A Little Creative Inspiration

I’ve been quite busy the past few months. Between working on some really fascinating projects for clients, I’ve also been cooking up some new stories to share with you all.

You may have seen hints of Starfall, a new novella set in the Durga System if you’re on my email list or following me on social media. That’s with my editor for the final cleanup round, and is scheduled to be published later this month.

I also just turned in a draft of the novel based on the short story Bikes to New Sarjun to Elly Blue at Microcosm — that’ll be on its way to you in 2017.

With those two projects (and one large client project) off my plate, I’m hoping to be around here a bit more to write about productivity and creativity. But if you’re looking for a little inspiration in the meantime, I’ve written several articles for other sites you might find helpful.

The second one – about discovering and protecting your most creative times – seems to have been especially inspiring to people based on the number of social media shares I’ve seen it get.

Happy creating!

The anti-Nano: Bikes In Space novel revisions

While other writers are hoping to add 50,000 words to their manuscripts this month, I’m on the mission to delete 10,000 from mine.

Yes, I’m revising.

I’m currently hard at work making sense of the first draft of my Bikes in Space novel for Elly Blue and Microcosm Press, which will be published in spring 2017. It’s based on the short story I wrote for Elly’s second Bikes in Space anthology, although the world of the novel has certainly grown and shifted from what I first imagined in that story.

(Want to read that story for free? Head here.)

Revisions are tough, but it’s one of my favorite parts of the writing process. As much as I try to plot things out, I’m very much a discovery writer. I’m constantly suppressing myself with what my characters say, or what they find when they open doors. These little discoveries and mysteries are delightful, but stressful at the same time. Why won’t my characters behave? Why do they make me sit and re-outline my plot every other chapter?

Granted, I think these little surprises makes for a much better story than what I originally thought of. But it does seem like instead of writing the story down in the drafting process, I’m making the material out of which I will pull the story later.

I’m creating the clay that I will use to sculpt a story during revisions.

Since I’m still digging into the plot I’m not quite ready to talk about it yet, but I have created a Pinterest board to collect all my visual inspirations. Here’s one of my favorite images:

anime stars:

It’s by illustrator Akaya Suda, and I think it’s just gorgeous. You can find more of Akaya’s work here.

If you’re curious to get a taste of the Bike Caper Novel (name still TBA), check out the Pinterest board, and sign up for my mailing list (in the sidebar) to be the first to know the news!

Follow Jessie’s board Bike Caper Novel on Pinterest.

Pedal Zombies Kickstarter – get your copy now!

I was on a road trip with my husband last summer when I checked email on my phone, and saw Elly Blue’s latest call for submissions. It was for her third volume of feminist bicycle science fiction, Bikes in Space, and the theme was zombies.

I groaned. Zombies? I hate zombies. I had stories in both Bikes in Space Volume 1 and Volume 2 (you can read my stories for free on my free stories page), but . . . Zombies?

“Just imagine all the cool zombie-fighting bike gear you could have,” said my husband, a bike company rep. “You could have bikes with flame throwers, and pedals with spikes on them, and. . . .”

By the time we got to our destination, I’d sketched out a rough draft of my story, cracking myself up the entire time. I turned it in to Elly a few days later.

You see, as a former catalog copywriter, I couldn’t help but ask myself,

How would the Creative Department of a catalog company weather the Zombie Apocalypse?

My story is titled: “Notes to Creative on the Fall 1 Catalog: Zombie Apocalypse Special Edition,” and it’s dedicated to the entire creative department of Chasing Fireflies – Cathy, Jeff, Mechas, Amy, and all the rest.

It’s told in the form of a series of emails from the head of Creative to her team, who are diligently working their asses off to put out the best Fall 1 Special Edition catalog they can as things slowly go to hell around them.

I had a ridiculous amount of fun coming up with new products, such as the XLC LazerBlade® Mini U-Lock, Burley BearCub Armored Baby Trailer, and Showers Pass Zombies Pass FlakJacket.

If the zombie apocalypse ever does come to pass, let it be known that I expect a cut of profits made from the ZAP-13 UltraVolt, a gravel grinder bike where endurance race geometry combines with the latest in long range electroshock weaponry for a high-voltage, high-adrenaline off-road bike. (Colors: Citrus, Aqua.)

Are you prepared to read about the zombie apocalypse?

Check out the for Pedal Zombies Kickstarter here, and hear an important message from the Zombie-Living Alliance (ZLA)

The official description of the book:

In the not-so-distant future, when gasoline is no longer available, humans turn to two-wheeled vehicles to transport goods, seek glory, and defend their remaining communities. In another version of the future, those with the zombie virus are able to escape persecution and feel almost alive again on two wheels. In yet another scenario, bicycles themselves are reanimated and roam the earth. A talented array of writers bring their diverse visions to this volume: sometimes scary, sometimes spooky, sometimes hilarious, always on two wheels.

The zombie apocalypse will be pedal-powered! And feminist! Watch out!

Edited by Elly Blue and featuring an exciting and talented collection of new and returning authors. Scary zombie cover by Amelia Greenhall.