Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Camp Nano starts June 1, plus related quotes from Steinbeck

Two Novembers ago I participated in NaNoRiMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time. For the uninitiated it is a month-long writing event, where people from all over the world join together online to help cheer each other on to get a draft of their novel done, or almost done, in one month--to reach a total of at least 50 K words. The experience was enlightening. I didn't know I could write that fast, or write one scene after another, without going back to edit. You have no time to edit each chapter. Heck, I didn't even divide the writing into chapters. Just scenes, labeled "New Scene". It was crazy! But it worked, and it was exhilarating to watch my word count shoot up every day, and to cheer others on. There is magic in pounding out that shi*ty first draft, and magic in writing without obsessively reading your daily output.

I skipped last November, because I had just finished polishing a novel, and I badly needed a break. But now... I want to write a sequel and I need and want outside structure and a cheering committee.
Camp is on! There's Camp Nano June, and Camp Nano August, and I can't wait to meet my fellow cabin mates! Hey, we don't even need bug spray or sunblock! And we don't have to eat gloppy oatmeal or burned smores. Here is Galleycat's take on the event, including 60 tips. Click to read.

Here are inspiring Steinbeck quotes that Nano folks would heartily agree with:

1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 (or so) pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.
2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper (or on your laptop). Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.
3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.
4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.

Are you doing Camp Nano? If so, come say hi (At CatherineStine). If not, what kind of discipline do you employ to get yourself writing regularly and profusely?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Humbling Reviews & People's Fave Excerpts, Plus Summer Sale!

Fireseed cult dude up to no good!
image by Jay Montgomery
for Fireseed One
In celebration of June, the eBook version of my novel, Fireseed One is now on a summer sale! 
For a limited time, the eBook is only $0.99 at Amazon, iTunes, B&N for Nook and other estores.
The illustrated paperback is on sale at B&N, down to $9.99 (from $11.10).
I'm thrilled to announce that it's earned 21 5-star reviews and counting! For those of you who are new to Fireseed or who are curious, I am posting a few mini-excerpts. I also want to thank my readers and book reviewers, and post some of their blurbs, because they talk about Fireseed better than I can. Readers and book bloggers are literary angels! 
From Austine at the Magick Pen:
“I found myself caught up in a futuristic world with characters that made me laugh and cheer them on… Stine’s illustrations really helped put a picture to all the beautiful descriptions… the romance between Varik and Marisa was sweet… a fast-paced read, filled with action and adventure.” 
From Electrifying Reviews:
"An action-packed, emotional thrill ride that made me forget about the genre, and instead focus on the characters and their journey."
From Carolyn MacCullough, author of Once a Witch and Always a Witch
“Action, adventure, love, and loss, plus superb world building all adds up to an incredibly imaginative story – one that should not be missed.”

From a reader/reviewer whose flattery is totally humbling:
“Like those imaginative science fiction masters Heinlein, Asimov, and D'Engle, Ms. Stine provides a techno-cool descriptive language interlaced with darkly humorous satiric asides to present this ravaged world… There is always a sense of mystery. We can identify with Varik. What he doesn't know, we also don't know. And what he wants to find out, we want to find out. We also want to know who Marisa is… Is she working for the enemy, the terrorists who may have killed Varik's father? Is she in love with their leader? Is she falling for Varik? This combination of attention to the right kind of detail and letting the story drive itself is the inner strength of FIRESEED ONE.”

Favorite lines from reader/reviewers: 
"Take a long look at this future. You might want to take notes.”
"Stine's uncanny world building is both horrifying and hilarious."
"Enter Marisa Baron, a beguiling female intruder, and Varik's best friend, Auden Fleury, a fashion hound, who sells amphibious racing vehicles, and who's had "synaptic reorg" for ADD. I enjoyed the author's skillful interweaving of quirky conflicts, hot romance and scary events."
Favorite fan moment so far:
A mom wrote on the Fireseed One book page: "My son keeps looking up over the book and saying, " This is really good! Is there any more in the series?"
Most unusual interview:
By Mistress Kat, in Romanian-how cool is that?! Click here.

A few short excerpts from Fireseed One:
“The sun, through the filter of the trees, glints green off the cells of her suit, outlines her soft curves. I’m overcome with visions of my father poring over his books, and the wet, verdant forest floor, and newts pausing over toxic yellow candy, and leaves flying up from the impact of Bryan’s body hitting the ground. Another, confused part of me hears my father’s voice calling the refs scum, trash, slime. With flashes of fury at Marisa, mixed with a sad, all-consuming longing that feels dangerously like love, I pluck her hands from my face and push her away."

"We anchor at SnowAngel Island, trek toward the center of town, and pile into L’Ongitude. It used to be a whale-blubber processing plant. Now it’s a club full of striking, well-heeled young people gyrating to Nu-Arctic beats. We flash the fake IDs that Audun lent us. Good light show. Snowflake and icicle shapes in silvery colors whirl across the walls and across peoples’ bodies. Swallowing a lump of envy, I glance at the couples, lucky enough to already be in college, who will soon be unfolding the fronds of their dream careers.
As I watch them, I suddenly get this awful vision of the world, in, say, three or four years. A world where we never found those agar seed disks and the food bank has dried up. It’s a world where these healthy, lively party-hounds are haggard and hungry, and no longer dancing. Where they’re on their bony hands and knees in their backyards, scratching for mushrooms and sinewy worms. I grab anxiously at a pile of pink-and-yellow agar-pastries that a L’Ongitude waitress is carrying, and stuff one in.
Shaking off the vision as I chew, I glance over at Marisa. She’s arching her brows at a girl’s skimpy garb. The girl ignores Marisa but her dance partner gives Marisa an appreciative once-over. Even though Marisa’s hair is hastily pinned up with strands that blew out from the wind, she stands out in this crowd because of her unusual Land-style suit—its long pants hugging her legs. Most girls on SnowAngel dress in short frocks with hike shorts. 
Little does this guy ogling Marisa know that I hold her captive with an invisible fish-tracker; that without that she’d escape in a hot minute. The irony of it makes me cringe. I don’t need to fish with virtual line to snag a girl, and she’s certainly not my girlfriend. Marisa’s keeping step with me, and after that first bold stare at the dancers, she bows her head when someone looks her way. Anxiety is practically sweating off her. Why does she hate crowds so much? Is she in hiding? If so, why?"

"I order Restavik rye beer, Marisa, an Emporium ale. Freddie orders a highball. With his pinky out, showing off his diamond ring, he tips the drink into his mouth. Piece of work.
Marisa plunges in. "Why the all-points bulletin out on me?"
Freddie eases into a slick grin. "Can't Melvyn Baron be worried about his own daughter?""

“Marisa starts to snoop. I might as well too. It's not often that I get to visit a water pellet company in a freaky refugee nation."

Mascot Bird after a sandstorm.
Illustration by Catherine Stine
As I start to write the sequel, I am so thankful for all of those who have read and celebrated Fireseed so far, and thankful in advance of those who will read it and know what it's like to be carried on the crazy rollercoaster into Ocean Dominion. Land Dominion and the Hotzone. Into the future.

Let's hear, hear it for writers, for books, and for this amazing community!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In Celebration of Susan Kaye Quinn's Closed Hearts-Giveaway, Bonus Content & More!

Idea City is happy to help celebrate the launch of Susan Kaye Quinn's Closed Hearts, the second book in her Mindjack Trilogy!  
She's created a mad cool mobile message called a scrit, and is here with a snippet of it. Think Facebook wall on steroids. Here she is to explain it. Don't forget to pick up a copy of Closed Hearts or enter the contest before you hop off. Oh, and the link to the rest of the party is below too. Enjoy!

Mindjack BONUS CONTENT: Kira on Facebook by Susan Kaye Quinn. In celebration of the release of my novel Closed Hearts, I've created bonus content that relates to the Mindjack Trilogy. This bonus content arises from the story time between Open Minds (Bk#1) and Closed Hearts (Bk#2) - it's not terribly spoiler-ish, but you'll enjoy it more if you've read Open Minds already.] In the future world of my Mindjack Trilogy, mobile messages are called scrits, which is also used as a verb (think "text"). Any  flavor of transmission of electronic information is called "casting" - news programs are called tru-casts (since mindreaders believe they must contain the truth), entertainment programs are sim-casts, and social media are in various forms called chat-casts. Which would include something like a Future Incarnation of Facebook. Kira is the main character in Open Minds and Closed Hearts. Xander is the 13 year old mindjacker changeling that Kira rescued, and Officer Patrick Moore is Kira's father. Kestrel is ... well if you've read Open Minds, you have some idea who he is (hint: he's the bad guy).

Closed Hearts (Mindjack #2) $2.99 at AmazonBarnes and Noble (ebook and print)
When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.
Bestselling YA novel Open Minds, Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy, is available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iTunes. The sequel Closed Hearts has just been released. Susan Kaye Quinn's business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she mostly plays on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.
Mind GamesOpen MindsClosed HeartsIn His EyesLife, Liberty, and PursuitFull Speed Ahead

CLICK HERE to join the Closed Hearts Virtual Launch Party (with more bonus Mindjack Trilogy content and guest posts) and/or ENTER TO WIN PRIZES

Friday, May 11, 2012

OMG, Look Who's Indie Publishing, Plus an Awesome Quote from Novelist Cynthia Ozick

Jackie Collins is the queen of the sexy and sleazy potboiler. She has sold over 400 million books, many of which have been made into films and TV series. Examples of her splashy titles are Dangerous Kisses and Hollywood Kids. Her famous older sister, Joan Collins, played the diva Alexis, on the eighties hit, Dynasty.

So why in the world would Jackie Collins want to self publish? In her own words, "Because everyone is doing it, and I want to see what it's like!" Read more about her decision here. Oh, and the title of this novel? The Bi*ch. Oh-kay...

On the flip side, someone recently posted this quote from novelist Cynthia Ozick on Facebook. It's about how, in writing, you need to block out all of the noise, but not just from the outside. You need to block out your own noise about how your writing will be seen in the world---at least while you're actually hard at work writing. It has stuck with me all week:

“One must avoid ambition in order to write. Otherwise something else is the goal: some kind of power beyond the power of language. And the power of language, it seems to me, is the only kind of power a writer is entitled to.”

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Backworlds by M Pax Launches Today!

Today on Idea City I'm helping M Pax, science fiction author extraordinaire, launch her new novel. That's right,
The Backworlds is here!

 This first installment in the Backworlds series by M. Pax is a vision of how humanity might colonize the galaxy some day in the distant future. Read a synopsis:

The Backworlds
After the war with Earth, bioengineered humans scatter across the Backworlds. Competition is fierce and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze’s father decides to hoard his fortune by destroying his son. Cut off from family and friends, with little money, and even less knowledge of the worlds beyond his own, Craze heads into an uncertain future. Boarding the transport to Elstwhere, he vows to make his father regret this day.

Backworlds is available from Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords, Feedbooks
Additional links can be found at Wistful Nebulae or MPax

The Backworlds is an ebook and a free read. All formats can be found at Smashwords and Feedbooks. It’ll take a few weeks to price match down to free on Amazon Kindle. It will also be available on B&N and iTunes. Sign up for M. Pax’s mailing list to be notified the day it does go free on Amazon, and when the book becomes available at other outlets. You’ll also receive coupons for discounts on future publications.

Link to sign up for the NEWSLETTER.

M Pax observing stars at Pine Mountain Observatory
M. Pax’s inspiration comes from the wilds of Oregon, especially the high desert where she shares her home with two cats and a husband unit. Creative sparks also come from Pine Mountain Observatory where she spend her summers working as a star guide. She writes mostly science fiction and fantasy, but confesses to an obsession with Jane Austen. She blogs at her website and at WistfulNebulae. You’ll find links there to connect on Twitter, Goodread, FB and other sites.

The sequel, Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge, will be released in July 2012. It will be available in all ebook formats and paperback.

Huge cheers to M Pax on this exciting launch day!