IndieGoGo Update and a Totally Fabricated Bio

So remember that IndieGoGo campaign I blogged about earlier this month? The one where I was raising money to go to Odyssey Writing Workshop this summer? Yeah? Well, the campaign is almost, ALMOST at its end, and it’s been pretty darn successful thus far, thanks to a bunch of amazing, possibly geekier than average people out there in cyberspace who believe in me and my fiction.

As of this moment, there are four days left in the campaign and $2606 has been raised of the $3500 goal. It is officially ON. I am definitely, with all certitude and nary a doubt, making my way to Odyssey this summer. Can I just say how fluttery this makes me? Really, super, fluttery. Like a whipped concoction of eyelashes and heart murmurs and butterfly wings.

So… I am now in Perk Fulfillment Mode. That means that all those retro sci fi posters are fixing to ship out, the ebooks are about to be formatted, and the lucky recipients of character naming rights have been contacted for names. And today I have been working on the Totally Fabricated Bios. This is a perk where, for $100, I write the claimant a 500 word biographical sketch made entirely of bologna and smoke. The owner of the new bio can use it however he or she sees fit- like for social media profiles, resumes, etc. And I admit I’ve been cheating a little. These bios are so much fun that I can’t limit them to just 500 words. I wrapped this one up today, and it topped out at 860 even after revisions. With the subject’s permission, I am posting this first Totally Fabricated Bio on the blog to give you all a taste of what’s to come. If you’re interested, there are still 4 of these babies left on the campaign. So, without further ado, I give you…

This is Venus EnVie. She's my cousin, and she's a total badass.

This is Venus EnVie. She’s my cousin, and she’s a total badass.

The Implausible Adventures of Venus EnVie

Venus EnVie was born at dusk in the back of a wood paneled station wagon on the side of a dusty road in Oklahoma. She crawled at 2 months, took her first step at 6 months, could roller-skate like nobody’s business at 2 years, and taught herself to drive the station wagon at 7. From that point on, there was no stopping her. Maybe it was her fateful birth, or the gypsy blood in her veins. She had to keep moving.

On her tenth birthday, the station wagon broke down on the side of Rt. 66, forty miles outside of Flagstaff. She abandoned it, continuing her journey on skates, and became the first non-adult in the USA to roller skate cross-country. It was a strangely satisfying life- sleeping in old barns and abandoned warehouses, relying on the kindness of rollerskating enthusiasts for her meals, racing souped up Fords and Chevys for pocket money. Times oscillated from flush to rough and back again, but Venus persevered. Thrived. Flourished.

But after so many years out there on the road with only loneliness for company, Venus knew she needed a change, and it became her mission to find a likely traveling companion.

One cheerless Arkansas night, when the moon hung bright and close to the earth, Venus heard a sound that was full of longing and portent. It was something between a warble and a closed-mouth throat roar, and she knew she must investigate. Following the noise to its source, she found herself nose to chest feathers with the meanest, orneriest ostrich east of Texas: a 14 ft tall beast of a bird named Bernie. This was the one. A traveling companion of the highest quality. An alliance must be made. Bernie was not taken with her supplications at first, but after 7 hours of back and forth negotiations, Venus finally impressed him with her rollerskating prowess and he conceded to join her in her travels.

And so the two set out on their adventures. Years passed. Their friendship blossomed and the miles flew by in a cloud of downy feathers. By age 19, Venus had crisscrossed the North American continent on Bernie’s back.

But somewhere in the wilds of Alaska, the pair met their match in the form of a fierce and hungry polar bear who had wandered too far from his northerly home. Venus almost didn’t make it out alive, and Bernie fully didn’t. The bear wrangled the stately bird by his long, graceful neck and crunched. Venus, who sat straddled atop Bernie’s back at the time, managed to get two hands in the polar bear’s mouth and pried his jaws apart, slashing her arms to the shoulder in the process. But it was too late for poor Bernie. Needless to say, the polar bear was mad as spitfire about Venus’s meddling around in his mouth, and attempted to pursue her. He overcame her at the precipice of a deep, icy gorge, but in one swift (some might say godly) motion, Venus extracted the sharpest tooth in his mouth and stabbed him in the jugular with it. During the scuffle, her rollerskates tumbled down into the gorge and could not be recovered.

Venus cleaned her wounds with her own copious tears and bound them in moss and lichen. Then she walked, making her slow, plodding way through Canada and down into Montana, stopping only to eat scraps of the bear meat she’d salvaged from the battle. She mourned for forty days and nights over the loss of her best friend, and then she wondered if perhaps the Gods of the Road were telling her something. Was it time to settle down? She had a little money from performing feats of strength and courage at urban intersections with her trusty ostrich. Maybe it was time to put that to good use.

She wandered into a Greyhound station in Belgrade, Montana one morning along about 4:00 and bought a ticket on the next bus leaving.

About four days later, she found herself in the moist and flamboyant city of New Orleans. She walked along the muggy sidewalk, bitter and exhausted, until she spied a sign that said “ROLLER DEATH MATCH”, and inquired within. Five minutes later, she had a new pair of rollerskates. And a job.

The roller gladiators of New Orleans, Louisiana may have been accomplished warriors, but none of them had ever fought a polar bear with their bare hands and lived to tell the tale. With the fearsome bear’s tooth as her only weapon, Venus made quick work of them. The Roller Death Match eventually had to shut down due to an unexpected lack of contestants.

It was alright, though. She may have been the wildest, fiercest gypsy-blooded vagabond-warrior in Louisiana, but in her heart, Venus longed for peace and the feel of asphalt beneath her wheels. When the Roller Death Match closed its doors, Venus took one last look upon the city of New Orleans and skated off into the sunset. She still coasts up and down the dusty back roads of North America to this day, in no hurry at all.

Advertisements

I’m Going to ODYSSEY!!!!

Through Space!!!

Through Space!!!

A few days ago I got an email that is probably the most wonderful and exciting piece of communication I’ve received since the midwife told me I was pregnant with my now nine-year-old daughter.

It started like this: “Dear Leslie, Congratulations!  You have been accepted for early admission into Odyssey.” And I almost dropped my tea mug on the tile floor.

For those who don’t know, Odyssey Writing Workshop is an annual, six week, intensive, residential writing program for science fiction, fantasy and horror writers. One of the most highly regarded workshops in the world for writers of fantastical fiction, it is a BIG deal. To me, certainly. But also to the speculative fiction community as a whole. The workshop is facilitated by Jeanne Cavelos, a veteran editor with decades of experience in helping people to grow and improve as writers. All of the alumni accounts I’ve read are pretty much unanimous: Odyssey will be the most powerful experience of your writing career. It will kick your ass, melt you down and reshape you. Your assumptions will be challenged, your writing skill will be taken up about ten notches and you will emerge from the six weeks dazed and exhausted, but with half a lifetime of writing craft knowledge under your belt and some awesome new friends as well.

I still can’t believe I was actually accepted. It’s like I’ve been whisked away to some alternate dimension. The Dimension Where Starr Gets To Go To Odyssey.

When I applied, I treated it as an exercise in trudging along despite disappointment. I was sure it would be just another rejection letter to add to the pile I’ve received from numerous submissions to science fiction magazines. I don’t know how many people apply to Odyssey, but I do know that it’s one of only three workshops of its kind in the US and the only one taught by an editor, that it only accepts 16 students each year, and that a lot of really talented writers apply. I am incredibly honored and humbled to be included in that group.

So this puts me in the position of fundraising. Attendance will cost me around $4000, not including any missed income while I’m away, or the summer programs I will have to enroll my daughter in so that my husband will still be able to work while I’m gone. Luckily, there is this awesome thing called Crowdfunding! I’ve started an IndieGoGo campaign to help raise part of the money I’ll need for tuition, lodging and travel to and from the workshop.

I’ve given a lot of thought to what kinds of perks to offer, and I think I’ve come up with a few really sweet ones. Like audiobook narration services, “Totally Fabricated Bios”, and some of my vintage science fiction posters, for instance. And lots more. Check out the campaign, and even if you can’t or don’t want to contribute right now, please consider sharing it on your social media platform of choice. Or if you’re a blogger or podcaster, think about doing before and after Odyssey interviews with me. I really appreciate everyone’s help!!