Thursday, 18 July 2013

Impossible Spaces Blog Tour- Interview with Angeline Trevena

Hello everyone! How are you all?  I'm feeling pretty dandy myself, and also very excited because tomorrow Impossible Spaces comes out! Yay!  What with me going on about it every few minutes, I'm sure you're all aware that my short story "Skin" features!  

At the weekend, I had my very first author interview go live- now I would have posted this sooner, but I've been away on a mini holiday for the last few days (and the short amount of time I was home, I was being a good bunny and writing), so I just haven't had a chance.  However, I will post a link now- my very good friend and fellow writer (and something of a mentor of mine) Angeline Trevena was ever so kind to interview me for the Impossible Spaces Blog Tour- thank you so much, Angeline!  Here is the link:

I hope you all enjoy it!  It was a delightfully odd experience- I have interviewed a fair few people for EGL Magazine, so I'm the one used to asking all the questions!

Can't wait for tomorrow! Thank you all! x

Sunday, 7 July 2013

July Blog Post! Summer Greetings!

Summer greetings! I can scarcely believe we are already in July (you know, apart from the part that I'm utterly MELTING!).  Its quite scary how quickly the months go by.

Well, as you may have noticed, there was no June blog post, as I was taking a break for stress and health issues.  A quick update on that; I have seen the doctor and been placed on medication (which in turn seems to have freaked out my bosses enough at work to stop putting me into overly stressful situations), and I am doing much, much better.  Now, I still have issues to face and there's still plenty more to be dealt with, but I feel like I have the help I need, that the last few weeks have been much more relaxed, so I no longer feel like I'm at the very edge of losing my mind.  Which in turn, makes for a much happier Laura-bunny.

So, now that part's out of the way, moving onto news and things coming up soon!

Impossible Spaces and "Skin"

The time I've been waiting for so excitedly is nearly here- the release date of Hic Dragones' anthology Impossible Spaces, featuring my science-fiction short story "Skin".  The release date will be July 19th (only days away now!), and I'm ever so excited.  Skin is a story that means a lot to me, and so its very special to know this one will be in print.  I'll be providing links at the bottom of this post, but here is a sneaky peak of the front cover!

Relating to this, I am currently finishing off an interview with my good friend Angeline Trevena, who will be interviewing me about "Skin" very shortly.  I have to say, as someone who usually writes the questions, it feels a little bit odd to be the one interviewed this time around! (But then again, as it was lovely Angeline who taught me about interview techniques in the first place, interviewing her a couple of months back for Fifty Shades of Decay felt slightly odd also! But great fun!).  So please keep your eyes peeled for that too!

Changes in Art

I recently made the decision to stop pursuing artist work within tattoo studios.  Without naming the studio (as I actually still get on with everyone there!), I was recently let down by the place when they expected me to be available whenever they needed, and passed on the position to a younger lad without getting to see the (if I may say so) lovely tattoo design I had drawn up for them.  However, I do not make this decision grimly or with hard-feelings.  Sadly, for people in my position, tattoo-careers simply aren't viable.  You simply cannot have a "day" job and work within a tattoo environment at the same time.  So I'm passing up the notion of that career path now.  Having said that, I am still more than happy to design tattoos as commissions, and have not turned my back on the industry! (Oh hells no, despite all that, I'm sure I'll be back in that same studio later this year for my Wayfinder tattoo ;) ).

Career Progressions and Ambitions

As I mentioned a few weeks back, regarding my near-mental-breakdown, I was assaulted by a customer while I was at work.  A few days after that, one customer was so offended by the fact I didn't laugh at his awful joke (that I hear multiple times daily) that he phoned one of the managers to make a complaint.  So as you can imagine, I've been job-hunting weekly to find a non-retail job.  In my first week, I managed to find 2 jobs, but as I haven't heard back from them, I can only assume I didn't make the cut, which is a real shame.  Then at least 2 weeks  went by where I found nothing (apart from retail).  I was also flat-out refused by an agency, and I was left feeling pretty worthless.  Sadly, at 26, despite the fact I have been in work consistently since the age of 15, my lack of "experience" in other fields of work mean that I'm not even given the time of day, despite the fact I am well-educated and have a broad skill set.

So talking things over with my mum (because mums always know best), we decided that writing now has to become work, not a pastime that I do with the intention of getting published.  I'm now going to be adding 2 and half hours a day on top of my working hours (to make that a full working day), just to write.  Trying to turn the negative into a positive :) Its something I really need to take off- sadly in retail, full-time jobs are extremely rare, so its obscenely difficult to support oneself in such work (hence why I currently live at home).  Not only do I want writing to be my career, but now it looks like I will need to also, especially if I have any hope of moving out in the next 2 years.

So lets see if I can be disciplined enough to make this work! Wish me luck!

Other Things

Not too much else to report, but in the last month, I have gotten a new phone that actually works (yay!), bought my very first bikini (*blush*), celebrated the Summer Solstice (summer greetings to you all x), got to spend a lot of lovely time with my lovely friends (<3) and also recently gotten addicted to Dungeons and Dragons (I'm a dhampir cleric :3 ).  Coming up over the next few weeks, I have more social gatherings, holiday, birthdays and next month I will actually get to meet my literary hero Neil Gaiman!!! Getting to meet Voltaire and Neil in one year?  This year has been a pretty awesome one!

Reflection (Spiritual)

This is just something soppy and spiritual I wanted to add at the end of this blog post (feel free to skip if you wish!), but it was something that occurred to me during our Summer Solstice ceremony (which was an unusually sombre affair due to recent mournings in the community).  This year so far has been hard, incredibly so in some ways, yet has also been full of immense joy and happiness for me.  Its hard to think of chaos as a negative force in the world, when sometimes bad things simply have to happen so good things can happen to.  These bad times really make me love and appreciate the friends closest to me <3

So thats pretty much it till next time.  Stay turned for updates and THINGS!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Insecure Writers Support Group- Love Thy Editors!

The summer is finally with us!  Is everyone enjoying the sunshine?

I'd like to quickly start this entry by updating from the last time I posted- I'd like to thank those of you who left a kind word regarding my situation, and I did indeed take a little time off as needed (hence no June blog post).  I'm not out of the woods yet, but I am now taking medication and feeling a lot, lot better- and I will be doing some more posts over July, as we have some exciting developments just around the corner!

I'm doing this a teeeeny bit early, but I intend to catch up with Top Gear tomorrow morning, and then I have work in the evening, which makes it a bit tricky to get online to type out blogposts.  But anyhoo, onto this month's IWSG topic:

Love Thy Editors

I think the reason why some would-be writers out there shy away from submitting pieces is because they fear bad feedback from, or losing creative control to editors.  I won't lie, there was a time when I felt wary of submitting my own work.  I was worried that at best, I would be forced to change my work to suit the whims of a corporate suit, at worst, would have my confidence utterly shattered by someone behind a desk, completely blasting my ability and making me want to never pick up a pen again (I am dramatic :P)

I'm extremely happy to say (and I imagine many others will too) that all of my experiences with editors have been completely positive.  Even from my earliest days starting out with EGL Magazine, right up to my most recent experiences with Hic Dragones, every editor I have ever worked with has been an amazing person who I have been happy to work with.  Oh, I'm sure there are less than brilliant editors out there, but as someone who used to be so wary of negative experiences, and knowing there are others that feel that way, I thought that for this month's IWSG I would give the hard-working editors out there a little bit of love!  It's got to be a difficult job, and one I'm not sure I could do, so I think it's important to appreciate the vital work they do to make our stories super shiny for book-pages.

If you're a new writer who is nervous of editors, this is why you shouldn't be:

1) They already like your work
If you are passed over for a submission (which will undoubtedly happen at some point, and you mustn't feel too bad about it, because it happens to everyone), you won't receive a cruel email telling you to go back to school, so don't worry about something like that happening.  If you are successful, however, you mustn't be nervous of what comes next- you were picked because they liked your work!  The editors know what they're looking for in a good story, and they certainly wouldn't be wasting their precious time on editing your story if they didn't think it was worth the time and effort.

2) They are improving on what they already have
While all publishers are expecting clean manuscripts when they receive submissions, they aren't expecting refined, polished gold.  They know it will need work.  That's where the editors come in.  Think of your story as a rough diamond that needs to be sanded, buffed and polished before it can become the gem it's meant to be.  That's what the editors do.  Any suggestions or changes they make are there to improve the flow of your story, and make it the best it can possibly be, not to change your story and make it something else entirely.  They also won't make huge changes without putting them towards you first, and will always keep you involved in what they are doing.  Work together with your editor, and your story will shine.

3) You will learn from them!
I've learned a lot about my writing habits from things pointed out by editors.  I am already quite aware of my typos, but that's not a major issue :P (not in blogging anyway!).  One bad habit I used to have was the overuse of the ellipsis for dramatic tension...unfortunately, overuse led to disruption in the flow of the writing, and also lessened the dramatic affect I had been aiming for.  This was pointed out to me by an editor, and she certainly didn't make her point harshly.  Every single experience I have had with an editor has been positive and beneficial to me, and I've learned something every time.  Ultimately, this makes me a better writer, and improves the quality of the writing.

I often worry more about being a difficult writer for an editor to work with, rather than finding my editor to be difficult- I always have things set out and imagined in my head just so, and when I was younger I wasn't particularly receptive to criticism (in hindsight, this was mainly because most criticism I was received wasn't particularly constructive).  So far, I have found all feedback completely helpful and beneficial, have found editors happy to work with me, and ultimately do a great job with the finished manuscript.

So what else can I say?  Don't fear the editors.  They have a very hard job, but its them who gets our stories down onto paper and onto bookshelves.  To any new and anxious writers out there, don't be afraid to allow them to improve on your work- they are professionals and they know what they are doing!

And as for the editors, well, every single editor I have worked with has been a real delight to work with.  I thank you all for being awesome :D


Right, well, I'll be back soon with some more updates, please stay tuned and enjoy the weather!