Category Archives: The dog

Weekly writing check-in: meet our new family member

Introducing … Milo!

Yes, we’ve added another four-legged member to our family (this makes three dogs and one cat if anyone is counting).

Milo is an American Bulldog, and he’s the sweetest dog you’d ever want to meet. American Bulldogs are often called a large-breed lapdog. Um. Yeah. He’s totally that. And everyone is (more or less) getting along as well.

In writing news, I not only completed the “book map” for my trip through expanding The Trouble with Doppelgangers into a novel, but I started work on it as well.

I also played around with some cover concepts for the first book and the series.

In audio news, I approved the audio for the first season of Coffee and Ghosts. Now the fine people at Findaway Voices will do all their technical checks and get it into the distribution system.

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Weekly writing check-in: round one, done

They look like they’re about to drop an album … or take a nap.

Somehow (and I’m not sure how), I made it through the first round of edits on The Trouble with Necromancers. I managed to cut ~6,500 words in the process as well.

Yesterday I printed the whole thing off, and I will do this next edit on paper. While I’m doing that, I will also revisit the series structure, because changing up the first book means all the others change as well (like so many falling dominos).

I also managed to get the second Coffee and Ghosts book into large print. This coming week I hope to finish up the third, and then I may just tackle hardcovers. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Weekly writing check-in: Switching Gears

Oscar in his natural habitat

So, here I am, working on the fairytale series. About 5,000 words in, I realize that I haven’t completed all the world building. Mind you, I thought I had. But I’m running into things that I’m not quite sure about. Is it in a pseudo-Middle Ages, Grimm brothers Germany? Or is it more like Charles Perrault’s France?

See? This is something I should know. Beyond this, as I was writing, I also realized that there are other forces in this particular fantasy world that I hadn’t accounted for either.

Decision? Let it compost a bit more.

So I’m switching gears and diving back into the Coffee and Ghosts spin-off series.

I looked structure of that this week, I reread the manuscript, and used dictation this time around to take notes.

So instead of a half a page of strange cryptic notations that I don’t understand later on, I ended up with about 2000 words of excellent story notes.

Whenever I do a read-through, I always tell myself oh I’ll remember this. Thing is? I never do. With this new way, I have lots of notes to begin with. Granted, I do have to deal with things like:

Necromancer sunsets fuel the story.

But I keep the audio files until I have a chance to review the transcription. That way, if I can’t figure something out, I can listen to it.

I made a list of things that needed expansion and additional research. I swear, three books and two documentaries landed in my lap. Just like that.

I think this is the universe’s way of telling me I’m on the right track.

 

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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: the one with dog days of August

OscarAs everyone knows, the best place to hide from thunderstorms and firecrackers is in the faux fur blanket, as Oscar is demonstrating.

This is what our dogs do during the dog days of August.

In other news, I started the draft for the third episode of season three of Coffee & Ghosts and came up with 6,000 words, which isn’t a bad way to start off. I have layers to pull back and story threads to tie together. If nothing else, I’ve learned that writing a series is rewarding, fun, and challenging.

I also started formatting my e-books with Vellum. Oh, how I love this program. True, I haven’t clicked on Purchase. Not yet. But I plan to. In the meantime, I can get a feel for the program and learn all its options–a true try-before-you-buy opportunity. I’m pretty much sold already.

Additionally, Chicago Review Press contacted me and offered up an ARC of Women Heroes of World War II—the Pacific Theater: 15 Stories of Resistance, Rescue, Sabotage, and Survival, which I can’t wait to read. I loved the other two in the series (and reviewed them on my blog as well).

So, writing, formatting, books to read. It’s been a good week.

Writing Work:

  • Writing: Coffee & Ghosts ~ 6,000 words
  • Photoshop and Vellum

Submissions:

  • None

Rejections:

  • Like Bread Loves Salt

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

None, but get ready for the August issue of Deep Magic on August 16th! Or you can simply pre-order now.

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Weekly writing check-in: the one with the Fourth

porchThe dogs have decided a good place to spend the summer is on the screened-in porch, watching the kids.

This is also an excellent place to read (for me, not the dogs).

Some writing this week, some formatting work, and so on. Lots of reading.

It’s summer, after all.

One rejection, and I have a few stories I should send back out again, which I hope to do this week or next, along with some more writing.

Writing Work:

  • Writing: Coffee & Ghosts ~4,600 words
  • Photoshop tutorials
  • Formatting and prepping to go wide

Submissions:

  • None

Rejections:

  • The Saint of Bright Red Things

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

  • None

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