Calling all Geeks: Post about Your Hobbies September 12th to the 16th

It seems like there’s an internet gaffe every so often where geeks are the butt of all jokes. This time, the article was written on a site where the author gets paid-per-click. Do I understand that garnering negative press increases page views? Sure, but the writer’s initial point — that we stereotype and make judgments as humans — was completely lost.

But alas, enticing so-called “nerd rage” inspires me to do something else. It reminds me of all the fun I have, of the fact that properties like Magic: the Gathering and World of Warcraft are incredibly financially successful and a huge part of the overall community, of the friends I’ve made and the hobbies I’ve shared. It makes me want to play Vampire: the Requiem in public or have a Doctor Who marathon. It forces me to put as much awesome as I possibly can in my next game-related assignment or story to make it that much more fun for readers and players alike.

And it encourages me to reach out to others who are passionate about “an” interest, to listen to their experiences, too. There is no one I’d rather reach out to right now than the demographic that bucks the stereotype, my fellow female geeks. (Edit: Based on feedback, this call is all-inclusive.)

Here’s what I propose:

SPEAK OUT WITH YOUR GEEK OUT

Sometime during the week of Monday, September 12th to Friday, September 16th post about what geeky hobby you love. Then, tell us why we should try it, too. Leave your fears (and edition wars) at the door. Forget about your latest rant. Tap into that well of positive energy and share in the excitement of all things geek.

Let us invite those who would stereotype us to sit at our table and share our interests.

Thoughts? Complaints? Observations?

Sadly, I lack the graphic design skills necessary to come up with a small icon or logo, but I wish there was a way to “light up” the internet with this and truly see how far the rabbit hole goes. There is so much negativity online, that I’d love to see one entire happy week of the shiny, meeting new friends, and really tapping into that well of positivity and exuberance I know is out there. Sure, I’d love to solve something like world peace or get something for charity going, but we have to start somewhere… Right? πŸ™‚

I leave it to you, my fellow coordinators and commenters… What say you?

UPDATE: Thanks, Angeli, for coming up with the tagline. πŸ™‚

UPDATE: While the concept about a girl geek week was enticing to many people, several commenters have said we should take the idea of being positive and throw caution to the wind. So if you’re a geek, speak out!

UPDATE: The Facebook event is public and live! When we get a logo, I’ll update the event with that picture. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=190025581068159

A New Munny… Because Art is Awesome

Monkey NinjaPicked up the last Munny from a local shop today. The accessories were fantastic. Hair, a cape, huge axe and a teddy bear. Just in time for Halloween.

Here’s a picture of the one I did before. I had help with the basic lines from my friend Leanne Buckley, which was sorely needed since it was my first one and I was getting used to the materials. Pretty excited about this one because once I get a good design going, I can work on the one I REALLY want to paint… My blank My Little Cthulhu!

I’m really enjoying the opportunities I’ve had to dive into my artwork again. It’s nice to catch a break from words every once in a while and have fun.

[New Release] “Tailfeather” in Apexology: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Apexology: Science Fiction and Fantasy CoverHi everyone!

I am thrilled to announce the debut of my dystopian science fiction story entitled Tailfeather in Apexology: Science Fiction and Fantasy. Set in a far-flung future, you learn why Maria undergoes a series of invasive surgeries to become a cybernetic bird for the U.F.S. military. This is the second story that has been published in my ever-expansive setting and I’m happy to be a part of this collection. You can read a little more about the setting’s high concepts in my post entitled Writing the Future, the Slow Creep of Ages.

The anthology is available in digital for $2.99 on Amazon.com, DriveThruSciFi.com and by buying direct from Apex Book Company.

I hope you will do me the honor of supporting my work.

Special thanks go out to fellow author Stephen Blackmoore whose dark fantasy novel City of the Lost debuts in January 2012 from DAW.

Take a peek at the table of contents below! Happy reading!

Apexology: Science Fiction and Fantasy Table of Contents

    Dedalus and the Labyrinth – J.M. McDermott
    The Imagination Hospital – Guy Hasson
    Ride of a Lifetime – Patrick S. Tomlinson
    The Komastu – Jennifer Brozek
    Stinker City – George R. Galuschak
    Tailfeather – Monica Valentinelli
    Temple of Regrets – Maurice Broaddus
    Haunted Empire – Deanna Knippling
    And Night Swallowed the World – Paul Jessup
    BollyWorld Gods, Bubonic Men, and the Cyberpunk Samurai – O.M.R. Anwar and M. Zak Anwar
    Coming Home – Gene O’Neill
    Extremum – R. Thomas Riley and Roy C. Booth
    Ride the Wild Wind – Gill Ainsworth
    In Her Image – Michael A. Burstein
    Unicorn Gold – Alethea Kontis
    Gemphalon – Elizabeth Engstrom
    G-O-O-D-B-Y-E – Nick Mamatas
    Covenant – Lavie Tidhar

100 Days Social Media Black-Out: A Post-Mortem

Although my experiment has ended, the experience continues to ripple through my work habits, personal life and discussions with other authors. If you’re not familiar with the experiment, be sure to peer into my 100 Days: Social Media Black-Out Archives.

Several authors have come forward and told me that they were having the discussion about what social media was worth to them. A few of them, who are highly-visible, talked about the negative side effects of being too accessible, too.

Why am I telling you this? Because these conversations brought up a few, interesting points. The accessibility issue may be causing normally “sane” authors to act insecure with knee-jerk reactions or worse…sneaking doubts into the work itself. The sheer bombardment of information — both positive and negative — can be overwhelming, which is what happened when I wrote on the subject of insecurity and writing. Add opinions and snarky comments on top of that? It’s clear to me that information overload has its effects.

When I first heard the idea that being connected all the time allowed feelings of insecurity to flourish, it made all kinds of sense to me. I could even see how that played into my misplaced belief that I needed to be online for my audience, which was taking the focus off of my work. Being hyper-connected doesn’t work for me, so I’ve since figured out a better way to manage my time to focus on what’s important.

Since I first talked about my experiment, a few other authors have hopped offline to see how the lack of connection would affect them, too. Check out The Juggling Writer for Christopher Gronlund’s experiences. The kick-off post is entitled: The 50 Day Social Media Break.

That’s the key, isn’t it? When it comes down to it: there are no hard and fast rules about social media. You have to engage on a level you’re comfortable with. Community pressure, more so than what you’re doing right or wrong, is what drives social media gurus, experts and articles. The tools themselves aren’t all that important, except for the level of interaction. It’s your role within those interactions that creates a flurry of opinions and would-be facts.

Unfortunately, I feel this is something businesses, publishers and other professionals are still learning. The dollar signs people see when they talk about social media are starting to fade, as older, more relevant and direct forms of online marketing come back into style. The attitude is shifting from: Must be online twenty-four seven to monitor branding. To: Who cares if people are talking about your business? Guess what? People don’t necessarily want you listening. Sometimes? They just want to talk without fear that someone else is snooping in.

‘Course, the irony of that is that social media tools are still public, which is something even users haven’t quite figured out yet.

Another thing I feel a lot of us are missing, is that there is no such thing as one, grand online community anymore. Think “micro-communities” and “suburbs.” No doubt, one online community differs from one author to the next. An audience may be perfectly fine with the occasional “buy my book.” Another? May be pissed off the author even brought it up. This, moreso than any Tweet or message update, is why the people that are hyper-connected (myself included at one time) talk about the rules in an authoritative fashion. Some of those observations could be pulled out on a higher level because there are some good insights to be gleaned from them. Some of those comments are complete b.s., like when people say “You have to…” When that happens, replace the “you” with “I have to…” and you’ll better understand where that speaker is coming from.

Social media is a sociologist’s dream, really, because this is an example of peer pressure at its best and worst. We’re talking about tribalism here, not online marketing, which deeply affects creative individuals in different ways. (See: Tribes and Our Role as Writer for my take on the subject.)

I, for one, am happy with the rules I’ve established for myself, because I’m no longer a slave to the tools. That, to me, is more important than the “right” or “wrong” way to Tweet. To do that, I had to remove myself from the tools completely in order to figure out my “role” in the tribe and what I’m comfortable with. That may not be the case for you, but for me that’s part of what has been so incredibly fascinating about watching social media to begin with. Hmmm… Though I’m beginning to think my childhood aspirations of becoming Indiana Jones-esque are really shining through.

πŸ™‚

Announcing Redwing’s Gambit, a Novella for Bulldogs

Love science fiction? Have a soft spot for origin stories?

I am thrilled to announce I am polishing the final draft of Redwing’s Gambit, a novella about a Bulldogs! RPGnewly-formed crew for the Bulldogs RPG from Galileo Games. This story is about an ensemble cast who has been hired to transport a high-profile politician from one end of the galaxy to the other. The only problem is: there’s a saboteur on board and they’re way out in deep space.

Written as a science fiction mystery, Redwing’s Gambit is the origin story for the ship’s crew and clientele. The plot was designed to help readers get to know these characters and offer a glimpse into the expansive Bulldogs! setting. Oh, and there will be a little ass-kicking along the way.

The novella will debut Fall/Winter of this year. A firm publication date has not been set.

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