About Me

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I'm a published author of short fiction for kids and adults. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. I'm a former content writer for Spirit and Truth publishing on their Living the Word series. I've also worked as a paid book reviewer and as a student editor for The Louisville Review literary magazine. I'm a wife and mom to two great kids, three dogs, and a cat. I love books, movies, gardening, kids, and animals.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Short Hiatus

For the next  couple of weeks I will be taking a short hiatus from posting to my blog. I will be doing my residency for the MFA in Creative Writing I'll be starting this Friday. Once I've gotten through this 10 day residency I hope to resume my normal Tuesday blog posts. Until then, take care and for those fellow writers out there, happy writing!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Space Op - er - a - Da-da-da-da...Da-da-da-da


Apologies for being a day later on my weekly post. I've been doing tons of reading for my upcoming residency and a lot of it has involved some in depth critiquing as well. Plus I had to do some research on my topic. Space opera...

Yes, you read right, I'm going to attempt to explain this popular phenomenon in fiction, film, and TV. I've heard of it before, probably even watched some. But I still wasn't really clear on what it was specifically and who had written this kind of work. Hopefully, this post will help clear up some of the mystery for those of you who were curious about this subgenre of science fiction.

Why, you may be wondering am I suddenly interested in space opera? I'll tell you. Tor is doing a open submission for novella length fiction all throughout the month of May. For those of you interested in writing this type of fiction here is the link to the submission guidelines:


If you submit, best of luck with your submission piece. For the rest of you who are just curious as to what space opera is, here is the definition that popped up when I searched for it on the internet.

space op·er·a
noun
NORTH AMERICANinformal
  1. a novel, movie, or television program set in outer space, typically of a simplistic and melodramatic nature. (definition courtesy of Google)

I'm sure that makes everything clear as mud, right? Well...maybe not. Here is a little more info on what space opera is. It is a subgenre of sci-fi that has actually been around quite a while. It began to gain a following in the 1920's and 30's when science fiction magazines began publishing these space dramas and billing them as "super science epics" (Wikpedia, original sited wiki source, Gary Westfahl, Space and Beyond: The Frontier Theme in Science Fiction, 1 January, 2000). The term space opera is believed to be coined from the term soap opera, which were popular series radio dramas during the 20's and 30's and sponsored mainly by soap manufacturing companies. The main difference initially between space operas and soap operas being that space operas take place entirely in outer space.

Originally space operas were very optimistic in nature with larger than life super heroes fighting evil doers in some other galaxy or on another planet in outer space and trying to save humanity. The subgenre has involved over time, however, growing darker and moving away from "triumph of mankind" template and also becoming more scientifically rigorous in their world building and the technology used. Without bogging you down in too much information about this subgenre, this is a very short summary of what space opera is and some info on how it evolved.

Here are some examples of space opera in both literature and film/tv for your reading or viewing pleasure:

Literature:

The Skylark series (1928-1965) by E.E. "Doc" Smith
The Foundation series (1942-1999) by Isaac Asimov
The Ender's Game series (1985-present) Orson Scott Card
Hyperion Cantos (1989-1996) by Dan Simmons
Saga of Seven Suns (2002-2008) and The Saga of Shadows (2014-present) by Kevin J. Anderson
Legend of the Galactic Heroes (1982-present) by Yoshiki Tanaka
Imperial Radch (2013-present) by Anne Leckie

Film/TV:

Star Wars franchise created by George Lucas (1977-present)
Battle Star Galactica created by Glen A. Larson and Ronald D. Moore (1978-1979 and 2004-2009)
Babylon 5 franchise created by J. Michael Straczynski (1993-present)
Guardians of the Galaxy franchise created by James Gunn (2014-present)

(Both lit. and film/tv lists found via wikipedia.com)

Also, the popular video game Halo (2001-present) created by Bungie is considered a type of space opera (source, wikipedia.com)

So, there you have it. Space opera is a popular subgenre of science fiction that many of you might be familiar with and didn't even realize it. This is also what Tor is most looking for in their open novella submissions for this month. If this is right up your alley, then I hope this helps if you plan to take advantage of Tor's open submissions period. If not, well now you can sound smart and ultra informed about space operas. Maybe you can tackle this interesting subgenre yourself and be the next big thing in fiction or film.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Wizards, Princesses, and Time Travelers




Over the winter and early spring I did a pretty good job of staying away from the library. It helped me make a small dent in my to-be-read pile of books which had grown again over Christmas. I managed to read Persuasion, finally by Jane Austen. I also read a fun new fantasy by J.C. Nelson called Free Agent.

Photo of owned copy of this book




Things were progressing rather well. I even managed to read a few books at the same time. Sometimes I have to do this in order to keep up with the books I'm supposed to be reading for book club or research purposes for one of my novels. Then I hit a book slump. Maybe you're familiar with these. You start reading a book that you thought sounded really good. When you received it as a present you were excited and couldn't wait to crack the cover and get started. Only to find that even though the prose was nice and the character seemed likable enough, the pace was too slow and you just found other things to read as you waded through it. I hate to give up on a book like this, especially when someone has given it to me as a gift. So, I read some of my assigned reading for my writing class. While I was traveling I checked out an audiobook from the library to listen to, and I continued to slog through the book from my pile. I eventually finished it, but this book slump resulted in me visiting the library more than I should have and discovering a few graphic novels as well as checking out the hard cover version of the audiobook I was still listening to, the latest in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, Written in My Own Heart's Blood.


I can't say I'm sorry for veering away from my to-be-read pile again. I absolutely love Diana Gabaldon's books. And reading up on Harry Dresden (from Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series) in graphic novel form was entertaining. Especially, since Mr. Butcher mentioned in the introduction that the illustrator was "spot on" at capturing what Harry looks like. I also discovered another graphic novel series called Fables by Bill Willingham. In these novels the characters from fairy tales, folklore, and classic fantasy stories are forced to leave their magical homes to live in disguise as ordinary humans in New York City. Of course, things don't proceed happily ever after from there. Murders and infighting ensue and it is up to assistant mayor, Snow White, and a reformed Big Bad Wolf, now Bigby Wolf, the in house detective to solve the crime and catch the perpetrators. The stories are entertaining for anyone who might like a noir version of fairy tales told in graphic novel form. Though, I wouldn't recommend these to younger kids, maybe older young adults instead. Once I get through these books I fully intend to get back to my to-be-read pile again, starting with a mystery about novel characters dislocated from their stories called the Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I'll let you know what I thought of it. In the meantime, I'd better get back to reading if I ever hope to catch up...



Pic of my personal copy of this book