Space Farce

I marched with the Leijorettes in the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus parade this past weekend. There’s an “only in New Orleans” kind of sentence, if I ever heard one! For the uninitiated, Chewbacchus is a Mardi Gras parade with a science fiction theme. But that feels like an oversimplification. Chewbacchus really incorporates all the best elements of a Mardi Gras parade — satire, alcohol, grand pageantry, an overall over-the-topness — with a wide spectrum of sci-fi and fantasy fandom.

The Leijorettes are a “sub krewe,” honoring Princess Leia. (Yes, of Star Wars). This was my fifth year with the Leijorettes, and I’ve written about the experience a few times before: in Chewbacchus from 2017, and My Kind of Mardi Gras in 2016.

Everything seemed to click this year. The 2019 parade theme was one I thoroughly endorsed: “Space Farce.” Saturday night was clear and cool to cold-ish, with no wind to speak of. The spectating crowd was big and happy, as it was the only Mardi Gras parade happening in the city at the time. We’re still about two weeks away from the full, head-on Mardi Gras season, and I got the sense that New Orleans was ready to start the party a little early. (NOLA as a collective is still smarting from the Saints’ NFC Championship loss.)

I’ll conclude with a few photos, in an attempt to underscore my point:

Melding Saints fandom with Star Wars. The Sith Lord had “Goodell” emblazoned on the back of his evil sith robe.
Panda drummer from the Browncoat Brass Band.
Me holding the banner (temporarily).
Leijorettes in the foreground, downtown New Orleans and the moon in the background.

 

Copyright Allen Boudreaux
Credit for this amazing photo goes to Allen Boudreaux

 

Distant Worlds

Hello, dear readers! This is a departure from the regularly-scheduled content in this space. (If you’ve figured out what the regularly-scheduled content is, could you please let me know?)

I’m taking part in a science fiction / fantasy giveaway and book fair that begins today, and I want to spread the word. Read on for all the details. Good luck, and see you next week!

DISTANT WORLDS

Science Fiction & Fantasy Giveaway

August 1-21

Enter for Your Chance to Win!

https://bookwrapt.com/distant-worlds-giveaway/

Love science fiction, fantasy, and romantic F/SF? How would you like to win an ebook prize pack where YOU choose the books YOU want to win and read from Amazon? Enter and you could take home one of four ebook prize packs, a Kindle Fire 7, or Amazon gift card.

Sponsored by these 36 authors:

Anne Kane • Anne McClane • Aurora Springer • Calinda B • Candace Sams • Cara Bristol • Carol Van Natta • Christine Myers • Crystal Dawn • Cynthia Sax • Debra Jess • Edward Hoornaert • EG Manetti • Emmy Chandler • Eva Caye • Genevieve St-Yves • Jessie Kwak • Jon Del Arroz • Karina Kantas • Kayelle Allen • Kristine Smith • Lea Kirk • Lexi Post • Linda Mooney • Livia Quinn • Monica Enderle Pierce • Pauline Baird Jones • Regine Abel • Sarah Marsh • Shona Husk • Stephanie West • Susan A. Royal • Tiffany Roberts • Tonya Cannariato • Vicki Stiefel • Wesley Britton

And while you’re there, check out our Distant Worlds Book Fair for best-selling and highly-reviewed ebooks on sale, FREE exclusive downloads, and a $15 Amazon bonus giveaway!

https://bookwrapt.com/distant-worlds-fair/

Just A Minor Malfunction

While the title of this post could refer to some daily happenings in my life, it doesn’t. It’s the title of a science fiction anthology, where my stories have had the privilege of appearing. The fourth issue is available now on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CHCXPQQ

“The Holo-Spa,” a story I penned last year, is included in this issue. A few notable things about “The Holo-Spa”:

  • It takes place on the same space station featured in “Lucky Eight,” my short story that appeared in Just A Minor Malfunction Issue #2 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01NA9QRAY/ref=series_rw_dp_sw)
  • It’s the first piece of fiction I’ve written (in recent memory) in the first person
  • First “person” POV is kinda stretching it, because it’s written from the POV of a plasma-energy-type-of-being

I’d like to give a big shout-out to Michael Alter (on Twitter: @Michael_S_Alter ), the writer and editor behind Just A Minor Malfunction. This is my third time working with him, and it’s always a pleasure. His dedication and vision regarding this anthology are worthy of emulation, and his editorial feedback is always top-notch.

You know, every day of my writing life, giving up is always an option. An option that’s a little too close for comfort. It would be so easy to give in to the annoying internal voice that asks me why I’m pouring so much of myself into an effort that yields absolutely no immediate results. (That part of me always looking for the easy button). Working with other writers like Michael, and having my stories included in an anthology like JAMM, are a real power boost that help me play the long game.

After all, I never paid much attention to my “easy button” voice anyway, (even when I probably should have!)

 

Courageous Self Promotion

jamm2

I’ll get straight to it: The second issue of science fiction anthology Just a Minor Malfunction released just before Thanksgiving. It’s available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NA9QRAY

If you don’t do Kindle, you could get an alternative digital file by sending $1 via PayPal to michael.s.alter.author@gmail.com

My short story “Lucky Eight” is in this collection. I am honored that my work has been included in both issues of Just a Minor Malfunction.

Thinking about where I was, writing-wise, just one year ago, this feels pretty significant. This blog was just a few months old, and I tried publishing a serialized version of a short story here. I was still months and months away from publishing The Incident Under the Overpass. I had NO IDEA how my fiction would be received.

Twelve months later, I have some idea. Amongst other lessons, I’ve learned that short fiction goes over better when it’s included in a collection of similarly themed stories. (It’s a revised version of that first-published-on-the-blog story—“Holiday Bob”—that appears in Just a Minor Malfunction #1.) I’m very grateful to Michael Alter (Twitter: @Michael_S_Alter ), the editor and creative force behind this anthology, for recognizing something in my work and including me alongside such accomplished writers.

It’s those other writers that make it easier to do this post. Because my aversion to self-promotion hasn’t waned at all. But in this instance, I’m not only promoting my own endeavor, I’m promoting these great collaborative efforts.

More on that aversion: my first inclination was to title this post Shameless Self Promotion. But that didn’t feel right, because I’m not coming to this exercise devoid of shame. And “shameful” isn’t quite right either. Unconfident, or hesitant, is more apt.

Yet, just a few days ago, I read this quote from the novelist Dani Shapiro:

Courage is more important than confidence.

It’s a paraphrasing of some of her reflections on writing and creative work in general (I think). She also has some great things to say about how writers should “embrace uncertainty, to be sharpened and honed by it.”

I can honestly say this—there was very little confidence (about .001), and great gobs of uncertainty (let’s say 510), when I first published “Holiday Bob” on this blog. Multiply those levels about four times, and there’s some idea of what I was feeling publishing The Incident Under the Overpass. So I have to believe there was a modicum of courage underlying those initial efforts. Otherwise, this post would have an entirely different tone to it (a more pessimistic one, most likely). Or maybe, I might have quit posting altogether.

I think there’s something there, about courage, confidence and self-promotion. Promotion is vital to any work that wants an audience. (Twenty years in marketing have taught me that, at least). Promotion is especially vital for independent authors and publishers. And confidence is hard to come by when you haven’t yet found that audience. So take courage. If you believe in the worth of what you’re doing, it’ll get you over the threshold.