New Horizons/Directions

In an unexpected plot twist, I’m now a licensed Life and Health Insurance Agent in the state of California. I’m doing this to help people, but please don’t think I’m giving up on writing and editing; on the contrary, I’m helping people while helping to fund future anthologies!

Writing-wise, I have a couple of short stories out on submission. I think one of them has passed the first-reader stage. I’m also still working on the rewrite of OF THE ESSENCE, which ended up on pause because *gestures vaguely at everything*.

Meanwhile, HEARTS ARE JERKS is starting to garner attention and some great Amazon reviews, though it could always use some more. It’s hard to believe it’s still the year in which that book came out. A lot has happened between February and now.

Gaming with Sigil Spotlight is on hold, but I’ll announce it here when it resumes. All the existing episodes are available on the “Sigil Spotlight” channel on YouTube.

Hope you’re all keeping safe and busy out there!

Adventuring Time!

Total strangers played my D&D adventure last weekend at Winter Fantasy, a convention in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

And it’s up with credit on the official Waterdeep Adventures page:

FoF

Writing this adventure and working with the DDAL team has been such a learning experience! It’s exciting to see it start showing up on convention schedules, and I’m looking forward to running it, too.

If you want me to run it for your group, let’s chat!

Hearts Are Jerks – update

So far, my query process has included two rejections, one request for the first fifty pages (followed by a rejection), and one enthusiastic request for the full manuscript from someone I would love to work with. The full manuscript request ended in a revise-and-resubmit invitation, with a ton of valuable feedback — all of which is dead on.

I’ve hired my long-time trusted editor to go over it for me, side by side with the agent’s feedback, so that my own blind spots don’t get in my way.

Meanwhile, I’ve submitted two new stories to short story markets. I’m currently working on a manuscript edit for a client, and an editing workshop/seminar to add to my repertoire.

Oh, and: Per my last post, converting an existing manuscript directly from first person to third person doesn’t work. At least, it didn’t work at all in this case. But I’ve discovered what my hard science fiction project actually needs, and that’s a full rewrite and present tense. It’s got a new first chapter now and it feels right.

And we keep moving forward, one word at a time. ❤

Keeping Time – available now!

“Keeping Time” is a hard science fiction story about long-duration space travel.

It is also a story about a woman who goes to the very extremes to escape her relationship with an abusive and powerful politician.

It first appeared in When The Hero Comes Home. Due to its sudden, well… timeliness, I’ve released it on its own.

Now, for $2.99, you can purchase it from Amazon, with an added scene. Please click! And please leave stars!

kt_gh

Despite Excuses

This is my second full day back from the Despite Excuses Writing Retreat up near Fort Bragg, CA. I can still hear the sea if I close my eyes and listen hard enough.

It’s called Despite Excuses because we all have excuses not to write. We all have lives and responsibilities and day jobs and things. Despite Excuses is about writing even though Real Life happens, rather than waiting for Real Life to agree to leave us alone for a while. If we wait for that, we’ll be waiting a long time.

I don’t do well with roommates or housemates, but somehow I managed to get along with almost everybody in a ten-person house for a week. “No introvert-shaming” was a big rule and that helped a lot. If someone needed time to themselves, to write or nap or spend some time in nature, there was nothing wrong with that.

I tried out my Rejectomancy and Other Myths exercise on the group. This is a modification of my Rejectomancy presentation from a couple of years ago, expanded to include other myths and “truisms” about publishing. We had a nice mixed group of new writers and veterans, so the input was great and people learned a lot from it.

With a lot of teachers and parents in attendance, I also had the opportunity to crowdsource some ideas and inspiration for my YA novel-in-progress. I’m stuck at the point where kids experience the brunt of other kids’ meanness, and I’m out of touch with the techniques teens use to make each other’s lives miserable these days. We didn’t have mobile phones when I was in high school, so harassment has changed a lot since my day. We had to pass notes…uphill, both ways, in the snow, while fending off bears.

(Minor aside: I did see a mobile phone when I was in high school. It was a giant lunchbox with a brick of a handset attached to it. But it would be about fifteen years from that point until I had my own mobile phone. That phone was a brick of a handset, too, but it was a sleek brick, at least.)

I fell about 750 words short of my writing goal for the retreat, but toward the end I made the executive decision that spending time with people was more important than spending time writing; experiences are writing fodder, and I needed the inspiration more than the wordcount. I can make wordcount at home; I can’t stretch out on my back in a hot tub at home and gaze up at the Milky Way, oohing at the streaks of meteors across the sky.

In short, if you have a chance to drop everything, go to the coast, and write…take it. Despite excuses.

 

Of the Essence is In the Wild!

Twitter Stream Sharing

Quills and her story are now out in the world! Ebook and audio book are now live, with hardcover and trade paperback to come.

I spent my book birthday at a casual writing day with a few friends and my beloved writing partner, Steve Bornstein, who came out from Austin for a visit. Steve and I have been writing together for ten years now — we originally met while playing on a text-based roleplaying environment called Twisted Kingdoms, which was also where the first incarnation of Quills was born.

I’ve got Pathfinder edits due in a month (more on that in another post!) and a short story due in August, and I’ve got two novels in my editing queue (a normal workload for a freelancer), but I took time out from all of that to spend Quills’ Day penning the opening lines of her sequel.

I’ve listened to the sample teaser of the audiobook, and it’s amazing. There was actual out-loud squeeing.

Where can you get it?

Directly from the Onder Librum store

or from Amazon or Barnes and Noble or other fine retailers.