Category Archives: News

The pains of speaking too soon

Yes, I did–I spoke too soon.

The cover art for Her Majesty did not arrive early, nor did it even arrive by the given deadline. I am still working with the artist to get details as I want and need them, and to get the coloring right. It’s extremely frustrating business on my end, as there was five months to have dealt with all of this (which would have allowed more than enough time), but here we are. The chances of this book being present at Far Point are slim to none. I’m still trying, but I do not have my hopes up and I have asked that it be removed from the launch party list. Thank heavens I still have Starbright for the event so I don’t look like a complete flake about my promises and intentions. It still really sucks though.

This unfortunate experience has prompted two very loud future circumstances: I will be using contracts with cover artists from here on out. I will also be practicing my own art skills more diligently so that I can bypass the use of other artist’s work as much as possible. That will probably knot up a few pair of knickers but the track record for positive artistic reputations/professionalism/attitude is much lower than the negative at this point–at least in my experience, and at some point a line has to be drawn. Why should I continue to take the blows to MY reputation because other people can’t get it together? No. I am done with that. I have some tactics for future business arrangements that should protect me from this sort of disappointment and inconvenience–and STILL protect the reputation of the artist. I guess that’s something that will always be lopsided in my life–no matter how much I look out for myself and my interests, I’m still going to look out for other people too. It’s a flaw, but there it is. I suppose it’s in line to expect some gratitude, whether I’ll see it or not. Most likely, not.

On the upside, I am currently working with a different artist for the images/illustrations for the As Fate Would Have It vignettes. I’ve worked with her before and have been pleased with both her work and her ethic, so we should be good there. I’ve already seen one of the 8 sketches for the book and I’m both pleased and amused. I can’t wait to get the rest of the stories finished for it. Maybe by this time next year, depending on how the muses perform.

I’m also working as much as possible on Darling Orphan. By the end of tomorrow, I will have (I hope) added 50 new pages since the first of the year, as was my goal. The new semester starts Tuesday, so delays may or may not come again. I will keep at it as I can so the book can release around October. I already have plans in mind for the cover art on that one. More information on that as time goes on, and maybe sneak previews, if all goes well.

Maybe Two Leaps Ahead

A few days ago, I got my proof copy of Starbright and other than a few formatting issues, the book is DONE! I’ll be ordering another proof prior to making an inventory order, just to be sure all is in fact as it should be. Along with that, I am hoping to also order a copy of Her Majesty: The Case of Alexandrina Victoria. Yes, that’s right: it looks like all is on schedule and I should have TWO new releases in time for FarPoint in February. Am I excited?? How can you doubt it!?

With the semester being over and with just slightly more than a week left until the next one starts, I have been slowly adding more to Darling Orphan: The Case of Lucy Stewart. I haven’t been able to shift gears quite as quickly as I had hoped from academia to novel writing, but any little bit that I can get done is a plus. I am signed up for Astronomy and Major English Writers for this next term, so here’s hoping I will be able to slip in some time for working on my book/s. This past semester was so work-heavy that any of my creative endeavors really had to be put on hold–even my two train trips did not allow for anything but working on research papers.

Speaking of papers: there is something about the creative life that gives more opportunities and tools for dealing with the ugliness of other people than your regular, non-creative world. Long story short: a really abusive review was left on Amazon for Empress Irukandji. It was so obvious that it was a personal jab (and yes, I know the reason behind it and who prompted it–timing gives you away, people. Get smarter about your bullying!) and the book was never read. Nor was the other (Awakening Alice) that also got a nasty review. A few things about the latter: Awakening Alice was described as “Pretentious. Too flowery. Impossible to read.” Seriously? This is an Alice in Wonderland sequel, written in the style of Lewis Carroll’s voice. Lewis Carroll’s work falls under Classic Literature, which I admit takes some patience and skill to read. If it was “impossible to read”, perhaps it’s the “reader” who should examine her skill level and choose something more suitable. Not everyone can get through classic literature–even I struggled with Jane Eyre until I got used to the style. Hardly impossible though. As far as the erzatz review left for Empress: “Luckily I got these for free. Just awful. Masterbatory. The entirety of everything I’ve read by this author has been to stroke her own ego.”

1. This person can’t spell (it’s MastUrbatory).

2. This person has no clue what goes into writing a book. If my work comes off as stroking my own ego, what does that mean, exactly?? That I wrote something that I would have liked to read? That it was too hard to put down? I don’t know for sure, but I’d say those are good things. After 30+ years of writing: I’ve earned the right to stroke my own ego. It’s called pride: GET OVER IT.

3. She never read any of my books. The time between what would have prompted her to read my books and the time when all reviews and ratings (There were FIVE, by the way–three of which were only rated, not even reviewed. A normal person would have stopped after disliking the first or second book. Way to go, liar) was a single day.

It just so happened that I had a paper to write for my Philosophy class at the same time that I discovered this inept round of cyber bullying, so I wrote my paper about it, skillfully and accurately–that’s called talent, not ego–connecting it to the subject of the assignment. My professor had a few things to say about it (my apologies that it is so small–screenshots, you know):

To save you from having to get a magnifying glass:

“200/200 100% Individual Feedback:

This is an excellent engagement in the problem of unpopularity that goes beyond the chapter of DeBotton. You nicely wove Socratic ideas into personal and cultural anecdote and example to make this idea come to life. Well done, and very nicely written.”

Yeah. Thanks for giving me something to write an A+ paper on, little troll. It’s advisable not to engage in a battle where your opponent is better at the game than you. I guess she thought those reviews would break me–make me run off with my tail between my legs to hide and so I’d give up writing forever. Yeah, SO sorry to disappoint you.

Do I think she’ll learn? Of course not. Am I done with her? Yes. I hope those with whom she’s connected are done with her as well, but birds of a feather and all….Anyway–more important things:

I just added Shore Leave to my events for this year. That’s in July again, and if you’re able to make it, I’ll be at FarPoint in a little over a month from now. I would love to have Darling Orphan done in time for SL, or even a new anthology that I hope to be inspired enough to work on: The Doll Collection. If that sounds creepy, well, it is. One story is already done and is appearing in another anthology in the meantime, with the works of other authors. I will rerelease it and hopefully with illustrations. I have an illustrator in mind (someone I’ve worked with before!) so once I actually have a few pieces done, I will make the proposal to her. Those are the big projects on the burners at the moment, unless I can get the next As Fate vignette finished in the near future. It seems that my series have all been holding fast around #3, but with the completion of Her Majesty (a #4!) maybe that’s a sign that things will move forward.

I sure hope so! My head is getting full!

One Leap Ahead

I finished my first pass edit on Starbright a few days ago, and one of my beloved editors already sent back the first 192 pages (out of 299) with her notes. There were a few little snags to sort out, but all in all, it wasn’t terribly painful to get through. If all continues to go smoothly (and as long as I can get the cover done!) Starbright will be done before the end of the year. There will be an official launch party for it at Far Point 2018, but don’t think you can’t order it ahead of time!

I have been working hard on my homework in order to get ahead just enough that I can have this coming weekend to not even think about it–it will still be tough, as I have a paper due next Wednesday… OHHHH, how I hate writing papers! I am taking a train up to Stockton, NJ for River Reads, and it is my hope that I can devote the time on the train to working on a new piece of writing (or two), or just spend the four hours round trip staring out the window. It will be dark upon my return, so I’m sure I will be writing then.

There is probably more than I could say, but after having just finished up a not-so-great paper this evening and submitting it to my professor, I don’t think my thoughts are really much into it.

Carry on.

The madness never ends, and why should it?

I’m still chipping away through editing Starbright–usually a page at a time through my lunch breaks. My classes are heavy this semester and I think I’ve finally settled into a routine. This past week, however, I lost five days to having to make a boutonniere order wherein I required *upfront* three months to get them done. By the time the materials reached me (delayed on the customer’s part, not mine!), I had a month and a half to make 10 flowers. Oh, and let’s bump up the “need by” date by a month–make that barely over 2 weeks to get them done. I’m pretty irritated about it–still–even though they are done and going into the mail today and I never have to see them again. It would have been one thing if they weren’t modified all to heck. Never again. A sparkling new contract has been created because of this. I don’t care if I never do these for another wedding again–I do these flowers for FUN. This was NOTFUN“.

In the writing world (besides the insanely slow crawl with editing on Starbright) I have a few ideas circulating in my head for a short story compilation. It will probably be called The Doll Collection, unless I can think of something more clever.

I did get one rough sketch for the cover art for Her Majesty about two weeks ago, but haven’t seen anything since.

**Hint to artists doing book covers: Please communicate with the author. Don’t make them pull teeth in trying to get you to talk to them, and don’t leave every single correspondence in their hands to initiate. It’s rude and unprofessional, and we are just as busy as you are!

The deadline for it is January, so there’s time, but updates (if there are any) would be nice. That said, I have no time or patience to take on another artist for Starbright’s cover, so I’m doing that one myself. So far, so good. Though with the boutonniere fiasco, it’s been impossible to work on for over a week. Lovely. I have until January to get that one done as well, but must also get the editing done on Her Majesty by then. It would be good to start clearing my plate of some of these projects! Oh to have ten more hours in a day, just for my creative endeavors! Of course, if I did, that just might give me the creative boost that I could have ten hours every day for such things. One can dream!

And now…the turtle is in the race

After an incredible streak of writing between June and early July, something happened and I came to a ridiculously slow crawl. Her Majesty’s first draft is finished, Starbright’s first draft is finished, and while I’ve definitely added to Darling Orphan, I haven’t been nearly as productive as I was prior to Shore Leave. What happened??? I honestly don’t know, except that I theorize that massive amounts of laziness have invaded. Well, that’s both annoying and won’t do, because the new semester started, and now my time will be tied up in homework. I do plan to try and still scribble out what I can in the interim, but it is a habit I have fallen out of and may fall farther still. A shame, since I really wanted to have the first draft to Darling Orphan done before classes started. I’m about 77 pages away from my goal, as far as pages go, so it’s not unreachable, and the material is definitely there in my head–refusing to budge, as it can often do, or not do as is this case. The nice thing about fall semester though, is that there are little breaks (online classes still being kind of nonstop however), and I can try to pretend they don’t exist for the sake of getting my schoolwork done on time or slightly ahead, and then when those little breaks come around, I can use them to write. Yes, I can hear my muses laughing already–You want to schedule what??? It’s worth a shot, and the cooler weather is certainly inviting when it comes to writing. Today is a perfect day for it–rainy, quite cool…

Not to leave myself completely beaten up over how little writing I’ve done lately–I do owe some of my slacking to the fact that I started a new job in mid-July. It’s pretty incredible to finally have a single job that will cover my expenses, so now I can actually focus on my schoolwork, and not tie up every shred of energy in a second job, commuting, and wondering how I’m going to pay bills or eat. I love my new job for so many reasons, and it has been something to get used to. I am grateful!

I have updated my events page (somewhat), with the next 3 shows I will be doing. I have more or less averaged one show per month (sometimes two, so that balanced out the months missed), and it’s a really great schedule to be on! I don’t yet have anything past October, but that doesn’t mean that something won’t come up. I’ll let you know! It is also pretty amazing that I have been an actual Guest to the majority of shows I’ve done this year, versus having to come in as a paid vendor. It almost feels like I’ve finally paid my dues! I still feel like “small potatoes” though, and may never get over that.

Off to Shore Leave. But first, an update…

And a pretty exciting update, as far as writing is concerned! A few days ago, I finished the first draft to Her Majesty. It’s about 40 pages shy of what I was going for, but I know there will be a lot to add when I do my first read through, so I expect that it will get at least a bit closer. If it doesn’t that’s okay. A story is as long as a story needs to be–Captain Hauke taught me that! So now I have two short stories and two novels to edit and whip into shape. I did start the process on Played earlier this week, and man–does it need some work! I found some sentences (okay, more than some) that were written as notes and never converted into “story” form. Yikes! They haven’t been difficult to fix, fortunately, but I had thought I’d caught all of those–guess not! Well, better to find them now, than after shipping it off to my editors. A few days ago also saw the start of a new short story. I had been trying to put it off until I could get some of these first drafts into the next phase, but I was caught between appointments with nothing else to do or work on, for about an hour. So, what’s a writer to do, but write! It’s about a page and a third at the moment, so it’s not like I’m into the full swing of it yet, and that’s good. I did get back into handwriting and I’m glad for that. I prefer it over typing any day, but all of the pieces I’ve just recently finished were already partly typed, and it’s just more convenient to continue that way. Still not at all my preference by a long shot. Maybe this new story will get to be completely handwritten. That ought to be good for a hand cramp or twelve, and I’m okay with that!

So I’m waiting for 1pm to come around (that’s in about an hour) so I can leave for the show. It won’t take me heaps of time to get there (in theory), so there’s no major reason to rush and then just sit around. As it is, check in isn’t until 3, and it’s not always possible to get into a room right away. I wonder how close I’ll actually get to 1 o’clock before I just can’t stand it anymore and off I go…I give myself 25 minutes before the mega dose of impatience kicks in. Sounds about right!

Progress that I can feel

Once again, it’s been some time since my last entry to this blog. Fortunately (and finally!) I do have some progress to report:

I finished one of my short stories that I had placed in NYC (Played), about a month ago. It ended up being around 50 pages long, so I will reserve that for a future anthology. I also finished As Fate Would Have It, Part Two: Cutting Ties, just a few weeks go. Starbright was also finished just between the two short stories, and I have made incredible and steady progress on Her Majesty: The Case of Alexandrina Victoria, Book 4 in The Case Files series. Does it feel good to be cranking out so much writing? You have no idea! I’ve been tracking my word count each day and then tallying it up each week, which is really nice to see, though it does put me at competition with myself. Last week I ended with about 12k words. This week, I’m already past 15k. This is excellent as far as getting my books and stories closer to completion! However, I now have the two short stories and novel to edit–and there will be quite a bit of work in the cleaning up department for all of them!–and soon (at least at the rate I’m going), I will have another novel to add to that. I’m loving every second of this, and it’s a shame that I am still a slave to work that is so unfulfilling to my heart and soul, and barely allows me to live. I’m taking steps to change this, but it has been a frustrating journey in knowing that the Universe doesn’t appear to have my back. I could be wrong, and improvement could still be just around the corner. I think about that and at the same time, am coming to realize that maybe I never actually reach  that corner because the world is, in fact, a round one…Maybe at some point the powers that be will take my passion for writing as seriously as I do, and bring to me the sort of life necessary to cultivate and nurture my gift. I am embracing and loving my ability to write as much as time allows, and with as much joy–surely something will happen to allow the rest of my life to reflect that, including bringing me joy in many other areas of it…

NYC recap and where my writing stands at the moment

So here we are–a few weeks later already since the last post. My, how time does fly! It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been on my NYC trip and back–in a way, I feel like I never went, except that I have very vivid images of Central Park, Times Square, several subway stations, Katz’s, the lobby of the Empire State Building, a zillion amazing buildings, the World Trade Center Memorial, the Highline, and numerous other places and exclusive-to-NYC things engrained in my memory. It was an amazing and impressionable trip, needless to say.

I wish I could report that I spent my train ride there and back working madly on my writing. As it turns out, I am so removed from being in a super comfortable and ready mental space to write, that I spent nearly the entire time (both ways) just staring out of the window. I needed that, believe me! In fact, I could probably spend a good lot of time on a train before reaching a point where I could bear to look down at paper and make words magically appear at the end of my pen…

That said, I was able to gather up some details that I need in order to write one of my stories (probably a short one, or novella at best), and now I just need the right energy to help me jump right into the actual writing part of it. For another story–and possibly screenplay, since I can’t make up my mind which one it will become in the end–I was able to get some of what I wanted as far as setting, but I’m not yet convinced that NYC is where it will take place. I think I will need another visit so I can explore a few little things–little, but extremely pertinent to the story in my head.

It bears mentioning that while I was in NYC, I saw more than one park, square, street, storefront, or walkway that looked identical to something of its same ilk elsewhere–as in, another city. Madison Square Garden reminds me a lot of a section of Boston. Some of the streets were oddly reminiscent of Florence, Italy. At one point, I almost felt like I had stumbled onto a street in Pioneer Square in Seattle, WA. Why is this? Is this a perception limited to my reality? Just as I may see a person’s face differently than someone standing next to me who is also looking at that person–do I see streets or squares from one place to the next and something in my brain immediately finds similar patterns, and therefore interprets the new location to look like the old one? Matrix, indeed! The same could easily be said for people–why is it that we see the doppelgänger of someone we know well, but on the other side of the country or in a photograph, and yet there is no relation (biological or otherwise) between them? I really came across this a lot while I was there–both with places and faces. And speaking of familiar faces: in case I didn’t mention this back in February, I ran into someone at Farpoint who looked like he stepped out of Captain Hauke: The Case of Leslie F. Hunt, with Captain Hauke’s nametag on. He was exactly what I had imagined of the character, right down to being left-handed, an artist, and wearing Aya’s Greek fisherman’s hat. It was bizarre, truly. It left me thinking–did he step out of the book? Or did I fall into some kind of parallel universe to it and there he was? Always a weirdness. Always. But a treat that is hard to top, that is for sure!

So, writing: the 2 NYC-based tales have gotten a few bits and pieces added here and there. A new “thriller” short is in the works. I’m trying to keep it focused to about 2000 words, and am just trying to come up with content at the moment. It goes back to a daily occurrence about a year ago, of which a former coworker will appreciate once it’s finished. Part two of As Fate… got a few more bits added to it. That might be it for a moment. Next week, I have a final and the week after, and then the semester is over. Otherwise, I feel like it’s been quiz, test, quiz, test for the last four weeks (because it has!). I’m looking forward to getting a little of my time back for focusing on my writing! We’ll see how that goes with needing to pick up more  hours for work.

Balance, balance, balance…Or so they say…

So Faaaaar behind….

Wow. A month and a half since I last posted here! While this should be a surprise to no one (especially me), it’s still a bit of a shock to realize that so much time has passed. I’d like to say that nothing is going on, but…No, I don’t ever like to say that! Things are going on!!!

In writing: I have many new projects going at the moment. Some are short stories, some are novels, some whose length are yet to be determined, and one is ever teetering on the edge of being a screenplay. I managed to finally finished up “As Fate Would Have It, Part One: She Who Doth Wicket the Bucket” and posted it for my Patreon supporters. In another month or so, I will release it on Kindle. Once all 8 are finished, I will publish them all in a hardcopy together. I’ve since added more to Part 2, but it’s not yet finished (of course). Also in writing news: shortly after Farpoint, a dear friend (also an author) contacted me about an anthology that was collecting pieces of flash fiction. Needless to say, I submitted a creepy little tale and it was accepted–Yes, I’m very excited about that! The release is slated for around July.  And lastly (I think): I have had to shelf Starbright for the time being, until I can come to terms with the fact that I need to kill off a character (and NOT bring him/her back!) for the good of the story. I guess I’m not yet willing to accept that, because I have come to a dead stop. I suppose this just frees up my tiny allotment of writing time for some other pieces until that one is ready. Or, until *I* am ready. It will be interesting to see which of my current works in progress takes hold and, as I am getting ready to take a quick weekend trip to NYC in a few days and two of those works happen there, I could be scribbling like mad on my train ride home!

If I haven’t mentioned it already, I have joined the awesome community of authors for the Shore Leave event taking place in Hunt Valley, MD in early July. As well, I will be presenting (subject to be determined) as a guest for the Steampunk Frederick (MD) event in mid-August.  Also added to my calendar (and working very backwards here!) is a one day event at the Cabinet Makers Books in Enola, PA on May 13th from 1-3. A link to the information: 

If you have trouble with the link, let me know. I will be sure to add links for the other events as well.

So there is a small update in the proverbial nutshell. I’m sure there will be more after this weekend, and it will just be a matter of when I can sit down to say something about it.

Far Point Recap and…

I have about four minutes to make this post before my brain shuts down entirely. It’s just been one of those non-stop weeks between work, school, my second job, commuting and homework, and as sleep is suffering, I have to try to stick to an 8 hour schedule… uh, yeah…so…

Far Point was AWESOME! I think this show gets better and better every year. Maybe it has something to do with getting to know the other authors who are there better, or expanding the list of authors who I know. Either or both, I really felt at home and in my element–I felt pretty shiny–and am still a bit on the high from it all. Some fun conversations post-con have also come from this, one of which is with T. Eric Bakutis ( ) about virtual reality (on his end) and early childhood development–specifically on the importance of touch/lack thereof in infancy (on my end). We have only just started the brainstorming, but I expect we will add a few wrinkles to our gray matter by the end of it. Some of what we’ve talked about in regards to where VR technology is going has also stirred my thoughts and motivation for one of my back burner works-in-progress. This is good, in that I’d LOVE to get back to it and finish it! But not so good, as I’m within 50 pages or less of finishing Starbright and now is not the time for distraction! Well, we know how my muses like to get this close to the end of a book–so they’re really right on time.

One more bit before I have to crack on with my evening: I have an invite to Shore Leave–a similar event as Far Point that takes place in the summer. More information on that as things develop. And YES, I am excited for this one!!