What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Ellis has always loved staging adventures in her head before going to sleep each night. When she was twelve, she started putting these adventures on paper.
* For the next twenty years, she wrote with varying degrees of seriousness, but always as a hobby. In that time, she fell in love with Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, the original Star Trek series, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Science fiction became her favorite domain to work in, but she also enjoyed reading fantasy, horror, Western, and detective stories, and incorporating their elements into her work. One of her favorite things to do was make people laugh.
* Ellis denied being a writer for decades. But then she sold articles to The Daily WTF, and a short story to Analog Science Fiction and Fact. After quitting her full-time job to finish her first novel, it was time to own up to writing as her calling. She's currently an editor at The Daily WTF, and having the time of her life penning novels and short stories.
Today Ellis Morning will be talking about the best and worst pieces of writing advice she's received.
* Best: Focus on discipline, not motivation.
* Create a writing habit and stick to it. This is what’s going to get you past all the low points, the crippling self-doubt, and the blocks. Don’t sit back and wait for inspiration. Don’t say, “I don’t feel like writing right now.” Grit your teeth and get it done. One word turns into a sentence, which turns into a paragraph, which turns into a page. Sure, it may suck, but you can fix it when you’re editing. You can’t edit a blank page.
* I’ve written more about discipline on my own blog: CLICK HERE
* Worst: Writing is a hobby, not a career.
* This didn’t come from any particular person, more from societal pressure. As early as high school, I felt the pressure to get a "real" degree and a "real" job so I could make money and not waste my potential. So I went into IT less because I loved it, and more because I was “supposed” to. Upon graduating, I got a corporate gig less because I wanted one, and more because I was “supposed” to have one. And I jumped from location to location and job to job, gaining experience and salary increases along the way.
* Well, after 10 years of that, I started going crazy. The salary increases stopped meaning anything to me. I dreaded every workday and was desperate to escape my office job, but the idea of jumping to another job just like it and going crazy again in another 6 months was utterly abhorrent. What could I do?
* It took an embarrassingly long time for me to examine my interests outside of work and search for my answer there. Even then, I denied writing for the longest time. It took even longer to ask myself, “Why not? Isn’t it worth trying?”
* No, it's not easy or possible for everyone. But I had the financial and emotional support in place to make the jump to writing full-time, and 2 years later, I’m so glad I did.
* If I could do it all over again, I would’ve followed the same path initially. What, really? Yes—but I would’ve been very aggressive about cutting expenses and saving the majority of my paycheck. With a huge pile of savings accrued early, I would’ve been able to escape and start writing a lot sooner!
* Dame Jessamine is a knight errant with a spaceship for a steed, a pupil of ancient science and technology who quests on behalf of the downtrodden. She's accustomed to forging her own path through the galaxy—until she's hijacked at sword-point and sent to investigate Nidaros, a remote barony known for bursts of rebellion.
* In Nidaros, Jessamine finds a populace short on food and patience, innocents detained for torture, and a court trapped in a web of delusion. The Baron considers her a distraction. The magicians, convinced of a "curse," dismiss her pleas for rational action. Even as Jessamine forges an alliance with the soldiers, an unknown foe seeks to frame her as an agitator.
* Stuck amid murderous intrigue and cut off from her mentors, Jessamine must figure out how to save Nidaros from starvation. But the only people who understand the true "curse" have been accused of witchcraft—and if Jessamine's not careful with her ancient knowledge, she'll join them in the dungeon!
* Blood’s Force is Book 1 of the Sword and Starship series of science fiction/fantasy adventure.
* My confines remained plunged in darkness. Straining my ears brought me no closer to abandoning the heavy silence. I retrieved my stick lighter from my pocket; the tiny bead of light revealed dungeon floor and nothing else. No immediate danger, at least. I resolved to scout the room, or cell, more likely.
* Something flashed in my peripherals: the glow of lantern light, newly revealed by a door sliding open about ten feet away. Soon after, a burgundy-robed arm lobbed a hand-sized ceramic pot with a lit fuse into the cell.
* Without another thought, I threw myself in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, the cell’s dimensions were stingy. I hit a wall well before I wanted to.
* A boom like thunder rattled my eardrums. Tongues of fire splattered around my feet. Turning, I found knee-high flames covering the floor behind me, surviving on the fuel from the grenade. Some version of Greek fire, it looked like. Radiant heat seared my exposed skin, while a thick smoke stung my eyes and clawed at my throat.
* Forget questioning or detaining. Someone was trying to kill me. Either fire or smoke would finish the job in minutes. Ironically, my pockets held plenty of fire-making implements and things to burn, but nothing for smothering flames. Escape was my only hope. I knew of only one option: the door on the other side of the room, the one the grenade had been launched from.
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