Archive for September, 2015

Obligations

Posted: September 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

I ran a facebook event for “Obligations” over Labor Day Weekend, 2015.

It was fun and I am moving everything that was posted in the event to here so it won’t be lost.

Go grab a copy!

Go give a review!

This is my first sf novel and sets the seeds for my space opera universe. Written in 1994.

“Obligations”

I want to thank Jose E Rivera for his great review of “Obligations” – Thank You!
Reviews make a huge difference to small press and indie authors and directly translate into more paid sales of the book.
The three biggest things you can do to help a small author is to share their links when they post them, comment and interact with their pro-author page when they post something, and leave reviews on amazon and goodreads. It really helps.

Jose E R.
Yesterday at 6:46pm ·
“Interesting read, not my normal read. (I read mostly tech manuals, and white papers on cyber security.) So I actually enjoyed reading something different for a change.”  “I really liked it.”

4 out of 5 stars! Thank you Tammy J R.
What happens to all the street people who simply vanish every year?
By Tammy J Rizzo on September 4, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
“This book mostly follows Morgan, a Taiwanese-born young woman, snatched with a handful of other young people from an alley in an American city and thrown into the galactic slave market. The story jumps backward and forward in time, using flashbacks and current happenings to follow Morgan’s experiences as she struggles to find a place for herself in a completely alien culture.
I found the book very interesting, and while the alien names can sometimes be confusing, the alien culture and society feels whole and complete. Once I started reading this book, I had to stay up until after 2am reading, until I had finished it!”

FB showed me all the nice things people said when they shared this event, thank you…

“I finished the whole book last night, even if it DID take me until 2am to do it! 8-D”

“It’s set in space, so some of you will like that. It’s also a timeless story about growing up different, adjusting well on the outside, and devastating challenges as an adult in a war torn universe of politics. Some of you may enjoy that. And there’s some steamy sex and almost sex. Not tagging anyone. ….”

And I posted, alot.

Kidnaped from Earth as a child, sold as a slave, discarded on an alien world as broken, Morgan is adopted by a Sansheren ruler and raised in a loving home. Now she finds herself desperately trying to hold onto her Sansheren identity while reconnecting with her human past.
Obligations is at its heart a story about the myths of childhood and how they color Morgan’s ability to relate to herself.
It is a gender confused story about trying to live in one culture while relearning her humanity without losing herself.
About being two-spirit and walking between worlds against a backdrop of Space Opera sci-fi that showcases the after effects of planetary war and manifest destiny.
Originally written in 1994, “Obligations” speaks to the writer’s struggle to find her science fiction voice after publishing romance books and was used as her primary writing sample during her career as a ghost writer.

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When I wrote “Obligations” I had already written 6 romance and 3 hard erotica books. And started 3 (as yet) unfinished sf books. The romance voice is imprinted on my writing style; the soft, nearly passive regret narrative.
Modern sf doesn’t use this voice, I still like it.

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When I wrote “Obligations” I did not see myself in the character Morgan, (Lui Moe Gan, Morganea) though I did identify with her personal struggles.
Truth is, I wrote each POV character as the main character, fully invested and with a separate plotted arc.
I like to head hop when I read and I like to head hop when I write.

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“Obligations” was submitted to one of the big sf publishers in 1995. They held it for 4.5 years, every year or so I would sent a query asking if they were going to buy it and would get a response that “It was under consideration”.
In 2000, the first page was returned without so much as a note.
I submitted a rewritten copy to the next big sf publisher in 2001. They replied 6 months later that they would like to hold it “for consideration.” They didn’t reply to any follow up letters until 2005 when they asked if I was willing to be listed as second writer to a name author. I said no and they rejected the book.
In 2004, I was contacted by a movie studio; they sent a contract for option. I never initiated the exchange so I figure it came out of the second publishing house. I received $3000 cash for a book that wasn’t published. That option has long expired – hint hint…
I did take the letter asking me to defer to a name writer to an agent and started ghost writing professionally, up to that point everything was private deals with writers I knew.
From 2006 to 2010 I wrote 18 books as a ghost and added considerable content to 15 more. I can write fast – it’s the editing I suck at.
In 2011 my agent got cancer and I decided to go public. My first decision was to not resubmit “Obligations” and to press it myself.
It’s been slow, but I’m having fun. “Obligations” has been a part of my writing brain for over 20 years, give it a read and tell me what you think.

-Dates are -ish, I’m tired and dyslexic and not bothering to pull out specifics.

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My husband teases that “Obligations” is a furry book – it isn’t. Though the one scene with the old medic and the two aliens…. doesn’t go that far….

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When I wrote “Obligations” I was a Mormon.
I was very gender confused, considered myself bi-sexual, but mostly was just completely miss-gendered physically and emotionally.
I was even more confused about race and ethnicity; growing up brown and poor can do that to you when everyone claims “We’re Irish,” with a straight face, brown eyes, and black hair… The husband and I traveled to my great grandmother funeral and my father gave me my grandmother’s tribal records to copy. I spent years pursuing information in an attempt to get registered and then one day my grandmother decided to go ahead and register everyone.
And was just starting to get treatment for severe ptsd and depression. The medical doctor said bi-polar, the neurologist said seizures, and the psychologist said “Wow, some of your life really sucked.” The tegretol I was on then is what damaged my bone marrow.

-“Obligations” isn’t a straight forward sf book and the journey I took writing brought me to who I have been ever since. If you know me now – you would not have recognized me then.

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#5,097 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#21 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Colonization
#30 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera

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“Obligations” was the very first writing project that I used an outline for and I have found that outlines greatly increase the chances I will finish a project.
There was a segment on 60 Minutes that examined a trend of rich Taiwan families sending their kids to school in the US. At the time, I had an acquaintance who was a Taiwan born US living artist. I was researching and planning out a romance book.
Then there was a flood of news stories about runaways going missing. The numbers were staggering (still are) and having been street they really hit home.
One morning between the kid going to school and getting home, I started to outline a story. My original plan was a romance in space. I started from the first reconnection scene in the bar on Wergol and ran the story forward. In the outline, everything before Wergol was a flashback. It took about 6 hours to outline.
The first outline was 8,000 words and went chapter by chapter. A writing friend insisted that I just write very short first drafts…..

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The human’s:
Morgan (Lui Moe Gan, Morganea) is a Taiwan born girl who comes to power among the Sansheren.
Greg is a 20something African-American man who is struggling to stay sober and be a part of his daughters life until he finds himself standing on an alien slave auction block.
Enrico is a Mexican youth who is struggling with bitterness and depression as he fights to keep his Sansheren child alive.
Isaac had a marketable skill and so never saw the downside to the alien slave trade.
Sam is a Choctaw and US Marine and damn but he gave it his all.
Denise just wanted to go home, unfortunately for her, humans buy slaves on alien planets.
Tim was a ROTC cadet officer before he ran away from home, now he’s trying to drink away giving the order to nuke half a planet.

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The character Tim is only lightly developed, he’s written as a bit of an ass, because the outlined sequel is about the male perspective of the Sansheren and human’s.
Every character who is a POV in “Obligations” is in a Sansheren female role or is female at the time of the scene.
Tim, Enrico, Morgan, and Habkiko are outlined as the main driving characters in the sequel.

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Characters die.

Beth E “I’m NOT liking this part! I want to kill off Tadesde myself!”

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In the outline, two human characters died. As I wrote the story I realized that Morgan would be hit harder by Sansheren deaths.

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There’s a meme going around about how “when you buy a book you aren’t just buying the book, you are buying the writers hopes and dreams and frustrations and pain.” Something like that.
I disagree.
When I buy a book all I want is the story. It’s like a blind date – I don’t want an in-depth retelling of a 3rd grade trauma on a first meeting. If I like the book (the story) I will seek out other books by that author. Around about the 4th or 5th book by that author – I will seek out the author and learn about his/her backstory.
The problem is that in todays fb driven market I am constantly told that I need to sell my backstory to sell my books.
This event is my first attempt at marketing the backstory, Is it working for you?

-I’m not so much on the tech driven, I’m action, dialog, and character.

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When you hit a roadblock or writers block while writing the first instinct is to go back and edit. That will derail you.
Instead, when you are at a standstill in the story, build the universe. Write out character descriptions, backstory, name the pets….
Start outlining the sequel based on where you see the characters going. (if the story takes a left in Albequerque just rename the characters and you have a different project ready to go.
Write a short story about a side character.
Map out houses, ships, and star systems.
Anything to keep moving forward.

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“Obligations” was written using a “How to write a novel in a year” writing program.
310 words a day, 5 days a week, equals 80,000 words a year.
These days I write 300 words in a faceb post, several time a day….
Back then it was hard.

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The first working title for “Obligations” was “Homeward Bound” but every person who knew I was writing would say “Oh, like with the dogs and cat?”
So I changed the title to “A Debt of Honor” and that held until the very day after I wrote the last page – when Tom Clancy announce the title of his next book.
I like “Obligations” better than the other two, the sequel (outline) is titled “Intentions” and if I write a third it will be “Traditions.”

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One of the common comments I get is that I don’t seem dyslexic. Or that my writing doesn’t seem dyslexic.
There’s a few reasons for that.
1. Grammar and spell checks are built in to most every thing these days, you just have to take that extra minute to correct things that have lines under them. I will rewrite until all lines go away because I can dyslex green and red…
Then I throw it into paperrater or grammarly and work it again. Then I put it into hemmigway app. Then I ask beta readers to check it. And then I pay a copy editor.
2. I’m only mildly dyslexic. I was diagnosed in second grade; back before it was common. The actual paper work said “improperly socialized, possible english language transition difficulties, learning disability – dyslexia.”
I was impatient, had moved every few weeks/months for most of my life, and couldn’t communicate so I threw fits. Most school teachers just put me in the corner and waited for us to move again. That happens when a kid’s transcript comes in with a lot of moves – they write you off.
I missed most of second grade.
We moved back to Washington, moved to Carbonado, and my mother put her foot down. Insisted on no more moves. That lasted 5 years.
3. I have TBI dyslexia. This is a severe brain injury wiring problem. I verbally dyslex worse than I write. I frequently watch people hear me dyslex one word for another or swallow a stutter before changing words and decide that I’m not very bright. I see it in their eyes, their impatience, their attitude. They get one gentle push back and then I walk away. I fight too hard for normal to let anyone’s bullshit perception of me cast me into a comfortable role for them.
I’m missing a big chunk of grey matter, have had my brain exposed to oxygen on two separate injuries, and have had neurologists actively work to tell me how amazing my function level is. I’ve had every IQ test and neuro-norm battery there is, I had to learn to talk again and I’ve had to learn to walk again. So what if I can’t enunciate half of the words I can think and write.
In writing, my brain will thesaurus a word. Thinking subscription writing prescription. It can lead to some good puns and the occasional dry wit. In writing there is a distinct stutter sensation when I type the wrong word. I can catch it most of the time.
Except numbers. Numbers are evil. Numbers give me a migraine. And number change places without warning. Numbers hide behind other numbers until i walk away. Numbers lie.
I can’t see a number dyslex. I get no sensation from a number dyslex. I usually only have problems with numbers when I’m tired, but numbers also make me tired.
I can do math, I used to love math. I took advanced physics in college and medicine is all about numbers. Keeping focused on numbers in any form for any length of time is physically exhausting, generates an acute fight or hell fight response, and is actively painful. Reading math and counting columns feels like a bad sinus migraine every time.
I gets worse when I’m tired, sick, or stressed.
So, I dyslexed the start time of the give-away, and I dyslexed the end time on this event… Bets I got the end time on the give-away correct?

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If you’ve ever hung out with me when alcohol is being consumed then you may have heard one or two of my spider stories.
Giant spiders, swarms of spiders, walls dripping with spiders, tasty spiders….
I seem to have some life path, karmic, spiritual bond with the damn things.
Buy me a drink, I’ll tell you a story….
Only it happened. Each and every one.
I’ll leave you with this tidbit – I once had an adult female goliath spider jump on my back… One claw visible on either shoulder, one claw on each side trying its damned its to tickle my sides. And stood frozen, trying to whisper for help for over thirty minutes while the thing tickled my neck. When I finally got someones attention – he ran for a camera. Nearly an hour before it was “removed” and blisters everywhere it touched me.
Goliath spiders taste like stale fake crab when you roast the legs for soup….
Google “goliath spider,” I dare ya.
night night…

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Reviews make a huge difference to small press and indie authors and directly translate into more paid sales of the book.
The three biggest things you can do to help a small author is to share their links when they post them, comment and interact with their pro-author page when they post something, and leave reviews on amazon and goodreads. It really helps.

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The event was titled First Love always lingers – Obligations.

Sunday I commented “I’m thinking that I could just as easily titled this event “Politics and Social constructs are harder when your green.”

Obligations

Posted: September 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

So, I clearly recall posting here on Friday and letting everyone know that “Obligations” is free on Amazon right now. I’ve been dealing with some health issues, so I’m guessing that I never hit publish.

Sorry about that.

Here’s the deal, “Obligations” is free until Monday.  I’m having a bit of a fb event and sharing things about the book and about my writing process.  I will be copying a lot of things from the event to here so they don’t disappear into the fb archives.

On Monday I will be giving away a couple of $5 Amazon gift codes to people in the event.

FB EVENT: Check it out!

Direct Amazon link: “Obligations”

My thought on attending world con:
For the most part I’m still processing the experience.
The positive far outweighed the negative, yet there was some negative, and if I give a clinical recounting of the things I witnessed the negative would eclipse the telling.
So, I’ll stick to telling about the positive, give reference to the negative, and walk away.
I was on a panel titled “Visible Diversity in Current SF” with Arthur Chu, Mark Oshiro, and Cynthia Felice. I’m really glad I was invited to sit at the big kids table for this panel.. I feel strongly that creating diverse characters aren’t nearly as important as encouraging diverse writers.
My second panel on Saturday was “Creation Stories” and I think the biggest compliment I received all weekend long was the cluster of ten to fifteen people who followed me from the 1st panel to the second. This panel wasn’t in the program books so the audiance was drawn in by previous interactions with myself, Robbie Paul, and Mir Plemmons. Mir was sick and missed the panel, so I got to listen to Robbie Paul tell stories while interjecting little bits of Choctaw history and personal anecdotes. I told a short version of how the diamondback lost his feathers and why he snapped at eagle.
My third panel was “Costuming with elements of other cultures” was moderated by Mir Plemmons and included Gregg Castro, Tanglwyst de Holloway, and Bobbie Benton Hull. The panel opened to audience questions at the start and we spent a lot of time saying “Just don’t do that.” “No, you really can’t make a nun headdress” “No, really. Bad taste” but it was fun and things stayed light hearted, so I’ll count it as a win.
My last panel was on Sunday afternoon and I really expected a light turn out. “Realistic Journeying before (or after) motor travel” was packed. Susan Bolich, Jason Hough, and one other gentleman whose name I missed were great. Jason Hough was our impromptu moderator. I’ll admit to soft-selling my background and credits when the introductions started. Psychologically I can come up with a dozen reasons, but the fact is my anxiety meds weren’t cutting it for the number of people in the room and I ducked. As the panel warmed up I relaxed and contributed.
Three panels because of I’m ndn and one panel on merit. I’m okay with that.
I sat in the audience on a couple of good panels, a few miss titled and miss described panels, one blatant promotional panel, and another panel so unfocused and shrill that I wasn’t the only one walking out.
I got flea bites, lots of fleas bites…. I don’t care if you got the vest and the card to bring your dog with you, I love dogs. Be a responsible owner and go to the vet. Flea bites.
I saw two incidence of blatant bigotry and/or intolerance.
One was a panelist who interrupted another to insist that his/her visible appearance (as interpreted by that person) defined her/his cultural reality. I got news for you – just because someone is passing doesn’t mean they are white. And boobs do not make you automatically female. It was tasteless and rude and I won’t name those on either side of the exchange – but wow that was an eye opener and a reminder that cultural panels are very needed.
The second incident was on a diversity panel. When the panel on writing diverse characters begins on a sour note it affects the whole hour. Walidah Imarisha and Mary Soon Lee were great, Randy Henderson was gracious in ignoring the blunt insult thrown at him, and the other two on the panel did not impress me.
And I had several incidents where people walked up, grabbed my arm, and inspected my henna without asking permission or even realizing that it might be a problem. It was a problem.
I missed the parties for lack of spoons, but I did notice that if we had worked a table there is no way I would have had the energy or focus for panels. And having a room in the Doubletree was a god send that I owe a favor for….. I’ll have to think about dealers room versus panels going forward.
That’s all for part one of my recap, I’m sure I’ll post more as I think about it.

Part 2

Continuing my thoughts on Worldcon…
I was on three panels that were for and about diversity. I also sat in the audience on five other panels that had some catch phrase in the title to say “This is about diversity in fandom or writing”.
The first diversity focused panel I sat in the audience of was titled “Writing Diverse Characters” so you can see where I got the idea that it would be about under-represented voices.
From left to right the panel was one white self-identified lesbian, one asian woman, one black woman, one white gay male, and one white straight male.
Here’s the thing – at a glance the panel was 3 white 2 not-white. In the puget sound region of fandom I don’t see gay/lesbian as a minority any more than I see disabled as a minority – in fandom. I suspect that one of the dynamics that gets lost is that under-represented voices in the mainstream can in fact be over-represented voices in a genre. I welcome gay/lesbian voices, I wish someone from Old Growth Northwest was on the panel. I do not think that having 3 white to 2 notwhite is balanced on a panel about diversity – the convention had notwhite gay, bi, trans, and ace pros available. And I think that writing a gay/fluid character is a completely different topic than writing a diverse character. Yes, diversity includes sexuality – that’s not my point – but a white gay male still had childhood exposure to main stream culture and usually speaks with the same authority as every other white male writer. I think gender and sexuality should be separate tracks from ethnic and cultural diversity.
And in the end, little was discussed about diversity re: LGBTQ.
The panel room was large and it was overflowing. There were people sitting in the aisle and lining the walls. Mostly white people.
I would like to see a convention panel titled “How to write white men” and have it be open q&a.
Snark aside, the panelists started their introductions and when it came to the white straight male he said “I’m a straight white male, I questioned why I was on this panel, tried to give my spot to someone else, and was told no.” The moderator cut him off with a snidely said “And off course the cis white male has to insert himself.” Only he didn’t. It was introductions, he was deferring his very presence on the panel, he could have simply named his publishing credits and let the audience ascribe ethnicity to him. The moderator took a cheap shot for laughs and about half of the room chuckled. I glanced around and saw as many frowns. He was mostly silent for the rest of the panel.
Walidah Imarisha carried the panel. She was smart, she spoke to specifics, she talked about if you’re just writing an ethnic character for the sake of having an ethnic character then don’t.
And that sums up my feelings about so many writers racing to master writing the Other. Don’t.
One: by having established writers fill the market with diverse-seeming characters it creates an illusion of diversity.
two: by encouraging new writers to submit diverse characters it fills the slush piles and the novice slots with an appearance of representation.
three: when you write a character from a culture you took months to thoroughly research you displace the writer who lived it.
four: the only people who believe your diverse character are other non-diverse people who spent less time researching the culture than you.
We do not need more diverse characters.
We need more diverse writers.
Because when I write a character there are echoes of my Japanese aunt trying to cope with my grandmother’s foster home and all its chaos. There are echos of my dad telling racist jokes. There is bit of my uncle Jim after Vietnam. And there’s going to be -ish dredged up from my surviving sexual violence.
When I write a character there are stories and memories that filter in from my subconscious and bubble out without me even knowing.
When I write a character it is by its very nature a diverse character even if I don’t tell you her skin tone or describe his hair.
The same way a sexually tense scene between two women is automatically lgbtq without my having to hit you over the head and say Sally is a lesbian and Sheila thought she was straight.
A character written by a diverse writer will be diverse regardless of the scene or setting.
Culture is not something you can research, oh you might get the surface right but culture lives in the subconscious. You can research the words, you can research the stories, but you can’t find the tears in a book and you won’t understand a lot of what you are reading for the filter of time.
If you want to write a diverse character – go be diverse. Go to burning man, rainbow family, join a buddhaist temple, join doctors without borders, join the military, become a Maker, volunteer at a homeless shelter for years not months, hang out under bridges, sleep in the rain, or marry into a large ethnic family.
Be diverse. Not different. Not unique. One of the things about romani – the four leaf clover isn’t lucky, it stood out and it got killed. Diversity isn’t about learning a new thing, it’s about time and family and being a part of your culture.
You won’t find a diverse character in a book, and you won’t learn how to write one by sitting in on panels at a convention, be diverse.
Or don’t. Let us write our own characters. We got this.

Another perspective:

I went to World Con and forgot about updating “Obligations”.  My bad.

I’ve set “Obligations to be free on Amazon for Labor Day Weekend.  I’ll post again when it goes live.

In the meantime, I’m going to copy from faceb the two posts I wrote up about World con.  I have more thoughts on the matter yet to come….