My Panels at SL Comic Con FanX 2016: Gaining Writer Resilience, Writing Tough Topics for YA, and Going Beyond Steampunk Goggles

Cindy Grigg Profile Comic Con 2016

SL Comic Con FanX 2016 is upon us! Here’s what I’m promoting and where I’ll be.

First of all, this is my first time having a booth, so look for my boutique press Misch Masch Publishing in Artist’s Alley, with CrankLeft. Our address is Teal 3. Come say hi!

I’m promoting three books:

First, the Peacock Lavine and the Aetherian Fates of Nott series, about an immortal Valkyrie who lives among mortals in Regency London.

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“A Norse Steampunk and Urban Fantasy Rollick and Tussle Through an Alternative Regency Iceland, England, and the Afterlife”, Peacock Lavine and the Aetherian Fates of Nott includes notes of Jane Austen’s day but with airships, societal hermits, Luddites, and of course, Norse supernaturals.

And yes, it’s okay to go Regency rather than Victorian and still be steampunk because the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century.

This has been incredibly fun to write, and it definitely covers a lot of ground, so it may need to be your next adventure novel.

Please note that you may want to preview this book before sharing it with your mature MG’s. It’s pretty tame but does reference violence (Valkyries are Shieldmaidens and this is during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, plus Ragnarok!), sex (that it happens, not a play by play), and garden variety swears. The protagonist is 18 years old, but she’s lived in a compound so she’s both figuring out who she is and where she fits in the larger world. For that reason, both MG and YA readers may relate.

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Here’s Contestant #2!

Psychopomps or “guides of souls” are those entities who escort the nearly or newly dead to an afterlife realm.Psychopomps Cover 20

A TEENAGE GIRL’S FIGHT TO SAVE HER NEWBORN BROTHER FROM THE PHANTOM OF DEATH WHO SEEKS TO STEAL HIS SOUL

Little Bundle of Death by BEN LANE HODSON  

A PIRATE’S REDEMPTION FROM INFERNUM TO AETERNUS WITH THE GUIDANCE OF A SEA REAPER MERMAID

The Sea of Ghosts by RAYCHEL ROSE

A CORPSE DUSTER’S INITIATIVE TO OUTPROGRAM DEATH

Mobile Dusters by E.W. FARNSWORTH

A BRITISH SOLIDER’S ESCAPE FROM LIMBO AFTER HIS VALKYRIE GUIDE GOES ROGUE

 The Resurrectionist’s Kiss by CINDY GRIGG

… AND MORE!

 

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The third book is for writers, detailing how I speak my drafts rather than typing them, which has helped me be active by going on Writer Walkabouts, increase my daily word count, and more. A total lifestyle-changer, whether you write fiction or non-fiction!

I include a system of drills that are hopefully fun, as they incorporate works of classic literature.

Once you master this skill, you will feel like you’re working with eight arms and an octopod’s evil genius mind!!

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Note: This is a new cover for the print version. The eBook features a previous cover until early April. Same content either way.

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Panels!

Friday March 25, 2016 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm


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Check out this main Panel Programming Page for more details, and have a wonderful week!

My 100th Post! And Other Fiction Writing Updates

100 Posts on WordPress

WordPress just heralded me for writing my 100th post on this blog…

To celebrate, I am taking a quick break for the month of May as far as writing my usual Monday posts. Actually, I am doing this so I can focus on a few deadlines and such.

In the interim, here are some past posts you might be interested in:

Happy reading and writing!

Writing and Fiction Podcasts I’m Loving in 2015

These days I prefer listening to my reading, as opposed to absorbing books, news, and articles with my eyes.

I discovered this while pursuing my initiative to sit less and move more. We’ve probably all heard by now that sitting all day is terrible for us, and as writers we tend to sit plenty! To fight this, I now load up my iPod with audio files and head out for a productive ramble.

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On these Writing Walkabouts, I actually do more than just listen to stuff. I do a fair portion of my writing by dictation while on walks or pacing around at home. If you are interested in how I learned to create this way, check out my guide here (old version: new book version available June 24, 2015).

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As for listening, I consume fiction audiobooks as well as podcasts. The latter are mostly about industry news and writing craft information but I do subscribe to a couple short story fiction channels as well.

So here’s my list of podcasts I’m enjoying in 2015!

1. Adventures in SciFi Publishing

An awesome compendium of industry news and resources for speculative fictionists, including a wonderful guest lineup. Recently, the focus has switched to digital publishing (as opposed to traditional or physical books).

2. The New Disruptors

This one is still on my list for 2015 even though production is on hiatus because I’m still catching up on the archives. From their site: “The New Disruptors tells stories that provide practical inspiration about the way that creative people and producers connect with audiences to perform, cajole, convince, sell, and interact using new methods.”

3. Rocking Self Publishing

From their site: “Interviews with Top Self-Publishers, Every Thursday.”

4. The Creative Penn Podcast

Another option featuring tons of amazing guests, these episodes by Joanna Penn are always interesting and worth a listen.

5. Writing Excuses

This podcast’s episodes are awesome and described by the tagline: “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” Run by Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, Dan Wells, the episodes feature special guests, a writing prompt, and an audiobook pick of the week.

6. Helping Writers Become Authors

Run by K.M. Weiland, this podcast covers the craft as well as writing lifestyle topics. Weiland is fun to listen to and gives plenty of illustrative examples.

7. TEDTalks Art

This spans more than just writing but I find most episodes very relevant.

8. On Being with Krist Tippett

This award-winning podcast is definitely a topical hodgepodge but somehow its episodes always apply to my projects, and my life! Definitely addictive.

9. Clarkesworld Magazine

I love the fact that this podcast features all of the magazine’s short speculative fiction in audio form, especially since my local library has denied my request to shelve the print copies. A new episode comes out on the 1st, 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of the month.

10. Lightspeed Magazine Podcast

Similarly, this podcast offers audio versions of some of the fantasy and science fiction short stories featured in the magazine.

11. WIRED’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy 

This podcast covers reviews and interviews about works of science fiction, including books, film, and other mediums.

12. Umano 

Not a podcast, but if you haven’t tried this audio news app or something else like it, you should! With Umano, professional actors read me my writing news. It’s awesome! The free version lets me subscribe to certain topic channels for a limited number of articles per day. Users do have to pay for unlimited article access.

Be sure to chime in with your favorites by leaving a comment below. These ears always need new ideas and recommendations!

A Few Stunning Quotes About Imagination

In my experience, imagination is an important part of mental and spiritual well-being. It’s also rather handy for writing fiction!

Here are a few quotes about imagination that inspired me this week…

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I write fantasy because it’s there.  I have no other excuse for sitting down for several hours a day indulging my imagination.  Daydreaming.   Thinking up imaginary people, impossible places.  Imagination is the golden-eyed monster that never sleeps.  It must be fed; it cannot be ignored.   Making it tell the same tale over and over again makes it thin and whining; its scales begin to fall off; its fiery breath becomes a trickle of smoke.  It is best fed by reality, an odd diet for something nonexistent; there are few details of daily life and its broad range of emotional context that can’t be transformed into food for the imagination.  It must be visited constantly, or else it begins to become restless and emit strange bellows at embarrassing moments; ignoring it only makes it grow larger and noisier.  Content, it dreams awake, and spins the fabric of tales.  There is really nothing to be done with such imagery except to use it:  in writing, in art.   Those who fear the imagination condemn it:  something childish, they say, something monsterish, misbegotten.  Not all of us dream awake.  But those of us who do have no choice.

― Patricia McKillip

Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.

― Gloria Steinem

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I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.

― Dr. Seuss

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

― Sylvia Plath

I imagine that yes is the only living thing.

― e. e. cummings

Lyrics to “Young at Heart”

Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you
If you’re young at heart.
For it’s hard, you will find, to be narrow of mind
If you’re young at heart.

You can go to extremes with impossible schemes.
You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams.
And life gets more exciting with each passing day.
And love is either in your heart, or on its way.

Don’t you know that it’s worth every treasure on earth
To be young at heart.
For as rich as you are, it’s much better by far
To be young at heart.

And if you should survive to 105,
Look at all you’ll derive out of being alive.
And here is the best part, you have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart.

― Johnny Richards (Song performed by Sinatra, Micahel Buble, and others)

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…!