Category Archives: News

News: Back from Quarantine and Book Signing!

Thank you all for being understanding as I dealt with my various levels of stress, anxiety, and the various fall outs lately (among them involving a lot of my hair going into a fast shed, it was awful). I did okay with the whole shutting myself up in the house part, I’ve been sick the least amount I’ve been in the last few years actually, so you know, small bonuses. Karu and Kari are loving me being home, less so that they are being switched to pure-adult food because it is time they got off the combo kitten/adult food. Once I got a Switch and Animal Crossing: New Horizon (yes, I am one of those people) to be a stress relief and calming mechanism, things leveled out.

Originally, I had a book signing scheduled for April which canceled for…obvious reasons. Thankfully, Full Circle Books offered those of us in April first-dibs at slot for the June New Ink signings, and I jumped on it. I will hopefully be there in June (with a mask!!!) if things don’t spike outrageously here in the metro. I have the box of Sun’s Guard: Ten copies ready and everything… Oh shoot. Dara still has my good pens. I will buy new pens, and then I’ll be ready, lol. I’ll post announcements on Twitter and details on the homepage once I get them, right now I don’t know anything besides…June.

Speaking of book signings though, I am available for those and school visits if anyone wants to drop me a line at rebeccamhorner@yahoo.com to discuss details in the future once Covid isn’t making everything a nightmare. I’ll post that in the FAQ section at some point along with those details. We might even try some virtual meet ups!

I’ve also started to work on an audio reading of Sun’s Guard: Ten, which got waylaid because my desk chair revolted after working from home started with my day job. (I had to sit on a pillow to avoid splinters while tracking down a replacement.) But I have a new chair, so I’ll use this weekend to catch up on that, start getting some recording going on, and then hopefully we’ll have that ready to come out this fall. I’m excited to do a full-cast reading, inspired by Bruce Coville and Tamora Pierce because I am trash like that. And also theater trash, because I want all the characters to have different voices, drat it!

(I can’t get a braille copy going, but by golly, there will be an audio version going. Though if I spot typos in the original text, I might be updating the print copies to correct those because they may drive me nuts…)

Otherwise, I am poking away at a few projects. Right now my focus is on a fanfic that Ginny has outed me for writing on Twitter for Sly Cooper and getting an installment of that out, and then I’ll probably either work on the game or on Black Lark. Page is still on stand by, I believe I’ll start editing work in July…which means fixing my printer, joy. I also found the Ginny box! I need to pick a book and review it for you all, or watch a new movie instead of rewatching things. Sigh, that means making room for new characters. I think I’m still suffering from such high disappointment from Miraculous Ladybug turning sour after season one that it’s hard for me to make that leap again. But I’ll look!

In the meantime, I’ll see you all next weekend. Stay safe, stay inside if you can, and if you can’t, wear a mask and wash your hands.


2019, Year in Review

It’s New Year’s Eve. Time to reflect on our struggles, our accomplishments, and celebrate that we’re still here, and what all we’re going to do in the coming year. So yes, I decided to be THAT level of extra and publish this post right at midnight, my time, about my feelings.

Ugh, what do I have to say about the start of 2019? I was coming off of a bad year, losing 75% of my pets. I was also in a horrible place because of drama within my medieval group coming to a head, stretched beyond measure between projects, and work was just not helping. Add in my health deciding to revolt, and there’s just no where to go but up.

(Ironic that I’m writing this while home with an upper respiratory virus, but you know, I digress.)

So how did it go? Well, I survived getting out from under my medieval fair group, which was a huge stress relief. To help process that stress relief, I started going through stuff in the house that summer, which…unbelievable helped and I’ll probably do it this summer too, get through all these tubs of stuff and shredding in the office. It just helped me organize my head space after that organization being a good eightyish percent of my life and social circle. I didn’t feel tired all the time, both physically and emotionally.

Which is about when Kari started having separation anxiety from being home alone without me or Tsuki…bad. Thankfully we caught the bald spots before she was completely down to the skin, but it still wasn’t good. So she went on meds, and I went on a kitten/young cat hunt, which is how we got Karu in our lives. I think he was more than just healing for Kari, he also helped me remember that yes, I do know how to be a responsible pet parent, it was just a whole lot of bad timing. Also, he’s the little ambassador of the house which means Kari can hide from people while he accepts their offerings of affection. He’s a joy in both of our lives.

The blog has gone up and down a lot, but I think I had to sit down and think about it. I don’t consume books or movies like I used to. Oh, I go to Marvel movies and Fast and the Furious franchise films and the occasional Disney movie, but I don’t go out nearly as much. I am fed up with a lot of anime and female characters in them. I don’t have time for tons of video games. I’ve talked about everything about RP as I can unless something new comes up.

Work has also eased up. I’m still keeping a look out for work more in the direction I want to be going or uses my skill set better, but I no longer feel like it’s me or this job. Really, I have to stick with the university or the state until my student loans are forgiven. They are just growing too fast for me to keep up with, and I know it’s what makes the most financial sense for me to do. It’ll give me a lot of freedom to sit back at 35 and go, “Okay, I forgave my loans, I’m a third of the way to paying off my mortgage, what do I want to do with the rest of my life?” Some of this is going to depend on where I am with my projects, but I like having a loose plan to play with.

Speaking of projects, I am so proud of what I’ve accomplished this year and yay, the rest of this gets to blab. Sun’s Guard Ten is out and did better than I expected upon release. (I had a low bar, lol, still do because it’s easier when there are three of a series to suggest purchase to Amazon.) I’m super excited to be getting this world started and available to you all. I also got Sun’s Guard: Page started, though it hit a couple hiccups. Note to self, don’t expect to write around the holidays anymore. But it is shaping up really well, and I like that I don’t have to introduce these characters again, but instead I get to delve more into my core group for this book.

I’m going to continue working with Johnny for the book covers, and I will stay on him a little bit more this year, starting next weekend. At least unlike a sword, the next cover is more up his wheelhouse, so it shouldn’t take as long. I felt bad about that, since swords are trickier than they look, but we managed to collaborate really well I think. I’ve done a little spot editing–mostly formatting and changing colors/fonts on the back cover to make it readable–but Ten shouldn’t be touched anymore and it’s going to be my template for when I get to Page. I have a timeline laid out and I know that it’s publication date is in October of 2020, specific day going to depend on art.

Other projects of this last year include Mystic Riders. Ginny and I have put a lot of time and effort into this project already, and I thought we were ready to start the blog, which was a lot more my baby. It was a bit of a give and take, and eventually we figured out that the game mechanic blog posts are hard to write when you weren’t the one who figured them out/understand them as deeply. I know a lot, but there are some elements in video games that I don’t where Ginny had more experience. In the end, it made a lot more sense for us to divide and conquer again. We have a good plan now that makes me confident that the blog part is only going to grow.

On the flip side, we’ve also started getting some artwork in, so we’re getting more that we can present to potential studios or computer programmers. Our tentative “business plan” is to finish getting some of this artwork, work towards me getting a computer that can run Unreal, and then we can get a demo built. After that, we’ll start option one, which is finding a production studio who will hire us for working on this game–it works a lot like querying a book. Most statistics I’ve seen don’t rate the odds of success on this very high, just because neither Ginny or I have ever marketed games before. (I’ve made one, but you know, it was for class so it doesn’t count.) The other option is to build a game company ourselves. I’m hoping when I’m 35 and out of debt, I’ll be brave enough to run with that idea. In the meantime, I have plotting, writing, mapping, and all sorts of other work to do.

I started a stand alone book, which I’m hoping I’ll put out sometime within the next couple of years, but I’m not rushing it at this point. Same for these short stories Ginny recently tweeted about. They are meant more to be my, “I don’t want to throw Caley out the window, what can I do instead?” works, less on a schedule. I do have a schedule of deadlines now to try and hold myself too, though I had to give myself an extension already on Page since I had a learning curve with the holidays, lol. Hopefully everything else stays on target into 2020.


It’s heeeeeere!!!!! Sun’s Guard: Ten

I know I kept saying it was coming, and the artist got back to me over this weekend. As a result, I burned the midnight oil and got everything formatted and hit the button.

That’s right. Sun’s Guard: Ten is now available.

I’m going to be editing the part of my menu under My Project, basically getting everything regrouped and Sun’s Guard starting a separate universe page so the rest of the series and future books set in the same universe have a landing page. (I had a name for it at one point, and now I’ve forgotten it. Oh well. I’ll make up something.) That should be done if not just after this post, than tomorrow.

For now, I’m going to post the ad here that I made to be a pinned post on Twitter, and some price info. Reminder that Sun’s Guard: Ten is a clean read, YA, LGBTQA *emphasis on the A*, urban fantasy with unicorns. The pricing is $7.99 for a glossy paperback, and then $2.99 for an ebook, unless you also purchased the paperback. If you buy the paperback first/at the same time, you are supposed to get it at $0.99 instead.

Paperback

Ebook

(Linking should be done by the end of the week.)

Ad for Ten


News: Kari the Anxious Heathen

So for those who are curious about why there are long stretches of me being gone (besides the usual illness that I seem to attract), well, the currently ruling queen of the household, Kari, has developed anxiety. The DumDum has been chewing her back claws and trying to yank them out, licked parts of her legs bald, and of course is her usual clingy self the rest of the time, only with a higher hunger and not sleeping enough. We’re not sure if me going on a trip aggravated it, or if this has just been steadily building to the current crescendo. The vet has put her on some anti-depressants (topical compound gel too, so less likely I’ll get bit), and they seem to be doing her a lot of good.

Now, part of what is possibly leading to her high anxiety is her being the only cat in the household. She went from her mama and siblings to me and Tsuki, but it’s been a year since we lost Tsuki. She may not be adjusting well to being alone a lot during the day. So, cue Operation Sibling. We had a couple of good candidates, but after review, I went with Charlie, who seemed the most laid-back and yet energetic, which is the combo I needed. They seemed to be working out…except Kari just goes and goes and goes like a demented Energizer Bunny who instigates the lashing out, and then is too rough. Charlie put up with her nonsense for a couple of days, and then enough was enough, and I took him back to his foster mom.

(Note: I am well aware that you are supposed to do the closed-door thing when introducing cats. However, Kari can’t be locked away from me with her anxiety, and Charlie was too social to be locked away from the only human to interact with, which may have been the problem and I need an independent, energetic yet mellow cat.)

Current plan is to put her on her meds for a full six months, then after her next check in at the vet and her calming down from that, we can take a look around again and see if there’s anything like what I’m needing in the right age range. Right now it’s currently kitten explosion, and I can’t go under six months old, so I kinda need to wait until those kittens have had a chance to grow up. (I was told six months to two years old, I took a risk with Charlie and never again.)

I haven’t been completely without work, however. Mystic Riders is plugging along, now with some maps and more spreadsheets. I’m also trying to get my notes organized and put in the right places for it, so when I go back to working on demo weeks I haven’t completely confused myself. In addition I am working on maps, of the camps and the topography of the districts as I write them. This means Amethyst needs a topography update (and oops, I need to finish Ruby, just remembered I didn’t do town placement), and Sphalerite needs both, but then I’m caught up.

Right now, besides the organizing of all my various folders, I am editing one of Ginny’s books so she can get it out to market. There’s a few fanfics in progress that kinda get rotated around, but I am working on a stand-alone book while I wait on cover art for Sun’s Guard, which I’ll touch on first. It will still hopefully be published in September, I am hoping to have cover art by the end of the month come hail or high water so I can start advertising it here, on Twitter, and possibly start an Instagram account for what little art/photography I do if anyone would be interested. Lots of Kari pictures, so you know, there’s that. Everything for MR though will be cropped to smithereens or watermarked from here to Sunday.

The stand alone was meant to be short and then exploded on me. It’s based on the princess in the tower trope mixed with Beauty and the Beast, plus… a lot of nonsense that I blame Tumblr, Ginny, and my DnD character Hekate for. It’s a hardcore romance in fantasy robes, edging towards NA more than YA but I think I can get away with it as YA still? Ah well. I’m pretty excited about it, and I’ve been slowly working on it. Right now it’s on pause for the data organization and then August is inevitably going to be eaten by Descendants-mania because the third movie comes out and I stole a fanfic idea from Ginny to work on in relation to keep me from screaming at the TV. September is probably going to go towards seeing if I can get prepped for Nano, but that won’t take the whole month, so I might come back to Lyall and Armelle then. (Yes, those are the main couple, I love their names as much as I love them, they are GREAT.)


News: Self-Publishing and Mystic Riders!

Thought I’d give you all an update this week to start off the new year with my plans! Thus why the delay till the 1st. (And then this time next year I can wonder what happened, right? lol)

So first bit of exciting news: GinnyZero and I have launched a blog for our MMORPG! Mystic Riders MMO is our baby project, a non-combative P vs E RPG that we are approaching from a narrative-first direction. It is a game for girls, with lots of options for customization and story paths (okay, not Detroit: Become Human levels, but paths!) that is for horse lovers and adventurers who may or may not have secretly creative/girly sides…or not, the choice is literally yours. All you have to have is a love of horses and exploring an open world and ranging series of stories that will all make sense in the end. (I hope, I will have a lot of pans in that fire!)

We’ve gotten a large chunk of the story concept and mechanics figured out, so while we are in the middle of writing everything and getting an organized list what’s left that we can’t do on our own, we can be stirring up interest! Right now it’s just the blog, I’m hoping in the next couple of months to get us set up with a bank account so we can do a tip-jar sort of thing so if you all want to throw us five bucks here or there, we can commission concept art. There’s also a twitter, @MysticRidersMMO, that is retweeting all of the various game thoughts in one place (because that is required, jeebus), tweeting whenever the blog updates, and (yes, AND) will be participating in writer games once they get out of the holiday slush because…well, we keep learning new things about our characters while doing it, and isn’t it fun to learn that with us?

Unlike here, where it is basically me babbling at you once a week, there’s a little bit more going on over at Mystic Riders MMO because Ginny and I aren’t just writing for writers and readers, we’re appealing to players and developers and parents. (Apparently I have good instinct for informative carrot talks to parents…? Who knew?) So while my awkward self is providing blog posts on Saturdays, with editing and additions from Ginny, Ginny is posting on random Tuesdays with quotes, pictures of what is inspiring us, and maybe some links to music or videos as needed. We have lists and piles of inspiration stuff, we want you all to see it and get an image of what we want this game to be so hopefully we can convince others to help us make it a reality.

Another plan is for Sun’s Guard: Ten. I am out of people to query, and honestly, I’m rather annoyed at the whole agency view anyway. So I am withdrawing my last one (because lack of communication is my biggest pet peeve ever) tomorrow morning, because I’m taking the holiday at least halfway off. As for self-publishing, I have a coworker who has very generously volunteered to do my book covers, and he is honestly very good, I’m ecstatic to have him helping. If I can get his work back on my personal time track, what I will probably do is release Sun’s Guard: Ten on Amazon on either the rough-date I have the book taking place at, or on Caley’s birthday, whichever lines up best with his own schedule.

I really just need a week before the release to run it through spell check and reread for typo purposes again, as well as edit one section for questionable copyright purposes, and it is ready to go without someone giving me a concrete critique of the current draft. (And I have tried.) Once we’ve got the book cover done and I figure out how I want the summary to go, we should be in good standings. I am planning doing a digital release AND a printed release through Amazon…I’ll probably buy it and Ginny’s books to sit on my self at the same time, not gonna lie. Though lordy do the shelves need organized at some point this year… My twitter will be a few weeks of promoting the book, and then the blog will have a few writing posts that are as non-spoilery as possible (definitely for later books….questionable for the first book) about my process with Ten that I haven’t already talked about. Then it’ll return to normal until the next book, lol.

Speaking of next books, Ginny has given me a side project by accident via me getting a writer’s block on Caley’s next book, probably caused due to the stress of querying, so until I’m unstuck later and not drowning in getting other stuff for Mystic Riders set up so going back to my list of things to do for it, I am poking at a stand-alone book. My monsters-of-the-world book idea fell apart on me, showing that not all fanfic can make the leap to original pretty obviously, but this one is a lot more self contained. It might actually be pretty short, even for me, so more of a novella, but I am hoping to get it out to you all at some point too, because I’m pretty excited about it.

(Ginny says she can see one of my DnD characters and her current love interest in it, I am arguing back that there is only so much fluff the DM can give me before it gets awkward for both of us, this is how I get my fluff! And then there was digging for play-bys to use as my models, which was harder than I expected for my knight…)

So besides an MMORPG, Sun’s Guard: Ten, and possible future novella shenanigans, the blog is going to continue the same. I have a stack of new books to read, though I don’t think I’ll be reviewing all of them, I FOUND THE GINNY BOX by unpacking the closet so I have plenty of fodder that way though, and I have thoughts and feelings on several RPG characters to continue to talk about. It’s going to be a great year, if a busy one!


Early Close to NaNo ’18

Well, this is not how I intended my try at this year to go.

Admittedly, 2018 has been a hard year for me. Lost my dog, lost my older cat. And while I am going to keep out details for privacy reasons, I have a relative that it is past the point of dreading a call if it will be bad…and knowing that the next could be the call saying it’s over. My mother had surgery around her throat, which is terrifying. I am going through a rather painful part in your late twenties that no one tells you about, where you no longer have the energy to maintain ALL THE THINGS, especially with difficult relationships. Basically the last, oh, six months or so have either been me being an emotional wreck, or me trying to be emotional support. Sometimes within a week of each other!

But despite all of that, I thought that NaNo would actually help me recharge my batteries. My goals for NaNo are never about the word count. For me, it’s about writing everyday, even if it’s just a few words. It’s about focusing on one project primarily over others. It’s basically calibrating my writing habits so for the next year or so, I am in a better place than I was.

Here is where things went wrong this year. For me, writing is emotional work. You have to have something to start with. And I’m running on empty, between all the sheer crap that has happened in the last six months, in addition to work and all my projects in the fire. I just don’t have the energy. I went through what I had in stores…and ran out. Which now leaves me in a problem of not wanting to write at all, and I have too many projects on the burner to let that happen.

So what’s the solution? Well, I’m calling this year early. I’d rather revert back to posting reviews and commentary once a week than leaving you all with no content for another few weeks. (Plus I have a new Amaranthine Saga book burning in my pocket for a review.) I should know what is going on with Sun’s Guard sometime before the end of the New Year (or so I HOPE, jeebus), and can get a plan/timeline set up accordingly–that dragging out as long as it has is not helping with my stress level. And I can start pulling some irons out of the fire so I’m not so exhausted emotionally that I have no stores.

One thing I’m definitely doing is finishing playing the game and getting graphics for the posts built. I’ve hit the point where I really need to start adding my own side-flavor and arcs to the characters, and until I finish the game, I don’t know where to put them. And with the graphics done, that’s less busywork for me to get distracted with. Also, I can return the game I borrowed, because I’ve had it way too long as it is. That’ll aid my ability to succeed at this whole thing I’m doing.

I hate admitting to something like this. I’m your stereotypical Capricorn–perfectionist, wants to succeed, will push and push and push until the job is done. But that isn’t going to work this time. I’ll stop writing for a huge stretch afterwards if I push to work on Evangeline despite not being a place creatively to do so. (Look at that, we’ve learned since grad school!) But as much as I want to put that story out for you all, it isn’t original work, and as a result, the MMO project with Ginny and (more importantly) my books have to take priority.

There is some sort of Camp NaNo, which I think is like NaNo just in April? Oh well, I can make it work like that, or at least dedicate the month to the Nuzlocke if the timing is right. I’ll keep you all informed if it looks like I’m in any condition to continue then. Hopefully before then I’ll have news on Sun’s Guard: Ten, have finished the first draft and possible edit of Sun’s Guard: Page, and have made some decent progress on the MMO. Come back next weekend for a review!


News: Mom, Macbeth, and NUZLOCKE!

Hey everyone! We hit 100 followers on the blog!!! I was so excited on Twitter, it was ridiculous. Speaking of Twitter, those who follow me there (hint hint) know a bit more of what is happening in the moment, but I want to do regular blog updates for those who don’t bother…because I was one of you and then marketing myself made me change, tears.

So Mom had thyroid surgery, that was…an experience. Taylor and I rallied to take care of her though. He stayed with her and made sure she wasn’t…Mom…and I provided the quiet place to heal. Though quiet is relative when Kari is around, little fuzzy menace apparently is over protective of anything she knows is mine, so every time they messed with stuff and she was nearby, HISS, SWAT. Cat in trouble. But she went home a week later, and Mom seems to be recovering well, her breathing already improving. They only took half since only half was bugging her and the other side is so close to her vocal chords and nerves, it wasn’t worth the risk. We’re going to keep an eye on my own growths and hopefully prevent them from getting quite as out of hand, though I’m not showing any of the early signs of having the same auto-immune disorder she does.

I’m wrapping up a production of Macbeth! This weekend is our last show, and as much fun as it has been, I’m ready for a breather. We’ve had a blast with lots of new people this time, which excited me, plus I got to be something besides a melodramatic ham/spurned woman…even if that something else was all the exposition, lol. I already know what the next show is, and I think I’ll go ahead and skip it. Not because I don’t like the idea of it, but it’s a smaller cast and they don’t need me as much and that will let me focus on chessboard, which has started rehearsals. I’m trying to cut myself slowly down to more manageable projects, since I don’t want to keep this many pans in the fire anymore. I need to focus on what I want to do, and stop doing things out of senses of obligation. It’s an old habit of mine where I won’t say no, and I thought I had gotten better. Nope.

Speaking of pans in the fire, I took a break to (finally) wrap up a fanfic I’ve been messing with, hopefully that’ll happen this weekend and I can get back to Ginny’s and my game for a couple of districts before I start on the next part of the fic. In the meantime, I want to try and finish Ginny’s book this week and next so she can focus on getting it out to you all in November. And speaking of books, I have one outstanding query and one agent with the full book at this point. I should, judging by their stats, know something by the end of NaNoWriMo on whether traditional is still in the works, or if me and Amazon are about to become best friends again. I have figured out what I want for a cover if I do go down the road of self-publishing, at least roughly, so hopefully graphics to advertise won’t kill me. I might shift my publishing date though if things are still in limbo with an agent.

NaNoWriMo! For those who joined me last year, you’re in luck! This year, we are picking up right where we left off and continuing Evangeline’s Pokemon journey. Leading up, we’re going to have the following: an Ocean’s 8 review (like I promised), a character study of one of my favorite DnD characters that I’d like to do something original with someday even as she’s flavored a lot of my Skype campaign characters, and then a recap of Act I of the Nuzlocke adventure. Tentatively–very tentatively–I’d put the review on either Thursday or Friday, depending on how long it takes me to write, the character study on Sunday, and then the Act I recap on Tuesday. I should have played enough of the game up to this point to not get stuck by that, though I really should pick it up again to finish since I am borrowing Stacy’s copy of X…


News: Computer Brick Recovery, Tsuki, and Pitching (And WIP!)

Hey everyone, so as promised, update on what the goobly gook happened with my computer.

Short answer: the April 18 update.

For those who aren’t aware, Windows launched a major update that started staggered roll-out on April 18th. Problem: the code of the update reacted poorly to one of the top free anti-virus softwares available by the company Avast, including ones such as AVG. Guess what I have used for YEARS with no problems? Yeah. No fun. In addition to causing issues, it also wiped out all prior save-points, so there was no way of me just undoing it so I could function. I had to renew my warranty with Dell to get a backup save-point for Windows to start from. (I’ve also changed anti-virus companies, not as a slight to AVG, but because I didn’t want to go through this again.) But I’ve gone through the update (again), and I am almost completely back in business, just have to get GIMP re-installed.

Then Tsuki took a turn for the worst. I thought she was at least maintaining weight, but no. In addition to that, her breathing had gotten odd in a manner similar to how it had gotten when she was a kitten and then again last year. The vet and I started trying to get her to turn around or at least make it through the weekend so the vet could try and do an x-ray…but it was too much for her, and we lost her to a heart attack. I had to get through my grieving, and that was so hard. It was the first time I was present for a pet’s death, and she had been my whole world for eight years. Kari has been by my side constantly since then, but I don’t have the heart to get her a new companion. I know that it wasn’t bringing Kari in that caused the issue–it just exasperated the situation. But I still can’t do it. I’ll probably stick to one cat until I have to start from scratch, and then I’ll get siblings to keep me distracted…

Speaking of distractions, I used a lot of them to get through these very hard weeks. I turned to Zelda: Wind Waker for a bit, because that is my go-to grieving distraction and always has been. Before her heart attack, I just saw Ocean’s 8. And I did a little work. One thing I did was participate in two “pitch” events on Twitter. I’ll probably do a post on my experiences with those as a blog post, because not a lot of people talk about them or overly promote their success rate, so I’d like to do something that has my personal experiences as well as some statistics behind it. I did send out a few more queries, slowly working my way through the list of options and then I’ll be looking into self-publishing.

I also started two different WIP original works, rather than just touch on my fanfics, and worked on the joint MMO I’m developing with Ginny. So what are the WIPs? One is set in a shared universe of mine and Ginny’s, dealing with a teenage werewolf pack, a female vampire who isn’t fully grown yet, and family relations. Because I am a sucker for complicated family stories, apparently. The other is just a bundle of weirdness that is basically me taking a fanfic idea and going, “How could I make this original?” I obviously don’t have extreme high-hopes for the second, but you know, Ro (the vampire) is currently stonewalling me, so it’s something to work on. As for the MMO, we’ve established where we want to be before we get the blog up and going, so I’m trying to poke away at it and get us to where hopefully sometime next year we can reveal it all and get everyone excited. 🙂

Hopefully I’ll be back to a more regular schedule now. Short of you know, more drama or emergencies. (Please no more of those, I am at the end of my limits.) I’ll be back with my comments on pitch contests next weekend, and to follow with reviews of Ocean’s 8 and…something, we’ll see what happens.


News: Ten’s Future, Feedback, and Fair!

Hey everyone, I promise you’ll get some RP shenanigan-type posts this weekend, with fair rehearsal over with, I should be able to start posting then again, when it’s easier for me to post something without being completely brain dead. Speaking of fair, I survived! There are like no decent pictures (at least that I have found yet), but I’ll try to post a couple when I can. It was hard, because this year was butt-ugly cold. We made chessboard history of the unpleasant kind, our stage froze solid Friday night/Saturday morning! Thankfully, we still managed to put on a good show when fair was open.

Sun’s Guard: Ten is still being queried. I’ve got about 25 still outstanding queries, though some of those are about to hit their four-to-six-week, you  haven’t heard from us it’s a rejection, notice. Of course, some of those have please follow up at four-to-six-weeks, so I may be poking people, wee! I’ve also got a bunch of open tabs right this second in my browser to screen for more queries. I’m on page 4 of 12 lists in Query Tracker, so hopefully I’ll hit the end of possible people to query by the end of this month or next, so then I’ll finally either have rejection from all possible sources or an agent.

What happened with the full manuscript offer? Well, after six months of nudging, I finally got a response. It was just a feedback letter, no notes on my manuscript and obviously no request for a revise and resubmit. That right there makes me…leery, considering how long she had the full book. The things inside the letter also confused me, but I won’t debate them in-depth here. I did double-check my readability levels (which are at 9th-10th grade per the Dale-Chell readability scale, at least the first chapter and the last which tells me the middle will be about the same), and considering none of my professors ever said anything sounded too young, I’m going to ignore that critique for right now. I also think the market is over-saturated in first-person POV, which is causing some perception issues of third-person. So at this point, I’m not going to do a bunch of edits. I might change my mind if I get more critiques in the same theme.

…and I feel better having written that all out, huh.

Anywho, like I said, I’m going to continue to query. If I run out of agents, I do have a very tentative self-publishing plan in place, or at least the basic framework. I don’t think I’d go down that road until I have a buffer in place though, so I’d write the second and third books and then start it. Maybe my friend Melissa Storm and I could share  booth space at SoonerCon, she’s an artist and I’d be pushing the books. Hell, maybe I’ll push Ginny’s too, maybe that will just be my thing. (I’m joking, please don’t let this become a thing, oh please…)

In the meantime, I’m still working on the game between me and Ginny. Right now I’m getting the story-script written for the demo week in different starting areas, which is also forcing us to make some final character decisions, yay, and we are always finalizing little details in mechanics. Once those are done, I need to do some town-lay-out mapping and plotting. I’m also getting rough drafts for potential blog posts scribbled down, since we’ve got the idea to stir up interest with a blog, have a tip-jar for funds to commission artwork for the pitch while I’m finishing up story, probably after I get the initial version done and am working on the alternate versions.

As for the blog, I’m going to do something exciting. I’m going to go buy three or four traditionally published books, and grab some indie published things, and those will be what I review, alternating around. I’ll probably honestly get everything on my Kindle unless I fall in love with it and want a physical copy to lug around. So you know, indie writers, if you want a review, let me know! I will be cross posting to both here and Amazon to make sure it’s fair with those, since I know indie books really could use the reviews. (I’m also working on making my reviews nicer.)

Update: Oh look, someone managed to snag a good photo on Friday before it became so cold I had to huddle under my cloak or wear a turtleneck and the smoke irritated my eyes to where glasses were required! BEHOLD THE MAGNIFICENT MOON HAT!

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Writing: Thoughts on Querying…

I feel like preemptively labeling this part one, I’m sure I’ll have more as the process continues for me. For those curious, yes, I am still querying. I sent my full draft to an interested agent, but seeing as how staying in contact with her over the last six months became…difficult…I am actively seeking other options. Query Tracker, btw, is a great tool. I was reluctant to use it because I wasn’t sure it was verifying the agents, but nope! It’s safe!

So some funny (or annoying) things that have happened or I’ve seen, and my reactions.

One agent actually had a note on submissions: “No more vampires, sorry.” That made me laugh, and it also made sense? I wish more agents did that. Like rather than giving us broad genres, they specifically said, “I am sick of seeing this, I want to see this.” And no, telling me you want “strong storytelling” and “books I can’t put down” doesn’t tell me anything. That’s super subjective. If you are sick of first person narratives, say so.

I ran into two rather curious things, too, that gave me an amused rant to put on Twitter if no where else. I saw a lot of agents listing interest in LGBT fiction. And my immediate thought is, “Errr, you’re missing a letter?” A is important, especially for my books. In addition, romance tended to run through extremes–either EPIC or don’t bring it to me, it has cooties! Which all of that makes me laugh, since my main character is so far down the gray scale of demi-sexuality she is almost ace. (Which is the A.) It definitely shows room for growth, at least in my opinion.

Another thing I’ve noticed is there’s a mixed situation to the flooding of inboxes that agents get. There’s basically three things going on, and all of them have their pros and cons. Though to be honest, one super annoys me more than any of the others.

One solution is the no response means no. Ugh, that’s harrowing. Because of their work schedules, agents can’t guarantee when they will get to a book outside of a pretty long time frame. I get just wanting to hit the delete button and move on to the next, but I wish they would at least have a form they sent back to end the misery. But again, that takes time, and it’s time they may not even have. Others do have a form response that they send, and they guarantee replies within a certain window. Obviously as a writer, I love that, but I wonder how much it pulls away from the writer’s work.

The third solution is the one that cheeses me off if it’s not handled properly. Having an intern help with the slush pile of new submissions. On one hand, if it’s used as a tool, I feel like it’s the perfect solution here. The agent can go through the queries while giving notes out loud to the intern who is keeping track themselves, and then the intern can go generate the responses while the agent moves on. My issue is when its the intern who is going through the slush pile themselves and determining what the agent even sees. (What I have dubbed “intern-gating.”) I know one agent who does it of the ones I’ve done so far and even stuff that she has requested in a contest or conference to see gets turned back. Thankfully those people email her directly and get told to send it to her, but ugh, what a waste of people’s time.

The amounts of material requested also run the friggin’ gambit. Could we not come to a consensus, particularly one that doesn’t handicap the writers involved? The more pages there are, the more the agents have to read, I get that. I just think five pages isn’t enough. Ten, at a minimum, can at least get you to the action…or if it doesn’t, the writer has bigger problems. (There is a reason Sun’s Guard: Ten went through so many drafts, I was desperately trying to get to Moonshine faster.) I mean, I’d prefer the first three chapters, but I know that’s a lot for some to get through too.

I’m on the fence about a synopsis. On one hand, I think it is a handy tool for agents. On the other, I think it also can be very misleading? I tried to keep mine focused, but that was hard. Ginny had to hold me in from going down some of my subplots, partly to save space and partly to keep agents from getting distracted by seeing what isn’t there. I can’t imagine the trouble that other people went through. My professors weren’t much help, I remembered talking to Chester about not knowing what I was doing, and she said no one does when it comes to synopsis.

So there are my funny stories/observations. If you’ve got anything of your own you’d like to share, give a shout. As it stands now, I’m going to keep poking away at things. Hopefully someone will take the bait…