Saturday, August 31, 2013

Read on!

Huzzah! The awesome August 31, 2013 issue of Electric Spec is live!

As the letter from the editors says,
...of the stories in this issue: you're gonna love 'em. Get this--zombies hungry for artificial babies in "Little Miss Saigon" by Malon Edwards. In C.R. Hodge's "Queen Meabh," a Scottish spirit kick's some archeologist ass. And if you wanna go totally post-apocalypse, step down into the fall out shelter in "For Want of Stars" by Beth Ceto. Speaking of a post-disaster world, what to you do when indescribable death machines kill everyone else but ignore you? Find out in "Amelia Amongst Machines" by David Brookes. Finally, look how complicated your love life can get when it gets too "spirited" in David W. Landrum's "Someone."

Read on, brothers and sisters!

Thank you very much behind-the-scenes folks, including our authors (Yay!), our artist (Yay!), our tech guys, and our associate editors (Yay!). We couldn't have done it without you.

Drop us a line in the comments and let us know what you think of the issue. What's your favorite story?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


A friend from work loaned me an interesting novel this summer: The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood. I really enjoyed this! I think it's because the writing is beaut ifully lyrical, the protagonist is very likeable, and the topics of sanity/insan ity and the power of music are fascinating.Wood uses a great writerly trick: we start out at a crime scene and then go back in time to observe the relationships of the people involved. Thus, the reader has a sense of dread throughout, wondering: Who will die? Who commits the crimes? and most of all, Why? Great tension!
I recommend this book.

As I said above, I did not purchase this novel. Authors do deserve to be paid for their work. But, since I've probably already spent a few hundred dollars on books this year, I don't feel guilty about it. In fact, I highly recommend sharing your favorite books with your friends.
What's your favorite novel lately? Who do you know who might like it?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

your brain on fiction

Annie Murphy Paul wrote a fascinating article "Your Brain on Fiction" published in 2011 in The New York Times. The gist of it is: The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Wow! Isn't that cool?

What does this mean for authors? It means we really need to show, not tell. Words with odor associations activate the smelling portion of our brain. Words with motion associations activate the parts of our brain associated with moving. Words associated with textures or other tactile sensations activate the parts of our brain associated with touch. Let's use all the amazing words and mental associations at our disposal. :)

What's your favorite sensory word? Use it!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

wish fulfillment

I read Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich recently. It has a humorous and intriguing title and, of course, Stephanie Evanovich comes from a famous writing family, so I had high hopes. ;) In a nutshell, this is the story of a thirty-two-year-old widow with weight issues who meets a handsome single personal trainer... It's a romance, so you know what's going to happen. Evanovich does a nice job; this is well-written.
To me, this read like a wish fulfillment fantasy for overweight women. The overweight woman meets the perfect man and he helps her discover the healthy woman inside and they fall in love along the way. I'm reminded of another famous author, Stephenie Meyer. IMHO, Twilight was a wish fulfillment fantasy for teen-aged girls. Basically, you can be an average girl and hot exceptional guys will fight over the opportunity to love you.

In my unscientific survey, I deduced a lot of novels involve wish fulfillment fantasies. And a lot of them sell very, very well.

What do you think? Do you like reading wish fulfillments? Writing wish fulfillments? If so, you're not alone. ;)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hello, Old Friend

I got a big box of books from my folks when they downsized and I've been making my way through it this summer. I was very happy when I started reading Blessings by Anna Quindlen. This was a book I loved when I read it the first time, but somehow forgot the title. I rediscovered an old friend. Huzzah! In a nutshell this is the story of an old woman and a young man who have to deal with a foundling left at their front door, and which, in turn, enables them to deal with the decisions in their pasts that made them who they are.
Somehow this book evokes feelings of peacefulness in me. Here are some highlights from the beginning: The house sat, big and white, low and sprawling, in a valley of overgrown fields, its terrance gardens spilling white hydrangeas, blue bee balm, and bushy patches of catnip and lavender onto a flagstone patio that ran its length. The land surrounding it was flat and rich for a long ways, to the end of the drive, and then the stony mountains rose around as though to protect it, a great God-sized berm spiky with pine trees.

And ...taken altogether it was something almost perfect, the sort of place that, from the road...promised plenty without pretense, ease without arrogance. From the road Blessings looked like a place where people would sit on the terrace at dusk, sip a drink and exult in the night breeze over the mountain, pull a light cardigan around their shoulders, and go to bed content.

Quindlen does an excellent job of evoking feelings in the reader--which is, in fact, our primary responsibility as authors.
Good luck with your own evocations!