Friday, December 20, 2013

What are you doing with your NaNoWriMo project?

This year for NaNoWriMo I tackled an epic fantasy book/series that I have been contemplating off and on for over a decade. I'm naturally inclined to write shorter works and the only previous NaNoWriMo that I won involved a story that, to my dismay, was completed at 50k. I have been working on my capacity for longer stories for years and at the beginning of this year I was finally able to buckle down and weave and outline that would serve this particular project.

Then, come November 1, I sat down at the computer, terrified...
and wrote 87k before Thanksgiving.
I'm still not sure how that happened.

Now comes a task that is equally monumental: Editing. I'm not ready to do that quite yet. I'm planning to start just after New Years, because it is either that or wait until long after the baby is born (wheee!).

Any one else? Have you started editing yet? Any methods you want to share with us? I have no real plan except to read it over from beginning to end, fix descriptive inconsistencies first, then tackle any plot problems. I'd love to know who is suffering through editing at the same time.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hear My Voice!

No, that's not a play on words in reference to the Bible. Well, OK, now it is.

I have had the pleasure of narrating two stories this season and I wanted to make sure you didn't miss them! The most recent was produced at Parsec award-winning Cast of Wonders:

"Black Hole Sun" by Kelli Dunlap and Alethea Kontis

When Cast of Wonders asked me to do this story, I saw Alethea Kontis' name and fan girl squealed, frightening my husband. Alethea Kontis is one of the few authors that I both adore and have had the pleasure of meeting in person. Her book "Hero," sequel to the lovely, "Enchanted," just came out and I can't wait to get my hands on it. But, uh, I also learned that I have been pronouncing her name incorrectly for years. Thankfully her author website tells you how to pronounce it and, yes, it's pronounced correctly in my reading.

Now, Cast of Wonders contacted me because they heard me in the Drabblecast (also Parsec award-winning!) earlier this season, so, you should, too:

"Twenty Ways the Desert Could Kill You" by Sarah Pinkster

Wow, both of these stories are a bit apocalyptic, aren't they? They were both a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoyed voicing them!

It's unlikely I'll be voicing any thing else until later next year. Baby #3 is due at the end of January and when I was recording "Black Hole Sun" I could already feel my reduced breath capacity. Silly babies.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review: Cracked by Eliza Crewe

Hello, folks! I am happy to post a review for YA Report and even happier that "Cracked" by Eliza Crewe is a distinctly Christian book:

Cracked, Book One of the Soul Eaters Series by Eliza Crewe, is a Christian urban fantasy where the fight against good and evil is quite literal. Meda, our antihero protagonist, begins the novel as a soul eater on the run after having lost her only connection to the human world. During one of her feedings, she attracts the attention of both the Demons and the Templars, two sides in a war that she didn’t even know existed. When teen Templar Chi mistakes her for a hapless human victim, Meda decides to roll with it and return with him to Templar head quarters, where she hopes to learn more about her own powers and the powers that be. Her arrival tips the war off balance and soon she must chose sides. No matter what she chooses, her life will be in danger.

To read the rest of the review, visit the YA Report column at:

If you're wondering about the gap between this and my last YA Report review, the reason is mostly bad luck. There was a rush of wonderful books released in the beginning of the year, and I'm sure there's been some great releases since my last review, but I haven't seen any of them until now. I have received several automated ARCs that were sequels to books I didn't like. If you ever have a book to recommend, shoot me an email at mr.mulington.the.3rd(at)

Happy Thanksgiving, every one!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Daily Writing Schedule

I had to change my daily writing schedule.

That's not the reason you haven't heard from me on here. I've been beta reading a novel and, if you follow me on facebook or twitter, you'll see the reviews I've been doing for Tangent Online.

But some of you may have also noticed a change in the season: school started! No, I'm not going to college (whew). I babysit a grade schooler beginning at 6am every school morning. Over the summer, my children have generally been waking up from 6:30-7:00am and going to bed at 8:30pm and I have been going to bed at 10pm, leaving me about an hour to write in the evenings. There's not a lot of wiggle room in that kind of schedule. So, I started setting my alarm for 5:50am with the plan to do my writing while the older child does a quiet activity.

Does that sound insane to you? I used to have to get up even earlier when my oldest child was 1yo and decided that waiting for the sun to rise is for underachievers. Was that fun? NOPE. I'm what most people would consider a morning person, who, left to my own devices, wakes up around 9am. Waking up 3-4hrs earlier still sounds insane to me, and the idea of having the clarity of mind to write sounds laughable.

Thankfully, it's worked out better than I had feared. This schedule is still not my first choice and I "sleep in" on the weekend, but most school days I get 45 minutes or so to write and I usually get to bed at a decent time. I'm not as sleepy as I feared I would be, which I attribute to getting dressed immediately and nibbling on something while I open my project. Switching to the netbook also frightened me, but the small keyboard hilariously matches my child-like hands and the equally hilarious slow processing power greatly reduces internet temptations. So, I think the trade off has been about equal. If I could get the kiddos to sleep until 7 every morning instead of randomly, that would make me very happy with my writing time.

Not that I wouldn't switch back to writing in the evening, in an instant! At what age do kids start putting themselves to bed?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Guest Blog - The Editing Process for Self Pub

Guest Blog by Lauren Harris of Ink-Stained Scribe and Pendragon Variety Podcast. Find her on goodreads, facebook, and twitter, too!

Confession: I’m a grammar nerd. That may not shock anyone--I mean, this is a post about editing. Then again, not all writers are pedantic about punctuation. I am. In fact, I’m so picky about proper semicolon usage that I legit got an eye twitch reading a poorly-punctuated article this week.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I’m perfect. My friend Abbie, author of The Guild of the Cowry Catchers, once mentioned that fans of her books constantly send her emails to point out flaws in spelling or punctuation, and I know from experience that even her first drafts are fairly clean.

Copy editing is the second most important step of preparing your manuscript for self-publishing, because readers are honestly looking for any reason not to buy your book (and often, blocked writers and artists are looking for any evidence that they are somehow superior, though they have not yet sent their work out into the world, and correcting someone else’s work scratches that itch). Mostly, though, it’s because people have shit to do. Read a book with a careless comma-splice in the second paragraph? Ain’t nobody got time for that. At least, not the folks who buy your books on Amazon.

Now you’re probably wondering what the most important step is (or what I think it is, since I’m not exactly the arbiter of Indie Press Quality Control). It’s having a fantastic story/book.

Don’t roll your eyes because you’ve heard that before--we’re still talking about editing here. Part of having a fantastic story or book is the messy, painful process of delivering your brain-baby onto the page (eww). Like a baby, you’re going to be pretty protective of it for a while. You may want to show it to everyone, but if you do show your folks the product of your head-womb (how’s that for a kenning?), they sure as Loki’s got shiny gold horns better say only good things.

Because your baby is vulnerable.

Because you’re one cup of coffee short of a postpartum meltdown and not quite ready to hear that it’s wrinkly, red, squinty, stinky, and there’s a penis-shaped birthmark on the back of your thought-baby’s head. Or maybe it’s not a baby at all. Maybe you wanted a sci-fi baby and ended up with a changeling dystopian-horror baby without legs.

Whatever. Put your baby in a drawer.*

One of the great things about indie pub is having complete creative control, but you probably want to have complete creative control over something that sells enough copies to construct a scale replica of Gondor in your local park. I mean, I do. For your baby to grow into that kind of mass-appeal monster, you’ve got to operate on it Dr. Frankenstein-style (but this is the 21st Century, so get a second opinion). Before you gnash your teeth about selling out, I am not talking about writing for the market or for what’s popular. I’m talking about finding the core of awesome in your story and helping it achieve its full potential.

For that, you need the developmental edit. A developmental edit (also sometimes called a substantive or substantial edit) is content editing--it focuses on things like structure, worldbuilding, character, style, theme, pacing, and other macro-level issues. In other words, this is the type of editing where a beta reader or paid professional clears their throat and says, “Hey look, your baby isn’t a sci-fi baby, but it is already a really cool dystopian-horror baby, you just have to give it legs and get a hat to cover up that penis-shaped birthmark.”

Not every story needs developmental editing. Sometimes we end up with stories that leap from our brains like Athena, gray-eyed, fully-formed and dressed in shiny, shiny armor. Chances are, though, if you’ve written a longer story, your brain baby looks a little more like Hephaestus.

In a moment, I’ll go over a few ways to go about getting a developmental edit, but first I’m going to share with you why this was such an important stage for me in the process of working on EXORCISING AARON NGUYEN.

After writing the first draft, I shared it with a few critique partners in my local group, who had a few comments, but didn’t have a ton to say about it one way or the other. Something nagged at me, because I knew I was missing some crucial element that kept it from being a great story.

I sent the manuscript to my friend Ian, who is a published author and a really stellar beta reader. He gave me back about half a page of comments, but it was one criticism in particular that really hit the nail on the head: I had set up a murder mystery, and I hadn’t delivered one. I made that bit too easy.

Partly, that was because I was resistant to writing mystery. I hadn't really read mystery unless you counted Harry Potter or my early years reading The Boxcar Children, so I hadn’t felt qualified to write it. Problem was, he was absolutely right--the murder mystery element of my story was weak, and that flaw in structure kept the story from being all it could. So I did some brainstorming with my writing group and realized that, in order to really make the story awesome, I had to rewrite most of it.

I’m so glad I did. I went from having a story I was okay with to a story I really adore, and that edit not only fixed the issue of the mystery, it helped me come up with a few characters who articulated the theme of the story more profoundly in my second draft.

After finishing the second draft, I was on twitter and ended up winning an edit from Alice M. (@notveryalice), who was new to YA, but a very keen eye and even more of a grammar goose-stepper than me. She helped me focus my characters and clarify the worldbuilding.

So how do you go about getting a developmental edit? Like almost everything, it requires some combination of time (yours or other people’s) and money. Here’s how the combination falls:

  • Hire an editor ($$$$, a little time, big reward)
  • Get a critique partner (free, lots of time if you’re swapping work, no enforced time-limit, reward depends on beta reader)
  • Edit it yourself (free, but the most time-consuming option, results depend on your closeness to the material and how good of an editor you are)

This last one can be done in a number of ways, but if you’re going to do it, I recommend using Holly Lisle’s “How to Revise Your Novel” course. I know she’s closed the course, but you can still purchase the lessons as ebooks. They were extraordinarily helpful to me in learning about structure and spotting the problems in my own work.

The final advice I have for editing your manuscript is to read it out loud, for an audience if possible. You will hear all sorts of things when you read your own work carefully, and it can be beneficial to read your own dialog and see if it sounds like something a person might actually say. Harrison Ford once famously told George Lucas, “You can write that shit, George, but you can’t say it.”

I’m a narrator and voice actress as well as a writer, and it’s amazing the number of typos, misspellings, and sentence-rearrangement artifacts get left in published work. I’ve found loads in the books I’ve narrated, and a good number of them in my own work as I read it out loud.

So, when your head-baby has languished in a drawer for a few weeks, give it another look over and see if you notice anything that needs a little surgery, then get some content feedback from a beta-reader, an editor, a course, or the voices in your head. Once you’re happy with your baby’s basic form, have it copy edited (again, this can be hired out, begged, or done yourself, but if you do it yourself, I recommend reading it backwards sentence-by-sentence). Then read that baby out-loud, give it it’s final Dr. Frankenstein nip-tuck and send it out into the world to terrorize the locals.

Oh, yeah. And I’m supposed to do that promotion thing. Read my YA Paranormal novella, EXORCISING AARON NGUYEN. You will laugh at least once, though hopefully not at a wayward comma.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pendragon Variety: In Memory of Dragons - Live at Amazon!

You can now find our ebook at:





Pendragon Variety presents "In Memory of Dragons," a themed speculative fiction anthology dedicated to the memory of Anne McCaffrey. Forward by Cat Rambo and stories by David B. Coe, Sam Schreiber, Matthew Healey, Melissa Prange, Cindy Ray, Rachel Bellairs, and Lauren Harris, with a dedication by Rosemary Tizledoun and afterward by Michelle "Mica" Ristuccia. Visit our website at for more information.


We'll let you know when the book is available for purchase elsewhere. We are working on meeting Smashwords' requirements for distribution in their premium catalog, at which point it would be available at most online retailers.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ebook Release: "Pendragon Variety - In Memory of Dragons"

Pendragon Variety, the podcast for aspiring genre writers, which I have been a cohost in for - wow, have we been running three years? - is releasing its first publication, an e-magazine dedicated to the memory of Anne McCaffrey. The magazine will later be released in audio as a serialized podcast.

Not only am I quite pleased to announce our first e-publication, I am extra tickled to put this down as an example of my ebook formatting services, which you can learn more about by clicking the Ebook Service tab above.

The release date? July 30! Until then, here's a blurb for you:

Pendragon Variety presents "In Memory of Dragons," a themed speculative fiction anthology dedicated to the memory of Anne McCaffrey. Forward by Cat Rambo and stories by David B. Coe, Sam Schreiber, Matthew Healey, Melissa Prange, Cindy Ray, Rachel Bellairs, and Lauren Harris, with a dedication by Rosemary Tizledoun and afterward by Michelle "Mica" Ristuccia. Visit our website at for more information.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review: Trees and Other Wonders by Stephen Case

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing "Trees and Other Wonders," a short story collection by Stephen Case, an author I'd run into doing reviews for TangentOnline. Based on the stories I'd already read by him, I expected greatness, and I was not disappointed:


“Trees and Other Wonders” by Stephen Case is a collection of 12 SF/F short stories and novelettes, 10 of which are reprints from respected SF/F magazines and 2 of which cannot be found anywhere else in print. Several of the magazines which these stories appear in are pay only, so the anthology is a good value. The majority of the 12 stories represent a solid range of science fiction and fantasy which showcases Stephen Case's versatility as a professional genre writer.

1. The Stone Oaks
“The Stone Oaks” is a fantasy novelette that tells the story of a nun apprentice who quickly finds that her task of magically strengthening the abbey's ancient oak grove is fraught with mystery and danger. When soldiers arrive to investigate the grove, they set into motion a series of tragic events that play on the apprentice's – and our – naivete.

For a story told in first person, “The Stone Oaks” is not heavy on introspection or internal dialogue, and its strength lies in showing rather than telling, mostly in the form of delightful, poetic descriptions of magic. Case's careful foreshadowing keeps the ending a surprise, and the falling action, after the big reveal, is a bit of a tease and leaves plenty of room for follow-up stories. That being said, “The Stone Oaks” delivers on the big mystery and leaves the reader with the impression that there is an open, dangerous world outside of the safe confines of the abbey.

2. My Bicycle, 4500 AD
“My Bicycle, 4500 AD” is a short, concise, fun piece with an edge of the absurd.  I love the idea of a anti-zombie bicycle-stealing time traveler. The comedic buildup allowed me to guess the ending just in time to truly enjoy it. It's a sign of a good flash piece when the protagonist goes unnamed, but you don't notice until afterward.

3. The Story of the Ship that Brought Us Here
“The Story of the Ship that Brought Us Here” give fairy tale and epic fantasy archetypes an invigorating scifi makeover dressed in gorgeous prose. With a Sleeping Beauty whose mother is a tree and a prince not-so-charming who inhabits three bodies simultaneously, it's no wonder that this short story feels very big for 6,000 words.

I love the high SF ideas, from the planet that sleeping beauty comes from, to the envoy who comes to fetch her, to the prince's title of “The Prince of the Fair Worlds and the Glorious Clusters.” The build up at the end loses me a bit and makes me wish that that the end was longer, and that it was only the beginning of a larger story.

4. Barstone
Told from the first person  POVof a man who discovers that the park is actually the giant Tome's prone body, this cute little fantasy genre romance adds welcome diversity to Stephen Case's collection. With its mention of the laws of energy, you could almost peg the story as slipstream. The feel, though, is definitely that of fantasy.

5. What I Wrote for Andronicus
Lovers of mythology will enjoy “What I Wrote for Andronicus” for its epic Greek feel, as conveyed by Harold Half-Helm's first person POV. You don't have to be a mythology expert to love this story for its epic humor, though, which ranges from the obvious adult references to the subtle ending. If you had to cut down a tree older than the gods themselves, what would you fashion from its wood? This is another entertaining read that feels delightfully more expansive than its 4,700 words.

“A Shot in the Back of the Head” introduces us to a near-future where machines that can vaguely predict a person's death inspire panic in those who use them. In this case, two lovers who read each other's death predictions end up miserable and contribute to their self-fulfilling prophecies.

Like most stories about fate, this one is a bit dramatic. Since the main character is a military sniper, there is a bit of cursing and a lot of moral ambiguity. I found the story interesting and was happy to see another set in the same universe later on in the collection.

7. The Silver Khan
“The Silver Khan” is a wonderfully crafted fantasy novelette that follows the first person narrative of a spy attempting the ferret out the mystery of the Silver Khan's flying castle. As we explore the castle grounds and the ominous silver statues, we get the impression of a larger fantasy world of which this 9,000 word novelette is only a sliver. When our spy solves the mystery, he gets a good old fashioned life-and-death conflict for his troubles, and we get a tight, action-filled ending that turns a few traditional fantasy elements on their heads.

This fantasy-mystery is one of my favorites in the collection.

8. Starlight, Her Sepulchre
“Starlight, Her Sepulchre” is a straight-up horror SF that takes us to the far future where human soldiers who die war are regenerated in special ships, where this story takes place.  The story follows a caretaker scientist on board who notices that a frequent visitor has developed an unhealthy  obsession with a certain regeneration pod.  You may think that this story does not take place on the front lines. We'll see if you feel that way by the end.

9. Read this quickly, for you will only have a moment . . .
“Read this quickly, for you will only have a moment . . .” is a thoroughly engaging fantasy flash story that plunges us in medias res by way of a conspiratorial love letter with jail break instructions. This wonderful example of flash fiction shows us the beginning and the end of the story all at once, while only technically showing us the middle. I often dislike open endings but this bittersweet one stole my heart.

This is my favorite story in the entire collection, despite the tough competition.

10. The Glorious Revolution
“The Glorious Revolution” is another great story that appears to be fantasy at the beginning but then takes us into a bigger-picture SF conflict. This novelette is written in first person as an address to the main character's lover, who has more or less ended up on the opposite side of the revolutionary war. Our protagonist endeavors to explain his change of heart, having begun as a revolutionary spy and now standing on the side of the King. But when his lover and her soldiers arrive, it is not the typical clash of swords that you might expect, because the King and our protagonist know something that will change the course of the revolution.

Sentient animals and interplanetary ships – this story is epic.

“Bonus Track 2: LIGHT AND NOISE AND PAIN” brings us back to the near-future world of machines that can predict a person's death. Because of its placement in the collection, the story does not bother re-explaining the premise. Although this one also explores the theme of fate, it has a completely different set of characters and accomplishes a different feel that at some points venture into dark humor.

12. Driving East
Don't let “Driving East” through you  for a loop with its real-life setup; it is definitely fantasy, what with the moon getting stuck in a tree.  With a light, humorous tone (complete with a bit of cursing) and a great ending, the 3,000 word fantasy adventure tale wraps up the collection nicely.

13. Afterword
You know an anthology is good when you actually read the afterword, like I did!

Click here and purchase to enjoy "Trees and Other Wonders," by Stephen Case. :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Published: "I Must Be Dead" at

My science fiction flash story, "I Must Be Dead" has just been published at Kazka Press!

Check it out.

Friday, May 31, 2013

I was productive except for Dr. Who

After a flurry of editing, submitting, reviewing, etc., I treated myself by catching up on this past season of Dr. Who. By no coincidence, this coincided with a week where the kiddos woke up an hour early, didn't nap, or went to bed late every day of a week. They are back on schedule now, and so am I! I have been finalizing the ebook for Pendragon Variety - Issue #1 - In Memory of Dragons. Copyediting and ebook coding has been a wonderful adventure. I'll let you know when it's for sale!

Me on the interwebs:

YA Report: "Never" by K. D. McEntire

YA Report: "Cascade Effect" by Leah Petersen
OSC Intergalactic Medicine Show #33 (May/June 2013)
Fantasy & Science Fiction - May/June 2013
(The above review was mentioned at!)

I just received an acceptance for one of my flash submissions! More details to come.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Project Status Check

I'm the kind of person who likes to have a lot of projects going on at once. I might focus on only one or two in a week, pounding at once until I finish a draft, for instance, but in the bigger picture I have a ten-point bullet list of to-do tasks spanning multiple projects - plus the projects that don't make it to the list for fear of setting up impossible expectations. Anyway, if you have multiple projects, it can be easy to lose track. It's easy to tell yourself that you'll resend or re-edit that story that you just got a rejection for, but then forget when someone else asks you about a project with an actual deadline.

So, I combed through my writing in all of its glories and not-so-glorious stages of draft, editing, and submitting. I've edited, submitted, and researched further submission possibilities. Researching short fiction markets has led to new drafts and ideas for drafts. I feel like I'm getting my balance back as far as fiction v. nonfiction. Whew!

I've also noticed that I need more beta readers. I've been expanding my writing into other age groups, researching middle grade fiction and below. If you're interested in beta reading SFF for young children then definitely give me a ring. Well, a tweet. An email. What-have-you.

And the best of luck with your own project status check!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Requesting: Boots to the Head

If the title has given you a Dr. Demento ear worm, you're welcome!

I've been having a minor problem the past couple of days where I'll write a wee bit by hand during the day, sometimes as if my life depends on it, but then at writing time, doing any thing but writing. I'm not sure if the problem is that I already feel like I've "done" something, which has never been a problem before, but I guess I feel that way a bit... or if it's because I'm writing right after I've had my coffee, but feel it's unwise to have more coffee a mere two hours before bed. Or maybe I'm forgetting my ritual of taking my vitamins before I sit down in my chair and (hopefully) open my goals list.

SHOOT. I knew I was forgetting something!

I blame the weather. And forced disruptions to my routine throughout the week. Darn you, routine disruptions!

Everybody, please send me Boots to the Head in whatever quantities you can spare.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Make Guilt Work for You!

A lot of writers experience a roller coaster of guilt powered by lofty goals crashing into real life. Most of us admire the full time, experienced writers who write the first draft of a 100k novel in a month or appear in every sf/f magazine throughout the year. That's cool! Lofty goals aren't bad as long as you break them down into manageable chunks and make allowances for that real life thing.

But telling ourselves that we're not superheros doesn't mean we don't still feel guilty about it sometimes. There's always that person who's better at that thing you do, and there's always that time that you could have been writing but instead you were hanging out with friends. The question I present to you is, why do we do that?

For instance... I haven't posted here in a month. Could I have? Yes. Technically, physically speaking. But I chose to bump the blog down to a lower writing priority - and writing as a whole had to bump down, too - and there was even one day that I wrote up a blog post about the family medical emergency that blew my month away... and I then I didn't hit submit. The medical emergency was no big secret, and if you're on my facebook you probably know already. But I want this blog to be about what I do get done and how happy I am to share it with you. And, maybe, occasionally, those moments when I'm correctly annoyed at myself for having flubbed something or wasted my time.

So recently, as in, today, I started to feel guilty about not having gotten more done. Hold the phone! Worst month of my life, yes? We've been sick all winter! If I had actually accomplished all my lofty goals this winter, or even since the start of the year, I'd probably be dead from lack of sleep, food, and/or sanity. Why am I suddenly not at peace with this fact?

And then I realized something about myself, or rather, how to put it into words in a way that makes it fit in with the rest of my life. I believe they call that an epiphany. A mini epiphany, at least.

I start to feel guilty when I start feeling capable. Present me says to myself, "I feel great! Let's get things done!" But then she also turns to Past me and wags her finger. "Now I have to pick up your slack! Watch me get this all done in a week!"

I then look at it logically and tell Present me to calm down. But, the emotion is still there. I still feel that twinge of guilt. Do you know what I do with that guilt? I put it to work! So, I say I can get it done in a week? DO it, then! Goodness knows, I might not get a whole week before someone is sick again or something else comes up, so if I DO get that week, I'd better take advantage! When I have the energy for the whirlwind of activity, each thing I get done feels like a notch in my belt.

Although, maybe I'd feel even more accomplished if I stopped planning all my projects as if I'll never get sick. Hmm. Get right on that, Future Me!

(Sure, right after I finish my to do list...)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cross Promotion takes TIME.

Sometimes I forget how much time cross promoting across my social networks can take. That is, until I take an entire afternoon to catch up!

Each individual thing - posting to G+, twitter, Pinterest, writing this blog, sending emails and checking dates for upcoming reviews - most of that takes less than a minute, by itself. It sure does add up, though!

I think it's a great thing to do. I think that promoting the same link on different days can be a benefit, too. I only wish that it felt more like, well, like writing. Also, I have this terrible luck with technology because I'm fairly proficient at the user friendly stuff, but not expert enough to avoid or quickly solve the normal but annoying delays and hiccups. Today Pinterest acted up in my Chrome browser and it felt like it took forever to bring up firefox, log in, and do it there. It probably only took a minute, but, yanno.

I'd probably be less frustrated if I had planned for the evening to go like this. It was more like when you start the clean the living room but then notice something amiss in the kitchen but then notice something in your bedroom... and then you complain that it took you "all day" to clean.

So, this is a complaint and a reminder to myself: sometimes you just need to schedule an hour or two for 'advertising'! It's a necessary component to being a part of the online writing community!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Audio - "Spidersong" by Alex Shvartsman

I had the honor of voicing "Spidersong" by Alex Shvartsman for the excellent Drabblecast Podcast! If you follow my twitter and blog closely, you've seen me complaining about sicknesses in the family and, more specifically, a lingering sore throat preventing me from recording a story. This was that story! I had that cough / sore throat for a MONTH and was deluded / desparate enough to try to record too early. Then as soon as it was gone, I did the final recording and sent Norm Sherman about a thousand takes. He is my audio editing HERO. 

The story is a wonderfully creepy flash piece, and the best part about the Drabblecast is that you get several other creeptastic stories in the same episode. Listen and share! :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Everyone is Sick! But...

Thankfully, I'm the only one not horribly ill, so although I should be sleeping in case tomorrow starts woefully early, I just had to write today! At the beginning of this ick I pushed through several reviews that I needed to write by a deadline, and I was really excited about starting a totally new and different kind of project and then... the REAL sickness came on. Unfortunately, cleaning up puke does not provide inspiration for anything I'm working on right now, haha.

But, like I said, I'm lucky enough not to be sick myself. So I've shortened my writing time, but I'm still determined to have it. 1000 words today on this middle grade adventure story. I've always wanted an excuse to research South and Middle America more after studying it a bit for my Spanish minor in college. Such a fascinating place! And the middle grade part? Well, that's a more recent obsession of mine. A week ago a friend forwarded me a call for submissions to a kids magazine. What she didn't know is that I'd been toying with and taking notes on kids books ideas for the past two months. I thought I might make the attempt some day, but not this soon! I gotta say. It's been fun.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Days of the Week

So, having certain days slated for certain types of writing - like submitting stories on Tuesdays, fiction writing/editing on wed., etc - Yeah. Totally not working out. It is such a joke at this point that I'm abandoning the idea entirely. I thought it would help me keep track of all of my different projects, since I tend to go all out on one or two at a time and sometimes leave another by the wayside. The problem is, that's also the best way for me to finish a project. All at once, over the span of a day or three. If the project is something like a short story, then I tend to work a few days on the first draft, then shelf it for a week, then another solid block of days. And then there's new exciting projects that come up with a short deadline, or I have to wait for a magazine to be released before I can review it, etc. etc.

I tried something different and it didn't work. I'll have to go back to something that meshes with my natural way of doing things. The weekly planning calendar had worked for a while, and part of the reason it stopped working is because I rearranged small pieces of furniture and appliances and, well, made it even harder to reach. Go me! When I was doing the calendar, I was also trying to do different things just about every day, though, and the biggest difference was that being flexible didn't render it useless.

This time I'm going for something more to the point. I really do forget projects entirely. That's one of the reasons I love to do things like write and schedule out a month's worth of the Girl, That's Pinteresting blog at a time. Then I don't have to remember it for a month! So, I'm going to try keeping a Goals list. I've tried to keep goal lists before and they haven't worked because I'll put too many things on there and then get mad at myself when a seriously peripheral project doesn't get worked on at all for months. Yeah, well! Self! Get over it! I'm going to focus on what I think I can get done over the next week or so to keep my goals down to something manageable. Already started with a list of 6 and got it down to 4! Oh, geez. I just remembered something. I guess I should add that, too. Haha!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review and Interview: Tim Lebbon's "London Eye"

Both my review of  "London Eye" by Tim Lebbon and his interview are up at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat!

The Review begins:

London Eye is the first book in the Toxic City series by Tim Lebbon, set in near-future England after London has been cordoned off to contain Evolve, a virus that kills most of its victims and permanently changes its survivors. The government sets up a special forces group called the Choppers to reinforce London’s isolation, but now one of the survivors, Rosemary, has escaped and wants to bring Jack and his friends into the city. Rosemary’s motives are a mystery to Jack, but she has brought a recent photo of Jack’s mother, and the draw of lost family makes up his mind for him – even though Jack must take his younger sister, Emily, along on this insane adventure, because leaving her alone in heavily policed England might be even more dangerous...

The Interview:

TIM LEBBON is a New York Times-bestselling writer from South Wales. He’s had almost thirty novels published to date, as well as dozens of novellas and hundreds of short stories. His most recent releases include Coldbrook from Arrow/Hammer, London Eye (book one of the Toxic City trilogy) from Pyr in the USA, Nothing as it Seems from PS Publishing, and The Heretic Land from Orbit. Future novels include Into the Void: Dawn of the Jedi (Star Wars) from Del Rey/Star Wars Books, and The Silence. He has won four British Fantasy Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, and a Scribe Award, and has been a finalist for International Horror Guild, Shirley Jackson, and World Fantasy Awards. 20th Century Fox acquired film rights to The Secret Journeys of Jack London series, and a TV series of his Toxic City trilogy is in development with ABC Network in the USA. Find out more about Tim at his website

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: BCS Jan '13 AND Interview: Allen M. Steele

Beneath Ceaseless Skies has two great stories for their January 2013 issue. Read my review at Tangent Online, here.

Allen M. Steele, author of Apollo's Outcasts (review here), has an interview with me up here at SFFWRTCHT. Thanks, Mr. Steele!

I have another review for a YA novel mostly done that's been sitting on my plate. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Flash: The Cowardly Firemage

I burned her.

Oh, God. What is wrong with me? All those practice drills and I still char the first girl who kisses me.

The worst part is? I ran. Now I am waiting in a parking lot, wondering how I'm going to explain to Mom that I ruined our lives.

I know what she'll say first. Is she dead? I don't know. I bolted with the afterimage of flame still burning my retina. Abandoned her, just like that, in the deserted school hallway.

I'll say this as I'm getting in the car, and then Mom will jam her foot on the gas pedal, and I'll scream: have you no heart? But it's my fault, too, because I know she doesn't and still I'm standing here in the shadow of the janitor's exit, waiting for her like she's a chariot sent from heaven.

There should be an ambulance by now. She screamed right as we were blinded by the flash. I thought she screamed my name but all I really remember is my own pounding feet. I didn't see the damage, but I can imagine. If she lives, she'll need skin grafts.

I hold my breath to keep the guilt down, to keep my hands shoved in my pockets and my eyes on the road. I hear squealing tires and I see the black Toyota a block down. Hi, Mom. Sorry, Mom. I can't keep still any longer. I guess I have a heart because the foolish thing is pushing open the exit and pushing words out -


Friday, January 11, 2013

Short Story Editing!

You can tell by the title what I'm most proud of this week. Not only did I cut a recent short story down to the bone, but I did it in a solid two hour block. I'd already done several editing passes over a month ago and I find that the "last" edit goes best if I devote a lot of time all at once and feel like I'm dying at the end of it. Seeing the same words so many times makes me feel less attached to them and leaves me able to "kill my darlings". Then I finally send it off to beta readers. I wonder if this strikes a cord with other writers?

A serious editing session like that leaves me feeling overextended and I have to do something else the next night. And that's only a 5k story. It pains me to fathom how novelists do it.

To follow up, I've been researching markets for this story and ran a 3k one through the ringer while I still had the drive. Now I need to switch to review mode again. I've just read a lovely futuristic YA novel, "Earth Girl" by Janet Edwards, although the review likely won't be coming out until February or March. I'll also be reviewing a few scifi/fantasy magazines this month.

PS. My review for FWOS also came out this week! It's the first in a self-published, Science Fantasy series.

PPS. And somewhere in between all that, I have 10 days left to get an audio recording of a short story out to a podcast! Yay!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Review: “Four Winds, One Storm: "The Bone Brick City” by Aaron Hollingsworth

My review for the YA Report came out today!

If you are interested in self-published fiction, then you have an extra reason to check out FWOS. I actually did not know that it was self-published until after I'd read it and written most of the review:

“Four Winds, One Storm: The Bone Brick City” by Aaron Hollingsworth is the first in an epic Science Fantasy series following an unlikely band of crime fighters. In this first installment, our heroes come up against the Mystic Mafia, a mysterious organization that has blinded and robbed several citizens in a seemingly random pattern. I’m here to convince you that you’ll love the humorous tone, the action-packed plot, and the fascinating setting.

Read the rest of my in depth review here:

Friday, January 4, 2013

Flash Friday: The Moment of Free Will

I followed her gleaming turquoise scales out of the goat pen and into the maze of hay bales. Of course she noticed. I wasn't trying for stealth, as I'm not too keen on being gored.

She came to a stop in the dead center of the field, where we were well hidden from the pens but still had sufficient room for take off. Her tail pressed down to the ground and her shoulders pulled in tight under the high arch of her neck. Her tension reminded me, unfortunately, of a time I saw her human raise a whip against my bonded. I let her get the first words in, hoping that they might convince me to abandon my self-appointed mission. Her voice vibrates with impatience. "Why do I have the feeling that my opinion of you is about to lower?"

"You're probably right. If I had something smart to say, I'd save it for lecture." Jara is always rolling her eyes at what I say in lecture. Now her jaw set in a grim line. I should turn away, but I can't imagine her not being there tomorrow to dominate the discussion with her pith observations. And then to hear the whispers as the others try to guess what has gone wrong down below, because it's too impolite to ask about the humans. I'll know, and I won't be able to keep my mouth shut, and her ghost will hiss at me from beyond the soul shield for my shame. "Down to business, then. Your human lives in sector three. I know because mine does, too, and they've met." She growled and stepped closer, emphasizing her advantage in height. "They're about to get themselves killed, Jana! I came to ask if you had any influence."

Her nostrils flared as she glared down at me. "You mean, will I influence it in your favor? Save your human?"

My breath began to smell of sulfur, but I focused on the warning I had come to give. The truth behind my anguish wouldn't have impressed her proud, isolationist soul. "If your human is Sertry Galath, please warn her that a boy named Chou plans to stab her tonight." It's the words I'd recited that morning, flawless and in their entirety.

I had thought that I would stand to face her questions after that, to make sure that she believed me, and to give it a go for my pride. Instead, I turned back as fast as the small space will allow me. I didn't want to see her reaction. It's my own human I've betrayed, and I risk my own life, bound up in his. I shouldn't have to convince someone else to kill him.

It's not fair that Sertry has beaten Chou's reason out of him. It's not right that she should be so cruel and have such power over him, while Jara is like a sculpture of the ancients, an embodiment of all the ideals we each strive for in vain. Me, I can't be impartial. I've begged him to abandon his plan, but he has brought the knife and now I watch and wait for that final moment of decision.

Perhaps the look on Jara's face was disbelief.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The New Year is kinda Bumpy

I started writing every night again beginning last weekend. Unfortunately I have already hit a night that was a bust (last night). We all still have the crud and our one year old can perform an amazing trick where he stands up in his crib with his eyes closed but still cries when I leave the room. With stubbornness like that, he's going to win at life in the future.

I strive to show the same kind of tenacity. That doesn't necessarily mean by writing every night. Sometimes you have to cash in a night of rest in order to get the productive week that follows. But a stubborn writer might do something crazy like read an ARC in less than 24 hrs as she waits for her voice to return, or brainstorm an epic fantasy series while staring at the stubborn baby until he falls asleep.

30 rough scene summaries so far. That's probably only half of what I'll end up with. Carry on, stubborn baby. Carry on.