Greetings, readers. Today for a change of pace I decided to share a little something I wrote a while back. This is a three-page short script, taking a character and location I created for one of my other projects and putting them in a slightly… different setting. Enjoy!
Well hello there everyone! My name is Nancy M. Griffis and I’m the proud author of Amoven: Prophecy. Liz has been nice enough to host my blog hop today and it’s a very comfy hop indeed! Isn’t she great?
Amoven: Prophecy is available now in ebook and print from all major online retailers.
Amoven: Prophecy is about a family of wolf shapeshifters from San Digeo, CA. The McTavish Clan is small by Amoven (pronounced ah-moe-ven) standards with only four siblings–Jim, Daniel, Simon, and Sandy–and Simon and Jim are ‘mere’ humans, looked down on by many Amoven. Daniel wants to restore his Clan to its rightful place at the head of the Council that rules their people.
To accomplish such an ambitious goal, Daniel is tackling the one thing that threatens all Amoven: a devastating decline in birth rates. While not as exciting as hunters on a killing spree, it’s just as deadly to their ultimate survival. Daniel’s arranged a Conclave with most of the North American clans to take place at the seat of Amoven power in the Colorado Rockies and this is where our story starts.
Having so many Alphas in one place is practically asking for a bloodbath, but Cole Bishop is just the Amoven to keep them in line. Grandson to Lauren Bishop–the woman who’s held power as head of the Amoven North American Council for almost one hundred years–Cole has a spine of steel under his manicured, indolent appearance. Publically, he can do nothing but support his grandmother and her backwards, anachronistic prejudices. Secretly, he does all he can to help Daniel McTavish in his goal to become head of the Council.
It’s not until the end of the Conclave that things really heat up. Someone tries to assassinate Daniel. Simon starts having visions of Amoven past despite being human. Sandy mates with a man from a powerful clan to spite her brothers. One of the Councilmembers abdicates his seat and bequeaths it to Daniel along with a prophecy about him being the key to Amoven survival or doom… and that’s all I can say without going into major spoiler territory.
I had such a great time writing Amoven! It’s quite a departure from my usual work in that the women in this book have supportive roles, though they still kick ass and take names on their own terms. This book is about Daniel, Simon, and Cole and their place in a society that doesn’t see them as much of anything but misfits. Plus, Daniel’s a dad of twin boys and the first character I’ve written who has children. It’s a book primarily about family and what you’ll do to protect those you love most.
I hope you love this book as much as I do! I am working on the sequel now, but don’t have a release date just yet.
Thanks again to Liz for having me!
You can find me online at http://www.nancygriffis.wordpress.com, @nmgrif, and http://www.facebook.com/nmgriffis. You can email me at email@example.com.
It takes a special kind of brass balls to respond to the kind of vitriol aimed at Stacey Jay by making yourself more vulnerable instead of less, but that’s exactly what she did. Please go and read her courageous response.
I’m sure there are people out there who will think she shouldn’t have made this post, or that she’s just pleading for sympathy. Some people probably think she shouldn’t be talking about money at all, because people shouldn’t talk about money because it’s not nice/it’s nobody’s business — never mind that the economic depression is still affecting thousands of people, never mind that our society’s ideas of what “need” is or what it looks like are irrevocably screwed up, never mind that our ideas of whether/why/how artists should be compensated are equally screwed up — but, well, they’re asshats and need to take a damn seat. This is a tremendously brave response and I hope it results in a sane, reasoned dialogue in the larger creative community.
I was debating what to say about the Stacey Jay Kickstarter controversy, and then Marni Bates went and said everything I wanted to, so I’m sharing her post. I do want to say a couple of things, though: If you agree with the statements Ms. Bates takes issue with in items 3 and 5, you are an incredibly shitty human being. Everything about this situation pisses me off and the authors who took Ms. Jay to task for doing something that hundreds of other artists have done with zero blowback ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Okay, I’m not going to lie. I’m upset. In fact, I’m shaking with the force of my feels. So please brace yourself, because this might be a bumpy ride.
Where to begin?
Right. Stacey Jay.
For those of you who haven’t had the distinct pleasure of meeting Stacey Jay, she’s a tremendous YA author whose talent is equaled only by her kindness. I met her at the Las Vegas Book Festival. I entered a room (where I knew almost nobody) wearing a giant poofy, sparkly prom dress and Stacey immediately made me feel welcome. That’s the kind of person she is.
You can read about that conference right here!
Unfortunately, Stacey’s book sales haven’t been strong enough for her publishing house to keep her on as an author. And at the end of the day, if a publisher feels like they will make more money investing in someone…
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…an homage to my favorite Saturday Night Live character and one of my favorite albums. Because the only thing I could think of to do with the remainder of 2014 is send it off with a laugh.
For New Year’s Eve, New York’s hottest club is *train whistle*. This travelling nightmare is the creation of lumbersexual railroad magnate Yukon Cornelius Vanderbilt. Climb aboard, and you’ll be headed to Heaven, Hell, Calais or Dover. This place goes everywhere: Poland, Limbo… Lower Manhattan. But be careful running around, because this club’s patrons leave slightly mysterious bruises.
If you’d rather stay put, New York’s hottest dance party is *car horn* on 14th Street. This place has everything: Bo Peep’s lost sheep, bashful hounds, my lost brother’s soul. And look who just walked in! Is that Dan Cortese? No, it’s the Missing Link, holding the reins to the world and a cigarette that needs a light.
If you’re anything like me, you either have a hoard of craft supplies you haven’t used (I still haven’t admitted to myself that I’m not going to make that scrapbook), or you have a hoard of office supplies because writers seem to have an insatiable thirst for pens and Post-Its and paper clips. Or, like me, you have both.
It sure would be nice to do something with all those papers and pens and stickers… but there’s no time, or no space, or you have no ideas, or perfectionism is getting in the way, or (insert excuse here; I’ve had them all). Right?
I’ve had an idea in mind for a while now about how to make use of all the things in my little hoard, and the holidays seem like an excellent time to get started. After all, this is the time of year when the crafty and/or budget-conscious among us start having visions of DIY delights that we would love to make if we weren’t busy working, cooking, traveling, or battling the hellmouth that is the Santa Monica Blvd. Target. This project won’t break the bank, can take as little or as much time as you want, and can be done at any time of year. It’s inspired by the anonymous inspirational notes of Operation Beautiful, but I wanted to focus on sharing art, and I wanted to invite others to join me.
To participate in the Stealth Recommendation Project, you don’t need a giant stash of craft supplies like the one pictured above in the process of devouring my coffee table (although they’re really fun). You really only need something to write on, something to write with, and somewhere to leave what you’ve written. Post-Its and a Sharpie, index cards and a pencil… whatever you have on hand. It’s not about the supplies, it’s about what you do with them.
What are we doing with them?
Good question. The purpose of the Stealth Recommendation Project is to promote the words you love. Book quotes, song lyrics, lines from your favorite TV show, Bible verses… you get the idea. Short ones, if at all possible – something that catches the eye. Write the quote on a card or a Post-It, embellish it however you like, and leave it in a public place where it’s okay to leave stuff – the bulletin board at Starbucks or your laundromat or your school, tucked between the pages of a library book, the shelf of flyers and cards at the local hipster cafe… places like that where you aren’t going to get fined for posting things.
That’s it. Oh, just one simple rule: you have to attribute the quote. Give whoever finds your Stealth Recommendation a way to find the art. And I must ask, on behalf of my people, that if you use a quote from a TV show or movie, please please please with cherries on top attribute the line to the writer of the episode or the movie. Not the character, not the actor, not the director. The writer. For example: if I was going to use “This dimension I love and adore and will never, never, never leave” (paired, obviously, with an image of Los Angeles – more about those embellishments in a minute), from the Angel episode “Over the Rainbow”, I would write in very small letters at the bottom edge or on the back of the card, Angel, “Over the Rainbow”, Mere Smith.
What was that you were saying about embellishments?
Oh. Those. They can be anything — on some of mine, I’ve just doodled something, like the Signs from Over Sea, Under Stone:
Or you can add collage elements:
Except for the black paper, which I cut to size, I’m simply using unruled index cards and different colored pens for many of mine. “The Dude abides” was made with a sticker, a $2 alphabet stamp set from Target and a $2 ink pad, and a hole-punch dot with three black dots drawn on it to make it look like a bowling ball. The dots on the Night’s Watch quote are two sizes of hole punch, and the star was drawn with a white chalk pen. Like I said – I just happen to have a lot of craft supplies. You don’t need to get super fancy. You could even cut up magazine text, ransom-letter style, if you want. Whatever works.
It sounds like I need to have some artistic ability. I can’t draw a straight line.
Nope. You don’t even have to have particularly good penmanship. (Did you see the writing on the Over Sea, Under Stone poem?) As long as the quote and citation are readable so anyone who’s curious can look them up. Have fun. Play. Forget about expectations, perfectionism, concepts of what art is or isn’t. This is about sharing your love of a piece of art with someone else, and making your own art.
I could just talk about the things I like on my blog/Twitter/etc. – why Stealth Recommendations?
To break down the barrier between the viewer and the art. If I quote a piece of art that I love in a text that I sign my name to or in a direct conversation, the reader/listener will – consciously or not – evaluate that recommendation within the context of what they perceive about me, what they may or may not know, etc. This way, the viewer connects with the art or not, without the recommender or their concept of the recommender as a filter.
Does this violate copyright?
Nope… no more than if I quote Friday’s episode of Grimm during a live-tweet. Unless you’re handing out entire chapters of a text you didn’t write, which is both illegal and not the point. Short quotations, comprehensible outside of context but making the reader curious as to the larger context. Or, in the case of the Song of Ice and Fire quotes I’m tossing around, probably just making another fan smile.
Last question: Why?
No, really. Why not? We’re bombarded with corporate advertising day in and day out. We’re all rushing around, running our holiday errands or traveling or just going about our business and waiting for wherever we live or work to wake back up again (*cough* Hollywood *cough*). You’re going to get that peppermint mocha or pumpkin spice latte anyway – why not take a second to stick a card on the bulletin board on your way out? Or leave one on the fridge in your office’s break room? It takes five minutes or less (depending on how fancy you want to get) to make a Stealth Recommendation, and self-expression is good for the soul. Make one a day – take a soul break for yourself in the middle of work stress or holiday chaos.
If any of you decide to participate, please share in the comments, or tweet me – I’d love to see how this spreads.
Today I was checking Twitter on my lunch break, like you do, and I was scrolling through the usual jokes and promos and discussions, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but this gem from The Atlantic: “Finish That Book! You suffer when you quit a story midway through – and so does literature.”
(insert needle-scratching-on-record sound)
Or, to borrow a phrase from the late Amy Winehouse: What kind of fuckery is this?
As it turns out, more of the same elitist, prescriptivist bullshit I ripped to shreds when it appeared in Ruth Graham’s Slate article. Indeed, author and New York Times editor Juliet Lapidos devotes the fourth paragraph of her own essay to that very article and the “Adults should be ashamed to read YA” controversy. Lapidos admits herself that her always-finish-what-you-start philosophy is unusual, and once I read the article, it was easy to see why. She breaks her case down into three major points, so in the interest of consistency, I’m going to do the same here.
Pleasure: Lapidos argues that if you stop reading a book part of the way through, you might miss something amazing later. She suggests that reading multiple hundreds of pages of a story you don’t enjoy in order to get to something good is a worthy use of your time. I would be interested to know what working professional has enough time for recreational reading that this seems like a good proposition. My suggestion? Chucking the book you can’t stand after fifty pages and picking up something that engages you in five or ten or twenty pages is a great deal more pleasurable.
Fortitude: I laughed out loud at this one. Here’s an actual quote from the article: “It may be disagreeable to slog through a novel that you stopped liking after 50 pages, but it’s a sign of strength.” To whom? Who, exactly, are you supposed to be proving this strength to? Lapidos says in this section that the “ability to endure intellectual anguish” is beneficial to her job as an editor. And I can relate to that — I’ve been a freelance script reader for over a decade. I’ve paid my bills and put food on the table by writing synopses (which means reading every single word) and critiques of everything from sitcom pilots to 500-page nonfiction tomes about the Iran hostage crisis. Some of them were great. Some of them were godawful. Guess what? Not one of them improved if I still didn’t like them after 20 pages. Not one. And some of them were good and then botched the ending and you do not want to be within earshot when a text I’m engaging with crashes and burns, whether I’m reading for work or for pleasure.
Respect: You are not disrespecting the author, the act of authorship, anyone or anything by putting down a book unfinished. Well, maybe if you know the author personally, but even then some authors will understand. Lapidos suggests that starting books gives you “intellectual cachet” and not finishing them is “one step above saying ‘Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that author.’” On what planet, outside of maybe certain New York publishing-world cocktail parties, is this even an issue?
This last argument sounds suspiciously like the Internet Uber-Fan argument of “You aren’t a TRUE fan if you haven’t read every comic/seen every episode/listened to every B-side/etc.” — which is something that has stuck in my craw for ages. Who gets to be the arbiter of who has what kind of “cachet” or “cred” or whatever term the community in question likes to use? Who are we trying to impress by attempting to earn this “cachet”? If “cachet” is required for a person to view you as an intellectual equal, do you really want to interact with that person anyway?
As I said above, I’m a professional script reader. I’m also a freelance proofreader/copyeditor, a published author and a copywriter. My ultimate goal is to write for television drama, specifically in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, supernatural and mystery. Consequently, I have read, watched and critiqued pages upon pages, hours upon hours, of creative works that I did not enjoy in the slightest. You know what the result was? For a long time, I didn’t read recreationally. At all. I was burnt out. This happens to a lot of people somewhere around high school, which seems to be the peak time for being forced to finish books we don’t enjoy… so why on earth should adults with limited time and/or resources attempt to recreate the experience?
There are many, many things happening in the real world, either in the news or in our own lives, that cause us “intellectual anguish”; why heap more on top of that? It’s just as baffling in my eyes as continuing to watch a television show after you’ve started to hate it – and, as a future hourlong-drama writer, I have a vested interest in as many people watching as many of the shows I love and/or may work for as humanly possible! It’s in my best professional interest for people to cause themselves intellectual anguish if they have a Nielsen box and the source of that anguish is Grimm or Agents of SHIELD or (insert other beloved show here)… and yet, I shudder at the idea of anyone doing so. Because I am a writer, I want people to love story, in whatever form, and the best way to cultivate love of story is by reading (or otherwise partaking of) stories we love. Stories that engage us. Stories that don’t make us want to hurl our book or Kindle or remote or laptop across the room after we’ve devoted significant amounts of time to them. Stories that we aren’t merely slogging through in the interest of earning some mythological “cachet”.
Life is not an MFA program. There is no assigned reading. Engaging with art and story is not homework. Treating it as such does nothing more than poison people’s hearts and minds against the intellectual and emotional rewards of narrative. I can only hope that a majority of readers continue to find pleasure in whatever narratives speak to them, have the fortitude to ignore naysayers, and respect their own instincts enough to make choices that resonate with their souls rather than obeying the poisonous shoulds of the elite.