Tuesday, September 5, 2023

August IWSG and A Narvan Cover Reveal

August was insane. Yes, okay, fine. All my months are insane, but this one was more so than most others.
Kay-Kay and I started out in my home town at an art fair which was easy and busy all day.

Then Kay-Kay and I traveled back and forth to South Haven for a weekend for another art fair where we met lots more readers. 

Then things got crazy. Laya and I traveled to Michigan's Upper Peninsula for yet another art fair. We camped and did some exploring and in the process, ended up in a lot of people's vacation photos. As it turns out you apparently don't see a lot of people taking their chickens on touristy walks. I may have also composed another children's chicken book while I was there. The words are not yet on paper but reference photos were taken. 

After a long weekend up in the UP, Laya and I headed down to Indiana for our last renaissance faire of the year where we had a great time and met lots of new and returning readers. 

Then, finally, Kay-Kay and I traveled to Newaygo for the annual logging festival. You can't beat chainsaws and chickens. But not close together. That would be bad. 

Now that insane August has passed, we move into a more sedate pace for the rest of the year. This is very good as I need to wrap up the blurb, proofing, and formatting on Tears of the Tyrant, a Narvan companion novel (book 4.5 for those keeping track). 

Did I mention a cover reveal? Oh, I did. Bloggers get the first look at the newest Narvan novel cover right now!

Where will I be in September? You can find me and Author Vera West in at the Kalamazoo Expo Center Craft Show on Sept 30. That's right. Just ONE event. Whew!

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
That brings us to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group portion of the post! Happy 12th birthday to IWSG! 

I discovered IWSG from my local author pal, Diane Burton. She even gifted me with a IWSG mug. Woohoo! From the looks of it, I first joined in the monthly posts early in 2016. Holy cow, has it really been that long? 

Thank you IWSG for the kick in the butt to at least post monthly on my blog. Since starting this blog in January of 2010 and being fairly active for years after that, I'd been struggling with the motivation and inspiration to keep up with posting with everything else I always have going on. No seriously, it's always insanely busy here. I know no other way.

I've meet some new blog friends, learned things from members' blog posts and have enjoyed being part of the author community. Thank you all for for being you!  

Thursday, August 3, 2023

August IWSG and more chickens!

I'm a day late and several dollars short, but things have been hectic both on an off the writer front. Work has been crazy, sending me out of town twice last month for a couple days at a time and book signings fill my weekends. Lots of deep breaths have been taken.

New chicks were also purchased and Henifer is 
doing her usual good momma chicken duty. Yay for cute little chicks!

Edits for Tears of the Tyrant from both editors showed up in my inbox this week. I've been busy reading those over, finding what comments they had a in common and where things differ. One has read the whole series, one only the first couple books. I do like my companion novels to be able to stand alone (ish) so having insight from someone who is out of the loop on a large part of the story is helpful in knowing what hints and gaps I need to touch on.

We did our annual panel at Kogan con last month. This year
we discussed the differences in worldbuilding between gaming,
graphic novels, and novels.

While I'm busy pondering how to fix things the editors have pointed out, I'm also busy reading. Because Jacqueline Carey's Cassiel's Servant fell into my hands on release day when I went to the book signing. I know. Weird, right? LOL. I'd met Jaqueline Carey at a signing she did for one of the earlier series books in 2009, wherein she patiently offered advice to those of us aspiring writers who lingered afterward. Inspired by her advice, my first short story was published in 2010 and then I was off and running. In as much as we author types are off or running. Writing a lot and waiting for responses is more like it, but I digress. 

Authors have author heroes too. 

Have I made progress on Frayed since last month? Other than a few edits on the later chapters, no. Will I by next month? With edits on Tears of the Tyrant on my schedule, probably not. I'll get there eventually though.

In talking to my daughter about her writing/graphic novel journey, we ended up in a discussion about ideas that pop up when your supposed to be focusing on a current project. I mentioned writing the idea down, maybe doing a synopsis or outline. That lead to me trying to remember where I'd saved (and what I'd called) the two stories I'd done exactly that with that I plan/hope to write this November for NaNoWriMo. And then I had to read what I'd written for both. And get excited about them. And force myself to put them away again for a few months. Is revisiting the synopsis for your project distraction, also a distraction? Yes. Yes, it is.

While we're on distractions, where can you find me this month?

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
August 5 - Art in the Park - Holland, MI

August 12 & 13 - South Haven Blueberry Festival - South Haven, MI

August 18-20 - Wild Blueberry Festival - Paradise, MI

August 25 & 26 - Michiana Renaissance Festival - South Bend, IN

I don't have anything exciting to share on the question of the month this time around. I've shared that answer before in a couple different posts so I'll keep this month's post short. Do go check out what everyone else has to say though by clicking that link right over there --->

Thursday, June 29, 2023

June is already July and IWSG

Sooo...June flew by so fast that I forgot my monthly post. To be fair, I had nine back to back weekends of events. Everything was a blur. In fact, it's still a blurry. My schedule doesn't slow down until October.

June in summary: It was good. It was busy. Many books were sold. Chickens did a lot of traveling.

A few highlights of that whirlwind:

Lakeshore Art Festival - Muskegon, MI

Cherry Capital Comic Con - Traverse City, MI

Royal Stagg Renaissance Festival - Marshal, MI

Magical Realm Fantasy Faire - Charlotte, MI

Niles Renaissance Faire - Niles, MI

Onward into July. I'm still slowly, oh so slowly, plugging away at Frayed in between events, an editing job, and both of my kids moving to different places, from different places, at the same time. One for the fourth time (youngest), one for the first (oldest). For those wondering, this is not a recommended parental participation event. Muscles are sore, schedules are tight, and already scant free time is non-existent. On the plus side, as of reading this, our house is officially spawn-free. Hooray! I mean, I love my spawn, but it was time.

Tears of the Tyrant is currently under other editing eyes. I have NaNoWriMo projects lined up for November. Writing things are happening. Slowly.

Where can you find me in July?

June 30 - July 2  Capital City Comic Con in Lansing, MI 

July 23  Kogan Con in Grand Haven, MI

July 29 Island Art Fair in Grand Ledge, MI

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

June's Month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question was:

If you stopped writing, what would you replace it with?

I'd probably dive back into gaming. Back when I was a young person without children, I spent a lot of time in world building games (sim-anything and tycoon-anything) as well as games like Fable and Bard's Tale. Every now and then I get a little itch to sink back into that, but I just don't have time for it along with writing (and all 'writing' entails at this point in my writing career). 

Or get more fully back into art. I had to pick my one thing to spend time on in addition to kids. Writing won. Now that my kids are grown and my non-work time is no longer eaten up with kid activities and parent volunteer obligations, I've had the opportunity to dip my feet back into a few artistic endeavors with painting and drawing. And sewing. And beadwork. And cross stich. Arts and crafts, oh my. 

Or maybe I shouldn't stop writing.   

And July's question is: Where do your story ideas come from?

Everywhere. Conversations with people, dreams, random thoughts, watching tv, or reading an article or book. Sometimes a character name pops into my head and I start building a character around it and oh hey, then I need a conflict and a plot. Ideas are everywhere. If only the same could be said for motivation and time.

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.