August 2021

Supporting Diverse Writers

Zoraida Córdova

Zoraida Córdova is the acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels and short stories, including the Brooklyn Brujas series, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate, and The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina. She also writes romance novels as Zoey Castile.

In addition to writing novels, she serves on the Board of We Need Diverse Books, and is the co-editor of the bestselling anthology Vampires Never Get Old, as well as the cohost of the writing podcast, Deadline City.

Zoraida was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and calls New York City home. When she’s not working, she’s roaming the world in search of magical stories. The kids and I recently read her middle grade fantasy, The Way to Rio Luna, mentioned below.

For more information, visit her at zoraidacordova.com.


Sci-Fi Novels

Recently Read

Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood by Holly Lisle

This one is lots of fun, Firefly meets The Expanse. Fast paced action from one well-built world to the next. The characters are lovable and flawed and real. I enjoyed the mystery-focused plot, and am looking forward to reading the sequels.


Aestus, The City: Book 1 by S. Z. Attwell

Aestus is chock-full of fantastic characters that I couldn’t get enough of, I struggled to put this book down. The writing is dialogue focused, helping to bring the characters to life, while offering up just enough exposition to give them a solid footing in Attwell’s rich world. The sci-fi concepts of the city, its tech, the environment, the landscape and other cultures are fascinating and so much fun to explore with the characters. They discover the plot as we do, taking the reader on a wild ride of surprise after surprise while the characters fight to live up to the expectations of themselves and others, determined to make an honourable mark on the world of Aestus.


Now Reading

We, Robots edited by Simon Ings

This is a monster of a tome and I’m taking my time through it, to fully enjoy each story as standalone. As I mentioned in my July update, I’m grateful to be able to explore such a rich and diverse collection of sci-fi. Simon Ings made sure to include a vast array of authors, rather than pulling from the typical pool of famous white Sci-fi Authors whose names are already known far and wide, he offers up a selection of less-known current and past sci-fi writers whose works are just as thought provoking and inspiring and influential as any other big name classic or current.


Aestus, The City: Book 2 by S. Z. Attwell

Of course, I had to get stuck right into the second straight after finishing the first. I’m about eighty percent through already and the characters, writing style and world-building have all remained strong throughout. I’m looking forward to completing this one and seeing what comes next from indie Author S.Z. Attwell. I am loving her work, and am excited to witness her journey as a writer, to experience how her writing will evolve and change over the years to come.


With the Kids

Completed

The Way to Rio Luna by Zoraida Cordova

This was a beautiful tale of family, friendship, magic, loyalty and self belief, despite everything that could go wrong, going wrong for our poor main character, Danny.

At only 11 years old, he’s left to fight a system that is doing all it can to support him, but constantly falls short. The only person he ever felt connected to, his older sister Pili, disappears and he’s told she’s run away. But she’d never do that. Not to her brother, her only family, and the only person who’s always believed in him. Danny’s determined to work out what happened.

I can’t say it any better than this starred review by the School Library Journal:

With its diverse, fully-realized cast of characters and inventive world-building, this complex adventure quest is a rare treat for fantasy lovers and those who believe in magic.

—School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Now Reading

Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia

This is a fast paced, action packed plot, set in a rich and diverse sci-fi world. In the far future, on a collection of other planets far from Earth, a whole civilisation exists, deep with various languages and cultures, fashion, tech, government systems, mythology, everything. The characters are sarcastic, fun, hot-headed, determined to be right and always want to call the shots. It’s been a hell of a ride so far, and the kids and I are loving it. The mystery has us on the edge of our seats, and they’re always begging for another chapter. We’ve only just started our journey into middle-grade sci-fi, but I’m glad Mbalia’s works are where we get to start.


Current Projects – Novel & Flash Fiction Anthology

I’m now working through the endings of my first 10 Flash Fiction pieces for the anthology. Once the endings are done, I’ll run through second draft rewrites and begin editing, where I’ll cut a whole lot and simplify the writing to focus in on the core elements of each story, whittling each down to a mere 500 words.

For this anthology, I’m using Holly Lisle’s How to Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t Suck course.

This free short course was created to inspire writers to get stories written from start to end without all the self doubt in between. The course uses a clear cut process for brainstorming characters and situations that actually matter to the writer, tips on how to complicate those stories and strategies to craft meaningful and impactful endings.

All in a total of three weeks.

Author and teacher Holly Lisle’s hope is to give writers the tools to craft a publishable collection, in a whole lot less time than it takes to write a novel, so they can start developing a passive income as soon as possible, and work out where their skills fall short, and how to improve in the process.

I love Holly’s no-nonsense teaching style, and I highly recommend her courses to everyone, no matter your skill level.

As for my novel, it’s coming along smoothly. I hit a snag at the usual point – the beginning of the middle third – but due to the plot cards I wrote up, I’ve felt confident to continue pushing through and rebuilt momentum every time my motivation began to fail.

My draft is now sitting at around 35k words, my characters are coming to life and the world is pulling together in exciting ways.

Anything that matters lays on the other side of hard work, and fear.

Fear of failure is ripe amongst the writing community. Fear of being vulnerable and laying bare the innards of our minds and souls. It’s a tough road to navigate, but I can gratefully say that outlining has helped take away most of the doubt. The outline gives me focus, a target to reach for, a reason to say “I know this will work”.

A tangible reason to write on, that my inner critic can’t argue against.

How do you deal with the fear and vulnerability?

Are you struggling along with me right now?

Is this fear, this type of writer’s block, new to you?

Or have you conquered it? Only to find it rear its ugly head in the middle of the next project, and the next, no matter how confident you get?

I’ve heard it never leaves us, we just get better at temporarily silencing the doubt each time we sit down to write, or create, whatever our art may be.

The world needs our art. Our audiences are out there and the only way they can find us is if we create and share.

Leave your comments and thoughts below. I respond to each and every person who joins the conversation here on my website. Otherwise, pop over to the contact page and send me an email, I love to hear from readers, writers and creatives of all kinds.

For now, remember to:

Explore, create, repeat-

Then thrive.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


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