Tuesday, June 4, 2024

IWSG June?

How is it June already? Time flies when your schedule is full. And then you get a cold. Twice. And drop all the balls and then scramble to pick them all up. I don't have time to be sick! Get thee away from me germs!

I bought my spirit t-shirt.

How is progress on Laya's Vacation going that I planned to release at the end of June? Slowly. (see above). We're now looking at August or September. Not ideal (given my event schedule) but it is what it is.

Laya doodles

Writing in general? Out the window. I am getting some reading done after hours at events though, so yay?

Yes, September is a long way off, but I'm looking forward to quieter times. Does this mean I'll slow my event roll next year? Mmmm probably not. But I will attempt to better organize and protect my writing months (Sept-Feb) so I don't have to stress about fall releases. 

Sales have been good at events since April. Which is wonderful because Jan-March sales were pretty dismal. Now we're in tight inventory management times with 3-5 events per month. No stress at all. Everything is fine. *grimace*

The weather has been playing relatively nice, though this next ren faire looks like a rainy weekend. Ah, the perils of outdoor events. 

Meet Ziggy, my newest chicken buddy.

Other distractions have included: 

Building a large raised garden bed with 70lb+ blocks because my wooden ones rotted after 7 years. This giant bed is going NOWHERE:


Sewing a ren faire outfit for my daughter:

Tunics for everyone!

Weeding flowerbeds (a losing battle that maybe I'll catch up on this fall) No pic needed here. Imagine a hill full of weeds and small unwanted trees with flowers poking up through them. Yep. You got it.

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
And now let's get to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: In this constantly evolving industry, what kind of offering/service do you think the IWSG should consider offering to members?

Clones. As long as my clone and I don't get sick at the same time, we could be so much more productive. One could stay home and work on the flower garden and sew and paint and write and the other could go off on road trips to events and work on Amazon ads. One of us could sleep now and then. That would be super cool. We might even make notable progress on my towering TBR stacks. Maybe. Hmm. But that might also mean two of us lose in the bookstore. Nope. Only one clone is allowed to buy books. We must have rules!

Ok, I should probably have a serious answer here but my brain to too scrambled to offer constructive suggestions.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

May brings so many distractions

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
The chaos of book-related events is in full swing now. What should I be doing? Writing. I was hoping to be adding more words to I9 now that One Shot At The Sphinx is out. If all had gone according to plan, I was also supposed to be wrapping up illustrations for Laya's Vacation.

Did things go according to plan? No.

What a perfect IWSG question for this month: How do you deal with distractions when you're writing? I'd love to say that I avoid them and diligently write. But the truth is, I dive into them full throttle.

Why? Because if I'm all in on a project, I can't be distracted. In fact, I often can't be bothered with things like sleeping or eating regularly. But if that urge is grabbing me, it's usually my brain telling me I need a break to recharge. And who am I to argue with my brain?

April's distractions on the downside from releasing Frayed and Sphinx, included all six seasons of Vikings among many other Netflix indulgences, and starting a random cross-stitch project after not having done one in years. 

And now that I'm over my Netflix binge, I'm back to painting so I can get the Laya book out this summer. 

Sometimes we need a brain break. 

Last month was also busy with Grand Rapids Comic Con Spring Fling, at which Nana Visitor 
(of DS9 fame, which is my favorite Star Trek, in case you were wondering) stopped by to pet Kay-Kay while she was taking a break from her table. Sadly, I did not get photo evidence.

The show mascot also liked Kay-Kay. Chickens unite!

I just got unpacked from a weekend at Viking Fest with Laya. It was generally good weather for once and we had a lot of fun. We survived the spring winds and rain showers and I managed to get a sunburn. But no hail this year and it was actually downright hot on Sunday so its a win!

I get this weekend off and then there are four weekends of excitement at which I'll be camping. Who scheduled this??? (That would be me.) Renaissance faires and comic cons oh my!

See you next month after a long warm shower. By then I'll probably craving another round of distractions. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Warmer weather brings busy times

April showers bring May flowers and so many projects.

Yes, I normally juggle a few writing projects but it seems like everything is wanting to be written at once. And I'm excited about all of these things so it's hard to focus on just one. For the record, focusing on one project while pondering the others is how I would recommend managing this balancing act. It's just not working right now.

Currently on my virtual desk:

Painting interior art for Laya's Vacation (children's picture book)

Writing The Adventures of Nugget the Space Chicken (young reader chapter book)

Writing I9 (stand-alone adult Science Fiction Mystery

Finishing Interface (stand-alone YA sci-fi)

Writing Godmother (stand-alone YA fairytale)

Fleshing out this new idea for a funny post-apocalyptic zombie/ghost story that just manifested. 

Among other things that are not-so-patiently waiting their turn. OMG. If someone knows where the dial down on the idea faucet is, could they help a girl out? Please?

On the things I can check off my list from last month:

The refresh for the interiors of The Narvan series is done and uploaded. This was more of a 'for me' thing because I wanted them all spiffy to match the new novella prequel release of One Shot at the Sphinx. Which, if you didn't grab your copy from my last post, it's still free on Smashwords, B&N, and Kobo. 

In addition to several events, I visited with the members of the book club at Jason's Books and Coffee in Grand Rapids who read Destiny Pills & Space Wizards. (And yes, I look weirdly photoshopped into that photo, but it's legit. Crazy phone camera focus)

T-rex joined me for
the West Michigan Women's Expo 

Kay-Kay and I visited six classrooms for March Reading Month, talking about books, writing, and chickens. We had a lot of fun and so did the kids. 

My new distraction:

My flock grew last month. Meet Lucy. She's a Toulouse goose mix that is settling in nicely with my chicken ladies. 

When I'm not busy working out the yard, playing with my flock, or working on that list of projects, I'll be signing books at these fun places:

April 6: Cadillac Pop Con, Cadillac, MI

April 12-14: Grand Rapids Spring Fling Comic Con, Kalamazoo, MI

April 26-27: Whitestown Viking Festival, Whitestown, IN

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

Speaking of doing lots of things, let's get to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question:

How long have you been blogging? What to you like about it and how has it changed?

It doesn't seem like this long, but apparently, I've been at this since January of 2010! When I first stepped into the blogging pool seemed like so many others were doing it too. These days it feels like our numbers have dwindled. It could be that many, like me, are still at it, but we don't post as often as we used to. Thanks to this group, I can say I at least post once a month. Hooray for that!

I met a lot of fun people through their blogs, had a great time doing various blog hops. The A to Z challenge was a particularly great one that pushed me to think of new ways to work that in each year. Sadly, these days, I don't have as much brain to devote to blogging as I did back when I was first starting out. At that time I was just getting into the publishing world, writing a lot of short stories and polishing my first novels. Now I'm busy going out to promote my bookstack and drowning in the perpetually running faucet of inspiration when I'm home. 

There are far worse problems to have. ;)

Keep blogging. 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

New Release: One Shot at the Sphinx

Welcome to release day for my new Narvan novella prequel: One Shot at the Sphinx.

Yes, we got through six books in the series and now we're going back to the beginning. Why? Why not?  Ideas don't always come in chronological order.

Having gathered quite the series worth of notes by the time I wrapped up Tears of the Tyrant, I decided there was a story to tell: How Chesser Ta'set convinced Anastassia to come to the Narvan to start the chain of events that becomes the entire series.

These events are alluded to in Trust and Minor Years but now you can get a firsthand accounting in the midst of the action in one easy-to-get-into novella that will neatly deliver you right onto the doorstep of Book 1.

If you like action and intrigue with a side of romance and questionable motivations, One Shot at the Sphinx is now available for your eyeball consumption!

There are even multiple pricing options. Including free. Because you'll want to read this one...and I want you to be able to do so.

The enemy of her enemy might be just the tool Anastassia Kazan needs to remove the Jalvian invaders from the Verian space station she calls home.

Working out a treaty between the Jalvians and the Verian people was the highlight of Anastassia Kazan’s military career. Just when station life seems to be settling into a tolerable accord, a spy from the Jalvian’s enemy shows up to take advantage of her hard work and threatens the precarious peace with his very presence. It’s only fair, as a spy for the Verian army, that she uses him in return.

Chesser Ta’set’s mission to intercept the Jalvian’s next moves is imperative. Without them his people will soon lose the war with Jal and his entire star system will be in chaos. Meeting a human spy with the telepathic skill necessary to slip into his target’s thoughts presents an avenue that will greatly multiply the odds of his success.

All he needs to do is convince her to blow her cover and risk her life for a stranger from a world she doesn’t know.

Print copies are currently only on Amazon for $7.99

Ebook copies are on Amazon for .99

Ebook copies are also on Smashwords for FREE

I will have print copies with me at Alma Con (March 23-24) and thereon after at in person signings. They are currently on the way to me so unless a delivery miracle happens, I will not have any print copies available this weekend.

Monday, March 4, 2024

You get a free book for my birthday month!

This has been the best winter ever in terms of weather. We had real winter for a month. That was just long enough to appreciate winter. Anyway, moving on to Spring! Yay! I can deal with occasional days of snow in between the good ones, but being able to work in the yard in FEBRUARY is pretty damn awesome. Especially when the months that I'm usually trying to squeeze in lawn clean up are filled with book events.

Between the stick picking up duties and bonfires, I'm putting the final editing touches on One Shot At The Sphinx. Which led to sitting down to re-read the series to make sure I have all the facts straight. Oh, the perils of writing a prequel after building the world for six books. And while I'm reading, I got the bright idea to reformat the paperback interiors to celebrate the series being tied up. Is it actually done? It might go on (there are notes for another book) but the core series is complete. I'm not changing the content, just doing a facelift. #projects.

Painting on Laya's Vacation is slow going. The cover is done but I haven't found my grove on the rest yet beyond doing a full mock up of the book. My brain needs to wrap up the series first before it has the power to delve into this undertaking.

Writing on I9 is on hold, also until the series is wrapped up, because it turns out that working on two sci-fi projects at once makes story details easy to entangle. Oops. #dontcrossthestreams

March is my birthday month, so this year, I'm offering sales on some of my ebooks. 

A Broken Race is only .99 Feb 26 - March 4 on Amazon

Not Another Bard's Tale and Dreams Of Stars And Lies are only .99 - March 3-9  on Smashwords

Sahmara is FREE March 20-24

Mid-Michigan Women's Expo 

My one February event was a blast other than a medical emergency with one of the other attending authors the morning of the first day. Nothing like a medical scare to start things off. Thankfully, everyone is ok now and we agree on the need for having an emergency contact list for group events like this in the future. 

18 Authors and so many books

March is full of fun author events. You can find me at:

Hall of Heroes Comic Con - March 2&3

West Michigan Women's Expo - March 15-17

Alma Con - March 23&24

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

This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question is:

Have you "played" with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI's impact on creative writing?

This month's co-hosts are: 

Miffie Seideman  https://miffieseideman.com/  

Kristina Kelly    http://kristinaseyes.com/

Liza http://middlepassages-lcs.blogspot.com/   

Jean Davis http://jeanddavis.blogspot.com/  

I'm not a fan of AI in writing. I don't use it beyond the common features of Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid. Even then, I don't like the more AI involved features those programs offer. #theresistance

Could AI help me write my synopsis? Sure. Can I write a synopsis? Also sure. Having done it a few times, writing a blurb or a synopsis isn't a terrible chore anymore. I've gotten fairly comfortable with it.

Could AI help me brainstorm scenes? Yep. I could also just sit here and close my eyes and brainstorm scenes. Again, having written quite a few books, I'm fairly comfortable and confident in my ability to keep the writing momentum going.

Could it help me pick out appropriate keywords for ads? Now this I might delve into a little because I'm not comfortable there yet. But that's not quite as much on the 'creative' end of the AI abilities as much as other aspects. Like all tools, AI has its uses. Just be responsible so we don't end up with #skynet blowing us up over bad grammar.