Tag Archives: discussion

Light at the End of the Tunnel

light

Well, it’s done. The last scene needed to complete the manuscript for book three of my Papilion Trilogy, Berserker, is done. All that’s left to do it to blend the snippets into the main story, to diligently consider the beta readers’ feedback I received (some of which is still on the way), and then hit the last rounds of editing.

I won’t lie. I felt like giving up. This has been the toughest year in writing yet, and there were more than a few periods when I felt like walking away. It’s tough to be a writer, tougher when resources are financially out of reach, when human resources are scarce (reviewers, beta readers), and when Life keeps getting in the way. Discouragement and lack of motivation were constant enemies; we wrestled a lot.

When I started The Purple Morrow four years ago or so, I had one book in mind. I purposely wrote a simple story, being that it had a complex theme : exploring self-doubt and loss and what it takes to move on, in a fantasy context. That grew to two books—Wolf’s Bane literally became the bane of my existence for 2 years, and Berserker—well, yeah. I was often two hairs shy of losing it more than once. … …Funny how the book titles see, to reflect my mental state at the time of writing…

Anyway, the end is in sight. Berserker started as a writing challenge :  write a million words in a year. I started out great—in two months I had about 50k or something. But then I hit a block and let the manuscript sit. I worked on other things while periodically going back and adding to it. But there were challenges, the main one being: How to write a satisfying trilogy ending? Some people have been faithful, reading all the books, they are invested in the characters and what’s happening to them, screaming at the end of book 2 and rabid for more–

Don’t you sometimes feel that writing the ending of a story is tough? So coming to writing the ending of a trilogy…

I was afraid of screwing it up.

Actually, I lied. I haven’t written the ending yet. But I will. I’m waiting for the editing to pull the story threads together to inspire the right ending in order to satisfy my readers. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, I guess this is a thank you to everyone who has read my books, who has motivated and encouraged me with their comments and feedback and support. Know that you played an important role in getting this project finished. 🙂

So, back to work! Still lots to do but at least now there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I’d love to hear your writing stories, both good and bad. Are you struggling, or riding the wave of success? Tell me about it 🙂

 

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Crossroads and a New Direction

Sometimes we come to a crossroads in our lives where we have to make a choice and/or change direction. For the last little while, those of you who follow my blog might have noticed a sharp decrease in the number of posts and overall level of activity. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the foremost reason is that I have been steadily coming to that Crossroad in my life personally as well as creatively.

crossroads

I am a writer, and I am a Christian. The latter isn’t something I broadcast with a bullhorn, as I’ve always felt more comfortable just living and doing my best to show who I am by actions rather than words. Words not backed by actions are empty anyway; I guess I figure why waste precious breath?

I’ve been online for years, participating in various groups and interacting with numerous people, and one thing has struck me: there are a lot of Christians Creatives like me (artists, writers, actors, musicians) floating around cyberspace. I can really only speak to the writing world since I know it best, but I’m thrilled to see the variety and innovation of what these Creatives have produced. I was never a fan of the ‘western’ Christian romance novels that were all the rage (and standard) throughout my teen years, for example, and I craved the imagination-stirring visions offered in my favorite secular science fiction and fantasy novels. Over time, quality offerings in these genres became more common in Christian bookstores (yes!). However, when compared to Bibles and devotionals, fiction, and more specifically, speculative fiction, remain but a small portion of what is consumed in the marketplace.

So where am I going with this?

I want to do my part to change this. I know how hard I’ve worked over the last few years to learn my trade and to improve my craft, and I know I’m not the only one who wishes to make more of an impact with my creations. Also, despite all the contacts and connections I’ve made, I’ve never really found ‘my place’–I often feel caught between the secular and Christian worlds. I figure I can’t be the only one. So, I’ve been turning over a bunch of ideas of how to better support Christian Creatives (and not just authors) and I have some thoughts, including the start of a new blog and other services for that purpose. But I’d also like to hear from other Christian Creatives out there: What do you think would be helpful in order to improve exposure, support, community building, etc?

For those who are wondering, this blog will remain but it will continue to be writing-oriented and independent of my new endeavor. 🙂

Thanks for reading! If you have comments, drop me a line below. Have a great week!

Author Feature Hosted by Maggie Tideswell

Maggie Tideswell posted my author feature on her blog today, and it came out great! If you want to know why I write fantasy, what it means to me, and my goals in writing my stories, check it out here: Trust me, it’s worth it!

dyane

Also, check out Maggie’s author feature on Dropped Pebbles here:

Quirky Fiction Interviews Me

Dyane FordeThanks to Simon Wilson for hosting me for this wonderful interview. Loved it! Please click here to have a look 🙂

 

Conferences and Public Speaking: Cairo Amani Reveals Another Side of Writing

Hello, all! I’m always thrilled when my friends do something cool when it comes to writing. I recently learned that Cairo Amani, who has graced us with their presence many times already, has done something extremely neat: spoken at an arts conference about literature. So, of course I had to find out more.  Please stick around! You won’t want to miss it, and if you’re interested in this kind of activity, maybe this will encourage you to get out there and try it. 🙂

Cai! It’s great to have you back. Can you summarize the purpose of this conference?

Steampunk to Afrofuturism was a two-day conference that offered space for writers, musicians, artists, and academicians to explore, expand upon, and rethink the implications of speculative humanities

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Why was it important to you to participate in it?

Science Fiction and Fantasy is such a huge part of our world and our upbringing and it has the potential for so much more than we realize. We are born hearing fairy tales not realizing that those fairy tales did and still can have relevance to our everyday lives. We use fantasy stories to teach kids, manners, trust, respect and then we stop. But what if we continued? The conference asked us as readers and artists to rethink the implications of Speculative Humanities–and we absolutely should.

I love those points about how, at a certain point, we stop using fantasy to teach and to socialize youth, as well as to deal with important life questions. I believe childhood that thirst for the fantastic never really goes away, and that we continue to seek it in some forms throughout our lives.

How did you go about getting to be a speaker?

Most events have a “Call for Papers”. I try to do a search for calls weekly, to see if there are any that pertain to speculative fiction, that are open (no membership required) and where my subject matter may fit. Then I send in an abstract, which is a short summary of my presentation. Then I wait–because so much of writing is about waiting.

How did you manage your nerves?

image (1)I am not sure I ever did. I went with friends, I called my best friend on the phone just minutes before the panel began–and then I made the audience laugh. Throughout my entire career my plan has always been to make the audience laugh. When you open with a joke the crowd is ready to trust you–when you laugh with the crowd, you become ready to trust them.

How does speaking at this event fit into your long-term writing goals?

My ten-year goal is to be a professional scholar–meaning I’d be completely self-sustained by writing, teaching and public speaking. Writing queer people and people of color into mainstream stories is my form of activism. But those stories tend to be less popular on shelves. Meaning, I have to work twice as hard to find a place for my stories, to make a place for my stories. Public speaking allows me to show people that there is a need while also inspiring them to fill the need–so I’m not the only one.

What was your favorite part of the experience?

After the whole thing was over, there was a luncheon for all the speakers. I feel like it’s super rare that I get to sit around a table with a bunch of other Nerds of Color and talk shop. It was exhilarating!

 What was the essence of what you spoke about?

image (2)My presentation “Harry Potter Could’ve Saved Michael Brown” addressed how more diversity in children’s literature could lesson Xenophobia as those children grow to be adults. It also touched on how diverse literature that already exists could easily replace the texts we do read.

Message to our readers today?

Life isn’t Tetris, there’s not always going to be a place for you to snuggly fit yourself. But don’t let that discourage you. Think about where you want to be and then create that space. Don’t wait for people to realize they need you–show them they need you. Then be present.

… … ‘life isn’t Teris’. Love that.

How can readers contact you to learn more about you and your future activities?

Please visit my website to shoot me an email. There is also a “Find Cai” tab-which leads you to my calendar. http://www.cairoamani.com. I hope to speak to you soon.

Thanks for checking out Cai’s incredible experience. Please leave Cai a message below and/or go check out her website and drop her a line there. Also, she is speaking at an event this weekend called: AFROFUTURISM | Conference: Designing new narratives to empower the African Diaspora. Check out the Facebook page for details!

Have a great rest of the week!