Speculative Chic Round Up: Week 2

Wonder-Woman-Teaser-posterHave you discovered Speculative Chic, yet? We just finished our SECOND full week of posts, and below is what you may have missed:

On Monday, Nancy sat down with Sharon, Casey, and Carey to discuss their Favorite Things: spoiler alert: Lindsey Stirling, Heavy Metal Comedies, and Female Superheroes are involved!

Then Tuesday brought us our second Sound Off! where Nancy, Keyes, J.L. Gribble, Betsy, Whitney, and Sherry all told yours truly what they REALLY thought of Star Trek Beyond. Spoiler alert: comments get controversial!

Wednesday brought us the second book in our Hugo Best Novel examinations with Snow Crash-loving Keyes thoroughly examining Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves. She tells us the good, the bad, and the perplexing. The amazing woman even read the book twice!

On Thursday, our convention-guru Venessa Giunta sat down to explain what conventions are, why you should go, and most importantly, HOW TO SURVIVE. I’m telling you, I wish I had this advice two years ago.

113Last but not least, our Creativity Coach Sherry Peters came back on Friday to talk about the value of having a creative outlet, and how there needs to be no other goal than creativity for creativity’s sake. For someone like me who has to make EVERYTHING competitive, it’s a damn good reminder.

What about next week? NEXT WEEK WILL BE EPIC! It’s the first week we’ll be doubling up: not EVERY day, but at least TWO days: you’ll get one post first thing in the morning, as usual, and then another will go live in the afternoon (assuming you’re on the East Coast, of course). We’re wrapping up our Hugo Best novel reviews with Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass, and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy. We’ll also have our weekly mash-up of favorite things, and a few other treats besides!

So don’t miss out! You can’t guarantee I’ll remember to put up these round-ups EVERY week, so the best way to get every post is follow the blog or subscribe to the feed,and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, where our moderators are doing more than mirroring Spec Chic posts: you’ll find a TON of fun, extra goodies!

And if you’re already there? Be sure to show the love: like what you like, share what you want others to see! And feel free to stay in touch: is there something you’re hoping to see on our ‘zine? Just let us know!

This concludes my weekly, shameless plug for attention. You may now continue about your regularly scheduled activities.

landscape-1450178576-star-trek-beyond-photo-1

 

Winners: J.L. Gribble Scavenger Hunt!

I very nearly forgot about this, but the Scavenger Hunt to win a complete e-book set of J.L. Gribble’s Steel Empires series has come to a close! First of all, thank you to ALL who read the J.L.’s interview. If you’re coming to this late and you’re wondering what the fuss is about, you can start reading part one here.

Secondly, thank you to all the entries. Sadly, despite my best efforts at promotion, we didn’t have many entries at all, but fortunately, those that did answered the questions correctly. I’m forwarding your email addresses to J.L. Gribble so that she can get in touch with you regarding your prize!

Lastly, be sure to check out Calico in Conversation with Matthew S. Rotundo. We just kicked off his interview yesterday, and you can read it here. Yes, he’s interesting in hosting a Scavenger Hunt after his interview wraps up, but we’re going to do things a wee bit differently, so stay tuned, and keep reading!

Scavenger Hunt with J.L. Gribble

So some of you may be intuiting a pattern: as Maria V. Snyder did after her interview, so J.L. Gribble is doing with hers! That’s right: IT’S SCAVENGER HUNT TIME!!! That means it’s time to see how closely you were REALLY paying attention to the interview!

Below are three questions: each question correlates to one part of my interview with J.L. Gribble. Answer each question correctly, and you’re entered into a random drawing for a prize: an e-book copy (in your preferred format) of both Steel Victory AND Steel Magic!

There will be two winners, but the contest is open internationally. The winners will be contacted by email so that you can collect your prize from J.L. Gribble!

Ready?

Question #1: (from Boosting Confidence): Who is one author J.L. would like to study under (BUT HASN’T), and what specifically would J.L. like to learn from this author?

Question #2: (from Monsters Are People): What would J.L. love to see her Steel Empires series get adapted into?

Question #3: (from Getting My Name Out There): Who does J.L Gribble think is criminally under-read?

Just click the link below to go to the entry form (at Google Drive) and fill out each question. Each person answering all three questions correctly will be placed on a list for a random drawing.

You have until Tuesday, August 2nd to enter, and the winners will be notified by email on Wednesday, August 3rd.

One entry per person, no purchase necessary, void where prohibited, all entrants’ information will be deleted once winners have been confirmed, etc. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your entry came through, please comment here to ask.

To enter, please click below and fill out the form. May the odds be ever in your favor!

ENTER: Scavenger Hunt with J.L. Gribble

Calico in Conversation: Getting My Name Out There with J.L. Gribble

Morgantown Poets SocietyWelcome to third and final installment of Calico In Conversation with J.L. Gribble. If you missed Parts One and Two, click below to catch up:

Part One: Boosting Confidence
Part Two: Monsters Are People

Editor’s Note: this interview was originally conducted in March through June of 2016.

***

One thing I’ve admired about your writing career, to date, is how well you seem to manage all the things required of you in addition to writing. You go to lots of conventions (well, more than one to me is a LOT, since I’m lucky to manage one convention per year). Can you talk about your experiences as a small press author at conventions?

Going to multiple conventions and events per year depends on a few different variables for me, such as the reasonable traveling distance (where reasonable can refer to time driving and/or cost of plane ticket) and the price I’m willing to pay for lodging and other necessities. Money is a huge factor in both of these, because I always know going in that there’s no way I will sell enough books to cover the entire cost of the trip. Most authors I know, whether small or large press, are in a similar situation, since we are long past the days of book tours paid for by large publishing houses. In my case, I’m fortunate enough to have a day job that covers these types of expenses (again, reasonably), along with a husband who shrugs it off as the cost of what could be any other expensive hobby.

So because I know I’m going to lose money at every convention I attend, I have a pretty specific criterion about whether I will go. I just have to have the chance to get my name out there. That’s it! I’d like to be on a panel, have a reading slot, have a chance to sign books at a scheduled time, and/or participate in a workshop. Pretty simple, especially since I’m not even asking for free registration, much less lodging, meals, or travel assistance. The drawbacks to this are, of course, that I don’t go to all the conventions I could. Ironically, this means I don’t even go to the two of the conventions closest to where I live, because despite my repeated attempts to volunteer, neither have expressed an interest in including me on their schedule. However, I’ve now been a multi-year guest at a few conventions, and I’m excited to add a few more to the list this year!

My schedule for 2016:

Continue reading

Calico in Conversation: Monsters Are People with J.L. Gribble

Steel Victory Launch 1Welcome to Part Two of Calico In Conversation with J.L. Gribble. If you missed Part One: Boosting Confidence, feel free to click here to catch up!

Editor’s Note: this interview was originally conducted in March through June of 2016.

***

Let’s move on to influences: as writers, we all have them. What do you think influences your writing the most?

There’s never a simple answer to that question! I draw my inspiration from the other media I consume (books, television, movies, graphic novels, role-playing games, etc.), courses I’ve taken in school, and the people I meet around me. But that’s a pretty cliche answer in and of itself, so instead I’ll talk more about the challenges I’ve set for myself in my writing.

My favorite take on the concept of immortality is that presented in the television show Highlander: The Series, where even people who live forever are still people. I wanted to write about paranormal monsters who are also still people first. In addition, my debut novel, the thesis I wrote for graduate school, started out as a reaction to the Twilight craze. I wanted to write about a vampire who can be a romantic creature, but whose story wasn’t necessarily a romance. Thus, the character of Victory, a vampire in a mature, adult relationship, was born. But characters don’t exist in a vacuum, so I gave her a family, friends, and a career. The conflict of the novel was born from taking all of those things away, one by one.

The rest of the Steel Empires series continues along the vein, with other challenges that I decided to set for myself. Steel Magic could be considered a coming of age story for Victory’s daughter, inspired by a class I took in college on the female coming-of-age novel. Book 3, Steel Blood, was deliberately structured around the scenes set by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. And book 4 is going to be a time travel book…because I freaking love time travel stories.

Interesting…. It’s funny, because you’re reminding me of a Tor.com post written by Alex Bledsoe regarding his Eddie LaCrosse series, wherein each book of the series was written in response to a particular THING the author was inspired by or wanted to explore. I can’t begin to explain HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS APPROACH. While I haven’t read Bledsoe’s series (and I’ve only read your first book), I imagine it gives each book a unique approach, despite the characters and the world tying it together into one series. Thoughts?

Continue reading

Winners: Maria V. Snyder Scavenger Hunt!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who 1) sat down to read the interview with Maria V. Snyder, and 2) who participated in last week’s Scavenger Hunt. We had 37 entries, and almost everyone answered correctly (though kudos to the one person who CLEARLY did NOT read the interview, but answered wrongly with confidence!). I’ve contacted the three winners privately by email to confirm your information, so if you haven’t yet responded, please do so I can get you in touch with Maria, and you can collect your prize!

In the meantime, you may be wondering: will there be another Scavenger Hunt? Well, that depends on the author, but I must tell you, J.L. Gribble seems VERY agreeable, so you should encourage her by reading her interview (in three parts) and signal boosting the interviews the best you can. The more, the merrier!

Happy Reading, and thank you again for participating!

Calico in Conversation: Boosting Confidence with J.L. Gribble

gribble-photo-color
J.L. Gribble

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. She is currently working on the Steel Empires series for Dog Star Books, the science-fiction/adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press. Previously, she was an editor for the Far Worlds anthology.

Gribble studied English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where her debut novel Steel Victory was her thesis for the program.

She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (www.jlgribble.com), on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits).

Editor’s Note: this is part one of a three-part interview. Parts two and three will be published July 12th and July 19th, respectively. Also, this interview was originally conducted in March through June of 2016.

***

Now, to get started, I ask all of my interviewees the same starting question, and that’s this: how do we know each other?

Hi, Shara! We both attended Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Our terms overlapped by a few years, and I’m so glad that gave us the opportunity to meet. My earliest memory of you is that your first residency was the year we all gave ourselves Battlestar Galactica names. I was Officer Dualla and you were D’Anna Biers. I have equated you with the badass Lucy Lawless ever since.

Badass Lucy Lawless? I’LL TAKE IT. Hell, why don’t I cosplay that more? I’ve totally got the hair and the jawline… just not the muscles.

I’m glad you brought up Seton Hill. Back then, it was a Master of Arts, which has now become a Master of FINE Arts in Writing Popular Fiction. I never went back for the “F” in my MA. Did you do that, and if you haven’t, would you consider doing that, considering this point in your career?

Continue reading

Introducing Calico in Conversation

I’ve been working on some SEKRIT PROJECTS the past few months, and of the two, one is finally coming to fruition!

Back in February, I put up a side bar: Authors I Know. The purpose of this was to bring some recognition to the writers who labored in the trenches with me and have managed to get out there and get their wonderful words in the hands of the public. This post gave me an idea: why stop there? Why not highlight them individually? And how would I do that?

The result: Calico in Conversation: an organic interview where I would start off each interviewee with the same question, and then see where the conversation takes us.

So it’s with great excitement, and some trepidation, that Calico in Conversation kicks off next Tuesday, June 7th, with part one of my interview with Maria V. Snyder, author of the recently published Night Study, and one of the most prolific authors I know personally.

Yes, you read that right: PART ONE. Maria and I got into chatting so much that the interview has to be broken into THREE parts, so expect additional installments on Tuesday June 14th and Tuesday June 21st! Then in July, I’ll move onto another author. In August, yet another author. And so on and so forth until 1) I get bored and/or 2) I run out of authors to torment.

I won’t claim to be a professional journalist or interviewer, and I suspect my skills will sharpen as time goes on. But it’s great to get back in touch with these friends and colleagues of mine to talk shop, motivations, inspirations, and what life looks like outside of writing! I hope you’ll have as much fun with these interviews as I have, and if you’re wondering who to expect in the future, just take a gander below: if you have any questions for these fine folks, you can either comment here for me to slip them into the interview, or comment when the interviews go live for the authors to answer themselves!

Stay tuned!!!!

A Few of My Favorite Things: Books 2015

I think there’s always a part of me that will miss having a book blog. After putting together December’s Culture Consumption, I started wondering… what WERE my favorite books of 2015? To figure that out, I pulled up my Library Thing account and started sorting by date finished, and then I started looking at the ratings. Anything four stars or higher got written down on the appropriate list: a full five stars are listed as favorites, and four and four-and-a-half stars were honorable mentions.

Why Library Thing instead of Goodreads? Because LT allows for half stars, which means when I’m rating on Goodreads, I might round up or down depending on how I want the rating to look on that site. LT is a more accurate reflection of my thoughts.

I also did not include a few of the fun, children’s type books on the list. I’m a sucker for Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader series, and Simon Tofield’s Simon’s Cat books are adorable. So they didn’t get counted.

Before I review my favorites and honorable mentions, I did want to make a few points:

Continue reading