2019 (3)2018 (2)
  • HP Lovecraft’s THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME (Book Reviews, Fantasy, Science Fiction, SFF Classics)
    I recently re-read HP Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out of Time for an SFF Audio Podcast episode. It’s one of my favorite Lovecraft stories because it’s got all that obligatory cosmic horror, primordial masonry, and “unguessable horrors” (as Lovecraft calls it in the opening paragraphs) mixed with surreal-comical creatures and visions. The story is set up as something […]
  • MERMAIDS AND THE VAMPIRES WHO LOVE THEM by Debbie Goelz (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    “Everyone knows mermaid blood is like vampire crack …” I had a reeee-diculous amount of fun helping the brilliant Debbie Goelz with early developmental edits on this gorgeous and funny YA novel. Mermaids and the Vampires Who Love Them is — if you can’t tell from the title — literally swimming with all kinds of […]
2017 (8)
  • BORNE by Jeff VanderMeer (book review) (Book Reviews, Science Fiction)
    Another gorgeous and strange novel from the mighty lighthouse keeper of the Weird, Jeff VanderMeer (whose Southern Reach Trilogy blew me away a few years ago and is still the series I most often recommend to my friends and clients). Borne is a story about nature vs nurture, and about love, set in a city ruined by a biotech-related ecological disaster. The […]
  • Editing for the Voices of Reason! (About Editing)
    Are you an atheist, humanist or science-loving writer who’s looking a professional editor? I’m seeking new clients who write about free-thought, skepticism, and science, or whose love for these things seeps through into their fiction worlds and characters.   Years ago when I first started out as an editor, I worked for a company where I had to […]
  • The Strawberry Moon and What It Means For Your Love Life (Inspirational)
    Hey, northern hemisphere friends, tonight is the Strawberry Moon! AKA the Rose Moon, the Honey Moon, the Birth Moon, the Hot Moon, the Moon of Horses. Time to plant the corn and pick the strawberries! But more importantly, it’s a minimoon too, which means it’s the farthest away any full moon will be all year. You know what […]
  • THE ROMEO CATCHERS Book Release Party in New Orleans (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy, Inspirational)
    Recently, I got to do an editor’s favorite thing… attend a book launch and see a shiny new novel released into the wilds! Then watch the books be carried away into the night, clutched to the hearts of excited fans. And best of all, it was in the magical city of New Orleans. Editing Alys Arden’s […]
  • FIRE UPON THE DEEP by Vernor Vinge (Book Reviews, Science Fiction, SFF Classics)
    “Sometimes the biggest disasters aren’t noticed at all— no one’s around to write horror stories.” One of the best science-fiction experiences I’ve ever had was reading Vernor Vinge’s Fire Upon the Deep. I read it a few years ago but was inspired to write this review now because it’s the Tor book club’s free ebook this […]
  • THE SUNDERED OATH series by Ciara Ballintyne (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    On the Edge of Death, the sequel to In the Company of the Dead, is approaching release date! As Ciara Ballintyne’s editor for both of these books, I’ve had the pleasure of reading them multiple times in various drafts, and I’ve enjoyed every single reading. Ballintyne is a brilliant author who writes deeply layered characters, and the series […]
  • 104 Adventures Challenge! (Personal Blog Posts)
    Hey nature-lovers and book-fiends, I just signed up to attempt 104 fun and healthy adventures this year: the 52 Hikes Challenge and the Goodreads 52 books challenge. No idea if I’ll even come close to completing this (especially as I’m writing this on a day where it’s too rainy to hike and I’m too busy to read), […]
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s THE CALL OF CTHULHU podcast (Book Reviews, Science Fiction, SFF Classics)
    I recently joined a very special line-up to talk about one of the most influential speculative stories of all time — the story whose creepy, tentacley touch everyone has felt, even if they don’t know it. “When the stars were right, They could plunge from world to world through the sky; but when the stars were wrong, […]
2016 (8)
  • THE ROMEO CATCHERS Cover Reveal! (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    Happy cover reveal day to Alys Arden! At long last, here is the gorgeous cover for The Romeo Catchers, the much-anticipated sequel to the Amazon #1 bestseller, The Casquette Girls! I’m so excited to finally  be able to show you this. I’ve been helping Alys edit Romeo Catchers over the last year, watching the story unfold and get better and better […]
  • Goodbye to a Best Friend (Personal Blog Posts)
    I wrote this last night while watching the hours count down and wishing they’d stop. My girl is leaving us today. I knew when I left Germany to live in the U.S., it would probably be the last time I’d ever see her… but now I wish I could fly back over just to say a […]
  • Two #1 Bestsellers in One Day! (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    Oh my goodness, this has to be my most favorite work day ever!? Two of my super-amazing Authors hit #1 bestseller rankings on Amazon in the same day. I’m so excited for these inspiring women… both killer writers who wrote two incredible and totally unique novels, and I was lucky enough to be hired as a co-editor on both of their […]
  • Octavia E. Butler Exhibition in Pasadena! (Science Fiction)
    3 a.m., and I’m having a conversation with my husband about aliens & the universe — as you do. I tell him all about the amazing Octavia E. Butler and her stories of alien DNA artistry, and about how I don’t believe in synchronicity, and also (random) how much I dislike installation art. 10 a.m., I get […]
  • Drunk on Audiobooks (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    OK, you guys know I love audiobooks and also love not spending too much money,  so for me Audible sales like this are basically like taking a stroll through Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and eating the jelly apples off the taffy trees. Here are some of the treasures I found in this sale… science fiction, fantasy & horror […]
  • New Release! A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    I’m SO excited to see this gorgeous novel available for pre-order today! A Mortal Song is a YA adventure set in the enchanted forests and villages surrounding Mt Fuji and starring two of my newest favorite characters: seventeen-year-old Sora and her dragonfly named Midori. I hope you’ll check this one out, friends. This novel is such a gem — an escape to […]
  • NEW RELEASE! In the Company of the Dead (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    At long last, it’s release day for IN THE COMPANY OF THE DEAD!! This is a dark and beautiful epic fantasy by Ciara Ballintyne with deeply layered characters you cannot tear your gaze from. Ellaeva, the Left Hand of Death, has to be one of my new favorite protagonists. This story has everything: magic, love, revenge, […]
  • Brain Surfing by Heather LeFevre (Books Edited by Marissa)
    Love seeing all the awesome reviews and feedback coming in for Heather Le Fevre’s recently published travel memoir/business book Brain Surfing!  Heather LeFevre is a marketing/brand strategist who travelled the world to not only learn from some of the brightest marketing strategy minds on the planet but also to stay in their homes, trail them to work, and […]
2015 (11)
  • Shadow Side by Ellen Joyce (Books Edited by Marissa)
    So happy to announce that Shadow Side by Ellen Joyce is out! Pour yourself a whiskey for this one, and don’t forget to dim the lights. This is a paranormal suspense novel with dark & deviant spices, David Lynchian creepiness, and some epic, unforgettable scenes. I loved working on this… Ellen Joyce​ is an awesome new writer whose characters are broken, beautiful and sharp. The […]
  • SFF Audio Podcast: Vulcan’s Hammer by Philip K Dick (Book Reviews, Science Fiction)
    My journey through all of Philip K Dick’s novels continues! We’ve reached the 1960s, and this time my trusty guides Jesse Willis (of the SFF Audio Podcast) and Paul Weimar led me into the strange and creepy world of Vulcan’s Hammer. This might not be one of PKD’s best or most famous novels, but it’s kinda special because it has so […]
  • ARCs of SHADOW SIDE, by Ellen Joyce (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Hey, fantasy & paranormal readers, I have some Advance Reader Copies of a brilliant novel I had the pleasure of editing recently: Shadow Side by Ellen Joyce, to be released end of October by Evolved Publishing. It’s a beautifully written paranormal suspense/thriller with explicit sex, violence, and language… and sometimes all three mixed together, so it’s totally R18 & NSFW and all the […]
  • “Harbinger of Treason” ebook special (Books Edited by Marissa, Science Fiction)
    One of the brilliant science fiction novels I worked on is on special on Kindle! This is one of my favs… Harbinger of Treason by Bayard West, a science fiction space adventure with a kickass and “undeniably endearing heroine.” It’s a page turner with great characters and beautiful visuals… very memorable and well paced. I hope you can check it out! […]
  • Two-Book Publishing Deal for Alys Arden (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    I’m so very excited about this, and so late with my blog post! In April, it was announced that Alys Arden’s The Casquette Girls (self-published in 2013) has scored her a 2-book deal with Skyscape, one of Amazon’s publishing imprints. >>*throws confetti*<< Alys and I worked together editing the original version, and more recently we dedicated a few months to […]
  • Joan Didion on the power of grammar (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    On the Brainpickings website today, I stumbled into a few collections of Joan Didion’s thoughts, loved everything she had to say, and immediately bought two Didion books. 🙂 ♥ Here’s a favorite quote from her talk on “Why I Write“… All I know about grammar is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of […]
  • Goodbye, Europe! (Personal Blog Posts)
    Hello, California, and auf wiedersehen, Berlin! So surreal to wake up and know my Europe chapter is over. Eleven years ago, when I was just a shy girl in New Zealand, my wise buddy Graeme told me the best thing I could do for myself was to go buy a plane ticket to somewhere faraway, […]
  • SFF Audio Episode: Philip K Dick’s EYE IN THE SKY (Book Reviews, Science Fiction)
    SFF Audio had me back on their podcast for another Philip K Dick episode with Jesse Willis and Paul Weimar. This time we talked about Eye in the Sky (1957), which is now one of my favorite PKDs… it’s got a religious world where religious beliefs are literal; a censorship world, where you can abolish anything […]
  • New Trilogy! An Early California Adventure/Romance (Books Edited by Marissa)
    I spent a nice chunk of last year working on something quite different from my usual SF/F genres: for many months, I was deeply absorbed in Early California cowboy culture, helping Mike Knecht edit his beautiful romance-adventure Western trilogy set in the 1800s Alto Sierra. After that we worked together on his non-fiction collection of stories about Chimineas Ranch, a huge remote ranch 100 […]
  • Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, by Haruki Murakami (Book Reviews)
    Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami is one of the few audiobooks I’ve listened to where I didn’t keep getting distracted and have to skip back to re-listen to parts. The story unfolds slowly, but there’s something so hypnotizing about it… I couldn’t stop listening. Everything is interesting and meaningful, […]
  • California Dreaming (Personal Blog Posts)
    Well, here goes nothing! The final docs for my US immigration visa application are FINALLY in the mail. I’ve done the police checks, vaccinations, and blood tests. My husband and I have given over our love letters, wistful plans, and family photographs. I’ve had my chest x-rayed, and outlined my life history, and promised not to hire […]
2014 (20)
  • SFF Audio Podcast: Martian Time Slip by Philip K Dick. (Science Fiction, SFF Classics)
    Jesse Willis recently invited Paul Weimar (SFF writer/reviewer/podcaster) and me on to the SFF Audio Podcast for a fun conversation about Philip K Dick’s 1964 novel Martian Time Slip. Follow the link to see some more of the beautiful illustrations, collected by Jesse from the original version of this novel (originally titled We Are Marsmen). Martian Time Slip is a super-weird, creepy, and funny book–definitely […]
  • Spirit Rider: The Royal Problem, by James Finegan (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    Here they are! See below for the beautiful front-and-back cover illustrations of Spirit Rider: The Royal Problem, by James Finegan! I love these illustrations because they’re so close to how I imagined the characters and scenes, and they really capture the brilliant sense of fun and mischief in James’ storytelling. This cover artist is not only freakin’ talented but clearly […]
  • Luke Burrage’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    If you love science fiction, thoughtful commentary on writing, and complainers (I have no idea why I have such a soft spot for complainers, but I do!), then please may I direct you to Luke Burrage’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast. OK, maybe it’s a little unfair to call him a complainer, since he gives many books very warm reviews. It’s […]
  • The Casquette Girls #1 Bestseller (Books Edited by Marissa)
    Look at this girl go! Alys Arden’s The Casquette Girls is one year old this Halloween, and to celebrate it’s on special and climbing back into the bestsellers again! On Nook at Barnes and Noble, #10 Bestseller in Teen. On Kindle at, it’s currently a #5 Bestseller in Teen/YA Horror, and #12 in Teen/YA Paranormal & […]
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy Editing (About Editing, Personal Blog Posts)
    Hello, authors! I’m currently scheduling projects for the rest of this year and into early 2015 and still have spaces left, so if you have a manuscript almost ready for professional editing or if you’d like to try a trial edit first, please contact me soon. I’m especially looking for authors who have a distinctive writing voice and who are […]
  • “I’ll tell you the idea, you write the book…” (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    I’m reading Million Dollar Productivity by Kevin J. Anderson, which I picked up in a recent StoryBundle. I haven’t made it very far yet, but I loved his response to the common and somewhat hilarious idea that becoming a professional writer (unlike any other profession requiring years of hard work) is just a matter of having the time, […]
  • Tweets that make me happy (Books Edited by Marissa, Personal Blog Posts)
    Well, I can’t let such lovely tweets just float away down the river, can I? I not only work with great authors on great books, they’re all very kind too. 🙂 My editor’s new FB page. Can't imagine publishing without @Marissavu vigilant eye taking a good look 1st! — Eduard F. Vinyamata (@Fric) September 16, 2014 […]
  • Married a comedian on a magical Danish island (Personal Blog Posts)
    It’s been a quiet month online for me because my favorite human and I were busy cycling, camping, and marrying on a little Danish island. We packed up a tent and sleeping bags, loaded up our bicycles, and then, ALLAKAZAM! *smoke clears*– I’m a wife! After getting hitched, my new husband and I honeymooned by biking all around the island. No-fuss, […]
  • Editorial Jam Sessions (About Editing)
    I loved Richard Adin’s post at his “An American Editor” blog yesterday about how good editors find and adopt the writer’s unique style or rhythm. Beyond the technical skills and know-how, so much of editing requires an intuitive understanding of what the writer is trying to do and how it’s playing to the audience. To jump in and “fix” things […]
  • Interview at Phantom Owl Press (About Editing, Books Edited by Marissa)
    Here’s a little interview with me, about editing and my editing process, over at Phantom Owl Press. 🙂 Excerpt: What are some things you think writers should look for/be wary of when hiring an editor? After you’ve found an editor who has the level of experience and skill you are happy with, the most important […]
  • The Drowned World (Personal Blog Posts)
    After a heavy storm on a hot summer’s day, when everything is still quiet and steaming, the lake near my home has an almost J.G.Ballardian feel about it.     “In the early morning light a strange mournful beauty hung over the lagoon; the sombre green-black fronds of the gymnosperms, intruders from the Triassic past, and […]
  • The Darling Books of May (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    May has turned out to be a Pretty Fine Month. I moved out of the city centre to live on the edge of Berlin, next to a beautiful clear lake and a huge forest, and I’m buzzing on happiness to be so close to nature again. Even the rain is nice out here. The solitude and fresh air has been brilliant for helping me […]
  • The Periodic Table of Storytelling (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Beautiful treat for writers! An artist named James Harris has illustrated the main storytelling elements (story structure, plots, plot devices, character types, and production terms) in an elegant Periodic Table of Storytelling. Each element is linked to the relevant TV Tropes page, which just so happens to be one of the most fascinating rabbit holes of storytelling on the web. DOUBLE FUN. There’s […]
  • Editing Life (Personal Blog Posts)
    I edit full time but moonlight as a cat-sitter/dog-sitter. It makes for some beautiful new environments and friendly editing companions. Here is where I am now, near Alexanderplatz in Berlin, hanging with a lovely snoozy new dogfriend called Nelson…    
  • “Drone Commander Tidek” by Eduard F. Vinyamata (Books Edited by Marissa)
    I’ve been working on yet another amazing project: this time helping Eduard F. Vinyamata to edit his beautiful futuristic story, “Drone Commander Tidek.” Very happy to say it has now been published, and with an incredible cover by Joey Hi-Fi, who I’m a huge fan of. (No doubt you are too.) You can read a preview the […]
  • Review: Last God Standing, by Michael Boatman (Book Reviews, Fantasy)
    –I received an ARC of this novel from Angry Robots in exchange for an honest review–  I’m fascinated by religions and love stand-up comedy as an art form, so right away the premise of Last God Standing captured my attention: God decides to give up his eternal life and power and live as a mortal stand-up comic. […]
  • The Casquette Girls now an Amazon Kindle Best Seller! (Books Edited by Marissa)
    Yay! featured The Casquette Girls as its daily deal today, and it’s now a best seller on Kindle. 🙂 And so well deserved too. Alys wrote an amazing story and put a crazy amount of work into it. So happy to see it getting some recognition and great reviews. Current rankings… >> Amazon Best […]
  • If this isn’t nice, what is? (Science Fiction)
    I just opened Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and fell in love this dedication. DEDICATION For Alex Vonnegut, Special Agent, with love All persons, places, and events in this book are real. Certain speeches and thoughts are necessarily constructions by the author. No names have been changed to protect the innocent, since God […]
  • Harbinger of Treason, by Bayard West (Books Edited by Marissa, Science Fiction)
    Happiness! I’ve received my copy of Bayard West’s beautiful novel Harbinger of Treason, which I was lucky enough to work on as a line editor. It’s fast-paced science-fiction with a bit of everything: adventure, romance, suspense, beautiful visuals, and characters who are as complex, endearing, and fallible as people in the real world. I knew from […]
  • The Last Bad Job, by Colin Dodds (Book Reviews)
    “For certain people and in certain times, self-control is a luxury, not a virtue. And I have never been rich enough to afford it consistently.” The Last Bad Job is a dark, weird apocalyptic trip with profanity, paranoia, and comedy–a beautiful elemental mix. The protagonist, who kinda oddly goes nameless for the whole book, is […]
2013 (28)
  • Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wicked Good Prose (Review) (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    “Capturing the zing of conversation requires attentive listening and painstaking revision. It comes from connection, from the narrator subtly reaching out to the reader and saying, ‘We’re in this together.’” Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wicked Good Prose, by Constance Hale, is one of those rare grammar guides you can take pleasure in reading […]
  • “Nowhere in Particular,” by Justin Mermelstein (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    I recently helped Justin Mermelstein’s edit his new novella “Nowhere in Particular,” part of his Lucid and Awake series. It’s yet another beautiful and surreal piece, this time set in the in-between. Here’s the blurb… Exhausted by everything and everyone, Tyler takes his father’s pistol and tries to end his life. But when he awakens on the […]
  • Review – Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do (About Editing, Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    “Authors really depend on editors for one thing: the truth.” Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do, by Gerald Gross, is a collection of essays by editors, illuminating all the different things that go on in that strange editorial realm between writers’ and readers’ imaginations. The book is broken into two […]
  • How important is rewriting? (About Editing, Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Love this answer by Robet McKee in an interview on Debra Eckerling asked him, How important is the process of rewriting? Robert McKee: “It’s absolutely critical. I quote Hemingway in my book who said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” What’s difficult for writers to come to terms with is to recognize that 90% […]
  • “Cold Reading” by Alan Moore (Fantasy)
    I’m a huge fan of stories with a skeptical flavor and subversive humor, and just stumbled upon “Cold Reading,” a short story written by the legend Alan Moore. It was first published in his Dodgem Logic magazine (which, btw, looks AMAZING – check it out. Contributors include Josie Long, Robert Ince, Stewart Lee, and Michael Moorcock). […]
  • The Casquette Girls, by Alys Arden (Book Reviews, Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    SO EXCITED to see The Casquette Girls released to the world today! Written by Alys Arden, and edited by me. 🙂 The Casquette Girls is a paranormal YA mystery that weaves together the real mythologies of New Orleans into a  modern-day, post-hurricane setting. Alys Arden portrays New Orleans beautifully and writes with the kind of affectionate […]
  • The cats ride outside of the spaceships in their own tiny crafts. (Science Fiction)
    SFF Audio were talking about Cordwainer Smith’s story The Game of Rat and Dragon on Twitter yesterday and suggested checking out the Wikipedia description. I looked it up and found what has to be one of the greatest first few lines of a Wikipedia page ever. This description reminds me of how lovely and weird […]
  • “A Week and Some Change” by Justin Mermelstein (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    I’ve been working with Justin Mermelstein this year, and it’s been amazing to not only read his awesome stories but also to see how he just gets better and better. Watching writers grow is definitely one of the best things about being an editor. Justin’s latest novella (edited by me) is the first in a […]
  • Letting Go of the Final Draft (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    I feel sad when I finish the last touches on a manuscript I’ve been editing and have to say goodbye to the characters, especially after spending months being so involved in their lives and every move. But I can’t imagine what it’s like for an author, who has usually spent years writing, rewriting, revising, and […]
  • David Foster Wallace on Television’s Value to Fiction Writers (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    David Foster Wallace, on how television can be great for writers… First, television does a lot of our predatory human research for us. American human beings are a slippery and protean bunch in real life, hard as hell to get any kind of universal handle on. But television comes equipped with just such a handle. […]
  • Defining Cyberpunk (Science Fiction)
    Love Paul Di Filippo’s definition of 80’s cyberpunk. Theoretically seeking to merge the primitive vitality and anti-authoritarian disdain of the Sex Pistols and the Ramones with the noir sensibilities and digital savvy of some mythical California superman who possibly resembled a hybrid of Steve Jobs, Timothy Leary and Philip Marlowe, cyberpunk hewed to the standard […]
  • Camping Essentials: Science Fiction (Personal Blog Posts, Science Fiction)
    This is my kinda camping. Stormy weather, empty lakes, and science fiction. 🙂
  • The Secret to Being a Great Storyteller (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    The people who master an art like storytelling are not aliens with freakish talents and powers; they’re just the people who care the most. It takes a massive amount of self-discipline and faith to devote years and years to getting incrementally better at a craft, and to push through the dark times of tedious monotony, doubts […]
  • “Camping” in Germany (Personal Blog Posts)
    My manfriend is taking me camping and canoeing for a week, which is already PRETTY EXCITING, but even better this time because the campground we are staying at doesn’t even supply toilet paper — we have to bring our own. Yay! Let me explain why this is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Before I […]
  • Review: Philip K. Dick, A Maze of Death (Book Reviews, Science Fiction, SFF Classics)
    My review of Philip K. Dick’s A Maze of Death is up over at SFF Audio. This was one of those books that started off weird, got weirder, and ended weird, and got better the more I thought about it. It’s probably not the best title to start with if you are not already familiar […]
  • Death and the Art of Talking (Book Reviews)
    The storytellers are my people: the fiction-spinners, science-tellers, comedians, satirists and poets. I love anyone who can use the art of words to help me truly KNOW something about life, love and death. So I was bound to love Mortality by Christopher Hitchens — one of the most brilliant, honest and hypnotizing “talkers” I know of, writing […]
  • Oz Re-imagined (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Well, I love a good story opening, and this was a recent favorite. I reviewed the awesome anthology Oz Reimagined on audiobook for SFF Audio podcast (read my full review here), and I knew as soon as I heard the start of Seanan McGuire’s story that I was in for a fun read. Gotta love […]
  • The Scorpion Game, by Daniel Jeffries (Books Edited by Marissa, Science Fiction)
    Just started reading my copy of The Scorpion Game by Daniel Jeffries, which is now available to buy for the Amazon Kindle, and I’m excited about it all over again. I helped to co-edit this story, and re-reading it has reminded me how much fun it was to work on, and also how intimidating it was, because it’s just that […]
  • Thank you for writing, Mr. Feynman. (Inspirational, Personal Blog Posts, Science (Cosmos, Mind & Psychology of Reading))
    Today is the birthday of Richard Feynman, the great scientist, poet, storyteller and merry prankster. It’s hard to write about him because I know I can never do him justice, and because sometimes when I read over his words I get all heartachey. I think of him as a mentor, even though I can’t — […]
  • Your Brain on Words (Science (Cosmos, Mind & Psychology of Reading))
    One of my favorite podcasts is the consistently brilliant Brain Science Podcast hosted by Ginger Campbell. She interviews loads of fascinating brain-science researchers and writers, and somehow manages to keep a nice balance between complex science and plain-speak. It’s a cool podcast if you’re curious about how our minds process the universe and why we do the […]
  • Gretel: The Children of the Sun, by R. Matthew Simmons (Books Edited by Marissa, Fantasy)
    I had the good fortune to be able to work with R. Matthew Simmons recently, copyediting his beautiful novel Gretel: The Children of the Sun. The novel is the first in a trilogy and traces the story of two children, Gretel and Hans, who discover they are the last in a line of a race of […]
  • 1930s stop-motion loveliness (Fantasy)
    Amazing 1930s stop-motion clip featuring silent comedian Charley Bowers and a bird that eats metal.    
  • Charlie Brooker’s BLACK MIRROR. (Book Reviews, Science Fiction)
    I have a thing for artful haters, and Charlie Brooker (the grumpy British satirist, writer, critic, presenter, and producer) is one of my favorites. He’s no mere whinger, flailing around bitterly and attacking random things just to get attention. Instead he does what all good, self-respecting artful haters should do: calls out generic, manipulative rubbish; […]
  • Ernst Haeckel’s “Art Forms of Nature” (Science (Cosmos, Mind & Psychology of Reading))
      The cool thing about people who are curious about the universe (my favorite kind of human) is that they all express their curiosity in different ways. Some spend their lives doing monotonous experiments in laboratories (bless them), some make nature shows, some teach, and some write science fiction. Others stomp around in awesome “hello-I’m-a-naturalist-adventurer” […]
  • Fredrick Pohl’s definition of science fiction (Science Fiction)
    Science fiction is notoriously difficult to define, but Fredrick Pohl’s definition is one of the lovelier ones. “Does the story tell me something worth knowing, that I had not known before, about the relationship between man and technology? Does it enlighten me on some area of science where I had been in the dark? Does it open […]
  • Skepticism and science fiction (Science (Cosmos, Mind & Psychology of Reading), Science Fiction)
    Some of my favorite skeptical podcasts have dipped into science fiction in the last few months. Point of Inquiry has had two interesting SF writers on as guests: David Brin, who talked about romanticism and how it relates to fantasy, and about keeping  protagonists in jeopardy even when they live in a civilizations full of […]
  • Storytellers are liars (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Storytellers are liars. Sure, usually there are deeper truths beneath the lies, but it’s the lies that we dig because they are what hook us and let us feel without suffering. To tell a decent story or just to lie well in general, you need to have a good theory of mind. This is the […]
  • Sentence-level switchbacks and conflict (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Accomplished writers know that to write a great story, you need characters with internal conflicts that motivate them in a plot full of external conflicts. But something less often talked about is how to put conflict into language itself. Turning sentences or paragraphs on themselves with internal contradictions is what gives the writing life and […]
2012 (26)
  • Beautiful things (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    OK, I admit it, I’m addicted to quotes about books and writing and art. When I’m supposed to be taking a break from the computer, perhaps to go drink a tea at the window and let my eyes see the Outside World instead of just pixels, I usually come-to after about fifteen minutes and realize […]
  • You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. (Inspirational)
    Wow, how gorgeous is  author Jeanette Winterson’s answer to “How do we fall in love?” (from the book, Big Questions from Little People: and Simple Answers from Great Minds). You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit […]
  • “READ JONATHAN LETHEM!” says the Universe. (Book Reviews)
    I’m not a believer in mystical, magical stuff, but I do have a sorta spiritualistic love for the cool patterns of existence. One of my Most Favorite Things is when a series of coincidences, decisions and intuitions all combine like magic (emphasis on the “like”) to open up a new path or new experience. Such […]
  • Writers on writing process (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    TREASURE! Today I stumbled upon this collection of short clips from the Writer’s Confessions series: writers talking about the writing process. They’re good! I watched them all… Here are some of my favorite quotes>>> Claudia Dey on how writing is like taxidermy. (I LOVE this one. Taxidermy totally captures the weirdness, darkness, beauty and deception of writing.) “I […]
  • Review: Sleights of Mind (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas), Science (Cosmos, Mind & Psychology of Reading))
    Aside from being interesting for anyone who is curious about how magic tricks work (or about how to be less gullible in general), Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions is a pretty fascinating book for writers, mainly because of all the parallels between creating illusions on the stage and on […]
  • Review: Embassytown, by China Mieville (Book Reviews, Science Fiction)
    I just finished reading China Miéville’s Embassytown. Wow, what a trip. I love this guy – not just because of his beautiful skull (seriously… he has such great skull architecture right?) but also because he is cuh-razy good at world-building and the slow reveal. I loved how all of the initially unexplained details in the […]
  • The evolution of a writer (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Another great quote from one of my favourite books, Science Fiction 101 by Robert Silverberg. A lot of narrative technique is actually something that you figure out unconsciously as you absorb other people’s narratives; later you may consciously codify a set of rules, and later on you internalize them again so that they operate without […]
  • The fishermen of ideas (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    I was reading Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science and Fiction and Fantasy with my cup of coffee today, and this made me think: “I like to think that the difference between storytellers and non-storytellers is that we storytellers, like fishermen, are constantly dragging an “idea net” along with us. Other people pass through their […]
  • Bicycles and storytelling (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    I’m back from my cycling trip! It was great, thanks for asking. I managed to soak up some of the serene countryside of Germany and Denmark, catch some great stand-up shows at a comedy festival in Copenhagen, and bust my knees from pedalling too much. Remind me to pack lighter next time. Now, to readjust […]
  • HOLIDAY (About Editing)
    My editing schedule is currently full for September, but I still have room for new projects in October and November, so please email me if your draft will ready for editing around this time and I’ll pencil you in! However, I’m just about to jump on my bike and ride from Berlin to Copenhagen, so […]
  • A micro-story inspired by the adventures of Neil Armstrong (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Here’s a very short tale I wrote this morning after finding out that Neil Armstrong had left this Earth for the second time. Based on a true story. Small Minds in a Big Space Once upon a time, with their hearts full of curiosity and science, a bunch of humans sent a traveller to the […]
  • Let me tell you a little story (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Beautiful TED talk by Bill Harley on how storytelling is our way of understanding the world, and how stories allow us to feel safe enough to look at life because they are not about us and yet they are definitely about us. “Story is how we are reminded and how we remember… We are not built […]
  • Love at first page (Book Reviews, Science Fiction)
    I think I’m in love. In a moment of distraction, I picked up Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash just to have a peek. I intended to read it later because I’m already reading several books at once, but then… THIS opening paragraph >> The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed sub-category. He’s got esprit up to here. […]
  • Kurt Vonnegut taking care of the audience (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas), Science Fiction)
    I just had the best evening drinking wine and eating licorice while reading Cat’s Cradle. Kurt Vonnegut is damned fine company (I’m gonna refer to him in the present tense because being a great author makes you immortal). The way he takes care of his audience is what makes reading every sentence he writes such a […]
  • It’s hard to stay erect for two hundred days (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    I wasn’t going to dance in the Ray Bradbury parade because, to be honest, I’ve read far more of his writing advice than his fiction and there are already loads of way smarter people talking about him, but this interview is too good not to share. God he had a beautiful mind. “[Writing is] the […]
  • People are the most interesting books (Inspirational, Science (Cosmos, Mind & Psychology of Reading))
    I was at a friend’s place the other day, nosing through a treasured little book that found him at a flea market, when I discovered this quote. So I stole it for you when he wasn’t looking. (Always steal a truth when you get the chance.) “People are the most interesting books in the world. […]
  • Word Magicians (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas), Science (Cosmos, Mind & Psychology of Reading))
    I love magic, and the neuroscience of magic, and I especially love the idea of the “attentional spotlight.” It’s fun to think about how we are these weird, sensitive mammals with semi-uncontrollable focus beams shooting out of the front of our heads (unscientifically speaking). And it’s even cooler that magicians can misdirect these focus beams, […]
  • Fantasy is good for children (Fantasy, Science (Cosmos, Mind & Psychology of Reading))
    It’s awesome when science confirms something you already thought, like that maybe fantasy stories are not bad for you but actually help you function in the real world because they stretch your brain. Researchers at Lancaster University, UK, have completed a study that shows how children who have just experienced an imaginary world have an enhanced capacity […]
  • Review: “My She” by Mary Rosenblum (Book Reviews, Science Fiction)
    I just listened to “My She” (ace title) by Mary Rosenblum at the Lightspeed Magazine podcast. It’s a beautifully written story about loneliness, friendship, obligation and loyalty. So nice to be totally transported by a story — this is my kind of SF. Mary Rosenblum slowly reveals the world and the characters’ situation without ever over-explaining or giving away any […]
  • Tough day at the office (About Editing)
    Part of my work day: studying story-craft techniques under the hypnotizing gaze of this beast…
  • “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson (Book Reviews, Science Fiction, SFF Classics)
    SFF Audio do some seriously good readings of classic short stories. Check out episode #146 for the brilliant story “Eight O’ Clock in the Morning” (read by the talented Greg Margarite). It’s followed by a discussion with the author, Ray Nelson, who talks about story-craft, writing porn for hire, giving Phillip K. Dick acid trips, and hanging […]
  • Cephalopod Beauty (Fantasy)
    Cephalopod beauty for the “Art on the Move” benefit auction in San Francisco, presented by the Oceanic Awareness Collaboration. “A collaborative group show with an effort to raise awareness & funding for the purpose & progression of Oceanic Awareness Collaboration. Proceeds will be designated as scholarships, research funding & creative sustainability projects. This art show will […]
  • The first ever science-fiction movie (Science Fiction, SFF Classics)
    My sister and I have embarked on a science fiction-movie bender this week, and one of the gems she introduced me to was A Trip to the Moon, the first SF movie ever, directed by the amazing Georges Méliès. The Wikipedia gods tell me the movie was based on two novels, H.G. Wells’ The First Men on the […]
  • The first ever science fiction movie (Science Fiction, SFF Classics)
    My sister and I have embarked on a science fiction-movie bender this week, and one of the gems she introduced me to was A Trip to the Moon, the first SF movie ever, directed by the amazing Georges Méliès. The Wikipedia gods tell me the movie was based on two novels, H.G. Wells’ The First Men on the […]
  • Editing techniques: How to streamline your writing (About Editing, Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Writing “in the moment” without pausing to review is a perfect way to create, because you don’t want the critical half of your brain self-consciously poking at the less-inhibited, imaginative half while it’s doing its thing. However, a side effect of completely freewheeling story-creation is that your imagination will zoom in and out on the […]
  • The Joy of Books (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Wow, I can’t imagine how much time it must have taken to create this video, but I can really feel the book-love going on here. Nice! The Joy of Books
2011 (15)
  • Free SFF Writing Competitions for the Festive Season (Science Fiction)
    Here’s a few science-fiction and fantasy writing competitions to keep you busy in the downtimes between the holiday feasting and socializing. If you have time over the next week, try writing something for the Twitter-based micro-story competition at the new SF/Lit annual, Unstuck Books. The theme is “Lovemarks.” Entries close December 31. Another option is […]
  • John Ajvide Lindqvist’s “Let the Right One In” (Book Reviews, Fantasy)
    Poor vampires. Lately, just like the children of beauty-pageant-obsessed mothers, they’ve been squeezed into sexy costumes and made to pout and cock their hips for a crowing audience. Some people (lots of people) love it, and others just feel a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing. The romantic, sparkly notion of vampires has somewhat eclipsed […]
  • Shiny Things (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Sorry for the hiatus. I accidentally found myself in Turkey, scrambling around ancient ruins and swimming in warm turquoise waters. It was terrible. (Not really). But now I am back and drafting plenty of upcoming SFF and storytelling-related articles. In the meantime, here is the first of a new series of posts I call Shiny […]
  • Thomas More’s “Utopia” (Book Reviews, Science Fiction, SFF Classics)
    As a way to learn more about the history of science fiction, I am reading my way through some of the classics. This week, I read Utopia, by Sir Thomas More, (which, btw, you can get for free from the awesome folk at Project Gutenberg). Utopia, which Thomas More published way back in 1535, was the first […]
  • And the stars look very different today … (Science Fiction)
       Wow, David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” as an illustrated science-fiction story. A full tragedy in just a few images and words. Short, beautiful and bleak. I love it.
  • “Monsters” Review (Book Reviews, Science Fiction)
    I hadn’t heard of Monsters before, but when I saw it was British science fiction film and an indie, I was pretty excited. I checked IMDB to set my expectations before watching (nothing like getting halfway through a movie only to discover it’s a lemon, right?) and saw it was rated at around 6.4 stars. […]
  • “Just Another Perfect Day” by John Varely (Book Reviews, Science Fiction)
    You’ve probably heard that old writing advice that second-person (“you”) narrative voice is a difficult style to pull off. It is difficult, but every now and then someone writes a story that just nails it. “Just Another Perfect Day,” which you can listen to for free at Lightspeed Magazine, is a rare example of a […]
  • Science-Fiction Exhibition in London (Fantasy, Science Fiction, SFF Classics)
    Lucky you if you live in (the safe parts) of London town: the British Library are hosting an exhibition called “Out of this World” that looks at the history and culture of science fiction. If you, like me, are too far away to visit the London exhibition in person, don’t worry – their website has a bunch […]
  • Literary Short Story with a Science-Fiction Twist (Science Fiction)
    Something you don’t see too often: science fiction in the New Yorker magazine. Take the time to listen to  this reading of Stuart Dybeck’s “The Red Lantern.” It takes a master to write about adultery this beautifully. This has just a minimal amount of science fiction in the set-up to give it that special ingredient. You can […]
  • Delicious Debunking (Craft of Storytelling (Writing Techniques & Ideas))
    Check out this article by Dean Wesley Smith, taken from his book Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: it’s pretty inspiring advice for writers who dream of making money from their creations. Magic pies!   The Magic Bakery Metaphor Think of us (every writer) as a huge bakery and all we make is pies. Magic pies, […]
  • Isaac Asimov: A man for the universe (Science Fiction)
    In my wanderings around the Intarwebs, I discovered this beautiful piece written in 1992 by Carl Sagan (a hero of mine) about one of the greats of science fiction, Isaac Asimov. This really captures the essence of science fiction for me. It is not only great literature with mind-blowing stories but also an extremely important way […]
  • Humans: the Metaphor Gatherers (Science (Cosmos, Mind & Psychology of Reading), Science Fiction)
    Even though I think life and reality is pretty fascinating , I love to go and sit somewhere quiet, all alone, and read a bunch of stuff that is totally made up and often structured in a fairly predictable way. Why is that? What’s so pleasing about reading fiction stories? George Lakoff might have uncovered one […]
  • Attack of the Grammar-Monsters (About Editing)
    Copyeditors are not all evil grammar-monsters who spend their days hunting for typos just so they can terrify anyone who knows less about writing mechanics than they do. Good copyeditors know that context matters, and they know the difference between an author who is purposely bending or breaking sentence structure for fun and one who […]
  • New Hybrids Crawling Out of the SFF Forest (Fantasy, Science Fiction)
    The Wall Street Journal recently published an article saying SFF is on the rise and starting to flavour more and more of the popular titles by mainstream publishers. Lately, even literary authors have been trying their hand at using a “tweaked version of reality to talk about the world.” Hopefully SFF will start to get even more […]
  • SFF evolution (Fantasy, Science Fiction, SFF Classics)
    Not long ago, just when I was trying to untangle all the threads of SF history, a friend happened to send me this: the story of SF’s creation and evolution, conceptualized into this awesome organically weird map. You can see the full-size version here. If you love it too, you can support the artist, Ward […]