Revisions In Progress

The Songweaver's VowSo I’ve been chatting on social media this month about The Songweaver’s Vow, sharing tidbits for #WIPjoy. Right now I’m throat-deep in revisions, which is always a challenge but especially so with this book, as I did not write it linearly (start to finish, straight through).

I know a lot of writers who can write out of order. Apparently I am not one of them. These revisions are kicking my butt like… well, like Vikings trashing a fishing town. Continue reading

A Chocolate Coffin

That’s a very literal title.

After all, I wouldn’t lie to you.

It’s no secret that I have a thing about the classic Universal monsters and gothic tales. Nor is it a secret that I have a small problem with chocolate. And so I was absolutely delighted to receive this chocolate coffin. (Or casket, really.) Continue reading

Guest Post: Counting Down to Giftmas

TGiftmas Blog Tour December 2015oday is my turn to host in the Giftmas Blog Tour, and I bring you author and editor Rhonda Parrish. Rhonda has written and edited a bunch of things, but readers of this blog will know her as the editor of Fae, Corvidae, and Scarecrow. Please don’t forget to enter the contest for free books and stuff! You’ll find the entry below the post. Catch the whole tour here. Thanks, and in case I don’t catch you tomorrow, Merry Christmas!

Counting Down To Giftmas

Growing up my family had holiday traditions, traditions that I carried on even after I moved away from home. Then, when I moved in with my husband fourteen (!!) years ago he had his own holiday traditions and we (my husband Jo, daughter Danica and myself) had to find a way to try and mesh our traditions together into something that worked for us. One of Jo’s traditions which I was super happy to adopt was advent. Continue reading

Halloween Candy & Risk

English: A PayDay candy bar, broken in half. C...

But where is the razor blade?!  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So in Orphan Heirs & Shades of Night, Robin reflects upon the real and imagined dangers of Halloween, including the popular fear of tainted candy. However, Robin says, the risks are actually quite low, as there has never been a confirmed case of Halloween candy poisoning.

Every year, parents are lashed into a panic by hyberbolic warnings of trick or treating dangers. Alternative candy-grab events are promoted, at shopping malls or store parking lots. (I’m really not sure how accepting candy from a stranger at a shopping mall is significantly safer than accepting candy from a neighbor on your street, but whatever makes you happy.) But the risks are somewhat overstated. Let’s look back on this last Halloween and see how we did. Continue reading

Irvington Eats – a Robin Archer Gastronomic Tour

So Orphan Heirs & Shades of Night comes out Friday, and it’s set in Irvington. I’ll let Robin tell you about Irvington:

Back in the nineteenth century, a town was plotted outside of Indianapolis, which of course has since swallowed it, and it was called Irvington, after Washington Irving. Yes, that Washington Irving, and because his most famous tale is perhaps “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the community seized on Halloween as its patron holiday.

Irvington’s Halloween Festival is now over a week long, the oldest and largest in the country, and it features not only the ghost tours and costume parades and seasonal film screenings you’d expect but also roller derby and scholarship competitions and anything else which sounds fun.

This was a really fun setting to use, because not only is Irvington generally bonkers about Halloween and the supernatural (in a good way!), which is great for an urban fantasy, but Irvington has some fabulous local eats where I could send Robin and Jimmy. I mention only two by name, because you can only name so many restaurants in a novella before it looks like paid placement (it was not), but you really ought to know about these two. Continue reading

A Writers’ Group Feast

This image shows a red wine glass.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My writers’ group had a cooler-than-usual meeting last month.

Writers’ groups are generally pretty cool. We don’t always sit around in black berets and drink coffee or wine and comment on existential truths in literature; that’s for special occasions only. Usually we have a few snacks and critique each other’s submissions. But this session was a special occasion of another kind; we had a fiction pitch-in. Continue reading

A Behaviorial Look at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to ...

photo by clickthing.blogspot.com/2008/10/tennish-anyone.html

So right now a lot of writing friends and I are stocking up on coffee, candy, and Prozac, building our bunkers for National Novel Writing Month (fondly known as NaNoWriMo). Only I don’t like coffee, so I make up for it with chocolate. To each her own.

NaNoWriMo is a blitz to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. (Of course, no, one isn’t writing a publishable book in 30 days, nor is 50,000 words a complete novel in nearly any genre. But that’s not exactly the point, either, so work with us here.)

Considering that at my sugar-and-caffeine-induced perfect zone, I peak at about 1000 words per hour, and that’s not really sustainable — I know a lot of professionals who are quite pleased with 250 words per hour — and considering that normal life doesn’t actually suspend for most of us, you can see the challenge here. So motivation and discipline are big concepts for the NaNo community.

There are lots of ways NaNo writers motivate themselves, but it boils down to several commonly-used terms — small incentives, big incentives, anti-incentives, and rituals.

Let’s look at them from a professional behavior perspective. Continue reading

Why Does Writing a Book Take So Long?

sticky notes color-coded for organizing plot during revisions

Shard & Shield undergoing color-coded revisions. Spoilers probably available if your monitor is sufficiently awesome.

A friend joked about my copious free time. “I mean, what do you have to do, really? You’re self-employed, so you can totally slack off there. And you’re writing a book, and that can’t be hard. I mean, really, how long can that take?”

He was joking about all of it, of course, which is why he’s still breathing. But he put forth a question which many people do ask less ironically — how long can writing a book take, really? (Seriously, just look at fans complaining about George R. R. Martin or Patrick Rothfuss needing time.)

That’s the wrong question — as NaNoWriMo and the 8-Hour Book Challenge prove, writing a story may not take long at all. But writing a good story does. Continue reading

The 8-Hour Book Challenge

Oh gosh. Hold on a sec and let me catch my breath.

Okay, author J.A. Konrath wrote a post on (among other things) maintaining the joy of creating without fussing over commercialism or perfectionism, and he ended with a challenge to create an entire book in just 8 hours.

That’s the entire book project. Writing, revising, formatting, creating a cover, and publishing. Complete.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Continue reading

How Do I Love Chocolate? Let Me Count the Ways….

(I wanted to be blogging this week about the Midwest Writers Workshop and the coolness thereof, but I’ve been considerably distracted. So please accept this pre-written post about chocolate in the meanwhile.)

What does dark chocolate do for me?

writer: a peculiar organism capable of transforming caffeine into booksWell, it provides the caffeine which I don’t get from coffee. (Yeah, I’m one of the maybe four writers in the hemisphere who don’t drink coffee. Makes me the odd one out at conferences and workshops, where I have to find my own soft drink or something.) Continue reading