Tranquilize the Mind with a Steady Purpose (ICFA 2018)

I attended ICFA (the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, operated by the IAFA) for the first time last month. This academic conference is pretty special; I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Eclectic is a good way to describe the vibe, as the attendees come from varying fields of study. There were undergrads and postgrads, professors and independent scholars, writers and editors, all specializing in topics like Indian science fiction, the portrayal of robots in Japanese pop culture, or monsters in Victorian literature (the theme for this year’s conference was the 200-year anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, after all). I’ll admit that it was overwhelming at times, and yes, exhausting too. I would have never survived without those revitalizing coffee breaks! The overall experience was so exhilarating and intellectually stimulating, however, that losing a few hours of sleep was well worth it. I walked away (or rather, flew away) from Orlando equipped with new approaches to literature and some inspiration for future projects. (more…)

Pushed By The Wind, Pelted By The Rain (StokerCon 2018)

After having an awesome time at last year’s StokerCon, I decided to jump down the rabbit hole yet again and travel to Providence, Rhode Island for this year’s con. It wasn’t easy; I had to take two flights just to get there, all while hoping to avoid a looming nor’easter that could have left me stranded at an airport. Lady Luck was on my side, however. I arrived in Providence the day before the storm and left the day after it passed through. The storm raged outside throughout the entire con, which admittedly added to the atmosphere of a gathering to celebrate all things horror. I think attendance may have suffered as a result of the terrible weather, but that didn’t stop the rest of us from enjoying what StokerCon had to offer. (more…)

Visiting the Western Caribbean: Water, Water, Everywhere

Last December, I went on a cruise to the western Caribbean with a couple of family members — my cousin and her son. We sailed out of Miami via Norwegian Cruise Line and visited several countries: Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. Sadly, we didn’t encounter any swashbucklers or mermaids, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves. As a writer, I’m always looking for opportunities to learn more about the world by experiencing other places and cultures. I usually accomplish this by living vicariously through books. On the occasions that I can do that in person, however, I try to keep my eyes open for moments that may result in a creative spark or a change in perspective. The following is a travel journal, documenting some of what I experienced. (more…)

We’ll Tak’ A Cup O’ Kindness Yet

2017 has come and gone, and for many people, it’s good riddance to a pretty rough year. While there were some wonderful and inspiring moments, 2017 felt mostly like a bad rash that just wouldn’t go away no matter how many oatmeal baths I decided to soak in. I won’t comment on the events that took place; I’ll leave that to the various news outlets that like to post “year in review” articles. Instead, I’m going to focus on my own personal writing goals from 2017 and what lies ahead for 2018. I refrained from making a blog post like this last year, but I think putting this out in the public sphere will help push me to make some major progress this year. (more…)

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…)