jmward14: (Default)

Originally published at Jean Marie Ward. You can comment here or there.

My main computer has crashed. Guess who’ll be heading to Best Buy tomorrow. I hadn’t planned on buying a new computer this year, but it’s been four years, and my luck with repairs to old computers has been less than stellar.
It’s not like I didn’t expect something like this to happen. Yesterday morning I woke from a dream of babies. To understand how bad this is, you have to know the dream signs my mom taught me:
- Insects, spiders and other bugs: little problems.
- Mice and rats: bigger irritations.
- Cats and dogs: significant problems you need to address quickly.
- Babies: bar the door and hide under the bed, because they’re coming to get you NAO.
At least I didn’t dream of brides = death.
The funny part about this is Mom was a psychiatric nurse and a Jungian. I don’t know if she ever realized what her dream shorthand said about where her head was at. On the other hand, as long as it worked reliably, she probably didn’t care.
Geez, I’m glad I didn’t wipe the SD disks with the Balticon video interviews. Still, I hope they can retrieve my data. There are several days worth of fiction I hadn’t shipped to my various emails. And before you say it: I tried those off-site back-ups. They were, to put it politely, problematic.

jmward14: (Default)

Originally published at Jean Marie Ward. You can comment here or there.

I’m going to RWA Nationals in two weeks. Yay!
The workshops are excruciatingly generic. There are only two I’d care to attend. Boo.
But that means more time for New York! Three cheers and a couple huzzahs!
So, ladies and gentlemen of the Empire State, what sights and events would you recommend? Thanks to a wonderful round of parties and commitments (including a reception at the Algonquin!) my evenings are not my own, but any other time of day is wide open. I’m an experienced Metro rider, so subways don’t scare me, and I have no problem traveling to the Bronx, for example, in search of spectacular southern Italian food. (I’m southern Italian. Fettucini Alfredo is death to me, no matter how well-prepared, and danged if all the top Italian restaurants in the DC area don’t dote on northern-style, milk and butter heavy food. *sigh*)
I should probably add that I’ve done the Metropolitan Museum of Art almost as many times as I’ve toured the Smithsonian, so unless there’s a can’t-miss special exhibit, consider MMA as a given. Also, shopping counts as both an event and a sport, so feel free to share any suggestions in that area. Specialty shops, like Pearl River, earn extra points. ;-)
Thanks in advance!

jmward14: (Default)

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

jmward14: (DuzWriter)
Me: I had the weirdest dream last night. We were with this old guy who was certain there was a vampire in the basement. He picked up an ax and a Coleman lantern and headed for a partially painted over door. I was afraid he'd hurt himself, so I went with him through two or three doorways leading deeper into the cellar. But after the third room, I was sure this was a bad idea, so I headed back to the main room to wait for the folks from New Orleans who knew how to deal with this stuff.

The "experts" were just arriving as he emerged from the cellar, looking a little burned. Most importantly his face looked different, like he was somebody else masquerading as the old guy and couldn't quite get it right. Trailing him was a small man who looked a little like a dead version of an Indian politician from the 1950s, wearing a burned white Nehru jacket, who was walking like a bat--knuckles trailing on the ground, elbows up, everything.

They sat at one of the tables in the basement room, and I realized they weren't human at all. They were more like translucent, wraithlike, humanoid lampreys with trailing feelers like catfish. Peculiar but pretty in a deadly sort of way.

You were fascinated. All I wanted to do was find the person in the New Orleans group, most of whom were dressed up like Victorian era reenactors, who was supposed to know what to do. When I looked back, you were coming out of the cellar door where the others had been, and you didn't look like yourself, either.

We looked at each other. You knew I knew you were one of them now. And you planned to prevent me from stopping you and your "friends". I stood there, my stomach in knot, knowing it wasn't you, and wondering how in hell I was going to dispose of the body.

Greg: [Laughing.] Yeah, I can see how that would be a problem.
jmward14: (DuzWriter)

In case anyone hasn't seen Highway from Hell and is interested in sharing their thoughts, the manuscript is now available for red pencilling.  It clocked in at roughly 82,500 words, and I'll need any comments back by August 24.  As always, I'm trying to get a bunch of stuff done and shipped out before DragonCon.  Thanks in advance to those who take me up on it--and to everyone for putting up with my whines all these many months.
Now to get started on the next project.  :-)

jmward14: (kick)
Finished the rewrite of Highway from Hell, which is now 82K and stuff. (Nothing like having to rewrite 40K to add 12K.) The next step is to let the manuscript rest a few days before reading it over and offering it up for beta.
Or maybe zeta. Some folks have really gone above and beyond on this one. But if there's anyone out there who hasn't read it and would like to dip their toes in the pond, please, let me know. The only hitch is I want to get this to the editor who requested it before I leave for DragonCon, so I'll need it back by August 24.
Speaking of beta-readers, though, I'd like to give a big thank you to [ profile] lilifae , who bravely read "Setseg's Choice", gave some very kind and useful feedback, then had to work weeks to get it to me. Ah, the Internet--can't live with it; can't beat it over the head with a rock.
Jean Marie
jmward14: (DuzWriter)
I've always admired people who write consistently and complete stories at nicely spaced intervals.  Somehow, mine never, ever work like that.  This one isn't my fault.  Really.  I had a request. 
So, anyone interested in beta-reading a 1300-word funny story about a dragon, an old guy and a pig?  It's about as far as you can get from "Setseg's Choice".  And Anne, in case you're interested, the only female is the pig, but she's not romantic.  Honest.
Hugs and smiles,
Jean Marie
jmward14: (DuzWriter)
New story, set in ancient Mongolia, about a girl picked by a lottery to appease a dragon, needs beta readers.  It's about 10,000 words long, and not my usual style.  It's got a lot of emotionally scary stuff, but on the bright side, the structure's a lot better than "Siren Bridge" and I don't need the comments for at least a month.  Any takers?  Thanks in advance.  Cheers, Jean Marie
jmward14: (shazam!)

Because this is absolutely, positively, the perfect thing to read on Friday the 13th.  Thanks [ profile] kradical !

50 Reasons Why No One Wants To Publish Your First Book by Allan Mott

Cheers and grins,
Jean Marie
jmward14: (Default)

I get to hang with my buds in the DC Area Storytellers at the Annapolis Mall Borders in Annapolis, Maryland, this Saturday, February 7, from 2-5 p.m.  Joining me for this signing will be D. Renee Bagby, Dana Marie Bell, Stephanie Burke, Monica Burns, Margaret L. Carter and Melissa Schroeder.  There will be books, there will be giveaways, and most importantly, there will be fun.  Hope you can make it if you're in the area!
Cheers and smiles,
Jean Marie
jmward14: (lexluthor)
The spouse person and I have been very busy lately.  Today saw more than one inauguration in the Washington DC area.  Greg unveiled his very new cartoon blog, Intravenous Caffeine.  Don't worry the link's a lot easier to spell (, but the snark remains the same.
And I've been blogging, first posting a Thursday Thirteen for the vampire lovers in the audience and today, in honor of National Squirrel Appreciation Day (yes, really) thirteen reasons why squirrels make good romance heroes over at the Samhain blog.
Of course, I am warped.  Your point?
jmward14: (Default)
As in jazzing up the program.  And I need help.
One of my major failings as a writer is the direct result of working for the Fed too long.  I think like a bureaucrat.  Yes, it's true.  A nightcrawling fan girl bureaucrat, but a bureaucrat just the same.  Which means my descriptions for entries in to program books can be a bit pedantic.  Ordinarily, I just deal, but this time I'm a little stumped.  So I was hoping the brighter sparks on this list could help.
Every year, Allen Wold leads a hand-picked group of RavenCon's writing guests in a first rate writing seminar composed of four parts:

- Character Building: what makes them real, distinctions between heroes and villains, depth and development versus action.
- The Hook: the all-important first paragraph of the story.
- Plotting: the basics and what to do when you get stuck.
- Editing: either a hands-on review of a pre-selected work or a critique of something the participants bring in.

They've been calling it "Fundamentals of Writing", but Programming Director Tera Fulbright thinks that's a little blah.  New guests and participants change the seminar mix every year.  Why shouldn't the description change too? 
Since RavenCon is E.A. Poe, mystery and horror friendly, I was thinking of going with a break-out on the order of:

- Unusual Suspects
- The Hook
- The Twist
- The Final Cut

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Any ideas to jazz up "Fundamentals of Writing" would be welcome too.  Thanks!
jmward14: (DuzWriter)

J. & K. took me on a brief tour of the Catholic University campus this evening.  In the rain.  Greater love hath no woman for her friend than to help her scout book locations after dark in the cold December rain.  Fortunately, the visuals were lovely.  A male friend they hadn't seen in a while tagged along.  I'd forgotten how very very cute college guys can be.
No I hadn't, but let's keep that our little secret.  I wouldn't want to depress the dh, certainly not on a night when he did the dishes without prompting.  :-)
Anyway, I was finally settling down with the cat to finish Carole Nelson Douglas's second Delilah Street novel, Brimstone Kiss, when the opening to my demented Urban Fantasy started whispering in my head.  I don't know if this will survive to the final version, but it feels like a good way to start the first draft.

Going up two levels in EverCrack with a guy you know from Math 101 does not a deathless romance make. But try telling that to a freshman.

No, you try. I’m not that dumb. I was doing what they tell you in all those student safety lectures. I was varying my routine so he couldn't stalk me, taking the long way round from my last class in the Hartke Building through the side door of Ward Hall and out front. That was the plan, anyway, until I walked past the dumpster outside Ward Hall and it groaned. 

I froze. That part of Catholic University isn’t dangerous, or it shouldn’t be.  Our campus rent-a-cops occupy the building between Hartke and Ward. But all three buildings face Harewood Road, where CUA meets the big, scary badlands of Northeast Washington, DC.

But. But. And I so never took a self-defense course in my life.          

The groaning got louder. It sounded like somebody trying to pray smothered under a blanket—or the lumpy plastic tarp wedged between the dumpster and the low retaining wall behind it.

I edged closer. I knew it was a bad idea, but my feet kept shuffling in the stupid direction. 

Hugs and smiles,
Jean Marie
*who's kinda sorry we didn't get any snow--of the ordinary kind*
jmward14: (lexluthor)
Tonight I am so doomed.  One cable station is running 13th Warrior while another plays Desperado.  Have I ever mentioned this SERIOUS jones I have for Antonio Banderas.  He was the physical model for Fynn, one of the Vanyr you don't meet in With Nine You Get Vanyr and among the best reasons I know for writing the sequels.
One day.  One day.
In the meantime, I suspect the Girls in the Basement are going to go to town tonight.  All the more reason to continue working on the research questions needed for the current projects.
But oh, teh pretteh!
Cheers and grins,
jmward14: (Default)

It's official.  Barron's has decided to buy the fantasy art book for publication in January 2010.  The working title is "Scan and Trace: Fantasy Templates".  Rafi, the artist, is fabulous.  I wish I could share some of the art used in the proposal, but I'm afraid you'll have to make do with this link
Barron's boasts a very strong line of how-to books for fantasy and graphic novel illustrators.  But nothing quite like what Rafi and I are about to do.  Can't wait.
Cheers and big, big grins,
Jean Marie
jmward14: (DuzWriter)
Fashionably late, as always.  But that doesn't change the feeling.
I'm thankful for a wonderful spouse, who once again proved he's a turkey chef without peer.  I'm thankful for a family of people who never fail to entertain me--even if their antics sometimes sound a lot better in retrospect.  I'm thankful for my friends, on- and off-line.  Folks, I wouldn't have made it this far without you.  I'm thankful, too, for the cat who consents to live with us.  In a different wa than Greg, he grounds me and makes me laugh.
And this year, I have something else to be thankful for.  Yesterday, I received an email from one of my British editors announcing my book proposal had been approved for publication in January 2010.
Unfortunately, she neglected to mention which of the two proposals on her desk it happened to be.  LOL  I guess I'll find out when she sends my marching orders.  Either way, there's no down-side.  Both projects are made of fabulous.
And a big additional thanks to sandyinstep and her dh for inviting us to share the holiday with them.  The company couldn't be beat.
Hugs and smiles,
Jean Marie
jmward14: (Default)
You can always tell when a lot is happening in my RL; my LJ gets werry, werry qwiet.  But I haven't been hunting wabbits--more like vampires. 
Yeah, vampires, the creatures I never planned to write about, because I couldn't think of anything new to say.  It's amazing what somebody waving money in my face will do.
Especially when it involves the Frankfurt Book Fair.

(Vamps & Me) )
Then there is the convention news.  I will be attending both Capclave in Washington, DC, October 17-19, and World Fantasy Con in Calgary, Canada, October 30 - November 2.  I don't yet know if they'll be able to squeeze me into the WFC program, but my Capclave panels and readings are:

Friday, 6 p.m.

Do U Rd on Scrn?

How is technology changing writing and reading? Do you write differently on a computer than with a pen or typewriter? Do you read differently on the Internet? How will e-texts, audible books, and the Kindle change the act of reading? How will writers write for readers accustomed to reading twitters and text messages? Traci Castleberry (m), Neil Clarke, Resa Nelson, Jean Marie Ward


Friday, 8 p.m.

SF Pictionary

Fun game show comes to Capclave. Can you communicate SF ideas through your drawings? Danny Birt (m), Steve Stiles, Jean Marie Ward


Saturday, Noon

Appeal of King Arthur

What makes so many writers from Twain to Mary Stewart to Lerner and Lowe produce their own takes on 'the matter of Britain'? Why do King Arthur books thrive while other legends like Robin Hood get far less attention? What are the best takes on the Arthurian legend? Christopher Cevasco (m), Tom Doyle, Jean Marie Ward, Mattie Brahen


Saturday, 1 p.m.


Am I the only one scared of the prospect of Pictionary?  I should be scared of the empty room I'm going to have for my reading, but I figure it'll be a good time to catch up on my sleep.  Writer/editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail will be staying at the house for the con, and if past experience is any indication, we could be talking all night.
There are worse fates.
Cheers and grins,
Jean Marie
jmward14: (wristpad)
My latest Samhain blog, "Friends Don't Let Friends", is live at the company web page.  Couldn't resist using Greg's photo of the Duz as an illustration one more time.  It's such a perfect writer shot--and so true.  I'm reaching over the cat to type this, and it ain't easy, especially since I'm using one of the larger laptops instead of the little Asus captured in the photo.  Not that the Duz cares.  But I'll have my revenge.  One of these days I'll catch him in a LOLCAT pose, and I'll upload it mercilessly.  Mwahahahaha!
But that could take years.  In the meantime, I need to get back to work on the siren story.  Another beta reader weighed in tonight with some great comments--and I'm not just saying that because some of the things she mentioned in her cover lletter were things I'd been fratching over and rewriting over the last couple weeks.  Now I just have to work up the courage to go past page one of her commentary.
I always take what my beta readers say to heart.  It just takes me a while to nerve myself to read it.  :D
Yeah, cowardly and cat-whupped.  I so am a writer!
Hugs and headshakes,
Jean Marie
jmward14: (lexluthor)
I don't post word count progress, because I write so slowly I'd just get depressed.  That said, I'm feeling pretty good tonight.  With many apologies to the beta readers of my siren story, I think I finally thrashed the nasty middle bits into acceptable shape.  I'll know for sure when I read it tomorrow.  But don't worry.  I don't plan to inflict the rewrite on you.  Promise!  Especially since it appears to have grown a hundred words in the process.  *headdesk*  Action is short; motivation, long.
I also finished a short short story for the York Emporium's "Yesterday, I Will" contest.  Actually, I finished the day after SciFi Saturday, but since I usually write far too long (see para. 1 above), I felt compelled to do lots of sanity checks before submitting.  The results were encouraging, so into the email it will go.
I also know what I'll be writing for my Samhain Publishing blog on Friday: "Friends Don't Let Friends Publish America".  After all that's been said and all that's been written and all that's been published on the Web and elsewhere about vanity presses, you'd think there wouldn't be a writer left who didn't know the score.  Wrong.  You know the old saw: "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it"?  Seems there's always someone who never knew the past well enough to forget it.  Don't know that my blogging about it will help, but I figure it can't hurt.  Will post the link when it goes live.
Cheers and smiles,
jmward14: (Default)
Because if you don't, you'll miss the York Emporium's SciFri Saturday with author signings, blooper reels (with popcorn!), a visit from NASA, stand-up comedy, an art show and meeeeee!  I'll be one of the authors signing.  I don't think I'll be contributing to the comedy or the bloopers, but you never can tell.  More details can be found here.
I'll also be appearing at DragonCon, August 29 - September 1.  It remains, in Teri's immortal words, my favorite summer camp for wayward adults.  I don't know my final schedule yet, but it looks like I'll be on at least three tracks.  
In addition, I'll be signing books with six other authors at the Fort Meade Post Exchange and Borders in Columbia, MD, on Saturday, September 13.  I'll be talking more about these signings later, but at the moment it looks like we'll be at the PX from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and the Borders from 2-4 p.m.  There will be giveaways and prizes, and wild and crazy writers.
Oh wait.  Wild + Crazy = Writers.  Guess it can't be helped.  ;-)
Finally, you may have noticed a new link on my LJ page.  A few weeks ago a friend introduced me to  It's a great resource for finding author signings and events in your neighborhood.  I'll be using it to keep my calendar until I can get my new web site up and running.
Yeah, I'm behind on that too.  LOL


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Jean Marie Ward

May 2017

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