Finding an Editor: A List

Saturday I spoke on “Secrets of Successful Self-Publishing” at the Allen County Public Library’s annual author fair, and I spoke on the importance of editing and of having an editor. A number of people asked where to find an editor and how to find one appropriate to one’s work, so here’s a follow-up. Continue reading

Write Fights Right!

Sanjuro final duel, two samurai facing each other with spectators in background

If you’ve seen Sanjuro, you know this isn’t a still, but a playing video.

I love good fight scenes. In a story, I want to feel the action. In a film, I want tightly choreographed combat. It’s fine if it’s realistic (the long tension of Sanjuro‘s final duel, and we’ll just ignore the period blood effects), fake realistic (the bloody impact of Logan), crazy physics-defying martial arts (the alternate-world movement of The Matrix), or just plain fun (Captain America kicking Nazi tail). But lame action, the writer glossing over it or the director trying to fake it with shaky cam, makes me feel cheated.

So I try to write good action scenes. And most of the time I feel I do an okay job.

But I’ve been really struggling with one scene. It’s very short, an attempted bar fight which is over in under three seconds. But because it’s so fast, it’s hard to write; I don’t want to lose flow or add length with a lot of explanation, yet the physical actions are fairly complex. I’d been frustrated by this for an embarrassingly long time. So I called in an expert, Carla Hoch. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2017 Kickoff

1993 words this session

It has begun. Our local NaNoWriMo group has an annual NaNoWeen kickoff party. Anyone else start at midnight? It’s a fun way to jumpstart with a lot of communal enthusiasm. I changed my mind last minute (Oct 31) from a new project to continuing a project I’d started four years ago and set aside. It would be great to finish it. The (temporary working) title is The Poet’s Eye.

First hour, 1993 words. I AM THE AWESOME.

Tomorrow afternoon: How do words what are plot?

This year, I have a friend to keep me motivated and on task. Meet the NaNoRhino. Continue reading

Celebrating 2017 — With Loot

list of handwritten creative ideas

I need a bigger fire for all my  irons.

We need to step back sometimes to be able to see the bigger picture.

I had been a little down on myself for not publishing as much as I’d wanted and being behind on my idea list. I have a beefy project list that feels like I’ll never catch up. (I wrote it out as an Idea Debt Inventory for a productivity lesson. Lemme tell ya, that’s simultaneously inspiring — look how much I can create! — and super-depressing.)

But then I started doing the math for this year, and wow, I’ve had a more productive year than I thought. No wonder I felt busy. Continue reading

#WIPjoy for Shard & Shield: Music and Playlists

Today’s #WIPjoy topic is “songs on your MCs’ playlists,” which is frankly too big to answer effectively on social media (sorry, Twitter), so we’re doing it here on the blog.

I have a bonus to this post, too. First I have my own playlists for primary characters, and then I have a guest DJ Kayla, who beta-read Shard & Shield last week and told me then she had made character playlists, which of course meant I had to ask her to chime in on today’s #WIPjoy topic.

Continue reading

Cover Reveal: Mrs. Claus

From the iconic 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street to Clement Moore’s immortal poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” to Rise of the Guardians (with a great burly Santa) to Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (too awful even for my schlock-loving B-movie taste), Saint Nick has gotten a lot of attention. But there’s another figure who has been consistently overlooked, and it’s time she gets her due.

I mean Mrs. Claus, of course.

And so I am pleased to announce a new anthology of stories all about the lady behind the jolly old elf. Continue reading

When Life Imitates Art

Circles & Crossroads, a glowing jack o'lantern over a textured dark circleI write about Robin Archer, a fae in our world charged by the Fairy Queen to protect human children from human predators. The second installment, released in October 2015, was called “Orphan Heirs & Shades of Night” and was set in Irvington, where someone had created a haunted house secretly based on the deplorable acts of H. H. Holmes.

In 2016, a new haunted house opened in Irvington, overtly based on the deplorable acts of H. H. Holmes.

No word yet on whether the Hotel Holmes will be back for 2017; the website has not been updated since last year. We can hope that’s not due to actual crimes committed during the haunted house’s run last year.

We Won! A Video Snippet and New Anthologies

So, as you may have heard, my war unicorns Nova & Reaver won the Equus Battle Royal. While I totally played it cool, inside I was doing a Snoopy dance and singing something like this:

So, I’d promised that if Nova & Reaver went all the way, I would read you a snippet from an upcoming story. Since you got an excerpt of “Rue the Day” in the Equus battle, I decided to read something from a different story, but one that’s also coming soon. Continue reading