Authors Answer 64 – Authors’ Childhood Dream Jobs

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Did authors always want to grow up to be authors? Some did, of course. But most probably didn’t think of writing as a profession that they wanted to do. There’s a wide variety of jobs, and most probably wanted to do something entirely different.

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Question 64 – When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Linda G. Hill

I always wanted to be a veterinarian, probably because I read All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot at a young age. But come high school I took physics instead of biology because I couldn’t stand the thought of dissecting a frog. By that time I was much more interested in human psychology anyway. Though I never went to university to study what makes people do the things they do, psychology continues to fascinate me.

Allen Tiffany

First a scuba diver, then a soldier…

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Authors Answer 63 – We All Started Somewhere

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Authors were once children. There was a time when they didn’t write books. Some authors didn’t start writing until they were much older, others started when they were in elementary school. But they all start somewhere. Let’s find out how we all started.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 63 – When did you start writing fiction, and what did you write?

S. R. Carrillo

I’ve been writing fiction since I’ve been able to hold a pen, put it to paper and formulate ideas. I started out writing the wild and dramatic adventures of my household pets, my favorite TV show characters, my parents’ cars, anything at all!

Gregory S. Close

When I was 7 or 8 years old I began writing stories about a 13 year-old space shuttle pilot that was thrust into the future after a crazy space accident, likely involving cosmic rays and atom bombs, but the details are fuzzy.   (In my…

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2015 in Review

This was a big year for me.  Granted, I didn’t get any shiny book deals, nor was I pursued by any movie producers looking out for the next great book adaptation.  But I made some important first steps.

In June, I published the novel I’d been working on for the better part of three years.  Getting it from final draft in MS Word to the Amazon store was a rushed job, motivated by my ignorance of the process and eagerness to have a finished product.  I don’t regret it. Even if it never makes it out of that rut of obscurity, even if it does and completely flops, I don’t care.  I wrote a story I love, and I get to share it with the world.

After Jasper hit the market, I fell into a rut.  I started writing its sequel, Jasper’s Legacy, but ran out of steam halfway through chapter two.  I wrote first chapters for a couple of other stories that had been kicking around in my head.  I felt for a while as if I’d lost direction.

So, I gave novels a break and started writing some short stories about robots.  It’s not a completely new subject for me, considering the Machine community’s subplot in Jasper, but it gave me a reason to explore many different tropes that aren’t necessarily related.  Though I did break down and write a short about the Jasper brothers debating over the capabilities of certain robots.  Taking inspiration from Isaac Asimov, I began writing about how sentient robots would fit in to a modern human-based society.  But would they remain tools, as most of Asimov’s stories suggest?  Or would people aspire to create robots of greater potential?

Most of these stories are in submissions right now.  Hopefully they’ll find their homes soon.

For 2016, I intend to keep at it.  I don’t want to spend four years on the next novel, but I’m not going to rush it either. No novel releases in 2016.  I do want to send more short stories.

I also want to read more.  My bookshelf has been terribly neglected.  My goal is 52 books, or one for each week.  I’ve tried it before and failed miserably.  I want to try again.

To see what I’ve done this year, the WordPress monkeys were kind enough to make this year in review below:

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 480 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 8 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Authors Answer 60 – Merry Christmas from All of Us

What are we all doing for Christmas?

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

For the first time, Authors Answer falls on Christmas Day. So, we have a very special and simple message for all of you from all of us. We’re sharing a bit of what we’re doing for Christmas with you.

I’d also like to mention that this will be Caren Rich’s final Authors Answer. I want to thank her for her participation. It’s greatly appreciated, and I enjoyed her answers very much. Thank you, Caren, and good luck!

2002_Blue_Room_Christmas_treeQuestion 60 – What are your plans for Christmas Day?

D. T. Nova

To spend time with my family, and probably stay off the internet almost entirely.

Gregory S. Close

In a word: pie.

Paul B. Spence

I plan to spend the winter holiday with my family and friends, as one should.

Caren Rich

We are very traditional when it comes to Christmas. The kids pull us out of bed before the sun…

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Continued Email Adventures.

Me: Oh, the contact information on my email account is out of date.  Let me fix that.

Google: OK!  Go ahead and sign in again.  We need to make sure it’s really you.

Me:  Sure.  Here’s my password.

Google:  OK!  We sent a verification code to your phone.

Me:  Wait, that’s my old phone number!  Give me another chance to prove who I am.

Google:  Eesh, what’ve you got?

Me:  Well, here’s my other email I was able to access.  That’s linked to this account.  You’ll see I was able to log in to both accounts earlier today.  You’ll also notice I’ve accessed both through the same 2-3 devices for months, I’m in the same geographic location, and my email habits haven’t changed.

Google:  Hmmm… how long have you been using this account?

Me:  Huh.  I don’t know.  It’s been ages.  At least a decade, I’d say.

Google:  Have you used any other Google products?

Me:  Yeah, I’ve used your Calendar off and on.

Google:  (suspicious eyes) For how long?

Me: (shrug) hard to say.

Google:  Yeah, I can’t prove this account is yours.  Could you send me more information?


Continuing the drama from my last blog post, it seems I’m locked out of my personal email account for good.  It could’ve gone smoother if I’d had the foresight to save the backup codes Google gave me, but no such luck.  I hadn’t anticipated that my access would hinge on an outdated phone number and a few strings of numbers.

I’d really hoped I wouldn’t have to make up a new account, since everything I’ve done for the past decade or more is linked to that email.  That’s a lot of emails I have to change, and you can see how good I am at updating my contact information in the first place.

It can’t be helped at this point.  But maybe there’s a silver lining here. I’d accumulated a lot of unwanted contact on my old email, from mailing lists I’d tried to get off for ages to people with similar addresses who apparently can’t tell the difference between gmail and hotmail.  It’s a fresh start.  Just, not how I’d anticipated spending my day.

It Started With a Phone Number.

There are times when, even as I see how necessary it is, I despise how overcomplicated our technology has become.  That’s not me playing the part of a technologically challenged old bat.  You should’ve heard the string of curses I muttered as I tried to log in to my email accounts today.

It started when I noticed that my author email account had outdated contact information.  I’d changed phones (and phone numbers) about a month ago and the old number was still on my Gmail account.  That might’ve been a problem should I ever lose my password.  Time to update it.  That’s where it prompted me to log in.

Guess what I forgot?

Thankfully recovering my password for that email wasn’t a big deal.  A matter of reading a nearly illegible captcha, giving up details like the last password I remember and my mother’s maiden name, and I was back in.

Here’s where the real problems started.  For some reason, I was kicked out of my main email account and I couldn’t remember the password for that either.  No problem, right?  I just went through this procedure.

WRONG.

I had two-step verification enabled on this account.  That’s where if you ever try to sign in on an unfamiliar device, Google sends a verification code to your phone to make sure some prince in Nigeria didn’t get hold of your login.  That would make things problematic if the codes are being sent to a number I no longer have, because you can bet I never updated the contact info on that account either.

Apparently your only option left after your phone number doesn’t work and you don’t have the foresight to save some backup codes, is to let Google sort everything out.  That supposedly takes 3-5 business days, but I’m willing to bet with Christmas around the corner it’s going to take me even longer.  And that’s assuming they don’t think I’m an exceptionally sneaky Nigerian prince.  Thankfully, I can still access both emails from my phone.  I only have to hope I’m not kicked out from there too.

It’s not a great loss, I suppose, because I’m not anticipating anything useful going to my main account these days.  But it is terribly inconvenient having those extra layers of complication to unlock what is really a personal email account of little importance.  I spend more time dodging sale emails than I do sending out state secrets.  (JUST KIDDING, NSA!)

Lessons learned here:

  • Always update your contact information.
  • Saving backups aren’t just for manuscripts.
  • Don’t bother with 2-step verification.

Authors Answer 59 – Characters of the Dark Side

In this Authors Answer, I talk about an embarrassing character from my teenage writing attempts.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has just opened to sold out audiences, and everyone loves the original trilogy’s villain, Darth Vader. But he is a favourite of many fans’. What about characters that are absolutely hated by readers? But what if those characters are hated by their creators?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 59 – Have you ever written a character so offensive that you hated or strongly disliked them?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Yessir! But don’t worry, she’s evolved. She’s the main character from the four-part YA-fantasy series I’m writing right now, but she (and the story itself) have changed a massive amount since I first started writing it. Originally I started writing this particular story back in college, and I was using it as a form of cathartic therapy after my boyfriend of five years broke up with me. Because of a combination of little experience in professional story-writing and the wave of…

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Authors Answer 58 – Author Online Hangouts

Where do authors hang out online?

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

In the past, long before the internet, it was difficult to interact with authors. They could be contacted by mail, and maybe you could see them at an event, but it was not easy to seek them out otherwise. These days, the internet has provided both authors and readers a way to communicate easily. Some authors are very involved with the public, others are not. So, where can you find us online?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 58 – What are some online forums or websites you use to have discussions with other authors?

D. T. Nova

Honestly, the most interaction I have with other authors is probably actually in the comment sections for authors’ blogs.

Aside from that, I spend some time on Goodreads’s forums.

Gregory S. Close

Although it’s as much with readers as authors, I find the r/fantasy community of Reddit the best outlet for all things fantasy.  Good discussion.  Honest…

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Authors Answer 57 – Stop Asking Me That Question!

Today we talk about those questions we hate to be asked.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Authors are asked a lot of questions. They may have interviews, they may talk at conventions or book signings, or they may talk with friends and family. Well, sometimes, we get questions we keep hearing over and over again, or are too complex to answer briefly.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 57 – What is one question you hate answering about your writing that acquaintances ask you?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

There are just SO MANY questions that people ask that make writers writhe with rage. I could probably make one hell of a list if given the time. That said, I can honestly say that the one question that enrages me the most is the one people inevitably ask when they find out I have a written, published book: “Is it, like, in book stores?”

I always bite my tongue and try to answer as politely and honestly as possible, but this question makes…

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Hands are Important.

If it wasn’t evident from the rest of this blog, I’m a writer.  I also have a day job at a grocery store bakery.  Both of these require frequent use of my hands, and can be difficult if one of your hands is injured.

Since Thanksgiving my hand’s been exceptionally sore.  It’s the fault of my day job, and the massive amounts of cupcakes, cannoli, and eclairs I’ve had to make on a daily basis.  All that piping takes a toll on the hand, and it’s been unable to rest properly.

I’ve been getting by, resting the hand as much as possible, taking Aleve for the pain, not working it any more than necessary.  Submerging it in warm water for short times helps too.  I’m looking at two days off right now, and a short vacation from work next week, so hopefully that will be enough for my hand to recuperate.

At its worst it’s painful to grip things like a hairbrush, spoon, pen, or of course a piping bag.  At best they cause my hand to tingle as if it fell asleep.

I’m focusing on recuperating right now, but I also want to write.  This runs into the problem mentioned above where I’m unable to hold a pen for extended periods.

Obviously, I have a computer.  I can use that.  Typing doesn’t bother me as much.  Trouble is I’ve become accustomed to writing longhand, and typing up the story later.  My bedroom is littered with notebooks I’ve used to haphazardly scrawl the makings of a new story. (Note to self: clean my damn room.)  Maybe there’s part of me that resists technology, funnily enough.  It’s the same part that makes me favor physical copies of books, CDs, and games over digital sales.  I also feel writing longhand cuts down on distractions, while social media is only a click away when writing on a computer.

I’ve been passing the time with editing, which is awesome and a necessary evil.  I have six stories submitted to magazines right now.  Six!  But I’m running out of stories to edit, and soon I’ll have to start working on new projects.  It may take more resting until my hand heals completely, but I don’t know how long that’ll take.  It may take a change in my methods, compelling me to write first drafts on a computer again.  Either way, the hand is a terribly inconvenient body part to be on the mend.