August 2016 Goals

July was a whirlwind of activities, so thank goodness my three July goals were simple:

  1. Work on ToB&L Book 4 revision. CHECK
  2. Post at least 4 new exercises to my Pilates Blog. CHECK, I posted 4
  3. Keep working on various formatting and editing projects I’m working on for other writers. CHECK

August looks like it will be more of the same. I’m involved in several longer term projects that can’t be completed in one month so here are my goal for August:

  1. Work on ToB&L Book 4 revision. 
  2. Finish posting the matwork series to my Pilates Blog (2.5 exercises left!)
  3. Keep working on the various formatting and editing projects for other authors.

Maybe next month I’ll get a little variety in there!

Note: I’m running a giveaway for paperback copies of The Velocipede Races over on Goodreads. You can enter here for four more days: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/194802

 

 

What I think about while riding

I was riding my bike when I came up with the concept for The Velocipede Races. I was breathing hard and really expanding my ribcage, so I thought about corsets and how restrictive they must have been for women of the past, how much just that single garment probably limited their lives and their physicality. Then I thought about how access to the bicycle allowed women in the late-nineteenth century a new mode of transportation that widened their world and helped them quite literally get out of the house and into more comfortable clothes. Then I thought about how exciting keirin track racing is, and how fun it would be to have a steampunk book that used a gladiator-style keirin race as a centerpiece. (Ok, that was the big associative leap, I see it now.) I originally planned to have those keirin races be life or death matters in the book, and bloody, but the nature of the story didn’t lend itself to that once I actually started to write it. Which means someone out there should still write that gladiator-bike-racing book…

Most of my big plot points and ideas for TVR came to me during my commute rides. I’d arrive at work and madly jot down these “plot downloads” onto post-its or index cards so I wouldn’t forget them. Then on my writing days, I’d go through the post-its and cards and work the new material into the book.

TVR was a book that came pretty naturally for me, partly because its central themes—women, physicality, independence—are topics I think about often. Everyday in my work as a Pilates instructor I can see how women are changed by more fully inhabiting their bodies and becoming physically stronger. This is true for men as well, but women seem to have a slightly different relationship to their bodies than men, one tangled by deep, old cultural expectations and by the value so often placed on women’s appearance over other attributes. Learning how to value function over form is a process that comes up often in my Pilates work. I’m also quite amazed by the almost direct correlation between building a stronger center (developing the musculature of the trunk, back, abdomen, and pelvic floor) and building a stronger sense of self and competence. I wanted to explore that relationship in TVR within the character Emmeline.

Emmeline is a rebel–as most of my lead characters are in varying amounts. I’m fascinated by how the external world of setting intersects with the internal world of character. So often in real life it feels as if we are almost entirely determined by our circumstances—we are whatever we are born into—and that shapes everything from our opportunities to our beliefs to our aspirations. It can feel unimaginable to consider something beyond that—some internal essence out of time and place. I like to give my characters that internal essence. I don’t even know what to call it. Confidence? An iconoclastic bent? A rebellious nature? It has to do with having an awareness of being the director of one’s own life, of choosing one’s path and swimming against the current to pursue it. How do people come into that awareness? I know that one way is through physicality–and these are my characters who are the yogis, the athletes, the warriors.

So one of the huge questions I thought about while riding–and writing–The Velocipede Races was how a social creature, a human being, can resolve the friction between external expectation and internal desire by committing to and unleashing her physical potential.

If this subject matter seems interesting, you can still get your copy of the new version of The Velocipede Races from Elly Blue/Microcosm Publishing. The Kickstarter is going on right now, and there are many fun rewards you can receive in exchange for your support.

Thanks for reading! Next Monday I’ll be posting an excerpt from the book to conclude my series of blog posts about The Velocipede Races.

Pedal Zombies: New Rewards

I am offering some seriously awesome rewards for the Pedal Zombies Kickstarter.

Look for the rewards in the right hand column of the page, where my offerings are:

Signed and doodled copies of The Gantean!

A full MS edit (global, line, copy), PLUS professional grade ebook formatting for mobi and epub (this is such a deal, people)!!

One very rare passive stretching session that must be used at my Pilates studio in Fairfax, CA. I offer only about 15 of these sessions a year beyond my regular clientele, and this is the LAST ONE for 2015. It’s basically a unicorn.

I hope you’ll consider snagging one of these incredible rewards. You will also get a copy of the book, PEDAL ZOMBIES, in which I have a creepy dystopian story called “The Breeders.”

pedalzombies_lg

 

New Pilates Blog

fencer

I’m finally getting it together to make a separate Pilates blog. As of today, this WordPress site will be all about my writing, and my Pilates information (which was always very sparse) will head over to a brand new blog on tumblr, Emily’s Pilates: http://pilatesejs.tumblr.com/

Go ahead and check it out of you are interested in learning more about my Pilates life. I’ll be posting 1-2 new home exercises a week, plus other thoughts about physicality. In the photo above you see my long time client and fellow Pilates instructor/superhero, Christine, and me doing an exercise called “The Fencer.” We practice in case we suddenly find ourselves immersed in the world of Tales of Blood & Magic…

Pilates Project: Tuck and Arch

One of my goals for 2015 is to write a Pilates book. The first part will be essays on Pilates and my teaching experiences. I’ve been teaching Pilates for fifteen years now and I feel like I have some things to say about it. The other part of the book will be an in depth look at many of the Pilates mat exercises. To help me get started on the exercise portion of the book, I’ll be sharing, on occasion, some of the exercises here.

Today’s exercise is a simple centering exercise. Be comfortable and gentle while you do this.

Tuck and Arch.

Tuck and arch is a movement of the pelvis and lower back. It will help you learn to feel the difference between having a flattened or imprinted lower back and an arched or engaged lower back. The last part of the exercise will help you relax and feel a neutral position of the lower back.

Starting position: On a comfortable surface like a mat, lie down on the back with knees bent, soles of feet resting flat, and knees and feet together so there is no gap between the legs. Arms rest at your sides. Put a pillow under your head if your neck has any discomfort.

The movement: Begin by gently tucking the hips under to drop the lower back down into the mat. Imprint the back into the mat as though making a mark in sand. Allow the neck to move naturally in response.
Tuck:
tuck

Next, arch the lower back away from the mat, keeping the buttocks in contact with the mat so you make a gap only beneath your lower back. Again, allow the neck to move naturally in response. Move back and forth between these two positions several times, keeping within a range that is comfortable.
Arch:
arch

On the final arching of the lower back, hold for an extra moment and really feel the back muscles engage. Take a deep, full inhalation. As you exhale, let EVERYTHING relax. Allow the pelvis and lower back to settle into their tension-free positions and allow the bones to be heavy and neutral.

Enjoy!

2014 Recap and 2015 Vision

2014 was a big year for me on the editing/revisions front. After a slow start—Apple ate my computer for six weeks—I completely revised my book, The Gantean, and the next book in my Lethemia Fantasy series, The Cedna. I finished and revised the third book in that series as well! All of these drafts are currently in the beta reading phase of their existence, like little chrysalises waiting to become butterflies. Or so I hope.

This year I created a new, special edition of The Velocipede Racesanother revision! The new version is planned for a December 2015 release by a medium-sized press. More info about that will come down the road.

I wrote a lot of short stories in 2014. Most were for flash fiction contests; some were for submissions or just for fun. Partnering with other flash aficionados, I helped produce the flash fiction anthology, Flashdogs. Two of my stories, “The Painted Dog” and “Accidental Bodies,” were featured there. Some of you may recognize yet another revision—I took my short story, “The Painted Dog,” down from 10,000 words to under 4000. Whew! I also wrote some bike-themed short fiction for another volume of EBP’s Bikes in Space coming next year.

LCP created our own anthology, Five Hundred Words of Magic, from the stories submitted for our Winter of Whimsy and Wyrdness contest. I produced that anthology along with Beth D, and it will available in a mere week on most ebook platforms. Look for it January 3rd.

My biggest accomplishment this year was publishing my second novel, Secret Room, a dark book that wasn’t the easiest story to channel or put out there for the world to see. Thank you to the readers and commenters who offered support for a book with an uncomfortable theme.

As for 2015, I have big goals. I hope to publish The Gantean and The Cedna, and possibly Lethemia Book Three. I want to write flash fiction regularly, and I’ve committed to formatting and copy-editing the second volume of Flashdogs.

I’ve still got plenty of my own editing and revising to do, what with Lethemia books four through seven in the queue. I also have two big, very important goals: to finish drafting at least one of the many half-written novels littering my desktop, and to write a Pilates book for LCP’s first foray into nonfiction.

Seems like 2015 will be an even busier year than 2014! Wish me luck.