Looking back and charging forward

Every January I make a To-Do list of all my major works in progress and figure out which ones I want to prioritize. Here’s the 2017 edition.

Looking back over last year, I’m super proud of all the work I’ve done. So many short stories got finished up, published, and I’m hoping that more get picked up soon. Here’s a quick rundown of everything I published this year.

  • January 2016 – A Slippery Customer
    • Hit top 10 on Amazon’s Horror anthology list multiple times
  • February 2016 – Tiny Necks
    • Almost entirely 5-star reviews and more keep rolling in
  • May 2016 – Curse of Beauty
    • Received several excellent reviews!  ❤
  • October 2016 – Dead Man’s Hill
    • A Halloween tale with a dash of dark humor

However I did notice that I hadn’t made much progress on my novels. Outside of Beyond the Treehouse, I didn’t do that much work on the WIP novels I had. There’s a good reason for that actually.

At the beginning of the year I got a publication offer from a small publishing company, one that I had worked with before. Their communications were a little sporadic, but I was excited to get my book published. However the contract they sent me gave me major concerns. It took me a bit to find some legal advice, but once I did I felt like I had a grounded ability to negotiate and listed out my requests. Unfortunately a big request on my list was not available to negotiate, and I had to reject the offer. A few months later I found out that the publisher was closing shop after being in the business since 2012.

I was upset to hear what had happened to them, and to the amazing authors who worked with them. It was also hard for me to get back into working on my books after that. Short stories I could dive into easily, but books were harder. Books take a lot of commitment, and after having plans fall through like that, it’s been hard to get motivated again.

I’m hoping to change that in 2017. This year I’m planning on focusing a lot more on my novels, and hopefully knock out book 2 for one of my series on the list. I also have a standalone horror novel that I’ve been itching to start too. Here’s my list of WIP novels and short stories for 2017. Look at how complete that short story listing is too!  ❤

If you want to see my 2016 WIP to-do list, check out my post:

Hooray for To-Do Lists!

Curse of Beauty Now Available!

It’s the beginning of May. Do you know what that means?

The end of spring semester for many exhausted college students?
Yep!

It’s time for convention season to go into full swing?
Quite possibly.

The new Game of Thrones season came out, filling up my Facebook feed and tempting me with spoilers I’m trying desperately to avoid?
Oh yes!

You know what else it means? It means my story, Curse of Beauty, is now available on Heroic Fantasy Quarterly! It’s been included in their 28th issue and even features some beautiful artwork from Kat Scarber.

All of these stories are free to read, so why not drop by and take a look?

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly – Q28

If you enjoy them, please share them around! Make an artist’s day! 🙂

Curse of Beauty Coming Your Way

I really didn’t expect to be sharing a new publication so soon after having two horror shorts published, but here we go!

I just sent off the contract to Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. They’re going to be publishing my fantasy short story, “Curse of Beauty”, in the next issue on their website! It should be going up around May 1st, to be included in Issue #28, so in just a couple of weeks. Note that this will be a free read, so anybody can drop by and read it once it’s live. 😉

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly - About Us

This story has had a long road to get to this point. I’ve been trying to find a home for it since 2011 and have had over 20 rejections on it. Sometimes I wondered if it was worth shopping around, but this is a business where it’s good to be persistent. Like I’ve said before, my writing can be difficult to pin down, which means finding the right niche for it is difficult.

I’ve actually had a couple of older, hard-to-place pieces picked up lately. “A Slippery Customer” was another one. That one too had been homeless since 2011 and had 16 rejections, and the anthology crawled all the way up to #3 in Amazon’s horror anthology listing.

I guess the lesson of this story is not to give up. Take a fresh read of your story now and then, because you do get better as a writer over time, but don’t let yourself get discouraged. Keep sending them out. Eventually you’ll find the awesome editor for your piece. The numbers I’ve listed here are pretty typical in placing your writing. These are just short stories I’m talking about too, not even novels. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of submitting longer pieces to publishers. (I think I’m still scorched from Hodderscape’s open window from last August.)

Anyway come May 1st I’ll be sending out all the links I can, and hopefully you’ll understand why I’m so proud of this baby. I hope you’ll read and share as well!

Fantasy, Beauty, and Fashion

A friend and I stumbled upon this video earlier, and we were simply awestruck by this woman’s incredible sense of beauty and fashion. Watching her careful attention to detail in putting together these looks is fascinating. (Click on the images below to see the full detail.)

pinkFlowers

 

Despite the way people sometimes treat her when she walks down the street, she still does what she loves. I just love the way she mixes the natural world into a look.

leafyGreen

Doing what you like is really hard, but by pursuing it you will discover a different side to yourself. You will meet certain new people only through this. If you keep doing what you want to do, you will get some chances. So never give up. Keep doing what you like!

 

cuteBunny

And I certainly hope Minori keeps doing what she likes! She’s quite an inspiration!

To see more of her work, check out her website at:
http://www.minori.co/

Hooray for To-Do Lists!

In January 2015, I felt stretched thin with all of the writing projects I was working on. So I pulled out some paper and made a list of all of them, including a to-do list for each one. It really helped to keep me focused throughout the year, and it felt so good to be able to check them off as I got them published. So I decided to make another list for this year.

Many of the novels have been works-in-progress for several years. The series I refer to as [Suzie] for example was actually the first novel I wrote back in 2010. It’s seen a great deal of improvement since then, but still has a long way to go. Others, like Beyond the Treehouse, are currently out on submission and I’m waiting to hear back on.

Traditional publishing can be very slow, I’m talking months to over a year to hear back from submitted manuscripts. Even short stories can take over a year to hear back on. I learned early that it’s a good idea to not wait around. Your best bet is to push on to your next book, your next short, or your next series. I’m putting in this disclaimer cause I don’t want people to think I’ve written all of these in a single year. These titles, of course, could change as well.

Anyway, here is my 2016 Writing To-Do list in no particular order.

With a clean list of projects, I feel like I can actually figure out what to work on next. Otherwise I flounder around trying to make a decision, and nothing gets done!