My 6 Favorite Quotes from J.K. Rowling

I love much of how this woman thinks, so today I’m celebrating that.

Here are my 6 favorite quotes from Joanne ‘Jo’ Rowling (the K is for her grandmother’s name, Kathleen, if you’ve ever wondered)…

1. “I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

2. “I think writing about the time in Hermione’s life that I write about – growing from childhood into womanhood, literally, I think it brought back to me how very difficult it is. So much is expected of you as you become a woman, and often you are asked to sacrifice parts of you in becoming a girl, I would say. Hermione doesn’t.”

3. “There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”

4. “Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.”

5. “I think that perhaps if I had had to slow down the ideas so that I could capture them on paper I might have stifled some of them.”

6. “I’ve no idea where ideas come from and I hope I never find out; it would spoil the excitement for me if it turned out I just have a funny little wrinkle on the surface of my brain which makes me think about invisible train platforms.”

Happy writing this week!

Highlights from LTUE 2015: Why I Love Writing Conferences!

As a writer, I’ve learned to love the conference scene. Actually, I’m completely drained by large social gatherings–evidence that I am a legitimate introvert. But here’s why I have evolved to deem conferences worthy of the energy expenditure!

This list is in context of a few highlights from Life, the Universe, and Everything 2015 (LTUE), a symposium for speculative fiction authors, which was absolutely awesome this weekend. I woke up today wired with so many ideas for my works in progress. Pretty epic for a Monday morning…!

LTUE Symposium 2015

1. The People (and Aliens, Supernaturals, Superheroes…)

I meet so many interesting writers and other creative people, which is a treat. Case in point, props to author Adam Jordan’s approach to putting a writer’s group together. Awesome!

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Yes, it’s a relief to get away from that intensity but for a few days there’s just something about having at least some instant rapport and understanding with people. I loved this past weekend’s Life, the Universe, and Everything symposium for this very reason.

2. The Social Challenge

That’s not to say I don’t feel awkward 50% of the time. Conferences are a nice place to reconnect with talking to real people!

Conferences are also full of organized ways to team up or participate with others. I loved this campaign at LTUE put on by “The Secret Door Society“. To include bathroom stall doors. 🙂

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3. The Practice (Pitch or Crit Sessions)

Speaking of challenge, I love how LTUE and other conferences offer the opportunity to book “pitch or critique sessions” with publishers and agents. It’s terrifying, yes. But it makes you get that stinking elevator speech, outline, summary, or manuscript done.

It’s the best kind of practice, in my book, because it’s not practice. It’s the real thing–well, with training wheels, I suppose. Because everyone I’ve pitched to has been understanding, encouraging, and constructively helpful to me getting better at it. I advocate taking advantage of this at conferences! It’s worth the $10-20 sign-up fee. Even though those 10 minutes will cause you days of anxiety, as they definitely do to me.

I got so much awesome feedback from my pitch to Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books. It’s pretty cool to have access to this kind of coaching and input.

4. The Creative Inspiration

The writing panel topics are inspiring, and I especially like productivity-focused presentations. I get re-inspired on how to be disciplined about my writing. This weekend, I loved Johnny Worthen’s presentation on writing a novel in 90 days. His energy and sense of humor is so infectious!

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And the character sourcing is inspiring, too. I get so many ideas just from observing other attendees. If you think airports are great for people watching, you haven’t been to a fantasy or science fiction conference.  It really is like a creativity energy-shot.

5. The Intersection with Other Art Forms

Even conferences focused on writing, like LTUE, draw other artistic forms and I love seeing those creations. Like this fabulous steampunk dragon by J. Scott Savage!

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So if you’re a writer, start finding your way to conferences! Even if it’s a stretch.

And thanks to my fellow panelists in the Madeleine L’Engle and E. E. “Doc” Smith – Space Travel – Warp Speed vs Tesseract discussion. We covered the far reaches of the galaxy with that one. I loved the audience participation and hope it sparked some creative ideas for everyone. Afterwards, I thought about how we touched on the line between hard science fiction realism and daring to broach the more speculative non-realistic. I know I’m always trying to balance those myself. It’s a fine but fun line to venture along!

Have a fantastic week…!

My Panelist Schedule for Life, the Universe and Everything (LTUE) 2015

LTUE Symposium 2015

This has been a busy couple of weeks, but in the best way–with awesome spec fic conventions! Last week was so rewarding because I got to be a part of Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2015. This week, I am excited to be a part of the Life, the Universe, and Everything symposium (LTUE) 2015.

This conference is a great opportunity to meet with authors, filmmakers, artists, gaming professionals, and other creatives of speculative fiction.

I am of course super interested in what the Guest of Honor Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books has to say.

I am looking forward to speaking on the Madeleine L’Engle and E. E. “Doc” Smith – Space Travel – Warp Speed vs Tesseract panel at 12 pm on Saturday February 15, 2015. What a topic, right?! I love that title, so kudos to whoever came up with it, and I appreciate being invited to this panel!

With my upcoming time travel serial The Salt Sheen Paradox slotted for release in early 2016, I definitely love this topic and am excited to hear what my fellow panelists share. Should be an awesome, mind-bending discussion!

I hope to meet skads of other writers and learn from the incredible programming lineup. Since I am working on some steampunk titles due out later this year, I’ll be like a sponge soaking up best practices and inspiration.

LTUE is less about dressing up than Comic Con or Fantasy Con, but if I see any awesomeness, it will be photographed and reported!

Comic Con FanX15. . .Favorite Costumes and Panel Recap!

This year’s Comic Con FanX 2015 was of course fabulous so I wanted to give a quick recap of my panels followed by a dozen of my favorite costume pics.

I love panels as an opportunity to talk about my fiction and non-fiction work, and a way to meet others who are writing or creating speculative fiction in various mediums.

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The “Writing and Your Health” panel covered a lot of fascinating aspects of mental, emotional, and physical health for people who are creating stuff.

I loved hearing about how other panelists utilize principles of martial arts, meditation, and many other tools. It was also so interesting to hear about how creativity depletes dopamine, which is why it can be so stinking exhausting! So if you feel like writing your novel is like slogging through a bog (even though you love it!), maybe there’s a bonified reason. I’m excited to look more into how to use that information to continue to improve my writing productivity.

I talked a bit about my book HOW TO DICTATE YOUR WRITING LIKE IT’S…2015, which helps writers be less sedentary. Available on Amazon:

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The “Equality in Fiction” panel also generated some awesome food for thought. I loved thinking about different ways to approach diversity in works of fiction.

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I thought this discussion went in some cool directions, including defining what equality might mean as well as how privilege of various kinds influences writers’ struggle to succeed, and how to deal with all that.

I learned to never again sit where there isn’t a mic stand. I was proud of myself for not dropping the mic because I definitely talk with my hands.

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I wish every single audience member could have chimed in–actually, I feel that way about every panel! But especially this one. I hope we addressed the topic thoroughly. I know it is an important one to me and I really appreciated being part of this.

And lastly, here are some of my favorite costumes! I can’t believe the effort people put in. So cool.

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