Friday, October 9, 2015

Guest Post: Take on Minerva Zimmerman

Today Minerva Zimmerman, author of the newly released TAKE ON ME is here to talk about her day job. Now, I've read a few posts about writers' day jobs, but right now Minerva is winning. Take it away!

Take On Me is the first book in a new series called The Shattered Ones. Book 2, Cruel Summer, is out in December, and Book 3, Running Down a Dream, in February.

My day job is that of a mild-mannered (well, slightly snarky) museum collections specialist. I work with stuff. Objects. Physical things. I have come back from vacation to taxidermy ducks in my inbox. I keep petitioning to have my official title changed to “Mistress of Miscellaneous” but so far they aren’t going for it. I work in a museum weird enough and big enough that I once lost a moose head and then found three I didn’t know I had.

I’ve been a writer for longer than I’ve been in museums, and I’ve primarily done my research for fiction online and in books. See, you’d think that the things I find at the museum would find their way into my stories, but it’s actually the reverse.

Which… shouldn’t be possible. Right?

Then came the day that I said to a coworker, “Hey, that looks like a bottle of dried human plasma.” Followed shortly by, “Hey it IS a bottle of dried human plasma. I found the display tag.” Which led to all sorts of awkward questions about why I knew what a bottle of dried human plasma looks like, ESPECIALLY one that has no discernible outward marking like the one we’d found in the museum. “Uh, I’m writing a book. About vampires.” Which it turns out is probably not the best way to answer that question if you didn’t plan on answering a whole lot of follow up questions about what you do with your spare time.

The bottle of dried human plasma in the museum had been beachcombed locally and then sent off for professional analysis many decades before my tenure. Which, I suppose makes it even weirder that I identified it by sight. I’d found out about it from an online article around the time I started writing Take On Me and thought it’d be a pretty funny thing for a vampire to have in his cupboard for emergencies, so I’d done a lot of research and collected several pictures showing bottles of dried human plasma. I knew there was a possibility I’d eventually find an empty bottle, since they were commonly used in World War Two. I always assumed it would be an ebay find or in the back of a weird antiques store. I really didn’t think one would show up at work, and it would still have some dried plasma in it.

It was only a few months ago that a small wooden case with brass fittings showed up in my inbox. After my mis-step with the plasma I knew better than to ask if it was what I thought it was, and waited until I had spirited it up to my office to look at the paperwork telling me it WAS in fact a Civil War-era surgeon’s kit with ivory-handled everything. It still smells like the vinegar that was used to disinfect the surgical equipment. I get to smell history at work. HOW COOL IS THAT?! OK, sometimes it is decidedly stinky, but so phenomenally cool. Of course, a Civil War-era surgeon’s kit doesn’t show up in The Shattered Ones series until Running Down A Dream, so consider this an extra sneak peek into the series and how it continues to bleed over into other aspects of my life.

About the Author
Minerva Zimmerman is a statistically chaotic neutral writer of tragically funny fiction. She lives in rural Oregon and works as a museum professional. She occasionally blogs at and spends too much time on Twitter @grumpymartian.

About Fireside

Fireside Fiction Company was founded in 2012 as a quarterly multigenre short fiction magazine with a focus on great storytelling and fair pay for writers. We've grown into a monthly publication that includes flash fiction, short stories, and serials by Chuck Wendig and Lilith Saintcrow. We've published many new writers, as well as established ones like Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Liu, Elizabeth Bear, and Tobias Buckell.

We expanded into books this year, starting with Andrea Phillips' Revision and continuing with The Shattered Ones series. And there's a lot more in the pipeline.

Fireside is committed to helping writers make a living wage from their work. We pay 12.5 cents a word for short fiction -- the rate that is considered professional for genre fiction is 6 cents a word.

If you'd like to keep up with Fireside news, you can sign up for our newsletter here.
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  1. What fun! I too do the museums/author split, and it's true that they each inform the other, which is always entertaining. (Your dried plasma beats my arsenical bison for strangeness, though!)

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