I am a great big nobody- and I’m okay with it! Advice no one wants to hear…

Okay full confession, “I’m a great big nobody and I’m okay with it!” is inspired from a Dear Polly that I read last year. This lady, hurtling toward 50, had some successes as an author—published books—but never broke through to the next level. She was thinking about giving up. Best line: “…if I read one more “follow your dreams” platitude from someone lucky enough to be picked by Oprah, I may go out of my gourd. I’ve been walking in the direction of my dreams for the past 20 years, and now I’m fucking stalled, scared, and frustrated.”

Dear Polly said: “Stop pressing your face to the glass of someone else’s party. Enjoy the party unfolding around you. She basically suggested this mantra “I AM AN OLD NOBODY AND I LOVE WHAT I DO.”

I get it. It’s hard to enjoy your “own party” since no one respects the average writer, not even the average writer, which is kind of weird since we all know everybody wants to be a writer. We all have dreams about what we want. We are all trying to do the best we can. Most of us are trying to do it without wounding our moral compass or harming our loved ones. I know the lady sitting across the table at the coffee house wants to be an author. I can read her notes.

I am an average American writer for this epoch. I have both self published and published novels. I have a couple of short stories published too. Weirdly, most people don’t think I am a success–including myself. Yet there are a few struggling authors who find me an object of envy. I’m cruising towards 40.

Around the same time I read this Dear Polly, I was flipping out about The Light Side of the Moon and my pal, Evan asked the most important question. “So how many books do you think you can write even if they only do as well as Other Systems?”

Damn his logic. The answer is/was at least a solid twenty. Then I realized: I won’t ever give up writing and art. I love this shit!  Yes, I have goals. (Hell, I write a profit assessment for every project to do.) But no matter what happens,  as long as I am able, I’m going to keep creating. 

That doesn’t mean I’m going to a “success” the way other people mean it. Our society bases our worth on how much money we make. You must tell yourself, that you are okay with where ever you are in your career. I don’t need to worry about breaking through and neither do you, because that’s half luck anyway.

And if you don’t believe me or Dear Polly: Listen to Picard.

Picardimages.jpg

 

Want to be a writer? Here is some more great advice from Chuck Windig: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/02/21/25-things-i-want-to-say-to-so-called-aspiring-writers/

Inspiration for The Grove

In all of my career, I’ve written a heavy story and then a light story. First Faminelands, then I took a break with Out For Souls and Cookies.

Confused which The Grove is? It might be about a sorcerer trying to stop a guy who wants to wake up some bloody-thirsty Gods in order to change the world, but it is a light story. The dystopian The Light Side of the Moon was heavy. (And of course, many of you may remember, I had to write it twice ;)) Once The Light Side of the Moon was accepted at 48Fourteen, I started The Grove.

First of all, I wanted to write a cosmic horror story or at least an end of the world, bloodthirsty Gods kind of story. Cosmic Horror is defined as a subgenre of horror fiction that emphasizes the cosmic horror of the unknown (and in some cases, unknowable) more than gore or other elements of shock, though these may still be present. I was interested in cosmic indifference. While questioning my own feelings of alienation as an artist and author, I decided I would explore the alienation of sorcerers. They would have to hide their gifts or face being diagnosed with mental issues. Then I decided the cost of magic was the ability to function within general society.

IMG_1427

A dark forest on the East Side of Cougar Mountain

IMG_1139

A starfish chilling on Vashon Island

My love of nature and hiking slid into the work. Then I added the gnomes and a few science fiction issues with the multiple universe theory. Then the Oddities Museum and the fake town Sitka’s Quay was inspired by visiting small towns during my library appearances during the summers. I had been to the coast a few times as an adult and remembered a visit to Ocean City, WA.  Originally, I figured I’d place Sitka’s Quay in my home state of Washington, but the Oregon Coast has more sandy beaches than WA and Highway 101 follows the coast closer. While I visit Seattle and Puget Sounds beaches quite regularly,  I visited the coast, both in Washington and Oregon. The smell of the Pacific Northwest Beaches inspired me. I felt constant noise of the pounding ocean, the wind on my cheeks and salt on my lips.  I knew I wanted to set the book and Sitka’s Quay would be a fake town.

At first it went slow, because I was working on it between edits, but once The Light Side of the Moon was published, I slammed out this book. It took me three months to get it to my beta readers.

Another three months for rewrites. Five months total for editing. Now its getting closer to be market- ready

IMG_1301

Discovery Park, Seattle. And Yes that’s a bald eagle on the lighthouse.

Drawing Comic Book Aliens and Superheroes Workshop – Shoreline Library

Drawing Comic Book Aliens and Superheroes Workshop Shoreline Library
May 7 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

The Shoreline – Lake Forest Park Arts Council Council is proud to present this event in partnership with the King County Library System.

Comic_Alien (512x640)Love Sci-fi and want to learn how to create concept drawings for novels or comics? Using basic shapes, students in this class will create their own plausible spaceships. No Drawing Experience Required!

Class size is limited; registration required. Please call the library at (206) 362-7550. Ages 10 to 18.

The Shoreline – Lake Forest Park Arts Council is a community-based arts organization whose mission is to cultivate creativity and inspire our community through the arts.

5 Reasons Why I’m self publishing The Grove…

People are already asking me why I’m self publishing The Grove. They are digging for dirt. Sorry, but there is no dirt. Nor have I “changed” sides since I have self published comics in the past.

As many of you know, I have two novels, Other Systems and The Light Side of the Moon, published by a small press, 48Fourteen.  I have no industry horror stories. I have nothing negative at all to say about my publishing experience. It was great. I loved working with 48Fourteen.

Look I get it. Some people love being published. Some people love to self publish. I am not going to get into the argument of which is better. I am of the opinion that both published authors and self-published authors can co-exist and compliment each other. Some of the best panels I’ve been on as an author have had both, because we see different parts of the industry.

So on to my reasons:

The Grove BlogReason 1)  The Grove is not for 48Fourteen. (I didn’t even send it to them, because cosmic horror is so far out of their wheelhouse.)

Reason 2) I am controlling the timing. As I’ve said, it will release on e-book and paperback September 13, 2016.

Reason 3) I want to experience each component of the post production book creation process. In traditional publishing, the publisher takes the financial and time risk for the book creation.

Reason 4)  More information coming my way during the marketing campaign. Yes, I am doing a TON more work and taking the risk, but I am curious if I can figure out what works and what doesn’t. Whether my next book is traditionally published or self published, my goal is to gather information so I can use my time and resources more wisely.

Reason 5)  Gnomes.

 

Being touched by the Novel Fairy the Third Time: Introducing The Grove

I’ve talked about the novel fairy before in this blog post. “The novel fairy is kind of like the tooth fairy, but more capacious. She leaves inspiration under the pillow. Sometimes if you were a really good boy or girl, the novel fairy actually leaves a manuscript with a favorable publishing contract attached.”

Well, its happened. The novel fairy visited me again! Just kidding. I want to announce my next novel: The Grove. I am going to self-publish this book. I want to explore every step of the production process.

Since I was at Norwescon last weekend, I created postcards so I figured I better catch up on the online announcements.

The Grove BlogSitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver.

That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world.

Available on Amazon, B&N and other fine bookstores September 13, 2016
E-Book ISBN: 978-0-9801459-2-2
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9801459-1-5

Over the next six months, I will be releasing information about the characters and magical systems within the book on the blog.

Now I need to get some real tweets so I can have tweets in the book so Jonah has his own twitter account. Anyone who wants to follow him talk horror books, taking beautiful photos of Seattle area and descend into madness, please follow: @Jonah_Leifson

 

My Norwescon Schedule

Science Fiction Fans of the Pacific Northwest, I hope to see you all at Norwescon on March 24th – 27th! What is Norwescon you ask?

Norwescon is the area’s premiere science fiction and fantasy convention. Whilea primarily focused on books, Norwescon is large enough to provide a place of the other interests of fans including anime, comics, costuming, art, gaming. The theme this year is “Remembering the Future”.

You will be able to find me and my novels in Author’s Row. I have swag including some release info about my next book, The Grove.

I also will be participating in panels this year, but don’t worry my author’s row table will always have someone during Dealer’s Room Hours there if you need to pick up a book:)

Thursday

4:00 PM-5:00 PM – Cascade 12
Make a Gaming Night Recipe Book
Elizabeth Guizzetti (M), Lilith Whitewolf, Ogre Whiteside, SunnyJim Morgan, Donna Prior

5:00 PM-6:00 PM – Cascade 9
Rejection Dejection
Elizabeth Guizzetti (M), H.M. Jones, Jude-Marie Green, Annie Bellet, Frances Pauli

Friday

10:00 AM-11:00 AM – Cascade 10
Science & Religion in Space
Jeremy Zimmerman (M), William Hartmann, Arinn Dembo, Elizabeth Guizzetti

Fri 5:00 PM-6:00 PM – Cascade 12
Alien & Fantasy Biology
Elizabeth Guizzetti (M), Dr. Ricky, Rob Carlos

Fri 6:00 PM-7:00 PM – Cascade 9
Writing Is a Long Con
Elizabeth Guizzetti (M), Annie Bellet, Gregory A. Wilson, Jennifer Brozek, Dean Wells

Saturday

12:00 PM-1:00 PM – Baker
Writers Workshop: Betsy Aoki
Christopher Bodan (M), Elizabeth Guizzetti, Jeremy Zimmerman, Carol Berg

4:00 PM-5:00 PM – Cascade 12
Tips for Young Writers
Marta Murvosh (M), Elizabeth Guizzetti, Renee Stern, Paul Constant

5:00 PM-6:00 PM – Cascade 5&6
Nuts & Bolts of Comics Writing
J. Rachel Edidin (M), Megan Kelso, G. Willow Wilson, Elizabeth Guizzetti

7:00 PM-8:00 PM – Rainier
Writers Workshop: Jaime Mayer
Catherine Cooke Montrose (M), Tim McDaniel, Elizabeth Guizzetti, Pat MacEwen

9:30 PM-10:00 PM – Cascade 1
Reading: I will be reading from The Light Side of the Moon and have swag and Easter Candy.

TLSotMteaser.01

Sunday
10:00 AM-11:00 AM – Cascade 10
Vampire Dystopias & Other Saturated Markets
Tori Centanni (M), Elizabeth Guizzetti, Rhiannon Held, Kristi Charish

2:00 PM-3:00 PM – Cascade 3&4
Technology & Comics
Elizabeth Guizzetti (M), Matt Youngmark, G. Willow Wilson

How I “center” myself, get rid of writer’s block and the winter blues and show some pretty pictures.

People who have followed my work over the years know I am a slow writer. I can only do one major project a year and I flip between writing science fiction novels and comics so for some fans they have to wait even longer for my next book in the Other Systems Universe, or my next horror comic or whatever it is they like.

DSCF5421.jpg

The Maiden of Deception Pass overlooking Rosario Bay. The statue represents a Samish myth of a girl who married a man of the sea so her people would be fed. It’s supposed to be romantic, but it gives me the creeps.

But whatever my project, this time of year I always seem to get overwhelmed. The non-creative work butts up against the creative side as I’m trying to gather up stuff for the winter/spring conventions, and do taxes and figure out sales from last year. This feeling of being overwhelmed starts as a tiny scratch so subtle that I don’t even realize how low I’m feeling until I feel like crying in the bathtub and eating way too much chocolate cake because I’m staring at a manuscript that makes no sense, but a few fans have already asked me when its coming. (BTW, no one has pressed in any negative way, these feelings are on me.)

So it happened that on a stretch of two days of unseasonable mostly-cloudless skies and 60 degree weather, my husband mentioned he needed to work until 8:30 one night, I decided to take a day and unwind.

So after I dropped him off at work in the morning, I packed up the dogs and headed up to Whidby Island for a long day of hiking.

I drove. The dogs shared the back seat.With good timing, its a little less than a two hour drive from Seattle. (North via I-5 then west on WA-20.)

We visited several different beaches throughout the day and hiked approximately seven miles. With the warm weather and slow pace, Rosie didn’t need to be carried once. Our first beach, we were completely alone to wander through the driftwood and pebbles. We climbed to the top of the headland overlooking Rosario Bay to enjoy a snack of cheese. We raced along a sandy spit where we saw four sealions swimming in the surf and up another headland where three does grazed on some grass. On the way home, we stopped for gas and corndogs. They split the inside of one, I ate the other. The dogs thought it was the best dinner ever!

For someone who spent the day eating cheese and corndogs, afterwards I felt more balanced, more centered, more able to focus on both the non-creative and creative parts of my job. I also wondered why I let it go so long before I went out on a solo adventure. The last time I did the North to West Beach trail at Deception Pass, my companion complained that “beach hiking means we don’t have a goal.” I realized I hadn’t gone hiking alone for nearly a year.

I needed two hours to talk out my manuscript and marketing problem to myself during the drive, then I needed time to hike at my pace which means watch gulls follow a crab boat, bird watching and letting Rosie dig in the sand and letting Tycho roll in some very smelly kelp which ended up having a dead bird in it. Kind of gross, but that’s what after-adventure baths are for.

Anyway I feel better and more like myself again. If anyone is curious, I am sixty pages into the third book in the Other Systems Series. Below are some pictures: I hope you enjoy them. Also if you want to comment, how you get rid of writer’s/creative blocks? Or how do you make sure your needs are met?

IMG_1604.jpg

Rosie and Tycho exploring aphrodisiac (to dogs) smells.

IMG_1571.jpg

Deception Pass was so named because Capt. Vancouver thought he’d find a protected bay on the eastern side of the pass. He did not. Also tidewater rushing through the channel makes navigation difficult even today.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,827 other followers