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

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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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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Mind and body, it’s complicated

 
I kept sitting down to write this essay I promised for a collection. The theme of the piece needs to boil down to one thing: my relationship with my body and mind.
Easy, right?
*chokes*
When I took the assignment I was excited to dive in, to be honest, and maybe even help someone. What do we do with our minds and bodies while we have them? What is done to them? How do we grow? People often struggle with this—I sure as hell do. I mean it’s kinda the whole life deal, isn’t it?
When it came to sitting my butt in the seat and writing, as it often does, collecting my thoughts onto paper was harder than I expected. I kept choking out a line then grimacing at it. We all know this isn’t how to get anything accomplished. But after a few aggressive dance-offs, I grabbed my collar and said, “Time to make it happen.”
And, I did it. I wrote the allotted amount of words, took a walk, did some yoga, and with a smoothie in hand, I reread it.
Bleh.
My first impression was, “Am I that scattered?”
I didn’t like how I jumped from thing to thing. It left me feeling like I didn’t know myself at all, or that I haven’t made any peace with all my hang-ups.
I scowled at the lines shifting from my eating disorder to my ever complicated relationship with my mother.
Later on I was vacuuming, lamenting about how unfocused the piece was and it hit me. It wasn’t unfocused, it was complicated.
Body’s have a past, present, and future and the mind is as mysterious as the deepest oceans. My connection it isn’t singular, it’s layers and layers of trial and error and turning points.
Now, I’m editing it with nicer things to say and drawing the lines that make the whole piece, that make me. It’s hard for me to listen to myself. My upbringing and anxiety disorder have ingrained distrust. As I work on this as an adult so I don’t implode with unnecessary amounts of stress I find more slivers of peace and more understanding in the actual craft itself, both in drafting and revisions. It’s the game of seeing what isn’t there, of reading between the lines. Of, feeling purpose behind action.
 
Maybe, don’t be so quick to dismiss. Listen. Learn. And, feel.

Humbled by Stories and Pie

Fall is approaching. The kids are back in school. My house is quiet. Cinnamon is suddenly more appealing. Our planet seems to be crumbling down around us. I spent the summer writing scenes that never needed to exist for the story I was telling because I thought I was writing another one. I discovered the amazing world of paleo-style cooking in a nobel attempt to be healthier and have a hobby outside of words.  I’m currently sitting at my desk ready to crank out some smaller pieces in hopes of earning modest piles of cash. It’s been too long since the last blog post, nerves were starting to climb my legs, so I popped over here to write this. The moment my fingers hit the keys my mind started jumping all over like a confused frog with no tongue.
I’ve learned so much in the last eight or so months. I did it with crash-course grace, and my head is still spinning on its side. I made so many mistakes with my latest project—the one that I’ve been obsessing over and nothing else. (Part of the problem, btw.) I know what you are thinking. “It’s all part of it.” “Probably not as bad as you think.” “That’s what editing is for.”
No, really. I broke it. For now. I wasn’t listening to the character’s true voice and allowed my goals to distract me. The first moment I started the project till right before I finally listened to myself, was a continuous and reactionary series of events. I walked away for its own good. This was a hard thing to swallow. Really hard. Making mistakes is sometimes the best way to learn. My husband always says to the kids, “If you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t growing.” So, I guess I grew up a lot over the last year.
As a parent I watch my kids slip in and out of these developmental phases. There is nothing like children to remind you of how temporary life is. Oh so humbling. I so seldom pay attention to my cycles of learning and moods. If you are only a little familiar with me, you know my love for Alice in Wonderland. The story is so much more than children’s fantasy. It’s a story about growing up and how our environment messes with us as we go. We have choices, and they have consequences. It’s a metaphor for life, for writing a story, and periods of time that have more of an impact than others. Lost innocence is the place we all visit at some point. Wonderland can symbolize many things, but sometimes I think of it as a representation of a phase. The thing about life? ‘Our now’ feels forever. For me, it’s those milestone birthdays or the realization of how old Moe the cat is that really shows me all that’s changed. This summer that just soared by was on the other side of a door in a hole. I’ve been chasing this project for the last eight months (or more) that didn’t want to be chased. There is a story there, one I have to tell, but my mind is on other projects that are ready for me now. Sometimes a story has to wait. It hurts, and it always sucks. I trust that my path with lead back to it.
As disappointed as I am that my WIP and I need some time apart, I am equally excited about all the short fiction I have in the works, essays of thoughts, working with Rebecca Clark on The Shadow Bearers again, and another wave of Too Many Words Episodes. (More info on all that soon.) The words will find me, as they will find you.
I wrap this up with:
Keep the critic in your pocket, listen to your gut, and have fun tormenting your characters that all want something.