Tuesday, May 2, 2023

May Writing Updates and ISWG

Let's see what has happened since my last post? So many things. To sum up:

Kay-Kay The Littlest Chicken celebrated its release day! Link on the side bar or buy signed copies in the buy tab up top. 

The first in-person sale of Kay-Kay!

I met a lot of readers at the Grand Rapids Comic Con Spring Fling.

And then at the Tulip City Comic Con.

Kay-Kay and I attended Whitestown Viking Festival this past weekend. What a crazy weather weekend that was! It was sunny, cold, rainy, moderately warm, windy, and then there was a thunderstorm on Saturday that made us close for a about an hour and half. We thought we were good after that, but Sunday said, "Hold my mead." The day started out lovely, then it rained. Then it was sunny. And then there was hailstorm! That fiasco made us close two hours early, but we survived with only a few water damaged books and had a good weekend despite it all. Only four vendor tents were lost this year. Last year it was five. None of them were mine. Viking Fest is always an adventure.

Most of the time it was between 40 - 50F 
so lots of layers kept us warm. I didn't quite need my cloak yet,
but there are five layers at this sunny moment.

Next up, I'll be at:

May 6 - Bluestocking Bookshop in Holland

May 13-14 Royal Stagg Ren Faire

May 20-21 Niles Ren Faire

May 26-27 Cherry Capital Comic Con

June 3-4 Magical Realms Fantasy Faire


With all these events, am I writing? Honestly, no, not really. I'm taking a little break and delving into some of my many TBR piles. So far, I've managed to read 9 books this year. We'll see how long I can keep the reading train rolling before I dive back into writing - which is currently finishing Frayed. And yes, I have the ending written in my head. I just need to compel my fingers to convey those words through the keyboard.

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: When you're working on a story, what inspires you?

Short answer: Deadlines. I tend to make a writing plan for the year in December/January and then I align that plan with whatever story idea(s) I have and fine tune what I need to do to make those drafts or publication dates happen. Being self-employed for roughly 20 years has made me pretty good at time management and holding myself to deadlines.

More fun answer: I'm most inspired to write when I'm kicked back in my comfy chair with no one bothering me, a blanket on my lap, probably a candle burning, an adult beverage beside me, something chocolate within reach, and the lights turned down low. That's my ideal writing zone both mentally and physically—which means the highest probability of making words that don't suck happen.    

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Upcoming release and ISWG

 It might be spring? Maybe? It's supposed to be, but the weather hasn't taken the time to fully read the memo. While I deal with snow alternating with rain and the occasional showing of sunshine, here's what's going on in the busy life of this author.

April brings the upcoming release of Kay-Kay The Littlest Chicken! Release date will be announced shortly, but look for this picture book at the end of the month. A children's picture book? Yep. And now for something completely different. :)

The early version of the cover. 

So much painting. Now that the book is finally complete, I can put my paints away for a little while and clean off my desk. While all the painting was fun, I'm looking forward to a break.

We had a little photoshoot for the back cover photo. Kay-Kay decided she would attempt to fly while she was so high in the air already. Her little wings can't actually do the job, but she gets an A for effort. 

She's a 10 month old silkie paint hen with one unusable leg.

While I wait for the proof copy and make any changes before release day, I've been busy reading. I have so many TBR piles around the house, I can't even keep track of what is new or old other than by how much dust is on the cover. One day, I may get to the bottom of at least one of them. 

Upcoming events:
April 14-16 Grand Rapids Comic Con Spring Fling - Kalamazoo, MI
April 23 Tulip City Comic Con - Holland, MI
April 28-30 Whitestown Viking Festival - Whitestown, IN
May 6 Bluestocking Bookshop - Holland, MI book signing with Kay-Kay for the release of her book. 

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

And that brings us to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question.

Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? 

That's a lot of questions!

#1 Yes. The first book (a very rudimentary effort) that I wrote was what eventually became Trust. The finished piece only very vaguely resembles that first effort. Before that, I wrote a lot of short stories (which were terrible) but made for good learning experiences. 

#2 Writing as a career path is an exercise in extreme patience. While you might be lucky and achieve blockbuster success with your first book, the odds are not in your favor. I work a day job to pay my bills. I write as my second job to pay some bills, but it is not my primary income. Maybe one day, but this is not that day.

#3 Currently, I'm releasing book #14, or #15 if you count the co-written one. I spend most of my weekends meeting readers and selling books. As far as second jobs go, it's quite fulfilling and I enjoy doing it. It's also nice not having it be my sole source of income so I don't have to rely on every event going well or specific sales numbers that I have to reach. I set my deadlines and goals. It's not high pressure, which means I can relax (sort of) and have fun with it.

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.