Category Archives: Reading & Writing

April (snow) showers, 99-cent sci-fi and fantasy, and some free fairy tales

So this is what it looks like right now (more or less).

I’m not sure what April (snow) showers bring. Chihuahuas, maybe.

 

 

 

 

 

So, with that, I think it’s entirely appropriate to curl up and read until spring starts in earnest. Author Patty Jansen is hosting another of her fabulous promotions this weekend. All the books are organized by category so you can jump to your favorite sub-genre.

99-cent promotion

Or if you’re in the mood for fairy tales, you can download some for free during the entire month of April.

The free and fabulous fairy-tale promotion.

Happy reading, everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekly writing check-in: Cure your binge-watching

So the news this week is The Binge-Watching Cure is out in the world.

You know you want to read more. You remember once losing yourself in books. You recall how exciting the adventures were, how late you stayed up following your favorite characters, and how you cried, gasped, or bit your nails.

But how to start reading again when binge-watching TV is so easy and — let’s be honest — fun?

You start slowly, of course. Baby steps. First, with a story that’s only twitter-sized in length. Then the next, a mere 75 words. Then a few hundred words, followed by progressively longer tales until you’re reading novels without even knowing it.

That’s The Binge-Watching Cure, a collection of stories encompassing a range of genres, including mystery, romance, horror, science fiction, literary, crime and more — a little of everything for everybody.

Fun concept, right? Because you can always read just one more.

My story is The Saint of Bright Red Things. It’s my very first historical story of any length, and I’m pretty excited that it’s included in this anthology.

In Nazi-occupied France, Marigold Jenkins, the daughter of ex-patriot Americans, must keep her identities—all three of them—a secret. She navigates the streets of Paris armed with a bright red handbag, scarlet lipstick, and a compact tailor-made for her role as a courier in the resistance.

But when a train accident leaves her concussed and stranded in a provincial hospital, Mari must navigate a new reality, one that leaves her at the mercy of a German officer. She must decide whether she can trust this man—and what she must sacrifice in order to do so.

In other news, I worked a bit on the fairy tale series, and by “worked a bit” I mean I mostly pondered, did some reading and some listening to fairy tales and not a lot of actual writing. It will come.

I also spent a fair amount of time with Photoshop (yet again) this week. And that’s about it.

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Weekly writing check-in: Straying from the Path Now Available

Straying from the Path is live, both the e-book and paperback! Links to the book below. If you’re outside the US, you can jump to your country via the all vendors/territories link.

There are some lovely early reviews over on Amazon, too.

To celebrate, I made a thing! A video thing!

In other news this week, I signed a contract for The Potato Bug War. This very short WWII story will appear in the summer issue of Pulp Literature. I also sent out a few submissions this week, did some (okay, a lot of) Photoshop work.

Also, I’m a little tired. So, I’ll leave you with the video.

Amazon  Nook  Kobo  iTunes  Google Play  Print  All vendors/territories

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Weekly writing check-in: cover reveal!

So, amazingly, my interior and cover files went through the CreateSpace checks like a champ, and I only had to order a single proof before approving the book.

So that means it’s time for the cover reveal!

I’m pleased with the way the cover turned out.

This week I’ve been working mostly in Photoshop and on launch activities (speaking of which, you can totally enter the Goodreads Giveaway–see link below). I had a brainstorm for giving Coffee & Ghosts a refresh, and I think it’s turning out. I only meant to work on it yesterday morning. But then I glanced at the clock and realized it was close to 8:30 in the evening*.

But earlier in the week I did do some work on the fairy tale series. One rejection, but I haven’t turned that around yet.

I anticipate next week will be lots of launch activities and some more Photoshop, but I hope to get some fairy tale work in as well.

*In all fairness, I did do other things, like take my daughter to dance practice and her job, but really, I was on a Photoshop tear.

 

Goodreads Giveaway link

Win a Kindle copy of the book!

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Weekly writing check-in: or maybe it’s the Photoshop check-in

I’ll be back with a real check-in next week. For now, here are some things I’ve been up to:

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Weekly writing check-in: Keeping Time in the New Year

I’m going to switch things up a bit for the New Year. When I started my weekly check-in, I was spending the year doing a write one/sub one with short stories. That was a great year. It got me back into writing on a regular basis and reminded me why I love writing to begin with.

But I’m not writing as many short stories as I did that first year. Or rather, I tend to binge-write them. Also, this year, I hope to focus on longer, series work. (Now that I’ve stated that, just watch. I’ll end up on some sort of short story tear.)

So I’m going to change my check-in a bit, just covering what I did the previous week. I’ll still log submissions made, stories sold and published, but the format will be more free form.

Without further ado, I give you my week:

This week

Writing: ~3,500 words, plus outlining and structure work. I can see the end from here, but I’m not quite in the home stretch. Almost though. And I may be closer than I suspect.

Published: Keeping Time is in audio over at The Centropic Oracle. They’ve done a fabulous job with the production, and the narrator is marvelous. She brings so much to my little story. If you have seven minutes to spare, go give it a listen.

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Weekly writing check-in: year-end wrap up

It’s cold here, so very, very cold. Even with the sweater, coat, and booties, Oscar was in no way inclined to stray outside.

We had a nice, quiet holiday. I spent some time doing behind-the-scenes sorts of tasks to get ready for the new year. And I took a peek at what I did during 2017 as well.

Submissions

I submitted to ~46 short story markets this year. (I think it’s about 46, but it could be a few more since I sometimes forget to log a submission).

Sold

I sold five stories this year:

  • Straying from the Path (reprint in audio)
  • The Saint of Bright Red Things
  • A Knight at the Royal Arms
  • Keeping Time (reprint in audio)
  • Steadfast

Published

I had three of those stories published:

Steadfast in Flash Fiction Online

A Knight at the Royal Arms in Pulp Literature #15

Straying from the Path at The Centropic Oracle

I also wrapped up the Third Season of Coffee and Ghosts.

Writing

I’d really hoped to start publishing a new series this year as well. That didn’t happen. There were a few reasons for that.

One, I was contacted by an editor from one of the big(ger) publishing houses to audition for a work-for-hire project. I decided to give it a try, not so much for the traditional contract but simply to see if I could do it. The editor sent me a three-page synopsis, and from there, I worked up three sample chapters of about 6,500 words. That was back in May. And no, I haven’t heard anything yet. I actually don’t expect to.

That’s okay. I’m pleased with what I wrote and the fact I could take an idea and make it my own. Plus, the research I did for this project led me directly to one of the new series I’m writing now.

So it all works out.

Oh, and how did this editor know to contact me? She didn’t say, but my guess is Dating on the Dork Side, and one of her books were in each other’s Also-Boughts on Amazon.

If I didn’t get all the writing in that I wanted to, I did some amazing writing-related things this year:

  • I spent a wonderful weekend at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. I cannot wait to return this coming summer, and I’m going to make that happen if at all possible.
  • I took a couple of very helpful classes, including one on Flash Fiction from LitReactor. (Two weeks, seven stories, and I’ve sold one already–Steadfast.)
  • Some deep, story structure work via John Truby.

On the business side of things, I worked on graphic design (Photoshop in particular), and finally took the plunge and signed up for Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors course.

In terms of sales, I had my first four-figure month and I’m ending the year at five figures, which isn’t too shabby for my part-time self-publishing business. Not only that, but Amazon selected Dating on the Dork Side as part of their Prime Reading list over the summer. That didn’t hurt.

So, all in all, not a bad year. I always think I can do more. But sometimes it’s good simply to do a little bit each day. It adds up.

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Weekly writing check-in: quiet holiday reading and writing

Things slow down once school is out for winter break, and the dance team is on a break as well (that sound you hear is my sigh of relief). So it has been a quiet week.

Well, except for the cat, that is. It took her until the 22nd, but she finally claimed the tree. She didn’t stay long. I suspect now that she’s older, it isn’t as much fun.

I did get some writing in this week and made progress on the fairy tale project. Plus, I hit 90 books read for the year (so far). Even though I’m on vacation, I’m not sure I can make it to 100 books by the 31st. That being said, I think I’m going to try.

Writing work:

  • Series work (structure, brainstorming, research)
  • Truby masterclass
  • Fairy Tale Project
  • Writing ~4,300 words

Submissions:

  • None

Rejections:

  • None

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

  • None

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Weekly writing check-in: hello, writing tear

I went on a writing tear this week, getting in nearly 8,500 words.

So now I’m closing in on 20,000 words.

In all that, I did manage to squeeze in some classes and Photoshop work as well. Not a lot, but some. It looks like a long list, but it was really a little bit here and a little bit there.

And that’s it. I think I used up all my words in my manuscript this week.

Writing work:

  • Series work (structure, brainstorming, research)
  • Graphic Design/Photoshop tutorials
  • Writing, ~8,400 words
  • Folklore classes
  • Truby class

Submissions:

  • None

Rejections:

  • Moving Day

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

  • None

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Weekly writing check-in: hello, new sale

A rejection this week, but we’re just going to ignore that because not only did I write +5,000 words, I sold a story!

I sold Steadfast to Flash Fiction Online. Details forthcoming. Steadfast is a modern (and non-magical) retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier with a gender flip and an unapologetic happy ending.

That’s about it. I’m almost to 10,000 words in the novel, which means it’s starting to feel more like a real thing and less like vaporware. I’m adjusting the structure as I go along. It’s a lot like going on a trip after you’ve done some extensive planning. Sure, you read the guides books, planned the route, maybe even checked Google’s street view. But there’s something about driving–and writing–that changes everything.

Writing work:

  • Series work (structure, brainstorming, research)
  • Graphic Design/Photoshop tutorials
  • Writing, ~5,200 words

Submissions:

  • None

Rejections:

  • Three by Three

Acceptances:

  • Steadfast

Publications:

  • None

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