Blog Tour: #My Writing Process

My Writing Process is an ongoing blog hop where a writer answers four basic questions about their writing process and then is asked to pass the baton to two more authors.  I was invited to the party by up and coming writer Eleanor Wood. Check her out at http://creativepanoply.wordpress.com/.  And check my answers out below.

What am I working on?

First and foremost, I’m writing the third book of my trilogy.  After working on the first two books for a couple of years now, it feels good to be close to finishing this story.  Beyond that, I need to write a story, my last hurrah for Writers of the Future before my next published story renders me ineligible to compete.  It’s coming to Intergalactic Medicine Show in September and once that happens, I’ll no longer be able to hide all these pro sells behind them being flash or not from an SFWA approved market.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I’m a black dude, which gives me a different perspective on probably a lot of stuff.  How many black dudes you know write spec fic?  We’re like unicorns up in SFWA.  Plus I’m funny.  Sometimes the two of these come together in my work.  Funny science fiction and fantasy written from a black perspective.  That’s different right?  Although some of my best loved stories are neither funny nor written with my background in mind.

Why do I write what I do?

The way I figure it, no one else is gonna.  If it’s an idea I get really excited about, then there’s a big chance that I’ve never heard it before or seen it the way I’m envisioning it.  So if I’m seeing a story no one else has dropped and I don’t write it, how am I gonna see how it ends?  It’s all nebulous until that final period makes the story definite.

How does my writing process work?

It begins with a cup of coffee.  It ends with a story I’m happy enough to submit to markets across the world.  In between it’s really me just typing some idea that’s either touching to my soul or too dumb to leave alone.  Rhymes unintentional.  I’ll tell you I’m a pantser until the story runs too long to not have an outline.  I do not subscribe to any established method such as snowflake because I fear any formula will make my writing feel formulaic.  And the only formula I’m down for is Tang.  What is in that stuff?!

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Those are my answers.  There are many like them but those ones are mine.  I encourage you to check out the answers of two of my friend and fellow spec fic writers, who’ll share their secrets with you next Monday:

Toss Alex Shvartsman a deck of Magic cards and ask “What is best in life?” and you’ll see him snatch that deck out of the air and reply “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women!” Many wars and feuds did Conan I mean Shvartsman fight. Honor and fear were heaped upon his name and, in time, he became a king by his own hand… which is why he owns and operates Kings Games.
Writes? Yeah he does that too… a lot of it. He was probably the most prolific writer of 2013. He treats everything like a competition, and if getting awesome stories published was a competition, he would’ve won. His own cat hates him. He lives in Brooklyn, where he designs games and edits Unidentified Funny Objects, the premiere annual anthology of humorous SF/F. His fiction is linked at Alex Shvartsman’s Speculative Fiction

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Antha Ann Adkins lives in Friendswood, Texas with her husband, two children, and an ever-growing collection of books. Her stories have been published in Perihelion SF, Interstellar Fiction, Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi, and The Town Drunk. She blogs about Space & Aliens, her favorite things to write about, at acubedsf.com.

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War Journal 63: Transition Story

I feel like an errant parent with this blog, where I keep promising myself I’ll give it some attention and then one thing comes up and another until you don’t wanna actually look at the date of your last post and when you do you grimace.  I figured any day wordpress was gonna show up at my door like social services and take their site back.

Glad they didn’t.  It feels good to be on the new post draft page again, a therapy of sorts.  Ok, so a bunch has happened since July 3 and February 25, the date of my last post.  Some of it big, some of it small, I’ll hip you to what I recall as the things that kept me from blogging.

1. Moved into a house.  While I was deployed my wife and son were living in an apartment, awaiting my return so we could buy a house.  We did a lot of looking and touring and deliberating and finally found a place we think is perfect for us

2. Novel.  Ok, so I finally finished my second novel.  In fact, most of my beta readers have already come back with largely positive feedback.  While I wait for my other readers responses, I’ve already started writing book three.

3. Skyrim.  Seriously.  I bought the legendary edition too.  I haven’t lost that much time to a video game since my old WoW days.

that fire on screen is all your writing time burning away.

that fire on screen is all your writing time burning away.

4. Writing short stories.  No, that was a joke.  I was playing Skyrim.  But I did manage to sell a couple.  A new story, The Discounted Seniors, is set to appear in Unidentified Funny Objects 3 and the other, a reprint of Orc Legal, is set to be published in Fantasy Scroll.  You guys know how I love UFO, and Fantasy Scroll is a relatively new venue that absolutely reeks of promise and substance.

So now that we’re all up to date, I’m pretty sure I’ll be more apt to update this blog, Skyrim or no… WAIT! Did I just get the ability to summon a skeleton ghost horse?!  WHAT?!

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War Journal 62: Battle Scars

One of the things I’m doing new this year is I started going old school for my shaves.  You know, the boar bristle brush, shaving soap that you’ve got to whisk with the brush to create lather, straight razor, the whole nine.  I don’t know where the thought originated from, but I know my wife fully blessed the transaction, hooking me up with the full kit and most of the caboodle for Christmas.  She even tried to get me an alum block, but since I didn’t even know what the hell that was, I resisted until she finally “bought herself” some alum powder to cook with and just so happened to leave it in the bathroom next to my shaving array.

Me, being me, just got around to full on embracing it about two weeks ago.  I maintain a low beard, but I give my head the shearing treatment.  Some dudes out there may be thinking, “Why go this tedious route?”  Simple Answer: Cause it’s awesome.  I was thinking maybe it’s just me that thought it reeked of cool, but here’s what artofmanliness.com had to say as their number four reason to shave classic style:

You’ll feel like a bad ass. It’s nice taking part in a ritual that great men like your grandfather, John F. Kennedy, and Teddy Roosevelt took part in.

Indeed, while I was shaving my head with my straight razor I felt like this:

Diesel

Since I’m a novice, I don’t have a designer blade yet, something with a cool name like The Bismarck or Carpe Diem (these are real names).  Instead, I have a starter razor, one where you can change out the blade.  Crawl before you walk and all that, which is what I was doing, going from really, really sloppy with the razor, giving myself little cuts to nicks to being more and more self assured every next time I shaved.

Anyway, I’m doing my thing yesterday, walking as it was with decent competency, and my wife comes into the bathroom in the middle of my newly forming manly ritual.  She makes me nervous.  I’m not sure why.  Am I breaking an unstated section of the male code, letting the fairer sex not see me thoroughly competent with a straight razor?  Or is it because I’m holding a deadly instrument up to my head and somehow think she’s here now just like ancient Romans showed up at the arena to see some bloodletting?

She hangs out.  “When’d you change the razor last?” she asks casually as she gazes at my half shaved head.

I don’t let her see me sweat.  I’m a man doing manly shit.  “Never,” I reply.

Confusion reigns on her face.  “What do you mean never?”

“I mean since I started using this blade a couple weeks ago, I have yet to change it out.”  It seemed reasonable to me.  I only shave every other day and skip weekends, so that was like six times.  I was shaving a head, not sawing through leather.  But I’m new at this, too.  Was I wrong?  I’m used to technology, not old school, and I was still learning to use it properly, forget about being able to look at it and tell if it needed replacing.  There’s no “change me” indicator strips on it when it wears out…

“Oh no!” my wife exclaims.  “You’ve gotta change those out.  You can’t go that long with the same razor.”

Her words presented a few problems.  One, she shouldn’t know more than me about the time honored tradition of old school shaving.  Two, even if she does, I shouldn’t let on that she does.  Three, I got this.

“I’m almost done,” is what I said.  It was the equivalent of “whatever,” but more respectful, as if I had listened to her input and valued it.  Anyway, sufficiently bored with all the manly activities happening in the bathroom, she went about something else.  Me, I was like two, maybe three swipes away from a finishing my hardcore style shave.  I rushed to finish.

That’s when the razor sliced into the back of my head.  I like seriously carved off a piece of scalp.  So now I’m bleeding out the back of my head, it stings with that raw fire.  It was a lot of blood, and I wanted to scream for help, but damn that… I had already failed one of the core tenants of my newly defined manliness.  Instead I clean off the lather and blood by splashing water, which felt like acid in the wound.

I gotta clean this up.  Patch up the wound, walk out of the bathroom and pretend I didn’t turn her white towel into a crime scene and that’s all I’m gonna do.  OK, so first I gotta stop the bleeding.  But I don’t have an alum block, all I got is that damn alum powder that’s built for cooking.  So I’m sprinkling alum powder on my head and that was like pouring salt over it.  Why didn’t I get an alum block despite not knowing what it was?!

Note to those out there still using normal products:  Alum does not grow new skin back where before there was naught.  It will keep you from bleeding on your shirt and furniture with its purging fire, but that’s about it.  Needless to say, she saw what happened.  She blamed the razor.  I figure if it was dull, it wouldn’t have cut me so effortlessly… but I’ll let it be that.  It beats confessing that I still haven’t learned to run with the razor of yesteryear.

Just when I thought it was safer in the States versus being deployed, I go and start losing blood.

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War Journal 61: Starting the New Year

I’ve been busy folks.  After settling into my new Stateside, non-deployable job, I got to writing.  And more writing.  I finally finished my second novel.  It’s currently out there, getting a stern look from my beta readers.  While they were busy reading and giving me their impressions on it, I got back into short stories and wrote one that I hope will be a sure sell.

Speaking of sure sells, I’ve also signed up to work on the upcoming Unidentified Funny Objects 3 anthology.  I don’t know if I’ll have a story for it, but I want to kinda fierce.  Check out the cover art, y’all:

image description

Just like the first two, this thing is going to be ridiculously awesome.  Go over to the Kickstarter and preorder… your funds help drive the production of the final product, meaning more stories, more gloss, more of what you humor lovers crave.

Finally, I’ve had a recent acceptance.  Ares Magazine has accepted my story “King of the Shell Game.”  It’s a new magazine offering not only fiction but a complete board game with every issue.  Check them out here.

Oh, not finally… I’m going to the Rocket Dragons Ignite book party in Baltimore this weekend!  I’ll be helping Daily Science Fiction launch the book by reading my story “Saviors”.  If you’re in the area, come hang out with a brother.  More info on the event here.

Damn, that wasn’t finally either!  Ok, I forgot to mention my story “Light Crusader’s Dark Dessert” made Tangent’s Recommended Reading List for 2013.  This is my first time making their list, so it’s a really kickass way to bring in the new year.

All right.  That’s the haps.  Honestly.  Oh wait!  No, I’m just playing this time.  That’s really it.

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