Tag Archives: Tina Gower

My Exceptionally Late and Exceptionally Brief Post-Sasquan Post

I came, I saw, I choked to death in the apocalyptic-levels of forest-fire smoke. Awesome people were hung-with, I met old friends for the first time, spent time with three-thirds of a brain, created an epic photobomb when I didn’t mean to, and basically had a blast. All while maintaining the utmost professionalism, of course.

I present to you my limited collection of pictures (as I am awful at stopping the party to pull out my phone):

On the Street sasquan

Above: C. Stuart Hardwick, Martin L. Shoemaker, Gama Ray Martinez, Austin DeMarco, Tina Gower

Austin and Beth

Above: Austin n Beth Cato

Jeremy Tina Andrea

Above: Jeremy Honer, Tina Gower, Andrea G. Stewart

Photo 3 by Lezli Robyn

Above: Tina, Kary English, Me, Mike Resnick, Lezli Robyn

Tina n Tardis

Above: Tina, the TARDIS, and Dr. Bashir

At the Hugos!

Me n Jackie

Above: Jacquelyn Bartel n Me

Hugos 1

Above: Gama, Thomas K. Carpenter, Jacquelyn, Jeremy, Andrea

Hugos 2

Above: Stuart and Dominick D’Aunno

Hugos 3

Above: The awards stage, before the place was packed.

After the Hugos!

Photo 1 by Lezli Robyn

Here’s an extremely blurry picture of the Alfies (an award created and distributed and voted upon by GRRM, which you’ve probably heard the run down on by now):

GRRM n alfies

Above: GRRM and company

And the epic photobomb.  Which I actually did not mean to do. Obviously it is the best picture take of me during the con:

photo bomb

Above: John Scalzi and Jason Gurley and me being an idiot (photo by Annie Bellet).

Others took much less–ahem–insane pictures of me as well, here’s an example. Note lack of crazy groundhog face:

Photo 2 by Lezli Robyn

Above: Me n Tina being photobombed by Writer Dad and Robert Silverberg (photo by Lezli Robyn)

Anywho, there’s my drama-free roundup. Informative and controversial, I know.

~Marina

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Stories (by Me and Others) Eligible for Awards this Year

Hello all!  If you by any chance are nominating for either the Nebulas or Hugos, here is a list of my publications from 2014 that are awards-eligible (which excludes  reprints and shared-world stories).

I’ve linked to the stories that are available on line.

Best Short Story category:

Elsa’s Spheres, sci-fi (IGMS)

Imma Gonna Finish You Off, sci-fi humor (Galaxy’s Edge)

A Debt Repaid, sci-fi flash fiction (Lightspeed Magazine, WDSF special issue)

Lenora of the Low, dark fantasy (Fantasy for Good anthology)

Best Novelette category:

Balance, sci-fi (Baen.com) (also won second in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest)

 

And here’s a list of other people’s short work that I recommend. I’m specifically choosing lesser-known pieces that I think deserve far more attention than they’ve received.

Best Short Story category:

The Thing About Shapes To Come by Adam-Troy Castro, sci-fi (Lightspeed Magazine)

Rules For Killing Monsters by David Sklar, dark fantasy (Nightmare Magazine)

Unfilial Child by Laurie Tom, fantasy (Streets of Shadows anthology)

Intersection by Gio Clairval, sci-fi flash fiction (Galaxy’s Edge)

A Dragon’s Doula by M.K. Hutchins, fantasy (IGMS)

Best Novella:

On the Winds of the Rub’ Al-Khali (part 1, part 2), by Stephen Gaskell (IGMS) (ETA: NOTE.  Only part 1 is technically eligible for nomination this year.  The novella will be eligible as a whole next year if part 1 does not make the ballot this year.)

 

And there are a few wonderful people I think you should consider for the Campbell Award for best new writer. I admit to a bias here, seeing as how they are some of my WotF vol. 29 classmates, but I genuinely think they deserve recognition this early in their careers:

Andrea G. Stewart (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, and more)

Tina Gower (Galaxy’s Edge, Black Denim Lit, and more)

Brian Trent (Apex, Analog, and more)

Shannon Peavey (Urban Fantasy magazine, Daily Science Fiction, and more)

 

Go forth, read, nominate!

~Marina

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Happy Reading in 2015!

It’s 2015!  Hope the new year brings you lots of laughs and loves and good stories.  I look forward to sharing more new fiction and new artists’ interviews with you soon!

If you’d like to start 2015 off with warm fuzzies and a good book, might I suggest Fantasy for Good?  It was officially released on December 9th.  Don’t forget that all of the work was donated and the proceeds go to the Colon Cancer Alliance.  This book helps fight cancer!  The anthology contains stories by George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Piers Anthony, Katherine Kerr, Carrie Vaughn, the late Jay Lake and Roger Zelazny.  Not to mention many more.  And I might have something in there, too.  Here’s an excerpt from my story, Lenora of the Low:

Lenora turned to the claw-footed bathtub and pulled the cracked curtain from around its edge. Beyond lay her flesh-garden.

Like insects pinned to a collector’s cardstock, sections of skin lay mounted on fragments of wood in a saline bath.  Small wires slithered into the tub and provided mild shocks every few moments.  The flesh crawled with the energy, flexing and shivering at the stimulation.

Each stolen piece of living tissue equated another day on Earth for a Low One such as she.  Another day beyond the reach of the reaper’s clawing spirit.

Exiting the bathroom, she began preparations for her last harvest.  With giddy, fidgeting fingers, she pulled her tobacco pouch and pipe from their hiding place between the bedsprings and lit up.

Thin smoke curled around her like a halo. Avoiding her grotesque reflection in the vanity mirror, she pulled a small chain with a rose charm from a drawer and secured it around her neck.  It was a reminder that this night didn’t belong to her alone.  She would get her revenge and become a savior all in one glorious swoop.

Click on the cover to pick up a copy:

Fantasy for Good cover

And if you’re looking for yet more great fiction, grab a copy of the Best of Galaxy’s Edge 2013-2014.  It’s the best of the best from the publication’s first year–curated by Mike Resnick.

Click the cover to get a copy:

Best of Galaxy's Edge One

Happy New Year, and happy reading!

 

~Marina

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Song of the Sargasso up at Galaxy’s Edge

Song of the Sargasso is the first story in a new shared-world series from Galaxy’s Edge.

Hundreds of years in the future, we discover that the solar system is encased in a strange region of impassable space, known as the Sargasso Grid.  Those who enter never come back–it’s the Bermuda Triangle of space travel. In Song of the Sargasso, freelance miners attempt to scout out a dwarf planet orbiting just over the Sargasso boundary, but something unexpected threatens to end their operation.  The pilot, Victor Carvalho, grapples  with personal-demons made reality while trying to keep his crew from falling apart. Here’s an excerpt:

Aye, aye, m’lady,

There’s a dragon down below.

Aye, aye, m’lady,

Yet exploring we shall go.  

Don’t give your heart to the red-dusted man,

Don’t give your heart to the Sea.

Please stay steady-on by the dock,

And save your heart for me  

—Chorus. Last transmission from the Illico One.  

***

Victor Carvalho couldn’t hear Kira’s scream, but he sure as hell could see it.

It was plastered on her face, frozen there beneath her space helmet. The image would be forever seared into his memory.

He crouched down on the barren deck of the Illico and reached a shaking hand toward her supine form. She didn’t move—how could she, with her body twisted like that? We shouldn’t have come here. We shouldn’t have reached into God’s domain.

***

Nineteen Hours Before

“All right everyone, we’re about to cross into Sargasso space. If you feel the need to vomit, or strap yourself in tight, maybe say a few prayers, no one will hold it against you.” Victor made a slight course adjustment, then buckled himself into the nav chair.

His cat, a short-haired calico with ‘Starbuck’s limp,’ curled herself up on his lap. “Ready, Dinah?” he asked, running his fingers through her soft fur. “Hold onto your hairballs.”

Though he joked, he didn’t think anything was funny about the extra-solar Sargasso Sea—or the Sargasso Grid, as it was called by those who’d never dare travel out beyond the planets. He watched the computer count down as it estimated their position, and his heart beat faster with every light-second gained. Just remember the money, you can’t beat the money, he told himself.

A lot of hazard pay came with venturing into the Sea, and Victor ticked off all the things he could buy when he got back to Mars. An entire biodome all for himself. A sports-class racing ship. A million swimming pools’ worth of cat food.

… Diapers. Lots of diapers.

There were as many stories about the Sea as there once had been about the edge of the world. Here there be drag-ions, went the old astronaut’s joke. Mythical beasts, mythical particles, it didn’t matter—the region, forming a globe around the solar system starting at 1,260 AUs from the sun, was a very real borderland. Did something swallow the ships out this far, or shut them down? Did they fall into micro black holes, or drop out of existence altogether? No one really knew what happened out in the Sargasso. But one thing was for sure: no one who’d gone more than three light-hours in had ever come back.

You can find the rest here (free to read for the months of November and December): http://www.galaxysedge.com/n9.htm Other writers in the series include Hugo and Nebula nominee, Brad R. Torgersen, my fellow WotF vol. 29 alumni, Andrea G. Stewart and Tina Gower, and authors Lou J. Berger and Alex Shvartsman. Happy reading! ~Marina

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Two New Releases

 
Hi everyone!  Hope your holiday season was very cheery and not too cold.

The first release announcement is for Galaxy’s Edge issue 6.  It contains my quirky little story, “Imma Gonna Finish You Off,” alongside work by my WotF classmates, Tina Gower and Brian Trent.  I think it’s worth checking out the issue just for the chance to read the reprint of Kij Johnson’s “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss.”

The second announcement is for the IGMS Big Book of SF Novelettes. Featuring stories by award-winning authors including Orson Scott Card, Wayne Wightman, Aliette de Bodard, Eric James Stone, Mary Robinette Kowal, Stephen Kotowych, Jackie oGamber, Greg Siewert, Jamie Todd Rubin, Brad Torgersen… and me. 

Check ’em out!

~Marina

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WotF Awards Vid

Hi all!

Below is a video clip from the Vol. 29 Writers and Illustrators of the Future awards ceremony. It contains an introduction to my story, the wonderfully quirky dance choreographed for it, my thank you speech and Tiffany England’s thank you speech. Enjoy, get inspired, and enter the contest!

~Marina

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Writers of the Future Workshop Week and Gala, Part 4, Post Gala

The day after the gala we did a few interviews and had a PR workshop given to us by John Goodwin of Galaxy press. In it we were taught some basics on how to present yourself on camera (be polite, smile, don’t wear white because it wreaks havoc with the lighting), and how to create pithy summaries of our stories. We were each teamed up with a partner to work through some practice questions. Kodiak Julian (author of Holy Days, for which Aldo Katayanagi’s illustration won the IotF gold award) and I practiced together.

Later that day we were treated to a live audio play of one of Hubbard’s short stories. The performance was quite wonderful, and I personally found it a treat.

After that we had a pizza party with our guests and the remaining Judges.

Tuesday was the day we all said good bye, but not before Writers of the Future: The Musical was in full swing. We’d discovered just a few nights before that our group was quite musically inclined. Shannon Peavey (author of Scavengers) treated us to some beautiful a cappella opera, and Alex Wilson sang a quite rousing version of the “Gummy Bears” theme song.

And then we went our separate ways. I stayed in LA for a few more days on a mini vacation with my husband and my dad, which was fun. Highlights included Universal Studios and the Tesla dealer.

And that wraps up my WotF experience. As always, if there are any questions, I am happy to answer them!

~Marina

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Writers of the Future Workshop Week and Gala, Part 3

Here is a links to Part 2 (which contians a link to Part 1).

So, on Wednesday I typed up the following and posted it to WordPress.  Or, at least, I thought I did.  I was surprised to log in today (in order to moderate a comment) and find that there was no Part 3.  Either WordPress glitched on me, or somehow I navigated away from the page before actually hitting publish.  Luckily I save all of my lengthy posts in word docs.   I apologize for not catching the mistake sooner!

So, Sunday was Gala day.  We had a nice breakfast at the hotel in the morning, and then all the ladies were rushed off for hair and makeup (the guys got a couple of hours of down time, I believe.  Which is a fair trade off, since they did have to suffer through tux fittings earlier in the week).

Our beautification was done by cosmetology students, which had its pros and cons.  As we artists and writers were new to our perspective industries and had been learning all week, I liked the idea of furthering education in yet another field.  However, having students instead of pros do the work had its issues.  The woman who did my hair was very nice, but insisted on curling it.  I tried to explain that it would not work (I slept in curlers for my wedding and my hair was perfectly straight six hours after taking them out), but she went for it anyway.  As a result, when I finally made it on stage that night (I was the last writer to give my thank-yous), my hair simply looked like I’d failed to comb it.  And I’d made the mistake of telling my makeup artists that I usually wear smokey-purple eye shadow.  All she heard was purple, apparently, because man, my eyelids were puuuuurpppple.

Other ladies had much more luck–and others, much worse.  But, overall, despite our hits and misses, we all looked quite fantastic once we slipped into our gowns and jewelry.

My husband, father, brother, and step-mom had all flown in for the awards.  It was fantastic to see them all, if it was only for a few minutes.  I’ve been to several awards events with my husband, and at all of them the awards recipients were given specific times to take pictures with their guests.  Not so at the WotF gala.  We winners were rushed from one thing to the next, pictures here, interviews there, but never with our significant others.  The only time I got to spend with my husband was a few minutes on the red carpet out front, and at dinner (I would recommend future winners take dinner time to break out the cameras).  I got to see the rest of my family even less, as they were understandably not invited to the dinner.

The event itself was magnificent.  Beautiful sets, fantastic guest speakers, and wonderful dancers.  A special vignette was preformed for a few of the stories, and I was so glad mine was chosen.  (ETA: one positive point to the mis-post is that I can now share with you the gala clip that includes the dance done for my story, Master Belladino’s Mask.  My speach is in there too, but you can ignore that.)

Everyone’s speeches went well–even when they didn’t go as planned.  Alex Wilson (author of Vestigial Girl) ended up thanking two wives (though he insists he really only has the one).  I was introduced by none other than Larry Niven, who was quite shy and very nice.

After the ceremony we were all whisked away to the signing (this is when most award events afford the recipients some time for pictures with family).  We were seated in a circle emulating book order, which had me between Brian Trent (whose work opens the anthology), and Andrea Stewart (whose story, Dreameater, comes right before mine at the end).

It was a whirlwind event, with everyone in attendance coming by to get their copies of the anthology and calendars signed.

David Wolverton’s son, who had been in a coma for the entire workshop week, woke up for the first time that night, right before the gala started.   It was perfectly serendipitous.

After the signing I got to see my family for a few minutes, to thank them briefly and give hugs before we were once again rushed back to the hotel for an after party–which Joni Labaqui graciously hosted.  Though I don’t remember the exact time, it was pretty late at this point.  Mike Resnick hung out with us for a while, and though I had to tear myself a way relatively ‘early,’ I know many of the winners stayed up until 4am or so.

And that, my friends, was the gala.

There will indeed be a Part 4, as though the awards event was on Sunday, the workshop week wasn’t officially over until Tuesday.

~Marina

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Writers of the Future Workshop Week and Gala, Part 2

Here’s the link to Part 1 if you missed it.

And jumping right into part 2:

Once we turned in our twenty-four hour stories, we got to have some fun (not that whipping out a story, isn’t fun).  We formally met our illustrators and saw their work for the first time.

Down stairs in the ASI building, prints of the story illustrations had been nicely framed and set up on easels in a semi-circle.  The illustrators stood off to the side so that we writers wouldn’t have any indication of who had done what.  Then we had to guess which illustration belonged to our story.  This was nerve wracking for the lot of us– the writers were worried that we wouldn’t be able to recognize which illustration was ours (and that we would thus insult the illustrator), while the illustrators were worried their work might be too different from the writers vision (and that we in turn would be insulted).

I was immediately drawn to the illustration done by Tiffany England.  I made a beeline for it as we came in through the doors.  I thought, This is mine.  I’m pretty sure it’s minePlease, can it be mine?  But I hadn’t even looked at any of the other illustrations yet, so I had to pry myself away and make the rounds.  All of the illustrations were beautiful (Among the notable included the piece done for Marilyn Guttrige’s story, The Ghost Wife of Arlington), but yep, the first one I had been drawn to was the illustration for my story.

After, we writers returned to our seats for some lectures by judges and past winners alike.  It was great to learn about different people’s processes (I think Kevin J. Anderson’s method of writing-by-tape-recorder is the most unique) and publishing experiences.

The next day (day five) we took a field trip to Bang Printing’s facilities to learn about how books get made, to see Writers of the Future Vol. 29 being printed, and to get our first copies.  Christopher Reynaga (author of The Grande Complication) came home with a special find: an un-cut copy with the pages still long and uneven.   The tour was an amazing experience, not just because we got to see the book in all its many stages, but because we did it as a group–authors and illustrators together.  My favorite workshop-week picture was taken here, as a group of us marveled at an un-cut copy of the book (It can be seen here).

After our tour at the printers, we writers went back to do our critique session (while the artists got to play it cool at Disney studios, I might add).  The crits were followed by more guest speakers, including the editor-in-chief of Locus mag (Eric Cline, author of Gonna Reach Out and Grab Ya, had a spirited discussion with her about the pros and cons of self publishing).

That night we had a big group dinner with all of the attending judges and winners, writers and illustrators alike.

Saturday (day six) then consisted of even more wisdom from the pros.  The professional interactions at the workshop, I’d venture to guess, are something newer writers would be hard pressed to get anywhere else.  Sure, you might run into many of the judges at conventions and hear from them on panels, but at WotF they’re there for you, not you and the thousands of other con-goers, just you and your fellow winners.  You could get in-depth education by taking a workshop (many of the judges provide workshops), but that wouldn’t give you such a wide range of people to hear from.

On Saturday we also went to the Ebel theater to do a dry run of the awards ceremony (we all took turns getting on stage and saying whatever came to mind so that the sound crew could make the adjustments needed).  After that we had a brief session with John Goodwin in which he discussed speeches and showed us some examples from previous years, just so that we’d all be comfortable and prepared.  Then we jotted down our thank-you speeches and spent some time practicing (of course, very few of the real speeches ended up much like the practice ones–except for Brian Trent’s (author of War Hero), which included a list of at least 20 names spewed forth in one breath).

The gala really deserves its own post, so I guess I’ll reserve that tale for next week.

Again, if you’ve got any questions, I’m here to answer them!

~Marina

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Writers of the Future Workshop Week and Gala, Part 1

Ok, I’m nearly back on schedule.

The Writers of the Future workshop week was wonderfully educational.  We had two amazing primary teachers, Dave Wolverton and Tim Powers, and a plethora of secondary speakers who all gave their take on different aspects of writing fiction professionally.

When I arrived I was picked up at the airport at the same time as Stephen Sottong (Author of Planetary Scouts), who along with Tina Gower (Author of Twelve Seconds and our Gold Award winner!), was my quarter-mate.  Tina ended up being my roommate for the week, which was fantastic.  After long evenings in the hotel lobby talking to night-owl judges, we’d often go back to the room and stay up a few hours more talking.

The group stayed at the Loews hotel, and walked a few blocks down Hollywood Boulevard every day to the Author Services building.  The writing workshop was taught on the fourth floor, while the illustrator’s was taught on the first in front of the stage for the L. Ron Hubbard Golden Age Theater (where live radio plays of Hubbard’s works are preformed.  We got to see one on the Monday before we left, and it was very well done).

The ASI fourth floor is beautiful, and the area we were taught in is basically one big library (the majority of which is devoted to Hubbard’s works, but there is one wing devoted to the works of WotF winners).  There, Tim, Dave and company instructed us on the ways of the professional.  We received both lessons in craft and in business.

The most amusing thing about the workshop was the constant intrusion of the photographers (who were very nice).  Those pretty pictures you see on the WotF website and newsletter?  They didn’t get that well composed by accident (most of them, anyway).  We were constantly having our table tops rearranged, papers hidden, and drinks removed.  This constituted a bonus lesson in photography.

The most stressful thing about the workshop was by far the twenty-four hour story.  We were given an object, a trip to the library, and a stranger (ok, we had to find the stranger, none were given to us) to inspire a story, then we were expected to produce a completed story(as in, written to the end, not necessarily submission-ready) in twenty-four hours (that’s twenty-four hours writing time.  The inspiration points happened over the previous forty-eight hours or so, so we did have time to think and digest before having to produce words).

On our first workshop day we received our objects.  I was given a box of who-knows-how-old raisins out of Tim’s grab bag.  A few of the other objects included a floppy disk, a magnifying glass, and a hotel room key.

For me, the stressful part came not when we were given the go-ahead to start typing, but when we had to go talk to a stranger.  As a confirmed introvert, striking up a conversation with a random person is not my thing.  But I did it.  Thankfully my stranger was a very nice sunglasses salesman from Turkey (Alisa Alering [Author of Everything You Have Seen] also spoke to a sunglasses salesmen from Turkey–oddly enough, they were not the same person).  A few other people (ahem, Tina) had much more awkward encounters.

The actual writing part went smoothly for me.  I think this is because I’ve had some practice writing stories in a day.  We started writing at 4:00pm and were expected to have our story printed and turned in by 4:00pm the following day.  I was able to write ‘the end’ on a 4,000ish-word draft at around 12:30 or 1:00am, while others were up most of the night.  The next day I edited at my leisure, making sure to strengthen themes and descriptions– other people did not have the same opportunity to rework.

Again, I don’t think writing the story went well for me because of any extra craft skills I possess.  I think it had 100% to do with having written that way multiple times before.   I was able to plan and pace myself accordingly.  If there is one piece of advice I’d give to future workshop attendees, it’s to practice this method ahead of time.

After we turned in our stories, Dave and Tim chose three for us to critique as a group.  For some people, I think this might have been the most stressful part of the twenty-four hour challenge.  A few seemed to dread the thought of their story being pulled from the pile.  Tim and Dave could of course chose whichever stories they wanted by whatever method they wanted, and they joked about throwing the manuscripts down some stairs and picking the ones that flew the farthest.  Apparently mine was quite aerodynamic (a fine quality in a story), as it was picked along with Tina’s and Chrome Oxide’s (Author of Cop for a Day).

I got some very insightful feedback, and have since reworked the story a bit more.  I submitted it for the first time on Tuesday.  If you get a chance to participate in this workshop, do your best to make sure the story you write isn’t a throw away.  Don’t complete the challenge just because you have to–aim to get at least the beginnings of something submitable out of it.  Every story you write is practice and the Big Game all at the same time.  So, it’s ok if you try something and it doesn’t work for you (like writing a story in one sitting), but always do your damndest.

I will return next week with Part 2 of my recap.  There might end up being a Part 3, we’ll just have to see.

If you’ve got any questions about the workshop or twenty-four hour story in particular, feel free to ask!

~Marina

P.S.  I’ve sold another story!  Details soon.

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