Considering my MFA from Stonecoast Five Years Later

ErinU-Grad

Here I am introducing Jim Kelly at my graduation ceremony. Summer 2009

Five years ago, I earned my MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Popular Fiction. Five years ago, James Patrick Kelly was our graduation speaker and he was firm in telling us to remember to make time to write. Five year is a long time.

It seemed like silly advice back then since we just spent two years writing, writing, writing. I was exhausted from the work and hoping that the cash I laid down for the degree was worth it, but I was pleased with the fact that over those two years I had established a consistent writing schedule that had become second nature to me.

Several months after graduating, I realized that I had lost my writing mojo. My mom had passed away and I could barely keep myself going. If it weren’t for my Stonecoast mentor Nancy Holder, I might have forgotten how to fill a blank screen with words. I wasn’t her student any longer, and yet she held out a hand to me, helping me to get back in my chair to write. Since then, I often think back on Jim Kelly’s words, secretly acknowledging that maybe it wasn’t such silly advice after all.

I couldn't have made it without a little help from my friends.

I couldn’t have made it without a little help from my friends. RtoL: Diana, Nancy, Linda, ME, and Jim. :-)

Looking back over these last five years since graduation, I can’t imagine my life without Stonecoast and the friends that I made. That was where I learned to slay dragons, talk Elvish, and fly spaceships. We plotted out heinous acts and argued over legal technicalities like seasoned detectives. We debated about whether or not Ned Stark really needed to die and how a single act could set forth a flood of decisions that would change the world.

Since graduating I have come to terms with my own personal definition of success, and I am pleased to say I am on the path to achieving it. I am happy, but not content. There is still more to do! More to write! More to publish!

Deciding to get an MFA is almost as big of a decision as deciding which school to attend. For those of you considering Stonecoast as an option, I can’t guarantee that your experience will be the same as my experience. All I can say is that Stonecoast was exactly what I needed to acquire the tools to build my career as a writer, editor, and publisher…with a little con-running thrown in for fun.

If anyone ever wants to talk MFA programs and Stonecoast, you know where to find me. Also, here’s where you can find the Stonecost MFA in Creative Writing Program.

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Pre-Order Your Copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise

Hey, everyone! I just wanted to let you know that you can now pre-order your copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise from Underwords Press. All you have to do is Go To The Book Page for Futuredaze 2: Reprise and then click on the pre-order button. Easy!

Pre-Order Futuredaze 2: Reprise now!

Pre-Order Futuredaze 2: Reprise now!

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Futuredaze 2: Reprise: fifteen of the best and most brilliant young adult science fiction stories, written by the hottest SF and YA authors, are gathered for the first time in one anthology. Wild-west steampunk, true love with the alien next door, a confab with Mr. Darcy’s avatar, musical fluted girls, and Dorothy in alt-China—this is not your mom and dad’s science fiction. Grab a friend and go for launch to worlds of wonder that reveal who we are and what we want to become through our decisions, relationships, and the chances we take on our futures—across all universes!

Table of contents in alphabetical order by title:

  • “The Fluted Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • “The Last Ride of the Glory Girls” by Libba Bray
  • “I Never” by Cassandra Clare
  • “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman
  • “Deep Blood Kettle” by Hugh Howey
  • “Sweet Sixteen” by Kat Howard
  • “Valedictorian” by N. K. Jemisin
  • “Going Deep” by James Patrick Kelly
  • “The Veiled Shanghai” by Ken Liu
  • “Good Girl” by Malinda Lo
  • “The Other Elder” by Beth Revis
  • “Secret Identity” by Will Shetterly
  • “Stupid Perfect World” by Scott Westerfeld
  • “A Letter from the Clearys” by Connie Willis
  • “Wilding” by Jane Yolen
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Underwords Press Has a Shiny New Web Site!

UPHomePageI am thrilled to announce that  Underwords Press has a brand new website. It has been a long time in coming, and I am really excited to share it with all of you.

Along with the new look and feel of the site, we now have the ability to sell and ship books to readers within the US and Canada. (So, rather than giving your money to another online retailer, you can come direct to the source.) We are also set up for pre-orders. So, now you can pre-order your very own copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise for delivery on August 12, 2014.

Come check out the new site. Visit our book page. Sign up for the newsletter. Find out where we will be appearing next, read the reviews, and stay in touch!

~

Special thanks to Matt, Deena, and Lori at Deena Warner Design for their help with the new site.

Pre-Order Futuredaze 2: Reprise Now!

Pre-Order Futuredaze 2: Reprise Now!

Posted in Uncategorized, Underwords Press | 2 Comments

My Loncon3 Program Schedule

LONCON3_logo_270wI’ll be at Loncon3 this year, which is more commonly know as “WorldCon”. It’s a rotating convention held in a different host city every year, and this year…you guessed it…it’s in London!

I just received my final program schedule, which will keep me busy. Plus, I’m doing some volunteer work at the convention. So, I’ll be a busy girl.

Loncon3
August 14-18, 2014

London, England
At the ExCel Campus in the Docklands area.

Speaking of volunteer work. If you’re going to be at Loncon3 and you’d like to help me with staffing the Kaffeeklatches/Literary Beers or putting on the Doctor Who Party on Thursday night… let me know!FD-postcard.indd

Here’s my schedule. Be sure to come say hello because I will be handing out awesome glow in the dark wristbands to celebrate the launch of Futuredaze 2: Reprise (Aug 12th)!

The Retrofuturism of JJ Abrams
Thursday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)
From Super 8 to Star Trek to Almost Human, JJ Abrams-developed projects often seem to take particular delight in updating or simply inhabiting the futures of days gone past. To what extent is this nostalgia, and to what extent can elements of critique or challenge be identified in his work? What are the implications for the upcoming third Star Wars trilogy, and other Abrams-driven franchises?
Val Nolan (M), Pawel Frelik, Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, Ashley Pollard, Erin M. Underwood

Wholapalooza – Doctor Who Party
Thursday 22:00 – 02:00, Fanac Tent (ExCeL)
A Doctor Who party for one and all to come and celebrate a great British – and science fictional – institution. There will be games and prizes!
Erin M. Underwood (M), Galia Bahat

Cover Art for Young Adult and Middle Grade Books
Saturday 16:30 – 18:00, London Suite 3 (ExCeL)
With the explosion and evergreen popularity of science fiction and fantasy for young adult and middle grade readers, the need for artwork is constant. What books have the best covers? What are some of the key elements within YA and MG cover art? Which artists are actively making and selling art for these readers? How have the styles and elements within YA and MG cover art changed over time and what trends are coming in the future?
Ann VanderMeer (M), Christopher Gibbs, Klaus Æ. Mogensen, Erin M. Underwood

Staging the Fantastic
Saturday 18:00 – 19:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)
Is this a golden age for genre theatre? On both sides of the Atlantic, fantastical theatre has seen notable successes in recent years – from ‘blockbuster’ productions at the National Theatre of His Dark Materials and the original Tori Amos/Samuel Adamson musical, the Light Princess, to smaller, thought-provoking independent work from groups such as The Alchemist Theatre Company, Unlimited Theatre, Luna Theatre Company, and the BFG Collective. Earlier this year, Stage the Future was the first international academic conference on SF theatre; and the forthcoming anthology Geek Theater collects genre theatre by numerous playwrights and other SF authors. So what are the challenges and opportunities of putting SF and fantasy on stage? How does SF theatre use special effects, which are so central to other forms of visual SF? And how is the audience for SF theatre growing and changing?
Erin M. Underwood (M), Susan Gray, James Patrick Kelly, Geoff Ryman, David Wake

On The Blogs: Bloggers Discuss their Roles in the World of YA
Sunday 10:00 – 11:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)
Bloggers have become an integral part of YA book promotion. How do authors find these bloggers? Why should readers trust their opinions? What are the best book blogs out there right now and what makes them so useful?
Foz Meadows (M), Patricia Ash, Liz de Jager, Shaun Duke, Erin M. Underwood

Posted in Conventions, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Signal Boost: Genesis SF Magazine Submissions Open

I just received the following email from Jarvis Sheffield about submissions being open for Genesis Magazine. So, I am posting it here because it’s a great magazine that you should know about and submit to! Now, go write and send in those stories and images.

ATTENTION SCI-FI CREATORS! SUBMISSION FORGENESIS MAGAZINE (SUMMER 2014) NOW OPEN!

Hello everyone,

The submission deadline for the Genesis Science Fiction Magazine is Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Please email us your stories, photos and graphics, etc… to be showcased in this and upcoming publications. Get your submissions in before then if possible. Stories should be between 1,500 to 3,000 words. Graphics should be at least 300 dpi saved as .png, .jpg, .psd or .pdf.

Send submissions to: info@blacksciencefictionsociety.com.

Thanks
Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed.
Administrator
Black Science Fiction Society

Visit BlackScienceFictionSociety at: http://blacksciencefictionsociety.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

Posted in Signal Boost, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Enter to Win a Copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise!

Futuredaze 2: Reprise is coming on August 12, 2014, but you can enter now to win a copy  before the release date.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Futuredaze 2 by Erin Underwood

Futuredaze 2

by Erin Underwood

Giveaway ends August 07, 2014. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Good luck!

 

Futuredaze 2: Reprise: fifteen of the best and most brilliant young adult science fiction stories, written by the hottest SF and YA authors, are gathered for the first time in one anthology. Wild-west steampunk, true love with the alien next door, a confab with Mr. Darcy’s avatar, musical fluted girls, and Dorothy in alt-China—this is not your mom and dad’s science fiction. Grab a friend and go for launch to worlds of wonder that reveal who we are and what we want to become through our decisions, relationships, and the chances we take on our futures—across all universes!

FD-postcard.inddTable of contents in alphabetical order by title:

  • “The Fluted Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • “The Last Ride of the Glory Girls” by Libba Bray
  • “I Never” by Cassandra Clare
  • “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman
  • “Deep Blood Kettle” by Hugh Howey
  • “Sweet Sixteen” by Kat Howard
  • “Valedictorian” by N. K. Jemisin
  • “Going Deep” by James Patrick Kelly
  • “The Veiled Shanghai” by Ken Liu
  • “Good Girl” by Malinda Lo
  • “The Other Elder” by Beth Revis
  • “Secret Identity” by Will Shetterly
  • “Stupid Perfect World” by Scott Westerfeld
  • “A Letter from the Clearys” by Connie Willis
  • “Wilding” by Jane Yolen

.

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Let Me Pick Your Brain! – I’m Looking for SF/F Discussion Topics & Panel Ideas

Many of you attend science fiction and fantasy conventions, which is great. I am hoping to pick your brains for some fun, new topics for panels and events. This year I am in charge of programming for Boskone, my favorite Boston based SF/F convention. They always have a great mix of science topics, science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, music, art (oh, the art!), gaming, signing, and all manner of fun stuff.

Boskone, February 13-15, 2015!
Boston, MA (click here to learn more)

We have some terrific ideas so far, but I know how clever and creative you guys are…. and so, back to picking your brains… While you’re online cruising the net, reading new fiction, watching films, have you come up with ideas that you’d like to see SF/F authors, scientists, artists, or musicians discuss? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

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Guest Post: Wonder Woman’s Secret All Women Should Know

Gates of MidnightHelp me welcome D. Lynn Smith, my guest blogger for the day. Not only is she a screenplay writer and a fiction author, but she also publishes comic books through Kymera Press, which specializes in “comics about women, by women and for everyone.” It’s pretty exciting stuff. She’s got a Kickstarter going for Kymera Press where people can back and learn more about the project.

Now, without futher ado … D. Lynn Smith and Wonder Woman …

*

I’m a big fan of the television show Longmire. Last week as I was watching a new episode, one of the lines of dialog was, “Good girls ask for permission, bad girls ask for forgiveness.” UGH! What a load of bull… We women have been fed versions of this time and time again until it is ingrained in our consciousness.

I read an article recently that talked about how men will usually get that coveted project/promotion/raise simply because they go in and ask for it, while their female counterparts wait for recognition of their abilities and is passed over. That seems like waiting for permission to me. What would happen if a woman went into her boss’ office and asked for that project? Would she then have to ask for forgiveness? No way.

So what does it take for women to feel comfortable enough to demand what they want and need without having to ask permission? Do we have to act like men? Do we have to think like men? Some people believe we simply have to boost our testosterone levels. And there’s a very simple way to do it, according to the New York Times.

Wonder WomanThe New York Times published an article that tells us how:

“Poses are powerful,” said Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard Business School. With colleagues, she has, through a series of controlled experiments, shown that assuming an expansive pose (think Wonder Woman with legs planted apart and hands on her hips) for two minutes will increase testosterone and lower cortisol in your bloodstream. Dr. Cuddy’s TED Talk on the subject has gone viral on the Internet, now with almost 4 million views.

Wow, standing like Wonder Women for two minutes will increase your testosterone levels and improve your performance, whether it be for a speech, a job interview, or simply asking for a raise. Why aren’t we all utilizing this little trick? We should all follow her example. Wonder Woman won’t mind.

In the end, maybe Wonder Woman can teach us more than how to stand to boost our performance. Wonder Woman never asked for permission. And I’ve never heard her ask for forgiveness. This doesn’t make her a bad girl or a good girl—just a woman.

 ~

debbie smithD. Lynn Smith is the co-founder of Kymera Press, a comic book publisher that develops comics about women, by women and for everyone. Check out her kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/812703115/gates-of-midnight

 

 

 

Posted in Guest Post, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Rest in Peace, Jay Lake

I am incredibly sad to hear today that Jay Lake has passed away. He was a force unto himself, full of incredible energy and talent. He was a good person with a good heart, and I wish I had more time to get to know him.

Back when I was still doing my One Word Interviews, he sent in this response to the word “Spark.”

SPARK
Rushing from the primordial darkness, spark was what God got when She said, “Luke’s Fiat.” Spark, and fire, and ice, and earth, and air, and all the vengeful writhing business of life, love, fiction and the inner light that drives us all to be better than ourselves. Spark is creation.
– Jay Lake

His response still makes me smile. Spark will always remind me of Jay Lake and of creation: creation of imagination, creation of fiction, creation of friendship, and creation of life…

Dear Jay, you will be missed. Rest in peace.

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SF Author Catherine Asaro & Her Very Cool Kickstarter

If you have read my blog long enough, you know I adore interesting new projects and that I love supporting Kickstarter projects because they connect artists with their work in a very interesting…and entrepreneurial way. So, it probably won’t surprise you that I love this new project that is being Kickstarted by award-winning SF author Catherine Asaro. She’s turning her anthology Aurora in Four Voices into an audio book, which is a totally cool idea.

The exciting thing about this project is that it exemplifies how SF authors can expand upon their own work, finding new life in existing mediums for new fans. So, this should be a lot of fun for Catherine as well as her readers/listeners.

Here’s some of the text from Catherine Asaro’s Kickstarter:

Creating an audiobook of my anthology, Aurora in Four Voices, which includes the Nebula Award-winning “Spacetime Pool”

When my short story Light and Shadow appeared in Analog Magazine (1994), it was my first published story. It was also began The Saga of the Skolian Empire, also known as the Ruby Dynasty series, which has grown to include at least 14 novels, plus several novellas and a number of short stories. Roland Green at Booklist described the series: “Asaro’s portrait of interstellar intrigue, weird socio-political customs and galactic history has come to approach the neighborhood of such classics as Frank Herbert’s Dune series.”

In 2011, when I was a Guest of Honor at Windycon, they released a limited edition anthology to accompany my appearance. Published by ISFic Press, the anthology collects some of my novellas and short stories into one volume and is titled Aurora in Four Voices after the Hugo and Nebula nominated novella of the same name. The Nebula-award winning story “The Spacetime Pool” is also included in the anthology.

With the increasing popularity of audiobooks, I would like to have the Aurora in Four Voices anthology recorded as an audiobook for those who enjoy listening to stories. My experiences as a writer, dancer, actress, and singer have made me keenly aware of the different forms that storytelling can take, and a well-narrated audiobook adds new dimensions to a story. I’m excited for the opportunity to bring these stories to life in a new medium.

If you’d like to help spread the word or back the project, you can click here to visit Catherine’s project.

Posted in Signal Boost, Uncategorized | 1 Comment