My Hollywood Connection: The Roswell Award for Short Science Fiction

I’m a finalist for The Roswell Award for Short Science Fiction!

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That means I could fly to L.A. to watch a professional actor read my short story, “Cardiopulmonary Arrest” (yes, the title is a pathology joke). And I could win $1000. The catch is, they won’t cover any of my expenses. So if it were you, would you go?

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My new friend Ellen en route to San Francisco. That’s Chris Isaak’s guitar pick and some fortune cookie slips. She thinks I should go.

I worry a lot about money. Multiply that by ten if it’s my writing money. In fact, that’s the basis of the following seven things you didn’t know about my writing, thanks to Rob Brunet and Doug Smith
tagging me. Interestingly, they’re all about writing and money. I’ll append the Roswell letter below. But first, seven things!

1. For a long time, my writing was handicapped by my cheapness. I was so afraid of losing money on my writing that I did stupid stuff like use Times New Roman 12 pt to fit the maximum words on a page, even if the editor from Weird Tales sent me back a letter saying, “Your font is too small.”

2. If you do stuff like this, your work is less likely to sell, and it becomes a vicious cycle. Fortunately, Kris Rusch glared at me and said, “It’s too small. I don’t care if it’s 12 points. An editor’s eyes are her livelihood.” I increased my font to 14 points.

3. Another cheap story: when Writers of the Future flew me out to LA for the week-long workshop, I found a used book I really wanted, poemcrazy. I agonized over it. William, my “twin” (writer I was paired with for the week), just looked at me and said, “Would you get six dollars’ worth out of it?” I bought the book. I still love it, especially the part where her son is shaking a lilac bush and instead of screaming at him, she asks him what he’s doing, and he says, “I’m stirring the sky, Mama.” I wanted to have kids who would make me see the world in a different way.

4. Medicine changed my writing because I had to condense a lot of information (history, physical exams, and investigations) into half a page. Jason, one of the nurses, said, “You use a lot of abbreviations.”

5. I did feel stifled for a bit, writing “72 y.o. M, DM, CHF, SOB x 3 d…” until I let it go. I never liked other people telling what to write, absolutely loathed the five paragraph structure in high school, and spent years NEVER explicitly writing medicine into my fiction, even though everyone else told me to write like Michael Crichton.

6. After years of writing in almost every genre, from werewolves to picture books, I like creating the Hope Sze medical thrillers, but it’s the most draining type of work, for me.

7. However, I find it relatively easy and therapeutic to write medical non-fiction about the ER, and some of my essays should appear in the Medical Post in the near future—with a columnist photo! (This entailed a lot of setting up the tripod and running to the wall and getting our dog over-excited.)

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And what do you think about L.A. in 2015? The downside: spending money, CO2 footprint. The upside: L.A., fun, and rubbing shoulders with SF and Hollywood peeps. Tell me what you’d do! I might quote you in my column on Monday, where I’ll be mulling over the question in more detail.

Dear Ms. Yuan-Innes,
On behalf of SCI-FEST LA, I’m excited to announce that your story, “Cardiopulmonary Arrest,” is a finalist for The Roswell Award for Short Science Fiction. 
Your story is one of just six finalists chosen from over 300 submissions received from around the world. Your story will be presented in an Awards & Staged Reading event featuring our celebrity guest readers on Saturday, May 23 at 7:00pm at the Acme Theatre in Hollywood.
At the reading, each of our finalists will be officially recognized and the award for the best short science fiction story will be presented.
Our judges who will determine the competition winner include:
* Jack Kenny (Executive Producer, WAREHOUSE 13 & FALLING SKIES)
* Jordan Roberts (Screenwriter, BIG HERO SIX)
* Mike Werb (Screenwriter, FACEOFF & Writer on EXTANT)
And others soon to be announced!
We hope that you will join us! However, you do not need to be present to win the competition. If you plan to join us, please let me know as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we are not able to pay for travel expenses to Los Angeles.
Our finalists will soon be posted on the SCI-FEST LA website, along with information for attending the Awards & Reading!

Contest! Code Blues/The Devil’s in the Details


Do you have funny/sad/horrific/otherwise memorable medical detail that you noticed, either as a patient or a health care practitioner, that you’d like to share?
Dr. Greg Smith wrote to me after reading my medical thriller, Code Blues:
I really enjoyed Code Blues.  A bit surreal reading and picturing the areas of [our hospital] that had influenced things….I wished that the oven mitts as obstetric stirrups had made it in, but one can’t have everything, I suppose.  Maybe that was only my exam room….
In mine, they were oven mitts.  Mismatched oven mitts.  With no light, so you had to use one of those sproingy desk lamps things to case into the mysterious cavern.  When I started practice and had an actual light on my speculum, it was a true revelation when I could actually SEE the cervix.
I don’t remember any oven mitts in my exam room.
But I remember plenty of grotty details I’ve seen before and since!  Would you like to share yours?

Post your detail in the comments section at Olo Books by midnight on October 31st to win!

If you want to be anonymous, Tweet me your entry at dr_sassy and I’ll strip your ID before I post it.
If you post here or on Facebook instead, that’s fine, as long as you know that I will amalgamate all details on this page of the Olo Books website.
No purchase necessary.
Anyone aged 18 & over may enter to win.
Second & Third Prize:  your detail will be included in one of my upcoming essays/stories. In other words, everlasting literary fame and fortune.
First Prize: not only will your detail will be included in one of my essays/stories, but you have the right to name a character after yourself or someone else (slander excluded).  So, even more fame and fortune.  And…a free e-copy of Code Blues!  If you already had the good taste to buy Code Blues, you may substitute a free e-book of your choice from Olo Books.
If you want to see what details are already included in Code Blues, it’s available on the Kindle or Smashwords (the latter does all epub formats) with free samples.  The sequel, Notorious D.O.C., has just been released as well on Kindle and on Smashwords.  Or right on this website, I’ve got the first three chapters of Code Blues and Notorious D.O.C.
Just in case you were wondering, the sequel is called Notorious D.O.C. both because Hope has already become a notorious doctor and also as a reference to Notorious C.H.O., Margaret Cho’s hilarious tour, who was of course riffing on Notorious B.I.G.
Thanks for reading this, and good luck!