Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Marching into Chaos

February has come and gone in another flurry of productivity. It's also my monthly Insecure Writer's Group post so we're gonna talk about book stuff. 

Everyone Dies was released and I can't keep enough copies on hand. Click the link right over there on the left if you'd like to check it out. The ebook is only $1.99. Go on, you know you want to.

I attended my first two book events of 2023. Little Byron Rec Comic Con gave me an excuse to try out my new book display racks. They performed wonderfully! I also got to visit with many of my con vender pals whom I haven't seen in a month or two. We're getting the gang back together!

The Lansing Women's Expo was a blast! I spent the weekend with 11 other Michigan Authors and chatted with lots of new and returning readers. There were author antics, slap-happy conversations, and we made some great book-business connections with each other. In fact we were so busy, I didn't get a chance to get the T-rex suit out.

I worked on some more behind the scenes Amazon stuff. Never one of my favorite tasks, but crossing more things off of my 2023 to-do list.

I finished a quick edit job for an author friend on her newest novella, Zombaes. Who can resist a zombie rom-com?

While away at an author friends house for the Lansing Expo (sans internet on my laptop) I actually made progress on Frayed! Hallelujah. It's not done, but at least the ball is rolling again.

Kay-Kay the Littlest Chicken is also in the works. I'm just over the halfway point on the illustrations and the story is complete. So much painting, but fun to dabble with watercolors again after thirty years off. 

Tears of the Tyrant is back on my editing plate. Mostly because my brain needed a break from painting and Frayed is hard. I'm really loving this book so it's currently my happy place. Ironically, is a super sad story, but hey, no one ever said I was right in the head. The plan is to wrap up this edit and send it off to Stella to work her editing magic so it's off limits to toy with for a while. Which likely means I'll have to resort to toying with cover art to further procrastinate on Frayed. Oh, the crazy author games we play.

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

For once, I'm skipping the optional ISWG question of the month and going right into the chaos that I created on two fronts. 

Part #1: Anticipating a spring release for Everyone Dies, I scheduled March heavy for book events. It's usually slow for day job work so I figured that was safe. This means my event schedule looks like this (in case your in MI or IN and looking for something fun to do):

March 4-5 Hall of Heroes Comic Con in Indiana

March 11 Muskecon in Michigan (close to home)

March 17-19 Grand Rapids Women's Expo in Michigan (close to home)

March 25-26 Alma Con in Michigan (mid-state so staying overnight)

Part #2 One of our new big customers at the day job offered us two big jobs that require travel. They pay really well so we don't say no. Which means besides having all my weekends tied up:

Feb 26-March 2 we'll be in Minnesota 

March 7-9 we'll be be in Mid-Michigan

And I just quoted three more jobs for the this customer that may also be packed into March.

The result: Chaos (but my bills will be paid. So yay?) The usual part of the day job continues to pile up if we're not here to do the work so not only will I not be able to catch up on work over the weekend, I won't have the option of taking an actual day off during the week to make up for book working on the weekends.

So if you see me at an event this month and I can't make words go in our conversation or I'm zoning out, this is why. Donations of chocolate or Diet Coke to the exhausted author are always welcome.  ;) 



Sunday, February 5, 2023

New Release: Everyone Dies - A Collection of Dark Tales

 It's release day for Everyone Dies: A Collection of Dark Tales!

Twelve short stories, some newly written, some pulled from the story vault, all tied together with one common thread. Everyone Dies.

Death lurks in the choices we make.

Alex is awarded the best birthday present ever, a full exclusive weekend pass to the Spindle, a space station high above the Earth. There, everyone is healthy, the food is real, and there are even living trees. Being one of the chosen will set him and his family up for life, but in winning he may lose everything.


Fray Farm is up for sale but the current occupants are very particular about who the new owner will be. They have no intentions of leaving. Long-term ownership only, no kids, cats are optional.


Fate landed Ashleigh in a thankless job. At thirty, she’s nowhere close to what she’d envisioned. She never saw herself in a dungeon-like basement at any age, but no one ever said fate was good at do-overs.


Otherworldly creatures, the not-so-dearly departed, fellow man, and creations of our own demise patiently wait while we bumble through life, thinking we are in control.

The end is always near.

Click the link off on the left for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, get your signed copy shipped from me to you (US only) from the tab at the top, or find me at any of my upcoming events over there on the right. More online shopping availability is still being populated. Ebook links should be live soon as well.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

2023 and GO!

January was a productive month! Hooray! Each year I try to get the behind the scenes stuff done that I don't necessarily enjoy doing but must be done. Kind of like cleaning the toilets first thing in the morning so you can enjoy the rest of your day with the dirty work out of the way. Does anyone else do that or just me?

Things I accomplished in January:

Updated my blog, joined IBPA, bought Publisher Rocket, explored a lot of publishing resources, watched several publishing related webinars, created new book display racks and book labels, reorganized all my event gear, and developed new promotional items 

On my existing books: updated book descriptions and online formatting of them, tweaked cover artwork on existing books, updated book content on all platforms to the most up to date versions, changed Amazon keywords for e-books and print books, took inventory and ordered books for upcoming shows and sat down and updated my schedule with everything I currently have booked/confirmed. (You can find that over to the right -->)

Awards: Both Not Another Bard's Tale and Spindelkin were announced as "Recommended Reads" by the 2023 Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.

And on a new book note: Everyone Dies will be released in just a few days! Which means I've been busy creating the cover, doing the formatting and drawing the interior illustrations. I also planned out the artwork for Kay-Kay and sent the story through my critique group. 

Unplanned: after another editing pass on a yet untitled project I'd wrapped up... surprise it's another Narvan Novel...I decided to move forward with publishing it. I also gave it a title: Tears of the Tyrant. If all goes well with editing, that will be out later this year.   

2023 is off to a good start!

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
Let's get to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

Covers are one of my favorite parts of putting a book together. So yes, you can gather that I put my own covers together. Trust is the only cover that was done by the small press that originally published the first books of the Narvan series. 

Most of my covers are composites of artwork that I purchase from art sources, alter, and put together. Spindelkin is my own original art. 

I'm fortunate that I do design work as part of my day job so I have the programs and resources readily available.

When I was with a small press, I did have input on the cover art, but with my first two books - A Broken Race and Trust, I really didn't have anything in particular in mind other than I wanted Trust to have a green tone. That left a lot of leeway to come up with something. Now that I've been doing this on my own for a while, coming up with ideas for cover art is much easier and integrated into my whole writing process.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Heading into 2023 with Goals and One Word

After a successful and fruitful 2022, I'm gearing up to continue the wordy ride in 2023. I've already got 25 book signing events lined up, one new book slated for a spring release, and lots of projects in the works.

Let's start with a glance at how I did with my 2022 goals: #1 - Publish Seeker and Spindelkin. Check and check! #2 - Cut back on my event schedule from 28 to 26. I ended the year with 27 so...sort of check. Sometimes opportunities pop up that I can't refuse.

2023 goals:

• Release Everyone Dies: A Collection of Dark Tales

• Finally finish Frayed, because OMG this has been a tough one to get from brain to page.

• Illustrate Kay-Kay: The Littlest Chicken (new)

• Write/finish one of the following projects: Godmother (new), I9 (new), or Interface (2016 WIP). 

• Release one of those five projects.

• Don't keel over.

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
Which brings us to... This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question of the month: Do you have a One Word resolution for 2023?

As a matter of fact, I've had a one word resolution since 2012, so yes, I do! My 2022 one word was: Recover. I did a pretty good job of that. I wasn't near as burnt out at the end of the year as I was in 2021, so hey, I might have found a bit more balance for once. Hooray! 

Previous words were: (2021) Better - the year HAD to be better than the previous one. (2020) Read - joined a book club so that helped me make time to read more. (2019) Sleep - still struggling with this one. (2018) Speak - started doing panel presentations at cons. (2017) Enjoy - indulging in quiet moments with candles, warm blankets, binge-watching, and non-mom-duty time. (2016) Relax - still haven't figured out what this is. (2015) Time - allowing myself to take the time to write. (2014) Write - making an effort to write more regularly. (2013) Me - remembering to make time for myself.  (2012) Less - put an end to over-obligating myself for other people. 

And the word for 2023? Embrace

The chaos. The moment. The whim. The idea. <— All of this.

Looking at my schedule and my goals, it's going to be a wild ride even before whatever life throws into the mix so I'm just going to embrace whatever it is and roll with it. We'll see how I come out at the end. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Thank Goodness It's December!

 I lived through another November! Whew! Deep cleansing breath.

Let's see what was on my list for the crazy times:

Yard work: Pond goldfish moved indoors, stuff put away, and chicken coop winterized. DONE

Day job: Still going crazy, but hey, bills are getting paid. SURVIVED

Comic Con: It was a loooong three days, but I met so many new readers and had good turn outs at both of my panels. And people asked questions. We love when you ask questions! Can't wait to do it all again in 2023. SURVIVED

NaNoWriMo: I wrote several short stories for my collection, mostly wrapped up the personal project, wrote the rough draft for my children's chicken book, and made progress on Frayed. WON

In other winning news... Spindelkin is a Fantasy novel finalist in the 2022 American Writing Awards.

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

What's on the agenda for December? Funny you should ask, since that's this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question:

Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writer goals?

I think the trick there is setting workable goals fit your holiday schedule, but to answer the question...

Mid-December things start to slow down (typically, knocking on wood) at my day job so I have more time and energy to devote to editing or completing NaNo projects. I also only have one book event in December so that will leave some weekends free to enjoy my comfy writing chair. I suppose that means I will be "catching up". Which is good, because I need to work on getting books ready to publish for 2023. 

Happy Holidays!