Happy Spring! SEA Steampunk, Workshops, and More, Oh My!

And I could not be more glad to bid farewell to winter. I don’t know about you guys, but the blizzard that swept up the Mid-Atlantic at the end of January wiped any enthusiasm I might have had about snow! It’s true I’m not the biggest aficionado, but I do enjoy a few inches of conversational snow.

Two and a half feet far exceeds conversational — especially in this area of the United States.

But moving on from weather chat, let’s talk about SEA Steampunk. Guess what? The SEA is Ours is getting a Czech translation! How exciting is that? Last week, I exchanged emails about the cultural nuances of “The Last Aswang” with the lovely person who’ll be translating the anthology. I never even considered the possibility that any writing of mine would be made available in another language. Oh, I knew the chance existed. It was in the contract, after all. But potential is not the same thing as reality or as I like to say: You don’t know until you know. I’ll be sure to update with more information as it becomes available because this is just so cool.

Even more exciting, The SEA is Ours is now readily available in the motherland! Gerak Budaya will be distributing the anthology throughout Southeast Asia. So if you’re from that side of world and Amazon’s shipping costs were making you cringe (and I don’t doubt they were), check to see if Gerak Budaya’s shipping costs for a copy of The SEA is Ours are more friendly. From what I’ve heard, it’s certainly kinder to people living in the Philippines!

In other, non-SEA Steampunk news, I’ll be attending this awesome workshop next week. So many awesome authors, so many cool fellow writers. I can’t wait. It’s like camp except with writers. There’s just something about the energy from other creatives, you know? I’m not sure what the signal will be like out there, but I’m hoping to make use of my dusty Instagram account. (What a failure at social media I am.) If all goes well, pretty pictures will be abundant.

So what have you all been up to?

A New Month, A New Writing Year

Happy New Year! I know I’m a couple weeks late but better late than never, right? I hope your holiday season was great and that your 2016 has been kind to you so far. Let’s make this year a great one!

Looking back, I realize I haven’t updated since last October — a bit embarrassing on my part, but that’s the way life goes sometimes. So what have I been up to in the time since then?

Well, for one, The Sea is Ours officially came out at the end of November! I’m a published author! Exciting, right? The reception seems be good so far and a little birdie told me that foreign rights have been sold to a couple territories. I know, right?

In less bright news, NaNoWriMo was a bust for me. That particular idea seems to be dead in the water, but at least I figured that out now rather than later. The good news is that I’m toying with another idea, one that I’ve been wanting to write for a couple years but just hadn’t gotten the chance to. It seems like 2016 will be that year!

What have you guys been up to? Do you have news to share? New projects you’re excited to write in coming year? Do tell!

Book Reviews: To Look or Not to Look

Can you believe it’s already September? The year’s just zipping by. And you know what September means: fall, cooler temperatures, and pumpkins! (I’m a big fan of the last one, because I associate pumpkins with jack o’lanterns and I associate those with Halloween, my most favorite time of the year!)

September also means we’re one month closer to the release of The Sea is Ours, the Southeast Asian steampunk anthology. It’s almost a real book! I don’t know if I’m ready, to be honest. Things are about to get very real soon. The anthology has its own Goodreads page. With book reviews. Yikes!

Which brings us to another topic every author faces: book reviews.

If you put a book — or short story — out into the world, it makes sense that someone somewhere is going to read it. That’s what every writer wants, right? An audience.

But not everyone will love it. That’s something every writer must accept. In fact, the writer’s journey depends on learning to live with rejection. That unfortunately doesn’t end with publication. You might have found that agent or editor who loves your writing, but now it’s time to face another group: readers.

I’ve always maintained that book reviews are for readers. Sure, a writer can learn from them but ultimately, they’re not meant for us. Some authors know this and still look at reviews while others avoid them completely. I’m still not sure which camp I fall into. I can see the merits of both approaches. If book reviews cause you anxiety and paralyze your writing, then it makes perfect sense to avoid reading them. But if you tried something different and you want to see how readers are receiving it, then how else will you know if you don’t look at book reviews?

I admit I’ve looked at the Goodreads reviews for The Sea is Ours. Advanced reader copies are floating around, after all. It was more of a surreal experience than anything else. Wait, is that my name they’re mentioning? Huh, is that my story they’re discussing? So weird. What’s good is that I’m not feeling the urge to stalk the Goodreads page.

Maybe I’ll figure out which camp I fall into later down the road. For now, I’ll enjoy the journey.

Living Without Internet: Survival Tips for Writers

I spent a good chunk of this past summer living without internet. Some of it was planned. Some not so much. Unplugging from the constant noise of social media can be useful and, in fact, healthy for a writer, but sometimes you need that connectivity. Emails, research, deadlines — how are writers supposed to do these things without an internet connection?

In this age of 24/7 connectivity, living without internet can be difficult.

It’s tricky, but it can be done. I learned through experience over the past few months, and I thought I’d pass along that advice to you. After all, knowledge is power.

Besides, knowing ahead of time what to do? Can save you time spent in the throes of panic. Believe me. It’s not a pleasant experience, and I’d like to spare other writers that, if at all possible. Read more