The Mic May Not Be On, But I Don’t Let That Stop Me

IMG_8485

“Are you talking to me?” you asked.
Oh…um…I guess I am talking to me.
There was an argument to finish up
So I did it in soliloquy.

Then some inner dialogue
Needed desperately to be outer,
And when I reached a conclusion,
I presented it in the shower.

I asked me some interview questions
For my someday late night debut,
So…I’ve talked to myself all day–
I have nothing to say to you.


Sure, it’s not weird if you talk to your co-workers, but if I talk to mine (the candle, the dog, my chair, the pens), I’m “socially maladjusted.” I know I’m not alone in this. Well, technically, I am alone, but I mean you probably do this too, just not with anyone. Creatives have a lot going on in the brain and if you don’t open the valve a little, it explodes.

PS. That great poster in the background is available here for a mere $5: Dumb Runner Obstacles Poster

Advertisements

Throwing Out a Line

IMG_8244

No matter how many talks I’ve done,
Or how many books I’ve sold,
When I get to kid Q & A
Turns out, I’m ten years old.

They’re skeptical from the start.
It’s a boring talk on how to write?
But then I mention Minecraft
And let them quiz me about Fortnite.

Yes, I like to Imagine Dragons
Both in my ears and on my page.
I’m in Ravenclaw through every sort
Despite my extremely oldish age.

After establishing these credentials,
They lean forward and pay attention.
Instead of someone’s unextraordinary mom,
I become the Mother of Invention.


After I released The Tiny Giant, I did a number of school visits to 4th and 5th grade classrooms. I adore giving this talk, there is always one kid furiously taking notes and one who asks me how much I make. While fielding questions on video games probably takes away from my message a little–it also gives the kids a way to relate to me. You should see how they light up! When I said I’ve been listening to Imagine Dragons lately, the girls in one class actually cheered.

I wouldn’t say anything that wasn’t true, of course. Kids can smell pandering a mile away. It is, however, very helpful to be able to talk Minecraft with them and then hit them with your wisdom on proofreading.

PS. Want me to come talk to your kids in the Portland, OR metro and surrounding areas? Drop me a line here and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

Made With Concentrate

editnig bears

Sneak up behind me
While I’m unawares,
You might catch me
Eating editing bears.

Oh! So contemplative
And satisfyingly gummy,
I eat whole bags
When my first draft’s crummy.


It’s a bad habit, I know, but I’ve always had a weakness for gummy bears when revising or editing. Something about a pure sugar high makes it easier to connect, cut, and fix mistakes. If I ever need to go into battle, give me a pouch of Haribo beforehand, and I’ll be your bearserker.

What’s with all the bear puns this year? I dunno. It’s late.

Published: The Tiny Giant

full cover final

Look at that, I wrote a book. The Tiny Giant is published, available on Amazon and from my online store, and it’s really, really better than I could have hoped. I’ve been so busy with the last iteration, then the nuts and bolts of publishing, everything else got shoved to the side. A few things to know, for the writers interested in these things…

I wrote this book five times.

The first draft was about 83,000 words. The published edition is around 45,000 words.

The final draft has a completely different ending, four new characters, and holds the third “aging” of the main character—from 8 to 12 to 11.

The first draft had 18 long chapters. The final has 35 short ones.

A whole plot line moved to the next book, and a bunch of fancy fantasy world-building crap just disappeared.

The entire process took me four years.

I used an editor and a professional artist/designer at the end. (DO THIS if you possibly can.)

Also, I cried, I was on fire, I was depressed, and I laughed out loud. This is not a process for the faint of heart or those lacking perseverance. There are two things that I think got me through it.

  1. Be Too Dumb to Quit: A lot of what I’ve accomplished in life, well, I got to it this way. My first professional job had a glitch in the hiring process, and I had to temp for a while until a position opened up. I called the partner every week until he finally said he had something. I ran a half-marathon. I wrote a novel. I could have quit at any point, but I didn’t want to tell people I quit. I did all sort of drastic rewriting and revising and improving—because I’m too dumb to quit. It may not be an easy way to live your life, but I’ve been pretty happy with the results to date.
  2. They Can’t All Be Winners: Sometimes, stuff just doesn’t work. Characters, ideas, story lines, words. If you had a dozen children, odds are at least one wouldn’t work out like you’d imagined. I had to make painful, heart-wrenching decisions to get to the end with this. I had to cut things I really liked, true, but I also had to admit that some of it WASN’T GOOD. As much as I wanted the construct of magic I’d made to work, it wasn’t a winner. It was dragging everything down into the Pit of Incomprehensibility. When I took it out, everything was better. (I realize I may be opening the kimono a little much here, but I’m nothing if not OPEN.) On the good side of this, it shows that you’re taking risks when you have things that don’t work. I have a couple of short stories in my drawer that won’t ever get developed because THEY ARE NOT WINNERS. S’alright. I learned.

There will be a sequel, and I’ll be shopping it to traditional publishers as a series when I’m a few chapters in. I didn’t do much of that with The Tiny Giant. I felt like I wanted to learn what I was doing without the distraction–maybe that was dumb, but I still have a book and the publishers are still there. In the meantime, I’ve been doing school visits and that is terrific fun. Kids have the best questions–I might do a whole post about that experience.

If you want a fun, easy summer read, The Tiny Giant is for you. If you have kids in the 9/10+ age group around, this is great summer reading for them. There’s adventure, a dragon, and the unexpected. There are hard decisions. There are some very funny bits. Get it signed at my online store at Little Voices Publishing, or head over the Amazon and use that Prime shipping.

Now I’m working on Bitches and Dead People–all the stories are written and I’m working with a different editor on those, one with specific expertise in short fiction and some familiarity with the horror genre. It’s some fantastic writing, and I can’t wait to share it later this year.  Until then, I’ll be around a little more. Thanks for being here.


PS. Isn’t that cover the most gorgeous thing ever? Steve Ogden at Steve Ogden Art did the cover, book design, and little illustrations for each chapter head. Check him out on your fave media platform for his comics and the behind the scenes on The Tiny Giant. Here’s one of my favorite chapter illustrations. Bahahaha….IMG_7279

Receipt of Ideas

img_3513

Just write it down
No matter where
Card, receipts
Bleed it there

Capture that chaos
Before it’s gone
Scrawl investments
You may later draw on

When it bursts
Don’t edit, censor
The whirlwind creates
Sense comes after


I have little bits of words scrawled in the margins of everything in our house.  Some of it is probably disturbing for my husband, given the horror stories I write.  I’ve learned that I have to write down ideas.  If I think of a particularly poignant sentence construction, a clever rhyme, a novel that will surely both disturb and entertain–I write all that down.  If I don’t, I won’t remember it.

It’s a bit of young writer’s conceit that if an idea is worth pursuing, you’ll remember it.  Sorting your ideas this way is like having your toddler sort the mail.  You will absolutely get some mail.  The odds that it will be the boring looking electric bill are pretty slim, though, and you might need that.

I write it all down.  Some of it is nonsense.  Some of it I can hardly read.  Some of it turns into amazing stories or phrases or entire poems.  I fill notebooks.  It’s my hoard of possible treasure.

Note:  By “weekly,” I meant pretty much every week, not EVERY week, and by “Sunday” I meant around Sunday.  Last week I was finishing the last rewrite of The Tiny Giant and my head was wrapped up in that, as it should have been.  Have a great week.

 

We Now Direct You to Bad Poem-a-Week

I did it (again).  31 poems in 31 days.  Some were good and you agreed, some I thought were good probably weren’t, and some of the bad ones were at least entertaining.  

I like this stunt that I’ve pulled, and I appreciate each and every comment or like–they make me feel less like I’m throwing an envelope into the ocean.  Thanks, also, to new followers who felt it was interesting enough to become part of the group.  

I’ve decided to post a new poem once a week from here on out.  The quality should go up as the quantity goes down, but that isn’t a given, is it?  I think I’ll post them on Sundays.  I’ll continue as long as someone is being entertained.  

I also have some book things happening, and school is starting so I can work full-time on those.  Here’s to hoping we all have a rip-roaring finish to 2017.  See you on Sundays.

Much love, Rebecka

Retreating

img_2419

A writer’s weekend away
Was exactly what I wanted,
But you might have mentioned
Your condo is prehaunted.

It’s a real distraction
To have noises in the night,
And the patting on my leg
Gave even me a fright.

But beyond the Scooby scares,
The worst thing for an empath,
Was the pervading sadness
Lingering in the guest bath.

Despair so deep, it broke me.
I had to pack up and leave.
I fled for home in tears–
It took three days to grieve.

So….thanks for your largesse?
I really appreciate the thought.
I won’t be going back to work
In the Condo of the Lost.


My husband, the Navy vet, tells me that sea stories always start with “This is no shit, man…”  I didn’t think that was an elegant title, so I went with “Retreating.”  I’ve had odd experiences before in my life, but this one topped them all. The pressure of an unseen hand on my leg woke me.  The electrical appliances and lights did a lot of flickering and malfunctioning.  My spare battery pack wouldn’t take a charge (I’m using it right now, it’s fine again).

The hardest part, though, was definitely the emotional imprint left on the place.  I don’t know the whole story, but I can guess.  It still seems very sad, but it no longer seems like my tragedy, as it did while I was there.

I did manage to get some work done, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped.  Next time I get a weekend free, I’m staying in a nice generic hotel, preferably built very recently.