14 November 2013

Guest Post--Fall Cleaning by BJ KURTZ

The Curse of Atlantis, Book One by B.J. Kurtz

Welcome BJ Kurtz, a wonderful fantasy/paranormal author and fellow Southern Arizonan. Her first novel, The Curse of Atlantis, spins a tale of ancient evil, curses, and surprising alliances. I haven't read The Lord of Nightmares  yet, but hope to rectify that soon. B.J. concocts a credible fantasy world in the realm of Atlantis with characters that grab your attention. You can meet B.J. and purchase an autographed book on Sunday, November 17th at The All-Zona Book Fest...

I just wanted to start by thanking Jude for this opportunity to invade her blog space for a moment. I hope I do it justice.

Most people do spring cleaning. I, on the other hand, live a hectic fall/winter so am way too tired in the spring to do massive cleaning. Therefore, I do my cleaning in the fall. In fact, I have a list built on a tab hanging on my refrigerator that proclaims what needs to be finished. These typically consist of washing windows, cleaning sheds, throwing out piles that have accumulated, etc.

While I am cleaning, I often find writer’s magazines that have piled. Most of them I have not touched. It seems silly when I stare at the pile. I tell myself I “will get to it when I have the time.” Most know this time is mythical and will never materialize. It’s kind of like the unicorn; it would be great to actually see in person, but won’t happen. This phrase is the kiss of death to any writer trying to “find the time” to write. Most will proclaim you have to make time otherwise it won’t get done.

The magazines have great articles by people in the business—but that’s not why I subscribed to them. Somewhere in my writing career, someone told me I needed to: stay in connection with what is happening in the writing world, know what topics gets your readership talking, will help hone your craft. There are probably countless other phrases that have driven me to purchasing the magazines. The result is a nice variety of magazines from Writer’s Digest to Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine (that actually looks like a small paperback book). They are routinely delivered and set aside in a designated spot so I can read during that mythical free time.
I think I have finally given up the hope of reading magazines for my “craft.” This isn’t to say some may not find them useful. But, for me, I get my source of inspiration from other sources. I love to read writing books. My favorite series is the Elements of Fiction by Writer’s Digest. This is a set of valuable books by successful writers on a focused topic. And, to answer the question of knowing what interests my readership…well, I write fantasy so I should be watching fantasy shows and reading fantasy books. That seems a little too simple to be the answer, I know.
So, I’m tossing the magazine pile and freeing the burden…until someone else tells me another “need to” justification that will lead me back to a subscription. Happy fall cleaning everyone!

BJ Kurtz

03 November 2013


Please welcome ELIZABETH FOUNTAIN, an author whose sense of sci-fi humor is a real treat:

In my town, October brought a stretch of perfect autumn weather: long sunny afternoons, cool crisp nights. The leaves turned gorgeous shades of red, gold, and auburn, and covered walkways with crispy piles. Perfect weather for long walks to stretch muscles stiff from sitting in front of a computer all day. Except for one thing.

The gnats. Starting about two hours before sundown, blue gnat swarms built under trees, over shrubs, along sidewalks. How do I know the gnats were blue? Because after a walk, I'd shake dozens of them off my sweater, hair, scarf, anything they could cling to. Breathing, talking - anything that required an open mouth – became downright unwise.

It started me thinking about the blue gnat swarms that can attack during the writing process - or any creative work. You know how it is: you're cruising along writing your thousand words a day, loving your work, basking in it like our fall sunshine, then BAM! You're swatting and snorting out gnats of fear, insecurity, envy, procrastination, and did I mention fear?

So you can close the door on that beautiful day to hide from the gnats, or you can figure out ways to keep them at bay until they naturally subside again. I've discovered a few tricks that serve as gnat netting. This is one of them: reflecting on the creative process, sharing my thoughts with others. Reading my favorite authors is another; losing myself in a great story, drinking in the inspiration in provides.

National Novel Writing Month, which I'm participating in for the fourth time this November, is the equivalent of plunging unprotected into the gnat swarms: fifty thousand words in thirty days, damn the gnats, full speed ahead! Sure, you've got to shake hordes of them out of your prose come December first, but it's awfully fun while you're at it.

Whatever you do to keep the gnats at bay, or to storm your way through them, just don't let them prevent you from venturing into the sunshine and beautiful colors of your own creative process. Come cooler weather, they'll go away on their own, you'll have good work to show for your perseverance, and you’ll be ready to face the random ice patches of winter.

An-Aliens-Guide-World-Domination by Elizabeth Fountain

Author bio:
Elizabeth Fountain left a demanding job as a university administrator in Seattle to move to the small town of Ellensburg, Washington, and pursue her dream of writing novels.  Her first book, An Alien’s Guide to World Domination, was released by BURST Books in 2013; and You, Jane, her second novel, will be published in 2014. On her breaks from writing, Liz teaches university courses, gives workshops on writing, spends time with family and friends, and takes long walks in the diabolical Kittitas Valley wind. Her quirkily humorous view of humanity is well-suited to tales of aliens and angels, love and death, friendship and dogs.

Web site:

Facebook page:

Buy links:

An Alien’s Guide to World Domination on Amazon and on BURST Books, and most e-book retailers