Browsing articles in "Latest News"

Writer’s Toolbox: All I Need To Write by Grant Snider

Feb 10, 2014   //   by Christina   //   Latest News, Writers Toolbox  //  No Comments

**The Writer’s Toolbox series are resources I’ve found that have helped me in developing my writing and my writing career.  I hope you will find them as useful as I do.  All copyright is retained by the original writer. 

Original comic found here.

Write 1 Submit 1

Feb 5, 2014   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News  //  No Comments

While falling down the black hole of the internet not long ago, I stumbled upon the illuminating blog of L. Lambert Lawson.  He’s a speculative fiction writer who has the bravery to post not only his acceptances, but also his rejections for the whole world to see.  While I’ll never be as brave as him (though it’d certainly mean I’d post more blog posts over the course of a year), I admire him.  Plus, his list of rejections salved my soul.  I’d been getting a spate of rejections lately.  I kept telling myself that it’s a good thing because it means I’m persevering, but it can be rather soul-dampening after a while.  So, thanks L. Lambert Lawson! 

Also, he introduced me to the concept of "Write 1 Submit 1" which led me to an annual writing experiment  based around the writing habits of an author I seek to emulate, Ray Bradbury. 

According to the Write1Sub1 website, here are the rules to the experiment:

  • Write and submit a short story or poem every week (or month), starting the first week of January and ending the last week of December.  Goal: 52 new submissions in 52 weeks (or 12 in 12 months).
  • You don’t have to write and submit the same story within the same week — although that’s what Bradbury did. Often it pays to set a story aside for a while and come back to it.
  • The length of your story can be as short as Twitter fiction (140 characters) or as long as a novelette (15,000 words). Any style, any genre: whatever you write.
  • Every week, we post a "check-in" where you can tell the world about your progress. Share your triumphs and disasters — we’re all in this together.

I stumbled upon this concept a bit late (4 weeks in), so I’m aiming for 49 short stories written in 2014 and a minimum of 49 submissions.  And, sorry, I’m not quite courageous enough to post a weekly update.  I will, however, post up an update at the end of the year.  Hopefully, this will help me get into the habit of churning out new writing on a regular basis instead of becoming mired in the swamp of tedious editing or wandering in the deserts of overperfectionism (is this even a proper word?  Oh well, I’m going to pull a Joyce and say it is).  *cross fingers*  Wish me much luck and send me virtual cookies to keep up my strength!  If you’re a writer, join in on the fun and post your own updates!

Happy (Belated) New Years!

Jan 29, 2014   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News, Thoughts  //  No Comments

I can’t believe another year (+ another month) has passed.  I think this same exact fact every year.  Yet, even though I know I’ll think the same thing next year, I’m always caught off guard each time I realize that a full 365 days have passed and we’ve entered yet another year.  I mean, I still think the 90’s were just a few years ago. 

This past year, in terms of my pursuit of a nascent career in writing, has been decent.  I’m currently in a time of building & refining, distilling my style down to something that’s uniquely mine while at the same time trying to raise the quality of my writing.  I know I have a long way to go before I can reach a point where I can say to myself, "Hey, you’re pretty darn good!"  But, hey, everyone starts from somewhere.

I’m honored to have been featured in two fantastic publications, Still Points Arts Quarterly and a Siren’s Call anthology.  However, I’ve received a fair amount of rejections to go along with my successes.  Both states of success and failure are equally important in my life.  Of course, I love to be published.  What writer doesn’t?  I love that I can share my views and stories with others, and I hope that they can bring pleasure (or, at least, thoughtfulness) into someone’s life.  On the other hand, rejections are an important part of the refining process.  I especially appreciate the rejections I’ve received that offer specific comments, so I can see my stories with new eyes and tweak them to bring out their own strengths.  I love the learning process.  Looking back at how my writing has progressed over the last few years makes me giddy, because I feel like it’s such a worthy pursuit. 

I’m still working on my novels, of course.  I’ve finished two, but they’re in coldsleep for now due to some fatal flaws I haven’t quite figured out how to fix.  Perhaps, in the future, armed with the right techniques, I’ll resuscitate them and release them into the world.  For now, I’ve begun a new novel which I’m quite excited about.  I’ve developed the plotline so it works around any potential fatal flaws.  We shall see what develops over the course of 2014. 

Lately, I’ve realized how limited my time on the Earth is.  Of course, I’ve always known humans don’t live much past 100 years old.  I just never realized how quickly 100 years pass.  I get my one chance at life, and I want that chance to be pretty darn amazing.  That’s why my husband and I are currently travelling around the world.  That’s why I’m seriously pursuing the things I love to do.  That’s why I’m learning to be comfortable in the person I am and the person I’m meant to be.  There’s no time for anything else.

Writers Toolbox: 5 Fiction Mistakes that Spell Rejection by Moira Allen

Jan 27, 2014   //   by Christina   //   Latest News, Writers Toolbox  //  No Comments

**The Writer’s Toolbox series are resources I’ve found that have helped me in developing my writing and my writing career.  I hope you will find them as useful as I do.  All copyright is retained by the original writer. 

Original article found here.


Ask most fiction editors how to avoid rejection, and you’ll hear the same thing: Read the guidelines. Review the publication. Don’t send a science fiction story to a literary magazine, and vice versa. Don’t send a 10,000-word manuscript to a magazine that never publishes anything longer than 5,000 words. Spell check. Proofread. Check your grammar. Format your manuscript correctly. Be professional. Failure to observe these basics, many editors say, accounts for more than 80% of all short fiction rejections.

But what if you’ve done all that, and your stories are still coming back with polite, form rejection letters? I asked nearly 50 fiction editors — from traditional literary publications to flash fiction ezines — what types of problems resulted in the other 20% of rejections. These are the problems that plague stories that meet all the basic requirements, but still don’t quite "make the grade."


Siren’s Call Anthology

Dec 3, 2013   //   by Christina   //   Latest News, Published  //  No Comments

It’s been a while since my last update.  I’ve been travelling abroad, and trying to find little moments here and there to work on my writing.  It’s hard to figure out what to focus on in the limited time I have available, but I am slogging on.   Hopefully, in the next months, I will be fruitful.

Anyways, more important news:  my short story “Monstrous Innocence” has been included in a Siren’s Call anthology released a few days ago!  If you’re into the horror genre or just have a fascination with the motivations of serial killers, check out Slaughter House: The Serial Killer Edition Vol. 1.  There are a ton of venues where you can find it: Amazon (US), CreateSpace, and Smashword.  If you aren’t in the US, let me know and I can try looking for an Amazon link for your country.

I’m SUPER excited to be included!

Meeting Orson Scott Card

May 2, 2013   //   by Christina   //   Thoughts  //  No Comments

A couple weeks ago, I attended the LA Times Book Fair, in large part because I’d read  Orson Scott Card was going to be speaking there.  My husband and sister joined me, both also big fans of Mr. Card and his books.  We splurged on reserved tickets.  Ok, the tickets cost only $3 total, but, hey, every dollar counts in my very limited budget right now.  We waited a half hour with those reserved tickets to get into the event "A Conversation with Orson Scott Card."

Mr. Card was, no other word for it, hilarious, along with his interviewer, and close friend/collaborator, Aaron Johnstone.  That hour flew by and it was our unanimous consensus that we could have probably listened to him talk for the rest of the day, or as long as our empty stomachs would’ve allowed.  Immediately after the Conversation, we ran, dodging people left and right, squeezing into every opening we spotted, to arrive at his signing, only to realize we would end up burning in the hot sun at the very back of a very long line.  But, we waited, our fortitude strengthened by the victuals my husband kindly procured for us at the nearby Carl’s Jr.  And waited.  And waited with barely-suppressed relief when we finally reached the shade of a large stand of trees, giving thanks to the genius minds behind sunscreen.  And waited some more, praying we would reach Mr. Card in time.  When asked, none of the volunteers could give us a clear answer as to our chances for meeting Mr. Card, only making vague noises of doubt and leaving it into our hands whether we wanted to abandon our pursuit for another avenue.  An hour into waiting, and only twenty or so people away, we were told abruptly that Mr. Card would be leaving to sign somewhere else and would we kindly leave the vicinity.  Immediately.


Still Point Arts Quarterly

Apr 30, 2013   //   by Christina   //   Published  //  No Comments

Though I fancy myself progressive and modern in many ways, a few superstitions linger despite my best efforts, one of them being that I try not to proclaim any accomplishments until I’m 100% sure it’s actually happening, for fear of having it slip through my fingers. 

So, I’ve been waiting eagerly for many months to let spill that I’m having a second story, "Inspiration", published in the wonderful Still Point Arts Quarterly this summer! Here’s a sneak preview of the magazine.  The official release date is June 1 and should be appearing in bookstores in the US and Canada around June 4, so if you spot it, let me know. 

The idea for "Inspiration" struck me out of the blue one day while I was out to dinner with my husband, when words seem to fall from my fingers without much conscious thought, the story emerging almost fully-formed, like Athena rising from the head of her father, Zeus.  Thanks go out to my friend and fellow writer, Benjamin, for helping me to read it over and giving me some great suggestions on how to refine the crude material into something worthy of a great magazine like Still Point Arts Quarterly.  I’m so excited to hold the magazine in my hot little hands!

Know Your Ending

Feb 7, 2013   //   by Christina   //   Thoughts  //  2 Comments

It’s interesting the sheer diversity of people thrown together for a certain period of time on a train, so many lives all briefly travelling in the same direction. One of them is a hopeful screenwriter with whom I’ve conversed extensively about the struggles and triumphs of pursuing creative writing. The best advice he’s given me, among many other nuggets of wisdom, is to “Know Your Ending”.

By this, he means a story must accomplish something by the end of it.  Once you know what your goal is and how the ending will achieve it, then the story will have a clear direction, a sense of focus. That’s not to say the ending is rigid, that it must be achieved no matter what. It’s possible it may change during the course of writing. However, without any knowledge of any ending, it’s highly likely the story will go nowhere and everywhere and end up rather pointless, more of a writing exercise than a cohesive story.

As you can see, this bit of advice is not only applicable to writing, it has parallels to our own personal lives. Instead of drifting from day-to-day stuck in a routine we have no clear reason to be in, wouldn’t it be interesting to pursue an intentional life? With only one life, I’d hate to have it end up being some kind of exercise or practice session. I’d like to choose the purpose of my life and how I want the ending to achieve the culmination of that purpose. This gives me a directionality I can deliberately pursue. And even if the end-goal changes, that’s ok, because my purpose remains the same, and I can fly ahead full steam.

I didn’t intend to write so much of my personal philosophy, as this is a blog based around my thoughts regarding writing. But, I suppose, it brings the point home: Know Your Ending. It makes everything flow so much easier.

Dealing with Rejection

Jan 24, 2013   //   by Christina   //   Thoughts  //  No Comments

There are both easy and hard aspects to being a budding writer. Writing, itself, is easy because it is as natural to me as the regular inflation and deflation of my lungs. It is simply me taking bits and pieces of my self (my mind, my heart, my experiences, my hopes, my desires, my philosophy, my fears) and blending it through the lens of stories, both real and imagined, before pouring it out for public consumption.

Which leads me to the hardest part of writing: the rejection.

Rejection in more objective disciplines such as engineering or accounting tends to be straightforward. There is a right answer or a wrong one, it works or it doesn’t, the figures balance or they don’t. If there is a problem, one can figure out a solution, fix it, move on.

Rejection in a more subjective field such as art, music, dance, or writing is so different, and, for me, exponentially more devastating. Why? Because it is more personal. Each story I write contains so much of me in it, that I feel, whether this is logical or not, that they are rejecting me personally.


And So Another Year Begins

Jan 8, 2013   //   by Christina   //   Thoughts  //  1 Comment

Looking back on the last year, I accomplished so much less and so much more than I anticipated. I learned about the frailties of the human body, the tragedy of all work and little play, the slippery nature of time, and the agonized questioning of rejection. At the same time, I also learned of the unbelieving joy of being published for the first time (and nominated for Pushcart!), the growing cohesiveness of my writing style, and the giddy confidence of confirming a life-direction.

Now, as I step forward into a new year, I can’t say I’ve changed so much as become a greater distillation of self. Is it egotistical to say I expect great things of myself in the upcoming days ahead? Perhaps. Or perhaps it is merely the foolish dreamings of an idealist.

I’m excited for what new stories and adventures this next year will bring!