Want To Help Me Reach My Research Goals?

Monday, 19 June 2017 12:55
[syndicated profile] ktempest_feed

Posted by Tempest

A photoshopped image of tempest standing next to a camel with the great Pyramid in the background. An arrow points to Tempest, under it are the words This Could Be Me!

When I was in college I took a class called England in Myth and Stone where we spent three weeks traveling through the southern parts of the UK tracing how mythology, folklore, history, and conquest all blended together. There were many highlights of that trip, one being that our teacher was able to get us special access to Stonehenge. This meant we could actually walk around IN the henge, not just get tourist close. I have stood next to those stones and touched them.

It was a key moment for me as a writer because it made me realize that, though I had been looking at pictures of Stonehenge for most of my life, seen documentaries, etc., it wasn’t until I was standing in that space that I grokked just how massive the stones are or the magnitude of the accomplishment of the people who created the henge.

Today we have so many tools at our disposal to help put us in places virtually. Google Earth is a treasure, Flickr and Facebook and the millions of photos you can find there from every angle are priceless, 3D modeling and 360 degree photography are everything. Still, I know myself, and I know that it’s hard to really capture what it’s like to be somewhere unless I’ve been there or been in a similar space. And there aren’t many places on Earth similar to the Great Pyramid in Giza.

I’ve wanted to go to Egypt on a research trip for many years, but events have made be wary to go until now. Yes, there’s still instability and unrest, but I think the time is finally right for me. So, I’m trying to gather funds for a trip.

The main way I’m doing this is through my Patreon. In case you did not clock it in my April summary, my goals are now to save the money I get to pay for research trips. The first goal is to get enough to send a month in San Jose, CA. The second is to get to $1,000 a month so I can go to Egypt in 2018. When that happens, exactly, will depend on whether I reach this goal.

I have some potential tours picked out that will allow me to visit the sites in Egypt most relevant to my books, and I am also querying about custom tours. Any advice in this regard is welcome! I estimate that I’ll need $5,000 – $6,000 at least.

If you are inclined to help me get to this goal, consider becoming my patron. There’s a $1 month level and everything. If you’re already a patron, or just do not have the wiggle room in your budget, would you tell your friends about my Patreon? All boosting of signal is helpful.

I’m also applying for grants and fellowships (SLF, Tiptree, etc.) to help fund this. If you know of any that I should be aware of, please do let me know.

I know I’m taking a big leap here, especially as I am not a proven novelist. I want very much to get this right, especially in later books in the series where a sense of place is key to the structure and worldbuilding. No matter what happens with these trips, I’ll keep writing and using the tools I do have to get this novel on paper and out in the world.

#FriendlyFriday and #IHeartThisThursday

Thursday, 15 June 2017 12:00
[syndicated profile] ktempest_feed

Posted by Tempest

Earlier this year my friend Alethea shared this comic on her Facebook.

comic titled How People Are On the Internet. First panel shows two young men against a blue background. the man on the right is pointing off panel and says I love the work of that guy. Second panel, the man on the right says So tell him. The man on the left says Oh there's no need for that. Third panel, the man on the left has an angry face, again pointing off panel, and says The work of that guy though I don't like. Forth panel, the man on the left yells Hey! You suck and I hate you! while the man on the right looks shocked.

Around that time I’d also seen another graphic or post or something with a similar sentiment: People don’t tell the creators of the things they love that they love said things nearly as much as they yell at creators of things they have a problem with.

I don’t completely agree. As I said in response to the first comic: Saying “I Love This!” doesn’t get the same amount of attention as saying “I don’t like this!” coupled with “because it’s a problem.” The real issue here isn’t that people don’t talk about what they love. The problem is that people don’t give attention and signal boosts to the people talking about what they love.

In the time between me first saying this and now, things haven’t changed. In thinking about the kinds of links I see shared multiple times on Facebook or Twitter, they are more of the “Do you see this awful/problematic thing?” variety than “Do you see this amazingness?” People DO post the latter stuff, but it’s not shared and boosted as many times.

This is not only the fault of All Of Us, I know. Facebook’s horrendous algorithm seems designed to suppress squee unless it comes from very specific sites (who I can only suppose are advertisers) and boost things that get us riled up. Or, if that’s not the design, then perhaps it’s just that Facebook is not here to help you spread the word about that book or that musician or that artist unless they are huge, mainstream creators with corporate backing who, again, are likely paying Facebook some money in advertising dollars.

And with Twitter… well, it’s hard to get anything noticed on Twitter unless you share it forty million times.

Whatever the reasons and the back-end machinations, I do think that us individual users of these platforms have a major role in this as well. How often are you moved to share, retweet, reblog a post that’s just about someone loving on a thing they love? How often compared to boosting stuff that isn’t these things?

Don’t worry, I am not judging you cuz I do this, too. And I aim to be better about it. Thus this post.

A few months ago the aforementioned Alethea Kontis started doing a thing on her Patreon called #FriendlyFriday: “where I tell you all about my fabulous friends and what brilliant things that they are up to.” I decided to follow suit on my Patreon (the posts are public). I know so, so, so many talented creators involved in a plethora of projects that deserve more attention that I will never be at a loss for people to write about. I’m sure this is true for a bunch of the people reading this. So, I’m challenging you: join us for the #FriendlyFriday party.

Every week create a blog post, a Facebook status, a Tumblr blog, or some other public thing wherein you talk about a creative friend, their current project, and why you like them. Doesn’t have to be long, complex, or even erudite. A simple “XXX is an amazing artist and you should click through her gallery and also support her on Patreon” is just fine. The point is for you to show your friend some love and maybe expose them to some folks who’ve never seen their stuff before. Oh, and be sure to tag it #FriendlyFriday.

Now that’s all well and good, but there’s a next step to this. When you see a post on the #FriendlyFriday tag, share it. Just do it. Unless you look at the art or book or or whatever and think “Dear Zu’ul, that is horrendous!” You don’t have to share things you don’t like. But if you do like it, even a little, share. Seek out #FriendlyFriday on Twitter or Tumblr and wherever else. If you leave it up to the social networks, they’re not going to show you. Now is the time to be proactive.

Continuing in this theme, sometimes there is art and music and dance and writing that you love that isn’t created by a friend. In that sense, the #FriendlyFriday tag might not be the best fit. I have a solution for that, too: #IHeartThisThursday.

This is for sharing links to stuff you love that you don’t have a personal connection to (other than how it speaks to you!). For my part, I plan to put together a short weekly linkspam with #IHeartThisThursday stuff. You can also just tag a single tweet or FB status with it. Make it a regular thing over on Tumblr. Don’t forget to tag the creator, if possible, when you do. They want to know how much you love them as much as everyone else does.

Just as with the #FriendlyFriday tag, seek out #IHeartThisThursday posts and share them. Widely. Be proactive in boosting the good work and amazing creations that exist in the world.

We have to do both in order for this to work.

Who’s in?

[syndicated profile] ktempest_feed

Posted by Tempest

A stack of Clockwork cairo books

Clockwork Cairo is officially out in the world! An anthology of steampunk stories on an Egyptian theme. It’s as if it was made for me. And I’m so grateful for Matt Bright’s patience in allowing me to submit a story at the last minute AND a little late. (Story of my life.)

I didn’t find out about the anthology until Matthew was almost done picking stories for it. And once I saw the theme, I knew I needed to be in it. I told him I’d write a story set in the world of my novel and then… spent a week not knowing what to write about. My ideas were only vague and, I felt, uninteresting.

Fortunately for me, I have smart and talented friends. Mary Robinette Kowal gave me her worksheet for creating short stories, and it starts with coming up with characters, who then have desires, whose desires collide with other characters’ desires, which makes for a story.

Beyond me thinking that my ideas for stories were too vague and/or uninteresting, I also got hung up where I often get hung up (so you’d think I’d recognize this as something not to get hung up on…), which is trying to adhere to the details of a sketched out idea instead of giving myself room to change and explore. In this case, the ideas I was trying to hold on to had to do with how the copper scarabs came into existence in my world.

NOTE: There are mild spoilers for the story below. Proceed with caution.

The Copper Scarab

In the novel I’m writing now, the Egyptians have had these machines for about 100 years. The Queen who founded their dynasty was also the engineer who created them based on the instructions left behind by a far, far older Egyptian civilization that no longer exists. In the backstory I initially created, that Queen was solely responsible for this discovery and innovation. It’s why the current foreign rulers feel they have a mandate for ruling all of Egypt (when the novel begins, they only control parts of the north). It’s also why they consider themselves superior to the native Egyptians.

That’s what was in my head when I first tried to make this story work. And I couldn’t. Then I had one of those moments of inspiration that arrive like a flash–those times when, if you are the kind of writer who feels like you have a muse, you’re pretty sure your muse showed up and handed you the perfect answer. That being: the story the current ruling class tells themselves about their past is a false narrative.

It’s obvious in hindsight.

Because that’s the way this often works, right? We have all these narratives about the past that take on a mythical quality the further you get from the initial timeframe. Plus, people in power who understand the power of narrative know how to use it to retain and grow their power. And once a narrative becomes embedded, it doesn’t even require people to lie or mislead, because the following generations have only been told the crafted version and believe in it.

Once I freed myself from the shackles of how I have first conceptualized this time in my world’s history, I was able to create a story that worked in the shorter format and provides an excellent foundation for what comes later. All while complicating the world and my novel’s backstory in the best ways. Writing The Copper Scarab made the novel better.

I plan to address the discrepancy between what actually happened and what the foreign rulers believe happened somewhere in the book.

I also decided that one of my characters in this book is also in the short story, though in her past life. Which led to me deciding that this character would be in every book in this series, which is giving me many ideas about future books.

I’m immensely pleased with the way this story turned out on both the level of the work itself and how it helped me deepen what’s going on with the novel. Don’t be surprised if you see more shorts from me in this world before and after the novel escapes into the wild.

If you’ve read the story and want to ask any questions, the comments are open for that! I hope you enjoyed it and the many other awesome stories in the antho.

ORIGINality podcast episodes 2 and 3

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 22:34
[syndicated profile] ktempest_feed

Posted by Tempest

Originality podcast logo

I’m behind on alerting you to the new episodes of my new podcast, ORIGINality. Please forgive me for such tardiness.

In episode 2, A Couch Not Possessed by Cats or Satan, Aleen interviews Mikah Sargent and she and I talk about what writers need in order to produce words. Be it time, money, good health, someone to help with responsibilities, or a couch that isn’t possessed by cats or Satan.

You can listen below, or subscribe via iTunes, Overcast, Pocket Casts, RSS feed, or Google Play.

In episode 3, Unicorn Sidekick, Aleen interviews Kathy Campbell, who currently holds that title. She and I then talk about the role organization plays in the creative process and I get deep in my feels about bullet journals.

You can listen below, or subscribe via iTunes, Overcast, Pocket Casts, RSS feed, or Google Play.

If you like this show, you can also support it by becoming a RelayFM member. The money goes directly to Aleen and myself if you support our show specifically. We also get a cut if you decide to support all the shows on the network (and there are some fantastic ones).

Let Me Sum Up: May 2017 on Patreon

Monday, 12 June 2017 19:03
[syndicated profile] ktempest_feed

Posted by Tempest

Come for the giant steampunk scarabs, stay for the matriarchal culture

A summary of the content my Patreon patrons got for the month of May plus what’s new for patrons plus a kitty.

May was a weird month for me. A ton to do, a con to attend (and help organize), and writing to worry over. I ended up being stalled for most of the month due to brain weasels, but did manage to get all the May content complete and up… if a little late. I’ve discovered that having deadlines is somewhat useful for me, but what’s more useful is having people who are as forgiving about lateness due to brain weasels as they are eager to read what I’m writing. Once again I say: I have the best supporters.

Here’s what they got to access last month:

Read Along ($10 per month and up)

Section 2 of the book starts here! Patrons at this level got to read:

Sneak A Peek ($5 per month and up)

I had a hard time getting section 2 of the book started, so I had several scenes that ended up being cut or completely rewritten. I posted a few of them for the patrons on this level as well as a background sketch.

AMA ($2 per month and up)

In this Q&A post I answered a question about whether I’m an architect or gardener/discovery writer.

All Patrons ($1 per month and up)

Last month my new podcast, ORIGINality, debuted. I posted a link to the first episode here, but there was also a secret, members-only episode we recorded for folks who joined the Relay podcast network. That super secret episode is also available to my patrons!

Other Posts

This post is public, though it’s likely only of interest to people who’ve been reading the novel in progress: I’m Changing A Character’s Gender, Here’s Why

New Stuff

I’m adding new patron content over the next couple of months. June’s new thing is Writing Exercises, which I explain here.

So far I’m on track with June content, and there are more chapters and background sketches coming. Thank you to everyone who stuck with me through the turbulent month of May! And thank you to all the folks who just started supporting me. You give me a reason to keep writing.

Oh, I almost forgot, here is your kitty:

Bast statue with kittens at her feet