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"Where do you get your ideas?"

Writers write what we know, teasing out bits of truth to flavor our fiction.  Here is one such truth.  Somewhat squicky pictures below.  You've been warned.

It's all started here.

Before
Before

A small sore on the side of my nose turned out to be a schlerocizing basal cell rodent tumor with an aggressive hysology (i.e., it grew fast and ate away at the flesh.)  In March of 2016 ...continue reading Phobias, and Where Stories Come From

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Dear Me of 1995,
 
Well, today's the day. Today you will stand in front of friends, family to marry Doug Odell, your best friend. Yes, it's hot, yes, you're six months pregnant and would rather be in shorts and a t-shirt. You can change after the ceremony.
 
You're frightened you're making another mistake; after all, this is your second go at marriage and we both know how well the first one turned out. Hang tight. You made the right choice. 21 years later, you are still together. Oh, there have been ups and downs, but in the end the good far outweighs the bad. I know, I know, it sounds cliche. It isn't. Trust me on this. I've lived the life that is ahead of you. I know these things.

...continue reading A Letter To Myself, 21-Years Later

Much like ice cream, garlic, and really good chocolate, there are a variety of podcasts to suit every taste in fiction.  (What do you mean you don't like garlic?  That's just not right.)

*ahem*

Hugo Award-winning LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE burst onto the interwebz in June of 2010.  Under the leadership of editor John Joseph Adams, it soon merged with its sister FANTASY MAGAZINE and became one of the premiere markets for short fiction, and quality podcasts produced by Skyboat Media.  You can ...continue reading HEAR THAT? Lightspeed Magazine

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"The difference between shame and guilt is the difference between 'I am bad' and 'I did something good'."   -Dr. Brene Brown

Yesterday I did a good thing.  I shared something BIG with my husband, the man who holds my heart and has my back, and with that telling I was ashamed.

(Yeah, yeah, I know.  I have nothing to be ashamed of, I'm a good person, be strong, be proud of myself.  Another moody writer, blah, blah, blah. Moving on.)

Shame is depression's Child.  It strips away the good and strong, proves to me I am not worthy, shatters joy.  Shame follows depression and diabetes everywhere, laughs at the same jokes, eats what they eat.  Oh, yes.  Double fudge chocolate malts with extra malt, a bacon burger with extra bacon, a large order of onion rings, and a slice of pecan pie, warm, with whipped cream, for dessert.  And a Sprite Zero, of course.  Have to watch those blood sugars, don't'cha know.

Since starting therapy (mumbled) years ago, I have made considerable, if often painful, progress.  Every day I struggle to reclaim what my father and ex-husband have taken away.  A good friend would say progress not perfection.  I recognize that I am better off now than I was when I made that first call for help; ;I also recognize that I have far to go.  I am only now coming to grips with the jagged pieces of my childhood, and in part that entails another phase of addressing my abusive relationship with food.

So, where does this leave me and why am I sharing all this?  Maybe to hold myself accountable.

I use food for the same reason an alcoholic drink and a drug addict uses (I do not consider marijuana in this category.  Deal with it.).  Food is friend, comfort, and executioner rolled into one.  I deserve to have diabetes because I am a bad person.  I eat to console myself, drug myself, then punish myself with more food because my blood sugar numbers are already horrific.  Eat to console, eat to punish.  Rinse, repeat.

Yesterday I started Jardiance, a medication that promotes the body to pass even more sugar through the urine.  I feel like roadkill.  The med has made a significant difference in my sugars, by as much as 70 points at some readings, and now my body is convinced I'm having a permanent low blood sugar and I must EAT ALL THE THINGS.  I'M DYING!  GET THE SUGARS BACK UP WHERE THEY BELONG.  MOAR!  MOAR!!!

Depression is one of the cornerstones of my often tenuous mental health.  It fuels the diabetes which in turn fuels the depression, and shame feeds off them both  Talk about a co-dependent relationship.

Stay tuned. . .

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I found myself writing upstairs yesterday.  "Are you sure you want to do that?" I said.

Myself didn't look up from the monitor.  "Mmmmm?"

"Write that novel.."

Myself nodded, still not looking up.  "Mmmhmm."

I dropped onto the couch, sending the cat running.  "The first one hasn't even sold."

"It will."

"You hope."

That earned an eyebrow but ...continue reading So I Says To Myself. . .

Let's hear it for podcasts!

See what I did there?  See?  See?. . .suit yourself.

THE DRABBLECAST may well be my favorite fiction pocast.  It certainly is the one I've listened to longest, introduced by a friend who thought I would appreciate the show's mission to bring "strange stories, by strange authors, to strange listeners such as yourself", and I am happy to say I've been a fan ever since.  THE DRABBLEAST looks at weird fiction not only as ann expression of other genres, but as a genre of its own.  From ...continue reading HEAR THAT? The Drabblecast

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I'm not a writer, I'm an imposter, not that you can tell because I writer like a writer doing writerly stuff.  Handy that, yes?

Imposter syndrome is a professional hazard writers know well.  We are dreamers, schemers, plotters, purveyors.  Loud, obnoxious personal demons insist we're fakes and phoneys.  Even the likes of the immensely talented Neil Gaiman has fallen prey to imposter syndrome.  As he said in his "Make Good Art" Keynote Address at the University of the Arts in 2012:

"The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you. It's Imposter Syndrome, something my wife Amanda christened the Fraud Police.

In my case, I was convinced that there would be a knock on the door, and a man with a clipboard (I don't know why he carried a clipboard, in my head, but he did) would be there, to tell me it was all over, and they had caught up with me, and now I would have to go and get a real job, one that didn't consist of making things up and writing them down, and reading books I wanted to read. And then I would go away quietly and get the kind of job where you don't have to make things up any more."

I sometimes wonder what it would be like if other professions had this problem.  Can you picture a surgeon worrying that someone will figure out he doesn't actually cut and only draws marks on his patients in red and black ink?  Or a firefighter convinced someone will suddenly figure out he can't really put out fires?

So, yeah, I'm an imposter.  How do I know this?  Because people actually think I'm a writer!  Can you believe that?  I can't.  Yeah, sure, I put marks on paper or a computer screen, and sometimes people read them, but that doesn't make me a writer.  Any day now I'll hear that knock on the door and open it to find Neil Gaiman's guy with a clipboard standing there, waiting to take my computer and hand me a McDonald's uniform.

But don't fret.  Even this blog post is a clever ploy to bolster my writerly façade.  I've fooled plenty of people.  It's what imposters do.  Writers I greatly admire remark on posts I make on Twitter!  I've exchanged emails and conversed face to face with editors!  People have complimented me on the author spotlights I've done for LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE and NIGHTMARE MAGAZINE. Not once, not twice, but three times, three times mind you, a complete stranger has contacted me out of the blue to compliment me on one of my stories.  I'm an imposter, I tell you!

*sigh*

Yeah, so about that. . .

Some days it's harder than others to convince myself that I am, in fact, a writer.  I am certain that I am one rejection slip away from being found out.  Every writer is.  If I had a nickel for every time I've heard even award-winning, bestselling writers talk about their own imposter syndromes, I'd have plenty of overused metaphors to continue that comparison.  The secret to winning out against the imposter?   Keep writing.  At least that's what I do; not for readers, or editors, or the neighbor's dog, but for myself.  Most days I don't like what I've written; some days I do.  Write hundreds of words, thousands, write until I'm exhausted, write a single line and break down because I'll never be able to write again.

Write.  That's it.  Perhaps someone will read it, even like it enough to seek out more of my work.  Write the imposter to death until the next time she shows up and I writer her down again.  Maybe someday I'll be a writer pretending to be an imposter pretending to be a writer.  Nice work if you can get it.

There are thousands of podcasts floating in the podsphere, but what about the talented people behind them?  I recently had the opportunity to ask Alasdair Stuart of the Escape Artists family of podcasts a few questions about podcasting, EAs future, and herding cats.

 

Alasdair Stuart, Man of WordsAlasdair2

 

Let's start with the standard boilerplate question. How did you become involved with podcasts in general and Escape Artists, Inc., in particular? ...continue reading LISTEN UP: Who Was That Masked Man? (An Interview Alasdair Stuart)