Convention Schedule 2017-2018

17 Feb

Want a signed copy of Humans In My House? Want to talk writing? Want to adopt a #pocketkitty and join in #Kepler’s fun? Come see me at my upcoming appearances.

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  • November 11, 2017: Author’s Invade Columbia, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 10am-3pm
    • HUMANS IN MY HOUSE 2 DEBUT!
    • Book signing and giant book sale
    • Free admission when you mention the event Facebook ads!
      • Due to an eventbrite error, ticket sales have ended through the previously posted link (tickets purchased will still be honored).

2018

APRIL

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JULY

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  • July 27-29, 2018: Raleigh SuperCon, Raleigh Convention Center

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Humans In My House, Kepler, and His Namesake

26 Oct

Ever wonder why I chose to name the curious cat of Humans In My House after astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler?

This excellent article by Marcelo Gleiser, written for NPR’s 13.7 Cosmos and Culture, discusses just some of the many reasons behind my choice. Though the opinion article is distinctly political and currently relevant, my motivations to choose the name were strictly related to Kepler’s fields of study and discoveries.

Kepler lived and worked persistently for knowledge, for humanity. It’s a value I believe is important to share with young readers through the curiosity and social consciousness of my characters, starting with Kepler and his human, Emily, regardless of the political climate of Johannes Kepler’s time or ours. Though I would never try to downplay the importance of politics, of policy, or its roles in our society, the moral of the series, especially of volume 2, is not “good politics,” but “good stewardship”–of humanity and of the earth.

The Humans In My House series is available here. Read volume 2, Humans In My House and the Stars Above It, to learn more about Kepler, his namesake, and his advancements in astronomy.

Pro-Tip: Censorship

21 Sep

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I’m all for the whole “time and place” argument against foul language, inappropriate content, and professional/academic versus casual approaches. It’s valid. There are certain things you’re just not going to say to your boss or professor or child.

HOWEVER, these concerns are often hindrances to a first draft. They’re often hindrances to any draft.

Because we are forced to fit our writing into scenarios that are often beyond our control–workplace style guides, teachers’ requests, audience’s age, etc.–the concern about how much of ourselves we let shine in a piece is often at the forefront of a writer’s process. And, just as often, we tone ourselves down to fit into those expectations.

I’m not here to tell writers to break rules that could break a career or a grade (like if you’re writing for children, or a business presentation, or a strict teacher). Part of life is fitting into those boxes, however annoying.

But if you are trying to make waves, start splashing. Write for yourself first, in exactly the way you want, often. Write as if no one is going to see it and as if those who might see it won’t judge. Worry about audience perception during the beta-reader/revision phase. If you hold off from the start, you’ll never know how your true message is received. Push the notion of acceptability. Embarrass yourself with your truthfulness and boldness.

Arthur Miller said, “The writer must be in it; he can’t be to one side of it, ever. He has to be endangered by it. His own attitudes have to be tested in it. The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.”

He’s right. All of the fiction and poetry that has ever been deemed a classic is called such because it pushed the boundaries of its time and told truths people weren’t ready to hear. Some of this work has been banned in libraries and schools. What an honor. (This is not sarcasm.)

Whether journaling for personal gain or writing fiction for a crowd, push the limits. Push YOUR limits. Say what you need to say without concern for what your grandma might think, what Amazon reviewers might comment, what assumptions strangers might make about you personally–they DO NOT KNOW YOU.

While there IS a time and a place for certain approaches, art tends to ignore the schedule.

AVAILABLE NOW: Humans In My House and the Stars Above It

12 Sep

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Available now in paperback and Kindle.

Meet me and get a signed copy at Authors Invade Columbia

Pacific Northwest

15 Jun

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I just got back from a two-week hiking trip in the Olympic Peninsula. It was an amazing experience. The sheer size of the wilderness–I’d never seen anything like it. You grow up on the east coast thinking our mountains are high… what a joke that turns out to be.

I’m not going to bore you with a day-by-day recount of each and every little thing we did (although let me know if you’re interested in that because I’ve considered starting a dedicated blog for our adventures), but I will say that I went out there as a writer expecting to be inspired for Humans In My House 3 and Acephalous 3 (and I was), but I came back feeling like I should be a painter instead. Words don’t so often fail me as they did there. It’s just one of those places you have to SEE.

Regardless, if you’re interested in seeing a little bit of what I experienced, follow me on instagram @KeperSeesTheWorld. I photograph my little clay Kepler in new places as a way to document and market Humans In My House (Kepler is the main character, if you didn’t know). Some of the places he ends up will make it into future installments of the books series.

**Side note: @We_Go_Hiking is my rarely used adventure insta, which I will take up using again if I do create a travel-based blog here. My Pacific Northwest trip is not shown there because I primarily focused on Kepler,  but I may double post in the future.

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Official Cover Reveal! Take 2.

28 Mar

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If you saw this post about a week ago, I’m sure you noticed the cover art was vastly different. Well, after receiving the proof print, it was clear the black background had to go. It was COVERED in fingerprints. This is what the cover will look like on publication day.

Join me for a release party/book signing for Acephalous and Humans In My House on the 15th, from 11:00am to 4:00pm, at Book Warehouse Myrtle Beach, located in the Tanger Outlets on 501. If you can’t get one in person, buy it in print. Coming soon to kindle.

Thanks for you support, interest, and patience!

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Pro-Tip: What Makes Strong Writing?

10 Mar

Across all genres and purposes, writers want to know the one thing they can do in order to ensure readers consider their writing “good writing.”

My first piece of advice is to get rid of the notion of “good writing.” Pitting yourself against other writers in order to determine if your creative vision is “good” will get you nowhere. Writing, even in the academic and professional fields where creativity might sometimes be limited by style sheets and strict requirements, is a deeply personal endeavor. It’s not just the final product that author’s judge, but their journey to get that product. Trying to put worth on an experience is like saying your dream vacation is only worth as much as the airfare costs. It discounts everything you get out of travel on an intellectual, spiritual, and physical level. Writing a text is a trip–maybe not always a vacation–but a trip nonetheless.

So, why would you try to qualify your path against someone else? And why would you settle on the achievement of “good writing” when that’s based on how similar your process and product is to someone else you consider “good?” Isn’t that just good mimicry? You want to be “good,” or rather strong, at what YOU do and how YOU do it.

Strive, instead, for strong writing, writing that holds it’s own regardless of how similar (or not) it is to the work of others you admire. Yes, we first learn by mimicking, in speech as babies, and as authors. But, at some point, you start to sound like YOU, and if you go around trying to decide if your writing, and therefore if YOU, are good enough, you’re likely to have moments of doubt. You might feel like you don’t measure up, like an imposter, like someone who isn’t REALLY an author because you haven’t done x, y, or z thing that some other person who uses the title of author has done.

Strong writing is original, written with pride (but not necessarily confidence because you can be proud of your effort and still worried about its outcome. Confidence takes time), and organizationally sound. Above all of the basic prescriptive grammar and mechanics rules, the tenets that say writing SHOULD be done a certain way, is organization. If you’ve got a solid structure that readers can follow, if it’s logically arranged, if it’s thoroughly explained and balances detail without crossing into the condescending, then everything else you do after that will fall into place. Proper grammar and following the rules (which you can purposefully break once you know them) is only useful if your thoughts are linked together in a coherent way. Every sentence could be perfectly constructed according to the textbook way to use punctuation marks, point of view, and tense, but a text still won’t make sense if the overall structure doesn’t carry your thoughts clearly.

What I’m getting at is this: You want strong writing, not “good” writing because strong writing is not a matter of opinion. A text either makes sense or it doesn’t. A text is either organized or frenetic. (Don’t confuse the organized or frenetic nature of a text with the same qualities of a character. Even pieces with chaotic characters are still organized as a whole, although let’s not get into the unreliable narrator discussion. It’s often an exception). “Good” writing will be different to every author and reader. Stop comparing yourself to other authors, and start holding your writing up to your past work. Are you improving?

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