Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Inside The Writer's Mind: A Sarah Gailey Exclusive

Jayna Bosse's Interview with SF/F/H Author Sarah Gailey

Photo © Raj Anand 2017

With her constant award nominations and her high ranking in the finals of the Hugo and Campbell awards, author Sarah Gailey is definitely an author to keep an eye on. With pieces such as River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, it behooves all Sci-Fi readers to keep an eye on her! To get an inside look into her world, we’ve asked Sarah Galy a few questions to get to know her a little bit better and explore what prompted such influential pieces in the literary world.

JB: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

SG: I would tell my younger writing self to listen more than she talks, but to never think that she is required to go along with anything that doesn't feel right in her career.

On a more granular level, I would tell her to read critiques as though they're required edits. While not every critique is valid, looking at one's work as though one absolutely MUST address every critique is a great way to reexamine authorial assumptions, and my work has always become stronger as a result.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Autumnal Musings and Goodbyes

Jack 2006 – 2017
Early in the morning of October 9, my wife and I had to say goodbye to our dog, Jack, who had been suffering from a cancerous tumor. Despite the fact he was a 120+ lb dog, he's always been my little guy, happy to be anywhere, as long as he was at my side. In years past, that was often on the hiking trail. In recent years, it was more often on the carpet alongside my writing desk. It's bizarre and sad working from home now without him here anymore, but I'm glad he's not suffering anymore, at least.

The science fiction and fantasy community also suffered a loss this October with the passing of author ElizaBeth Gilligan. I met Beth last year at a convention, and she was kind enough to invite me to join her local writers group. As part of that group, she provided invaluable feedback on my work-in-progress, The Beasts of Qaza, and I had the pleasure of reading her work-in-progress, a sprawling fantasy novel about a tribe of women wylf soldiers. She and her husband were also gracious enough to give me advice on being a parent and a writer. I regret that Beth didn't get a chance to meet my daughter after she was born, and my sympathies go out to her husband and the rest of her family. Beth was a kind and wonderful person, and she'll be missed.

Friday, August 11, 2017

What Will be the Next Breakout SF/F Novel?

Sure, we've all heard of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Game series, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, and more recently Nnedi Okorafor's Binti series, but what are some new under-the-radar SF/F pieces that deserve their time in the spotlight? Sometimes the best pieces are the ones found in the nooks and crannies of the literary universe; you just have to dig hard enough to find them. We took the Minotaur by the horns and have compiled a few book recommendations from esteemed SF/F reviewers to give you some suggestions on what book to pick up next!

Reading Recs from the Pros

Marion Deeds from FantasyLiterature.com

Image result for certain dark thingsCertain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I thought I had hit my vampire threshold until I read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Certain Dark Things. (My review at fantasyliterature.com is here.) Morena-Garcia shows us a new take on supernatural bloodsucking creatures, and she provides a gritty, Gibsonian Mexico City as a backdrop. The book gives us novelty by creating various “races” of vampires; our main character, Atl, is from a line indigenous to the Americas. She is described as avian and her family crest is the hummingbird. Other vamps are more in the Bram Stoker tradition, and there is infighting among the bloodlines. Atl, a rebellious party girl, is the sole survivor of an attack on her clan by an encroaching vampire crime family, and she’s fled to the supposedly vampire-free Mexico City. As you might imagine, it’s not vampire-free at all. Once there, she enlists the aid of a scrappy human street kid named Domingo. The descriptions of Mexico City are sharp, by turns gritty, beautiful and romantic.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dreamrush: Free Download and Author Q&A

Good news! The Kindle version of my short story collection, Dreamrush, is available to download for free on Amazon.com for the rest of the week (8/8/17 – 8/12/17). Get your free download here.

To celebrate, my intern-extraordinaire, Jayna Bosse, and I are hosting an author Q&A over on Facebook. So please do head on over there to hit me up with whatever burning questions you have, either about the stories in the book, the writing process, my favorite color, etc., etc. (after downloading the free book first, of course).

Lastly, to get some intel on the stories in the book (in case you're still not convinced), here's a great story-by-story review of Dreamrush from steampunk author Robyn Bennis.

Enjoy!

-Garrett Calcaterra

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Introducing Jayna Bosse

As an emerging author, I’m always looking for unique ways to get my work out there and connect with new readers, so when author John Fox, a good friend of mine, mentioned that he had worked with student interns to help him with his popular writing website, Bookfox, the gears started spinning in my head. After contemplating the idea for a while, I decided to bring on an intern of my own to work with me as a writing assistant.

Intern extraordinaire, Jayna Bosse 
As luck would have it, Jayna Bosse, the applicant who ended up being the most qualified and enthusiastic, is a student at the Orange County School of Arts (OCSA) Creative Writing Conservatory, a high school writing program that was founded by author James P. Blaylock and brags Tim Powers as a master teacher. And oh yeah, and I used to teach there, too (although I left before Jayna became a student there).

In speaking to her during the interview process, I could tell right away that Jayna and I were on the same page. She’s already a strong writer, has great ideas, and is enthusiastic to learn more. In addition to helping me with the business end of my writing, she’ll also be writing here on this blog. With that in mind, she was kind enough to share some thoughts about herself in the way of an introduction to readers.


GC: So Jayna, when I was there teaching at OCSA, students in the Creative Writing Conservatory really embraced sci-fi, fantasy, and geek culture in general. Have things changed much, or is there still a healthy love for SF/F among students?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mowing Down Greenhouse Gases

Global warming finally captured mainstream news headlines last week when reality star President Trump declared he would pull the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. While withdrawing from the agreement will have negative environmental and economic ramifications that won't manifest themselves for years, maybe even decades, I won't pretend to be surprised by this turn events, just like I wasn't surprised by the Dakota Access Pipeline getting rammed through. I've long believed that any meaningful action to curb global warming would come from the private sector and local efforts.

To that end, it's been encouraging to see cities like Pittsburgh pledge to go 100% renewable, and cities like Oakland block the construction of coal terminals in their ports, largely thanks to pressure from local groups. Similarly, municipalities, academic institutions, and churches have been divesting from the fossil fuel industry. All of these efforts began well before Trump became president and can continue despite his efforts to gut environmental regulations.

My electric, mulching mower has a
lot of miles on it...for good reason
As individuals, we have little control of federal legislation, but we can take individual efforts and band together to put pressure on businesses and local governments.

One avenue that I feel has been overlooked is a simple one: mulching our lawns instead of bagging out the grass clippings. I know, I know, it sounds sort of stupid, but hear me out.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

I'm Now an Author/Dad

Introducing Ruby, my new excuse
for not getting work done!
If I've been quiet online for the last month, and I have, it's because my wife gave birth to our daughter. I'm happy to announce that both she and my wife, Mandy Burke, made it through labor just fine and are happy and healthy.

This is our first child, and as we were warned, the first month has been a blur. Needless to say, I've done little in the way of fiction writing (and by "little" I mean none). Each day is getting easier, though, and I'm looking forward to the prospect of getting back in the saddle again.

Apart from becoming a new dad, I don't have much in the way of news, but it does appear that there's been a price reduction for the Kindle editions of Dreamwielder and Souldrifter. Cheap is good, right? I'm not sure how long the prices will stay there, so I'd jump on board with  the series quickly if you're thinking about giving it a whirl.

-Garrett Calcaterra