Write-a-Thon Wrap-Up


July 29th marked the end of the Clarion West Write-a-Thon. I participated, as you know, and sought to reach my goals while raising money for the CW workshops. I raised $10. Let’s recap what else I set out to do. This is my Write-a-Thon Wrap-Up.

  • Write a novel for real this time. Or, begin work (again) on longtime project Timeless Kid.
  • Keep up with weekly blogging right here at Ink’s My Thing.
  • Do extra reviews for my writing group, WYRM.

So, after six weeks, how did I do?

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My CW Write-a-thon Goals for 2016

The other day I signed up for one of the most irresistible writing activities, summer’s CW Write-a-thon. For Ink readers who may know, this will be my third straight year participating in Clarion West’s Write-a-thon, and although my results and writing totals have been…less than stellar(?) I still think it’s important to keep going back to take another shot.

This Write-a-thon is open to the public. So, no affiliation with the Clarion West Workshops is required. If you’re interested, and have time (and even if you don’t) then I recommend signing up to see if you can further any of your personal writing goals. I will be there along with a community of newcomers and familiar faces in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

CW also aims to raise money for their organization through sponsorships of the individual writers who sign up. I’ve never raised much, personally, but it’s added incentive to keep me focused on writing, if only for the six weeks of June 19 – July 29. Unlike National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which I’ve known and loved since 2005, there will be no 50k marker hanging over your head. You always set your own goals.

Here’s a closer look at the ones I’ve set.

Continue reading…

Gauntlet to be Crowdfunded

gauntlet orig

Here’s some exciting news, Ink readers and WYRM’s Gauntlet alum. We’re going to try something crazy, something new, something that requires delicate handling in the face of danger. When things get that rough, I turn to my favorite web designer and creative ally, the multi-talented, and quite unstoppable, Khanh Mai. And we’d like to announce that headline once more: WYRM’s Gauntlet to be crowdfunded!

At least, ‘tis the plan.

At this point, we WYRMs do not know all the details, except that we aim to do this through IndieGoGo since we feel it has a good chance of standing out against other writing-related projects there. ‘IndieGoGo’ suits us as we run the ultimate indie writing competition, after all. (I won’t have to look into the camera and tell you to accept no imitations).

We are looking at the month of July to commence, but this is still tentative. Whatever the results, the Gauntlet itself will still be run this fall.

For those who may not know, WYRM’s Gauntlet is a competition for both writers and critics, with four rounds of mind-bending challenges, time limits, and trash talk. We are open to persons of all skill levels, as our primary goal is to support new talents. However, we are not susceptible to flattery.

In the past, prizes have totaled $275, but with crowdfunding, we’d love to up the ante. If you’d like to support your fellow writers and critics, stay tuned for more on the project!

See you out there,


Announcing Stewart C Baker

You know, that guy. The Bearded One. The one who was in that anthology one time? Baker. Gauntlet-contender Baker. Writers-of-the-Future-winner Baker. Yeah, that’s the one.

Well, this man will be coming to Ink’s My Thing very soon. And he will be sure to bring news, tales, and tidbits from all his travels to distant lands and foreign kingdoms. Stick around. He’ll be coming around the mountain when he comes.

It will be fun, enlightening, and who knows what else. Join me when I have a word with Stewart C Baker.

All the Best,

The Guy in the Director’s Chair

The DC Comics Talent Search & Me

For those who remember (and for those who will never forget) my love of writing, of characters, and of visual storytelling, led me into the world of comics journalism a few years ago, and I’ve made it a habit to keep up with that world. From the webcomics I’ve discovered to the people I’ve met along the way, I’m happy to be a part of the fandom.

Now, an opportunity has come up.

I’ve decided I’ll take the plunge, and apply to the DC Comics Talent Search for writers, which is more accurately: the DC Comics Talent Development Workshops.

Now, some of my peers have been tepid toward the workshops, as they cite they are not for true amateurs, and since it asks for that scary letter of recommendation and all. I was tepid, too. But, to my fellow writers with a bend toward comics, what have you really got to lose? It’s never my intention to stir up false hopes, but whenever we submit a story, we are taking a risk. Whenever we sign on for any large project, like a novel or a blog, that’s a chance, too. We have no way of knowing if anyone will read, or if our efforts will pay off. We sure as hell don’t know if we’ll receive any kind of financial support, but we must take the experience. Why should this be any different?

So, I think I’m going to have to quote Miyazaki on this one, from a famous comic in its own right, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind:

In this harsh world of ours, the sparrow must live like a hawk if he is to fly at all.

True, a program to train comic writers from the ground up would be special, and would be awesome, but we’re talking about a highly competitive medium, and we jump through hoops for a lot less! So, why not? Cue the damn Alan Parsons Project, and get in the game. I’m not afraid to fail. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last time.

The writers’ portion of DC’s workshop will be headed up by none other than Batman writer Scott Snyder, who has been captured in this very blog, standing next to my friend Dan in a convention photo. (Also, thanks, Dan, for sending this info my way!) Application submissions from writers will be accepted all month (May 1st-31st).

As for some nuts-and-bolts about the application, it’s important to remember:

  • The application will ask you for up to two published samples (comics preferred; fiction allowed).
  • You will need to provide a writerly resume`, so make it flattering.
  • You’ll have to write a short composition explaining why you want to do this, and what you’d bring to the table as a new writer.
  • The letter of recommendation is optional.
  • If you don’t already know how, learn how to create a PDF.
  • There is a helpful ‘save’ feature on the app. which lets you work on it, then come back later to finish.
  • Just apply. You never know where it may lead.

See you out there,


#genrethon Excuses, in Bullet Form

They’re not excuses, #genrethon. They’re reasons.

[clears throat]

To Whom It May Concern,

  • I’m new
  • I started late
  • I woke up late
  • I went to bed early
  • I had to work
  • I had to eat
  • I was too ambitious
  • I wasn’t ambitious enough
  • I’m a slow reader
  • I got stuff going on here
  • There were too many words
  • Ditto on the pages
  • I had a stomach ache
  • I had to watch Legends of Tomorrow
  • I read at my own pace
  • I wasn’t taking any shit from John Milton this week

Milton disapproves.

  • Really, I was busy outlining my novel
  • I can’t be expected to do everything around this place
  • Psh, I read a variety of genres already
  • Enough people finished #genrethon; they didn’t need me
  • I’m much too valuable in my present capacity to spend time reading
  • I was arguing with people about dinosaurs having feathers, and that took up some time
  • I was too busy blogging about reading to read
  • It’s not like once the week is over I can no longer read
  • I wasn’t ready; preparedness is a prerequisite for victory
  • Look, I don’t need some readathon to feel good about myself
  • I can’t win ‘em all
  • But mark my words, I’m going to win one
  • I’m sorry, #genrethon
  • The truth is
  • I been downhearted, baby
  • Ever since the day we met.

On words and up words,


Genrethon is Taking Me Places

It’s my first Genrethon, or as I saw it on Twitter, ‘#genrethon’, and for those who don’t know, this is the readathon when one tackles three different genres in one week (April 10-16). Sound daunting? Well, it is, if you’re a slow reader with any plans to finish the books.

I’ll wait ‘til Saturday to see how I do. Write-a-thons I know I can do; Readathons make me dig down pretty deep. But I’ve always been a firm believer that readers or writers who wish to have any idea what they’re talking about should read it all. As much as you can in as many genres as you can. So, whether you finish or not, this is a good habit.

(That’s right. I’m already hedging my bets.)

Anyhow, I think I first owe some thanks to the people who brought this to my attention by blogging, booktubing, tweeting, or reviewing. It’s much appreciated, SFF180 and Reader Rayna! Following the links will bring you their three choices.

Where am I going with my own Genrethon? The first place I’m going is Hell.

Genre #1: Epic Poetry, Paradise Lost by John Milton


The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can we make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. / What matter where, if I still be the same, / And what I should be, all but less than He / Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least / We shall be free.

Christopher Hitchens once said that Paradise Lost was not in fact John Milton’s greatest poem. However, a lot of other fine scholars disagree, and we’ll see what I think. This work of course details the fall of many of the angels from the Christian Heaven. It is considered by many to be a must-read of the English language.

These next two (one, two) you know, but I’ll freshen it up a bit with different photos and quotes, and hope that it’s not considered cheating that I began these books a bit before Genrethon week.

Genre #2: General Fiction, Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Ah feel thit ah love thum aw. Matty, Spud, Sick Boy and Lesley. Ah want tae tell thum. Ah try, but it comes oot as: — Ah’m cookin. They look at us, fuckin scoobied. – That’s me, ah shrug ma shooders, in self-justification. Ah go ben the livingroom.

Genre #3: Graphic Novel, Star Wars Infinities edited by Mark D. Beazley


Play “What if?” with the original trilogy in a series of tales exploring the endless possibilities of Star Wars. How would A New Hope have gone if Luke Skywalker had missed the target in his attack on the Death Star? What would have become of the Rebel Alliance if Luke perished in the icy wastelands of Hoth during The Empire Strikes Back? What if Return of the Jedi’s rescue of Han Solo had gone wrong?

I’ll see you Saturday with my update/excuses, as it were. Are you taking part? If not, what other readathons are you missing out on?

The Texas Floods, Friends, My Selfish Plea

The Texas floods, and flooding in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, have been covered by USA Today, Click2Houston, Weather.com, and other news organizations, and as I may have mentioned, my friends are out there.

Writing is a lonely occupation, they say, filled with shameless self-promoters bent on the get-rich-quick scheme. Oftentimes that’s true. But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes you meet people along for the same ride as you.

The day I decided to write seriously, it seemed like a lot of other people made that same decision. Some had been lifelong writers seeking to take their hobby to the next level, others were new at it, with a lot to learn like me. I don’t see or hear from many of these peers anymore. They have gone into different careers, got busy in their personal lives, got tired of the dream, or just disappeared without a word.

I want to tell you about two women, from the vicinity of Southeast Texas, who welcomed me into this realm of writing and criticism. To this day, I know what they are up to, and they still know about me.

Nobody puts more effort into character development than Chy Burch, whose neighborhood resembles a lake at the moment. She has also judged and helped organize WYRM’s Gauntlet nearly every year since its inception, and anyone who knows her knows there is a popular fantasy series waiting to burst forth from her pen and into the mainstream. Some of us have been lucky enough to glimpse already.

Stephanie Cassey, who began the GoFundMe page “Deweyville Flood Victims” a few days ago, is also affected. When she and I began exchanging reviews, she made me consider vampire fiction in a whole new way, and I came to admire her use of bare bones dialogue, among other things.

Both helped me nail down the fundamentals, and urged me to tell the difficult stories, ones I was not always comfortable telling.

To anybody who can relate–fellow writers, readers, those who have lived through a natural disaster–if you are able to, please give. For my part, it is the least I can do. When I think of my friendships (my lasting friendships, of which there are too few) and my own development as a writer, there are no two people who’ve mattered more.

The Rest of My Blogging Life

I’ve gone from active reader and passive-aggressive essayist to news addict currently wearing away the skin of his thumbs on the pages of Writer’s Market. The constant is genre fiction. But it isn’t right to come in and blow the dust off this thing every couple of months.

When you self-identify as ‘your own’ writer, when you belong to a group that has ‘always made up its own rules’ you don’t always know what the Hell’s going on in the rest of the world. When I wrote for independent comic people, and a not-so-independent newspaper blog, I felt more up to speed. To boot, I had so much fun getting into petty squabbles about local library funding, or the shenanigans of the Obama V McCain election.

The members of my writing group, ‘WYRMs,’ that is, are all wiser than I. They know how to focus, or retreat into the places that make them creatively great. I see them go on unimpressed or unassailed by the world outside. I’m the dim one. I’m the one fidgeting, interested in the rest of it, scratching at whatever’s beyond the glass.

When Gauntleteers come through your doors and remark, “Oh hey, that Quantum Physics Story Contest, Yo’ (direct quote) it makes you think. Actually, it makes you peer out the window again, and think, What else?

I know I hated being told I had to read a book. Now, I tell myself I have to write in this form or I may forget how. One thing to note of course is that I now love to read, and I’ve been absolutely consumed by the question of Commercial versus Talent. More recently, I’ve watched and admired those who advocate for free speech, and who write when it is flat-out dangerous to do so. See Raif Badawi.

This blog began as the obligatory ‘website presence’ every author is meant to have. But I don’t think I can stand that for much longer. I’m actually going to do what a writer is meant to, and put forth interesting content.

Or die trying, as the saying goes.

Or I could just rock a Live Journal like George R.R. Martin. You think?

#LJ Respect.

Mood: Sore
Current Music: “At the Bottom of Everything” by Bright Eyes
Currently Reading: Radical by Maajid Nawaz

This is the Gauntlet

It’s time to forget all you thought you knew about writing contests. Why? Because WYRM’s Gauntlet, Literature’s challenge of legend, is back. We don’t ask for entry fees, and don’t even ask that you be particularly patient. We just ask for your best, and your commitment to take on our crazy rounds. It could be your year to survive. Learn more from our home away from home: WYRM’s Gauntlet.