Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Two Paragraph TED Talk

My Two Paragraph TED Talk
Keep Reading, 
The Good Stuff is at the Bottom
by Linda Robertson

A few weeks ago, seeing this blog topic coming, I grew excited. I'd seen a few TED speeches and found then very uplifting and encouraging. My topic options rolled around inside my head. (I think it might have gotten stuck in my allergy-polluted sinuses. Truth, sorry.)

Then life happened. Major Important Stuff At Work (the kind that leaves you grateful to just shut
your mind off when you get home). My mom was, and is, sick. There have been extra errands to do. I'm going to ConCarolina's Thursday (SQUEE and, seriously, you know prepping for a con takes a bit of time and mental real estate). A holiday weekend happened. Yardwork happened.

Excuses all. Valid, but excuses. I wanted to write for this topic. IMHO, I think I can be positive and encouraging. But I prioritized other things and suddenly, here it is. TED day.

Damn it. That's the lesson.


As a mom, as a writer, homeowner, employee, and all those other titles that I juggle, it all functions because of priorities. And gravity and momentum yes, yes, all my titles are fluctuating between me having a firm grasp on them and letting them go hoping they will fly all the while knowing they are just 'falling with style' as Buzz would say.

I sit here at the last minute with a couple of S'mores Oreos (s'moreos??) and a glass of milk, giving you this impromptu and rambling speech because I also have a sense of responsibility.

So here is my TED talk:

Priorities, my dear friends, always seek to pull you from that coveted and comfy seat where your mind has made you the god of a world that exists only on your page, where releasing the words is every bit as necessary as releasing your breath so that you may have another.

Responsibility, to the populace on your page, and to yourself, will always bring you back.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book Release Day: @JeffeKennedy's The Talon of the Hawk

It's a big day here in the bordello! We're celebrating Sunday Word-Whore Jeffe's latest Fantasy Romance novel:

The Talon of the Hawk
The Twelve Kingdoms, Book Three


Three daughters were born to High King Uorsin, in place of the son he wanted. The youngest, lovely and sweet. The middle, pretty and subtle, with an air of magic. And the eldest, the Heir. A girl grudgingly honed to leadership, not beauty, to bear the sword and honor of the king.

Ursula’s loyalty is as ingrained as her straight warrior’s spine. She protects the peace of the Twelve Kingdoms with sweat and blood, her sisters from threats far and near. And she protects her father to prove her worth. But she never imagined her loyalty would become an open question on palace grounds. That her father would receive her with a foreign witch at one side and a hireling captain at the other—that soldiers would look on her as a woman, not as a warrior. She also never expected to decide the destiny of her sisters, of her people, of the Twelve Kingdoms and the Thirteenth. Not with her father still on the throne and war in the air. But the choice is before her. And the Heir must lead…

Buy It Now & Leave A Review On:  

Amazon   |   B&N   |   BAM!   |   iBooks   |   IndieBound

Monday, May 25, 2015

I'm sorry, I keep thinking of the movie TED.

Ted, the movie, is about a talking child's teddy bear that comes to life and grows with his owner. And their many, often perverse misadventures. It's written for anyone whose mind refuses to leave the gutter. I watched it with two of my siblings. My brother and I enjoyed it, but we equally enjoyed my sister's outraged squawks of indignation.

I laughed myself silly.

But apparently TED talks, this week's subject, is about Technology, Entertainment and Designed, converged. 

I have never even considered giving a TED talk. I did;t know what one was.

What would I talk about?

Not giving up. Not looking to others for your success. Not looking AT others as the guidepost for you success.

I would talk about "I wish I had to the time to write a novel."

I would talk about "I've got a great idea for a story. You could write it and we could share the profits." and why, exactly, that is a gigantic, heaping pile of horse dung.

I would talk about the differences between professionalism and stalking. They are many, they are varied, and they look nothing alike, and yet, there are buffoons out there who confuse them all the time.

I would talk about deadlines and how to keep them (and what to do when you fail to do so).

I would talk about the difference between real professional rates and "for the love" rates.

I would talk about whether or not going to college to learn how to write is a good idea.

I would talk about the business of writing versus the actual act of writing.

I would talk about the uses of conventions.

I would talk about form rejections and how to handle them like an adult.

In short, I would talk about being a writer.

And maybe I'd throw in something about forthcoming projects, like the now recurring episodes of my podcast talkshow with Christopher Golden and Jonathan Maberry, THREE GUYS WITH BEARDS or about my latest short story coming out in Innsmouth Nightmares, edited by Lois Gresh and coming out from PS Publications. Just because I love pretty artwork, I'll show you some of that to go with the anthology.

And I'd probably close by asking you to remember those who served this country so very well and often with their lives this Memorial Day. Because, really, we should remember our heroes, not just the occasional athlete. 

James A. Moore

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Working Up My TED Talk

I always say that one of the best perks of being an author is befriending other authors I love to read. Here's me and the amazing Jennifer Estep at the RT Convention. I have mad love for her assassin heroine Gin and her Elemental Assassin series. And not only because she's up to 14 books in that series. The woman is a powerhouse. Dayum. We got to sit and have a long conversation, which is just my favorite things about conventions - picking each others' brains, hearing other perspectives on both our art and the business.

It's like having a week's worth of intimate TED talks.

I'm fascinated by TED talks and listen to/watch them over the internet from time to time. Which is saying a lot because I really don't like to spend the chunks of time that can require. My days are pretty packed and stuff like that feels like a diversion from the work I need to accomplish. But I also love the concept - "Ideas Worth Spreading" - and some of the talks have really opened my mind. Some favorites are Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking, Stella Young's incisive breakdown of "Inspiration Porn," Eli Pariser's eye-opening discussion of online "filter bubbles," and Elizabeth Gilbert's wonderful discussion of creative genius.

(Apologies if I just sent you down a rabbit hole of TED talk watching...)

At any rate, I contemplate sometimes what I would say, given the opportunity to give my own TED talk, which is why I suggested this topic for the Bordello. I figured it would make me think about it in a more focused way and I want to hear what the other Word Whores would say.

But when I sat down to write this post, I still didn't have a clear idea. I have about ten-thousand pieces, but not a single, concise thought. Which left me feeling daunted until I realized that's partly what the TED process is about. A colleague of mine - from the day job - did a local one on drinking water. She told me that she worked and reworked her talk with extensive coaching from the TED people. They kept telling her that they didn't really feel her passion for clean drinking water and that it was a revelatory process for her to dig into what that really meant to her.

The point then, I suppose, is that I wouldn't need a perfectly clear concept to begin with. That's how essay-writing always worked for me. I started with a nugget of an idea, a pivotal moment, and explored it. That's how I cemented my process of writing for discovery, no doubt.

I think I'd want to talk about balance, the concept of the middle path. In my bio, I used to say that I'm a fence-sitter - something I later took out because people interpreted that as me being indecisive, neither here nor there, which isn't very accurate. No, by that I mean that I'm a right-down-the-middle person. On most tests, I come out balanced. I'm equally right- and left-brained. My writing voice is equally male and female. I'm neither Type A nor Type B, but an equal measure of both. Though I come out as an INTJ on the Meyers-Briggs test, I'm mildly so on all four parts and could easily tip into the opposite designation.

Which is why it should be no surprise that I'm both a scientist and a writer of romance and fantasy. Once I told my agent a true story that involved me using a pendulum to dowse and how I inadvertently caught the attention of something vengeful and not-quite human. He exclaimed, "My God, Jeffe - you're a scientist!"

Yes, I am.

And as such, I'm a believer in empirical evidence. This is why I double-majored in college, in biology and comparative religious studies (another two-sided aspect) - because I see both sides of the world. That which is material and that which is immaterial.

That is what I'd talk about.

Wouldn't it be fun if I got to, someday?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Questions Asked and Answered

Before I get into the infrequently asked questions that I gathered from the very obliging members of the Facebook Science Fiction Romance Group, let me say a little about being the person on the other end, asking the questions of an author.

I get to play both roles, author and interviewee, since I regularly interview SF&F and Paranormal romance authors for my USA Today Happily Ever After column. (In fact, I just interviewed fellow Whore Jeffe Kennedy this week about her new book The Twelve Kingdoms: Talon of the Hawk.) When I'm approaching an interview, I read the book, make notes and try to frame at least a couple of questions tied to the plot or the characters that won't be spoilery but which I think a reader might find interesting to know more about. I research the author and see what interviews they've given elsewhere, to see what questions they've been asked over and over. I want to avoid those as much as possible. Gail Carriger was a genuinely fun challenge because she even has a post on her blog about questions she's been asked and her answers. John Scalzi was another fun one to interview because he really keeps the interviewer on their toes, ideas flying like lightning bugs. I didn't want to bore Scalzi!

My hope always is to be that interviewer who asks the one thing no one else has asked (so, the infrequently asked question I guess!) and gives the author a chance to talk more about some favorite aspect of the book. Asking Rachel Bach about why one of her characters in the Paradox Series was named Maat was fun in that regard. I have Ma'at in my Egyptian fantasies, because she's the goddess of Truth. You'd have to read Rachel's answer to see why she used the name.

But, I also have to keep in mind that the USAT/HEA blog is primarily for readers and so I don't ask craft-related questions, as I might if I were interviewing an author for my personal blog. (Do you use Scrivener or....NO.) And some of those "questions everyone frequently gets asked" are of interest to readers and my column might be the only place they happen to catch an interview with that author. So I may ask "how do you celebrate finishing a book" and "What's next for you" on occasion.

OK, so here are some of the questions the FB Group asked me, and my answers:
How do you keep the characters in your head from distracting you from real life? I can honestly say I've never had that problem. I guess if it did happen, I'd have to negotiate some boundaries with my unruly cast quick!

How do you come up with unique and fitting names for your spaceships? Ummm, they just come to me? I decided a long time ago the military ships in my Sectors science fiction universe would be named for ancient Greek goddesses and legendary women. And the cruise ships in the same universe tend to have  cruise ship-ish names, like Nebula Dream.

If you had to save your books, your cat or your husband from a fire, which comes first? Well the
Is this where she hides the cat treats?
books exist in many forms in many places, so not them. I'm a widow, so no husband to worry about. The cats are living creatures so they'd have priority!

Who is the most famous person you ever met and have you used the incident in a  novel? Carl Sagan in an elevator at the day job, briefly, and no, never used that. In our author world, probably Nalini Singh, at various book signings, because she's one of my alltime favorite authors, and I've never used those encounters as plot fodder either. No worries, Nalini!

What skill are you learning this year so you have something to barter with the other survivors when the zombie apocalypse arrives? If Daryl of "The Walking Dead" is available, I'll sign up for private crossbow training sessions today!

And we're out of time, gosh what a pity.....

Friday, May 22, 2015

Infrequently Asked Alien Zombie Questions

Perhaps in fear of the answers, few people ask me questions anymore. Maybe because of my answer to one of Jeffe's infrequently asked questions:

Am I an alien?

The jury is still out on that one.

I can say that this guy definitely IS:
Or at least, he's having a very bad day. That's a branch stuck in his wing feathers. Poor guy did eventually dislodge it.

Next question. Is it true there are zombies in rural WA state?

A surprising lot of them are attracted to cameras, too, it seemed. As well as pursuing the poor slobs running from them. (Since I am here typing this answer to this question that never actually gets asked but perhaps should be, you may assume that I was not zombie fodder. Since we all know I'm gimped and easy zombie pickings, that I was not messily devoured shores up the case for me being an alien.)

Last question. If you were to look for me, where would you find me?
Why, drinking tea, of course.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Some Infrequently Asked Questions

I figured it's time to answer a few of the questions that I haven't been getting.
How do you pronounce Veranix's name?
"Veranix" has the same vowel sounds and syllabic stresses as "therapist".  Don't read too much into that.
What about Minox and Satrine?
"Minox" is with a long "i" and short "o".  Mine-Ox.  Like an ox who works in mines.  Satrine's "a" is a short "uh", and the "i" is a long "ee".  Like Katrina with an S and no "a" at the end.
I dug deep into Googling you, and found some Quantum Leap fanfic. 
Is there a question here?
It's pretty horrible.
Still no question.
So you don't deny it?
We all do foolish, regrettable things in college.  This was the early nineties.  We didn't know the internet was going to catalog everything back then.
Semi-spoiler for THORN-- You know that [Astronomical Event] is physically impossible, right?
I do!  And that is a point that gets directly addressed in Alchemy of Chaos.
What hints can you give us about Alchemy?
We're going to be getting deeper into street politics of the Aventil gangs.  
If I were to buy you a drink at a con to pick your brain for publishing advice, what should I buy you?
Whiskey sour, or if you're really feeling like getting the goods, 18-year-old Glenlivet on the rocks.  
And what cons will you be at?
I've just updated my Appearances page!