The Whooshing Noise of Deadlines (NaNoWriMo 2017)

NaNoWriMo — short for “National Novel Writing Month” — is a challenge sponsored by a non-profit organization (also called, unsurprisingly, National Novel Writing Month) that encourages people from all walks of life to express their creativity through the written word: by writing an entire novel, 50K words, in the 30 days of November. During my early attempts, I successfully completed NaNoWriMo two years in a row from 2009-2010. After a seven-year hiatus, I decided to tackle this challenge again with a different approach and, hopefully, better writing thanks to additional years of writing experience. How did I fare, and have I learned anything new with this insane challenge? (more…)

You Can Fly (World Fantasy 2017)

Last week I traveled to San Antonio, Texas to attend my very first World Fantasy Convention. It’s a huge gathering of writers, editors, artists, publishers, and fans of all things fantasy. This convention has been on my wish list for years, and with San Antonio being relatively close to Los Angeles, I finally decided to take the plunge. And boy, did I. This con left me gasping for air but wanting to continuously dive deeper into the fantasy genre and all its iterations at every opportunity. It was an overwhelming, enchanting, intriguing, and overall, fantastic (see what I did there?) experience. Let me attempt to summarize all the cool things during my three days at the convention. (more…)

Let’s Break It Down (Stan Lee’s L.A. Comic Con 2017)

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The banner hanging over the main entrance of the LA Convention Center

On Saturday, I attended Stan Lee’s L.A. Comic Con for the first time. The con is still relatively new, this being their fifth show, but it’s been steadily growing in attendance and popularity. I normally check out a con’s programming and special guests a few days prior to going, but I’ve been so busy the past couple of weeks (prepping for conferences, editing, writing, etc.) that I showed up essentially unprepared and didn’t realize I’d be in for a couple of fun surprises. I’m currently obsessed with the video game “Overwatch” and discovered that there would be a panel dedicated to it and featuring some of the voice cast. Additionally, I saw that actor/pro-wrestler/future president Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was one of the big names appearing on that day, too. I was pretty stoked.  (more…)

Chain The Muse To Your Desk

As a writer, there will be days when the words spill from my mind and gush all over my keyboard. Those are good days. It’s sunny outside, the birds are chirping a merry tune, and my neighbors’ toddler is either asleep or visiting the grandparents. Occasionally, however, I’ll have really awful stretches where the words are stymied and nothing pushes the blinking cursor forward. I’m not talking about regular writer’s block, which I’ve written about before. No, this is far worse. This isn’t just struggling to find the right direction for a story or wrestling with a difficult scene. It’s apocalyptic: thunder and lightning accompanied by merciless winds, dead birds plummeting from their perches, and the toddler next door wailing like an air raid siren (which, admittedly, often happens on good days, too). This is what I like to refer to as “the inspiration abyss.” No matter how hard I try, I can’t get any of my ideas off the ground. Even if I manage to write a thousand words, they ultimately lead to a dead end, forcing me to start over. While writer’s block can last for days, the inspiration abyss can last for weeks. Currently, I’m dealing with a stretch that has now lasted just over a month. It’s the most frustrating experience as writer. I don’t have any quick-fix solutions, but I’ve developed a few strategies to aid me in my attempts to claw my way out of these bleak situations: (more…)

Fairies At The Bottom Of The Garden

I have a confession to make: I’m an addict. Yes, it’s true. People are often surprised to discover that I have an obsession with succulents. I have amassed about 30 plants, most in small, 2-inch containers. Some people — who shall remain nameless — have described this behavior as “hoarding.” That’s inaccurate. What I’m doing is called “gardening.” I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Gardening is a time-honored tradition that’s still enjoyed by many today, and just because my small balcony is overflowing in greenery, doesn’t mean I’m “hoarding.” Okay, maybe a little. But I’d like to think of it in positive terms: my small patch of mother nature is thriving. “How did you end up hoarding — err, I mean, growing succulents?” you may ask. First, let me set up the backstory… (more…)