Frinterview! feat. Stephanie Sauvinet (Pt 2)

We’re hanging out with the talented Steph again, this time to hear about her life on the other side of the literary desk.

So you recently became a Reading Intern for World Weaver Press. What made you want to take part in that process, as a writer seeking rep and publication?

My number one motivation was the prospect of reading something out of my inbox that would make me go “Yes…YES YES YES!” Discovering exciting stories, and being part of the journey that would bring those stories to publication, has always been a very exciting prospect for me. A great book is contagious, whether or not it is my own work.

Since I’ve been in the query trenches myself, I can definitely relate to being nameless in an inbox and I believe it to be one of my strengths.  I should also confess that I’ve always expected reading slush would teach me a lot about what works and what doesn’t, but also about subjectivity. Any writer has heard just how subjective the business of publishing is and I believe, within reason, they knows what that means, but believe me when I say reading tons of queries and submissions will put that notion in perspective that much more.

It takes but a couple of minutes browsing websites such as QueryTracker or Absolute Write to find threads where authors wonder what happens behind the scenes, on the publishers’ side, or who blatantly express their frustration and impatience about the whole publishing process. I’m of the mind that unless you’ve been in someone’s shoes, you can hypothesize all day long as to what’s happening – but you may be completely wrong. So part of it was also curiosity and the knowledge that as a writer, I would be able to say truthfully I know a little bit about what happens on both sides of the track.

And as a writer who’s received offers of pub from other small presses, what made WWP so attractive that you wanted to actually work for them!

First, there is the name “World Weaver”. Really, how awesome is that?! I liked the fact that they were a young press, and dare I say, not jaded. I’ve encountered some small presses who seem to live by a “the more the merrier” motto, where anything and everything is being published, stamped with Windows Paint covers and thrown in the world to hopefully sell. Being accessible although selective is something I admire in WWP. They’re about great stories filled with emotions, plot twists and amazing characters but also about developing a partnership with authors.

A welcome breath of honesty, that answer. For writers looking to indie publish, credibility is key. Now that you’re a mistress of the slush, what do you see too much and what do you want more of?

I’m only the humble reader after all and I feel I should put a disclaimer up front saying the following statements are mine only, not WWP’s.

I know you’re asking in terms of subs and I’ll get to that in a minute, but let me say out right I see more unprofessionalism than I had expected to. With so many blogs/website/social media outlets, there is no reason an author should be misinformed as to what is expected in terms of query and professionalism. Authors need to realize that regardless of the person on the other end of the email (from a CP to a big 5 publisher), being courteous and professional is the best first impression to convey.

I can’t say that I see too much of one genre because I love them all! Instead, I’ll say I see too many flat characters. A story can have intricate prose, a great concept, a crafted pace…etc. but if I don’t care about the character, then why should I care about what happens to him/her? Why should I care your character is going on a journey to discover the biggest chocolate pyramid on Earth? (This was obviously made up but in the unlikely event that this relates to someone’s story, it is purely coincidental).

Now in terms of what I want to see. I am a very eclectic reader but I would be lying if I didn’t say my forte was science-fiction – so yes, I’ll say it – I want to see more SF, ALL SF, but in particular character-driven SF!!  (Although make sure it follows the guidelines of the WWP website! –> CLICK TO SEE! <–)

Psst. One sec.

Did you notice there’s a link there?

Just checking. Carry on.

I’ll also mention that WWP has an annual ghost story anthology, Specter Spectacular II: 13 Deathly tales, which is open for submissions until June 15. Mediums, grim reapers, psychopomps…etc. Send it all!

We love us some fairy tale retellings and urban fantasy. Check the WWP sub page for the extensive list. :-)

~

Would you ever consider crossing the desk permanently? As in giving up your own works of fiction to champion the works of others?

You’re a tough interviewer, my dear. ;-) Never say never, right? It’s all about fulfillment. If reading other people’s stories and carrying “la crosse et la banniere” (the cross and the banner) for them fulfills me completely then so be it, but as of now, I’m not there yet. Maybe I haven’t found the diamond in the rough just yet, so send me some diamonds.

That question was harder for me, I promise. I have a vested interest in you continuing to produce awesome sci-fi! (NIRVANA. NOW.) Ahem.

~

I hope you guys’ve enjoyed my first Frinterview! I, for one, might be hooked. I’m prepping to accost another friend with questions and song requests as we speak! Excelsior!

Frinterview! feat. Stephanie Sauvinet (Pt 1)

So I have this friend and she’s awesome and I’ve mentioned her on several occasions before. We met on the QT forums (where friendships have been known to bloom) and started swapping work. From the outside, we looked pretty different. She, a hardcore sci-fi writer specializing in cyber and biopunk. Me, a speculative literary writer who went through a good ten years of reading literary fiction exclusively. But, no. Kismet. We found we’re both expats (she’s from France, living it up in Louisiana; I’m from the US, basking in the awesome that is Montreal); we both love music and could not write without it – in fact, I’m gonna splice in some of her favorite songs of the moment; we both love literature (of course!); and, yes, we both love sci-fi.

So, I decided it’s time you know her, too! And Frinterviews are born! So much more fun than a cold interview, everything I already know about Steph made it really easy to think of questions I really wanted her to answer. And go!

Me3

Stephanie still remembers the face of her middle school librarian when she returned Dune after reading it in one day. She wanted to be an archeologist for a long time just so she could find the Stargate but settled for being an adult/YA science-fiction writer instead. If only she could click her heels three times and materialize in a cyberpunk world, she would live there forever. (From her Pen Punks bio)

Thanks for letting me grill you, Stephanie-Dahling. I’ve had the pleasure of reading your amazing cyperpunk/biopunk – and you opened my eyes to the fact that I have always been drawn to punk fiction/film; what made you want to start the Pen Punks? And can you tell us a bit about what it is?

::Blushes::

The Pen Punks is a group blog focused on everything relating to Punk fiction, and a little more. I wanted to start the Pen Punks because of my love for the punk genres and my wish to spread that passion to others. Steampunk has been mainstream for a while now but most of the other punk genres (such as cyberpunk, biopunk…) have been niches, often completely unknown to the general public. Most people have had a glimpse of those genres (who hasn’t seen The Matrix or Tron?) while still having no idea that they actually follow specific science-fiction subgenres. I wanted to give readers the opportunity to discover those genres, learn about them and who knows, maybe even become as passionate as I am.

And it’s not just an awesome place to read about the varying genres or find out about forthcoming or classic punk novels, it even boasts a database of agents and publishers interested in the genre. Because Stephanie is lookin’ out, y’all. Click here to check it out!

In your other life, you’re a nurse – how intimately do these passions intertwine, if at all?

As different as both passions are, they seem to be bound to affect each other. Being a nurse has helped me tremendously in my writing as I have seen quite a lot of personalities and reactions from patients and families. Add to that the fact that I am an oncology nurse and the notion of grief and death are definitely put in perspective. All experiences have been a gold mine in terms of emotions in my writing.

My passion for writing and reading have helped me reach patients in a way (at least I would like to think so). 99% of the time patients in the hospital hear about their diagnosis, treatment plan, symptoms…etc. Noticing a book on a patient’s bedside table and asking about it can break the bubble of sickness and make them think about something else for a moment.

I love this answer for so many reasons, particularly transferring the emotional resonance from your unique work life to your characters, even though the situations may be as different as night and day. YES.

As a writer whose native language is something other than English (but who writes in English), how has the process of CPing helped strengthen your own work?

Where should I start? As an ESL writer, I should probably say that everything in the CPing process has helped me. Having lived in the US for almost 10 years now, I’ve been facing the fact that I’ve adopted some bad habits and crutches within the English language, most invisible to me unless they are pointed out. I’ve also had the pleasure to CP literary pieces and that has probably helped me the most because it showed me just how refined prose can be. Something that I had experienced in French literature but never in English. It has encouraged me to learn to love line edits.

See, this is why we’re meant for each other, children.

You have to pick a planet other than Earth to spend the rest of your life: which do you choose?

Dune. There was no guess there. The ecosystem and the hardiness of its native people makes it a fascinating planet. The fact that it looks like a giant desert at first glance but reveals to be so much more is all the more part of its attraction.

Please, believe. I *did* know your answer to this. ::Scout’s honor::

~

Srsly. Her love of Dune is arguably one of the first things you find out about Steph! And there’s plenty more to find out when we finish our Frinterview tomorrie! ::glitter cannon:: For now, I leave you with the only thing almost as awesome as her biopunk work-in-progress, Nirvana – the jamazing mock cover. To find out how it came about and who is the talented artist behind its conception, click the image! (As if you could resist it.)

Every Breath You Take, California

I’m a complicated woman. ::ducks:: I just assume someone would punch me in the face for saying that. But seriously (not really) – I am.

Homesick means I think of California as my home, right? Except that’s not what I mean! Homeland-sick should catch on; I think that’s more what I’m saying. There’s something about arriving in the place to which you’re native. <– There. If I spoke German, I might know one glorious word to casually and precisely take the place of that sentence. And homesick would not be it.

So, lately I’ve been missing it. Specific places. Very specific. Driving with the top down from Sylvan Corners to Van Maren as it turns into Dewey. I miss the turns in the road and the sometimes canopy. Generally, I miss the trees in Sacramento. And Santa Cruz. I miss the way it smells on the bridge between Porter and Earth and Marine. Redwoods. Sigh. I don’t miss sand (a pox on thee, sand) but I do miss Natural Bridges and Sentinel Rock (right?) and I miss Pacific Avenue and sometimes I miss 41st avenue and *my* Safeway (24 hours, yo) and that my favorite Panda Express is the one on Date in Carmichael. (Yeah, I’m all over the place.) And there’s nothing entirely special about most of those places. I just know them.

So I went back the other night. Took a friend. We hopped from outside my home to just above my high school and then to Porter College and I can’t believe I forgot to take her to West Cliff Drive!

Thanks, Google Earth. My stars, what an age we live in. <–obligatory

My little big sister and I in McKinley Park. (Sacramento)

Me and the cousin-brothers in Capital Park. (Sacramento)

 

In a crag at Sentinel Rock. (Santa Cruz)

Siiigh.

It’s only been a year and a half this time so what the deal, yo? Ah well. Back to flying over Northern California. Ta!

Electric Love

Nick Miller

Sorta says it all, ay? #TheyGetMe #InA90sKindaWorldImGladIGotMyGirls

And since you guys brought up TV shows and the fact that I watch a crap-ton of them when I’m not in a season of reading (although I sort of consider film, tv and books reading) or marathon-writing: Being Human UK how COULD you and Being Human US why DO you. Still exist. ::ahem::

And also, bring back Apartment 23 (or just James Van… wait, I have to look up how to write his name correctly) and Alphas – which is misleading because Alphas isn’t cancelled (RIGHT?!) but speaking of cancellations, please don’t quit Deception. Even though you probably should because honestly, how much more could there be. But don’t. Do a girl a solid.

And now they’re just toying with us on the whole Danny-Mindy thing. TOYING WITH US.

I’ll accept that Smash can feel redundant but unless or until you get me a show about marching band, I’ll keep it. And Nashville.

Community feels like it’s quaky but I was pretty happy with Partner and Hoolihan. :)

Shows I will not talk about: The Following, Scandal.

Favorite show: Bob’s Burgers. Like, seriously. Unless you want me to jump headlong into a day’s worth of quotes, we should leave it alone. It’s as bad as my love of the sixth and seventh season of The Simpsons. And the Mountain of Madness episode.

And then in my SPARE time. I slap kitties.

That’s what I do whenever anyone’s wearing a hat. Now.

Every Boy And Every Girl

Little ways I try to spice up my life that you may also try:

A) Using light gamer-speak in real life conversations so that it doesn’t seem like forever since I leveled my girl on Allods because wow this part is an infuriating grind and how come Josh has a ship and I don’t but also seriously, can we be done with the kill infinity of this or that beast quests?

Example: Calling out “wife-aggro” when I want my husband to come here.

Example 2: Saying I’m going “afk” when neither I nor the other party were at a keyboard to begin with. It’s good times.

B) Watching Elementary and finally getting to be a part of the whole Sherlock Holmes thing, which – no matter what interpretation I’d tried – I previously could NOT get into. I love Watson being Joan, I love their relationship, I love present-day crime-solving, I love Aidan Quinn (and I’ll never stop, just like he’ll always be a Ludlow). All the things. Such good television. Mmm. Not like The Following – whose second episode was admittedly better than the first but baby, that ain’t hard, and as I mentioned to a friend (so you’re seein’ this twice, yo) didn’t have to accost us with the liberal as duct tape use of cliches and so was immediately less eye-roll-inducing.

But what was I saying? Ah yes. I love Elementary. For serial. This from a woman who couldn’t even avoid irritation at the end of Guy Richie’s RDJ version. O_O (Yep. I hate when it goes all Encyclopedia Brown at the end. Shuddup. But also, let’s be friends, RDeej.)

C) Getting back into a season of hard-copy revising. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Nom. So fulfilling, I can’t even. Love it. Pencil, pen, paper, clipboard, love and so on. Does the body good. Ah. Now I’m just sighing and twirling my hair around my finger. Hm.

Mm.

 

Rockin’ Robin (Tweet)

This is not called, In Defense of Twitter, because really. Shouldn’t have to. (My two sisters will get that and that’s enough for me.)

But in this age of social media and what with our human penchant for hierarchical thinking, one oft hears about the “pointlessness” of whichever one the speaker doesn’t value/use. So, on Christmas Day, this conversation came up – and I was apparently the only person present using Twitter.

Here’s the thing: I’m not saying it’s deep and existential. I’m saying, what is. Seriously. Is every phone call meaningful? If you said yes, I need to transcribe any of my phone calls with my sisters. They are glorious. But they aren’t “necessary”. Not only do we not even share obscure details of our daily lives with each other (which is unnecessary because we’re all on twitter and facebook so we already know – HAH), we don’t even usually talk about things going on in our actual lives! We talk about ridiculousness. Or make up things. Or talk in movie or tv show code.

The thing is, there’s an entire industry on twitter, it seems. Publishing sort of lives there (and yes, on blogs…oh and in real life). I have arbitrary snatches of conversation with people in whom I’m actually interested and/or admire and hopefully vice versa. Or just strangers who got retweeted who I find hilarious. And when I say random, mundane, arbitrary things and people respond in kind or in relating? It’s good times. It’s fun. It feels connecting.

But I also can’t help but agree with people. I tell you pointless things. I tell you what I’ve eaten and am doing or have thought or am thinking or heard or wanted to hear. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And I love it. I giggle while I’m doing it and I laugh out loud when you respond. It’s how I know my cousin, Sunshine, even though we’ve never met. It’s how come I feel like my sisters are constantly with me even though we live in different countries.

So I’m gonna lament the lack of sriracha sauce and tell you how I can’t stop thinking of Dreamgirls and also tell you how I’m now melodramatically enjoying Roy Orbison because I’m just all over the place today. Don’t judge me. I promise, I still write physical Christmas cards (sometimes) and I still talk on the phone (slightly more frequently than a recluse) and I go outside (when the mood strikes). And when I do, you’ll know. Because I shall tweet it.

Come ‘ere, people!

The problem is we let it into our homes. “The call’s coming from inside the house.” Seriously, could that be why comments on almost every internet article are so heinous? So offensive? Why twitter can go from hilarious to soul-crushing in one simple string of 140 characters? Because if I overheard almost outlandishly racist comments in the public ladies bathroom, I’d forget about it for like six hours and then right before bed suddenly remember and tell Josh about it and then forget again.

I may well become the recluse I always intended to be. Well. I mean, I may – with the help of sweet Jesus – actually disallow myself to log onto the internet in the comfort of my own home. Eventually. Because, seriously, it’s my home. And there’s a bunch of crazy strangers popping up all the time. Strangers I had no intention of engaging or hearing or anything. And then I’m upset and it lingers because home is where you go to find refuge but it *happened* here! Does that make sense? (Of course it does.)

And then also: I am nursing a three day old Antonio Pinto addiction. Have you ever watched a movie based on hearing the score? Then you and I can’t be friends. (I assumed you said no, which is crazy because who *hasn’t* done that!?) And also, I’m sort of lying because I’ve been addicted to Antonio Pinto’s “Requiem” piece in Collateral since I saw the film in the theatre. But I was looking him up the other day and came across a number of songs from Lord of War and then this happened:

Le Pass. Out. I was rereading – in prep for possible revision – one of my manuscripts and Lord have mercy. I seriously bought a defibrillator for all the times my heart stopped. O_O (I hate talking about writing and music sometimes because then I’m like, what if this isn’t the end all be all to the person reading this and a piece of me dies.)

::disappears::

When Authors Are Awesome

The Autograph Is Awesomesauce

The title of that picture should be Verklemption.Which also sounds like a fragrance now.

So this is what happened when author Brandon Sanderson wrote the awesomest message before signing the book. I guess Andy deserves some credit, since he’s the one who actually went to the book signing and told Mr. Sanderson (wait, that makes him sound like an 8th grade social studies teacher…no, that was Mr. Mothersole. Carry on.) about the “big shelf”. Oh, I guess you’ll wanna know what it said and why it was awesome.

Josh – Hope I make it to the big shelf…

^.^ This was hilarious because he either had to just write whatever Andy told him to (which he does, which is already awesome) or he had to let Andy tell him how we brought one bookshelf to Montreal. And how we therefore had to decide who got to go on the big shelf. Seeing as I’m a pretty discriminating purchaser of books, all mine are good. Aside from our books from university, which of COURSE go on the big shelf, Josh reads pulp science fiction and also the Left Behind series so… there was a chicken coop-esque smaller book holder (that’s as classy a name as it gets) that was more like a literary lean-to.

Brandon Sanderson is cooler yet because we felt we had to email him to say thanks, since we didn’t actually get to meet him. And he wrote back! Seriously, he’s one of our favorites for life. I follow him on Twitter and Facebook so I get to hear how he makes other people’s day all the time, too. You rock, sir.

I don’t think it can be overstated how amazing experiences like that are.

So, number two:

Ezra and his How To Train Your Dragon Series. So you know how his grandma gave him the first book when he was six because he we are rightfully obsessed with the masterpiece that is the movie? And you know how he looks smacktacular when he’s reading? Okay, but anyway so he’s now on the sixth book in the series and he has never loved one of the books this much. Which is saying a lot. He has been so excited about this book that he is tearing through it and instead of restricting himself to a chapter a day (which he used to do unless the chapter was really short), he’s been reading three. So he’s sitting next to me and every couple minutes he asked if he could go. When I realized he’d been asking to go on to the next chapter (he makes rules and then tricks himself into thinking I made them…), I was like. I have to write this woman. So I did.

While he was breathing really quickly next to me and saying aloud how the Hairy Scary Librarian is without. mercy! I wrote Cressida Cowell and told her all about it. (I misspoke at one point and accidentally said he finished the first book on his sixth birthday instead of his seventh – FORGIVE ME, CRESSIDA!! Tell me why I’ve been freaking out about that.)

The next day – the next morning – she’d written back. This is how I looked.

So now I had to be giddy all day waiting for Ezra to get home from school so he could read the email. :) To which he responded with the biggest, most painful looking grin ever. It was awesome.

Cressida Cowell is even more awesome because that same day she emailed again. Only I can’t talk about it or Ezra will find out. O_O Because you guys talk so often. And also because he reads over my shoulder so I could never come back to my blog. O_O Seriously, it’s killing me.

BUT it’s time for the verdict.

BOOK PEOPLE ARE AWESOME.

 

Of Pinterest And Perspicacity

Before we get to the main event, I have a PSA of great importance. I have recently decided… ::pause for tension:: … that perspicaciousness needs to become part of my twice daily vocabulary. Perspicaciousness. O_O No, seriously, that’s the awesomest, most underused word evar. ::Clears throat:: Perspicaciousness. I’m so glad I misspelled perspicacity so that I could stumble upon it’s handsome brother.

And now! For some reason, I need to here share a pin from each of my 8 boards on Pinterest - i.e. the second most awesome and necessary sites that at first seemed completely crazy (the chronological first being Twitter). And that’s not just because I’m awake at 2:32am! No! I seriously think that Pinterest is beginning to be a better representation of me than I am! And that someday I shall commission someone to fashion me a life out of my Pinterest boards. (That would be so freakin’ awesome, for serial.)

Board #1: Pretty Prose
This board began as solely things that make me think of or inspire me to write and quickly became a place to put my favorite quotes as well. Now to choose which better represents the board as a whole. (Stay tuned for reveal….)

And here it is!

Yeah, so it turns out, that wasn’t hard. It was really only between that (Printing Plates by FOSSIL) and the scroll journal, which I’ve already blogged about. (But it was still tempting cuz I’ve truly never gotten over it.)

Board #2: My Style
So the thing is that I apparently have two looks: Golden Era Gadabout and Boot-wearin’ City Girl (Who May or May Not Have Access To Horses).

To start, can we just agree that choosing a single, exemplary pin out of 119 that are there because nearly every one of them made me catch my breath and/or speak in tongues  is ridiculously harder than I anticipated? Kay. But this one makes my heart glad every time.

Le whimsy, le wonder.

 

 

 

Board #3: Imaginary Home
I choose a picture of my possibly overrepresented LOVE of hidden rooms as they pertain to bookshelves!

 

Board #4: Let’s Go To There
This board is chocked full of images that make me wanna snatch my passport. Sometimes it’s a place that just looks too jamazing to be real, rarely it’s a place I’ve been (like the gorgeous Multnomah Falls) and a few times it’s just a door or a tree that makes me imagine a world I want to know. (I just did inkie-binkie-bonkie to make up my mind between two hauntingly beautiful pins, just so you know. Germany won.)

 

Board #5: The Perfect Party
This one’s easy. It is a board to post inspiration photos for the party I mean to have with my sisters. Mumford & Son shall play the songs, tweed shall be the skirts, and here is the setting!

 

Board #6: I Guess I Pin Food Now
I have no intention of getting into the food-pinnage, but there’s just too much yummy stuff. And, truth be told, it’s already paid off. The hubster saw one of my pins (the one where you use chocolate cake mix in the waffle iron and have it with a scoop of ice cream and sliced strawberries) and made it for me! Score, children. Score. The following are Grilled Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers with Vintage Cheese.

 

Board #7: Next Haircut
Technically, I have cut my hair since starting this board, but it shall be done again. This is the perfect way to capture images when you see them online and then know where to find them when you need to print it out for your hairdresser!

It was a toss-up between this one and a shorter do, but I didn’t feel like having a celebrity pic on my page so. I went with the one that I was SURE was the one…until I found the next picture…and the next one… and so on.

Board #8: Favorites
Began with books, added Sir Anthony Hopkins and now it’s lots of animals being cuter than should be possible. O_O Yep. I’m one of those now.

For this one, I must give the description I pinned with it:

Surprising and encompassing, this movie completely took me in. By the end, I honestly believed every emotion I’d experienced had been precisely manipulated by the director, even when I wondered if the point was being belabored in the first half. #WatchThisSoWeCanTalkAboutIt

But seriously, I couldn’t think of anything else for two days after watching it. GAH!

And that, children, is but a taste of what awaits you! Get thee to heaven, Beatrice! Get thee to heaven!*

*For the purpose of this post, heaven refers to Pinterest. Feel like that was obvious.

FIN

Sick Sad World

Do you know how long it’s been since I uploaded pictures and videos onto my laptop? Me, who cannot breathe without writing it down? (God, that’d be horrible if that weren’t an exaggeration.) There are so many things I’m missing that – had my delightful child not destroyed altered my laptop – I would be sharing with friends and family.

For one thing, today Ezra had his first school chum over for a play-date. This was especially adorable because this child doesn’t speak or understand English so listening to the two of them play the Wii and express pride in their accomplishments was nothing short of epically hilarious. I would have loved to take some video of them but, I realize, when I can’t upload them, I don’t even bother taking pictures! Case in point, we also just had a great get-together with our favorite kid-filled family – and I took zero. No pictures, no nothing. Ridiculous. Which brings me to the thing I MUST document. While preparing the kids’ dinner plates, Ezra described the piece de resistance thusly: “These ribs will break your heart.”

::flails::

WHAT? YOU ARE AWESOME, CHILD.

I’ve just decided that I should draw you a representation each time I want to document something. Then I remembered that I can’t draw. Not in a funny way, like Hyperbole And A Half, where she clearly has some artistic talent. In the way that a semi-handicapped puppy can’t draw. As in, you would have no idea that a demon-possessed pencil didn‘t just scratch the heck out of that piece of paper.

I feel like you need some proof.In my defense… I tried really hard. That. That is apparently what my hand and Paint think my son looks like. In trying to demonstrate his lack of top teeth, I’ve actually given him ALL the teeth anyone ever had and also, apparently, I think my son is a scary woman. I feel like I nailed his physique though. So.

I think I’ve made my point.