And it’s Live!

Sooo… I didn’t post it here, because pretty much everyone who follows this blog right now also follows my Facebook page – either the author page or my personal page.   But Shadows and Secrets is finally available in e-book on Amazon!  Take a look!

Here’s the current cover:

Shadows and Secrets

Double Helix: Shadows and Secrets, Book One of the Chameleon

 

I’m currently working on a short story collection and the sequel!

January 2017 Planning

I haven’t updated here in awhile and we’re a third of the way through the month, but I need to start being accountable again.  So here’s January’s plan though it’s a bit short!

Publishing

Double Helix – Shadows and Secrets

Editing/Formatting

Double Helix – Emergence anthology

Zero Drafts/Revisions

  • Not Alone Project short story
  • Witches & Warriors short story

Queens & Courtesans link wrap up

Yesterday was the release date for the Queens  & Courtesans anthology.  If you missed any of the announcements or posts about the anthology itself, here are all the ones I know about.

GUEST POST: Queens & Courtesans, an Anthology Editor’s Perspective

Queens & Courtesans – Creating an Anthology

Queens and Courtesans: A Sirens Benefit Anthology. Book Release!

Guest Post: Of Sirens — & A “Queens & Courtesans” Anthology

http://supernaturalunderground.blogspot.com/2016/10/guest-post-of-sirens-queens-courtesans.html

http://nivair.com/2016/10/06/queens-courtesans-release-day/

http://www.ehbishop.com/2016/10/queens-courtesans-sirens.html

Sirens Anthology Release Day

It’s Release Day!!

After eight months, lots of learning, and lots of people putting major effort into it, the Queens & Courtesans anthology benefiting the Sirens Conference is available! I’m extremely proud to have been a part of it from the beginning – and to see how everything has come together.

Women have long wielded power in various ways. This collection explores two prominent archetypes, the Queen and the Courtesan, in memorable stories that cross speculative genres. Whether finding love or finding themselves, coming into their magic or other strengths, these complex women rise above the roles that confine them to ask: Who will you be?

You can find it via the following links:

Help us out and share this post and these links with your friends and family. If you can, and are inclined too, purchase a copy and review it for us on Amazon, Goodreads, or anywhere else.

Queens & Courtesans Anthology Cover

Queens & Courtesans Anthology Cover

Tomorrow I’ll be posting links to posts from other members of the anthology group. Everyone stretched themselves and got something different from the project.

A Different Look at Queens & Courtesans

Queens & Courtesans – by Kristen Blount

A queen and a courtesan: That’s your writing prompt.

What comes to mind? Maybe two women, each powerful in their own spheres, fighting for dominance of court or a king. Sex vs. Politics? Sex as politics?

Until I signed on as a beta reader and editor, I never imagined the number of possibilities that the prompt could produce. Queens & Courtesans: A Sirens Benefit Anthology, edited by Jessica Corra, showed me a wide range of ways powerful women could interact. In fact, it tells the stories of women who are powerful in so many different ways … from ruling queens, to spy masters, to experts at swordplay, to space navigators, to mothers, and so much more!

I have often said to my friends (and anyone else who cares to listen) that a good working definition of modern feminism is supporting women in making the best choices they can in the places they are. No given path is right for every woman. Queens & Courtesans offers the best illustration of that principle as I have ever seen. Just take one of the stories I was lucky enough to proofread: All the characters are female: the ex-military space navigator/pilot, the nuns, and a bevy of school girls, one of whom is queen presumptive. You only think you know what’s coming in this story, but you really, really don’t. Plot twists aside, these women with different skills, agendas, and needs come together in frightening circumstances to work for a common good.

In another story, one for which I acted as a beta reader, I met a prince’s lover … who was chosen by his mother because she’s blind. This story is strictly told from the blind girl’s point of view, and it brings a richness of other sensory details with it. I have begun looking for those sorts of interesting bits of knowledge from hearing or touch, and miss them when they are absent. Every story in this anthology gave me something to mull over in the days, or weeks, after reading.

As interesting as the individual stories, the group of women who wrote, edited, and organized this project is equally wonderful. We are connected through a literary conference, Sirens, that focuses on women in fantasy. Sirens offers a valuable weekend each year for women to come together to discuss topics that matter to us, both within literary boundaries and in our communities. The anthology group began as a subset of Sirens conference attendees, and quickly agreed that the sales of the book should benefit the experience that brought us together as friends and colleagues.

If you have the opportunity, please consider supporting Queens & Courtesans. It offers encouragement and professional luster to up-and-coming authors. It promotes the voices and concerns of women within the speculative fiction field. And mostly, it contributes to continuing the Sirens Conference. If you have the opportunity, I also encourage you to consider joining us some year for a weekend of reading, talking about reading, and writing.

An Eight Month Adventure

Back on February 4, 2016, I was having a problem with two characters who were insisting that I tell their stories right then. Neither character was in the manuscript I was working on at the time. I posted on Facebook about it just to try to get these characters to shut up.  A few friends, all fellow Sirens attendees commented about similar characters or story ideas my post brought to mind.

Eight months later, I’m sitting at my computer  and looking at a release date (Thursday!)  for Queens & Courtesans.

I’ve spent a lot of the last eight months with the refrain of “What the heck just happened/is happening?” running through my head. It’s still there. It will still be there later this month when I attend Sirens – the conference that inspired all the people involved in the anthology to lend a hand. It will still be there as discussions begin about a follow-up anthology.

Had I planned on being involved in a benefit anthology this year? No – at least not according to my 2016 planning page on this site. Did it through my writing schedule complete out of whack for most of the year?  Yes!  Did I know what I was doing? No – and neither did many of the people involved. Could we have done it better? Most definitely – and I have no doubt that the next one will be more organized and run smoother.

Would I change anything now? No.

This anthology was a labor of love for everyone involved. It was a perfect combination events that I would barely even hope could happen – never expected and still find hard to believe.  I know I learned an immense amount – especially when people thought I knew what I was doing! I didn’t really – not most of the time, anyway.

Sirens is a wonderful community to begin with. Being able to do something to help the community and the conference grow is extremely satisfying. That I made new friends, learned new things, and got to see one of my personal goals come to fruition are all side benefits.

At this point, I know I’m not dreaming, but it feels like I am. And I don’t want to wake up.

Release Week

This is release week for Queens & Courtesans. That means that everyday this week will have a post about the anthology.  For those that find this final push to be too much, I apologize.  For those who follow me here or on Facebook – if you would like to help me and encourage me to write more, please share and comment on these posts and, if you can afford it, purchase either the e-version or print version of the anthology on Thursday.

That’s all for today! I’m off to work on a revision.

Adding to the Process

With most of my stories, I don’t make notes after I’ve finished them. There’s really no need to since most of them are one-shot stories. This is a good thing because I don’t have reams and reams of notes I’ll never use again. It’s a bad thing because I do have a series building up and the only notes I have are on the individual stories.

There’s a simple solution – take a time out from writing those stories and create a story “bible.”  Television shows and existing fiction franchises keep story bibles so that important facts, events, and characters are portrayed accurately no matter who the author is who is writing a particular story. It’s something I have to add to my existing process.

So that’s what I’m doing right now. My Double Helix series started out as one book. Then I had an idea for another one, and a collection of short stories about how each of the members joined Helix. Now the series notes are up to six novels and six short story collections.  There are too many details to keep straight without a little help.

So characters, locations, organizations, timeline notes, and other details for the entire series are going into one place. I can update it when a new detail comes up. I can refer to it when I’m not certain about something. I can give my beta readers the relevant parts of it so they can make sure I’m consistent with descriptions and motivations.

It does take time away from writing the actual stories, but it will also make things quicker when I need to remember details. Here’s to learning and using new information.

Changing Gears

Now that the work is mostly done on the anthology (other than marketing), I’m having to change gears. I’m finding it a more difficult thing to do than I’d expected.

It’s not just moving past the anthology to the next project. It’s figuring out what that next project is. It’s determining just how much havoc the anthology caused to my plan for the year. Because it was completely unplanned and unexpected, I had to drop things I was working on.

Where do I pick up? Where do I start trying to get back on track?

I also have some major decisions to make about what method of publishing I want to pursue with some of my stories. Do I still want to pursue traditional publishing for some of them? Or do I want to self-publish all of them?

How do I market them? How do I build up an audience? A mailing list? What can I offer readers to sign up for my mailing list or visit my site?

How do get back in the right mindset to work on the projects I put aside?

These are some of the things I’m struggling with right now. It may take some time, but I will figure them out.