#8Sunday (March 22)

Weekend Writing Warriors

Welcome to the Weekend Writing Warriors Bloghop!

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly bloghop. Participating writers link the community to their blog on Monday, and then post 8 sentences of their work on the following Sunday. This helps everyone to read, critique, and encourage each other!

Today I’m sharing a piece from the short story I’ve been editing.  Continue reading »

Signing a Non-Compete… With Yourself

And I don’t mean the traditional “don’t go work for the enemy” non-compete. I mean: refuse to compete with other people.

Because you can’t.

You can try, but they have lived a different life than you and will continue to live a different life. What do you gain by measuring yourself against someone with wildly different experiences? People who may have had benefits you didn’t, maybe struggled in ways you haven’t?

Khatzumoto of AJATT has written about this several times.

Worry about raising your personal best. Compete against yourself—someone who has struggled in the same ways, and was given the same benefits growing up.

We’re told from a very young age that it’s worthy to compete with others, that that’s how we’ll succeed and grow. But I believe that competing against others only leads to feelings of insecurity and bitterness. If you compete against friends, it can poison the relationship with jealousy.

Competing against yourself is golden. You’re always moving forward, always aiming for a Personal Best.

I continue to struggle to make sure I’m only comparing myself against myself. It’s a worthy struggle, though. It makes me happier.

When I’m mentoring at my current job, I try to explain this to the kids that compare themselves to either myself or someone else at the table. How can a 9-year-old suffer a blow to his self-esteem when comparing himself against someone that’s 24!? If his handwriting isn’t as neat, it’s hardly a surprise–he hasn’t had the same amount of practice.

This is an obvious example, but it’s not always so obvious. You don’t know someone’s full past or inner world, so you can’t know how unfair it is to compare yourself to them. And that’s what competition is: comparing yourself and your results to someone else and their results.

So just don’t. Measure yourself against you.

#MicroblogMonday 1

An idea I found and liked the sound of–something short & sweet.

Today I’m working on a short story I want to submit to the current issue of Crossed Genresa Sci-Fi/Fantasy magazine. They’re doing a ‘novelette’ theme, which means submissions can be 6000-12000 words! I find writing fantasy shorts a little difficult, because of the amount of world building I want to pack in, so it’s a really exciting opportunity.

I totally acknowledge, however, that as I gain more experience I’ll find it easier to write fantasy in a smaller size. Or, one hopes, anyway!

I’m working on revising a short I wrote back in the fall of 2013 in one of my fiction workshops. This was a split off of something I had written the previous fall, a “short story” that everyone agreed was more like the third chapter of a novel.

In the piece I’m working on now, Ciara, an Australian mage, is forced to come to terms with the manipulation and mind control she was subjected to during her teenage years. It’s fun playing with the memories, what she wishes had happened, what she knows has happened, and the things that are lost to her for good, like pictures torn to pieces or cracked mirrors.

It’s been a while since I revised anything–I’ve been plugging away at my novel–so it’s interesting to have a different workflow.

❦ What is #MicroblogMonday?

#8Sunday (March 15)

Weekend Writing Warriors

Welcome to my first Weekend Writing Warriors Bloghop!

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly bloghop. Participating writers link the community to their blog on Monday, and then post 8 sentences of their work on the following Sunday. This helps everyone to read, critique, and encourage each other! 

The following 8 sentences are from my current YA Fantasy, Kolya. Mid-way through the second act, classmates Pavel and Angela are trying to find a way to speak with their newly-transformed friends using mind-to-mind communication. Continue reading »

Old Family Videos & An Argument Against Clean Slates

So I started this blog… how long ago? By the date on my one and only post: back in September. But if you go back to when I first got my brother (M) to help me set it up… well, it’s been a lot longer than that! Years, I think. (So long I’ve forgotten, which is telling.)

I’ve always, always been the type that’s preferred to wipe the slate clean rather than have people see my mistakes or false starts. And when it comes to blogging, especially ‘professional blogging’… there’s been a lot of false starts. For a long time, I thought that was the best way to go. It’s still something I struggle with.

In fact, I was sorely tempted to delete that one and only post so no one would know how long it’d been between posts!

But I’ve been rereading a bit of AJATT, a blog by the awesome Khatzumoto, and some parts have finally started coming home for me. Like giving up on a clean slate.

Easter, 1992

I find a chocolate marshmallow treat in my basket, do a small dance, and bring it over to my mother. She’s sitting on the couch, still in her pyjamas, and smiling at my antics. I hold out the treat, still in its package, and make an ear-piercing shriek to indicate that I demand assistance in opening it. This is my main form of communication as a 2-year-old. My other forms, as shown in the following videos include: “Da!” for my father, “Pee!” for pizza, and a combination of “uh-oh” and indicating something soiled (usually myself) that I want cleaned.

It’s not exactly eloquent, but my mother obliges me and opens the treat, and I wander the house, treat in hand, followed by father and his new video camera.

Watching this video for the first time this past weekend brought home Khatz’s message.

Now, as an adult, if I can’t open something, I have a multitude of ways of asking for assistance. I can literally just ask someone. I can try by myself while someone watches, then turn to them with a pitiful look. Back then, I had very limited experience, but from the experience I did have, I knew that screaming worked.

Starting with a clean slate isn’t possible. Whether I want my first attempt at communicating to be screaming or not, that’s exactly how it went down. And is someone going to judge me for that?

Well, Super Nanny might. But she wasn’t my nanny, and I didn’t scream forever, or even all the time, so… Super Nanny can go find a real trouble maker to judge!

Right Now, 2015

Luckily, my lack of experience in blogging or finishing manuscripts hasn’t led me to start screaming (not a lot, anyway…!!), but it can still be frustrating.

Sure, I’ve had a lot more opportunities to gain that experience in the past 24 years, but the fact is: whatever experience I’ve gained up until this point, that’s it, that’s all I have until I practice and gain more.

Feeling bad about not having more experience? Waste of time.
Sitting around, waiting to gain that experience through some miracle? Bigger waste of time.
Wiping the slate clean to cover up the fact that I’m learning? Misguided, and, yes! a waste of time.

Everyone is constantly learning and improving. Not being a fantastic blogger when I start off isn’t anything against me, it simply shows that I’m… new to blogging! I’m a baby, screaming and key smashing in the hopes that something will work.

But I’m sure that, as long as I keep screaming and key smashing, I’ll eventually learn to talk and type. The screaming might be uncomfortable for all involved, sure, but that’s no reason to be embarrassed by it.

At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. ;)


Endings & Beginnings


I’m about to finish my BFA in Creative Writing. To be honest, it’s a little scary.

(To be completely honest, it’s hella scary. And also liberating. And awesome.)

As nice as a 9-5 job sounds, I want to write. That was the whole point of the degree — to learn, in whatever way possible, how to make it as a writer. I wanted the writing skills, and the editing skills, and the marketing skills, and whatever else necessary to make it work in the real world.

And now I’m about to be pushed out into that real world. The incubation is over.

I thought a lot about author platforms, and branding, and everything else that’s been a buzzword for the past while. A lot of the advice, frustratingly enough, was aimed at non-fic writers. Building a niche, demonstrating my authority in a topic, etc., that’d be super easy if I was planning on writing a book on Imperial Russia. (Reading Russian history is a good form of stress relief, I promise!)

[Un]fortuntately, I’m a fiction writer, and “the literature” is a little less clear when it comes to us. But in a way that’s even better. I’m not a big fan of constraints (again: I’d love the 9-5, but…), and this lets me choose what to do and how.


The advice aimed at fiction writers says our fiction is our platform (who would have thought?!), so I’ll be posting away in this blog, mostly about my life and my writing. Maybe some Russian history and book reviews thrown in, just to keep us all on our toes. I’ll try not to worry too much about SEO and ‘authority’, and instead just do my best to write something interesting.

It’s definitely better than sitting around, fretting & reading books and blogs on blogging and platforms and audience. Sometimes you have to stop reading up on how and just do.

And, speaking of doing…

My current projects are (working titles & abbreviations to protect the innocent):

  1. P&K
    • A YA fantasy novel. I’m a sucker for magic school settings, and I get to have a lot of fun with world building.
  2. Empath
    • A sci-fi/thriller TV show that I’m working on for my last workshop in my program. It’s a little bit of X-Men and Orphan Black and a whole lot of fun.