Tag Archives: Literature

Hamlet and Yoda Got it Right

The word aspiring is a load of crap. 

Ok, sure. The word holds the feelings of hope, determination, and perseverance, which is awesome. It is a great word. But in the context of which I’m talking about, it’s a waste of time.

For years I lived under the title of “Aspiring Writer”. I dreamt of the day when I would be able to tell people, “why yes! I am a writer!” I would then smile proudly, full of mirth and merriment. Yes, for years I looked forward to that day when I would able to shed “Aspiring” from my professional title. And then, one day, I realized something which became quite profound in my writer-y path.

I’m a writer. I write. Whether I’m published or not, whether I make a bazillion dollars or not, whether I rise to the lofty levels of the greatest literary minds or not, I sit down and make stuff up in story form. So, I don’t buy into the whole aspiring adjective thing. I have three stories published to date, and a Young Adult Mini-Series in the works, hoping to be finished sometime in the future (details to follow sometime).

So, if you’re like me, and like to make stuff up (or non-make stuff up), don’t aspire. You are “to be” and “not to be”. And please “do”, as their is no try.

Cheers.

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Introducing Prof. Dobbs’ Literary PRIMER for the Extraordinary!

‘Prīmər  New-England_Primer

noun.

1. A small introductory book on a subject.

2. A short informative piece of writing.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen! Salutations pupils and experts! My name is Stasey Norstrom and I am the Managing Editor for Professor Dobb’s Literary Primer For The Extraordinary. I have graciously accepted the task of tending to the professor’s ever-expanding library and sharing them in monthly installments. Each issue is dedicated to those new to these exciting realms and to those experts in the field looking to broaden their horizons and continue their education.

With each issue of what I commonly call Primer, you will find a wonderful collection of stories, essays, and reviews pertaining to the gritty and delicate world of Steampunk, as well as historical fiction and alternate historical fiction. You’ll find everything from sky pirates and debutantes to civil war automatons and roman pneumatics. It’s what I call science fiction of futures’ past.

Pull up a chair with your ladies’ group or sit back in your reading room with a snifter of brandy and enjoy our words of other-worldly wisdom.

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IndieReCon

Indierecon-logo4

Now, let me first start by saying I love where I live. It’s a small town of 2,200 and we’re the largest of 5 towns around a “major” city of about 14,000 people. Yes, it’s small. We’re about an hour’s drive from somewhere else and about 2 1/2 hours away from an actual city. The kind of city which has really good food–not just “good enough”–and toilets that flush themselves. Since civilization is so far away, it’s not often that one gets a chance to enjoy such things, let alone special events such as concerts, the choice to see a movie other than the 3 offered in town, and what I’ve affectionately dubbed “Word Nerd Herding”. Other people refer to this as Literary Events or Conventions or Seminars or other such gathering-type noun.

I used to live outside of Portland, Oregon, and there is a great annual literary “festival” (add that to the list) called Wordstock. I’m sure there are dozens of them across the country and hundreds abroad. Unfortunately, living where I do, it make’s it a bit challenging to make a six-hour drive one way to attend a seven or eight-hour festival and then drive back. And even if I stayed over-night, It’s still a lot of expensive driving back and forth.

So…what to do?

A short while back I met a fellow novelist, S.R. Johannes, and from her site I learned about IndieReCon. IndieReCon states they are “the premiere online writer’s conference for the independently minded”. After looking through the site and what was being offered, the conclusion I came to was…cool.

The conference (missed that noun too) is run by and focused towards the self-published “Indie” writers, which many authors nowadays have become. Now, one of things that has drawn me to this conference is the location and admission fees:

Online and free.

That’s a nice combination.

I’m signed up for next year’s gathering scheduled the weekend of 2.19.13-2.21.13. I think it’ll be interesting to see how the virtual conference goes. I hope to make some new acquaintances  and attend some panels with people scattered across the planet. That sounds pretty cool.

Check it out.

I’ll…see?…you there.

Cheers.

-SJn

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Hunting High & Low For People I Don’t Know

Circles

Circles (Photo credit: Fillmore Photography)

Before we begin, I must preface this piece with these words: I tend to draw out the negatives of something before looking at the positives. I find this a bad thing. Nothing like confirming your own fears. Now, that aside, let us proceed.

Calling all writers & readers & in-betweeners:

I’ve been told by a few people that one of the best ways to progress with my novel is to find others in the process of writing their novels. Equal parts therapy group and motivation group, being a part of these groups can help develop one’s story while, at the same time, assist in maintaining one’s sanity. I’ve heard of these writers getting together once and month or so, to share their writings and receive helpful critiques from one another. It seems to be a, “takes a crazy one to know and work with one.”

So, in this arena, I have two possible issues with this notion. The first issue is I currently reside in a major metropolis of 2,200 people and the closest area is even larger with a populace of approximately 13,000. While the possibility of finding a group is small, there is possibility nonetheless. So this issue isn’t really more of an issue as it might be a scavenger hunt of fellow writers working in the YA and/or adventure genres. Again, not impossible, just, y’know.

The second issue—and this is a bit embarrassing to me—is that I know next to no one who is also working on a novel in this genre. And I do think it’s important to find someone(s) in the same ballpark so they can understand/appreciate what I’m trying to achieve. While I could work with someone writing a deep literary piece about two souls trapped alone together (yep, all chock full of metaphors), the other writer and I may not be on the same creative page and therefore might be able to give the best critiques. If your mindset is about a young socially awkward tomboy thrust into a struggle between the waning light and encroaching darkness. But there’s also clockwork soldiers and anthropology and snow globes and a touch of magic thrown in for good measure. I love it. Again, maybe this isn’t an issue either as it is more of a(n) (ir)rational of mine. I’m sure it’s the second option.

See? Not that I can find people and it may take a bit of searching, it’s I hope I can do it. Guh. Don’t tell my wife. It drives her nuts. Me too.

I just chatted with a one Susan Kaye Quinn (a great person and writer) and she directed me to her site where she has a bunch of people listed who could possibly start up or bring me into their writer’s circle to begin the process. Of course she also suggested I “FINISH THE NOVEL” and then go from there. Geez. Get all rational and stuff.

That may take some time, but it never hurts to start looking for people. Finishing my novel would help too.

Off I go.

Cheers.

Ps. See? That last part was pretty positive. Or maybe not. I think I have issues with my positivity. Damn.

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“Next”

English: Dead tree Deutsch: Abgestorbener Baum

English: Dead tree Deutsch: Abgestorbener Baum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Weathered hands take turns holding up her head and running though her hair, locking knuckles to keep from doing either. Shoulders sit too high, pressed against her head to keep it from crashing onto the counter. She barely stands, an uprooted tree with a too frail trunk struggling to keep her knobby limbs attached. Her blonde canopy is thin, withered and cracked with bleach. A growing nest of dark roots perch on top.

Another woman behind the counter smiles, patient, yin to frustrated yang. She has warm chocolate  eyes and cheeks creased with years of smile and laughter.

“Copay,” falls out of the dead tree’s mouth, consonants hard and cold. Weak fingers reach inside her purse and nerves take over. Contents fly like shrapnel: a cell phone snaps awake, a too-big keychain rattles the room awake. She socially attempts to ignore the two tampons and shoves everything back inside. She finds her prize and tosses it onto the counter.

“Here,” and her insurance card falls dead into the happy woman’s lap.

Welcome to the Waiting Room.

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Promotional Herding

Yes, I still have a ways to go before I complete my novel and really shouldn’t worry about the Big Promotional Machine, but marketing and promoting thoughts still permeate the tangle of noodles that I try to pass off as my brain. I find the post-writing world just as fascinating as the writing world itself. I’ve been reading a wide variety of a blogs and keeping up with independent publishing websites. While working on this blog post, I remembered a concept which I think would be a great help in the realm of marketing and promoting your literary work.

I am a semi-retired comic book nerd. While I no longer participate in the reading of current comics, I have a tight and dedicated library of comics, both dramatic and comedic. But, back in the heyday of the late 90s, I was firmly entrenched of the Wednesday release date of the weekly comic book. And during the summer of 1997, I came across a promotional comic that tied-in with three independent comic book creators during convention season.

The Trilogy Tour.

I’ve found links from one of the creators of the Trilogy Tour, Jeff Smith. He and two other creators, Charles Vess and Linda Medley, pooled their resources and went on the road together to promote their books. They were like three one-act bands going on tour.

Pretty awesome if you ask me.

And not only were they one-acts, but they also backed each other up. Three soloists have an enhanced and different sound when they work together as duets or trios. And that’s pretty cool.

As they’re able to pool their money, they could make promotional items such as a comic that included one original story from each of them. Not only was this a great way to get their work out to the public, there was a demand from fans of their work who wanted to add to their collection. And yes, I was (still sort of in a semi-retired way) one of those fans. And they did this for two years. Not only was the first one successful, but the following year they added three more artists, turning the tour into a collaborative road show of different talents. What a great idea.

I immediately began thinking of doing that with writers. If given the chance, I would love to work alongside other writers and, while being our own solo act, promote our works as a collective, helping each other out. And maybe even put together a short book of original stories, one from each of us. Not only would our work get out into more hands, but the price of manufacturing and such would go down as would all share the burden of costs.

While I’m not near the point of promoting works, especially in person, I think it’s a great concept and one I felt like sharing. Perhaps in the next summer or two, I’d love to go on the road with other writers (including comic creators) to show the world, and one another, our passion for The Word.

Cheers.

-SJn

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Greetings!

Welcome to S.J. Norstrom’s blog! Here you will find everything related to my novels, short stories, and all things literary.

Please be sure to Follow my blog so you can receive up-to-minute posts about my work and other bits I want to pass on to you. In the coming days I will be posting some of my published short stories so be sure to come back.

And don’t forget to comment on my future posts. There’s nothing better than connecting directly with the fans and I look forward to it!

Cheers!

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