Battle Tips for Conventions and Conferences!


I love conferences and conventions (yes they're different) and consider them a part of my writing life. Sometimes I can't wait to get to them and sometimes I dread every second leading up until I actually walk in the door. Knowing what to do/why you're at these events can make the difference between having a great time and being miserable the entire time you're there.

So get your battle gear on and let's prep for heading into the throngs of people at your next convention!


Read More

My Path to Publication

No writer has the same path to publication, and there is no right or wrong way to get published (aside from getting snagged up in a vanity press scam I'd say). 

My path to my first publication begins in college. As a student studying creative writing I submitted to my college's literary magazine and ultimately ended up with two poems and a short story accepted and published before I graduated. I can still remember the total rush with that very first acceptance letter that sent my heart pounding. I could hardly believe the words and wanted immediatly to feel it again. 

After I graduated, I kept submitting my work, but writing started to fall to the side as I struggled to find a job and a stable life outside of college. In 2011 I made a New Year's Resolution to focus more on my writing and decided to kick that off by attending a convention with what looked like a great set of panels about writing. In February I went to Connooga and attended almost every panel on writing. I met a lot of new friends and had an amazing time, learning and asking questions. 

I went to a few more conventions with writing tracks that year and eventually got brave enough to ask one of the writers I'd met, Sean Taylor, to read over my work. He enjoyed my short story enough to recommend me to Pro Se Productions, a publisher looking for writers for a new character, The Pulptress. I accepted and fell in love with the character, and the world of pulp writing. 

I learned a lot while working on my first story for The Pulptress collection. The biggest lesson was recovering from disastor when my drive corrupted and I lost 80% of my story and had to start over with the deadline on top of me. The editor, Tommy, worked closely with me on the story, and when the book came out I could hardly believe it was real. Me with my name in a book on Amazon!

Around this time I made the decision to hide on to graduate school for my MFA in Poetry. The Pulptress did well and I was approached about writing two standalone books about the characters I'd introduced. I couldn't say yes fast enough. Again I learned a lot of valuable lessons as I struggled to balance writing my first digest novel, The Bone Queen, with grad school. I dropped out of the MFA program and switched to an MA degree where I could spend more time researching. I got a dreadful stomach flu that knocked me out for nearly two weeks. Crisis hit, and I just barely turned in a draft ahead of the deadline. 

And boy it was a bad draft! 

Rather than tossing me out on my butt, Pro Se worked with me and together we came up with a digest novel I love. That digest novel wouldn't be what it is without all the time and effort Tommy put in with me and I'll always be insanely proud of it. The cover turned out incredible and for the first time, I really felt like an author. I sat on panels as a panelist. People asked me questions; people could buy my books at conventions. It was a dream come true. 

The next digest novel went smoother as I learned more about writing under a deadline. I finished grad school, got a new job, moved, and found a routine. I sent out short stories, and started working on more projects. By the time my next digest novel, The Pulptress versus The Bone Queen, came out I felt more confident as a writer and had started to figure out myself as a writer. 

Writing taught me a lot about myself, and a lot about how I operate. I've learned I'm tough and that I will do everything in my power to meet deadlines. I've learned how to take critiques and roll with them to make a better story. I'm still finding my voice, but I feel much more sure in it than I ever have before. While I've move into other genres, I'll always be thankful to the start the pulp, and Pro Se gave me. I wouldn't be the writer I am without the time working with some amazing editors and publishers. 

It seems appropriate starting a new year by looking back at where I've come from as a writer and I'm amazed at how far I've come since just 2011. It's only been 5 years but I feel like an entirely new person. 

Here's to seeing where 2016 takes my writing and my life! 

Happy New Year!

Me with the first copy of The Pulptress!

Me with the first copy of The Pulptress!

Dear Future Me...


I'm writing this to you from 2014 and scheduling it to appear on your 2015 birthday, isn't technology great? 

Hopefully there hasn't been a tragic accident and you get to read this. If not, I love you everyone reading this. 

2014 was a great year, huh? But I'm willing to bet that by your 2015 birthday, things are even greater. 

I hope you're still writing and busting your butt to reach your dreams. Maybe you've landed an agent and a cool book deal by now, but if not, that's alright too. I just hope you're keeping at it and working hard. 

Are you still thinking about getting a pet? Maybe now's the time to just do it and get a furry little friend to have around to keep you company. I hope you're also doing better at taking care of yourself and not just eating mac and cheese all the time (though mac and cheese is awesome). 

Are you still planning to go to San Diego Comic Con? Have you bought a house? 

It's weird to think that so much can change in a year, but I bet a lot has shifted since 2014. You're another year older, (maybe) wiser, and another year closer to your goals! 

Here's to you kicking butt in the future!

Happy birthday! 

2014 Andrea

Write Like You Because There is No One Right Way to Write

Write when you can when it's best for you, and forget what other people are doing. Maybe some people would rather sleep until noon and write until 3am, if it works for them awesome! Maybe some people write in marathon 10,000 word binge all nighters. But don't ever feel like someone else's process has to be yours

Read More

International Women's Day!

Read the Global World

Yesterday was International Women's Day so to celebrate I wanted to post some of my favorite women writers, and to hear what writers you love!  
  1. Banana Yoshimoto
  2. Alia Mamdouh
  3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  4. Rosa Montero
  5. Ludmila Petrushevskaya
  6. Octavia Butler
  7. Helen Oyeyemi
  8. Anita Desai
  9. Kim In-Suk
  10. Leslie Marmon Silko
  This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are thousands upon thousands of incredible writers all over the world. These are just a few of the authors I've read and enjoyed. Who's you favorite author?

Fandom First: The Business of Conventions

When thinking about comic/fantasy/sci fi conventions, most people immediatly think of costumes, and a gathering of people playing games or talking about the latest books and movies. Few people immediatly think of economic power and the impact a large convention can have on a city. But conventions have a huge economic impact on the cities they're hosted in, and on the vendors and dealers travelling around the world with booths.

In an essay for Apex Magazine, I looked at the economic forces behind conventions and the money behind the funny business of fandom. 

You can read the essay here

Liebster Tag! 11 Questions and Random Fact about Yours Truly

The amazing Meghan nominated me for the Liebster award so now you get to learn all kinds of new things about me. exciting, yes?

  1. What was the WORST story you’ve ever written?  

    Oh god, so many.... Um... any first draft? There was a story I once wrote about a girl who grew a garden and then TWIST AT THE END. She's blind. It was awful. I was also 7.

  2. If you could cast anyone to be your favorite main character, who would you choose?  

    My instinct is Tom Hiddleston, but he's already Loki so that doesn't work out.......I really want to see Gina Torres as Wonder Woman!!

  3. If you could no longer write in your favorite genre, which genre would you switch to?  

    Romance easy. In fact I do write in it too so that doesn't really count... I write in a lot of genres already so this is a challenge. I suppose if I could no longer write genre fiction I'd switch to poetry again.

  4. Do you ever act out scenes to make sure you get them just right? 

    All the time. I regularly flail around my room trying to make sense of what my characters are doing.

  5. Have you ever been caught talking out loud to a character?  

    Absolutely. I mutter under my breath and tend to work in the living room so my roomies have often asked, "What are you doing?"

  6. Which character was the toughest for you to write and why?  

    I struggled with the creation of The Bone Queen character because it was the first time I really got to go on and write a full villain origin story. I wanted her to own her choice, not be brought into it because someone hurt her. I wanted her to have agency over her own life, and her decisions.

  7. What are your top five songs for you current book?  

    Well I actually have a playlist you can listen to for that.

    Blood and Bone from judyblackcloud on 8tracks Radio.

  8. What would you do if you could hang out with any of your characters?  

    I would totally hang out with Aramis, the Pulptress, and Jackson! They're entertaining. I bet Aramis could really help with my french langauge skulls too.

  9. Which non-standard word do you use most often?  

    Oh god, I'm so bad at this. I like using sounds as verbs so people 'THUNK' downwards.

  10. What is the weirdest thing you’ve had to research for a book?  

    So many options... I guess probably looking at how exactly Black Plague victim bodies were dealt with and studying that time period.

  11. Based on your search history, would you potentially be arrested? Oh yes.
  Alright so now we come to 11 facts about me.  
  1. Two cats have recently adopted me and turned my world upside down.
  2. I am a vegeterian and have been for almost as long as I have been eating.
  3. I LOVE video games and wrote my thesis about them.
  4. I've been going to conventions regularly for over 10 years.
  5. Welcome to NightVale is probably one of the best live shows I've ever seen.
  6. I use star stickers to mark my calendar with what I've done that day.
  7. I hate driving. I really want to live car free but my area isn't friendly to that lifestyle.
  8. I've only recently gotten into comic books and I'm in love with them.
  9. Cooking, baking and cleaning are how I procrastinate.
  10. I'm a morning person and would much rather get up early than sleep in.
  11. Dark chocolate is my true weakness.
I don't actually know a lot of people who blog so... here are the few I know. Sean Taylor M.B. Weston Selah Janel And anyone reading this who has a blog and wants to do this. YES YOU RIGHT THERE LOOKING AT THIS ON A SCREEN.   And my 11 questions for you:
  1. Plotter or Pantser? Why?
  2. Do you write every day or in one great marathon?
  3. What's the best writing advice you were given?
  4. What's the worst writing advice you've been given?
  5. Do you have a writing ritual? What's involved?
  6. Favorite author?
  7. Who is your favorite character from your own work?
  8. What's your next project?
  9. Favorite inspirational quote.
  10. Where do you do most of your writing? Why?
  11. What's your favorite recipe? (Seriously, I need some new ones)

Fandom First: I Ship It!

When people talk about fandom, one of the first things that pop into their heads is about fanfiction, and fanart. While some of these works are more general adventure stories a large amount of fan work is based on a ship or a romantic pairing of characters. (Ship is shortened from relationship).

Shipping first reached documented 'mainstream' with Kirk and Spock in the 1960s though the term shipping was first used by fans of the X-files wanting Mulder and Scully to finally get together. The advent and rise of the internet spread shipping as now fans were able to better find others to talk about their pairings, and a better space to share their works with wider audiences.

Many ships come up with their own name, usually a portmanteau of the two characters name, such as Drarry (Draco and Harry from Harry Potter), Korrasami (Korra and Asami from Legend of Korra), and Sherlolly (Sherlock and Molly from the BBC's Sherlock). This also happens with celebrity couples in Hollywood gossip magazines like Bennifer (Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck) and Kimye (Kim Kardashian and Kanye West) are just a few examples.

However, some ship names aren't quite so obvious like frostiron (Loki and Tony Stark from the Marvel Cinematic Universe) where it's the combination of Iron Man and Loki being a frost giant; JavaJunkie (Luke and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls) which is based on their mutual coffee obsessions and coffee shop meet ups. These names come from idiosyncrasies within the shows that fans know. This naming can make many ship names appear to be nonsensical to non-fans. These names help fans organize, tag, and find new work. Many of these tags become their own community of fans who share fanworks, thoughts, and personal information.

Many pairings use multiple names and there can be discord within the community of shippers about which name is the correct name. To avoid confusion, some also label fanwork "Character A X Character B" to let others know exactly who the pairing is without relaying on a ship name.

The terms, OTP, BrOTP, OT3, and OT4 (and probably onwards to infinity) come up frequently in ships. OTP is a 'One True Pairing' while a BrOTP is a portmanteau of 'Bromance' (a friendship between two people) and OTP to mean a best friendship while OT3 and OT4 are for three or four characters involved with one another.

So why do people ship?

The reasons range widely from person to person. For some, it's a safe way to explore relationships and sexuality, for others it's wish fulfillment, for others it's a way to bring lgbtqia representation to their media. For some it's a social activity and a way to complete creative works and have a built in audience.

Regardless of the whys behind shipping, it's clear that relationships are here to stay as an important and vibrant part of the fandom community.