by Lillian Csernica on April 3, 2019
Collaboration is not for the faint of heart. The creative process is a strange and mysterious thing that does not lend itself to easy explanation. To harness your creative process to another person’s method of producing a story requires patience, communication, and a solid commitment to see it through to completion.
If you want to audition somebody for the role of collaborator, take a long road trip with that person. Being stuck in a car together for hours on end will give you a golden opportunity to discuss the project itself, along with finding out whether or not you can tolerate the other person’s quirks. Writers are quirky people.
I have had the good fortune to collaborate on separate projects with two very talented writers.
KEVIN ANDREW MURPHY
Kevin and I have known each other for a very long time, close to thirty years. We have written three stories together and sold every one.
Death for Death
The Restless Armadillo
Kevin Andrew Murphy writes for many worlds, most notably George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards series. His story “Find the Lady” just received the Darrell Award for Best Midsouth Novella at MidSouthCon and he has other recent Wild Cards stories in Low Chicago, the expanded reissue of One-Eyed Jacks, and the upcoming (but out in Britain) Knaves Over Queens. He’s also just written “The Golden Cup” for Savage World’s Pantheon super hero game setting.
PATRICIA H. MACEWEN
Pat and I have known each other since the night I drank the vodka tonic meant for her while hanging out with mutual friends at BayCon. Dragon’s Kiss is Pat’s novel. I was less a collaborator and more of a technical adviser. The hero of the book is based on my son Michael, who is wheelchair-bound with cerebral palsy and seizure disorder. We need more stories of people with special needs who fight the good fight, who continue to strive despite or because of their physical and cognitive limitations.
Pat MacEwen is an anthropologist. She sometimes works on bones from archaeological sites and does independent research on genocide, having worked on war crimes investigations for the International Criminal Tribunal, and done CSI work for a decade. Oddly enough, she was once a marine biologist at the Institute of Marine & Coastal Studies at USC. She has two novels out – Rough Magic, a forensic/urban fantasy, and Dragon’s Kiss, a YA fantasy about a crippled boy who finds he can talk to dragons but people? Not so much. She writes mystery, horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Her work has appeared in a Year’s Best SF anthology. It has also been a finalist for the Sturgeon Award, and made the Tiptree Honors List. Her hobbies include exploring cathedrals, alien-building via nonhuman reproductive biology, and trawling through history books for the juicy bits.
Filed under #atozchallenge, Awards, Blog challenges, Conventions, editing, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, Horror, Lillian Csernica, publication, research, sword and sorcery, Writing
by Lillian Csernica on April 1, 2019
Welcome to my sixth year of participation in the A to Z Blog Challenge!
How I Learned To Be A Writer
This year I’m going to share with you 26 separate moments from my writing life, moments that taught me something worth remembering. Moments that helped shape my writing style. Moments that taught me how to endure the bad days and celebrate the triumphs.
A is for Angle
“Angle” is a term used by journalists when referring to the focus of the article they’re writing. It means which aspect of the subject matter they intend to emphasize as a means of making the article more relevant and interesting to the readers.
The concept of angle is quite useful to fiction writers. As the indie publishing market has exploded and competition for readership continues to increase, it’s becoming more and more essential to find a fresh approach, some new aspect of the stories we want to tell.
In my Kyoto Steampunk series, I chose to leave Victorian England behind and take my protagonist Dr. William Harrington to Kyoto, Japan. Once the Shogunate fell and the Meiji Emperor opened Japan to the West, Japan experienced its own Industrial Revolution, making it an excellent setting for steampunk stories.
Dr. Harrington’s adventures are a mixture of historical science fiction and Japanese fantasy. When I go to conventions to promote the anthologies where my Kyoto Steampunk stories appear, people are often surprised to hear I’ve chosen Japan for my setting. This fresh angle has resulted in a total of seven short stories so far, along with the novel that is my current work in progress.
Find that fresh angle! It will help you on your road to success.
Filed under #atozchallenge, Blog challenges, classics, Conventions, doctors, editing, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Japan, Kyoto, Lillian Csernica, publication, steampunk, travel, Writing
by Lillian Csernica on January 25, 2019
I am delighted to announce the release of Next Stop on the #13, the fourth steampunk anthology featuring stories by the authors of Clockwork Alchemy.
In The Badger Epidemic, Dr. Harrington is forced to ride a train bound for Osaka through a region afflicted by a cholera epidemic. The Japanese workers needed for building the railways and telegraph lines believe the cholera is spread by the new technology from the West. The British officials insist Dr. Harrington ride the train and prove the superstition is nonsense.
What awaits Dr. Harrington out in the darkness on those lonely train tracks is a danger even greater than the threat of cholera itself.
Join us for Clockwork Alchemy 2019. Get your copy of Next Stop on the #13 and have it autographed by the authors of each story, including the master of alternate history, Harry Turtledove!
Filed under Conventions, doctors, editing, fairy tales, Family, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Japan, Kyoto, legend, Lillian Csernica, publication, steampunk, travel, Writing
by Lillian Csernica on January 2 2019
Happy New Year!
Two of my stories have found new homes which are now available.
In The Power Behind The Throne, Ti Song, Celestial Lady, First Daughter of the Emperor, longs for more than tea, embroidery, and a secluded life. When she discovers the secret of her brother’s success in battle, she knows it’s the key to her freedom.
The Wheel of Misfortune has suddenly appeared on the streets of Kyoto, chasing Dr. William Harrington with lethal intent. With the help of the Abbot of Kiyomizudera, Dr. Harrington must go back to the early days of his career as a physician and right a wrong that has haunted him for ten long years.
Best wishes for 2019. May it bring us all much happiness and success!
Filed under Awards, creativity, doctors, fairy tales, Family, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Japan, Kyoto, legend, Lillian Csernica, publication, steampunk, travel, Uncategorized, Writing
by Lillian Csernica on March 17, 2017
Michael Willis is a lovely man who treats writers with respect. I’ve sold three short stories to DFP so far, and I look forward to submitting more work there in the future.
David Tallerman, another DFP writer, has encouraged me to share his excellent blog post on the merits of working with DFP.
10 Reasons You Should Be Submitting to Digital Fiction Publishing
Filed under creativity, dreams, editing, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, Halloween, historical fiction, Horror, Lillian Csernica, publication, research, science fiction, Small business, sword and sorcery, Writing
by Lillian Csernica on July 9, 2016
Happy News Item #1:
I’ve sold another story! Details will be forthcoming upon completion of the usual paperwork. I am happy to sell this story, and I’m even happier about the market.
Happy News Item #2:
My Christmas ghost story “The Family Spirit” is now available as part of Digital Fiction Publishing’s Uncommon Senses anthology.
Grab it now and savor all twelve of the marvelous stories it contains!
Filed under Christmas, creativity, editing, fairy tales, Family, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, Humor, Lillian Csernica, love, perspective, publication, sword and sorcery, Writing
by Lillian Csernica on March 24, 2016
Hi there! I come to you from Seattle, Washington, home of Norwescon, the finest science fiction convention in the Pacific Northwest. We’re here at the DoubleTree Inn by Hilton at SeaTac. Lovely hotel, somewhat confusing at first, given that there are 7 wings and plenty of event spaces. Yes, the hotel does still give out chocolate chip cookies when you check in. That’s my kind of welcome!
This adventure began on Tuesday at 1 p.m. when I hit the road for Stockton. That’s a two hour drive from my house over the Altamont Pass. I haven’t driven that far all at once in almost 30 years. Neither have I driven on Interstate 5 North since late August of 1987 when I was in the car accident that left me for dead on I-5 South. Was I jittery? Oh yeah.
Pat and I have made many a road trip together. Stockton to Eugene, 6 hours’ sleep, then Eugene to Seattle saw us arrive here at the hotel an hour or so before Pat’s first Programming item. There was joyful chaos all over the place as people checked in, other conventions passed out ribbons and promo materials, plenty of folks were already in costume, and we were clearly ready to party like the book-loving fan boys and girls that we all are.
Lots of fun on the Alien Communication panel. Did you know giraffes can hum?
Crossed paths with Dean Wells, one of my favorite people. I met him many years ago when I was a pro in his section of a writer’s workshop. He’s gone on to publish in markets such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I am very proud of him.
The Art Show reception was a total blast. Gorgeous paintings and sculpture and jewelry and housewares. Pat and I went nuts over the Tarot of Brass & Steam. Oh my stars and garters! I would LOVE to have those artists illustrate my steampunk stories from Twelve Hours Later and Thirty Days Later!
Now it’s after midnight. I’ve been up for 18 hours and I haven’t gotten a whole lot of sleep in the past few days, so it’s time to take advantage of my queen size bed and call it a night.
Tomorrow: More adventures from Norwescon 39!
Filed under art show, artists, chocolate, Conventions, cosplay, fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Lillian Csernica, science fiction, steampunk, travel, Writing