Thursday, January 6, 2011

Transcript: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer's Chat 1/5/11 With Jaleta Clegg

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Writer's Chat. #sffwrtcht
*Fireworks! * #sffwrtcht is a go!
Our goal is to talk w/ writers, editors, & others abt the craft of writing, specifically related to writing speculative fiction. #sffwrtcht
Who is this @Jaleta_Clegg person? Sounds... suspicious... #sffwrtcht
Our format is round table. Please limit questions to writing craft, business of writing & the specific works of the guest. #sffwrtcht
Please wait until your question gets answered to ask another & use the hashtag #sffwrtcht for all questions and comments.
I appreciate your participation and hope you find this enjoyable and informative. #sffwrtcht
Next Wed. we book publicist and social media expert @Marian Schembari #sffwrtcht
@GeneDoucette *shifty eyed look* I am the wind, the shadow in the darkness... #sffwrtcht
Tonight?s guest is author and editor @Jaleta_Clegg Jaleta Clegg. Jaleta, welcome. #sffwrtcht
Is Tweetchat like, outrageously behind? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I write mostly science fiction and comic horror. Hi, nice to be here tonight.
Book 1 in her space opera series, ?Nexus Point,? out from Cyberwizard, is the story of a female starship capt #sffwrtcht
who crash lands on a primitive planet #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg Oh THAT Jaleta Clegg. Why didn't you say so? #sffwrtcht
I read part of the book and enjoyed the action and characterizations. Jaleta, tell us about how you came up with ?Nexus Point.? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht for my novel, or for links to everything I've published.
#sffwrtcht I wrote Nexus Point mostly because I wanted to read books like it and I couldn't find any. So I wrote my own.
@GeneDoucette yes it is :( #sffwrtcht
For the record, I am still reading it. Just didn't have time to read the whole thing yet but enjoying it very much. #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg It's the first in a series, correct? #sffwrtcht
Staggeringly, outrageously behind. Or, like six minutes behind #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht The characters really took over. BTW, the published version is the third rewrite of the original. I chucked the plot & reworked
#sffwrtcht Thanks, Bryan. Glad you're enjoying it. It is book one, but I promise, no cliffhanger ending. Each book is complete story.
@Jaleta_Clegg Did you envision multibooks or start with the one idea and it grew? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Book 2 Priestess of the Eggstone is coming out the second half of this year. Editing it now, well not right this minute.
#sffwrtcht There are 11 books in the series, all written, all under contract. The series grew from a bunch of different novel starts...
@Jaleta_Clegg Is it a continuation is some way or more a further adventures of Captain Dace? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht originally with different characters. Then I realized they could all tie together and the big story took shape as I wrote
@Jaleta_Clegg 11 books?! Wow, no one will say you're ambitious. #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Books 1-9 are separate stories that build on each other but should be able to stand alone. Books 10-11 tie everything together.
@sffwrtcht I wrote them years before I sold the first one. #sffwrtcht
Eight minutes behind, now #sffwrtcht
You said you wanted to read books like that and couldn't find them. What kinds of elements did you strive to capture? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I have loved Andre Norton's science fiction since I discovered it in grade school. I want to be like her. And Elizabeth Moon.
So they are all written already then? Will you release 1 a year? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht As for the type of book, I wanted one where you cared about the characters and there was plenty of action in the story.
@BryanThomasS Thanks! I'm lurking for now... #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg And I suppose having a female heroine of the type you admired as a child played in there as well? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht The publisher's plan is to release one a year until we have them all out. My grandmother wants them sooner. She's 94.
@Jaleta_Clegg LOL You may have to letter her read galleys... #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Most SF features men. Dace just kind of happened. I relate to her, so she was easy to write, mostly.
@Jaleta_Clegg Describe Dace in 140 characters #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Okay, I admit it. I want to be Dace. No, wait. She gets in too much trouble. I just want my own starship.
Besides Dace, who are the other recurring characters? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Dace - short, spunky, loyal, determined, strong, and a trouble magnet.
#sffwrtcht Book 1 introduces Malcolm Tayvis, the hunky Patrol undercover agent she has to convince to help her. Yes, little bit of a romance
#sffwrtcht One kiss scene in book one and it's almost traumatic. I'm a romantic, but it isn't the main story.
#sffwrtcht Most of the characters in Nexus Point come back during the series. Commander Lowell shows up in the beginning of book2.
@Jaleta_Clegg How big of a part does science play in your stories? You have a lot of action. Did you create science too? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht A little bit of science, mostly the hyperdrive and some technobabble. I have a science degree and teach science. Can't fake it.
@Jaleta_Clegg Yes, your day job is pretty cool. You work with the Christa McAulife Center teaching kids right? #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg #sffwrtcht Is it difficult to balance romance and action? Or does science drive the story?
@blankslatepress Nice question #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht site for my day job. I'm listed as Planetarium Director, Curriculum Specialist, Office Manager, Camp Cook...
@Jaleta_Clegg yes, you cook alien food for Space Camp, what's that about? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Costumer, Story Consultant, Flight Director, Teacher. And my favorite title: Ultimate Queen of the Galaxy.
#sffwrtcht We do camps every summer. I'm in charge of feeding 60-70 people. We do normal food and give it weird names. Targ patties.
#sffwrtcht Eyeball Jello was a favorite last summer. I invented a new character - Hak'h P'tui, Klingon Lunchlady. Serving pizza as her- ;)
@Jaleta_Clegg LOL And here I was wondering which planet your recipes came from #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg LOL And here I was wondering which planet your recipes came from #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I like to play with my food. Abandoned Towers Magazine print issues have dinner menus from me.
#sffwrtcht The center is loosely Star Trek so mostly Star Trek names and dishes. We have starship simulators. You can be crew.
@Jaleta_Clegg Yet another outlet for your creativity #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg I am totally wanting to come there now #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I have 8 kids, cooking had to be fun or I would have gone nuts years ago. Especially with the food allergies.
Queen of the Galaxy is a great title. I have to admit I'm a lot jealous. #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht If you're ever in Utah, let me know. I can at least give you a tour.
RT @blankslatepress: @Jaleta_Clegg #sffwrtcht Is it difficult to balance romance and action? Or does science drive the story?
@Jaleta_Clegg I may make a special trip. How'd you come to be with Cyberwizard? #sffwrtcht
@blankslatepress Fortune cookie promised me a raise. I gave the fortune to my boss as a joke. He gave me the title instead. #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Cyberwizard? Serendipity. I spent two months researching publishers. She accepted series proposals. She loved the books.
@Jaleta_Clegg BSP had a good question: Is it difficult to balance romance and action? Or does science drive the story? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Cyberwizard is a great publisher. I went to FenCon in Texas last September just to meet them. Crystalwizard is head editor.
She who has title of Queen of the Galaxy needs no fortune cookie. - @fortunecookiesays #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg They've been very nice in discussions about my book. #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Did I miss a question? Sorry. Nexus Point is plot and character driven. The science and tech support the setting.
@blankslatepress I also impersonate my boss in email and on the phone, with his permission. I do his paperwork, he's happy. #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg Who are some of the authors and books which most inspire you in your own writing? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I've been very happy working with Cyberwizard. My editor is fantastic.
#sffwrtcht Romance is a very subplot to my story, the action takes precedence. It's 1st person, though, so you're inside Dace's head.
#sffwrtcht Inspiration? Andre Norton, Elizabeth Moon, Isaac Asimov, Julie Czerneda, Roger Zelazny, and Tad Williams.
#sffwrtcht and Elizabeth Peters and some other romance authors, too. Great characterization and dialogue from them.
@Jaleta_Clegg Ok, so you're also editing an anthology of tumbleweed stories for Cyberwizard, right? #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg I get inspired from many genres, too. I think that's important. #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Wandering Weeds, Tales of Rabid Vegetation is my project. My friend and I are acquisitions editor. Makes me sound pompous.
@Jaleta_Clegg Submissions closed at year's end, correct? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Cyberwizard is publishing it and taking care of line edits. We're still looking for stories.
@Jaleta_Clegg These are SF stories or any genre? #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg Looking at Cyberwizard's site now. I'm stunned by the number of imprints listed for a small press publisher #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Deadline is extended. We'll take horror, western, SF, fantasy, silly or serious. As long as the weeds are evil incarnate.
@GeneDoucette They publish a wide variety of genres. Fantasy is their strongest, but SF is growing. #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg The concept of tumbleweeds in space inspired me to write a comedic space opera story I'm still trying to finish #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht You still have time, Bryan. We've got about half of the stories we need to fill it. Keep writing and submit, I want to read it.
@Jaleta_Clegg In addition to your novel, you've sold some short stories. Is this your first editing gig? #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg Hmm. I'm sitting on a novel unrelated to Immortal that might work for them. But I'm waiting on an offer. #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Cyberwizard's site: My books are under Altered Dimensions.
@Jaleta_Clegg I'm surprised, though, by their strict "no cursing" admonition. Seems odd. #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht First time as acquisitions editor, means we get to pick the stories. Other than self-editing and editing for work, this is first.
@Jaleta_Clegg Did you guys pitch the anthology idea? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Cyberwizard has no cursing and no R-rated bedroom scenes. Since I don't use curse words, no big deal for me.
#sffwrtcht But Nexus Point does have a lot of swearing, it's just not spelled out. She's fine with that.
@Jaleta_Clegg First person is a real pain when it comes to exposition, isn't it? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht My friend and I are part of a writing group, they're in Washington state and I'm in Utah but the magic of the internet ...
@Jaleta_Clegg Yes my book had that as well "Xalivar swore" "Davi cursed" kind of thing The readers fill in the words themselves #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht ...lets it work. We kicked around the idea and I pitched it to Crystalwizard. She loved it.
#sffwrtcht First person is a pain, period! But it really worked for Dace's voice.
@Jaleta_Clegg Do you have other anthology and/or novel ideas you're working on beyond these? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Dace swears like an engineer and she's very proud of the fact.
#sffwrtcht I have lots of short stories subbing out to anthologies this year, and I am working on new novels. But life happens, slow going.
@Jaleta_Clegg What made you want to be a writer? At what age did you first start writing? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht One reason I make myself do NaNoWriMo every year. I got 1/3 of my fantasy novel written last November. Need to finish.
@Jaleta_Clegg Does anyone else in your family write? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I've been dabbling since I was little. Didn't get serious until my 1st computer- Commodore 128 from a garage sale in '94
@Jaleta_Clegg AH ha. I used to dream of a Commodore 64 #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht My sister was supposed to be the writer. My dad's published many scientific papers. But no fiction writers except me.
#sffwrtcht Commodore 64 was a great machine. I'd own one, except they aren't in business anymore. So I do Macs. No windows unless I have to.
15 minutes left in #sffwrtcht and author/editor @Jaleta_Clegg is taking questions.
15 minutes left in #sffwrtcht and author/editor @Jaleta_Clegg is taking questions.
Our first comp was an Apple IIE #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg A short story about evil weeds? Hmm. Sounds like fun. I only have ten things to do, maybe I'll send you one #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg Have you written any short stories using Dace and/or her cohorts? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht We're open to any interpretation of "evil weeds" - sentient or not. We've got mostly SF and westerns at this point.
#sffwrtcht I'm working on some shorts about some side characters from the series. I can't make myself write short stories about her.
@Jaleta_Clegg Too much on her already? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Dace's story is told in the books. Her past is too depressing to write. I have one very short vignette about her leaving Tivor.
@Jaleta_Clegg Have you gotten any feedback from young female readers on Nexus Point? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Dace has a very hard life. I don't want to be depressed by writing about her childhood. The series ends with her quite happy tho.
@Jaleta_Clegg That sent my mind off in about a thousand directions. Ghostly tumbleweeds or maybe vampire tumbleweed! #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I've gotten some responses, not many young female readers. Most are 12-14yo boys and college age women. They like it.
When you write do you write out character bios and plot outlines first or let the story unfold as you go? #sffwrtcht
@Julirose mine too #sffwrtcht
@Julirose I wrote a story about Lassie and toxic waste tumbleweeds for the anthology. Very silly stuff. I love it. #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I write the first few chapters, then do a very vague outline so I know where I'm going. I let things mostly unfold.
#sffwrtcht I write very seat-of-the-pants. My fantasy books are too complicated, Have to do an outline. Can't keep it all in my head.
@Jaleta_Clegg I write very seat of the pants, too but once I get into it I roughly outline a chapter ahead to stay on track #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht My outlines are 2-3 sentences per chapter, but they're subject to change. I know where I want to end, the rest is discovery
@Jaleta_Clegg Working with a small press, how do you promote your books? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I promote anywhere and everywhere I can without being a pain. Cons, online, chat groups, bookmarks, local stores, this chat...
#sffwrtcht I can't say I've got wonderful sales, but a few here and there start to add up. Cyberwizard gives me at least 5 years in print.
@Jaleta_Clegg Well, with 11 books to come, I'd imagine the early ones will be around a while #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Getting my name out there is just the first step. I feel like a pimp. "Lookin for a good time? Read this book!"
Anyone else have final questions for our guest? We have 8 minutes to go on #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht It's the benefit of POD publishing. No warehoused copies that need to sell. They print them as they sell.
@Jaleta_Clegg LOL I hear you. Self-promotion can feel very awkward. #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg Do you continue tweaking the other books as you edit the early ones or pretty much wait until they're due? #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg : that's what friends are pimp you out ;) (Literary speaking, that is) #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I hate promoting myself, but it has to happen. I started blogging a year ago to help build a following.
@Jaleta_Clegg Is it working? (blogging) #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I'm slowly working on initial edits on the other books. Then they go to the editor when it's time.
#sffwrtcht Friends are great to help out. I've got a great online group for that: BestsellerBound Join us!
@sffwrtcht @Jaleta_Clegg : promote everywhere possible. My car cling draws lots of attention #sffwrtcht
@JFHilborne Car cling? #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht I don't know if blogging has given me any sales, but I'm having fun. Writing tips and random stuff on Mondays, recipes on Thurs.
RT @Jaleta_Clegg: #sffwrtcht Friends are great to help out. I've got a great online group for that: BestsellerBound Join us!
@BryanThomasS @Jaleta_Clegg Tell me about it. I'm just shy of offering sexual favors some days #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg Well you have almost 900 followers. That counts for something. #sffwrtcht
@JFHilborne My bumper stickers get lots of laughs, but I haven't gone so far as a car cling. Thought about it. Is it working? #sffwrtcht
@GeneDoucette My husband would have a few words to say about that. He pushes the book more than I do, though. #sffwrtcht
@BryanThomasS A year ago I was under 100 followers on Twitter so something is working. #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg Indeed. All right any final questions? #sffwrtcht
@BryanThomasS : my book is advertised across the back window of my car: pic of it on my blog #sffwrtcht
@JFHilborne I'll check that out. I drive a 15 passenger van. Wonder how that might work... #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg Isn't POD a problem as far as getting brick & mortar stores to house the books? #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg : I think so. I see folks reading it, had lots of good comments, and decent sales every month #sffwrtcht
@GeneDoucette I've run into problems with Borders, they couldn't even find it in their computer to order. But B&N will order it. #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg : bigger the better #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht POD is a problem only if their computers equate POD with vanity press, which isn't true. Most sales are through Amazon.
@JFHilborne We had to have 10 seatbelts, nothing smaller worked for us. We call it the Enterpise - big, white, but no Scotty. #sffwrtcht
@Jaleta_Clegg Thanks for being with us tonight. You can find her book at her website or on Amazon #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht Thanks, Bryan! It's been fun. Thanks for letting me guest here. I have several free stories linked through my site. Have fun!
@Jaleta_Clegg For my earlier books, getting it on shelves as POD was nigh impossible... #sffwrtcht
Next week we have book publicist and social media expert @MarianSchembari and @ResnickMikewill be here on January 19th #sffwrtcht
Quite a fun #sffwrtcht with @Jaleta_Clegg tonight. Now, back to #amwriting.
@GeneDoucette I've only gotten it in a store once for a signing. Arm twisting was needed. Most sales aren't through the stores. #sffwrtcht
@GeneDoucette I think resistance to POD has changed as its grown in popularity #sffwrtcht
RT @BryanThomasS: @Jaleta_Clegg Thanks for being with us tonight. You can find her book at her website or on Amazon #sffwrtcht
#sffwrtcht POD is cheaper and doesn't require warehouses to store printed books. I think things are definitely changing.
Thanks everyone for joining us tonight. Be sure and follow @Jaleta_Clegg and @sffwrtcht #sffwrtcht

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