June Ishness 2019!

June 2019

Oh, hey, look who’s getting an Ishness post up only a week late instead of waiting for several months! *gasp*

I kind of consider June and July one really long Junely “J” month, but anyway, June was pretty cool and I’m here to recap it!

WRITING: Plots + Wordwars!

I’ve been brainstorming The Skythief and the Secret Tower and KW2.5/Mixup at Kedran’s Wood (which I introduced last week HERE) and making a little progress on those, which is exciting!

I managed to write just short of 6K words of KW2.5 in June, largely thanks to wordwarring with my awesome wordwar buddy, Claire Banschbach (who has a book coming out this month, Oath of the Outcast, one of my favorite recent reads, and it’s Celtic-esque and features outlaws and brothers and my favorite smol floof of anger management issues and is basically AWESOME, so go check it out!)!

Er . . . that was a slight sidetrack. But a necessary one. 😉 Because you need Rhys the Mountain Baron in your life.

Anyway.

I’m nearly 10K into my Kedran’s Wood novella and having a blast writing it! 😀

Otherwise, I’ve been keeping up with blogging (aside from last week because Independence Day *cough*) and trying to prep for Realm Makers, both of which I can count as writing-related, right? 😉

READING: Delicious Fantasy!

It was another good reading month! I don’t know why but seeing these books together makes me happy. 😀

I’ll post brief thoughts about all of them in a Book Ishness post on my other blog later this week, but highlights:

  • The Wolf Prince – Claire M. Banschbach — Brothers + faeries + Rangers + snark + wolves = SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS EPIC STORY!
  • Curse and Consequence – Savannah Jezowski — Regency Fantasy + hilarity + adorable dragons + faery curses + piglets + true love = YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. (One of my faves so far this year; I read it twice!) Review coming to the book blog tomorrow!
  • Deadwood – Kyle Robert Shultz — Fantasy Western + Todd Crane + Julio the dragon + creepy Pinocchio twist + I edited it = yay, more Afterverse! (It just released and you need this in your life too, and, no, I’m not biased. ;))
  • Conrad’s Fate – Diana Wynne Jones — Chrestomanci re-reads are always awesome! ❤ Where my Chrestomanci fans at?

WATCHING: Holmes + NCIS + Bolt!

  • I haven’t seen many new things lately, though I re-watched a few old favorites like Prince of Persia and Batman Begins. 😀
  • I did see a couple of new-to-me Sherlock Holmes episodes (starring Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone, respectively) which was fun. I’m always up for some Holmes of any type!
  • I watched Bolt, which was SO ADORABLE! ❤ The dog and the cat and the hamster. XD I loved it! ^_^
  • Also still occasionally working my way through the early seasons of NCIS — just started season 5 and things have been Going Down. O_O (I watch it for the characters and they’re just so much fun. :D)

LISTENING: Cress!

I finally got back to listening to Cress and I’m about 3/4 done now and I’m having SUCH a blast! It’s been keeping me to a semi-regular exercise routine (unless I’m too busy or sick or something). It’s so motivational since I get to find out what happens next while I’m exercising, and I’ve also been bribing myself with a daily chapter of a Chrestomanci book if I get it done. XD

Anyway, Cress and her friends are doooomed but I’m having a blast and I love all of them so much! Especially Thorne because he’s hilarious, and Jacin because he’s verrry intriguing, and Cinder because Cinder, and Wolf because sad puppy, and… well… you get the picture. I LOVE THEM ALLLL. The humor and snark is my favorite, and the retelling aspect is fun too. 😀

BLOGGING: Success! + Blogging Hacks

Since my plan was to actually blog consistently again this month, and I actually DID, I wanted to share this little success with you guys. 😀 And share my blogging calendar hack.

I write blog post ideas on sticky notes (color coded for the different blogs: yellow for this one, pink for my book blog, blue for guest posts etc.) and that way if I need to move them around, I can do that without having to scribble stuff out. And since it’s a physical calendar that I keep around, I’m more likely to look at it than at a digital calendar. I can also see at a glance how often I’m posting on my different blogs.

Anyway, it works for me and I LOVE it, and it usually looks like this (minus being crossed out) at the beginning of a month but is usually too ambitious to manage. XD But I did in June!

Reviews

Regular Posts

Guest Post

INSTAGRAM: Daily Posts + Almost One Year!

I had a personal challenge to post on Instagram every day in June, and I succeeded! You can check out my bookish photos here if you like. It was loads of fun. *grins*

Later this week will mark the one-year anniversary of when I first started Instagramming! So that’s exciting. ^_^

LIFE: Editing + Rain + Colds

Nothing particularly striking to report in the life category — just, well, Life, you know. 😉

I’ve been:

  • scheming about costumes and in other ways prepping for Realm Makers
  • editing
  • enjoying the rain (which is somehow keeping the three-digit Texas summer weather at bay temporarily)
  • seeing friends
  • and wrestling off a random and very-unwelcome summer cold. 😛

JULY PLANS: Realm Makers! (+ No Camp NaNo)

I’m not doing Camp NaNo WHICH MAKES ME SAD. But I figure I can’t wrangle that on top of Realm Makers so I won’t try. XD

So that’s going to be the biggest thing for me this month: final preparations for Realm Makers, a roadtrip, and attending the Realm Makers speculative fiction writers conference in St. Louis! I’M VERY EXCITED.

This is my second year going, and since it will be farther afield next year I probably won’t go that time, so I was determined to make it this year again if possible, and I’m so thankful it’s working out!

If you’ll be there, leave a comment and let me know! I’m SO excited to see so many friends, meet new people and authors, find some new books, learn more about writing, and make connections. ❤

(And no, I’m not ready at all, so excuse me while I panic and disappear for a week to frantically get ready for this. XD)

If you’re going to Realm Makers: check out Christine Smith’s fabulous post about getting the most out of this conference!

If you’re NOT going to Realm Makers but wish you were: check out Christine’s amazing post about that.

(Am I redirecting you to her posts instead of saying them myself? Yes. Yes I am. She does an incredible job of saying all of those things far better than I could, and you need those posts in your life.)

I also won’t be blogging or online as much in the next week or two, so . . . just so you know!

St. Louis Book Festival at Realm Makers

Also, if you’re in the St. Louis area on July 20th, you should make sure to swing by the Book Festival that’s open to the public and taking place at the Realm Makers conference! You can check out all the details here but tons of authors will be there signing books, including Terry Brooks, C.J. Redwine, Morgan Busse, and Bryan Davis!

And there we are! How was your June? Read or watched anything good lately? Are you doing Camp NaNo? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a splendid July! ^_^

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I’m Guest-Posting About Editing at Phoenix Fiction Writers!

Hey guys! I’m thrilled to announce that I’m guest-posting about editing, over on the Phoenix Fiction Writers blog!

The Phoenix Fiction Writers are a collection of speculative fiction authors who banded together under the banner of a phoenix, representing the transformative power of story.

They include such fabulous authors as Kyle Robert Shultz, E.B. Dawson, Nate Philbrick, and several others.

Their blog consistently features helpful and delightful posts for readers and writers, and I’m honored to be joining them there this week!

Editing is one of my passions, and technically my job, so I have 8 Editing Tips for Authors to share with you, and I’d love it if you check it out and let me know what you think! Thanks! ^_^

8 Editing Tips for Authors

Writing Update! (New Steampunk + Tare Snippets)

Hey, friends!

SO. I haven’t talked much about my writing projects in awhile, and since I actually have Exciting Progress Things to report, I thought I’d pop in and let you know how things are going over on the writing desk and share about my new projects! (And share some snippets. Because snippets.)

The Siren and the Skyship (S&S): first draft — finished!

As you may know, once upon a time (last November), I finished writing the first draft of The Siren and the Skyship, my steampunk-fantasy Little Mermaid Not-Little Cloud-Siren Prince retelling. It took me a smidge over a year to write it (starting it one NaNo and finishing it the next, with some writing in-between) and I had an absolute blast with it!

I had intended to dive into the sequel not long after that, but instead got sidetracked trying to finish a different book, namely . . .

The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2): first draft — finished!

Somewhere around 2:30 a.m. on April 30/May 1st, I finished writing The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (affectionately known as KW2), which is the second book in a contemporary fantasy series.

Guys.

I. FINISHED. KW2.

(Okay, so I realize I mentioned this in my last Ishness, but IT BEARS REPEATING.)

It took me just over 5 years to write this, and it’s a massive 145K, but I’m just so ecstatic to have reached the end of this one! It’s been my constant background writing companion, interspersed with other things, throughout the past half-decade, and I’m not sure exactly what to do now that it’s over?? It was so rewarding to get to pound out the last few chapters — messily, but so much fun. XD

Also, writing a wintry, Christmas-y scene in April/May isn’t what I was planning on, but it works. *shrug*

Finishing, Y’all

Finishing a draft is such a rush of amazing feelings.

I hadn’t finished a novel in quite awhile, between spreading myself too thin across various writing projects, working on short stories, and blogging/online presence stuff.

So it was beyond incredible to get to finish two projects I’ve adored working on, within six months of each other. It provided such a boost to my writing enthusiasm, and I feel on top of the clouds! (Literally, with my steampunk-fantasy series. XD)

Next Up . . .

So, what now?

I’ve been working on S&S and KW2 for a long time now and not much else, so it was a really weird feeling to not have either of them to write! O_O

Mixup at Kedran’s Wood (KW2.5) novella: WIP

. . . Which is why I turned around and started writing a between-books novella (set a few months after KW2) a week after I finished KW2. XD

I’m currently about two chapters in and having a blast just working on a smaller, fun project!

Short version: Tare and Adrian having a buddy story while looking like each other. Bwahaha. 😀

Spring comes to Kedran’s Wood and brings with it a series of mishaps, both magical and ordinary. Tare battles a cold (to the astonishment of the Chess Club, who somehow feel he should be immune to ordinary human complaints), and Adrian and Tare run into a magical scrape with chaotic consequences: They accidentally switch appearances. Attempting to live each other’s lives is hard enough for even a day. They’ll have to work together, despite their differences, if they’re going to get out of this one.

I don’t have a pinterest board for it specifically, but here’s the board for the series in general.

Siren and the Skyship sequel: plotting

Meanwhile, I’m trying to wrangle the plot of my next major project, which is hopefully going to be S&S2.

I’ve tentatively decided that since book 1 is going to need a massive overhaul/rewrite anyway, I may as well dash out rough drafts of the two sequels. Since, apparently, they’re going to be tightly knit together, instead of semi-standalones like I was originally intending. Heh.

SO. It’s high time for me to introduce this one to you! At the moment it’s a mess of exciting ideas but hasn’t formed into a solid plot.

I’ll share a blurb in a second, but first, if you want some pretties, you can check out my pinterest board! It started as a board for The Siren and the Skyship and I’ve just been adding S&S2 stuff to it more recently, so you can find that here.

Introducing . . .

*drumroll*

The Skythief and the Secret Tower (S&S2 for short)

The short version: Steampunk-fantasy Jack and the Beanstalk meets Snow White in Rapunzel. (At least loosely. XD)

A young sky pirate named Keller teams up with a girl called Ebony from a stone pillar with hidden secrets and a magic mirror, to pull off the ultimate heist. Stealing from the dragons has never been easy, and neither is evading the pirate king to whom Keller owes forced allegiance — especially when Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley, Royal Skynavy captain, is hot on Keller’s trail, in search of the stolen crown jewels which are the only way to stop a war. If he doesn’t manage the mission the pirate king sent him on, Keller could lose everything, but if he succeeds, he could release the worst threat to the sky world. Despite his smooth-talking, thievery skills, and power to control plants, Keller may have finally hit the end of the line. This skythief’s heart isn’t the only thing that might be stolen from him.

…That’s a working summary, so I have no idea how it will actually turn out, given that my plotting is an unfocused mess and currently looks like this.

My favorite Scapple (relation of Scrivener) plotting software! Currently dropping all my ideas in and making a mess. XD

More factoids!

  • Book 2 of my Sky Voyages steampunk-fantasy fairytale-retelling trilogy
  • Loosely inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Snow White
  • MC is a blond sky pirate by the name of Keller, who has plant powers
  • Continues to feature plot-threads with characters from the first book (Princess Tasmania, Rook, etc. — ALL MY FAVORITE CHARACTERSSS)
  • Used to be book 3 and then switched places with the one I knew more about, so that one is now book 3 and this one is book 2, which is understandably causing my brain confusions. XD
  • Is giving me a dreadful time of it trying to wrangle said plot threads
  • Heroine (who is Rapunzel/Snow White) refuses to tell me much about herself which is naturally making it difficult to plot
  • URGH
  • But also I’m REALLY REALLY EXCITED
  • Especially after writing up that blurb. 😀

Ahem. Anyway, there are EXCITING THINGS going on, even if I’m having a spot of difficulty figuring the plot out. XD


So that’s what’s up on the writing front!

Short Tare scribbling and attempted-plot-wrangling of The Skythief and the Secret Tower. I’m really excited about both of these! Even if I don’t have a lot of time to spend on either, due to life and the fact that I should switch to prepping for Realm Makers. 😛

But just sharing about them is making me MORE EXCITED! So hurray! Maybe I’ll be motivated to sneak some progress in on these when I can. 🙂


Snippets!

Ah, yes, I did promise snippets!

Since I recently finished KW2, it seems like a good time to share a few of those, and maybe one from the story I’m currently working on. 😉

All the best lines are spoilers (whyyy?? Answer: because I was near the end of the book, which is spoiler-rich territory) but I managed to find a few fun ones that aren’t. XD

(I know that they mostly feature Baz and Tare. I equally apologize and don’t apologize for this fact. Baz = humor, Tare = awesome, which means they’re in most of the snippets I want to share, naturally. :P)

Snippets from KW2 (The Secret of Kedran’s Wood)

“Where are we going?”

“To get pizza,” Baz said firmly.

Tare raised one eyebrow. “Because?”

“Pizza doesn’t need a reason. Don’t question pizza,” Baz replied.

***

“I hate to break it to you, but not everything is your fault, Tare,” Ivy said.

***

“Like a secret society.”

Baz shrugged. “We’re not very secret. Open books—that’s us.”

“Speak for yourself. I’m a closed book. Locked. And written in code,” Ivy said, tossing her red hair over her shoulder.

Baz blinked. “No fair—why didn’t I think of that!”

***

Tare’s last thoughts before the world went dark were that he hated magic, and that he couldn’t pass out because the Chess Club were in danger and he had to find them.

***

“So, my family’s kind of rich and important; don’t judge.”

“Not judging,” Tare said briefly.

Baz blinked, surprised. “Oh. Thanks.”

“Any time,” Tare said dryly. “As long as there are no puns involved.”

“Talking through bars kind of imprisons my sense of humor,” Baz said.

***

And Tare was tied up on the floor, which pretty much signaled the apocalypse.

Possibly literally.

***

“You know, looking around your home, no one would be able to tell it was Christmas next week,” Adrian said. “You should decorate.”

Tare raised a sarcastic eyebrow, looking over his shoulder as he opened the door. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been a bit too busy to decorate.”

“No, we didn’t notice at all,” Ivy said innocently, following him out onto the porch.

“Well, what do you think we’re for?” Baz exclaimed. “We can decorate your house.”

“Don’t you dare touch my house.”

Baz, passing through the doorway, deliberately reached one finger out and touched the wall.

Tare spread his arms in a “why me?” posture and gave Baz a disbelieving look. “Really? Are you five?”

***

“As someone who is very definitely not a football,” Baz gasped out in his version of defiance, “I resent being thrown around.”

***

Tare’s blood boiled momentarily before turning to frigid ice as he coolly stepped out and pointed a pistol at them. “Let him go,” Tare said.

Adrian looked up at the sound of his voice and the others jerked to see him. The one who had just punched Adrian—a fair-haired young man not like the two red-heads—drew back and went for his gun.

Tare leveled his own toward him. His voice was iron. “I wouldn’t.”

***

Baz raised one hand. “I, for one, have all my ribs broken, buuut yeah, I’m fine.”

Lavender leaned her head on his shoulder, and Baz didn’t object at all.

Adrian rolled his eyes. “They’re bruised, not broken, Baz. Don’t be a baby.”

***

“Well,” Baz said, “welcome to the Chess Club, officially. Now you know why we don’t play chess as often as we might, because what we actually do is lead a double life of fighting monsters and evil faeries and saving the world and all of that—”

“Speak for yourself,” Tare muttered.

“—and when we’re finished we limp home if we’re alive and laugh about it and wonder why superheroes think this is fun.” He grinned.

***

Tare paused. “Did I just agree with Baz?”

Ivy rolled her eyes theatrically. “The world is ending after all.”

And one from KW2.5

Tare smirked and kept backing as he turned to leave. “Don’t worry. I don’t get colds.”

*

“Really, Tare? You had to say it,” Tare remarked to the underside of his bed canopy as he lay staring up at it.

Tare woke feeling like death.

Which, considering how often he had gotten close to actually dying through the course of his life, was silly, since he wasn’t very close to it this time, and merely had a nasty cold.


And there we are! What do you think? About . . . any of it! My steampunk story, or the snippets . . . I’d love to hear! Thanks for reading! ^_^

Ren: The Girl With the Mark – Season 2?

Friends, I’m excited to share some news with you!

The Indie-made fantasy show Ren: The Girl with the Mark is gearing up for a second season — but we need your help!

What is Ren?

If you haven’t heard about this original fantasy TV show (which has one season so far, consisting of five 10-minute episodes), and would like to know more, you can check out the official website or my post Ten Reasons Why Ren the Series is Awesome.

I stumbled across it years ago when it first released, since it was made by the same talented filmmakers who made the Lord of the Rings fan-film Born of Hope (about Aragorn’s parents). I adored the first season of Ren, and I’m excited to share the news with other fantasy fans!

Scary things going down in the woods . . .

I absolutely love the characters (Ren! Karn! Hunter!) and the acting, as well as the setting, look, and feel of it. The story kept me holding my breath. And the music! I love it so much that I had to buy the soundtrack — it’s good for listening to while writing exciting scenes. 😉 Ren is simply an excellently-made show and I need more of it in my life. ❤

Watch it Free!

You can watch the first season of Ren the Series on the website or Youtube!

Or, if you have Amazon Prime, the first season has been re-edited and put together there in one place! Seriously, go see it. (It’s a total of 45 minutes, so you really have no excuse not to! ;))

So check it out if you love fantasy! (And join me in waiting for a continuation of that explosive cliffhanger! XD)

Karn being mysterious and epic. He’s my favorite!

How You Can Help

If the Ren team can get enough sign-ups for their new newsletter, they’ll know they have enough support to launch a crowdfunding campaign for season two, and they’re over halfway to that goal!

So if you are an old or new fan of Ren, or just want to help out, be sure to spread the word and sign up to renew Ren for a second season!

Ren and Hunter, my other favorites!

Check out the latest update on Youtube!


Here’s some more information, taken from the official press release:

SECOND SEASON OF REN: THE GIRL WITH THE MARK IN THE WORKS

The team behind Ren: The Girl with the Mark, the ambitious short-form fantasy series about a young woman marked by an ancient spirit, is asking fans to support a second season.

The premiere episode has had over two million views to date, while the season as a whole has received over 40 award nominations from festivals around the world, and a dozen actual award wins.

Gongs collected include the Grand Jury Award at Melbourne International WebFest in Australia, and Best Series awards at GenCon and FilmQuest in the US and at Bilbao WebFest in Spain. Skelton’s performance was honoured at Hyperdrive Sci-Fi & Fantasy Festival in the UK, while director and co-creator Kate Madison took home a Best Director award from South Korea’s Seoul WebFest.

Fans will be delighted to hear that a second season is in the works. “I’ve just finished writing the last episode,” Madison reveals. “I won’t give you any spoilers, but you can expect a much bigger scope and scale to this season, as Ren and Hunter journey across Alathia to try to find the answers to some of Ren’s many questions.”

The first season was crewed by an army of volunteers – some from as far afield as Germany, the Netherlands and even the US – who descended on the small English village of Caxton, Cambridgeshire to help build the set, make the costumes and appear as extras. Madison notes that “it was their talent and enthusiasm that allowed us to make an independent series of such a high quality that many viewers thought they were watching something from a major TV
studio.”

The community ethos is something she is keen to continue. Before launching a crowdfunding campaign, Madison and her team have challenged themselves to get 5,000 fans signed up to their new mailing list. “Social media is great,” says Madison, “but with the wealth of information out there things can be missed, and nothing beats getting something straight into your inbox.”

You can show your support for further adventures of Ren: The Girl with the Mark by heading to rentheseries.com/renew and signing up to the mailing list.


Have you seen Ren the Series yet? And what do you think? If you’re a fellow fan, are you just as ready for the next season as I am? Aaahh! I’m so excited to continue this journey! 😀

All images belong to Mythica Entertainment.

Free Writing Book: Not Write Now

Just a quick heads-up to share about a delightful (and hilarious) reverse psychology book on writing, which is free this weekend through June 16! (And there’s another free book at the end of the post; just hang on.)

Not Write Now: A How-Not-To Guide for Writing Fiction

This book is BRILLIANT and HILARIOUS and all writers should read it. XD

Reverse psychology writing advice, laced throughout with humor (I mean, naturally, given the subject and the author), and totally inspiring in a completely surprising way. I’ve no idea how it worked so well, but it’s genius and so enjoyable!

(My favorite is the chapter about how the author tried to “defeat” Nick and Cordelia by writing their story. It did not . . . go well. XD)

Lots of good advice, disguised as non-advice, and just sheer fun. I don’t read nonfiction often, but I loved everything about this one. 😀

(Disclaimer: I did edit this, but I loved it so much that reading it three times was fun and delightful, and I can’t say that about much nonfiction. XD)

Another free ebook

Also, the fourth Beaumont and Beasley book (which is an anthology, which I also edited) is likewise free through the 16th, so check it out!

It was just re-released with a few short stories added to it, and if you’re totally confused, you can check out this post about what’s what. XD But it’s a delightful collection!

Since I’m the Editor of the Afterverse, I thought I should let you know about this opportunity. 😉

Okay, this concludes my sale update. I’ll be back on Monday with a new post!