Blog Chain: My Writing Process and Current Projects

People who read my blog probably already know I’m a huge fan of Laura VanArendonk Baugh, who writes fantasy and historical fantasy and also happens to live close enough to me that we hang out on a regular basis. She just recently revealed the cover of her forthcoming novel Con Job, and I’m thrilled to say I am one of the lucky beta-readers for said novel. You can see the cover, but I know what happens! All gloating aside… Laura asked me to be part of a blog chain she’s doing, and she didn’t even have to bribe me to get me to agree. (Though if I’d really thought about how difficult some of these questions are, I might have at least demanded chocolate.) So let me start off this post by telling you a little about Laura: Blog: Twitter: … Continue reading

My new addiction

When I learned we were losing our Staples in my town, I thought I would go into withdrawal. And I guess I have, sort of…except that I’ve found a drug to replace Staples. It’s called JetPens, and they’ve made a lot of money from me lately. Japan really is the land of awesome stationery (and pens). Send to Kindle … Continue reading

I Can Quit Anytime

My town recently lost a precious commodity. A cherished landmark really. Well, I cherished it, at least. And I’m still in the denial stage of grief. Our Staples store closed on March 1. Please bow your head with me for a moment of silence. In the month of warning we had, I think I visited Staples an average of 2 times a week. Which…isn’t much more often than I usually did. A couple Fridays ago, I mentioned to a coworker that I thought a lunch visit to the store was in order. I had seen something we needed when I was there the night before. “How many times have you been there this week? ” “Three.” A moment of silence while she stared at me, followed by, “Do you think maybe you have a problem?” “YES I DO HAVE A … Continue reading

Sunday Snippet: Meet Princess Azmei

When I wrote Stormsinger, I was actually surprised to realize Prince Vistaren of Amethir was betrothed to Princess Azmei of Tamnen. It was a political alliance, and not the easiest alliance to make, because Amethirian privateers have been known to attack Tamnese ships on occasion. Since I already knew Vistaren is gay, I knew that being presented with a potential wife would be problematic for him. There would be issues to work out, and I know enough about Vistaren to know he could never take the easy way out of something. I wanted to explore the relationship between Azmei and Vistaren, and there’s no place for it in The Weather War, so almost as soon as I finished Stormsinger I began working on a sequel. In this scene, Azmei is on a ship, en route to her first meeting with Vistaren. … Continue reading

Time Management for Write–OOH SHINY!

Screenshot from a RescueTime email

I am far from the most disciplined person I know. Two of my writer friends looked at my 2014 writing plan and made noises like they were impressed. It was tempting to pretend I’ve got it all together, but since both of those writer friends are selling more stuff than I am, it wouldn’t just have been dishonest, it would have been embarrassing. So instead, I ‘fessed up that I only hit a small percentage of my 2013 writing goals, and that was after I revised my 2013 writing plan every quarter. (That’s built into my 2014 writing plan, too, but I’m hoping I’ll make fewer changes this year.) In the interest of preserving at least some of my dignity, I’m not going to go over the numbers of 2013 with you. For one thing, despite having a plan, I … Continue reading

Come Sail Away: Researching a Seafaring Epic Fantasy

The Friends Good Will under sail on Lake Michigan

I was a double major in college. One of my majors was English–Creative Writing, which probably surprises no one. The other major was History. Not History Education, because I had no idea that was a thing until my senior year, by which time I was just good and ready to be out of college, thank you very much. Just plain History. So it shouldn’t be a shock when I confess to being a research nerd. I love doing research. In fact, I often get so caught up in the research stage of writing that I have to forcibly reroute my attention back to writing. I love learning stuff just for the sake of learning stuff, and sometimes I forget that I was actually trying to learn something I could apply to my characters or world-building. I’ve spent a lot of … Continue reading

It’s Dangerous to go Alone: Resources for Indie Authors

It's dangerous to go alone' photo (c) 2011, mia.judkins - license:

If you’d asked me a few years ago, I would tell you I wasn’t really interested in self-publishing. In my mind, it still lacked the cachet of traditional publishing, despite the way e-readers and CreateSpace have been revolutionizing the world of self-publishing. I’d seen a lot of crap that was self-published. So have you. Sure, there’s a lot of great stuff out there, but it’s hard to weed through the dreck in order to find the good stuff. And a lot of self-published authors have trouble getting a respectable number of reviews, which are a huge factor in selling on places like Amazon and Then I attended a Writers Digest Editors Intensive in Cincinnati where Jane Friedman gave a dynamic talk about self-publishing and author platform. A while later I met Laura Van Arendonk Baugh and Elizabeth McCoy, two self-published … Continue reading

Sunday Snippet: Snowplows and Sixth Street

Sugar Creek in winter

With the crazy snow coming down today, I thought this was an appropriate snippet. It’s from the story I’m currently working on–an urban fantasy set here in Central Indiana. One of the characters featured in this story is a character who appears in several of my other urban fantasy stories, including the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo this year. She was popular with people in my writing group when I workshopped the first part of this story, and I like her a lot, even though she’s still a mystery to me, so I’m planning to explore her character in more depth this year. The snowplows were out, but there were few other drivers. The staticky radio announced the schools had cancelled all evening activities and the county library was shutting early. Even the mall was sending people home. But the … Continue reading

2014 New Year’s Resolutions: Writing Edition

Yesterday I worked on my 2014 Writing Plan. Today I’m exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. I have some ambitious plans for the upcoming 365 days. Honestly I’ll be happy if I accomplish half of them. But I really want to meet all of these goals and more. I want to get more short fiction written. I want to publish a couple more books. I want to have two novels in the query process instead of one. Of course, I can’t even pretend to have met all of my 2013 goals. A review of 2013 Things I planned to do in 2013 included: Finish The Loyalty Factor, query 5 agents per month from April to December, submit “Inheritance”, finish Maze of Moments and begin querying, plot and write sequel to The Loyalty Factor. A lot of things happened in 2013 that I … Continue reading