A little love

One of the assignments in Dean Wesley Smith’s Character Voice and Setting workshop was to write a short story for an imaginary anthology called First Dates. After we’d read each other’s stories, Dean went through his process for determining what to buy for an anthology, which is to create a list something like this:

author identifying notes category/genre word count
Linda faeries fantasy 4,000
DeAnna gamer fantasy/romance 4,500
Jeff robbery mystery 4,500

The ‘identifying notes’ allows him to remember something unique about the story (imagine doing this with a hundred plus submissions…), and the category/genre is similar because it helps him think about how the anthology will look as a whole. For example, suppose he bought fourteen stories that had an element of mystery, and one mystery-less story that was set on a space ship. The reader might be a bit put off by the incongruity.

Dean asked us each to categorize our stories, and when he got to me I said something like “I think it might be romance, but I don’t know what to make of that because I didn’t know I wrote romance.” He laughed and said, “Of course it’s a romance!”

After class that day I talked with several of the other writers about what romance is and isn’t, and I realized that my focus on developing characters and their relationships with each other was bound to result in a romantic story sooner or later. So I decided to embrace the concept (no pun intended) and am wrapping up the third and last short story in a mini-collection of stories with a light romance theme. The story I wrote in Dean’s class is the most traditional, since it’s about a couple on a first date. (I apparently took the homework assignment very literally.) The second story is about a man who gets lost at sea and meets a mermaid, and the third involves a stagecoach robbery in the 1860s. After the historical research I did for the last story, I’m very grateful that I will never have to travel by stagecoach!

I had a lot of fun writing these stories, and it was a great lesson. Every once in a while we all need a little love!

Maisie and Lucy


Two weeks ago today I returned home after attending Dean Wesley Smith’s Character Voice and Setting writing workshop. It was a fantastic class – we covered everything that I’d hoped to learn. On top of that, one of the short stories I wrote for a homework assignment wanted to be a novel, so I’m now working on a new novel! The assignment was to write a short story for one of two pretend anthologies: Gangsters Galore or Shamrocks, Selkies, and Sidhe, Oh My! To save my life I couldn’t think of a gangster story, so I turned to Wikipedia and came up with a story that I’m having a lot of fun working on. (I couldn’t figure out how to squeeze in shamrocks in time to finish the homework assignment, but maybe they’ll make it into the novel.) The working title is The Selkie and the Sidhe.

Dean and his wife Kris teach their workshops in Lincoln City, Oregon, which is right on the coast. Most of the writers stay at the Historic Anchor Inn, which is a very unique place. Here are a few photos which should illustrate that more clearly.

my soap holder

this cute little guy guarded my cabin door

one of the bedroom lamps

I was able to squeeze in time to make a few edits to my first novel, With Perfect Clarity, for the first few days of class, but finally had to table that as the homework assignments got more intense. I wrapped up the edits last weekend, and have sent the manuscript to Cindie Geddes at Lucky Bat Books. I’m self-publishing this novel, but I decided to work with an editor for several reasons, the most critical of which is that I’ve never published a novel before and I’ll feel a lot better if someone else gives it the once-over.

My ‘reward’ for sending off the manuscript was sewing a dress. I’m not sure how I came up with this idea…in the past 15 years I’ve sewn a pair of pajamas and some subpar curtains, so even I am baffled. This morning I managed to sew on the first sleeve…inside out…

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