I just finished presenting on humor at Wordcrafters’ Be Writing Conference in Eugene, Oregon. It was a fun event that I was excited to be part of and thrilled to be a guest presenter at.


Every year is a little different in format. This time around, I would guess there were close to 100 people for a full day writing event. The structure of the event was different from what they did in the past too. Instead of being a three day event, this was a 1 day intensive. Each presenter spoke about a writing topic and then gave the audience an exercise to write about related to that aspect of craft for half an hour. This was different from their past conferences and from other conferences I have been to. There have been so many times in the past that I have gone to a conference, learned new techniques and wanted to execute those ideas right away—but I was exhausted after three days of attending workshops, and I needed to get back to day job. Ultimately that means I did not have time to write using what I had learned, and then became busy and never did all the things I wanted to do. This event gave writers time to put into practice what they had just learned.


Things I thought worked well about the conference:

Coming Soon!

Adult Warning: These stories contain randy robots, naughty fairies and lawyers who fantasize about Star Trek. This quirky collection gathers the funniest fantasy and weirdest science fiction stories written by award winning author, Sarina Dorie. Included in this book of treats are previously published stories such as:

Debbie Does Delta Draconis

Eels for Heels


The Optimist Police

Lady Chatterley’s Computer

In all, there are seventeen tales to transport you to another world and tickle your funny bone.

Saturday I was thrilled to be guest host on Alohomora, a podcast devoted to dissecting episodes of the Harry Potter Series.

You can listen to my commentary here:

So, how did I get involved in this?

The Jomon language in THE MEMORY THIEF is influenced by Japanese, Ainu and Chinese language. The Japanese and Chinese language was the easiest to research, but the Ainu language was the most difficult. The Ainu people in Japan are the equivalent of the Native Americans in the United States. They are the indigenous people who lived there prior to the later wave of Asian colonization. For more history on the Jomon and the Ainu, please see the last blog post.

Because the Ainu have been assimilated into Japanese culture, their numbers are dwindling and their language dying, it was difficult to check the accuracy of the Ainu words. My friend, Corinna, who teaches English in Japan, asked around to see if my terms were correct.

Below I have included terminology I researched and used in the series. If someone who speaks Ainu stumbles upon this website and has corrections for me, please feel free to contact me. I would like to get the language as correct as possible.

The ideas in the Memory Thief series were percolating in my head for years before I got around to writing the novel. I have always been fascinated by foreign cultures and was inspired by my Freshman science teacher, Mr. Tebor, who served in the Peace Corps. I wasn’t able to study abroad while in high school or college, and I knew I didn’t have any valuable skills to offer the Peace Corps since I graduated with a BFA in illustration, so I pursued the dream to go abroad by teaching English in South Korea and then later in Japan. Because I am originally from the Portland, Oregon area and Sapporo is Portland’s sister city, it was a logical location to apply for a teaching job. Plus, I had a friend already in the JET Program in a city nearby. It felt a little less scary to go to the island of Hokkaido where there was someone I knew. I didn’t know much about Japan, aside from pop culture, but I had heard of Sapporo’s snow festival years before when I had a teacher in college who had participated and gave a presentation on it. I soon learned that while Hokkaido was temperate like Oregon from May to September, the rest of the year it snowed. And snowed.

And snowed.

People often ask me what steampunk is. I have steampunk belly dance performances. I create steampunk jewelry and costumes. I write steampunk stories and novels. It is something that transcends my hobbies and carries itself into my day to day clothes as well. But what is it and how can it be so invasive?

I write about monsters in my speculative fiction and I love to read about monsters. One of my favorite fairytales has always been Beauty and the Beast and it has had a profound influence on my fantasy and romance writing. Of course, I could say the same thing about Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, but those also are their own Beauty and the Beast kind of stories.

When a friend and I were discussing my beauty and the beast obsession, most recently seen in A Monster and a Gentleman which came out in Hot Dish this year with my pseudonym, I wondered what that meant about my mindset and mentality toward men and women and gender roles. Did that mean I was casting myself as a helpless maiden needing to be saved by a man who was a monster? What did this say about my dating history and my relationships? My friend said that actually she thought I thought I was the monster, not the beauty. That gave me a different perspective. I think this really came out in Cassia in Silent Moon. I identified with the struggle for acceptance and self-acceptance of being a monster/flawed/an outcast.

There are resources I turn to when I write fantasy beasts and monsters. Below is list of places I go when I want to learn more.

This summer I attended conferences (Gearcon, Worldcon, Norwescon and the Willamette Writers), presented writing and steampunk workshops, wrote a steampunk novel and edited another in the series, wrote some stories, sold some stories and was pretty busy. As of last week, I have officially sold 90 short stories, 30 of them sold this year. This summer I was busy sending stories out, starting in June and it really shows in my rejections and sales that I am hearing about now. Usually I reap the rewards of submissions three months later. In one of my rejections I was told that the publisher really liked my “Dear Jezzy” stories from DSF and send them something like those. It is pretty flattering when an editor has read your work and comments on it, even if it is only in a rejection letter.

Some of the stories I sold this summer were as follows:

I decided to see if I could get an editor to meet with members of my critique group, Wordos, and me and let us buy him dinner and pick his brain. In the process, I think people were able to see that the big, bad editor who rejects most of us, is a normal human being who eats food like the rest of us. Yes, we humanized him. Crazy idea, I know.

First, I have to say, John Joseph Adams is a warm, approachable human being. I did a google search, found a website with his personal email and emailed him. He responded back quickly and was professional and friendly. I was so relieved he didn’t think I was a weirdo and stalker, especially when I told him the name of the critique group. Up until recently, my mom thought the critique group I belonged to was the weirdos, not the Wordos, and I hear that is a pretty common mistake.

Below are some things I learned about JJA.

My writing critique group, Wordos in Eugene is primarily made up of science fiction and fantasy short story authors. In the past, co-chairs of Wordos have organized meetings at cons and treated editors to dinner. This is a tradition I wanted to continue, as it fosters greater relationships and networking opportunities, and it gives us a chance to talk to an editor in depth. And yeah, we get to humanize the editors who reject us. Because I was going to Worldcon and saw so many editors on the list of people attending, I thought it would be advantageous to organize a Wordos dinner with an editor since one was not already being organized.

Last year I sold my story, “The Day of the Nuptial Flight” to guest editor, C.C. Finlay at Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.  Since then, C.C. Finlay has stepped in as the new editor at the magazine. Since this is a major pro market and I had the editor’s personal email address—and thought he might actually consider meeting with us Wordos because we had spoken in the past, I asked Charlie if he would talk to my critique group.

There were a lot of great things that came out of Worldcon such as networking, people coming to my author reading, and someone asking me to sign his copy of Silent Moon. If someone attends Sasquan at Worldcon or future conferences in Spokane, below are some of the highlights that might be relevant to current or future attendees. I admit, most of these tips and treasures revolve around food because I'm a foodie. Blame it on my Italian heritage.

We are going to cover some comedy basics using the list below. *Take note, there is overlap and this list as well previous posts that use the element of the unexpected to create humor. This list is by no means extensive. Below are a few different kinds of humor that work for me in my writing scenes and character dialogue.

Why would someone want to make up words? Shakespeare did it to fit meter--and to be funny. If you are writing humor, creating your own slang or dialect or imitating certain speech patterns, it can be fun to liven up some writing with some juxtaposed words for humor. 

Juxtapose two unlike words or say the exact opposite of what the reader expects, or misdirect to create a surprise. Do this by comparing two unlike things but add a twist, make a list and ensure the last one is a surprise, or use repetition of an idea or word but change it to something we didn’t see coming the last time.

Whether you want to be a humor writer, a comedian or a clown at a party, these videos can teach anyone interested in increasing their comedy skills through the simplest—yet sometimes the most elusive—comedy technique.

The unexpected.

In this post we will dissect these videos to see what they share in common. When you watch them, think about the exact moment the humor happens so you can recreate it in your own writing and jokes.

Using the unexpected is the most common and easiest way to create humor in a mechanical level (with words and sentences) as well as on a story level. Below are ten examples I have used in presentations on humor. Be aware, not every image/comic will be funny to you. Much of humor relies on context, background and style. However, these were all pieces that worked for me. 


Note from previous entry on the unexpected:

Juxtapose two unlike words or say the exact opposite of what the reader expects, or misdirect to create a surprise. Do this by comparing two unlike things but add a twist, make a list and ensure the last one is a surprise, or use repetition of an idea or word but change it to something we didn’t see coming the last time.