Review: Everything That’s Underneath

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Me and Too Many Words are now a Read and Review minion for Apex Book Company. (If you are a reviewer I’d definitely check them out here) They have an eclectic collection of really unique novels and anthologies. Their monthly magazine rocks. It’s an all-around awesome stop for horror, fantasy, and science fiction lovers. For my first pick, I went with Everything That’s Underneath by Kristi DeMeester. I was drawn to the breathtaking cover by Mikio Murakami.

I enjoy the darker side of fiction. Better yet, I adore the hint at more than we are being shown. Layers and layers of it. Kristi had me with the first line of her first story which shares the title of the collection. Both sets the groundwork and mood for the rest. Kristi’s lyrical, poignant style and sorrow-touched scenes bled together into a mystifying air that builds with each story. This is a splendid collection of her horror and weird fiction. Each story is truly a complex and haunting masterpiece.

If I had to call out one story as not only my favorite, but one that will stick with me for a good while,  it would have to be, The Wicked Shall Come Upon Him.

Wicked Shall Come Upon Him kicked me in the throat then held me in an embrace of flowing prose and clear, raw and painful images. Kristi paints betrayal and broken heart in a tale wrapped with the gleam of dark fantasy. There is so much to pull from each sentence. The moment I read the last word, I circled back to reread it. Just. Wow.

I definitely recommend this anthology. Kristi is a gifted writer and masterful storyteller. She juggles the balance of relatable emotion and otherworldly elements with a swift, fluid prose. So much emotion comes through each story which webs beautifully with the terror and tension many of them build.

You can find the anthology at the publisher’s site and on Amazon.

Happy Reading!

-J

Episode 56 with Fran Wilde

I have Fran Wilde on the show talking world building, switching narrative voice, and her amazing Bone Universe!
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Her novels and short stories have been nominated for two Nebula awards and a Hugo, and include her Andre Norton- and Compton-Crook-winning debut novel, Updraft (Tor 2015), its sequels, Cloudbound (2016) and Horizon (2017), and the novelette “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” (Tor.com Publishing 2016). Her short stories appear in Asimov’s, Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Nature, and the 2017 Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. She holds an MFA in poetry, an MA in information design and information architecture, and writes for publications including The Washington Post, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, io9.com, and GeekMom.com. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and at franwilde.net.
You can also find the episode on Stitcher, iTunes, and Google Play!
Fran’s words are beautiful. I can’t recommend these books enough!!!
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present mind, writing hands

As I sat down to write the post I thought, “This is great. I need to do this every day. I need to make time for writing outside of my fiction projects.” Other random, obscured thoughts circled my mind in a series that eventually formed some sort of long drawn out idea or concept. One after another like a flip book of procrastination. All my mind wandering halted when I released I wasn’t writing anything down. I also do this when I’m drafting. Think, and not write. I’m forward not present.

I talk a lot on Too Many Words about listening to the gut whisper and how part of knowing your process is understanding how every day it’s a little or completely different from the day before. Thinking and writing usually means one of three things.

  1. I haven’t given myself enough backtrack thinking.
  2. Free writing is necessary.  -OR-
  3. I need scribble down the arc for a short that won’t be quiet.
  4. Lunch is necessary.

The common thread between all three is that I need to be doing something other than what I can’t help but stare at. Even switching from computer to notebook helps. Hell, it’s the last day of NaNoWriMo and I completed my 50,000 words. Actually, I got to 52,010 words but who’s counting?

Isn’t that point?

Yes, and no.

Everyone who sets out to do NaNoWriMo has there own reason, even if it’s just the comradery of committing to write 50,000 words in one month with a collection of writers all around the world. I like that feeling. I needed that boost to get me working on this incredibly intimating, dragon-sized rewrite. Now as we enter December I am nearing the midpoint of the project and I am just gonna keep going until this phase is at an end.

My life feels too full lately (or always). We as a family unit are operating at faster frequency, with two kids in elementary school and activities they want to try ontop of both me and my husband working. (Something many juggle.) It’s tough for me to see either of my kids have a stressful time. At the end of the day my main goal as parents is that my children feel supported. I remember how hard school was. Gosh, I barely made it out. But I do best to be present when they are, to give them a steady backing because not having one as a kid made everything harder. So when I sit to write, to work, I think of it as for me, because  I love and need it. I do not treat it like the blistering, humbling hell it sometimes feels like.

It’s tricky balancing life and work and family and self and breathing. I am still working and grinding toward my goals so when I look at a day where I wasn’t as productive as I’d like to be or ended up needing to do a whole bunch of things I didn’t count for in my 2 am planning it can feel impossible to accept all I did do. It’s hard to see accomplishment when it’s this gradual, forever process of building a writing career, of writing a book, of revising. Whatever, sometimes it just doesn’t jive or flow or really I just need an apple and a walk to smooth the thoughts out. Stepping away feels like the worst thing in the world because it feels like failure.

Repeat after me, “Taking care of yourself isn’t failing.”

As I have mentioned on Too Many Words recently, I’ve been managing my anxiety disorder. I have known that anxiety is dragon I have to tame. I’ve had panic attacks when I was a teenager. Socially, forget about it. But over the last year and a half, my anxiety built a mega city and now I need to practice tools and exhaust myself with yoga so I don’t chew on my leg like a dog that needs a walk. I have been practicing yoga most mornings before the house is awake. I push myself and breath and am gradually working up to a handstand (I’m close) One of the schools of yoga is Hatha. Which is basically holding different positions. One after the other until you’re sweating, tingly, and you’ve forgotten what’s plaguing you because you’re tired and starving.

When I am doing a side plank with my knee to my nose all I am thinking about is not pulling a muscle I didn’t know I had. I am breathing through it. I know what my stomach is doing. Every muscle holding me up is at the forefront of the mind. Once I settled into the moment, once I’ve mastered it, then it’s time for the next position. (Warrior 3 is my favorite.)
I’m not telling you to do yoga but the act of fully being present and then repeating it with different positions is a lot like the mind needed for drafting. Ease back on the toes. Write down character’s nagging motivation. Pull in the navel. Fold into the scene. Find out what’s important. Lower back pinches so you ease forward. Your hand is on your calve instead of the floor. Switch voices. Jot that idea down and then come back.

It’s all a dance. All of it.
As I come to the end of this post I have the element I was missing for a scene I planned on writing. So I’m gonna get on that.
As always thanks for reading.

-J

Episode 55 with Jason Heller

episode55promo.pngJason Heller and I have a great time talking outlines, the future of post-apocalyptic fiction, tricks writers play on themselves, and his forthcoming book “Strange Stars.” Before Jason comes on, I share my NanoWriMo progress, books I’m reading, and updates about the show.
This episode features the song “Corpse Candle” by Weathered Statues. Support the show on patron.com/toomanywords

Episode 54: Heather Mason

54 promo.pngPop Culture journalist and host of Obsessed Right Now, Heather Mason joins me this We talk about Heather’s six weeks on the road, changes in weather, and the pressure to binge-watch Stranger Things 2. Before Heather comes on I get into the twisty world of my writing process and thoughts for those participating in NanoWriMo. The weekly book recommendation of the week is “All The Crooked Saints” by Maggie Stiefvater.

 

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iTunes: https://goo.gl/yNRqS2
Stitcher: https://goo.gl/MB9rpF
Google Play: https://goo.gl/2H6Shz

Support the show on Patreon https://goo.gl/S94MmS

a script writer, a comic book artist, and a novelist

E53promo.pngHey guys! I have not one but two guests this week. I talk with writer, Mark Allard and comic artist, Elaine Will. We talk their graphic novels Look Straight Ahead and Arkade. They get into the inspiration behind them as well as the process of their current works in progress. Mark, Elaine, and I discuss the ups and downs of creation and how an accurate depiction of creators is hard to find in existing Media and what the one exception is. Before the interview, I talk NanoWrioMo preparation and mindset. The weekly read recommendation is comic collection, Niobe out through Stranger Comics.

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Support the show on Patreon! https://goo.gl/S94MmS

New episode with Kat Howard

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Kat Howard is on the showing talking about her new release “An Unkindness of Magicians” and her exciting new book deals with Saga Press. Kat and I get deep into the process of creating and what it is like to do yoga with pets. At the end of the episode there is a bonus section where Kat answers big questions about “An Kindness of Magicians” for those who have read the book. Before Kat comes on, I talk about NaNoWriMo and my crazy plans.

iTunes: https://goo.gl/7cLaso
Stitcher: (coming soon)
Google Play: https://goo.gl/byqqnK

Support the show on Patreon! https://goo.gl/S94MmS