05.26.08

Anthology Builder

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:31 pm by Amber

Sometimes I feel like I’m on the edge between cool/hip and trendy.  The older I get the less I want to be trendy but some things are just too cool not to be shared. 

Less than a year ago, Anthology Builder went live.  If it weren’t for Rhonda’s announcement about one of her stories there it would be even longer before I heard about it.  Many anthologies are set around a theme or genre but with Anthology Builder you’re not restricted unless you make that choice.  Nearly all of the work has been published elsewhere first so at least one editor enjoyed the work. 

You can see anthologies built by others, read previews of the available stories, and review the stories.  Your anthology is customizable – you can keep it private so no one else can see your selections, choose your own cover and even select a larger font if you want.  After you’ve paid for your order, your anthology is printed and delivered to you.  How neat is that?

My husband recently introduced me to a web site called Muxtape.  I’ve only used it for listening to music but it’s a convenient way to share a play list with others.  Several people (including my husband) say it is super easy to register and upload songs.  Right now it only uses MP3 files but there are plans to add M4A and AAC files so it will work with last.fm in the future.

You know how with iTunes or Amazon you get those small previews that don’t really let you get the feel for a song?  With Muxtape you can hear the entire thing.  It tells you the song length and has a timer so you know how much of it you’ve heard.  Every play list I’ve listened to has an Amazon link available if you want to purchase that particular song.  They had a recent crash of their software which resulted in a loss of play lists.  The service has only been live since March but may be an alternative for people who want to make a mix tape but not actually send it out.

05.22.08

Introductions

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:14 am by Amber

Until your name is known everywhere and your work is published in multiple languages, I think most writers feel a little uneasy introducing themselves as a writer.  It usually brings on questions that may be difficult to answer such as, “Would I have read anything you wrote?” or “Do you have a book I can read?”

On Saturday my husband had a film friend drive through town with his wife and daughter while relocating from New York to Texas.  I was asked what I did and after talking about my day job I thought for a split second before saying I was also a writer.  I diminished the declaration a bit by explaining I send out more items than I get published.  It was a baby step for me but it felt great.

05.20.08

Terry Moore

Posted in Event at 12:00 am by Amber

The creator of Strangers in Paradise and Echo was here last Thursday as part of the events surrounding the Jeff Smith exhibit at The Wexner Center.  Initially I liked Strangers in Paradise because the women looked real and their story was interesting.  I wasn’t really into superheros anymore and had long given up my fantasy that some latent power would surface and make me special.  By this point I knew I was special because of who I am.

Terry talked about how he went from editing the video work of other people to drawing, writing and self-publishing his own artwork.  It wasn’t an easy road but living your dream is rarely easy.  He took questions from the audience before signing items and meeting fans.  Like most question and answer sessions it was slow to get started but Jeff was there to pitch the first question.

Terry is one of the most gracious signers I’ve met or seen in action.  He spoke to everyone in line and found something to talk about with each person.  If someone asked for a picture he was willing to do that too.  I’ve been to some author signings where they’re more focused on signing the book or item than actually meeting with anyone. 

After the signing a group of us went to dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in town.  (You can see me next to Terry or just my hands at the dinner table by going to Jeff’s site.)  Good conversation and good food go a long way towards making memories.  I’m not always the best conversationalist because sometimes I’ll go into writer mode without realizing it but on this particular evening I wanted to take it all in.  For instance, I noticed the sound of the chef’s torch on the maple syrup creme brulee and the toasted marshmallow smell before someone commented on it.

And the really funny part?  Hearing Jeff and Terry talk about having their story lines set and then veering off in an unexpected direction but having to follow it was just like hearing my writer friends talk about some of their characters and story lines.  The only difference is that when the story is published in periodical format (like a comic or a serial story) there is no going back to fix the plot holes.

05.12.08

Whew!

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:58 pm by Amber

I can’t believe it’s Monday already.  The weekend, which always seems to have some strange clock to keep the time, alternately flew by and seemed to last forever.

So far I am 6/31 short stories for the month.  One of the criteria is that the short story must originate from a writing prompt.  I started off with eight and really need to get some more.  Sometimes I see funny things and want to write about them.  Instead I write the idea down in my writing notebook because I’m sticking to writing prompts this month.  Don’t worry – I’ll catch up!

05.11.08

Jeff Smith

Posted in Event at 5:58 pm by Amber

The last few days I’ve been busy at The Wexner Center for the Arts.  In conjunction with the Cartoon Research Library, the galleries have an exhibit of his work side-by-side with his influences.  Friday evening was opening night and Saturday Jeff sat down with Scott McCloud to talk and then they did signings.

Show openings are usually a poor time to look closely at the artwork.  People are crowded together to get their first glimpse of how the galleries are setup and to see what was included in the show.  I’ve been to a few at The Wexner Center for the Arts but this one was different.  Most of the attendees were in their 30’s, the artist was accessible – as were the “celebrity” guests (celebrity is in quotes since not everyone would think of Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner, Charles Vess, etc. as celebrities), and several people were running around with cameras taking pictures of everything.

The talk was fun – Jeff always seems to have a good time with his audience.  It was very obvious that Jeff and Scott always have a good time together.  With Bone available now in Scholastic editions the audience has skewed younger than when the comic first began.  I was one of the few women attending comic book conventions and going into the comic book stores with regularity.  There are more women now but when I looked at the line in front of me for autographs it was mostly parents with their kids.  The signing session lasted three and a half hours. 

The original art in the Cartoon Research Library is interesting to see since it highlights nearly all of the characters from Bone before Jeff figured out that he just had to trust himself and do it the way he wanted.  Jeff Smith attended OSU and has donated his papers to them.  The name of the exhibit in the library is Jeff Smith: Before Bone.  In conjunction with the exhibit, a special $25 numbered and signed catalogue is available for purchase.  Proceeds directly benefit the library.  Only 500 special editions will be printed and nearly all copies were spoken for as of Saturday afternoon. 

I had older brothers into comics so it was normal to me to pick up a comic book from time to time at an early age.  Shortly after our move to Columbus my brothers went on a day trip with an uncle to Hocking Hills and Old Man’s Cave.  I was upset I couldn’t go – I wanted to do everything they did even though they were eight and ten years older than me.  I was even more upset when Jim told me they were able to see the Dwarfs and Hobbits that lived there.  At the time, I believed fairies and other magical creatures lived in the woods; they just weren’t discovered by the entire human population yet.

Fast forward over a decade later to when I’m making bi-weekly trips to the comic book store with my then-boyfriend (yes – I married him!) and we discover this new comic about three Bone creatures who get run out of Boneville and find themselves in a magical placed called Old Man’s Cave.  Populated by some fantastic and improbable people and creatures, how could I not become a little girl again with each issue? 

05.06.08

Story of the Month – “The Weald Maiden’s Will”

Posted in Story Of The Month at 7:42 pm by Amber

The short story I’d like to highlight this month is “The Weald Maiden’s Will” by Nicholas Ian Hawkins.  It is published in the March edition of Every Day Fiction.  Feel free to rate the story or any other story on the site.  If you really enjoy the site, don’t be shy about making a donation to help cover their costs.

The first sentence of “The Weald Maiden’s Will” meanders but tells you where the main character is and what he does.  It fits the tone of the story.  The indirectness of Hawkins’ writing mirrors the fuzziness provided by  the distant memories of the main character.  For me, the ending was a surprise even though hints had been dropped.

What I found most pleasing is what Hawkins’ managed to do with the story.  Some writers can do a lot or a little with 1000 words.  He managed to transport me to a different time, place and way of life.

05.05.08

Busy Writing Month

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:06 am by Amber

This should be a busy writing month for me.  I’m participating in a May writing challenge on LiveJournal.  Each participant has a different goal.  My goal is to write 31 short stories which is basically a short story a day.  Is it any surprise that on the morning of May 5th I only have three written?  No, not when it was a beautiful weekend!  No, not when I haven’t seen a movie in the local cineplex for weeks!

05.01.08

April 2008

Posted in Status Report at 6:17 pm by Amber

These statistics are all for short stories or poems. Book reviews are not included.

  1. Sales in April: 0
  2. Rejections in April: 0
  3. Submissions sent out in April: 1
  4. Total stories/poems pending responses: 5

Pending responses include a flash fiction piece with an expected response time of six months (I sent it out in October 2007, followed up with an inquiry and have heard nothing), two poems to one market, a drabble under consideration at one market, and a short story under consideration at another market.