BrightGod progress (sorta). Thoughts on voice.

So, this weekend I scrapped what I’d done on BrightGod and started over. Again.

The first version died at 1500 words. This one was almost 5000. Pew pew pew, as they say in video game land. Poof.

I’d like to think it’s a sign of my growth as a writer that this doesn’t bother me anymore. Continue reading ›

Con contemplation; the art of the schmooze

I’m thinking about going to World Fantasy Con. I’ve never gone before, mostly because I’ve always thought of that particular con as being primarily for pros. And though last year I finally became a pro by SFWA standards via short stories, I still didn’t think I was pro “enough” for WFC. I mean, what if the halls were filled with published novelists all standing around and asking each other, “So, when’s your next book out?”

…Yeah, OK. I didn’t really think that.

Well. Maybe a little.

Continue reading ›

Octavia Butler’s birthday is today (June 22)

And in honor of her memory, I and other members of the Carl Brandon Society are posting about her. That link, BTW, will take you to the Carl Brandon Society’s scholarship page, which helps pay for one writer of color to attend a Clarion workshop. Clarion, as you know Bob, is the premier writers’ workshop in the speculative fiction field, and in its various iterations has been running for more than 30 years now. Clarion is also where Octavia Butler was “discovered”, so to speak; she sold her first story there. And while I myself never went to Clarion or any six-weeker workshop (never had the vacation time… though Viable Paradise, the one-week version, was a pretty solid substitute IMHO), I’m grateful that Octavia went and used this to springboard her career. Because if she hadn’t become a writer, I’m not sure I would be writing today. It would’ve been all too easy to give in to the little voices in the back of my mind, or the not-so-little voices from doubters among my loved ones, who insisted that my dream was unrealistic at best, laughable at worst. She was my clarion call — the lonely beacon in the wilderness letting me know that I was on the right track, that someone had been along the path before me, and that it was possible to reach the end.

So — thanks, Ms. Butler. If memory is the only true immortality, then may you live forever.

(And if you among the still-mortal would like to remember her in a more substantial way, please consider donating to the Butler Scholarship fund!)

There ARE stupid questions.

So it’s been almost 4 weeks since I found out my novel was going to be published. It’s been a whirlwind few weeks and there have been a lot of changes in my life as a result, mostly good. But I’ve also had some variation on the following conversation three times.

Me: So, yeah, 3-book deal, big advance, writer’s dream, really happy, woo hoo!

Random person: Wow, that’s great! Congrats! So what kind of book is it?

Me: It’s epic fantasy about a girl who gets wrapped up in a cosmological love triangle/political conspiracy. (Note: this is my current elevator blurb, subject to change.) First of a trilogy.

RP: Amazing! So, why do you write fantasy?

Note: the first time I got this question (long before the book deal), I thought nothing of it. But usually and especially lately it’s led to some predictable followup questions, so I’m now beginning to dread this one. Continue reading ›

Viable Paradise — apply thru June 30th!

In 2002, I attended a one-week writers’ conference on Martha’s Vineyard called Viable Paradise. It was a transformative experience in more ways than one. Not only did I get over my arrogant refusal to touch short stories, I also hooked in with a top-notch writers’ group, the BRAWLers. (Formerly Boston Area SF Writers — they decided they needed a punchier name. GET IT? Punch — er, right, yeah.) VP and the BRAWLers kicked my wishy-washy, undisciplined ass into professional gear. I learned to set goals, and take small but measurable steps toward them. I learned the importance of persistence. I gained mentors — though stupidly and out of shyness I haven’t kept in touch with them the way I should. ::sigh:: I still learned a lot about networking, and did a better job of it with future mentors. And most importantly of all, I started seriously trying to get published at that point. I didn’t become a pro writer by SFWA standards ’til last year*, but I was already a pro writer where it mattered most — in my heart. All thanks to VP.

Plus I had a lot of fun, made some good friends, got to look at bioluminescent jellyfish, and — hey. Martha’s Vineyard, OK?

You, too, can experience the awe and mystery that is VP! There’s still time to apply for this year’s class, through June 30th. IMO, VP is comparable to Clarion, Milford, and all the other big-name writers’ workshops. It’s just, uh, smaller.Trust me; it’s the best way an aspiring writer could ever possibly blow a week’s vacation. =)

*Technically I’m still not a pro by SFWA standards — still haven’t gotten a contract or payment for the Baen’s sale or the book deal. ::sigh::

OK. Let’s try this again.

This is my new, new blog. Hiya.

MICHIO KAKU OMGWTFBBQ SQUEEEEEEE

…Sorry. Random fangirl-mode attack, couldn’t help myself. Because today I got my contributor copies of Riffing on Strings, the anthology of fiction, poetry, and essays inspired by string theory, from Scriblerus Press. It’s a beautiful trade-paperback volume, packed and hefty at 250+ pages, nicely typeset, with lovely illustrations. My story “Too Many Yesterdays, Not Enough Tomorrows” is reprinted therein, along with a number of other great pieces, including an essay by MICHIO KAKU OMG OMG O–

::whacks self, sighs:: Sorry. There’s other good stuff in the volume — my favorite is a psychedelic Greek-mythology-based short story called “Arachne”, by Elissa Malcohn, first printed in Aboriginal Science Fiction way back in 1988 — but you can see what has me all squeally.

Go buy eeeet. Free sample to read there, along with a full list of contributors. And if you like it, do us a favor and either a) write an Amazon review, b) pass along the plug, or c) both of the above.

Top 10 Obscure-but-superb DIVERSE SF/F Novels

Read the explanation here on the Feminist SF blog, then go add your own! Some good choices already listed in the comments; now I know what I’ll be reading at the beach this summer.

So, here we go…

Welcome, welcome. This is the blog of author N. K. Jemisin. You can call me Nora. I’m not new to blogging, but I am new to the whole soon-to-be-published author thing, so bear with me as I learn to play with the big kids. =)

My published short stories are available in the left-hand column, if you’d like a sample taste of my stuff. As for the rest, well, that’s coming:

Orbit is excited to announce the acquisition of a debut fantasy trilogy that combines the politics of George R. R. Martin with the magic of Neil Gaiman. The trilogy will open with THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS in Fall 2009.

Got this today. Do big kids squee? ‘Cos I think a squee is appropriate right about now. I can’t see how a little squee would hurt. Are we all agreed? ‘Kay? Then here goes.

::SQUEE::