Maker-Teacher-Monster Now Available!

Chaos

The Maker, the Teacher, and the Monster

Woo AND hoo! The sequel to The Clockwork Fairy Kingdom is available today!

The blurb:

Five years have passed. The worlds above and below have recovered and changed.

The fairies from the Clockwork Kingdom return every year, asking for Dale’s help in vain. This year, Cornelius, the head of the fairies, brings dread news: Kostya has returned.

The Maker has taught herself what she could about magic, but no teacher has ever arrived. Finally, a herald manages to break through the spells surrounding the town to warn Nora that something, perhaps a monster, has been keeping them at bay. And it is stalking her for her power, and her life.

Can Nora get away before the monster enthralls her? What price will Dale pay to keep his sister free? And who is the monster?

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Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Learning the writing life

Destiny

My last day for the day job was in early April. By that count, it’s only been a few months that I’ve been doing the full-time writer thang.

But before I quit, I had a three month sabbatical. So by that count, it’s been about six months that I’ve been writing full time.

As of this month, I’ve noticed that I’m finally feeling more calm. I have a much better sense of the flow of my days. It wasn’t that I was panicked, exactly. But I hadn’t settled into the “new normal” as it were.

It’s funny how sometimes I feel as though I have a lot more time to do things, and sometimes I feel as though I have less time than ever.

Am I being as productive as I’d originally planned on? No. However, I’d also heard from more than one source, and seen it in action, of writers who went full time and their productivity took a nose dive. I’m producing more than I was when I was employed, and so I count that as a win.

(Possibly my expectations had been unreasonably high. Or maybe I still need more time to grow into my goals. Just saying.)

Am I still worried about money? Absolutely. Not making what I need to, yet.

However, now, after several months of data, I know that my estimates of what I thought it would cost for me to live like this were mostly accurate. I was under a bit, but not much. Not a life-changing amount. So that is also good.

I continue to have to change my language to reflect what’s now important. I continue to write down my priorities, so my brain will recognize that yes, I’m doing the right thing.

Because the writing used to be after the day job, and now I have all the time in the world to do it, I don’t protect the writing time as fiercely as I should sometimes. Mostly I’m pretty good about it. Driven. But I have let life get in the way more than I’d like.

All in all, I love this life. I never, ever want to go back to a day job. I love what I’m doing too much.

I just have to remember to stay focused, keep producing, keep butt in chair and fingers on keyboard.

And to have fun. Giggling required.

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Trench Warfare

Marv

My sweetie has property out in the boonies that he’s in the process of building a house on. Helping him out on this is where a lot of my summer is going.

The existing electrical line from the well to the pump house didn’t pass inspection.

Possibly because it was merely an insulated wire buried 29” down.

No conduit. No pipe around it. Bare wire.

Bare wire next to water pipe

Bare wire next to water pipe

Yeah—I don’t know either.

So for the last two weekends, my sweetie and I have been digging a trench out on his property, from the pump house to the well. 70’ long and between 18-22” deep.

More plus lots more pictures under the cut »Collapse )Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Doing Without

Stress lab 2

As y’all may or may not know, I follow The Primal Blueprint diet/lifestyle.

In practical terms, this means I eat only dead critter, veggies, fruit & berries, and dairy. I have a high fat, medium protein, low carb diet. This means I’m a fat-burner, not a sugar-burner, in terms of how my body gets its energy.

No grain. No wheat, rice, corn, or oats.

Turns out, I was allergic to all of that. Didn’t know it. Discovered it back in 2009. Now, if I have grain, you can set a timer by me. Twenty minutes later, I’ll be congested, sneezing, and swollen. My eyes will start watering. I’ll feel crummy. Etc.

I’m also allergic to soy. But that allergy is nastier. I end up with migraines from soy.

This means I eat very little processed food. Corn and soy is in everything. I also generally take antihistamines before I go out to eat.

But this is not a post about living without grains.

One of the things that’s frequently brought up on Mark’s Daily Appie is intermittent fasting.

There isn’t a single way to fast. I’ve been experimenting with a 24-hour fast once a week, for the last four weeks.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Dancing with Tong Yi Now Available!

Osaka

Uncollected Anthology

This is actually much more than just the announcement of a short story being available. This is the announcement of the Uncollected Anthology Series!

uncollected: not collected or gathered together

oxymoron: a combination of words that have opposite or very different meanings

The Uncollected Anthology series is indeed an oxymoron. Sprung from the minds of seven fabulous authors who love fantasy, short stories, and each other’s writing, the series’ main goal is to bring you quality urban fantasy fiction.

Every three months, the authors pick a theme and write a short story for that theme. But instead of bundling the stories together, they each sell their own stories. No muss, no fuss—you can buy one story, or you can buy them all. (We’ll be honest: we hope you buy them all!)

Uncollected Anthology: When you can’t get enough of the stories you love.

———————

The incredibly fabulous authors—go check out their stories!
Annie Reed
Dayle Dermatis
Leslie Walker
Michele Lang
Phaedra Weldon
Stephanie Writt

———————

Upcoming Themes

Winter Witches—September 2014
Heartspells—December 2014
Portals and Passageways—March 2015

———————

My Story

Dancing with Tong Yi
Cover for Dancing with Tong Yi

Tong Yi works for Huli Transport, a company that specializes in rides and transportation for those who aren’t quite human.

When the newest job comes up—delivering a message to Zhang Guo Lao, one of the Eight Immortals—Tong Yi assumes the job will be tricky because the immortal likes to play games.

He has no idea that Zhang Guo Lao isn’t the only one interested in “dancing” with him.

Available $2.99 as an ebook.

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Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

The Clockwork Fairy Kingdom now available!

Gears

Cover for The Clockwork Fairy Kingdom

Woo AND hoo! I’m re-releasing one of my favorite books through Book View Cafe.

This gave me a chance to go through it with a fine toothed comb, find those few errors that still existed in the text, as well as to rebrand the entire series with new covers.

The blurb:

Adele—a beautiful fairy queen with wings of clockwork—despairs when her husband, the Master Tinker, dies before he finishes the machinery that will drive the humans away and restart the human-fairy war. Then she meets Dale, a human boy with natural talent who can finish the machine. She enslaves Dale and binds his will with fairy magic.

However, Adele fails to capture Dale’s twin sister Nora, who has only recently discovered that she is a Maker and has power of her own.

Can Nora accept the magic that makes her different and save both her brother and herself before the fairy kingdom clockwork can be turned on, killing millions of innocent people?

The sequel to The Clockwork Fairy Kingdom will be out July 22nd. It’s called, The Maker, The Teacher, and the Monster.

Here’s a quick preview of its cover:

The Maker, the Teacher, and the Monster

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Giving Up

True Nature

Giggles

No, I’m not giving up being a professional writer. Or writing full time. I am having far too much fun, and I haven’t run all the way through my savings yet. (I have two years of income saved…If I’m careful.)

When I started this venture, I created a project plan for how long it would take me to write every novel, as well as how long it would take to go through the make-it-not-broke draft, and to incorporate first reader comments.

In this first marvelous plan, I just specified Novel A, Novel B, etc.

At some point, I came up with the list of novels that I was going to write. One after another. For two and a half years.

And it all looked great…on paper.

Then the plan met reality.

I tried, I really tried, to generate excitement for the novel I was supposed to write.

And if you look at that sentence, you’ll see the issue.

“Supposed to write” is never going to work for me.

I need to say, “get to write.”

I can’t write according to a scheduled list of books that I think I should write. In the order I think I should write them. Instead, I must write the books that I feel passionate about. That I am looking forward to writing.

Giggling is required.

As my sweetie pointed out to me, if I’m not manically giggling about what I’m writing, the writing will turn into a chore. Work. And not fun.

This means I won’t necessarily know what book it is that I’m going to write until I’m just about to start writing it.

So I’ve given up writing War Among the Crocodiles at this point. I will write the novel eventually. I have kind of a plot and characters and so on.

It just isn’t the novel that makes me giggle currently.

Currently, I get to write this story that I thought of over the weekend. That I plotted out and have already started writing (and OMG do I love writing it!) It’s called, The Changeling Troll — a different kind of ugly-duckling story.

And I get to giggle.

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Happy House-iversery!

Destiny

Three years ago today, I took possession of my beautiful house.

I’ve never regretted it. I love this place. I continue to feel supported in this wonderful environment. I feel as though I can be more creative because I have such a great place in which I can be creative.

I’m merely the steward of this place. It was built in 1910. It will (hopefully) continue on after I sell it.

So this is to you house. I’m so happy you came into my life, that I can possibly make you a little bit better for the next people as well.

The view of my backyard from the kitchen window:
my back yard

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Gracie and the Whirligig now available!

Gears

Gracie and the Whirligig

Gracie and the Whirligig

is now available!

Everyone up in the hills thinks Mama’s touched.

And maybe she is. Or maybe she isn’t.

But when a fire burns our still to the ground, I got no one to rely on but her.

And that damned flying machine, that whirligig, that she probably stole.

This is the origin story for Gracie, however, it isn’t the first story about her that I wrote. That story will be available come July 1st.

In the meanwhile, get to know Gracie and her mama and how she came down outta the hills to learn automatronics.

Available for $2.99 as an ebook.

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Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Passion

Marv

Next week, I start writing the next novel. (Yes, this is a full time job.) It’s War Among the Crocodiles, the conclusion of The Shadow Wars trilogy, that started with The Raven and the Dancing Tiger and continued in The Guardian Hound.

This weekend, I’ll start looking at my notes for the series. Next week, I’ll spend some time re-reading those novels, as well as doing research. Like the other books, this novel has a historic base, and I need to get some of the facts into my head. I have a general idea of the history of the times I’ll be writing in–but there are some specifics I need to pick up as well.

However, as important as all of that is to the process, what’s more important is that I’ll be building excitement for the project again.

As a writer, I need to be passionately involved with whatever I’m writing. From this post about writing quickly you’ll note that one third of that triangle involves passion, excitement. For me, that’s vital. I must be passionate about what I’m writing. I must love it, think that it’s the coolest thing evah, fiercely want to share my vision with the world.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

When I find myself losing passion, I always stop and look at why. Is it because I’m writing the wrong thing? (This happens the most frequently.) Is it because I need to go do more research? (Occasionally this is the case.) Or am I actually tired/sick/burned out? (This happens as well, though in recent years, because I’ve gotten so much better, it’s rare as opposed to often.)

I’ve given myself more time to write this novel, which honestly, going into the project, is a relief. I will still drive myself to succeed, to complete this novel quickly, because that’s just me. But that I have some breathing room to think things through, to do research, to plot and plan…it feels like heaven.

I know I could probably write this novel more quickly than I’m planning. However, taking some extra time doesn’t make me lazy. Instead, it insures that I’ll also be able to write the next novel. And the next. And the next. And that I’ll be able to keep that passionate involvement with each and every work.

Because in the end, that’s still the most vital thing, that get my butt into the chair, fingers on the keyboard.

Passion.

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Righteous anger

Topiary

The last couple of weeks I’ve been going through both copy edits as well as first reader comments.

Most of the comments are fabulous. I find myself nodding in agreement, or going, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Or just accepting and moving on.

However, every once in a while, I run across something that just makes my blood boil. It might just be a word change, or a simple piece of punctuation. (Something bigger and I tend to not get angry so much.)

Those who know me, know I’m pretty easy going. I’m not necessarily quick to anger. The reaction I have is out of proportion to the change that’s being requested. I’m aware of this. I still react this way.

Fortunately, one of my mentors finally explained this reaction to me.

If I react with anger, it’s because the change is messing with my Voice.

Things sound a particular way in my head, how a character says something. If a change messes with the way that sounds, I shouldn’t accept that change. However, if something in the draft has confused a first reader, I should redraft it so it’s more clear, using my words, my Voice.

It’s funny, but fonts also sometimes make me react this way. I’ve flowed a book into a POD format, changed the font, and got pissed off. The font was Not Right. It had, somehow changed the Voice of the piece.

I once heard someone describe font as the clothes your words wear. The basic structure is still there, the bones, but the font dresses them up. Or down.

So–pay attention when you get angry at a comment. Possibly you’re being unreasonable. I try always to be a reasonable person. Rational.

But sometimes, that anger is a clue.

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Make it not broke

Destiny

I’m in the middle of my second draft for Poisoned Pearls. It’s been going well. As expected, I’ve added a bunch of words, even in the sections where I wasn’t adding new scenes (of which I’ve already added two.)

I like this novel a whole lot more now that I can step back and look at it. I always try to practice new things with every novel, and with this one, I was working on Voice with Setting. It’s one of the reasons why it turned out to be Urban Fantasy, because the city of Minneapolis is a character. As is the winter weather.

I will finish the “make it not broke draft” this weekend and send it off to my first readers. I’ve spent a lot more time reading this one out loud as part of the make it not broke process, because my ear always catches things my eye misses. Plus, it’s a much better check for me for Voice.

This past weekend, I had a mini-meltdown. (I’m not prone to meltdowns, mini or otherwise.) I took a realistic look at my schedule, and finally forced myself to admit that I can’t keep up the writing pace I have been. I’ve been trying, really hard, but I just can’t. I know other writers can. I don’t have the muscles or know-how or what have you.

So I had to change my entire writing schedule, what I had planned to write, for this year and next year, to take into account the slower pace. As well as change my publishing schedule. I have some holes in it now, that I hope I’ll be able to fill later.

I think I’ll be happier at the slower pace. I’m certainly more sane, and have done things this week like cleaned the house, laundry and dishes–those things that have been piling up.

I still wish I could write more, write faster, write better. And maybe someday, I will be able to. But for now, I’m giving myself a little more time to think and to breathe.

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Lazy

The Road

One of the things that I continue to work on for myself is my perception of myself as essentially a lazy being.

On the one hand, I know I’m lazy. I spend an awful lot of time goofing off, reading blogs, playing games, etc.

On the other hand, I’m also aware that I’m not actually that lazy. I get a tremendous number of things done. Other people certainly don’t see me as lazy.

My most recent novel, Poisoned Pearls, that I finished writing today (woo hoo!) is a prime example of this.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Burning Flowers now available!

Osaka


Burning Flowers

Burning Flowers CoverCollection now available!

See China through a wide range of characters, like a little girl in the Tang Dynasty determined to honor her sister, or an old woman in the Qing Dynasty who believes she has the best daughter, or even a boy on a Chinese colony in space.

These unexpected stories carry you far away, then back again, leaving you wanting more.

Fox and Hound originally appeared in Fiction River: Hex and the City.

Sisters originally appeared in Fiction River: Unnatural Worlds.

Stories include:
Fox and Hound
Old Friends
The Dutiful Daughter
Dragon’s Son
The Tortoise and the Maiden
Sisters

Available for $5.99 as an ebook, $9.95 as a trade paperback from Createspace.

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Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Cascadia Poetry Festival Time!

Fall Leaves

This weekend, May 1 – 4, is the Cascadia Poetry Festival!

My publisher, Knotted Road Press is one of the sponsors of this festival.

Hope to see you there!

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Appearance tonight redux!

Flying Home

If you’re in the Portland area and want to come see me read from my new book When The Moon Over Kualina Mountain Comes come to the SFWA Northwest Reading Series.

It’ll be starting at 7 PM on Wednesday May 30 at Kennedy School, Portland, OR.

Hope to see you there!

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

When the Moon Now Available!

Tower

When the Moon Over Kualina Mountain Comes CoverMy latest novel, When The Moon Over Kualina Mountain Comes is now available!

When the red moon rises directly over Kualina Mountain, madness follows.

–Southern Islands proverb

Centuries ago, fate forced the witches to move from the mainland to the Southern Islands. The peace-loving people there accepted and welcomed them.

Now, centuries later, the gods begin to make their will known again.

Ephanie, a young northern witch, waits impatiently. The certainty of youth fills her, assures her that she will do important things in her life. Then her destiny finds her, but it isn’t what she thought it would be.

Jahaka also waits, but for a sign. As head priestess of the northern witches, she despises the changes she sees in the witches, the corruption of their magic. How can she lead her people back to purity?

Mahina lives in the jungle, unclear which dreams come from her and which belong to her sisters. Until the goddess gives her a sign and the southern witches come back into their power.

Each of them must follow her own destiny to the bitter end, despite the cost.

All the while, war surfs toward them, carried on western winds.

A name is just a vase for the girl until it overflows into the woman.

–Northern proverb

Download Sample

Available for $5.99 as an ebook, $14.95 as a trade paperback from Createspace.

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But wait! There’s more!
Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Story Inspiration Sunday

Flying Home

I blog about inspiration both here and over at Book View Cafe. Feel free to comment either here or over there!

This week, I’m afraid, is again going to be about a different type of inspiration.

However, this week was also very different.

I hadn’t planned it this way. It was my choice.

This week turned out to be the last week I worked my day job.

formerly-caged

Let me explain.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Beyond the Mirror now available!

Destiny

Back in 2011, when I first formed Knotted Road Press, I knew that I wanted to publish authors other than myself.

Today, that vision has come to fruition!

Beyond the Mirror: Fantastic Worlds

Beyond the Mirror: Fantastic Worlds a collection of short stories written by Blaze Ward, is available at all the major outlets, including paper back.

Here’s the blurb:

Wizards, warriors, professional adventurers, and actors trapped in a role. Here is a collection of fantasy short stories set in fantastic worlds: From an Imperial Rome that never was, to forgotten towers on the edge of the Wastelands, to a magical mirror, and beyond.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be publishing this work. I’m linking to the collection, but all the short stories are also available individually. (And yes, more than one of these stories is also available in paperback.

Enjoy!

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Story Inspiration Sunday

Bench

I blog about inspiration both here and over at Book View Cafe. Feel free to comment either here or over there.

I haven’t been doing a lot of writing this week. Instead, I’ve been focused on covers for books my press is releasing next week, as well as a new home page.

Revamping the web site has been daunting. I’m redoing all the book pages, adding buy buttons, and generally slicking up the place. (An example of a new page: The Popcorn Thief page.)

I just have to keep reminding myself that I only have to take one bite at a time. There are a ton of things that I still want to do for the web site. But I’ve done a lot of the major things at this point.

One of the major things that I did the last week was to test two products for creating my catalog of books: MyBookTable and WP-Catalogue.

Both of these products have pluses and minuses. I spent a lot of time studying both. If you’re not tech-savy, I would recommend MyBookTable – it has a lot of functionality out of the box that’s great. (Here’s an example of a site with MyBookTable implemented.)

I ended up choosing WP-Catalogue for my site mainly because of the greater flexibility in categories that it gave me.

So how does this tie into inspiration?

This week hasn’t been about “laying fallow” – not really. I’ve still been creating. But I’ve learned over the years that I need to be creative in more than one aspect, regularly. Just writing isn’t enough. I need to do artwork, or knitting, or painting, or making music, or something else, some other form of art, to fill the writing well more.

Next week I’ll be back on the writing train. I have a novel to finish, after all. But I needed this “break” as it were, to do other things, fill the well.

How about you? Do you do other art or creative endeavors? Do they aid in your creativity and writing?

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Cataversary

Kiera
I kept Kiera in the bathroom when I first brought her home. She hid from me under the bathtub for the first couple of days. I kept Kiera in the bathroom when I first brought her home. She hid from me under the bathtub for the first couple of days.

Eight years ago today, I brought my kitty Kiera home from a no-kill cat shelter. They guestamated she was about one-and-a-half years old at that point. They'd given her the name Little Miss. She'd been abandoned in an apartment by the people who had owned her before me.

Kiera early days Kiera early days

It took over a year for her to really trust me. She's still afraid of my feet, but not as freaked out by them as she once was. She still likes to play, and races around my house like a crazy thing on a daily basis.

The princess laying in front of her castle with her sparkly balls. The princess with her sparkly balls.

She's my constant companion, hanging out with me much of the day, as well as curled up against me purring all night. She's really only my cat--she barely tolerates anyone else, though she has warmed up to a few people. Then again, there are still days when she barely tolerates me.

The Olympics of Sleep - Twisted back lungeThe Olympics of Sleep - Twisted back lunge

So here's to you my Little Miss, my purring companion. The last eight years have been fabulous. Let's go at least another eight.

The princess in her castle The princess in her castle

Of course, she still sometimes sleeps with one eye open... Of course, she still sometimes sleeps with one eye open...

SFWA reading series event

BigDaddyMeats

Next month, I’ll be participating in SFWA’s Pacific Northwest Reading Series! And no, I have no idea what I’ll be reading. Possibly from the newest novel, “When the Moon Over Kualani Mountain Rises.” Or maybe a short story, written for the event. We’ll see.

On Tuesday, April 29 in the Seattle area, we’ll have Nebula- and Hugo-winning writer Nancy Kress, accompanied by Jack Skillingstad and me. The University Bookstore will be on hand, selling books and all the authors will be available to sign.

When: Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: Wilde Rover Irish Pub & Restaurant, 111 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033

On Wednesday, April 30 in Portland, we’ll have bestselling writer Mike Moscoe, along with Ray Vukcevich and me again. Wrigley-Cross Books will be selling books and all the authors will be available to sign.

When: Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: McMenamins Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave. Portland, OR 97211

See http://www.sfwa.org/for-readers/sfwa-northwest-reading-series/ for more information on both readings.

I hope you can join us! It should be a lot of fun. Tell your friends!

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Two more short story sales!

My Office

Past Crime

I sold two short stories to the Fiction River anthology series! One to Past Crime and one to Pulse Pounders! More details to follow later when I can brain again.

FR-Pulse-Pounders-ebook-cover-web-194x300

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Story Inspiration Sunday

Sunrise

I blog about inspiration both here on my blog and over at Book View Cafe. Feel free to comment either here or there.

rejection

I’ve spent the last week on the Oregon Coast, at a writing workshop. It’s actually been more business than craft, as I’ve been attending the anthology workshop.

After listening to six different editors opinions on 40+ professionally written stories, I can tell you that this post is absolutely true. You could have five editors all say, “Loved this story. Would have bought it.” Then the editor with the checkbook, who could actually buy the story, say, “Nope. Didn’t like it. Doesn’t fit.”

One of the things that was also very interesting was hearing an editor say, “I don’t like X in my stories,” such as carnival stories, stories where children are endangered, stories with magical snowmen, etc. Which would prompt me, the writer, to think, “Okay, don’t send that type of story to that editor.”

Then the next story, that editor would say, “I don’t like X in my stories. This one was so well done I would buy it anyway.”

One of the other interesting things was hearing stories about editors who reject a story, and then, two-three years later, receiving an email that says, “I just can’t get that story out of my head, have you sold it? Can I have it?”

So again, I agree with this post. There is no perfect story. You are never going to write a story that is a guaranteed sale to a market. For that matter, even if you are invited to write in an anthology, there’s still not guarantee that the editor won’t reject the story and tell you to rewrite it or submit something else.

But beyond the networking that I’ve done here, and all the things I’ve learned, one of the reasons I come to these workshops is because these people are my people. This is my family. I adore these people, and despite the exhaustion, they’re still clever and fun.

And that’s the inspiration part of this post. (See? I knew I could get there.)

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Story Inspiration Sunday

Telephone poles

inspiration_road

This week’s inspiration is a bit different. Okay, so most of these posts are a bit different. This one s a little bit more so.

I’ve been writing full time now for a few weeks. And by writing, I mean standing (or sitting) at my keyboard for most of the day making stuff up and writing the next novel.

I’m pleased with the progress: I’m a bit over 40,000 words into a 60,000 word novel. I achieved that in about eight days.

But how did I do that? I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have an outline. I had a few vague clues about what the novel would be about. Didn’t know where it was going. Didn’t know how it was going to end.

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Travel Research – The Popcorn Thief

Travel Writer

One of the advantages that a writer like J. D. Horn and The Line has while writing about Georgia and Savannah is that he was born in rural Tennessee. I am a mid-western girl, I wasn’t raised in rural Kentucky.

There are things I can do to overcome this, however, and in general, to write about areas that I (used to) know nothing about.

For example, I spent the summer listening to farm reports from Kentucky on an internet radio station, to get the accent in my head.

I also firmly believe that I should travel to areas I’m writing about, if possible (and then write off as much of the trip as I’m able to as a business expense.)

So this summer I went and spent time in Kentucky, doing research for the novel The Popcorn Thief.

Popcorn Thief Final

The blurb for the novel:

Franklin loves popcorn.

He used to love his mama more. Then she died, but didn’t pass on, and now haunts him like all the other ghosts. Only popcorn brings him solace.

Every year, Franklin competes against Karl for the Kentucky State Fair blue ribbon prize for the best popping corn.

When an angry ghost leaves an ear of corn–stolen from Karl’s crop, with Franklin’s fingerprints on it–at the scene of a murder, Franklin knows his troubles just started.

While I was in Kentucky, I spent an entire day at the Kentucky State fair. Of course, I spent a lot of time admiring the blue ribbon prize for the best popping corn:

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As well as admiring the most perfect ear of corn:

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After the day at the fair, I spent an entire day driving through the countryside near Louisville, going down back country roads, looking for the town that Franklin would be from. I found Harrodsberg. A lot of the descriptions of the town of Katherinesville (which is Franklin’s town) are based directly on Harrodsberg.

The building that’s the second from the right used to be a Kroger grocery store, which is where Franklin works.

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I even found the judicial center, which is just up the street from the Kroger.

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Could I have written the novel without traveling to Kentucky? Of course. But by doing a research trip, I felt as though I was able to get a much more authentic piece of fiction, as it were. Plus, the trip inspired me, giving me great details to add to the book.

Read the first two chapters as a PDF.

The Popcorn Thief — available for $5.99 as an ebook, $14.95 paperback

From Book View Cafe

From Amazon

From Barnes and Noble

From Smashwords

From Kobo

From CreateSpace, as a trade paperback

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

The Popcorn Thief Now Available!

Flying Home

Popcorn Thief FinalThe Popcorn Thief is now available!

The blurb:

Franklin loves popcorn.

He used to love his mama more. Then she died, but didn’t pass on, and now haunts him like all the other ghosts. Only popcorn brings him solace.

Every year, Franklin competes against Karl for the Kentucky State Fair blue ribbon prize for the best popping corn.

When an angry ghost leaves an ear of corn–stolen from Karl’s crop, with Franklin’s fingerprints on it–at the scene of a murder, Franklin knows his troubles just started.

I love this novel. I really enjoyed writing it.

Generally speaking, when people ask if me if I have a favorite novel, I respond that the novel I’m currently writing is my favorite. And for the most part, that’s true. I am having a blast writing the current novel.

On the other hand, I still really love Popcorn Thief. It’s quirky, weird, and fun.

Read the first two chapters of the novel as a PDF

It’s available for $5.99 as an ebook, and $14.95 as a trade paperback.

From Book View Cafe

From Amazon

From Barnes and Noble

From Smashwords

From Kobo

From CreateSpace, as a trade paperback

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Story Inspiration Sunday

The Road

Since I’m on sabbatical for the day job, I’ve been trying to learn how to write full time.

I know that I’m a bit ahead of other writers just starting out, as I have worked at home for the day job for 13+ years. So the suddenly being home all the time hasn’t been a shock. I know how to be disciplined, so I can get stuff done during the day when there’s no one around.

However, writing full time is different than doing the day job. Though I’m mostly self-directed in the day job, the tasks are discrete.

Writing full time means: Writing. Then, more writing. And then, writing some more!

keep-calm-and-write-more-1

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Travel Tuesday Post

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Subtitled: The art of traveling light

For the New Zealand trip, I think I traveled the lightest I ever have. I was traveling in a developed country, and I wasn’t planning on camping, and those decisions helped lighten my pack–it isn’t that I’m a packing/traveling genius or something.

But I still felt smug every time I passed long lines of people either checking in their luggage, or waiting for it to be returned. The second morning of my trip I walked, without doubt or hesitation, about 45 minutes from the hostel to the train station. Just threw on my pack, slung my other bag over my shoulder, and off I went.

What was I traveling with? A small green backpack and an over the shoulder bag. I traveled for three weeks with just these.

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Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.

Story Inspiration Sundays

Topiary

I blog about inspiration both here and over at Book View Cafe. Feel free to comment either here or there.

I’ve finally finished the last (sixth) short story for my anthology workshop!

WOO AND HOO!

I’ve actually really enjoyed the process of being given a general idea about what the anthology theme is, then being told, “Go!”

Then again, I like writing prompts.

stop-writing

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.