Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring #Sci-Fi Writer – Wendy Van Camp

Welcome to my June Q & A. Today I’m happy to be featuring author Wendy Van Camp who writes Sci-Fi, speculative fiction, and offers up a weekly ‘Writers Links’ information post for writers with some great collaborated shares on her blog at Nowastedink. Wendy recently released her newest book where she is the editor and contributor to the anthology – Eccentric Orbits – Book 3 in the collection of anthologies of science fiction poetry – Scifaiku, and today we’re going to get to know a little about her.

About Wendy:

Wendy Van Camp is the Poet Laureate for the City of Anaheim, California. Her work is influenced by cutting edge technology, astronomy, and daydreams. A graduate of the Ad Astra Speculative Fiction Workshop, Wendy has won Honorable Mention at the Writers of the Future Contest, is a twice nominated finalist for the Elgin Award, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Dwarf Stars Award. Her poems have appeared in: “Starlight Scifaiku Review”, “Quantum Visions”, “The Junction”, and “Far Horizons”. She is the poet and illustrator of “The Planets: a scifaiku poetry collection” and editor of the annual “Eccentric Orbits: An Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry” by Dimensionfold Publishing.

Blurb:

The function of speculative poetry is to engage the mind to a new understanding, not rehearse the past or the ordinary. This anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry explores new concepts, folklore, myth, and the fantastic, by some of the most exciting, speculative poets of our time. Discover the insights of these contemporary wordsmiths that are surging from the pages of science fiction into the reality of our world.

This speculative poetry anthology is perfect as a gift for poetry lovers, readers of science fiction, fantasy, or horror literature or to complete your own book collections.

Speculative Poets represented in this anthology:

JANUARY BAIN * STEWART C BAKER * ROBERT BEVERIDGE * CATHERINE BROGDON * FARUK BUZHALA * DALE CHAMPLIN * LINDA M. CRATE * BILLIE DEE * KENDALL EVANS * GARY EVERY * MARK A. FISHER * JEAN-PAUL L. GARNIER * LEE GARRATT * KEN GOUDSWARD * FIN HALL * MICHAEL HOFFMAN * DEBORAH L. KELLY * DEBORAH P. KOLODJI * DAVID C. KOPASKA-MERKEL * BLAISE LANGLOIS * GERRI LEEN * RICHARD MAGAHIZ * JACK MASSA * ALLENE NICHOLS * MICHELLE OUCHAREK-DEO * RK RUGG * RYFKAH * JUSTIN SLOANE * JOSHUA ST. CLAIRE * SEAN STUBBLEFIELD * REX SWEENY * LISA TIMPF * LAMONT TURNER * WENDY VAN CAMP * MIKE VAN HORN * RUTH E. WALKER * TD WALKER * LYNN WHITE * JEFF YOUNG

Welcome
Wendy

Let’s get to know more about Wendy!

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Did you have a passion to write as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?


Thank you for having me on your blog, Debbie. To answer your question, I suppose I was born a storyteller, although I come from a family of non-creatives. I was always telling stories verbally, even at a young age.


Some of my earliest memories are of writing “books” all in child’s scrawl on cheap loose-leaf paper. My first effort was about mermaids and was a comfortable 150 pages. I wrote it when I was four or five years old. My second “novel” was a Tolkien inspired fantasy that I wrote on a broken typewriter when I was sixteen or seventeen years old. The carriage return didn’t work, so I had to move it manually with one of my hands. I learned to type quickly with one hand due to this. My parents never thought to fix the typewriter since this might encourage me to write.


During my pre-teen years, I wrote poetry. I purchased a small deep green journal with my allowance, which I had fallen in love with from the stationery store. I handwrote short poems with no real knowledge of how to write poetry. I simply wrote what I felt. However, my younger brother discovered the poetry journal and ran through the house reading my poems out loud, laughing at my private musings. As a young pre-teen, it humiliated me. I gave up on poetry for a very long time due to this incident. Thankfully, I did not give up on writing.

D.G. – Wow Wendy, it sounds like we have a common thread between us with our young writing, and our ridiculing and unappreciated talents by our family members. I am sorry to hear, but applaud you on following your passion.

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Do you find your writing is geared toward a specific audience or do you just write what inspires you to write?


I do think about my audience when I plan my projects. I am a science fiction author and a speculative poet. I also dabble in Austen Regency historicals because of my love for Jane Austen’s work, but honestly this is more of a one-shot effort and I have no plans on becoming a romance writer. I have been part of the speculative community for two decades. I write reviews of classic science fiction novels for journals, have read the genre extensively, and have met many of the A-list authors whose work I love. I am a regular panelist at science fiction literary conventions all over the United States and teach speculative poetry workshops. I suppose this is why I breathe science fiction concepts and most of my work, both prose and poetry, are speculative.

D.G. – That is commendable work Wendy. I should think it’s not only inspiring, but fun to be part of such a big community of this specific genre.

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What’s your favorite mode of writing – computer, hand written, dictation, and why?


I use all three methods, but at different times in my writing process. I use dictation to get ideas from my thoughts onto the page for both novels and short stories, and for longer form poetry. None of this ever makes the final cut of my writing, but I find sometimes verbalizing a concept can bring out ideas you didn’t realize were in you.

I am a power-user of Scrivener for my novel organization and revising. I tend to not draft in Scrivener, for that I use an Alphasmart typewriter, google docs, or other word processing programs, but wherever the draft is done, I always put it in Scrivener in the end. Scrivener also can create an epub of my work which I find handy.


I write poetry in an unlined A5 journal with my fountain pen. I love the messy way the pages fill up with words and cross outs. I rewrite the lines, count my syllables, and then bracket my poems. When I feel the poem is done, I type it into digital storage. I used to keep my poetry on Evernote, but lately I’m trying a new filing system in Scrivener. It allows me to print up a poem if I have a reading. My specialty is scifaiku, which is science fiction themed haiku and haiku style astropoetry which you can read in my Elgin Nominated poetry book, “The Planets”.

D.G. – I love how you are so versatile with your writings and collections. I commend you with Scrivener. I purchased a lifetime license for Scrivener a few years back, and I still cannot grasp the hang of it.

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Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?


I am working on a couple of projects this year. I am continuing the work on my Austen Regency Historical series. The final three books are close to completion. I fell behind schedule due to the pandemic, but lately I am gaining more speed and feeling more creative. It helps that I’m able to get outside the house to write again. Besides the Austen books, I’m writing poetry for several literary magazines that I support and for a new poetry collection that I am tentatively calling “Time, Space, & Technology”.


I am editing three poetry anthologies in rapid succession during 2022 and 2023. My next one is “Eye To The Telescope” which is published by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. I am to be their Fall guest editor. When that one is complete, I begin work on a literary poetry anthology for the City of Anaheim where I have recently been named the Anaheim Poet Laureate. I plan to make this an annual project and do two books during my two-year term. Finally, I will start next year with the fourth edition of “Eccentric Orbits”, an anthology of science fiction poetry, which is published by Dimensionfold Publishing. This will be my third year as its poetry editor.

D.G. – You are certainly busy with so many projects on the go. And interesting that you feel you get your best writing done outside of the home.

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What hobbies do you enjoy when not writing?


Life is not all writing and poetry! Over the past few years, I have branched out from my black and white poetry illustrations to ink & wash urban sketching. The urban sketching is done when I am on the road. When I speak at conventions and conferences, I find I like to sketch the hotels and surroundings of where I am working. The vivid watercolors and the mathematics of getting perspective correct appeals to me. I wish I had more time for painting, but these days I fit it in when I can.

D.G. – You are a multi-talented creative Wendy, very commendable that you can also write, sketch and paint. I can’t even color in the lines, let alone draw.

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Thank you so much for visiting with us today Wendy, and sharing your work with us. I do hope my sci-fi, fantasy and horror readers will check out your work. I wish you much success with all your projects.

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Follow Wendy on Social Links:

Website – https://wendyvancamp.com
Blog – https://nowastedink.com
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/author/wendyvancamp
Medium – https://medium.com/@wvancamp
Twitter – https://twitter.com/wvancamp
Instagram – https://instagram.com/nowastedink

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Laugh Out Loud – 40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now #Anthology

A hilarious romp back to the past where 40 humorists from the Erma Bombeck Author’s Writer Workshop, contribute humorous stories about life comparing – then and now. Many of these stories touch on womanhood, aging, acceptance and grace all taken with a grain of salt and bringing words of wisdom to light – all in good humor.

Blurb:

Remember ironing your hair? Rolling it in soda cans to straighten it? Lacquering it with enough spray that it could ward off bullets? Ever slather on cement-colored lipstick so heavy, you looked like a zombie princess? Remember hot pants and platform heels? The danger of patent-leather shoes? Were you a secretary, nurse, or teacher, but only, as our mothers urged us, until you found “Mr. Right.” In her new book, LAUGH OUT LOUD: 40 WOMEN HUMORISTS CELEBRATE THEN AND NOW…BEFORE WE FORGET, Allia Zobel Nolan and 40 funny ladies from the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop chronicle these blips in time as they look back at life in the past lane. Zobel Nolan and the other dancing queens then fast forward to today and write about what it’s like to blink and wake up to be 50, 60, 70, and beyond—experiences ranging from cremation ceremonies to marrying younger men, from senior online dating to finding yourself a menopausal maniac in Mexico.

My 5 Star Review:

This book is a great romp of nostalgic humor. We all remember stories, incidents, trials, tribulations, and the aftermath where we can look back on the years and laugh at. We wore crazy styles, did stupid things, had wild crushes, crazy habits.

Funny women here sharing their humorous stories of the past, taking us on a nostalgic trip back through our own memory lane and having us shaking our heads in ‘I can’t believe I did or wore that’ or in affirming, yes, I totally remember that. In this anthology of fun you’ll read some funny side up stories about life from bell bottoms to Birkenstocks, from hot pants to hormones, from mood rings to menopause, it’s all here in 40 fun stories that will provide a few hours of many Lols, while keeping tabs on life from youth to aging and everything in between.

A few favs:

When We Were Fashionistas and the hilarious fashion rundown of the 1960s, Saturday Night Ain’t What it Used to Be – those long Saturday nights when other people had a date, but we didn’t, Menopausal Maniacs in Mexico – had me in stitches and nodding my head at the familiarity and the hilarity of aging gracefully – not, Breathless Encounter – takes us on one woman’s struggle to learn about wearing shapewear and the struggle of getting out of it, Losing It – will resonate with everyone who has struggled with diets, Taking my Face out of the Drawer – talks about when the author began wearing makeup and unapologetic for still feeling comfortable in seeing her face in makeup as the face she is still familiar with, and my ultimate favorite story by Sherri Kuhn – Loving the Skin I’m In – a story about aging and acceptance of beauty changes, fashion fails, settling for comfort unapologetically – “I didn’t get this way overnight, you know. Turning into a midlife goddess, completely relaxed in my body takes time and dedication.”

The book ends with a tribute to Erma Bombeck: Laughing Through the Pain by the author Allia Zobel Nolan who collaborated this most entertaining and clever anthology of humorous takes on women and aging who iconizes Bombeck for her wisdom’s on life, often of the mundane sort that become humorous to us women who can relate, despite Bombeck’s own tribulations in her own life. As Nolan writes, “She held up a mirror to her life, burst out laughing, then sat down and chronicled it for millions to enjoy.”

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I don’t have a single bit of talent left and could say, “I used everything you gave.” ~Erma Bombeck

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Poetry Treasures – Anthology

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing Poetry Treasures, a colloboration of entries from some talented poets in our writing community. This is a short and sweet read with a delicious sampling of various poems written in various forms, and an in-depth introduction to the poets.

 

 

Blurb:

A collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on Writing to be Read in 2020. Open the book and discover the poetry treasures of Sue Vincent, Geoff Le Pard, Frank Prem, Victoria (Tori) Zigler, Colleen M. Chesebro, K. Morris, Annette Rochelle Aben, Jude Kitya Itakali, and Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

 

My 4 Star Review:

A sweet short read and a collaboration of a variety of poems written in various forms of poetry by some talented poets. I feel like this book was an introduction to the poets as well as a sampling of their creativity in poetry. I especially enjoyed the poetry of Colleen Chesebro and a delicious sampling of intrinsic poetry by the talented and missed, the late, Sue Vincent.

@DGKaye2021

 

 

Sunday Book Review Topically Challenged Volume 1 Flash Fiction Anthology – New Book, Proceeds to Charity

Today I’m sharing a book that I totally forgot I’d submitted to be part of in this wonderful anthology – Topically Challenged. In this book 100 writers submitted entries of short stories and flash fiction containing 100 stories on news-themed stories. Authors who submitted their work to – “Alice’s ‘Trump This’ News Writing Challenge”. After reading the intro to how this book came about, in both, A.H. Creed’s and Chris Fielden’s introduction to the book, he states that the topic came about as a play on words by Creed, so to speak, as the former president seemed to be hogging the news headlines for a few years, hence, the title of the challenge. Now this isn’t to say that all the stories reflected around Trump, but of course, quite a few stories were based on some of the headlines he was making. My story included.

Visit Chris Fielden’s announcement post for this book. Chris invites writers to many writing challenges, and many are made into anthologies. All profits from this book go to the UK’s largest reading charity – BookTrust.

The book was officially launched on Saturday 3rd April 2021.

 

Profits from this book go to BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity.

 

Blurb:

Topically Challenged Volume 1 contains 100 news-themed stories from 100 authors who submitted their work to Alice’s ‘Trump This’ News Writing Challenge on Chris Fielden’s website.

They are:

A.H. Creed, A S Winter, Alan Barker, Alan Pattison, Allan Tweddle, Allen Ashley, Amanda Garzia, Andrea Goyan, Andrew Ball, Andrew Carter, Andrew Stiggers, Antonio Salituro, Ashutosh Pant, Barbara Hull, Benjamin Noel, Betty Hattersley, Brian Mackinney, Bridget Scrannage, Cathy Cade, Chris Espenshade, Chris Green, Chris Lee, Christopher Fielden, Clare Tivey, D.G. Kaye, David McTigue, David Rosenblum, David Silver, Debbie Singh, Dee La Vardera, Derek McMillan, Dora Bona, Dr Betty, Duane L. Herrmann, E. F. S. Byrne, Edmund Piper, Francesca Pappadogiannis, Frank Havemann, Gail Everett, Gary McGrath, Gavin Biddlecombe, Geja Hadderingh, Glen Donaldson, Guy Monson, Hajra Saeed, Hullabaloo22, Jack Caldwell-Nichols, Jacob Weller, James Goodman, James Louis Peel, John Gisby, John Holmes, John Notley, Jon Drake, Jon Spencer, Josie Gowler, K. J. Watson, Kelly Van Nelson, Ken Frape, Kenneth Muir, Klaus Gehling, Kwame M.A. McPherson, Len Saculla, Lesley Anne Truchet, Leslie Roberts, Louise Burgess, Lucy Morrice, Lynne Chitty, Madeleine Fox, Maggie Elliott, Majella Pinto, Malcolm Richardson, Mark J Towers, Matilda Pinto, Meghan O’Brien, Mehak Vijay Chawla, Michael Rumsey, Mike Scott Thomson, Nam Raj Khatri, Paul Mastaglio, Peggy Gerber, Pete Armstrong, Peter J. Corbally, Raymond E. Strawn III, Sam Nichols, Sandra Orellana, Sarah Charmley, Sarah Mosedale, Simon Williams, Stacey George, Stephen P. Thompson, Steven Barrett, Teresia Nicolas, Tiffany H White, Tony Thatcher, Vaki Kokkinaki, Valerie Fish, W R Daniel, Yvonne Mallett and Yvonne Mastaglio.

The news writing challenge was created to raise awareness of the importance of a story’s theme, support authors and raise money for charity.

Every story submitted to the challenge is published, so writers can gain the experience of having their work edited and then see their stories distributed in print and eBook formats all over the planet.

Profits generated by sales of this book are donated to BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity. They transform lives by getting children and families reading.

Please help us raise money for this worthy cause and spread the joy of topical stories around the world – buy this book 🙂

You will find many writing challenges, all run in support of charities, on Chris’s website in the ‘challenges’ section.

 

My 5 Star Review:

I am one of the authors who contributed to this writing challenge that ultimately, became a book, an anthology of stories told in flash fiction or micro short story fashion. The writers were asked to compose a fictional story based on a headline that grabbed us. The topic of the anthology writing challenge was titled: Alice’s ‘Trump This’ News Writing Challenge. The idea was to choose a headline from the news that ‘spoke to us’ and write a short fictional story that would coincide with the title of the news article.

In this book there are 100 creative and entertaining stories on a multitude of topics that touched writers in various ways. Many stories stemmed from politics – mainly US and UK related. Topics talked about cover a myriad of social issues from politics, medical system, animal rights, environmental issues, bullying, transgender issues, to racism and more. Every story is told in each author’s choice of style whether in sarcasm, satire, cynism, even humor. And like Felden mentions in his intro this book, “If a theme resonates with a reader, it can help them remember a story long after they’ve finished it”.

 

Just to share a few of the many stories that resonated with me:

Why Do My Nipples Hurt? Written by Chris Espenshade, cracked me right up. The headline he chose was inspired by Trump’s comment after the hate crime spree in a Pittsburgh synagogue – comedic sarcasm.

End by Allen Ashley. – Inspired by ‘the end of austerity’ on the BBC 2018 budget – government cynicism.

For Whose God and Which Country by Kwame MA McPherson – Inspired by the headline of Trump abandoning his umbrella, (MSNBC), while stepping on to Airforce 1 – fictional nonfiction.

You’re Fired by Dr. Betty. Inspired by the false alarm, missile threat alert in Hawaii, headlined on CNN – chilling ending!

Thoughts and Prayers by David Rosenblum – they do nothing.

Red Card by Jon Spencer – another chilling ending as Russia takes over the world.

Droning On by Len Sucalla – Inspired by the story of a drone hitting Gatwick airport.

Roald Dahl Whose Verses Were Censored by Gail Everett – Inspired by Aldi stores in Australia removing ‘revolting rhymes’.

Truth Uncovered by James Louis Peel – Inspired by Trump attacking his own CDC on how to reopen schools – hilarious satire written in sci-fi style, taking place in the year 2892.

The Fruit-Full Argument by A.S. Winter – Inspired by Apple’s fight with someone’s choice to use a pear as their logo.

Disney Self Identity vs. Labels by Raymond E. Strawn – Inspired by controversy over Disney choosing a new ‘black’ Ariel.

And last, but far from least, my own spin at a flash fiction that raises a question – What Do We Tell The Children? – Inspired by ‘The Children at Trump Rallies’ headline by Damon Winter, New York Times – #ChildAwareness and A parent’s dilemma.

For those of you who enjoy short stories and flashfiction that leaves a mark, I invite you to grab yourselves a copy of this entertaining book, and if you enjoy it, please don’t forget to leave a review. Also, all proceeds go to children’s reading charity,

 

©DGKaye2021