Wednesday, December 4, 2019

December IWSG and Post NaNo Wrap up

Another month has sped by with a flurry of activity.  

I was busy writing away on my new project for November's annual effort during National Novel Writing Month. In my many travels at book selling events there's been a need for more kids books in the sci-fi fantasy genre. Something around upper middle grade, but not quite young adult. So many kids pick up my books but sadly, its the ones not appropriate for their age. While A Broken Race and Destiny Pills & Space Wizards does fit for teens, I have nothing to offer in that 8-12 year old range. So, this November, I set out to fill that gap in my book offerings. Thus, Spindelkin was born, a fantasy story about an 11 year old girl and her journey to find out who she truly is this fairytale world.

In my usual rebel NaNo form, I also had a second project going, working on whichever story fit my brain on a given day. The second project? A companion book within The Narvan universe. So, sort of  Book 5, but in actuallity, Book 1.5, as it takes place in the gap between Trust (book 1) and Chain Of Grey (book 2) that gives some of the other characters time to have the spotlight for once.  Confused yet? Sorry. It's a book that I'm working on. We'll leave it at that. 


Several people have asked when Chain Of Grey is coming out. My hope was Fall 2019. However, the publisher had delays and now has announced they are closing shop as of the end of the year. Which means, my best answer for you is Spring 2020 when I release it myself. 

Also in the works is a new short story collection (currently in need of a witty name), featuring several longer science fiction stories along with a few shorter ones. From my recollection of said stories (one of which was also on a couple year hold for an anthology through said publisher) I believe this collection will also be YA friendly. 

Oh. My. Goodness. What a November. And also December. I've really enjoyed meeting those of you who are readers as well as reconnecting with author friends when we share a table/booth. If you read a book and are looking for another one or haven't made it out to meet me yet, you can find me at:

The Beechwood Church Craft show in Holland on Dec 7 with author Diane Burton (mystery, science fiction romance and MG Science Fiction

The Holland Civic Center Holiday Craft show in Holland on Dec 14 with author Joan Young (mysteries for adult and MG and nonfiction hiking adventures)

Author Pop Up Night at the Bluestocking Bookshop in Holland on Dec 19 with authors Vera West (sci-fi romance), Diane Burton, and Troy Wymer (sci-fi and sci-fi romance)

Muskegon Barnes and Noble on Dec 21 signing books with multiple authors to suit all your last minute bookish gift giving needs.

Life: We launched a new home-based business last week and got our first customer today. Because we're already running several home-based endeavors so why not?  Income is always good to diversify!

This was also my 10th and final year acting as Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo. My schedule just doesn't allow for as much time to devote to all the planning and events as I used to have. When I stepped into the role of inciting writers to get out of their homes to write together, to meet one another, to hopefully make long-lasting friendships, I had no idea what to expect. As it turns out, my little region flourished. I've watched writer kids grow up through high school, go off to college, and get engaged. Socially awkward and introverted people made connections and have come back year after year. Writers became more confident. Some even began to pursue publishing. It's been a wonderful journey and many friends have been made. Fortunately, I had two talented people pick up my torch this year so the region is in good hands for the future.

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
This month's question is: Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you 
describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Am I living the dream? Mostly, sorta, yes. So here's what I can tell you if you're not quite there yet. Finish something. Then put that down and finish something else. Keep writing. It's how you discover what you're good at and what you need to work on, and your voice.  

Make writer friends at all stages of your journey, they will help you along the way. 

Realize that finishing a book is just beginning to write the book. 
Revision and editing are what actually makes a book good. 

Understand that getting something published or publishing something yourself doesn't mean you're going to sell thousands of books. You will need to work for it. You will need to talk to people, readers and interviewers. You will need to invest in ads and/or events to get your book in front of people. You need to be active on social media. Selling books is not just about writing books. 

The best part about publishing a book is talking to readers. Yeah, that talking thing again. But having someone come up and tell you they enjoyed what you wrote is a great feeling. So back to that first thing, finish something. :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Grand Rapids Comic Con and a TV interview

November is always a busy month for me. I'm in the midst of my 14th year of participating in National Novel Writing Month. Yes, I am working on two projects, one new, one continuing, so rebelling a bit, but even with taking three days mostly off of writing for the comic con, I'm still on track, if not a smidge ahead.

Last month, I traveled over toward Detroit to do an interview on Indie Reads TV with Pages and Promotions that aired on CMNTV. If you're interested in checking it out - I always find it interesting to see how people talk and act in person compared to what I'd imagined online - its now available on YouTube.

Grand Rapids Comic Con was a lot of fun and a success for meeting readers and selling books. I shared a booth with a few other authors, because while we're all swimming in cash from the huge successes of our writing careers (that's sarcasm, in case that wasn't clear), we like to pool resources.  My booth included Judith Wade, G.S. Scott and Remearis Brown. It was a long three days of peopling, but we all survived. And because I'd built up a good word count buffer, I didn't fall behind on my NaNo endeavor.

Wearing my festive hat. That was all fun and good but I kept reaching up thinking they were my reading glasses,
which I often wear on my head. Surprise, the hat didn't help me see better.

While I do have four, maybe five more events coming up this year, I'm sticking close to home. Why? Well, for those of you not familiar with the fickle Michigan weather, to give you an example: Fall lasted five days. That was early last week. It was nice. So pretty with changing leaves gently falling from the trees. Then Winter arrived with freezing temperatures and snow flurries. Yesterday we got a foot of snow. Schools were closed. Roads didn't get plowed until late afternoon. Everything was a mess. 85% of us didn't get out during those five lovely days to rake the leaves. Most of the leaves were still on the trees! Now, they're in giant clumps on top of the snow and that will make a fine wet mess if we get a melt before we get hit again.

So yes, if you're looking for me, I'll mostly be in Holland with a trip to Kalamazoo and possibly Muskegon.

Hope your November is going well, and if you're participating in NaNoWriMo, get off the internet and go write your novel!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

November. Already? Nano and IWSG

OMG, where has this year gone? I blink and another month has passed. As much as I intend to post more often, that just hasn't happened. So to sum up October, since I last posted...

I finally finished rewriting a short sci-fi story (short as in 12K) that I've been dragging my feet through for a couple years. It's been part of my 'getting stuff done before NaNo endeavor'. I'm feeling pretty good about it and after one more read through to finish cleaning it up, I'll send it off to a couple beta readers. If you're interested in joining in the beta reading fun, drop a comment below with your email address.

Beyond that, I got another short story tweaked and sent back into submissions. According to The Submission Grinder, I fell off the submission train in May. Oops.

In the not writing but writing related category, I did a major cleaning of my writing room, clearing away a lot of notes, sewing projects, and putting up my last NaNo poster (my walls are full, not that I'm done doing NaNo). With all those distractions gone, I may be more inclined to be productive with writing.

I had a great time meeting readers at various events during October and my November schedule is even more full. If you're looking for something to read, I'll be at the pile of events listed on the right between now and Christmas.

And onward into November! I'll be doing year 14 of NaNoWriMo. My intention is to try a middle- grade fantasy novel. We'll see how it goes. I have a raft of backup projects if my motivation veers elsewhere. I've managed 50,000 words or more for 12 of those years so we'll see how this one goes.

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
As to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: What's the strangest thing you've ever Googled when researching a story,
I have to give that some thought.

I guess I've googled so many odd things that no particular one of them stands out to me. Lots of medical stuff, along with how long can a person live in various states of injury or circumstance, science stuff about planets and space travel, goodness, the list goes on. All hail Google.

In the spirit of NaNo upon us, I'm going to switch gears to researching in general. Don't let it bog you down in a first draft. Leave notes in your draft as you go so you can easily find the spots that need your research later. If it's a quick question, do a quick search, but don't let tricky internet suck you down the rabbit hole. Keep writing! Names, places, details, dates, it can all be cleaned up later. The important thing is to get the story down from beginning to end (or in whatever order works for you). Once that major accomplishment is done, then spend the time to research those pesky details and polish up the bits around them.

Good luck to all my fellow NaNo participants. If you're looking for buddies, friend me: Gypsywitch.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

IWSG: October or should I say...Preptober

It's Preptober. At least that's what the NaNoWriMo people are calling it. Sure why not. So what do us pantsers do for NaNo prep? Typically I'd do nothing. Because: Pantser. The past couple years I've tried a variety of loose prep just to...try.

I've made lists of prompts with the intention of writing a host of short stories. So prepared with ideas, but I ended up writing a novel entirely unrelated to any of the prompts.

I've written a very, very quick and dirty one page outline. That novel fell quickly fell apart. Not for fault of the novel or outline, but my thoughts were elsewhere and I ended up writing something entirely different.

One year I wrote a one page synopsis. That actually worked nicely, by the way.

So this year? I had a dream a couple weeks ago, one of those dreams where you go, OMG this would be a great story if I could flesh it out. I've been mulling it over in my 'free' time. Those that know me, know what a joke that is. But yes, I've been mulling. Last night I wrote five plot points on a tiny piece of paper while waiting to do an author interview. I'm calling that my Preptober effort. Will I end up writing this story? No idea. November is a long way off as far as wandering ideas and fickle inspiration go. But I'm going to try.

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
And now on to this month's question: It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading?

I've never heard this before and my general stance is that it's a load of horse hockey. (That may be the allergy meds talking.) Our ideas are influenced by everything around us, not just want we read. The only thing new or original about storytelling is the spin you put on it. There are books on this that outline all the major plots. The thing that makes them interesting is how you put your personal touches on the variables. You, your life experiences and all the media you ingest, are the flavor that colors the words.

Do you need to read? Yes. Though, not necessarily for the ideas. But, reading shows you how to write, how to form story structure, pleasing sentences, interesting characters, robust plots and settings. By reading and finding authors you enjoy, you may end up adopting some of their storytelling style. That's not a bad thing. If they can successfully tell an engaging story and that's your goal, learn from them.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Chain Of Grey Update

With all the events I've had going on this summer, you may have surmised that my editing time has been a bit on the low end of the schedule spectrum. I'd hoped to have Book Two of The Narvan in hand by November, but that just isn't going to happen. It's also like the publisher has three other books they're trying to get out before mine. The new goal is the end of January.

I'll be taking six weeks off of book signings to relax. Will I actually relax? Probably not. I'm not good at that. But, as of this moment, I don't plan on scheduling anything so I can maybe spend some time working on one of the countless projects lingering on my computer. Because...yeah...a new book came to me the other night. I may have finally hit upon a YA fantasy idea I can follow through with. Maybe. We're treading lightly with the idea right now, considering, pondering. It may be my NaNo novel this year instead of Narvan's possible book five - which is halfway done so yes, that is also happening. Or may just happen for me to read, but it's in the works.

So much in the works.

After having January off, I'll be heading over to Lansing for the Women's Expo for three days: February 7-9. It's sure to be a good time, meeting readers and hanging out with some of my author friends. There are always good times with that bunch.

But for now, this is my view. Lots of scrawled notes highlighted in orange so I don't miss them.

My computer has read the book to me. I've made notes. This book's biggest editing problem is missing "a" in sentences. That's a new one for me. I'm usually missing "the". You kick one problem and pick up another, I swear.

But as soon as I wrap up making these corrections, it's off to the publisher to get into the formatting and proofreading queue. And cover creation. You'll see what they come up with as soon as I have it in hand.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

IWSG: September and Fun Times With Authors

This summer was (Is it was already? Where did summer go?) full of various events where I joined other authors to meet readers and sign books. My fall and winter schedule look much the same, so if we haven't connected yet and you're around Michigan, there's still plenty of opportunity.

In between all this being out of my writing cave and talking to real live people, I've been happy sitting in the dark in my comfy chair at all hours (because sleep and I aren't on good terms), wrapping up edits on Chain Of Grey: Book Two of The Narvan. My plan is to have it in your hands before Christmas, but that depends on the publisher's plan, which as you may understand, is out of my hands.

Before we get to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question, how about some pics of where I've been recently?
It was the afternoon of day three of the Newaygo Logging Festival and the crowd was beginning to thin.
When Authors are left to amuse themselves... 

Bitsy joined me on day two of the Logging Festival. All the attention wore her out.
She claimed my lap as her bed and my hand as her pillow. 

I shared a tent with author Ingar Rudholm for the weekend.
The local police force unwisely made us junior officers on day one.
Apparently, this did not mean we could arrest people for grammar infractions. Oops.

For two weekends, I shared a tent with author Lon Hieftje.
For once (or twice?), the weather was beautiful.

Fourth of July weekend is annually spent with a wonderful bunch of authors in Muskegon
at the Lakeshore Art Festival. We have two giant tents full of twenty-some authors of many genres.
It was super hot this year, but we stayed hydrated and met lots of new readers. 

If you're ever up in Traverse City, stop by Bookbrokers in the Grand Traverse Mall for a good selection
of books by Michigan Authors. The staff there is awesome too, by the way.

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
And now on to this month's question: If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

I'm sure some of you have wonderful faraway places you'd rather be. Inspiring places, full of interesting people and beautiful scenery. Me? My one place is right where I'm sitting at this moment. In the chair that knows just how to ease my back, with the stool that keeps my legs and feet at a comfortable height. In a room filled with things that inspire me. Where electricity and wifi aren't an issue and food and drink are only a flight of stairs away. This is a place where I can go any time of the day or night and not be in anyone's way. Where weather is never an issue and the temperature is always the same.

I'm good right here, thanks, but you go on and write wherever works best for you and your story. I'll be sitting here, talking to people that only exist in my head and on my pages, probably in the dark, with my fuzzy blanket on my lap and likely in my robe. Because this is my favorite place to be.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

IWSG: August

To put it mildly, it's been a busy year. Not only is my event schedule full for this year and starting to populate into next year, but work has been crazy and apparently gardening has become a full-contact sport for me. 

So far this summer I've managed to pull muscles in my chest (though that may have been partially work-related), sprain my foot and just today I broke a blood vessel in my finger and now it's all swollen and purple. But, on the bright side, my garden is looking more fabulous by the day. The days that I'm able to work on it at least. I'm not even doing anything super strenuous or out of the ordinary. In fact, I'm probably doing less heavy lifting than I have in the past couple of years. Perhaps my body is just fed up with all I've been putting it through and is demanding some downtime. 

Since I have been trying to be good to myself and honor that downtime thing, I did buy a new barstool height chair for author events. I much prefer to be at eye level when talking to people so I usually end up standing most of the time. Now I feel more comfortable sitting, at least more than I have been. 

Have I been writing lately? I've been trying. Summer is my time for being outdoors in the garden, so progress is slow, but I'm currently doing another revision pass on Not Another Bard's Tale. My idea percolater has finally come up for a fix in the dragging middle section. Time to combine two characters and speed things along!  

And now onward to this months' Insecure Writer's Support Group question:
If you're not familiar with 
Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

I had been submitting a couple short stories this year and in the process of jugging those submissions, didn't glance at the responding emails beyond confirming that they were rejections. I always assume they are rejections. That way, I'm not crushed when yet another one comes in, and pleasantly surprised when it is an acceptance. However, in my "yep, it's another rejection", skim of a submission email from a pro market I knew was a long shot, I totally missed the P.S. far down the email until, weeks later, I was copying a section of that submission email to send to the next market. As it turns out, there was a note from the editor who had some very nice things to say about the piece. I tossed that story back into the fray. Does this have a happy ending? Not yet. But it only takes one yes.

As to story endings, I rarely see those coming, so nearly always, yes, those surprise me. I like writing that way. If I'm excited about figuring out the ending, hopefully, the reader will be too.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Heat and Rain and Tips for Outdoor Author Events

The theme of my summer so far: Heat and Rain...with a healthy scoop of high winds and a side of hail. One thing I can say for sure, outdoor events are a gamble. Not only with the weather, but with your stuff.

One tent/canopy you should never buy for outdoor events: Anything that looks like this

I've personally seen at least eleven of them go into dumpsters after getting mangled by winds and heavy rain or hail so far this summer. If you're going to buy a tent, invest a little and get a sturdy one. I have one of these. Being that I bought it eighteen years ago and it's still going strong, I can easily say it's well worth the money. . And yes, the sides are wonderfully useful! I've seen some with clear windows in them too, but I don't have that kind. Yet. I may get one as it's nice to be able to see around you when it's raining.

I've done a lot of outdoor events this year and they've all been plagued with weather issues. It's either 90+ degrees or windy and raining. Or thunderstorms. Like last Saturday. Poor Joan and I stuck it out for a few hours, hoping the drizzle would let up, but when the sky got black and the rain went sideways, it was time to make a run for it. Packing up books in the rain is not fun. Thankfully we weren't parked far away. However, taking down the tent itself got us both drenched.

This weekend, both of the events I have scheduled are inside. I'll be at Holton Library in the Muskegon area on Saturday morning for an author meet and greet and in Traverse City at the Festival of Pop Culture on Sunday. I've also added a last minute outdoor Market date tomorrow night (June 23) at Bolt Park in Grand Haven. If you're in the area of any of those, stop by.

Other handy tidbits (most of which I did not personally suffer):

• If you have anything breakable in your tent, pack it away overnight. Storms happen and will break all of your nice things.

• Always be prepared for wind by having rocks to set on paper items or a mug to hold cards or bookmarks.

• Carry a box of large zip lock bags so if it does start raining, your books wont be soaked when they are purchased.

• Keep a piece of plastic or a large trash bag handy to put on the ground under your table. Keep all of your boxes and supplies on it so when it does inevitably start to rain, your stuff doesn't get soaked from the ground up.

• Keep the tent sides in the car, even if the forecast says it won't rain around the time of your event. Okay, this one was me last weekend. The one time I didn't pack them....

• Store your books in something waterproof so when transporting them between the tent and your car in the rain, they don't get ruined.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

IWSG: July and a Busy Summer

I hope your summer is going well. It only just arrived in West Michigan. We've had a long dark winter followed by a cold, dark and very wet spring. To see this mystical orb of warmth is a very welcome thing. I'm not even complaining about the heat or humidity...yet.

The garden has been enjoying all the rain, though all the flowers are about two weeks behind thanks to the lack of sun and cool temps.

This year has been very EVENT-full. (and this concludes my puns for the day). Unfortunately, many of them have been outside and as you've gathered by now, the weather hasn't been very cooperative. This weekend is one of my major events, the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon, MI. We'll have twenty Michigan authors in two giant tents. If you're anywhere near the area, stop by and check out over 350 fine art and craft booths along with artisan food, interactive art, and children's activities. July 5 & 6 from 10-6.

If you're wondering where I'll be the rest of the year, check out the long list of locations over there --->

And now onward to this months' Insecure Writer's Support Group question:
If you're not familiar with 
What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

Focusing on The Narvan, as those characters have been with my the longest, meaning we've rubbed off on one another quite a lot...

Anastassia shares my love of red wine
Vayen vents with F-bombs
Both of them drink (though more heavily than I do these days)
Anastassia tends to take over everything she touches
Vayen is always looking for ways to improve productivity
Vayen hates club music
Fa'yet likes to work alone
All of them prefer to avoid the spotlight
My wardrobe and Anastassia's are both heavy on the grey and black
Like both Anastassia and Vayen, I prefer to be in charge

and the list could go on, but you have other blogs to get to today so we'll end here. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

IWSG: June and Ren Faire Adventures

Another month has flown by. I've been busy out promoting Trust and my other books at various events. The past couple weeks, I've ventured into Ren Faires and it was a blast. And rainy. And muddy. But fun despite all that. Got to love the erratic Spring weather in Michigan.

I also finished sewing my first dragon.  It took a lot of time, but I had no idea how much until I started keeping track with the next two that I'm working on. Once those are done I'll be bringing them to events with me to sell as my first dragon has been quite popular, but as he is my test dragon, there are things I'm doing differently with the next ones. Do you have any name suggestions? I've been taking suggestions, but I haven't picked on yet. Feel free to drop yours in the comments below.

Onward to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question:
If you're not familiar with 
Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

I'm partial to writing Science Fiction, though Fantasy is a very close second. When I first really started reading as a kid, I dove into Mystery, because that's what my Mother read. It didn't take me long to wander into the Science Fiction section, probably because the kids books were all on one wall in our small indie bookstore. Horror followed soon after and then I branched into Fantasy and Paranormal.

With that mash up of inspiration, I like to incorporate aspects of all of those genres into my own writing. It's no surprise that I ended up writing speculative fiction.

Science Fiction has always been my favorite, probably because of the major what if factor and how your imagination has so much freedom to play with the answer to the question. I did read a good deal of hard sci-fi in my late teens and after, but slowly gravitated to the softer side of things and have stayed there.

And on that note, I'd point you toward Trust, my long-time sci-fi favorite project.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Penguicon is always a great time

Last year I'd heard mention of this mysterious con in one of my NaNoWriMo groups. A place with low cost, multiple tracks, and a friendly environment for everyone. And free beer.

Is it wrong that that's the detail that sold me? Come on, it's a variety of really good Michigan Craft beer.

We had such a good time last year that we headed off to Penguicon again this past weekend. This year we gathered another friend for our room. I invited some author friends too. And again, I meet a bunch of great people and reconnected with those I'd met last year. It's three days of non-stop stuff to do. I'm still catching up on sleep. All that peopling saps a lot of energy.

One of the many fun things about Penguicon is gathering ribbons for your badge. My ribbons were getting so long that I was stepping on them, at which point, it's a generally accepted practice to either start rolling them up, wear them as a scarf or start placing them sideways. I did all of those at various points. Bathroom trips are particularly precious otherwise.

Ribbons are supplied both by the con and attendees and most everyone gets into it. Elevator rides turn into ribbon swapping festivities. Panelists lure attendees up to talk to them afterwards with ribbons. You can earn ribbons from the con staff by doing things throughout the con. Many of the attendee ones are inside jokes you'll never be in on, yet they're still funny in their own way. I was a big fan of "Safety Third!?". I handed out ribbons that said "I'd rather be reading", which at a con full of introverts, was quite true for most.

There are so many different things to do throughout the day! There are panels and activities going from 9am to midnight and beyond. Everything from programming, gaming, crafts, writing, anime, to a wide array of adult-oriented programming, such as the Saturday night Burlesque show.

One thing my tongue is still recovering from is the abundance of flavors of Liquid Nitrogen Alcohol Ice Cream. Oh man, the flavors! I believe this one is Mudslide. We tried Watermelon Pucker sorbet, Peach Cider with ginger sorbet, Chocolate mint, Spicy Chocolate, Rumchatta icecream as a root beer float and so many more. That last one was amazing, by the way. They're all sooooo cold, yet so good.  

The con does a wonderful job of offering an abundance of lit panels and support for the participating authors. They provide a staffed bookstore where we can stock our books so we can go have fun all weekend rather than sitting at a table to sell them ourselves. Did I mention they do this fee free? They do. The con staff is awesome. They also had an afternoon writer's reception for us with the best cookies ever. Freshly made. The chocolate in my chocolate chocolate chunk cookie was still melty. Yum!

The Westin Hotel is great. The rooms are quiet and the curtains actually make it dark. The beds are perfect and there are plenty of pillows. The hotel staff is super friendly and most of them get into the con by wearing fun tshirts or even getting in on the cosplay.

I presented three panels this year. One of which I didn't get a photo of, but they were all a lot of fun and well attended. We had some good discussions, and from the comments I received afterwards, offered helpful information to aspiring writers. Mission accomplished.

We also got to do readings.

As a word of warning, I highly recommend not going out to most of the room parties the night before or enjoying two nights of tongue numbing Liquid Nitrogen ice cream before doing a reading. Words are hard when you can't keep your eyes open and your tongue feels like it's twice it's size. The year before, I did my reading on Friday night and I think that was a far better plan than Sunday morning.

However, we made it through and had some laughs over my tongue tripping. People bought books later, so my performance must not have been too detrimental.

Will I be going back next year? Hell yes. If you're at all near the Southfield, MI area next year in May, I recommend you check it out too. Penguicon just might be your new favorite weekend getaway.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


If you're not familiar with 

May. Already. While that's awesome because it's nice to finally see green outside and flowers blooming, it also feels like I'm missing several months from the year and I'm not sure where they went. Maybe they got lost in one of the many snowstorms or the heavy winds blew them away. 

I've been busy promoting Trust at lots of events. As you see, my schedule is pretty full this year. I've already marked a few events to try and some to drop from those I did this year. Keeping a hard copy calendar for this sort of thing has been a sanity saver. Usually all my organization on that front is on my phone calendar, but it's been super helpful to have something I can scribble notes on, plaster sticky notes to and get a good overall view of events I've applied for and those I've been accepted to.

Did you manage to be productive with writing over the winter? I seemed to be on a relative roll until the end of February. It's been about two months since I've reliably used my morning writing time for actual writing. While I have managed to get a couple short stories written and submitted, its mostly been promoting my new book, catching up on sleep (because I wasn't sleeping well for a while there), gathering notes for a few panels I'm speaking on next month, and organizing a couple author events I'm hosting. So productive in general, but not how I prefer to use that time.

This month's questions is: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I first started writing more seriously, as in trying to learn and get better rather than just spewing out words for fun, I explored fan fiction. This was a great place to get my feet wet with trying different types of storytelling and focusing on different things while romping about in an already established world.

I've always been an action and dialogue first kind of writer. It's adding the feels and details that I have to layer in later that I'm always working on. When I threw this particular short story together, I decided to use a mute character from the cast, which meant I couldn't rely on my old standby of dialogue to carry the story. I had to drop into emotion and body language right on the first draft. It worked. I made people cry.

From that story onward, I've tried to remember and employ the tidbits I learned about getting readers emotionally invested. And to use that power wisely - rather than killing characters left and right for the fun it.