tamela_j: (old smelly books)
Thinking of what to say about this book and realizing it's going to sound like I didn't like it. That is farthest from the truth. It's just that Russo is one of those writers that amaze me so much that I expect so much more from him than most writers will ever be capable of. So, while I had a few issues with the format of the story, still, a mediocre Russo book is better then almost anything out there. The way he tells a story, the characters he fills his pages with and the emotions he evokes are second to none.

So, about this book. )
tamela_j: (Default)
You know what's even better then a good Fandom!Wank?


OMG! This shit is GOLD!

It started when an author at AbsoluteWrite.com discovered a writing competition that she brought to everyone's attention here. The contest is being held by First One Publishing. It is the most ridiculous contest ever, but when I went to refresh myself about it at the site, I saw that all the information had been taken down. Hmmmm...I wonder why... But thankful, the folks at Absolute Write have it all documented pretty much in the above thread.

Absolute Write is a great place for writers of all genres and levels to share information, share stories and also to snark. They had a great time snarking...and then Karen Hunter from First One Publishing came to school them all. And she kept coming and kept coming. What was awesome about that was that she went from super friendly and very thankful to the authors for telling her what needed to be addressed to really, really belligerent.

After reading her comments there, it became clear to me (and most there) what this "contest" was all about. It was to lure the n00b writer who wants to get published and thinks the reasons the publishers haven't taken their work is because there is a "system." Not because their stories are no good, but because they're not "connected." So, it's either pay 149. dollars to submit your work (which they know is AMAZING if only someone would truly read it) or you can spend THOUSANDS (according to First One Publishing) to get it self published. Plus, self publishing doesn't give you what First One does--self publishing won't supply you with publicity and marketing or send you on a tour. According to First One, they will. Sound good? No. Not to me either. But there was a time, a time where I didn't know what I was doing, a time that my writing had progressed as far as it is now (not that it still doesn't need work by any means) that this would almost seem like something to consider.

But wait. There are rules. Or, at least there were. This is where the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere exploded in indignation, warning and yes, more snark.

Janet Reid highlights Clause 13 here
Laura Anne Gilman (Suricattus) breaks it down a bit more here
John Scalzi tears apart Clause 13 and also this gem "In the event that there is an insufficient number of entries received that meet the minimum standards determined by the judges, all prizes will not be awarded."
John Scalzi again after First One took down the contest.
And finally, because a story like this can't have enough snark Evil Wylie's "Evil Contest"

So, I think we can all agree. This contest is a bad idea that hopefully died before it began. But please, if you need help sorting out what is a good contest/agent/publisher vs what is bad, please consult Writers Beware and Preditors and Editors

tamela_j: (old smelly books)
I like the idea of trying to read 50 books in one year. It's a good goal. I'm going to take it on. Even in my prime reading days I never read more then 40.

I have soooo many books and I really want to gobble them all up, so I figure putting a good number of them here on this list is a good start. Forty of them will be from my bookshelves and 10 will be from collected "Best of" lists from both The New York Times and the supplement I got from the Washington Post. I need more current and timely books on my list.

This post will also serve as a collection place to the reviews I hope to make for each book too.

Now, onto the list:

50 Books in 2011 )

Any thoughts on these? Recommendations? Opinions?

What are you guys reading next year?
tamela_j: (Steinbeck)
After November's soul crushing defeats, I got it in my head that I was going to try to quit writing. Quit thinking of myself as a writer. Just for a month. Just to see what it felt like.

I got out my list of "other things" that I've had piling up in a closet: arts and crafts scraps I'd planned to sew together into something usable; crap ton of books that need to be read; my volunteer job of Slush Pile reader for The Battered Suitcase; also I applied for a job as an Editor at Crescent Moon Press (Cross your fingers and think good thoughts for me, k?) So I had THINGS TO DO!

I wouldn't even miss writing. Wouldn't miss staring at a blank page and wonder "what next," wouldn't miss reading blogs about publishing, about the craft, about what's new and trendy, wouldn't miss looking for journals to submit to and wouldn't miss those lovely emails saying, "Close, but not quite for us."

A big bit of this decision was made with the knowledge I had just garnered about myself that nothing I planned went as supposed and that by not writing, by purposely refusing to consider myself a writer that I'd be back at it within a week.

Well, it took a bit more then a week. And while I'm still not really WRITING, writing, I am thinking of it. Thinking of characters, about themes, about things that NEED to said, you know, in fictional form.

Oddly enough, I've also been thinking about putting myself out there again. It all started when a friend told me about this thing. Terrifying huh? And also sort of excited. And that was when I knew. I would ALWAYS think like a writer, I will ALWAYS be a writer. Some parts of being a writer means you don't write. You sit, you ruminate, you reflect.

I'll give myself two more weeks of that before I start to put any of those thoughts, ruminations and reflections down in story form. Until then, I think I'll just sit here and think of character and see if those characters have anything to say to me or better yet, to each other.
tamela_j: (Jack smokin')
This mix was created for [livejournal.com profile] duckgirlie's Ampersand.

This was a great story about that time in life where the pressure of giving up dreams that seem suddenly unrealistic bare down on you. I really loved the different journeys that each member of this band took throughout the year this story chronicles. It all felt very real.

Life Expectancy

Covers, track listing and bonus vid under here )
tamela_j: (Default)
Mix for [livejournal.com profile] kittydesade's Sandborn

The fic was gorgeous and full of a great cast of characters. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite complete when I read it for a mix. So, I took the themes of loss, discovery, moving on and finding a place to belong, finding people to call family (along with the Wiz of Oz-ness of the story) and went with those. I hope it does the story even partial justice.

Dust in My Eyes, Wind in My Shoes

Track List:

Remember the Tinman by Tracy Chapman
Dustbowl Dance by Mumford and Sons
Ashes Everywhere by Joseph Arthur
Heart with No Companion by Leonard Cohen
Dusty by Kings of Leon
Nothing Else Matters by Metallica
The Antidote by Story of the Year
Eyesight to the Blind covered by Bruce Ewan
Times Like These by Foo Fighters
Everything's Not Lost by Coldplay
Where I belong by Motion City Soundtrack
Feeling Good by Nina Simone
Somewhere Over the Rainbow covered by Naksi vs. Brunner
tamela_j: (Jack's typewriter)
This has been an interesting weekend.

I went looking for publications to submit my work, and in addition to that, also wound up becoming a "Slush Pile" reader for Vagabondage Press' "The Battered Suitcase" (!!!)

While doing all of this, I found a few places that looked interesting, but ultimately not for me. So, I thought I would share them with any of you interested.

Places looking for what you got )

I found all these places on Duotrope's Digest which is the very best search engine for fiction and poetry I've ever found. It's amazing! If you use it and love it like I do, you should consider contributing funds to keep it running and keep it ad free. It's better than Writer's Market and that thing is 50 bucks a year!

You see literary fiction, this is why we can't have nice things! )

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with any of these publications (well except The Battered Suitcase, sort of) and am not being paid, or in anyway compensated by anyone for this post.

tamela_j: (Music--River Phoenix w. guitar)
Title:Like a pick in a hollow body
Characters: Jake and Drew
Genre: Literary/General
Rating: R for language and theme
Word Count: 12,500
Warning: Angst, mentions of romantic relationship between two men.
Summary: Having come back to town after living what Jake supposed was his rock and roll dream, he finds himself walking with ghosts as he relives his most important relationship: Drew. When he notices a musician in the subway one day, he feels a connection. Will that spark help bring him back to music, back to life?
Author's Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] originalbigbang. Story's title comes from the Riverboat Gamblers' "A Choppy Yet Sincere Apology" which was very much on my playlist for this story.

Thank you so much to my beta-editors, [livejournal.com profile] redsnake05 and [livejournal.com profile] la_dissonance who made this as good as it could be, and a million times better than it was. Any lingering mistakes are mine. There were some formatting issues that I think I've fixed. Please let me know if you find any that slipped in.

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoy.

Links to story and bonus material )
tamela_j: (Default)
Look Kids! Big Ben! Parliament! )
Well, that's it. We flew back and immediately started planning our next vacations.

I hope my nephew likes Italy/Greece...or is willing to be my Spanish translator in South/Central America. ;)
tamela_j: (Default)
Yeah, so thankfully [livejournal.com profile] ajavajunky and I learned pretty early on that we both like to visit and take pictures of cemeteries and abandoned and falling apart buildings.

Ireland was RIPE with both of these--

Cemeteries, Famine Houses and Leper Castles )
tamela_j: (Default)
I'm still going through the about 1,400 pictures we took while on vacation. But for now, I'll show you some from the first day of our adventure: DUBLIN )
tamela_j: (Default)

My story is completely different than the one I started with...but that's okay. That story will be waiting for me, but until then, I'm sort of madly in love with this one. There's angst and lots of flashbacks and young boys in the cusp of discovery. *sigh*


tamela_j: (Default)

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