relying on the Broadly Speaking announcement to be my Manic Monday blog, I may as well tell anyone interested what I've been up to… and why the last two scheduled blogs are mysteriously missing.

I've had a lot of deadlines.  Like, a LOT.  And a lot of out-of-the-house plans.  And meetings.  And computer problems.

Basically, I will be facilitating an online course for the next 8 weeks – the same one I finished all the edits for.  That was a bunch of meetings and projects for this week.  I also had some articles due and follow-ups on my team reviews.

And I had a well-deserved writer-girl day on Wednesday where I went up to Portsmouth, NH with my Broad Universe buds, Jennifer Allis Provost and Justine Graykin.  We went to hear Neil Gaiman speak.  As it was an educational experience, it's totally a work-related business trip and expense.  And Jenn and I did a Mexican food review that I turned in that day.  Dinner at the Coat of Arms, a proper British Pub in Portsmouth, was excellent research for those of us writing about the UK.  Sometimes I really, really love being a writer!

And then, of course, the sleep deprivation sinks in and your hopes of catching up slip from your fingers with the flowing scan bar progress of Malwarebytes.

I still really, really love being a writer.  And I'll go to bed when I damn well feel like it!  (Here, Scan Gods, have some chocolate so this will be over soon so I can go to bed?  Please?)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Writergirl, Writergirl, How does your Garden Grow…

Overgrown and unsupervised,
Mr. Charles Darwin they all know.

'Cos I rarely weed, or clean or plant
I don't even have to sow.

I've got work to do, plants must be stubborn to survive
'Cos more deadlines come when others go.

Ok, I totally lost the meter there, but you get the idea.  We've got a small-average size house on 3/4 of an acre of land surrounded by woods.  I have a few beds I do at least keep an eye on.

My Fairy Garden

The Falling Steps

The Secret Stairway

The Roses

Currently, only the Fairy Garden is weeded/cleaned.  That's where most of my herbs grow: mint, sage, lavender.  And it has a little angel.  Oh, and it's pretty small.  The Falling Steps are smaller, but I don't know what all everything is.

My excuse about The Roses is that there is a big table in my way.  And that pretty wine-red one is probably a bush older than me, so I just let her do her thing.  Scott finally got me trellises a few years back.

The Secret Stairway is cool, but there's this funky plant that sorta-kinda looks like Queen Anne's Lace but isn't that always overgrows it faster than anything.  (Even worse than mint!)

Gardening gets done under these conditions: It's nice out (not too hot, not too cold), Scott is doing something outside with me, and/or I've done so much desk work that I need physical labor to balance my energy. (AKA - I just need to KILL THINGS and weeds are a perfectly acceptable subject of my violent tendencies.)

Since I have a horse and, therefore, a positive outlet for physical energy, Saturday, mid-June, was the first time since about April or so that my gardens have received any energy beyond the passing thought of "Yeah, I oughta do that… ooh - shiny deadline!"

Gardening is good for the soul and generally leads to other creative endeavors: A crapload of mint?  Mojitos, tabouleh (with mint), curry lamb meatballs (with mint), and mint chutney (which, for reference, uses way more mint than pesto uses basil).  If not cooking, I make flower arrangements and put them all over the house (usually to the annoyance of Scott because I forget he actually needs to see the television regularly.)

It's good to exercise my other creative tendencies.  I didn't paint or draw in Myrtle Beach; I wrote… a lot.  So, my mind needs other non-writing projects to balance out all I'm doing now.  Which feels like it's going slow until I actually pile it all up.

I might do that for you for Writerly Wednesday.  ;)  Assuming I'm not fighting to meet another deadline.

Which I might be.

Yeah… with a few exceptions, my plants are in the hands of Darwin this year; if they live until next year, we can talk again.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 2011 Pride Month ((LGBT, LGBTQ, queer, feminist, fiction, science fiction, fantasy, broad universe))

Broad Pod June Pride by Broad Universe Listen on Posterous

Welcome to the 2011 June episode of the Broad Pod!  Trisha Wooldridge from A Novel Friend Writing and Editing hosts this month's collection of short readings celebrating Pride for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer topics.


The Broad Pod is sponsored by Broad Universe, an international, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, honoring, and celebrating women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.  Find out more about our organization, including new fiction released by women, more podcasts, and information about writing and publishing for women, visit our website at


June is national LGBTQ month, and our podcast today celebrates stories from across the rainbow spectrum.  Kelly A. Harmon shares a tale of two women who hunt wyverns, inspire skylights, and refuse to submit to men's assumptions.  Jennifer Pelland shows the heartache of a woman forced to confront an android copy of her beloved wife.  Connie Wilkins rewrites a bit of World War 2 with a female demolitions expert's first encounter with magic-weaving woman in Breton.  Roberta Gregory reads an excerpt where her female protagonist realizes she shouldn't make assumptions about anyone's sexuality - including her own.  Jessica Freely closes this collection with a touching test of trust in a society suffering from transgendered class warfare.


Broad Universe is proud to support our members who are part of and who write in the LGBTQ community, and these beautiful stories should give you a few good reasons why.  Enjoy!

Posted via email from The Broad Pod posterous

Monday, June 13, 2011


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Writerly Wednesday: Busy Writing Fiction

I met with my Spencer Hill Press co-editor for lunch today about UnCONventional.  We are in agreement on a bunch of things - yay!

In the meantime, I need to finish writing MY contribution.  It involves lesbians, a cruise ship, mermaids, and has been helped by a lengthy email discussion with a good friend about SCUBA and underwater photography.

You TOTALLY want to read this anthology when it comes out in January.  You know you do!

Oh… and yeah, we're still open to submissions until JULY 1ST!  :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How many words in a picture?

I had a blog that I wanted to post Friday, but I got caught up in too much work.  It's below the tornado pictures that had me so busy upon my return from Myrtle Beach and Wiscon.  I think they're good enough reason why I have not been online very much.

You see, an F-3 tornado hit my hometown… the neighborhood where I grew up.

My brother standing on one of the streets hit hard by the tornado.
Mangled street signs.
A New View: Now we can see the Wilbraham hills where we once only saw trees and houses.
Looking down my street.
This is my back yard after three days of cleaning. In front, the dog's area is destroyed. Behind, neighbor's trees are still toppled.  Fortunately, Mom's house only had a few thousand $ worth of damage as opposed to having to be demolished.
My brother, Travis (in yellow), Scott (in a navy Worldcon shirt, Travis' friend and Travis' friend's Dad help take apart the uprooted tree that filled the backyard.  Buried 3 feet in the ground is a limb from this tree.
Mom's little shrine, and the tiny plants around it: Untouched by the storm.
On Wednesday, we had several tornadoes touch down around Massachusetts.  Now, MA is a small state, and I'm a pretty social gal, so there are few places where I don't know people.  Thing is, I was dead tired from Wiscon, so I slept in and didn't know what was going on for most of the day.

Here's what's so cool about living in the future:

My friend Renée, who lives in Connecticut, sent me a text asking if my mother was ok because she had seen on the news that a tornado touched down in Springfield (where my Mom lives.)

I called my mom and couldn't get ahold of her for a good 40 minutes, so I called my brother, Travis, who lives in New York City and asked if he got ahold of Mom.

Travis called his best friend, who lives four houses down from Mom, to go check on her.

Mom's landline came back, and I got ahold of her just as Travis' friend was calling him to assure him that Mom was ok.

After hearing how things were in my neighborhood (trees blown over & uprooted, a kitchen window cracked, garage windows broken, but nothing "major" per Mom), I sent a text to several of my other friends in the 413 area code.  One only had texting ability, so she got back to me quickly.  Another sent me a text a few hours later, and several others I saw on Facebook.

In the meantime, Phoebe, who lives out in Ayer, gave me a call because a tornado had touched down in Worcester, and Phoebe told me that Morven was bundled in the cellar with her laptop and kitty.

Morven had sent out emails to her friends and the various discussion lists we shared.  From there, I heard from several other people that they were doing ok.

So, in a matter of hours, I knew the people I loved were safe and mostly sound - even as the storms still raged around my house. 

A few months ago, my friend, Aimee Weinstein, who lives in Tokyo, was able to assure her friends and family of her safety per Facebook updates, even though phone calls and cellular signals were jammed after horrible earthquake.

While I still see - and will probably still find - things to complain about regarding technology and culture in current society, there's an awful lot to be thankful for.


Let me end on a positive note.  On Sunday, Calico and I rode with our friends from Hillview Stables and Whip-O-Will Stables in the Ride for the Ribbon, raising money to help women fight breast cancer.  It was wonderful!  Thank you to everyone who supported us!

The Prancing for Pink Team: Beverly Darling on Elmo, Me on Calico, Kim Fontaine on Mac, and Amanda on Sugar.
Kim took a pic of me and Amanda starting the ride :)
'Cos who doesn't love Pink Ribbon Bums?
Remembering who I'm riding for. Love you, Mom!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May Broadly Speaking: Honoring the Mother of All Science Fiction

shelly_broadpod.mp3 Listen on Posterous
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Mothers Day falls in the month of May. In honor of this, our May edition of Broadly Speaking focuses on Mary Shelley and her first novel, Frankenstein.

Hostess Tracy S. Morris ( speaks with Trisha Woolridge ( and Melanie Fletcher ( about Shelley’s influences, the history of Frankenstein and current interpretations of the work.

First up, Tracy talks to Trisha about Shelley’s influences, including her scientific readings, her grounding in feminism, and the year there was no summer.

Then Tracy interviews Melanie about one of her works in progress, a retelling of Frankenstein from the point of view of Frankenstein’s wife. They also talk about Shelley’s portrayal of the women in Frankenstein and Shelley’s own conflicting views of childbirth and motherhood.

Broadly Speaking is brought to you by Broad Universe, an international organization dedicated to promoting, celebrating, and honoring women in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and everything in between.  Find out more about Broad Universe at  Broad Universe is a registered 501c3 organization.  If you'd like to support our mission to promote, celebrate, and honor women, your donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

We hope you enjoy this electrifying episode.

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