Jean Marie Ward

fiction, nonfiction and all points in between

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Sparkly Cover Goodness

Yeah, I know, you’ve been wondering whether I forgot how to do this blog thing. Not quite. I just wanted to save it until I had something to make you go Ooooooh! And I do, Ben Fogletto’s wonderful cover for Hellfire Lounge 2, where you’ll find one of my darker little stories, “Billy’s Monster”.
I don’t have an ISBN or release day yet, but when I do, you’ll hear it here first. Not to worry, you won’t be bored in the meantime. It’ll take days to see all the fabulous details in this image. Enjoy!

Cover flat for Hellfire Lounge 2

Posted 6 years, 3 months ago at 12:27 pm.

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Well, Fudge

My main computer has crashed. Guess who’ll be heading to Best Buy tomorrow. I hadn’t planned on buying a new computer this year, but it’s been four years, and my luck with repairs to old computers has been less than stellar.
It’s not like I didn’t expect something like this to happen. Yesterday morning I woke from a dream of babies. To understand how bad this is, you have to know the dream signs my mom taught me:
- Insects, spiders and other bugs: little problems.
- Mice and rats: bigger irritations.
- Cats and dogs: significant problems you need to address quickly.
- Babies: bar the door and hide under the bed, because they’re coming to get you NAO.
At least I didn’t dream of brides = death.
The funny part about this is Mom was a psychiatric nurse and a Jungian. I don’t know if she ever realized what her dream shorthand said about where her head was at. On the other hand, as long as it worked reliably, she probably didn’t care.
Geez, I’m glad I didn’t wipe the SD disks with the Balticon video interviews. Still, I hope they can retrieve my data. There are several days worth of fiction I hadn’t shipped to my various emails. And before you say it: I tried those off-site back-ups. They were, to put it politely, problematic.

Posted 6 years, 4 months ago at 9:48 pm.

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Questions for the NYC experts

I’m going to RWA Nationals in two weeks. Yay!
The workshops are excruciatingly generic. There are only two I’d care to attend. Boo.
But that means more time for New York! Three cheers and a couple huzzahs!
So, ladies and gentlemen of the Empire State, what sights and events would you recommend? Thanks to a wonderful round of parties and commitments (including a reception at the Algonquin!) my evenings are not my own, but any other time of day is wide open. I’m an experienced Metro rider, so subways don’t scare me, and I have no problem traveling to the Bronx, for example, in search of spectacular southern Italian food. (I’m southern Italian. Fettucini Alfredo is death to me, no matter how well-prepared, and danged if all the top Italian restaurants in the DC area don’t dote on northern-style, milk and butter heavy food. *sigh*)
I should probably add that I’ve done the Metropolitan Museum of Art almost as many times as I’ve toured the Smithsonian, so unless there’s a can’t-miss special exhibit, consider MMA as a given. Also, shopping counts as both an event and a sport, so feel free to share any suggestions in that area. Specialty shops, like Pearl River, earn extra points. ;-)
Thanks in advance!

Posted 6 years, 5 months ago at 4:20 pm.

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News, News, News, News

No sooner did I finish the story that kept me hunkered down in the writing cave all January, when another New! Shiny! request landed in my email box. So I’m going to play prairie dog and head back to the burrow until sometime this spring. But before I do, I wanted to catch everyone up on all the good stuff.

First, if you want to get a taste of the story that occupied my January, head over to Beyond the Veil, the Samhain Publishing paranormal writers blog, for a discussion of how I developed one of the names for that story, aka “Fixed”. Yes, there is a cat involved, and a shelter, and the cat winces a lot.

The next two items are personal appearances that might be of special interest to folks in the Washington DC area. On March 5, from 10 a.m. to about noon, I’ll be moderating a panel of comprising noted science fiction and fantasy authors Catherine Asaro, Mindy Klasky, Pamela Palmer, Diana Peterfreund, Rebecca York and special guest Colleen Gleason. The panel is part of an all-day seminar hosted by Washington Romance Writers at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Service Center, Bethesda, MD. It will continue after lunch with Colleen’s workshops on the hero’s journey and world-building. Click here for more information (including links to driving directions). This event is free and open to the public, and I know from personal experience, WRW always offers prizes, including books signed by the participating authors.

The spiffy logo belongs to SynDCon II, the Washington DC area’s premiere gaming convention, set for the Rockville Hilton (former home of Capclave), April 1-3. The convention will feature board games, role-playing games, miniature war games and a host of special events, including a writing workshop and panels targeted to the needs of gamer writers and developers. The cast of characters will include Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Kelly A. Harmon, Diane Whiteside and me. I’ll post more details on the program as they become available.

Finally, I’m celebrating the release of “Person Demons”, my short story about a Tibetan-American sorceress practising her craft in America’s most romantic city, Alexandria, VA. The story appears in Hellebore & Rue, an anthology celebrating queer women magic users. It was was a big stretch for me on a number of levels. I’m one of those writers who follows characters around taking dictation, and I was very worried about getting it right when the lead character was so different from me. But some things are universal: love, hope–and devils manipulating people’s emotions for their own ends. I hope you’ll check out the anthology, if only for the cover, which is as lovely as any I’ve ever seen.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted 6 years, 9 months ago at 1:21 pm.

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How to Tell You Married the Right Guy, Writers Edition

Me: I had the weirdest dream last night. We were with this old guy who was certain there was a vampire in the basement. He picked up an ax and a Coleman lantern and headed for a partially painted over door. I was afraid he’d hurt himself, so I went with him through two or three doorways leading deeper into the cellar. But after the third room, I was sure this was a bad idea, so I headed back to the main room to wait for the folks from New Orleans who knew how to deal with this stuff.

The “experts” were just arriving as he emerged from the cellar, looking a little burned. Most importantly his face looked different, like he was somebody else masquerading as the old guy and couldn’t quite get it right. Trailing him was a small man who looked a little like a dead version of an Indian politician from the 1950s, wearing a burned white Nehru jacket, who was walking like a bat–knuckles trailing on the ground, elbows up, everything.

They sat at one of the tables in the basement room, and I realized they weren’t human at all. They were more like translucent, wraithlike, humanoid lampreys with trailing feelers like catfish. Peculiar but pretty in a deadly sort of way.

You were fascinated. All I wanted to do was find the person in the New Orleans group, most of whom were dressed up like Victorian era reenactors, who was supposed to know what to do. When I looked back, you were coming out of the cellar door where the others had been, and you didn’t look like yourself, either.

We looked at each other. You knew I knew you were one of them now. And you planned to prevent me from stopping you and your “friends”. I stood there, my stomach in knot, knowing it wasn’t you, and wondering how in hell I was going to dispose of the body.

Greg: [Laughing.] Yeah, I can see how that would be a problem.

Posted 7 years, 6 months ago at 11:22 am.

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It’s done! It’s done! It’s done… again

Finished the rewrite of Highway from Hell, which is now 82K and stuff. (Nothing like having to rewrite 40K to add 12K.) The next step is to let the manuscript rest a few days before reading it over and offering it up for beta.
Or maybe zeta. Some folks have really gone above and beyond on this one. But if there’s anyone out there who hasn’t read it and would like to dip their toes in the pond, please, let me know. The only hitch is I want to get this to the editor who requested it before I leave for DragonCon, so I’ll need it back by August 24.
Cheers,

Posted 8 years, 3 months ago at 5:16 pm.

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It’s done! It’s done! It’s done… again.

Finished the rewrite of Highway from Hell, which is now 82K and stuff. (Nothing like having to rewrite 40K to add 12K.) The next step is to let the manuscript rest a few days before reading it over and offering it up for beta.
Or maybe zeta. Some folks have really gone above and beyond on this one. But if there’s anyone out there who hasn’t read it and would like to dip their toes in the pond, please, let me know. The only hitch is I want to get this to the editor who requested it before I leave for DragonCon, so I’ll need it back by August 24.
Cheers,

Posted 8 years, 3 months ago at 4:56 pm.

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Yesterday I Will

Last August, Jim Levin of the York Emporium bookstore and curiosity shop announced a writing competition. The only criteria were the story had to be under five thousand words and it needed to carry the title “Yesterday I Will”. Inspired by a preview of Weird Tales‘ first One-Minute Weird Tale, I wrote a 69-word story that I thought was pretty funny. Fortunately, the judges agreed. The story made it to the final anthology, which I finally got to hold in my hot little hands at Balticon. No reviews so far, and it’s only available through Fortress Publishing, Amazon and The York Emporium, but if you like new voices and edgy science fiction, this is the anthology for you.

And then there’s my story… ;-)

Posted 8 years, 5 months ago at 12:00 am.

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