Episode 63: Delilah S. Dawson

Photo by Shane LeonardI am excited to share this week’s episode with you. Delilah is one of my favorite author’s to read  and it was a blast chatting with her!

Delilah S. Dawson is the New York Times bestselling writer of Star Wars: PHASMA, Servants of the Storm, the HIT series, Wake of Vultures and the Shadow series (as Lila Bowen), and many others. She has written a variety of short stories and comics. Delilah is on the show talking her books and comics, inspiration, and a love of Star Wars. She goes into what it’s like writing Rhett Walker of her Shadow series, and the history of other characters. Delilah also talks her journey to writing comics.
Find more about Delilah: https://www.whimsydark.com/

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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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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

back and even better!

51promoHey guys!
Too Many Words returns with the wonderfully prolific and friend of the show, Oli Jacobs! He is the author of several horror and science fiction novels. Oli gets into his latest horror novel Deep Down There. We talk the brilliance of H.P. Lovecraft, leaning into voice, the power of walking away, and how every writer needs a dog. I had a wonderful time chatting with him and I  hope you enjoy listening.
Before Oli comes on, I get into what I’ve been up to and the show’s switch to Patreon.

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You can now support the show on Patreon! https://goo.gl/WQYhgt

 

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.

Life, it keeps going

The kids are at their last of school before holiday break. I have turkey broth simmering on the stove. I’m sitting in my quiet living room beside the Christmas tree, attempting to find peace. I want to enjoy the holidays and make the most of them, but I need to get my head right. In truth, lately, I’ve been feeling kinda lost.

As I wait to hear word from agents about the dystopian novel I spent the last six years obsessing over I’m trying to focus on other things mostly unsuccessfully. Not only am I pitching one book, but I have high hopes of selling the series. I really and truly feel like I’ve put my best foot forward. It’s been professionally edited. The query is tight and the agents I’ve reached out I really researched. Waiting is harder than I expected. I’m finding it hard to focus on much, but I’m making myself write because if I don’t, my mind will implode. I find myself unable to sleep after waking from stressful dreams about simultaneously getting rejection letters and being chased by zombies. They always catch me.

Short fiction is helping. I’ve been able to get a decent string of solid stories out as I spin about the future of my series and plan a stand alone  book. One night while I was staring at the wind-buckling trees I asked myself, “What do I do if this doesn’t work?” This is when my mind lets in the idea of becoming a certified dog trainer again, but then I tell myself, “No you are a writer, and you have made the decision to pursue a full-time career in storytelling.”

I feel like a fake adult.

If I shut my inner-doubt down and really pay attention, I can see and feel how close I am. It’s been an uphill battle of discipline and the feeling like I’m wasting my time, but I am close. There is this weird thing that happens anytime I send positive vibes my own way. A part of me always wants to swat the self-boost away.  I’m not sure what this is, but my inner-doubt is one of the hardest things I have to manage. I think about that scene in Erin Brockovich when Julie Roberts yells, “I’ve taken time away from my kids. If that’s not personal, I don’t know what is.” I spend about 8-10 hours a day writing, networking, and cobbling this career together. Somedays I feel like I’m awesome and others, well like I’m living in a dream world reaching for impossible goals.

Writing all this down helps, just I I thought it would. I’m not gonna hear anything until after the holidays. I need just to put it out of my mind and enjoy the holidays. There will be a lot of down time moments where I can work through the concepts I have for my next book because right now I only have annoying fragments of things that don’t make very much sense, but that’s how it all starts out doesn’t it?

Writing, worry, and focus

I’m sure that I’m in a dramatic state of mind when I say this, but, I’m all out of sorts. Like, really, really in a mood. I have been in one since Monday. It’s the first week back to work (after one off) since I submitted the dystopian to several carefully selected agents. I can’t seem to climb out of this funk and focus on anything for very long. I gotta say I wasn’t expecting this. Just like every other part of this project these feelings are new to me. My over anxious, fiction-swallowed brain wonders what this means. It’s not my lack of confidence in the work itself or how I presented it. I feel good about both of those things. So, what’s my problem?

Writing that down led me to this answer: I’m burned out.

I burned myself out, and I’m still recovering. Sure, the unknown of what’s ahead is certainly eating at my feet, but that’s not the only thing going on. I pulled something crazy off, and now I’m paying for it. I suppose that means I will be slowly getting back into the groove of things. Perhaps leaning into this rather than fighter it would allow me to unclench my shoulders. After writing solely one story for so long, spreading back into multiple projects (nonfiction work included) feels strange.

Creating a world and spending time not only inside of it but obsessing over each detail fitting into place was fun. If I’m being honest, some of the most fun I’ve had. What I experienced with the book I just finished is something I’ve always fantasized about. Perhaps some of what is going on is that I actually miss the world I created. Does that sound completely crazy? Maybe, but I run that risk every time I open my mouth.

I’ve been cleaning and organizing my house. I’m in no way naturally domestic. I’m just so damn anxious, and cleaning helps. Also baking.

Again, I know I’m being dramatic, but I feel lost this week. I have a pile of work, but I can’t stop vacuuming or putting things in themed baskets. Waiting is part of it. I’ve got to find a middle ground, perhaps have more patience with myself. It’s hard to feel like I’ve accomplished anything when nothing is final yet. Again, part of the gig, I know. I just have to suck it up. Christmas is around the corner, and I need to sell more articles, so I have to find a way to ease my mind where it needs to go. Maybe whisper to myself, “Don’t worry, it will happen.” Who knows?
So basically, I’m just whining here right now, feeling sorry for myself when nothing at all is going wrong. But, my mind does feel clearer so for that thank you.