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.

Post Reveal Letdown 

This Friday was a whirlwind. A lot of the posts, tweets, and things about the Queens & Courtesans anthology happened during the day while I was at work. That meant I had to catch up on everything when I got home. And there was a lot to catch up on!

The plan for the weekend was to get some writing done on some projects that were close to ready for publication.  I did get some work done but not as much as I wanted to.

I did have to spend some time tweaking some of the pre-sale settings on the anthology.  And to be honest, I needed to refill my creative well. So the weekend including some reading for fun and some knitting. 

Despite a lack of caffeine due to the shortcomings of my work cafeteria,  I’m recharged and ready to hit the keyboard when I get home this evening.

Wish me luck!

Cover Reveal, Pre-Sales, and Release Date!

The 2015 Sirens conference was my first. It made a rather large impression. I found part of my tribe. And out of a writing related post on Facebook back in February, something astounding grew.

Two characters, a queen and courtesan from completely different stories, were being very loud in my head. Neither was from the story I was working on at the time, but both were insistent. One of my fellow Sirens thought that would be an interesting conversation to hear. Not something I could write, since their stories are centuries and worlds apart – but her thought sparked another story idea in my mind. And in other Sirens’ minds as well. Within two weeks, the first real work on creating the anthology started.

I am extremely proud to be able to reveal the anthology cover, announce the release date, and announce that the e-version is available for pre-sale now.

Title: Queens & Courtesans: A Sirens Benefit Anthology
Release Date: Thursday, October 6, 2016

Queens & Courtesans Anthology Cover

Queens & Courtesans Anthology Cover

Description:

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?

E-Book available for pre-sale at:

Decisions, Decisions

The benefit anthology that I wrote a story for is coming out soon.  As the US “publisher” I’ve been very involved in getting it set up with several different distribution channels. It hasn’t been too difficult, though they’re all just a little different.

But there’s a problem.

That book, sitting there all by itself on each distribution page, looks lonely.

My name is on the book, if I had other stories published – traditionally, or self-published – I could take advantage of any sales on the anthology.  There won’t be any “By the same author” links for any of my writing.  Some of my fellow contributors probably will see links like that with their names in them.

I’ve always intended to self-publish some of my writing. But I’ve been concentrating on a couple of novels that I was planning to submit for traditional publishing. I don’t have anything ready, polished enough, to self-publish right now. And a month probably isn’t long enough when I’m working on promoting the anthology.

So, do I pause the projects I’m working on? Self-publish them instead of going the traditional route? Or do I pull out some of the story ideas I haven’t written yet, finish and polish them with the intention of self-publishing them as soon as possible?

Decisions, decisions…

Early September Progress Report

We’re five days into September and so far I’ve been pretty productive.

I have:

  • posted over at Wandering at the Shadows’ Edge
  • posted over at Find the Soul
  • written 567 words on a new short story
  • set up the charity anthology on Amazon, CreateSpace, and Digital2Draft
  • tracked my word count for each day
  • got the email list fixed!
  • updated the Publisher and payment information on all the publishing accounts
  • input all my current story ideas in Scrivener – most are just notecards right now, but they’re all consolidated. There are over 100 ideas that I’ve either got notes or beginnings for.

September 2016 Planning

Well – This year has certainly gotten off track!  I have been writing, just not very much on the stories I’d planned on working on!  I’m keeping September’s planning really simple.

Other Writing Work

  • Reconnect the mailing list to the site
  • Submit the Queens & Courtesans anthology for publication and set release dates
  • Start marketing Queens & Courtesans
  • Blog posts – here, Wandering at the Shadow’s Edge, and Find the Soul
  • Tracking submissions, queries, etc.

Revision

Shadows and Secrets

Zero/First Drafts

  • Dark and Light
  • 1-2 short stories (Maybe)

Flash Fiction 10 – When It Rains

“Come into the house. You’re getting soaked.”

Jack hesitated before stepping through the door. He stood dripping on the welcome mat as Frank closed the door. Moving and thinking were beyond him at the moment.

Frank took in the passivity, the paleness of Jack’s skin. He disappeared for a moment, returning with an almost threadbare towel and handing it to the other man.

Jack just held the towel for several seconds before using it to dry his hair. The glimpses Frank caught of his face weren’t reassuring. Jack looked lost.

When Jack stopped dripping, Frank took the towel from his hands and and tossed on the beat up end table. He nudged Jack in the direction of the sofa, sighing a bit at the shabby, stained upholstery. It took a slightly stronger nudge to get the other man to sit down.

Frank took a seat too, shifting slightly as a spring made itself  felt through the thin cushion.

“Talk to me, Jack.  What happened?”

Jack stared at him, eyes wide and mouth working, but no words coming out. Frank took a deep breath. He’d never seen Jack like this – something truly horrendous must of happened.

Jack ran a hand through his hair, then shoved the same hand into his coat pocket, digging for something. He needed a new coat and Frank winced as the frayed seams reminded him of how hard it had been to find the money for that one.  But they’d manage somehow. They always did.

Jack found what he was looking for, pulling a crumpled slip of paper from his pocket. He smoothed it out against his knee and handed it to Frank without a word.

It was little more than a scrap and was in sad shape. The six numbers on it told Frank why Jack had been hesitant to show it to him. Jack had spent money they didn’t really have on a lottery ticket.

He’d just been looking at the winning numbers from the last drawing and at least a couple of numbers on Jack’s ticket seemed to match. He pulled the paper over and opened it to the right page.  His fingers tapped the paper as he compared the numbers.

He lifted his eyes from that scrap of paper to Jack’s face. Jack nodded and a slow smile spread across  his face.

Flash Fiction 9 – Jump

Does he watch or jump?

Watching is safe, the thrill of taking a chance experienced vicariously. Secondhand, but a bit of excitement even so. Watching has no chance for failure. None for success either, true enough, but sometimes not failing is almost as good as succeeding.

Jumping means risking the fall. But oh the heights he might reach if he succeeds. Jumping means acting, not sitting back and watching others experimence the excitement and the fear. Jumping means taking responsibility for  the outcome, whatever it may be.

He can’t sit still. Not that pacing helps with the decision making process.

Act or watch? Risk or play it safe? Succeed or fail?

Is it really a choice?

He takes a deep breath and….

Jumps.

Flash Fiction 8 – The Art of Eyes

Art is in the eye of the beholder, or so they say.

I beg to differ.

Have “they” ever seen a Beholder? There’s no art there – not even a hint of it.

Now an ent, or a unicorn, or even a sprite. There’s some art. There’s a reflection in their eyes that just isn’t there with a beholder.

It’s hard to capture though.

You have to do it quick because it fades away. You know – eyes lose their beauty  when they lose their life and the reflections fade even faster.

I found a spell that works to preserve that last reflection, that last spark.

Good thing too. There’s a bigger market out there than I expected.

Flash Fiction 7 – Flash

Flash!

A brilliant flare of light blinds you.

Flash!

Your stomach knots.

Flash!

A sea of red beneath your feet.

Flash!

Voices clamor for your attention.

Flash!

Coherent thought flees your mind.

Flash!

Unsteady legs give way as the the room darkens and the voices quiet.

Flash!

You watch as your story comes to life upon the screen.