Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Reading at Queen Anne Books Thursday

417d5Gdv+HL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Beyond the Hedge Anthology Reading!

Thursday, August 11th @ 7pm

Queen Anne Books
1811 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

I will be reading from my short story, Charge of Nynlothe. Besides me, Alissa Berger, B.J. Neblett and Matthew Buscemi will also be reading


Want to know more?  Come to the reading! 


Review of These Convergent Stars by Janine Southard

18712119.jpgI bought a copy of These Convergent Stars from the author, Janine A. Southard at a local science fiction convention and I’m very glad I did. Janine Southard created a fast-paced romantic-comedy about Maya, a first contact specialist and the problems she incurs as she observes a new species and their culture.

Southard created an interesting setup and well developed characters especially the protagonist, a genetically-modified shapeshifting cat person, created to sniff out biologically compatible species. In the book, she discovers another group of cat people.

Southard has a fun way to turn a phrase especially in dialogue. One of the first idioms is “Green grass and cool water” when referring to a planet.

I recommend it if you are looking for a fun and fast read that mixes cat people in space, mistaken identity, a first contact situation and romance.

Writing experiment, pattern recognition, and more about why I don’t write for an audience!


Interesting looking flower that grows on a wall surrounding the bar next to the coffee house where my writing group meets.

As some people know while I’m waiting to hear back from my publisher about The Light Side of the Moon, I’ve been doing a series of writing experiments.

I’ve been rereading some of my favorite books from different authors to quantitate how much description, dialogue, action, etc there is, then looking at my own writing in ways I can improve.

It started with reading Stephen King’s The Shining and Dr. Sleep. I like Stephen King’s style. It’s fast and fun. I began thinking why was The Shining scarier. One word: Isolation

Now the way this experiment works is, I read the book for fun, not looking for anything and then go back to analyze what works and what doesn’t.

I also reread in whole or in part

A few weeks ago, one of my friends talked about how if you write for an audience, one gets readers in that audience and eventually can transcend that audience as more people read the book. People who follow my blog know that is not how I write, but I was willing to get more information on the topic. So then I looked at genre tropes.


So this is what I learned:
As a reader, if I don’t have an emotional connection with the characters, the author has failed me.

As an author, if I cannot build an emotional connections with the characters for the reader, I have failed the reader.

On to the quantitative:
I tend to be description light and dialogue heavy, but I’ve my own voice and even though it changed drastically between Other Systems and The Light Side of the Moon, it is MY style of writing. What is really interesting about this experiment is I tend to enjoy books that are description light and dialogue heavy with lots of surprises. Yes, I use either consciously or subconsciously genre tropes. (For example:I glossed over HOW Harden figured out the stabilization issue with FTL travel.)

I don’t care about romantic subplots. I like real romance of a faithful husband and wife team, (or husband/husband team, wife/wife team)  rather than people so lost in lust that they forget their duty to everything else in life or worse the two people are in danger and are so wrapped up in being in lust with the other person, they ignore the danger.  Is this why I have problems writing romantic subplots?

I admit when I nervously think of the fate of The Light Side of the Moon, I have two worries

1) The length. It’s pretty epic at 130,000 words

2) Is the romantic subplot what people like when they read romantic subplots? Especially because it isn’t two people who are wildly in love with each other from the first moment that they meet. Nor do they hate each other.

Now the question becomes: why I write that way? Did reading too much Stephen King as a kid, propel my writing in a specific direction? I don’t have an answer. I only have the data.

RustyCon here I come…

Rustycon, January 17 -19, is an annual science fiction and fantasy convention, held in Seatac. It’s a great smaller convention. They have lots of fun things such as a dealer’s room, an art show, and a hospitality room for the general membership. They offer programming about games, film, television, technology, writing, science, filk singers and music, art, poetry, legal issues.

My speaking schedule is as follows

Broken Wings-Writing Damaged Characters
We love our damaged heroes! (and heroines) But how do we write great characters without indulging in pop psychology or falling into `movie of the week` syndrome? This panel will focus on developing believable characters who will capture your readers imaginations.
Start 2014-01-17 14:00:00
End 2014-01-17 15:00:00
Room Salon I

LarkMCRaffle_smSequential Storytelling: Designing a comic
Learn how graphic novels are written and produced by independent comic book author and artist Elizabeth Guizzetti. Topics will include developing ideas, character design, plotting, storyboarding and more!
Start 2014-01-18 10:00:00
End 2014-01-18 11:00:00
Room Snoqualmie 2

Do you need a science background to write science fiction?
Discussion about researching for writing science fiction and asks do you need a science background to write science fiction?
Start 2014-01-18 15:00:00
End 2014-01-18 16:00:00
Room Salon I

Gaming as Grown-ups
Our panelists will cover everything from finding time for gaming when you have a job, a commute, and possibly kids to handling adult subjects in your play. Gaming does not have to end when you graduate.
Start 2014-01-18 16:00:00
End 2014-01-18 17:00:00
Room Salon H

Other Systems Cover

And best of all: I get a reading!

Elizabeth Guizzetti Reading from Other Systems!
I will be reading Chapter 7, 8, & 9 from my debut hard science fiction novel Other Systems. Trailers will be shown and swag will be handed out! (And though it is not in the program: I might be even reading from The Light Side of the Moon!)
Start 2014-01-18 18:00:00
End 2014-01-18 19:00:00
Room Spokane

I hope to see you there!

Author Reading at the Kent Library

Hey local fans,

Join me as I read from my novel, Other Systems, at the Kent Public Library.

Other Systems Cover

Verdict Book Reviews hailed Other Systems as, “An imaginative and bold Sci-Fi adventure which, at its core, is a powerfully humane tale of identity and friendship.”

Discussion about writing science fiction and possible difficulties of space travel and planetary colonization will follow.

Kent Library

212 2nd Avenue N., Kent, 98032

Saturday, August 10, 2013
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM in the Large Meeting Room

An Author’s Life: Critiques

If your dream is to be an author, taking critiques like an adult is a skill you must learn. It doesn’t matter if you are sixteen or sixty, hearing your work needs even more work is hard. Sometimes you might work on a beautiful descriptive phrase, but it needs to be cut because it doesn’t add to the work.

You will discover this only by having beta readers, still it is hard to sit through people cutting apart your work.

6.9 dragoncolor

Unrelated dragon image that I did at the drink&draw. Cute isn’t it?

Here are my four guidelines:

1) Be professional.

2) Ask questions, but don’t defend the work.

3) Listen.

4) Don’t take it personally.

In my experience, taking it personally is the one I see the most–especially with new authors.   In fact this last one is so common, I find it hard to give critiques to new writers. If someone has done a few rewrites, I don’t worry about it, but when they are a new writer and trying to get started I don’t want to say anything to discourage them. We are not attacking you. We are actually trying to make the writing better. We took the time to read your work and make comments.

If you only want accolades do not ask a author to beta read.

Summer Reading List

Once I finish my next rewrite, query letter, and other submission goodies for The Light Side of the Moon I will be getting ready for another reading rampage…err I mean my oh so civilized summer reading list.

Embracing the Flames Cover

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Embracing the Flames by Candace Knoebel (And check out my interview with Candace during her blog tour coming up on July 16th.)

41ueAi988sLThe Caseworker’s Memoirs by Dan Thompson

Nights of the Round Table and Other Stories by Tanya Huff

Tethers by Jack Coxall

Finally I am going to finish up the Voyage Embarkation (Voyage along the Catastrophe of Notions) Series by Zachary Bonelli

What are is everyone else reading this summer?

What is your favorite genre to read?


Here is an unrelated but adorable picture of Tycho.

People who follow my blog probably have guessed how much I enjoy Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror books. I also sometimes get in the mood for a good mystery.

Today, I am asking you what you favorite genre is/are. Let me know either on the Poll or via the comments!


Interview with Don A. Martinez

This week we have special guest Don A. Martinez the author of the Phantom Squadron Series during the Infernal Eighteen Blog Tour.

Welcome to ZB’s Blog of Awesomness!

The son of two 20-year Navy vets, Don A. Martinez spent much of his formative years around the Pacific Rim before settling in the continental U.S., first in Michigan and New York before eventually landing in Texas.He has been writing all of his life, getting his start in elementary school as a two-time Young Authors selection in Oak Harbor, Washington. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and a Master of Arts degree in English from Buffalo State College (SUNY-College at Buffalo), where he wrote his thesis on application of mythic storytelling techniques to the modern media.

Currently, he lives with his wife, daughter, and four cats in Texas, where he is a college English instructor.


Phantom Squadron is a contemporary fantasy series which follows a team of four supernatural agents has been assembled for a Black Ops team unlike any other.Both separately and together, these agents will face down an enemy of immense evil, rising above their differences and individual traumas and coming together to face a demonic matriarch hiding within one of the holiest sites in Europe. Infernal Eighteen is the fourth book in the series.
So on to the questions!
What inspired you to write?

I come from a family that has creativity ingrained in it, from both parents. My grandmother was an accomplished poet, although she was never published. My father was a great storyteller, but he wasn’t exactly a writer, and he stuck with more of an oral style. I’ve tried to bring both sides of the equation together, and be a fully-rounded storytelling writer. As far as the inspiration for Phantom Squadron, it comes from my coping mechanism with the 9/11 attacks – I spent some time thinking about the events, and how I could come to terms with such evil being perpetrated. Eventually it led me to a concept involving government agents drawn from the ranks of fantasy archetype characters. As I went further along in the series, coping continued to be the theme of the inspiration, as starting from The Insurgent’s Journal I started writing based on my observations of what the nation’s become, in terms of polarized politics.


What have you learned as a writer?

Perseverance, above all. You have to keep writing, no matter what. The only one who can express your idea is you, so you’d better get to it. Don’t censor yourself either, because no idea is too crazy. You dictate the way your story is told, so do all that you can to bring that story to a well-rounded fruition.

Infernal Eighteen is your fourth book in the Phantom Squadron Series. How did writing Infernal Eighteen compare to writing the first three books?

It was a bit of a chore, actually. I knew where I wanted the story to go … Alanna needs to reclaim her dad’s soul from Hell … but I also needed to be true to the main inspiration for her journey, and keep the spirit of Dante’s poem. Thankfully, there are several sources available on the Inferno, and I wound up using one that retold the poem in the style of a novel. Some things surprised me as I was writing it, some little references to the past books that I could work into the Inferno, such as Jerzaan’s treatment of women and Alanna’s mother’s suicidal tendencies. Writing this one also made me think a little more intensely about the in-universe history of the Sword of the Guardsman, and how it couldn’t be possible for every member of the Sharpe line to be righteous. Readers will find out about these hellbound Sharpes from throughout history, and that they all have one-track minds when Alanna meets them: they all want the Sword back.


What was some of your inspiration/sources for the series?

I’ve described the series as what happens when Tom Clancy, Gary Gygax, and Hayao Miyazaki get together to write a single story, and that’s pretty much how Phantom Squadron came to be. It combines elements from military technothrillers such as those by Clancy and Stephen Coonts, the character variety of role-playing, and some of the attitude of anime. A direct anime influence on the series is the comedy anime The Slayers and its two subsequent seasons (Slayers NEXT and Slayers TRY).

Who is your favorite character? Why?

They’re all my favorite in one way or another. Alanna and Ariel share elements of my personality, so I have a soft spot for both of them. I like Gabe’s mysterious side, and his inability to speak in anything other than half-truths. Above all, though, I think my favorite character to write would have to be Kitty Salem (Lazarus), just because her personality is just so over-the-top, and it’s a delicate balance to consider that not only is she a woman, she’s also a character type called the “combat monster” in role-playing games. Not to mention that if she gets angry, she gives virtuoso profanity performances …

What is your plans for the series?

Infernal Eighteen‘s the penultimate volume of the Phantom Squadron series. I’m at least starting the final book of the series during NaNoWriMo 2012, which is going to be my attempt at an epic battle to conclude the series. It’ll have every great element to fantasy: a huge, climactic battle, raw emotion, character development, and margaritas!


What are you reading right now?

A couple things. I just finished the horror comedy book John Dies at the End by David Wong, and I’ll be picking up its sequel (This Book is Full of Spiders:Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It) shortly, once the e-book’s price comes down. I’m also awaiting the next volume of Rosario+Vampire Season II, I’ve just gotten through volume 10 and I’m going crazy about it because each of the last few volumes has ended with monstrous cliffhangers.

Who are some of your favorite authors? How much do you read in the fantasy genre?

The authors I like best are the ones I tend to have the most respect for, and it’s a fairly short list. I’m big on speculative fiction, so I like authors like Harry Turtledove, Margaret Atwood, and the like. As far as fantasy authors, Terry Goodkind’s ability to put commentary into his fantasy is something I aspire to. I also like the big names from graphic novels like Neil Gaiman and especially Alan Moore.

What is your next project?

I’ve got a couple I’m thinking about. One of them would be a Phantom Squadron spinoff involving a minor character from The Advance Guard, the Greek inspector Calista Adamidis, learning that she’s the daughter of the goddess Athena, and trying to claim her rightful place in the pantheon. The other one I’m thinking of is actually inspired by my baby daughter and one of her daycare friends, a children’s space opera story where the two of them go on a quest to restore one of them to a space throne.

Interested in knowing more? Here is the rest of the schedule…

February 1st: Interview @ The Four Horsemen Series Book Reviews
February 2nd: Interview and Giveaway @ The Cult of Me
February 3rd: HIPS Ranch Guest Post and Giveaway @ Reviewing Shelf
February 4th: Interview and Giveaway @ 2nd Book to the Right
February 5th: Interview @ ZB’s Blog of Awesomeness (You are here!)
February 6th: Interview @ Hock G. Tjoa
February 7th: Interview and Giveaway @ On Emily’s Bookshelf
February 8th: HIPS Ranch Guest Post @
February 9th: Author and HIPS Ranch Interview @ The Pen Temptress
February 10th: Interview @ Ramblings of a Creative Double Dipper
February 11th: HIPS Ranch Guest Post, Review, and Giveaway @ Diary of a Fair Weather Diver
February 12th: HIPS Ranch Guest Post and Review @ Chronicles of a Book Addict
February 13th: TBA @ The Daughter of Prophecy
February 14th: HIPS Ranch Guest Post @ Awesome Books
February 15th (Release date): HIPS Ranch Post and Giveaway @ The Hidden-In-Plain-Sight Ranch

V-Con Wrap Up

So I just got back from Vancouver BC and had a great time at V-Con. My doggies missed me. Dennis might have missed me too, but it sounds like he had a good weekend.

As with all conventions there was some fantastic costumes. My favorite was Jareth and Sarah in their crystal ballroom attire from Labyrinth. Unfortunately I was running to a panel so I did not have time to take a photo.

Can You Write SF Without A Science Background? was not as fun as I hoped it would be.Author Donna McMahon Moderated, Dave Duncan and I both spoke as authors. Kristi Charish and David Ngboth came in to panel as scientists. It was a good panel, I just wished I had spoken more eloquently about how the story must come first and the science is just window dressing. I admit I got flustered–mostly from road fatigue. I had driven three hours, got checked in and then had a 1/2 hour to figure out the layout of the convention.

Reading of Other Systems – Friday 7pm I reading chapter 7 & 9 from Other Systems.

The three people who came to my reading loved what I read.  Everyone loved the mini button attached to a postcard in one of those cellophane bags for the postcard sets. They loved it as a package. I had 25 and no one said no to the button. Then discovered I still had more time. So I read from Chapter 4.

Drawing Monsters I felt was my best panel.  It went perfectly to plan. I talked about a cute dragon, then a colossal dragon. Plenty of time for a QA afterwards.

So You Want To Be A Writer? was the first panel I moderated. Ever.

Don DeBrandt, Alyx Dellamonica, Julie McGalliard, Lorna Suzuki were also on the panel. I felt the panel went well. I only got to ask one question before the audience started asking questions.

After the panel, I was sitting around and got a free eye-patch from Kittie’s Knitting. I like her costume. 

Sources Of Inspiration Stephanie and Karl Johanson and I saw Don DeBrandt and Alyx Dellamonica again. We had a very small audience for this one, and basically we just kept thinking of things that inspired us. Of course once we got going, things other people said inspired us to give more details about what inspired us.

Between panels, I had a great discussion with David Ng about a project he is work on.

In my last panel, Drawing Maps Of Your World only three people actually were drawing with me, most just sat there. So I stopped drawing and just began talking. I would definitely do that map panel again, but next time  set up the panel differently.  It ended really being a discussion on world build novels and graphic novels. How ancient cities are formed. The differences between ancient and modern cities with the advent of the cars.

Then I headed back home. Going through customs I only was behind one car so there really wasn’t much of a wait. Since I was driving after 8pm, traffic was good. One quick stop at Starbucks for a Chai Tea Latte and I made it home pretty fast.

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