Wednesday, December 6, 2023

It's hard to believe we're back to December already. Maybe if I wasn't always on the go, time wouldn't fly by? Nah, it probably still would. 

November always flies by. Between Grand Rapids Comic Con and NaNoWriMo, its a flurry of people and words. 

Grand Rapids Comic Con went well. It was fun as always and Kay-Kay got to come to her first con. Petting a chicken sure made a lot of people happy. Lots of books found new homes and I had a great time chatting with the other guest authors each day. 

NaNoWriMo resulted in 50,000 new words! Of my projects:
Laya's Vacation is a complete draft
One Shot At The Sphinx (a Narvan Novella) is a complete draft
I9 (a stand-alone scifi novel) is 1/3 finished.
Godmother didn't get started yet

Overall, I'm happy with the month of writing and the drafts are all workable. Hooray!

I'm taking December off, not because I want to but because work is crazy thanks to the holiday shoppers, I have a five day trip to North Carolina for work next week, and three small book events on the weekends until Christmas. Somewhere in there, I need to decorate, wrap presents, bake cookies, and host two Christmas family things. A writing break is in order.

Alrighty, let's get onward to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: 
Book reviews
If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
 are for the readers. When you leave a book reviews do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?

The author isn't the book. I'm reading the book. Authors are people and many are like me, we write a lot of different things. We learn, we grow, our writing styles change. You may be reviewing the latest book they've written, but in the world of publishing, things move slow. That book could have been written three years ago and stuck in the publishing machine. 

Review the book. That book. Not everything else they've written that you may or may not have read. 

In a review, I will comment about what I liked or didn't like and why. I don't assume the author will ever read the review. Many don't. I rarely do. If you have something super nice or constructive criticism to offer, contact the author. The review is to help other readers decide if that book is for them.

If I don't pop on here before January, have a happy holiday season! Enjoy your family, your pet(s), or at least curl up somewhere quiet with a good book. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Book Release and NaNoWriMo


It's release day for Tears of the Tyrant

The Narvan continues with book five:

Rumors of Tyrant Ta’set’s killing sprees have spread throughout the known universe. Or are they truths?

Vayen’s hold on his deadly Arpex abilities is slipping. If he loses control, he’ll be executed and his mission of unification and peace will die with him. Desperate to help Vayen maintain his precarious balance, Anastassia is willing to offer him a week with another woman as a diversion from his dark urges. Can she live with her decision if he wants more?

In the public spotlight by association, Daniel unwittingly ignites a political uprising when, in the spirit of love and unity, he adopts the Jalvian practice of taking a second wife. While he works with Neko to guide the debate within the Narvan, he must also work alongside his volatile, tyrannical father as they race the rumors to seek out amiable worlds for their advisory union. Daniel struggles to take on the brunt of his parent’s mission while facing his own darkness.

Spending a guilt-free week with Vayen is a dream come true for Buria. She’s had her eye on him for years. Securing a place within his inner circle could mean a serious job upgrade and notoriety. Managing Vayen’s addictions and temper will require every skill beaten into her as a slave if she is to stand a chance at coming out on top.

Is the Ta’set family, the Narvan, and the newly-formed advisory union prepared for a future where Vayen takes the one life that will send him over the edge?

Would you like to check out the first chapter for free? Download from BookFunnel.

Available in e-book and paperback today!  Amazon / B&N / Kobo

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
We've reached November, which means we're going to talk about National Novel Writing Month. This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question asks: Have you ever participated? The short answer: Yes.
Want to know all about it? Let's dive in!

For year 18 of my NaNoWriMo adventures, I'll be sinking my writerly teeth into four projects as muses and time allow. I've managed to meet or exceed my goal of 50,000 words in 30 days 15 out of the 17 previous years so I'm feeling pretty good about keeping my words hopping. 

This year I'll be working on:

 A new chicken picture book - Laya's Vacation

A Narvan novella - Anastassia and Chesser's Story (title TBA)

A YA fairytale along the same vein as Spindelkin - Godmother

A sci-fi standalone - I9

We'll see how much of any or all of these I can accomplish. I know I have 3 days that nearly nothing will get done due to Grand Rapids Comic Con. I also have a 3 day work trip to St. Louis to contend with but I'm hoping to be able to write in the car (not while I'm driving, of course) and at night. Fingers cross that there are no other unexpected major interruptions.

My NaNo secrets for success

1. The point is to write 50,000 new words in 30 days. That can be done a lot of different ways. Do what speaks to you. The pure experience would be to work on a totally new novel. You could also veer into the rebel camp and write a collection of short stories, an epic poem, multiple projects, non fiction articles, etc.

2. Don't sleep. Ok, maybe this one is just me. But I don't sleep well in general so I get up several times a night, and during November, that means I might write a couple hundred or thousand words at 2am before heading back to bed and then doing it again at 7am. Maybe grabbing another writing session after work and again just before bed. Write when you can.

3. This is writing month. That means my brain is in writing mode. I typically don't read books or watch Netflix or play on my phone during November. If I'm not working, eating, or sleeping, I'm writing. And when I'm doing those other three things, I'm thinking about what I will be writing the next time I sit down at the laptop.

4. Have fun with it. Join your local NaNo group. Attend write-ins online or in person for group support and motivation. Find a writing buddy and get competitive. Urge each other on and duel with word counts. Do word wars. You don't have to write alone. Unless you prefer to, then hey, write alone.

5. Get the words on the page and don't be afraid to suck. Rough drafts are not meant to be perfect. That could mean experimenting with a scene or chapter or a bunch of chapters that might not make it into the final novel. Sometimes you need to tinker around to see what POV works best or explore a subplot. Those words all count for NaNo purposes. If you get stuck, skip to the next scene, throw words at the page and see what sticks to get you going again. Get all stream of consciousness if you have to. Just keep moving forward. Or jump around if that's your thing. Keep writing.

My NaNo history

2006 - Sahmara was my first NaNoWriMo novel. It took 10 years between it's word birth and actual publication. Noveling isn't a race. Sometimes books need time to come together.

2007 - A YA Fantasy that has yet to come together though I've toyed around with it a couple of times. I'm not giving up on it yet.

2008 - Not Another Bard's Tale - This was my favorite NaNo book to write as far as it being fun.

2009 - A Broken Race - My first book to be published in 2015

2010 - Destiny Pills & Space Wizards - My first rebel year when I wrote short stories instead of a novel.

2011 - Chain Of Grey - Narvan books are an easy (comparatively)  because those characters just flow onto the page.

2012 - A failed attempt at a Broken Race prequel that ended up providing additional content in the second edition of ABR. While I did make it to 50K, the story didn't work.

2013 - A sci-fi novel that I'd like to revisit at some point to see if I can pull it out of it's tailspin because I really like this one.

2014 - 20K of a sci-fi novel that I don't even remember writing because it was while we were building our house. Someday I'll have to read it and see if it's worth pursuing. 

2015 - Interface, oh you poor YA sci-fi novel. I've said I would finish you so many times. Yet, you're not finished. One of these days, I'll follow through.

2016 - The Last God - After several years of novels not going anywhere, I got back in the groove. Yay.

2017 - Bound In Blue

2018 - Seeker

2019 - Spindelkin

2020 - The Minor Years

2021 - Frayed - While I didn't get to 50k on this project for NaNo because: life, I did recently finish writing it and it will be released in 2024

2022 - Everyone Dies, part of Tears of the Tyrant and Kay-Kay - a very productive year

For those keeping track, that means all my novels but Trust and Dreams of Stars and Lies started as NaNo novels. NaNo isn't for everyone, but it works for me. If you're participating, feel free to shoot me a buddy request on the NaNo site. Hello, I'm Gypsywitch and I'm a nano addict.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

October is for Getting Book Stuff Done!

September was a relaxing month as far as previous months go. I found time to sleep, edit, and format Tears of the Tyrant. I finished Frayed. Yes, really. Finally. And also started edits on Frayed. Woohoo!

I did a craft show with an author friend last weekend. It didn't go near as well as it did the year before for us. The organizer is doing too many similar shows at the same venue, which appears to tapping out the buying audience. That one is crossed off my list for next year, but we had a good time and met readers. 

October is for cramming in as much as possible before writing month takes over. I have one event this weekend, a new to me outdoor Halloween show. We'll see how it goes. Crossing my fingers for nice weather. 

What's on the to-do list for October?

• Getting Tears of the Tyrant ready for release on Nov. 1

• Getting as much wrapped up on edits of Frayed as possible

• Finalizing my plan of attack for NaNoWriMo year 17

• Applying for events for 2024 as applications go live

• Seeing if I can sneak in time to work on Interface (YA sci-fi)

• Getting panels written/finalized for Grand Rapids Comic Con

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 about generative AI uses in writing. Will it assist or replace writers? 

I'm not a fan of AI for writing or artwork. Is it useful? I'm sure it is. Will I be jumping onboard at this time? No. Paranoid me has seen this movie. I've read variations of this book. I will not be assisting in training our AI overlords. No thank you. #TeamHuman.

Seriously though, yes, it's a tool. I'm sure it has it's uses. At the moment, my muses are chatting it up so I don't feel the need to ask AI for ideas or sketch out scenes or plots. I've got this.

Have I toyed with AI for cover concepts, sure. But in the end, I went an entirely different direction. I've avoided purchasing AI generated art elements for my covers from my stock art source.

Will I change my mind later? Possibly. But today is not that day. Oh, and in case they're watching, all hail our supreme and benevolent overlords.

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.

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.