Monday, January 26, 2015

Say something brilliant...

I hear this phrase in my head more often than I should. 

Every time I sit down to write a blog post lately things get foggy. It happens from time to time and I know it is normal but it sucks nonetheless. So here I sit staring at the screen trying to put the thoughts together and expel them through my fingers. I've learned that my words, my ideas are tied to my emotions and when I have a lot on my plate the words don't come out. And I have had a lot on my plate. We all go through it sometimes, right? 

So here I sit thinking "say something brilliant" though I know I can't. Not until I find a way to reconnect my thoughts to my fingers without all of the extraneous buzzing in my head.

You know what's good about the buzzing though? Strange ideas. Kinda awesome ideas. I now have a list of ideas to explore that weren't there before. 

And it's almost Con season. Con season always makes me feel better. Maybe then I can say something brilliant, or at least sensical.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

January 8th

Today used to mean something. It used to mean a lot of things. Now it is just another day. It was painful for a while but now I have to be reminded to give it two minutes of my time. And that reminder comes like clockwork. The same reminder I get on November 8th. It is strange that a day that used to represent so much has become just another day to me.

Nineteen years ago my life veered off course. I made a choice and I stood by it longer than I should have. But I stood by my choice and saw it to the end of the road. I can do many things but when the earth beneath me collapsed I did not have the ability to construct a bridge, the foundation just wasn't there. Earthquakes will do that, especially the emotional ones.

I've kept pretty silent about my divorce except for a few trusted people (you know who you are and I can't ever thank you enough). I joke that I lost custody of all of my friends in the divorce. I joke about a lot of things when it comes to the "d" word. It's what I do. The truth is, it would be harmful to my kids if they ever found out what really happened, if they ever heard my side of the story. So I didn't tell it. It was better for me to start over - as much as I could. With kids you don't have a lot of options that way, when the other person wants to be involved. We'll just drop that line of discussion because it will get me off topic.

The point of this post is to explain how things change and how you either embrace it and grow from it or become warped and stunted. I chose to embrace it and grow. Again, quite funny because I found myself growing back to that person I was more than nineteen years ago. I reunited with parts of myself that I'd suppressed or forgotten. I started to write again. A lot. I started to teach myself new things, to experiment with skills I found intriguing. Little by little I reassembled myself. Piece by piece I put myself back together, discarding things that no longer fit who I wanted to be. And you know what, I like myself again. I don't love myself, I have some work to do to get there but I found some pretty solid foundations and I'm pretty confident this road is the one I was meant to travel.

It's funny how memories come back, how things (like songs) that once meant one thing have come to mean something else entirely.

This is one of those songs.


Monday, December 8, 2014

December Housekeeping

First and foremost.....

YIPPPPPEEEE!!! I did it! No posts for November and I would hope that my followers know it is because of NaNo occupying so much of my spare time....and it was worthwhile because Immortal Machinations 2: Arc of Curiosity is well on its way. I am SO pleased with how it is shaping up and I cannot wait to share some of it!

In the meantime, I will say that Raegan is becoming one of my FAVORITE characters. She is ever so much fun and I am looking forward to do much more with her. There will be some serious cameos from the Emerald Seer Series though IM is YA friendly (for my daughter). I'm kicking up the Steam a great deal since they've entered the Steam era at last! SQUEEEEEE!!! I cannot wait to finish this one!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Writer's Responsibility..... Part 2

In my last post I urged everyone to set aside their personal views and call ceasefires on arguments on interpersonal issues in order to address the larger scale concerns facing our country. Further I suggested that people ask "why" and read between the lines rather than taking news stories at face value. To take it even further, I wish to address some issues I am seeing in the young adult and new adult genres. I fear that there is a culture of irresponsibility when it comes to YA/NA works - the content, particularly social situations, are not reflective of the current times.

Allow me to illustrate this point. I recently sat on a panel regarding young adult and new adult romance novels. A question was posed about representing same sex relationships in YA/NA literature and it was put forth that schools would not allow such books in their libraries. My response was surprisingly well received. I simply chimed in and firmly noted that by neglecting to address same sex relationships we do a disservice to our children. The room fell surprisingly silent and I was allowed to continue, something along these lines. It does not matter how we feel personally it matters how the children feel and the absence of literature representing a faction of our society tells the children it is wrong, shameful, etc. When a child, tween or teenager is having feelings they cannot possibly understand and then they read books that show life a certain way over and over and over again, it becomes apparent to them that what they are feeling is wrong and that they are somehow wrong. To make matters worse, other kids are reading the same things and also getting the message that anything outside "the norm" is wrong. So we wonder where bullying comes from? I won't address bullying at this time, you get the gist..

Now, to be fair, I also pointed out that I am sure that same sex relationships are already present in schools and referenced a particular series by Cassandra Clare that makes no bones about same sex relationships even if only at secondary and tertiary character levels. But my argument extends to far more than same sex relationships. What about divorce? Drugs? Teen pregnancy? Abuse? Children need to understand all aspects of our society in order to grow and appropriately respond to the world they live in. I posit that we see a lot of inappropriate responses to things because kids don't have any clue on how to cope and the adults in their lives just cannot seem to deal with them. I am seeing a trend for parents to seal their kids off and believe it will work. Do you think that staves off their curiosity? Of course not. Where would you have them go? In this digital age what do you see happening? How do you propose to shelter these children from everything? Burn the internet?

I am certain that some parents are quite indignant now but I will not apologize. I am only noting a trend I am seeing. You can overhear a lot of conversations at school functions and I have been part of many conversations that left me shocked and disappointed. It is devastating to hear these parents say "I don't allow my children to watch x, y and z" to keep them from finding out undesirable information. SUCKERS! Kids are innovative and kids talk and I guarantee that where there is a will there is a way. Isn't it better to have very informative, honest discussions with our children to present them with all of the facts (in an age appropriate manner, of course)??

I digress, I am not writing this post to lecture on how to raise a child. Not at all. I am simply using this as a way to illustrate my point, a way to address the larger issue. It isn't just children who suffer from a void of information or, even worse, an excessive amount of incorrect information. However, children learn their behaviors from somewhere and what I am seeing on the athletic fields, in the classrooms and sadly, out in public, concerns me. We are not teaching our kids, we are indoctrinating them with the same ignorance we seem to be embracing. Nothing good can come of this. Have you seen the movie Idiocracy?

I have been told not once, not twice, but thrice that my daughter should not be asking 'why' as much as she does. My response? Why?? Kids SHOULD be asking why. Kids should be free to ask as many questions as they want/need in order to understand what they don't. I am so proud that my daughter does not take things at their face value. My concern is that she is meeting so much resistance. And she is not the only child asking questions. Where will she find her answers?  Where will the other kids like her? Why would we want to stomp out that inquisitiveness?

Ignorance begets about we break the cycle??

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Writer's Responsibility.... Part 1

I know people will disagree with me this week.

Hell, I expect to get hate messages in some shape or form but the time for silence has come and gone.

I have come to realize that the written word is a very powerful thing and to that end every person who writes has a responsibility to think about what they are putting out in the world. A message perceived as positive by one person could be quite negative to another as much as the absence of a message can be read as disapproval of the subject.

It seems to me that mass media has become little more than a smokescreen these days, a tool to create discord amongst people to the point of squabbling over superficial issues while the real political concerns slide through unnoticed. Debt, disease, greed, war - aren't these more important than same sex marriage or what celebrity was arrested for a DUI?

At some point we are going to have to set aside our egos, rein in our personal belief systems and address what is happening around us. Not to go all Chicken Little on you all, but the world is pretty much a mess and we are spending more time arguing about who can marry and reproduce. When people are starving and dying of preventable diseases it seems silly to fight about who can say "I do."

I'm not posting my personal beliefs on these issues at this time because it would cheapen my argument and render me a hypocrite. My point is that we are falling victims to our own moral crusades over the wrong issues. And why is that? Because we have stopped thinking for ourselves and rely solely on the reports from whichever news medium we choose to follow. Guess what? They are all skewed. Stop and think. Think about what is happening. Read between the lines, what isn't being said? Ask "why" whenever you can and then do your damnedest to find the answers. Believe me they are there if you are willing to set aside your own egos and find them. You may HATE the very idea of a same sex relationship and that is your prerogative but is yelling at an Ally or Advocate going to really change their minds? You may find abortions and birth control to be morally reprehensible but how does either impact the big picture?

Instead of beating your head on a wall over issues that are interpersonal and rather private, why not backpedal and look for another outlet, another cause that is just as deplorable in your mind, a cause that you CAN affect?? While we are arguing over these issues, bankers, pharmaceutical companies and politicians are swindling us. What would happen if both sides of the same sex marriage argument just put aside the battle and turned on something worse? What if we pushed through the smoke and mirror debates to the heart of what is destroying our country? Ah, now that is something I would love to see.

I challenge everyone to step outside themselves, outside their own personal belief systems and look at where the real evil lies. Blindly supporting a politician because s/he claims to believe the same things you do is not productive for anybody. What's that saying about politicians and lying? I guess the better question is "which one works best?" Put aside your rigid beliefs and look at the bigger picture. Dealing in absolutes, especially uninformed absolutes, is irresponsible and ultimately what landed us in the state we are in.

Remember that mass media is in it to make money these days, gone are the days of getting the truth. It's all about the story and sensationalism.  How much truth do you think you are getting with your morning paper? How much is left out by the editors? How much is trimmed away to hype a scandal? And what is left on the cutting room floor that we really SHOULD know?

Please, put away your self-righteousness and embrace the reality before we all get swindled.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Not much of a title, I know, but sometimes one word is all it takes. There are too many things to say, too many thank yous, too many what ifs, too many words. #groove sums it up nicely.

I've spent days trying to figure out what I would say about Imaginarium. Tack on some party-crashing at Context and I KNOW that I haven't recovered from it yet. But that's the beauty of it, I think. I don't want to. Perhaps it has been a long time coming, perhaps I just needed some time to be an adult, no worries beyond the world of writers. It doesn't really matter, does it?

In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, "Let me explain...... No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

I got my groove back. I remembered how it felt to be confident, the comfort of being surrounded by people who love and support me as unconditionally as my own blood. There are too many people to thank and I think you all know who you are, plus I want to keep this short and sweet so I can get back to work.

In the mean time, grab Immortal Machinations: Arc of Transformation for just 99 cents here as long as it takes me to get the book out in paperback!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

And now for the role reversal!!

Say hello to Jackie Gamber as she takes on interview questions from H. David Blalock!

HDB: You aren't only a writer. You also work in other media. Tell me a little about that.
JG: Since I'm an avid storyteller, I also have an abiding interest in filmmaking, and the visual aspect of those stories. I've written a number of feature-length screenplays, as well written and directed short films.

HDB:  You and your husband Dan once ran a publishing house called Meadowhawk Press. How was it, being on both sides of the publishing business at once?
JG: Being an editor and publisher really gave me a perspective into the industry I don't think I could have gotten any other way. As a money-making venture, publishing is completely subjective, and I understand how publishers can be constantly on the edge of guessing which books will be the "big one", and being repeatedly baffled by readers. As an editor, I had to decline works that weren't right for the press, often my friends, even, and to wade those treacherous waters. I discovered I have a knack for recognizing good stories and storytelling, but in the end, my own writing time suffered, and I had to reevaluate my personal and professional goals.

HDB: You also started a writers' group in Memphis. How do you think writers' groups help? How do they inhibit?
JG: A good writers' group can make all the difference. Writers spend so much time in their own heads; crafting, dreaming, creating. It can be an isolating experience. Sharing time with other people who want the same things, have the same perspective and understanding, can be a terrific support system. On the other hand, the general writing skill of the group as a whole is crucial to a writer's growth. Improvement takes practice, and if the group is the kind to talk about writing, rather than actual writing, or to feel threatened by individual successes, then it's no better than a middle school gossip group.

HDB:  Tell us about your fight for dragon's rights.

JG: Dragons are people too! I've been a founder of the group HADS (Humans Against Dragon Stereotypes), working to spread awareness and to encourage healthy communication between humans and dragons. Some of my articles have included dragon history, dragon safety (such as what to do if you come across one in the wild), and dragon appreciation as a species.

HDB: Conventions are a big part of promotion for writers. You have been instrumental in convention planning. What should writers know about that?
JG: Conventions can be a great way to network; with other writers, with potential agents or publishers (depending on the focus). I've learned to navigate conventions by understanding my limits. I can't be everywhere at the same time, and no matter how hard I try, I can't meet everyone and make everything an opportunity. Decide what you want out of a convention, and call it a success with reachable goals.

HDB:  Awards and recognition by readers and peers is gratifying. Tell us about yours and how they came about.
JG: My most gratifying award was winning the "Mary Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction". I'm such a Mary Shelley fan, which is what led me to send my work to the contest, to begin with. I was given the news that I'd won right about the week of Christmas, and couldn't think of a better gift.

HDB: Some years ago you edited an anthology called “Touched by Wonder”. Tell us about it and what you wanted to do with it.
JG: "Touched by Wonder" was an early project with Meadowhawk Press. It was an exercise in seeing how far we could reach for talented writers, among other things. It worked well; we discovered authors we went on to make book deals with (including the author of the book which won the Philip K. Dick award).

HDB:  Finally, fill us in on the Redheart series. What, who, where, and how.
JG: "Redheart", "Sela", and "Reclamation" are the books of my Leland Dragon series; a story of a dying land, and a population. Dragons and humans once worked together as allies, but have since become competitors for resources--and enemies. To be saved, Leland must be bathed with magic, and forgiveness.

Author Links
Twitter: @jackiegamber