Worlds, words, and more.

Photo by Shane Leonard.png I have one of my new favorite writers on the show today. Kat Howard is quite the wordsmith. I started reading her short stories which you definitely go check out. If you go to her site you can find them there. Her stories led me to her recent release Roses and Rot. Wow! I really love this book. It hits home in some ways but it also just mystified me. It’s one those stories where every line is tight and beautiful and the story stays with you after you read it.

Due to my inability to stop dissecting a character last night, horribly cliche dreams about being  hired to hunt myself, and my cat’s need to eat at 3 o’clock in the morning I did not sleep well. I’m making gradual strides to rid my zombie persona as the day carries on.

First off, I’m going to tell you all to go to the comic shop because there are awesome titles you should treat yourself to. I talked about Ladycastle last week. Delilah S. Dawson does an amazing job and it is officially out in stores out from Boom Studios. Vertigo/DC’s Lucifer is now in Richard Kadrey’s hands. Issue 14 is fun and dark and I love it. So it’s worth the grab for sure. Of course if you aren’t reading Monstress yet you should start. Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda hit it through the moon. It’s dark and enchanting.

Next week I have Charlie Stross on the show. Then after that the show will be going on a hiatus for a bit while I bury myself in this massive rewrite. It was hard for me to decide to put the show on hold but my mind needs to be fully focused. I will for sure post dates and details when I have them. I appreciate all your support and patience.

Here are the links for Episode 49:

 

Talking to Myke Cole

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I have Myke Cole on Too Many Words talking about writing, process and his role on CBS’s new reality series Hunted. It was great talking to him. Passing television recommendations back and forth is always fun.
Before Myke comes on, I talk about my current challenges with writing and the awesomeness of Delilah S. Dawson‘s new comic LADYCASTLE.
Make it happen!
iTunes: https://goo.gl/EGp1e8
Stitcher: https://goo.gl/YmXHpf
Google Play: https://goo.gl/wqwiCr

This episode is sponsored by Turn the Page Editing and LuLaRoe Rebecca Clark VIP

A Day In Inertia, Suburbia

A young mother wakes to the nagging sound of her alarm. For privacy sake, we’ll call her Margret. The cat is asleep on her face. After a small battle with the semi-feral feline, she gets out of bed.

Coffee. Book. Then tiptoes to the sofa in hopes of some quiet before the chaos of a weekday morning unleashes itself on the untidy household. Something chunky and wet soaks her sock. The dog ate legos again.

***

Margret is standing in her kitchen wearing superhero pajamas. She makes lunch and breakfast while her children get dressed for the day.

Her seven-year-old son comes into the kitchen wearing six shirts and three pairs of pants.

Margret: Why are you wearing all your clean clothes?

Son: You told me to dress warm.

Margret: I meant no shorts or t-shirts.

Son: How was I suppose to know that?

***

The kids walk to their classrooms. Margret puts on her blinker in an attempt to escape the chaotic drop-off line while blasting Veruca Salt. A woman with shiny hair in a German luxury SUV, who is responsible for one the meaner kids in Margret’s child’s class, holds down on her horn and flips Margret off. She wonders if the angry mother spent less time perfecting her makeup if her child would be nicer.

***

Inside an overpriced grocery store for the over-privileged, the barely thirty-year-old Margret walks to the counter. Her hat is half on her head. She’s forgotten to wear socks.

Margret smiles at the checker, a woman nearing middle-age who we’ll call Abby.

Margret: Hey, how’s it going?

Abby: Oh you know. Life.

Marget nods: Yep. Can I trouble you for a pack of Marb lights?

Abby: Just one pack today?

Margret: Yep. Cutting down. Not quitting.

Abby: That’s something.

Margret: I think so. Monkeys on the back and all.

***

Home again. The house is a droning quiet with the kids at school. She remedies that by cranking her newest playlist. Then sits at her desk in the draftiest part of the house, her office. There is nothing now but the words she needs to write and her own insecurities.

Five hours pass. The same nagging alarm tells her it’s time to pick up the kids. Unsure of how she feels about any of the words she’s written, Margret closes the laptop and slips on her worn Chucks.

***

You see a school with a water view and false ivy-covered walls. Margret gets out of her insincere mini-van and makes her way to the classroom door and waits. She checks her social media notifications hoping to gain some validation for her work she hasn’t yet learned to give herself. A middle-aged man in a golf hat, by the name of Todd, approaches Margret.

Todd: I hear my kid got moved from your kid’s table.

Margret: Yep

She smiles.

Todd: I hear they didn’t see eye to eye.

Margret: By that do you mean anytime my kid asks yours to be quiet so she can focus, he pushes her and calls her names?

Todd: Yeah, man. It’s tough. He’s so strong willed. Can’t tell him nothing. He beats to his own drum.

Margret: It’s called parenting, son. It’s necessary.

Todd: Did you just call me son?

***

The day turns to night. Homework is done, dinner eaten. Margret feels satisfied with the day. She opens her third beer in an attempt to relax and get ready for the same thing tomorrow.

Adam Silvera and History Is All You Left Me

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First episode of 2017 starts with a bang. Adam Silvera is the New York Times bestselling author of MORE HAPPY THAN NOT. He is on the show talking about his brand new release HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME. Adam gets into the journey of creating it, hurtles he had to get through, and upcoming tour dates. Before Adam comes on, I talk 2017 and Apex Publication‘s recent anthology, UPSIDE DOWN.

This episode is sponsored by Turn The Page Editing and LuLaRoe Rebecca Clark VIP

Listen. Share. Subscribe.

iTunes: https://goo.gl/XOWMcE
Stitcher: https://goo.gl/3Ho6XG
Google Play: https://goo.gl/5Ho3zN

New Comic Review: LADYCASTLE

I have been a comic book lover since I was a kid. The glossy pages and the “new book” smell are the first steps to a world all its own. Comics are a special place to visit. As a writer, reading prose isn’t always an option, ladycastle-elsacoverbut comics are always there. There is something special about experiencing a story in panel form. My brain reacts to the story in a different way. That being said, I’m always looking for new, fresh comics. Something I haven’t seen yet.

I reviewed an early copy of the first issue of LADYCASTLE which is a gender-flipped Arthurian comic written by the fantastically talented Delilah S. Dawson. Ashley A. Woods is responsible for the gorgeous art.

I am being perfectly genuine when I say this is the comic I’ve been looking for, for years. Power. Wit. Action. Hope. It’s all there. This is a completely spoiler-free review, so I’m not going to get into specifics. You have to experience it for yourselves. I will, however, say this, there are at least eight times where I thought, “Yes! This is awesome!”

Dawson does a fantastic job weaving the beginning of this female-powered world I want more of. I can’t believe LADYCASTLE is her first comic. It reads liladycastle1coverke she’s been doing this her entire life. I really hope to see more comics from her. I’ve been trying to get myself amped up for this next phase in my career with music from some rocking women from the 90’s, so this couldn’t have come at a better time.

Woods’s gorgeous art creates a rich mid-evil aesthetic that complements Dawson’s words flawlessly. I can’t wait to read more LADYCASTLE, and you should start.

The official release date of the first issue is January 25th, but you can preorder here: Get me some LADYCASTLE

Anthology Review: Upside Down

upside-book-coverI received a review copy of Apex Publication’s newest anthology UPSIDE DOWN: INVERTED TROPES IN STORYTELLING. This anthology is a treasure for both readers and writers. Editorial super team Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli did a splendid job compiling stories, poems and essays of well-trodden fantasy and science fiction tropes turned on their heads.

Unlike novels, anthologies give you the option of jumping around and reading at all different places in the book. Sometimes I do that right from the get-go, and I did the second time through with this anthology. But, my first time through, I was glued to each page from the very first to the last. The index of tropes and the stories that tackle them encouraged me to go back. Twice. The introduction sets the stage by getting into the comfort of tropes and the importance of them. “We all love comfort food. We all love surprises. A well-executed story trope, like a favorite meal, is always there when you need it, eager to satisfy. A chosen one destined to save the world. A love interest ready to transform your dull life…” -Jerry Gordon

It’s true. There is comfort in tropes. As readers, they give us something to hang our hat on and as writers we need to wield them. There is a fabulous array of authors such as Delilah S. Dawson, Alyssa Wong,  Micheal Choi, Sunil Patel, and Micheal Matheson—to name a few—who take common tropes and do extraordinary things with them. Alex Shvartsman takes all that we count on when diving into an epic fantasy and riddles a satire native with “Nouns of Noun: A Mini Epic” that kept me chuckling. I was delighted by “Drafty as a Chainmail Bikini” by Kat Richardson, which comments of the absurdity of women’s armor in the fantasy genre.

Each story has its “WOW” moment. There are a few stories that stood out to me so strongly I had to go back and reread them and soak in the beauty again and again. That’s the thing about the written word. Stories can carry a certain weight or personal response that just clicks instantly. When that happens, it’s a beautiful thing.

In “The First Blood of Poppy Dupree” Delilah S. Dawson takes the trope of an unprepared preteen’s first period. She paints an incredible picture of a girl who knew it would come, adds some Greek and Southern Gothic mythology and writes a story I wish I could have read when I was a preteen. I was in Walmart wearing white terrycloth shorts when mine first came without a clue. Dawson took all the shame out of it and made getting your period truly badass, raw, and slightly terrifying.

“The White Dragon” by Alyssa Wong is one those stories that reels you in with every sentence and then when its ended, everything just washes over you. Wong built so much in so few words. She tackles the trope of Yellow Peril, which is the fear that Asia poses a dire threat to Western civilization. Wong’s characters are so deep and well conveyed. The layers of magic realism packs such a punch.  It’s truly amazing.

“Those who Leave” by Micheal Choi tore my heart out and convinced me once and for all magic is in the world. Choi took the trope of the cold and calculating Asian scientist and built a world with hope, magic, and the ever-complicated mother/daughter relationship. Just gorgeous from start to finish. I teared up a little.

After the string of awesome stories, the impact of the essays detailing some tropes such as “Into the Labyrinth: The Heroine’s Journey” by AC Wise and “I’m Pretty Sure I’ve read this Before” by Patrick Hester really ties it all together. Each essay detailing basic story concepts somehow made every story I read prior more powerful.

There is whimsy and underlining darkness, heartbreak and satire, that flows well throughout the anthology. UPSIDE DOWN is really worth the grab!

You can find copies here!

 

My Mother’s Whispers

We are over a week into the new year, and I’ve come to the same conclusion I come to every January. Life is life. Change is unavoidable but is gradual. Goals are important. Self-awareness is key to not being an asshat. There is no magic switch.

I’m not a huge adopter of New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like putting pressure on a day due the significance tangled up with the date. I used to be a crappy, angry kid and I’ve grown into a pretty okay adult (though I have trouble coming to terms that I am one). I’ve watched people change for the worse and the better and not at all. I wouldn’t say I’m jaded, but my expectations of people stays very aware that we are all animals with instincts. It’s not always pretty.

All that being said, I decided that for 2017 I have a true New Year’s resolution for the first time kinda ever. I’m gonna stop beating myself up with words my mother used when I was a kid.

Words are powerful. They hold different meaning to everyone who hears them and lingers in the shadows. They leave bruises no-one can see. They build worlds and heroes. Words don’t go away without being digested. The past is an odd, nagging element that is significant because we wouldn’t be who we are without it. I have written before on Feminine Collective about how part of excepting myself can’t be done without excepting the parts of me that are like my mother. Regardless of the whole mess of her storm, she was my mother. I learned from her. What to do. What not to do.

Habits are tricky little buggers, especially when they are bad ones. They are like vampires. Once you let them in, they suck your blood. Nasty habits can be dormant or active but are always waiting. I was verbally abused as a child as far back as I can remember. Anytime something good happened to me she’d turn it around. I can’t even count how many times my mother spent my birthday locked in her room crying. She let all her words and unhappiness fire at me. Just when I think I’ve shaken off the urge to think the things she used to say to me, it’s back, and I don’t even see it.

As you know, I’ve been busting my ass building a writing career. It’s part of the path. If it weren’t easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. I’m close, and I can feel it. I’m pitching. I’m making mistakes. I’m learning. I’m getting better at the craft. At this huge transitional period, the frequencies are high, and my vulnerability is maxed out. What I’m doing? I’m beating the crap out of myself with things she used to say, instead of building myself up. Anytime I have something positive to say to myself there is a small voice saying the opposite.

I don’t have a solid plan of attack except that I need to curb the habit. Being aware is the first step. I want to have my back. I want to say “Good job Jayme,” without feeling like I’m lying to myself. Like with anything, there are good days and bad. Making mistakes doesn’t make me a bad person or hopeless, it makes me human. Without mistakes, there are no learned lessons.