Writer, Reader, Tea Drinker, Chrononaut

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“How to Write a Novel in 30 Days” now available!

"How to Write a Novel in 30 Days" coverEvery book and story I publish is a labor of love, but damn if this isn’t the Book I Was Meant to Write. I love this book. I mean it—I wish I’d had this book when I was starting out nearly twenty years ago, and I now have a copy on my shelf that I keep rereading to remind myself of lessons I’ve learned the hard way (and continue to relearn over and over and over again).

“How to Write a  Novel in 30 Days” is a short, pithy guide to writing a novel, with a bonus of tips and strategies for writing that novel in a month. It covers fundamentals of mental attitude and discipline (crucial for artists of every stripe) , and then gets into the nitty gritty of novel structure. There is no preaching, no “You MUST do it this way” or any other ridiculous requirements for the writer beyond:

Do what works for you.

And an unstated follow-up:

Open your mind to trying different things and see what works for you.

In the book, I go over Plotters (writers who outline or otherwise plan their novels), Pantsers (writers who write ‘by the seat of their pants’), and Hybrids (the majority of us who combine the two). Having been a Plotter AND a Pantser AND a Hybrid writer, I feel very comfortable talking about these different approaches.

Then we delve into just how the hell you can possibly complete a 50,000 word novel in a month. I share strategies that I have used, some of them legitimate means of moving a story forward and some of them a little more on the cheap tricks side (a girl’s gotta hit her word count somehow).

Comments from beta readers (and from attendees of the “How to Write a Novel in 30 Days” workshops that I’ve held) praise the content for providing solid help with writing a novel, as well as for inspiring writers and making them feel like this is something they can do. Which they can!

If you are looking for a compact, to-the-point writing guide for your novel (whether or not you want to write it in a month), this is the book for you!

“How to Write a Novel in 30 Days” is available as an e-book and paperback at the usual online retailers.

“How to Write a Short Story” now available!

How to Write a Short Story coverFor a few years now, I have taught a workshop on “How to Write a Novel in 30 Days” where I share the tools and attitude necessary to write a complete novel in a month. The workshop runs sixty minutes, so it covers some broad concepts in a short amount of time, from the actual physical tools you need to write, to basic story structure, to the mindset and strategies that make the process easier.

Writing a novel assumes that you know how to write a story. It took me awhile to realize that a lot of people decide they want to start writing, and well, they have read a lot of novels, so they’ll just write one of those.

And then they try to write a novel, struggle with it (“Why won’t the characters do anything?”), and eventually give up.

(I was one of those people, and I have the awful partial first draft of a YA fantasy novel to prove it.)

It can be an incredibly frustrating process, and with so many books and videos and workshops out there, it can also be frustrating trying to find a straightforward answer to “So how the heck do you write a story?”

I know about those frustrations because I went through a lot of books, watched a lot of videos, and took a lot of courses trying to find the answer to that one question.

“How to Write a Short Story” is my attempt to help aspiring writers avoid the frustration and get to the joy of writing.

In this book, I talk about the core components of a story, regardless of length. These basics are the building blocks for all fiction. Then I discuss the nature of the ‘short story’ and how it is different from a novel (not better, not worse—just different), and then wrap up with strategies to use when you get stuck with your story. These strategies also work well with longer stories, so wannabe novelists would get helpful information from this book, as well.

Looking for a compact no-nonsense guide to writing fiction, with a heavy dose of snark on the side? Look no further!

“How to Write a Short Story” is available as an e-book and paperback at the usual online retailers.

“Weird and West” now available!

It’s here, it’s here! The Seven Territories collection of short stories in a crazy alternative American Old West. I say ‘crazy’ because this is a reimagined Old West with zombies, vampires, magic, and Chinese mythology. The really crazy thing? Some of it is even based in actual (as in REAL) history!

I know. It’s hard to believe President Ulysses S. Grant was possessed by a demon. But do the research!

(I’m joking. There is no confirmed evidence that President Grant was actually possessed by a demon, despite all the rumors. However, there is scientific evidence of Celtic mummies in ancient China. So there.)

What I love about the Seven Territories stories is they are a little of everything: action, adventure, fantasy, history, romance, and good vs. evil. And all of that wrapped up in a fun fast-paced package with saloons, the Transcontinental Railroad, and tumbling tumbleweeds.

Take a look for yourself. Weird and West is available in ebook and trade paperback at most online retailers. Bring your cowboy hat and magic wand! You will need ’em.

“Hexes and Dust” now available

At long last, the next story in the Weird West “Seven Territories” series is out and available. Take that, pandemic and riots and wildfires!

In “Hexes and Dust,” a Union Army veteran returns home to seek revenge against the evil bastard who destroyed his life. Oh, and to stop the Evil Bastard from selling to the highest bidder Very Nasty magic drugs. And all of this happening at the saloon of the Sassy Woman who captured his heart.

It’s Ocean’s Eleven meets The Three Stooges in a magical Old West setting. With whiskey, fairies, and all manner of hexes.

If you like your fantasy served up in an alternate history glass with a splash of zombies and a dash of romance, check out “Hexes and Dust“.

Happy Release Day!

Daggers and Demons coverNext up in The Seven Territories series is “Daggers and Demons“. This story features daggers, and demons, and the usual crazy mix that is my Weird West: Chinese mythology, Celtic mythology, blacksmiths, and all of it based to some degree on honest-to-goodness real history.

When a Resistance fighter comes looking for an ancient mystical weapon that could change everything for the war against the Menace, he finds himself caught up in mythological chaos that will have long-lasting consequences that he could never foresee.

“Daggers and Demons” is available in the usual online places (Amazon and the rest). If you like your fantasy with a side of history and Old West, check this story out!

Happy Release Day!

Wilde and Sweet coverNew in The Seven Territories series is “Wilde and Sweet”. It’s a charming short story about love, magic, and demons, set during New Year’s in the alternative Wild West world of magic, zombies, and Chinese mythology.

An Army deserter makes the mistake of kissing the mayor’s daughter at the town Christmas party, and demonic chaos ensues. If you like twists and turns in your historical fantasy stories, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

So if you haven’t gotten your fill of holiday stories (or you’re not quite yet ready for stories about sunny tropical beaches and 4th of July celebrations), check it out! The story is available at the usual digital marketplaces (Amazon and everybody else).

Happy Release Day!

Tea and Treachery coverOut now for your digital consumption: “Tea and Treachery,” the first story in the Seven Territories series. The stories all take place in a post-American Civil War world, where magic, demons, and zombies exist (and may have been behind the War Between the States). Think “Old West” with wizards, Chinese mysticism, and some actual facts mixed in (it is “alternate history” after all).

“Tea and Treachery” is about a woman mage at the end of her proverbial rope: her fiancé is dead, her magic was stolen, and her future is now hopeless. So what’s an ambitious mage to do? Get her magic back at any cost. But is the cost too high?

The story is available in digital form at the usual suspects (Amazon and the other guys). The print version will be available in early 2020 in a collection of the forthcoming Seven Territories stories.

Get ready for a wild Weird West ride!

 

It’s alive! (well, online)

My (very) short story “Bitter Spell” was included in the Halloween episode of the Alone in a Room with Invisible People podcast, and Rebecca Galardo did a fantastic job reading it. It’s so different to actually hear your written words spoken aloud (esp. by someone else), versus hearing them in your head as you read. As I listened to the story, I thought, “I wrote that? Wow.”

You can hear the story here (at the 1:58:35 mark):

Episode 71: 2nd Annual Halloween Special: Listener Edition – Part Two

Credit goes to Holly Lisle and her “How to Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck” course (it’s free!).

And now back to the writing…

I won!

Out of numerous entries, my (very) short story, “Bitter Spell,” was chosen to be read on the upcoming Halloween episode of the Alone in a Room with Invisible People podcast.

Curious what this may look (er, sound) like? Check out last year’s Halloween episode. (Skip over the first 30 seconds to avoid the creepy intro.)

I’m excited to hear my work read outloud by a voice not my own, let alone possibly by Holly Lisle, whose classes I have taken. Validation FTW!

Have a Happy Halloween, and may your zombie ex-husbands not come after you.

 

Happy Belated Release Day!

A Kiss in Time coverIt’s a little late in the news department, but better late than never. Right?

Out now is A Kiss in Time, the latest story in my “Relics of a Future Past” series. It’s a story about a guy* who has been in love with his best friend since middle school, but he has never told her because he was afraid to upset their relationship.

However, when she gets her dream gig that will send her on a 5-year mission to Mars**, he struggles with wanting to confess his love to her (this might be his last chance!) and wanting to support her as a friend. So he does the good thing (the easy thing?) and doesn’t say anything. And kicks himself for it.

Until it looks like he just might have the opportunity to share his feelings to her, but it will mean crossing into an alternate universe using untested technology. And you never know how dropping a pebble in one alternate universe pond will affect other universes…

A Kiss in Time is an adventure-love story with theoretical physics, scotch, and Godzilla.*** If you like Star Trek, but want more heart and less scenery-chewing Canadian actors, this story may be for you.

It’s available in ebook and paperback in the usual places (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and assorted other online establishments including Apple).

Interested in a free taste of the Relics of a Future Past world? Sign up for my newsletter (over there on the right) and I’ll send you Doorway to Infinity, a story only available to subscribers. It’s a time travel tale with WWII, romance, and tacos.****

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*Not a tech billionaire this time, but the opposite end of the spectrum: a struggling cartoonist.

**How cool is that?

***You probably won’t find that description in many book summaries.

****And another story description you probably won’t find anywhere else.

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