Well, shoot. I said I was going to post roughly once a week.

About a month ago.

Haven’t done it.


What I have done…

The good news is, it’s because I’ve been busy. I almost (but not quite!) have my next collection ready. I’m fiddling with cover designs, final edits, and adding in a couple of bonus stories for your enjoyment. I’d be surprised if it’s more than a couple of weeks before I get things wrapped up and can announce my launch. But you never know. Don’t hold me to it.

(But seriously, this is taking way too long and I wanted to be done, like, two months ago. So feel free to bug me if I’m not launched by the end of the month.)

Related to that, I’m going to be re-branding my two old collections (New Skin and Flashes of Magic) with new covers at the same time. AND I’m going to be making all three collections available in all the major ebook stores (Kobo, B&N, iBooks) rather than just being on Amazon.

I’m not currently planning anything with my short story, Finding Light, and may end up pulling it completely. I have some ideas for revamping it (never really been entirely happy with it) but I have to decide if it’s worth my time. I’ll say this, though, if I do end up giving it a spit-polish, I will probably just make it a newsletter exclusive, available only to members of my mailing list. Sadly, it likely won’t be ready by the time I switch my list host (keep reading to find out what I’m talking about).

What I’m still doing…

I am working on (by which, at this moment, I mostly mean thinking about) a story that I want to write for Camp NaNoWriMo. Which is happening now. So, yeah… I need to get moving on that pretty much right now.

I’m shooting to get at least 20,000 words written before the end of July. I want to have the whole thing finished and ready for editing by the end of August. I think it will be roughly 40,000 to 50,000 altogether, but one never knows with these things. Might be a little less. Might be a little more. I’ll let y’all know when I get there. 🙂

That’s all I’m announcing about that right now. NaNo-type projects change so much that I don’t want to say anything decisive until I’m more certain of what it’s going to look like. That said, if you actually want more info you can check it out on my NaNoWriMo profile. I accept friend requests there, so if you’re a Wrimo too, feel free to connect! You’ll know you’re in the right place if you see the orange version of my logo, like the one you see here, on the profile.

What I have planned…

Most people don’t pay much attention to what software someone like me uses. Unless something changes, there’s usually no need.

Just note… something will probably be changing soon.

I’ve been using AWeber for my mailing list. That’s all fine and good… it has been the industry standard for a loooong time. It’s a fantastic and powerful piece of software. Except, it’s expensive. And it’s somewhat hard to use. And it’s serious overkill for my tiny list.

So within the next week or two, I am planning to switch to Mailer Lite.

Reasons? First and foremost, it will be free until I get to 1000 followers. Here’s hoping I have to start paying really soon… but if hoards of fans don’t suddenly show up, I won’t be paying to not send them emails. So, that’s good.

Also, it’s cheaper than the other alternative, Mail Chimp. I’ve used Mail Chimp before and it’s great software. But again, I’m a writer on a budget. If those hoards do show up, I’d still rather pay $20 to send them email than $50.

Stay tuned for more details… list members will get an email with the full explanation, but I’ll also make sure to post something here so anyone who isn’t on the list can choose to opt-in too.

That’s all for now…

I will give you more information when I have it. Meanwhile, enjoy your summer! (Or winter, if you happen to be down-under!)


No, this isn’t a post about David Bowie. It’s also not a post about Alan Rickman. I’m sorry to see these two incredibly talented people gone from the earth, but death is a part of life and we move on.

road-sign-1076229_640This is a post about changes coming to this blog very soon.

First, I’m going to try hard to get back on some kind of regular schedule posting here. Not because you need it, but because I do. I work better to deadlines than I do “freeform” so creating real deadlines that I don’t want to miss will, potentially, help me be more productive. I don’t yet know what those deadlines will look like, exactly. But I know that it will mean posting at least once a week here. So yay, or boo, depending on how badly you wanted to hear from me. Heh.

Second, I’m going to be removing most of my older fiction posts from the blog. If you haven’t read them yet and want to, do it now or wait ’til I publish. In cases where a revised version of the story is already published, I will indicate where it can be obtained. Otherwise, I’ll simply hide the post. As stories I’ve posted here get published, I’ll update the posts and put them back online. I’ll always leave the last 4 or 5 stories live for people to peruse. And, in keeping with the first change as indicated above, those stories will hopefully be refreshed more frequently than they have been.

perpetualbloghopFinally, I’m planning on participating in another blog hop. For those not familiar with the concept, me and some other authors will all be posting flash stories (the aim is for under 1000 words) to our blogs on the same day. Along with the stories, we will also be posting links to everyone else’s stories. All the stories will be speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, horror), and will be in roughly the PG-13 or lower category so they should be safe for most audiences (no explicit sex, no gore or explicit violence, no foul language). Why do we do this? It’s an opportunity to potentially gain some additional readers for ourselves, to support our friends and fellow authors, and to help out brand-new authors who are just starting to build a readership. (Technically, I probably fall into that last category. I’ve been doing this a while, but I’m still working on building some traction.) But, more importantly, you, our readers, get a chance to possibly discover your next favorite author. Isn’t that what every reader really wants?

So, recap…

My older stories will be disappearing from this site on or around January 22nd. If you want to read them while they’re still there, do it now. You can find them by clicking the “recent free fiction” link on the front page.

I will be participating in a blog hop on January 27th in which you, my readers, will get to see a new story from me as well as following links to stories from other authors. 😀

Don’t miss out!

Focus on Authors

There are about 17 gazillion web creation tools out there these days.

blog-684748_1280There are options for nearly everyone.

  •  the super simple
    • Blogger
    • (the WP-hosted version)
    • Wix
    • Other “plug in some information and it will show up on a page” type tools
  • the content management all-in-ones that take a little more know-how
    • Joomla
    • Weebly
    • (the self-hosted version)
  • the social media sites
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Tumbler
    • Pinterest
    • Instagram
    • etc., etc., etc….
  • the build-your-own traditional website tools
    • Dreamweaver
    • Adobe Muse
    • Ummm… there are probably hundreds of tools and software packages out there

This site… surprise… is built on WordPress. WP is, in many ways, the gold standard. It’s easy to use. You can build a good-looking website very quickly. There are tons of plugins and themes so you can have a customized look that suits your needs.

But WordPress also has some drawbacks. One of the key ones is that updates to the framework have a habit of breaking plugins. Not cool. Seriously not cool if you have a huge, complex website and what breaks is a key component that is absolutely necessary to keep thousands of paying members happy. That actually happened to Holly Lisle, and she is still working out the long-term fix.

That fix will include getting off WordPress, which has broken for her more than once because of updates and plugin problems.

Personally, I’m not quite at that level of stress with WP yet. But as useful as WP is, I know it could be better, especially for authors.

There are a bunch of special/customized needs that authors have.

  • The ability to link to reviews
  • The ability to post new books easily along with sales links and images
  • The ability to stay connected with readers and fans
  • The ability to easily share posts on social media
  • The ability to easily share snippets of current writing without jumping through annoying formatting hoops

Lots more that I’m not thinking of just offhand.

The good news… I know of at least two systems that are coming.

The bad news… neither one of them is available yet.

One is called ReadershipPro. It will be an all-inclusive web site hosting service, specifically geared towards the needs of writers.

The other is being developed by Holly Lisle. She doesn’t yet have a specific site link for the project, but you can check this post if you’re interested.

Both of these are potentially awesome solutions for writers who want a one-stop means of self-promotion. As more information becomes available, I’m sure I’ll talk about it again.

Please note: links on this page may be affiliate links, or may confer some other benefit to the author. 

AtoZ Blogging Challenge – Final wrap-up and the Future

atoz [2015] - BANNER - 910

A to Z Wrapup

The bookWhew!

That was a busy month.

I have to admit, I’m glad it’s over.

Developing a fresh story on a daily basis was harder than I expected. But I’ll also admit, it was also easier than I thought it would be in some ways.

Hard because, as I mentioned last week, it takes a lot of mental/creative energy to write a complete story, even one that is very short.

survivor-atoz 2015 - sm_zpsmfnq4uovEasy, though, because I made the commitment to just do it. I didn’t expect perfection. I didn’t really even expect to like every story. My commitment to myself was just to get it done. So even when I didn’t feel like I had a “good enough” idea, I would just write. I got it done.

And with the exception of my U-is-for-Undecided story (I admit it… that was a bunt…), every story I posted holds the potential to be polished, expanded, fixed, and repurposed.

None of it was complete crap, even though I gave myself permission for it to be crap. That’s kind of a big deal.

So here I am, after a sometimes exhausting month. And instead of burnt out and tired, I feel completely energized.

I’m ready to take on the world… or at least my next writing project.

Look out, world. Here I come.

Looking Ahead

pen-622037_1280Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this month as much as I have.

Maybe you’re wondering what will come next.

Here’s my reality – as much as I’d love to keep up the story-a-day format, it flat-out ain’t gonna happen. I have other work I also need to be doing, and I can’t keep up the pace indefinitely.

However, I do still intend to be posting on this blog regularly. Here’s my current plan, subject to tweaking as I work out any potential kinks.

  • Monday – Personal updates/what I’m doing kind of stuff. Hopefully you’ll get to know me a little better—my other hobbies and interests, my family, my work process.
  • Wednesday – Words! I’m thinking maybe a weekly post about words themselves. Either the definition and etymology of a specific word I’ve come across in my reading, or maybe something about using words, inventing words, how words change over time. Whatever. I admit to being a little bit of a word nerd (not nearly as bad as some I know) and this would just be fun for me.
  • Friday – Flash Fiction! I don’t want to give up posting stories on my site altogether. I figure one new story a week might keep natives from getting restless. If I’m working on a longer story or a novel, you might get a scene or snippet from that instead. But maybe not – keeping up the short-short writing is just good practice.
  • Occasionally – Book reviews! I want to get back in the habit of keeping a personal commentary on books I enjoy or find useful. This will usually take the form of recommendations, but I might also weigh in on books that aren’t worth the trouble.
  • Other stuff – I will post other things on my site as they come up. Special offers or bonuses. Publication information when I have new things coming out. Eloquent narratives about the amazing pizza I ate last week… who knows what might come up if the fancy strikes me.

I don’t know exactly what this looks like yet. I guess I’ll figure it out as we go along.


  • Did you you have a favorite story from my challenge? Something you’d like to see expanded into something bigger? Or even just a type of story that you would want to see more of?
  • Suggestions? Is there anything I haven’t mentioned that you want to see on this blog? Is there particular information that you want me to share? I really want to know what you want!

Answer either or both of these questions by leaving a comment or shooting me a message on my contact form!
I hope to hear from you soon. 🙂

The view from orbit – a launch followup

You may have noticed, I’ve helped out a couple of cool people recently with launches they were doing.

First was Holly Lisle (affiliate link) who is a brilliant guru for fiction writers, and someone I consider a personal mentor. She is a great example of how to make a living writing fiction and helping others write fiction.

Next was Jeff Goins and his new book The Art of Work (affiliate link). He is a brilliant guru for bloggers and non-fiction writing, and a great example of how to make a living writing non-fiction and helping others do the same.

Why did I use my personal blog to do marketing for other people? There are a few reasons beyond just, “because I like these guys” and “because I can get paid a commission to do it.” Those reasons are enough for some people, and I won’t deny that they’re factors. But if that was all it was, I don’t know that I’d feel good about using my blog for promotion.

But I’m happy to use my blog for promoting the work of others, when it meets certain criteria.

I believe in the product

This one is key. I have to know what it is I’m promoting, I have to have used/read it myself, and I have to think it’s a product worth sharing with others. I have to think the person behind the product is worth sharing with others. You will never see me promote a book, course, or other product that I don’t have personal experience with. I’m not going to be that person who goes hunting for things on ClickBank or elsewhere and start selling stuff just to sell it.

  • I don’t need the money that badly. Don’t get me wrong–I can always find a use for a few extra bucks. But while I won’t hesitate to point you at things I’m familiar with and that I’ve found useful, It’s not my intention to just become a sales outlet.
  • I value your time and your wallet. I can’t in good conscience tell you to spend money on something if I don’t know what it is, whether it works, or whether the developer will respect you as a customer. Also, see the above bullet point – I’m not looking to sell you stuff just to sell it.
  • I value my own reputation enough that I would never want to promote something that might make you, my audience, think less of me. I expect that you will judge me based on what I think is important enough to talk about here. And while I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I do, say, or share, I won’t risk my reputation on something I don’t personally believe in. I just won’t .

I want to show you my process

This, surprise, is my author blog. Part of my purpose here is to show you what I do, how I think, and what is important to me.  Giving you links and insight into products I use and why, books I’ve read and whether I like them, and people I follow who make me think differently… all that lets you get to know me a little better. and really, isn’t that kind of the point of a blog?

I want to help you out if I can

This goes back, a little bit, to my first point, but with a subtle difference. I use a lot of products, I play with technology and software, I glean what I can from other writers and gurus, and make a lot of decisions about what works for me and what doesn’t. If I can save you time in making some of those decisions yourself, I will. If I can encourage you to take a step at finding your own dream, I will. I know not every person who follows my blog will have a need or interest in knowing what I use behind the scenes. But for those that care, I’m willing to share. At some point I’ll probably build a page dedicated to pointing people at products, instructors, gurus, and other authors that I believe in, but right now it’s limited to occasional blog posts.

The selfish part of all this

If I’m going to be honest (and why wouldn’t I be?) I have to admit there’s a selfish side to this too.

Yes, I can get paid commissions, but that’s not really it. In fact, I didn’t actually make any sales on these two launches, so that means no commissions at all.

But, a big part of following other writers and helping with their launches is that it gives me a front row seat to what their doing. I get an insider view of processes they walk through. They will often discuss privately what worked or didn’t work during a launch in a way that will never be put out there for public consumption. I’ve learned that it’s often much more effective to watch what someone else is doing than it is to try to study what is said about a particular process. I’m a hands-on kind of learner. So when someone I already believe in gives me the opportunity to get up close and personal, I’m probably going to jump at the chance.

It’s not my intention to ever let other people’s launches and promotions overrun the other, more personal aspects of this blog. And I hope never to overwhelm or annoy you with things that aren’t important to you.

I just wanted to take a minute to let you understand why doing things like this is important to me.

Note: links on this page are affiliate links. If you make purchases on the sites linked to, I may receive compensation.

Leibster Award

Liebster-award-2I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by Jean Schara, who is a retired Air Force veteran (thank you for your service!), a writer, and a lover of cats… lots and lots of cats. (See her blog for details.) Thank you, Jean, for pointing in my direction.

Here are the rules, more or less as I’ve been given them. (I thought the graphic was too small, and it looked like it was probably an unlicensed image from an image site, so I dumped it after copying the information it contained. For the record, I try not to perpetuate the use of unlicensed intellectual property. I want to get paid for my work, and I think other artists deserve the same respect. I’m sure that image didn’t originate with Jean, and probably not with the person who nominated her either. I’m not pointing any fingers, just trying to follow my own conscience.)

  1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you, and add a badge to your profile.
  2. Answer the 11 questions that blogger gave you.
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 other blogs that have fewer than 200 followers.
  5. Let the bloggers know you have nominated them, and
  6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

Here are my eleven questions to answer:

1. Who is your favorite author?

Wow – talk about impossible questions. When asked about things like “favorite color” I usually respond with, “my favorite color of what?” Because you know, blue is a lovely color for the sky, but maybe not ideal for scrambled eggs. Same goes for authors – my favorite author of what? But so I don’t break the rules, I will give you a few of my favorites.

Note: some of these links are affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you purchase through them.

  • I think Brandon Sanderson is the most brilliant epic fantasy author of this generation.
  • I also love Neil Gaiman. His work is unique, quirky, entertaining, and undeniably good, across the board.
  • I’ve read nearly everything that Holly Lisle has written (still working on some of her back catalog), and especially enjoy her Cadence Drake/Settled Space novels (space opera type SF). I expect to read everything new she publishes for the forseeable future.
  • My current favorite mystery writer is Tana French who writes police procedurals built around the (fictitious) Dublin Murder Squad.
  • I think Jeff Goins is writing some of the best personal development non-fiction out there, and I will continue to buy and read everything he puts out.
  • Bill Johnson writes some of the most mind-blowing Christian non-fiction around. He will make you re-think everything you thought you knew.

I think that’s enough for now. I could probably name a dozen or more additional authors that fall into the “I’ll read anything they publish” categories.

2. If you had 3 wishes what would they be?

Gah. I hate these kinds of questions. It’s impossible to wish perfection for everybody – it’s the imperfections in life that make us who we are. With nothing to overcome, we have nothing to strive for and we never learn our strengths. That said, lets assume that these wishes are for our own personal, selfish reasons. So…

  1. Money. Lots of it. An essentially unlimited supply even. Then I could have whatever I personally needed as well as meeting the needs of lots of other people too.
  2. The unfailing ability to write both quickly and well, and to tell stories that are both entertaining and captivating. I’d love to write something that makes some 12-year-old somewhere declare an undying love of books. I can think of no more gratifying endorsement for any author.
  3. The ability to share truth and wisdom with people in a way that changes lives. I can say things here or in “real life” that might be true or even wise. But really changing things for other people is a different thing entirely and not necessarily easy. Knowing I could do or say something that would make someone’s life better in the long run would be a true gift.

3. If you were given a free round trip ticket to anywhere, where would you go?

Only one? If I have 2, I’d go with the hubby pretty much anywhere. If I only have one I guess I’d use it to tag along with my sister on one of her many adventures. 😀

4.  Would you rather live near the ocean, forest, mountains or a fourth option?

If my answer to question 2.1 was true (unlimited funds) I would gladly have residences in all those kinds of locations… I’ll choose the desert for option 4. The American southwest is beautiful.

If I can only choose one, I would probably go with something in California where I’m within striking distance of all those options. Woo hoo!

5. What is your favorite genre of music? 

I’ll admit it – I still love my ’80s pop. Sue me. 😀 I like a lot of other music too, but if I had to choose…

6. Plane, Train, Boat, Car or other for vacation travel?

It depends. I’ll fly anywhere you want to send me. Seriously. The train could be an adventure. I’m taking my first cruise later this year, so I’ll see how that goes. And a road trip where you can stop at interesting and unusual places along the way is always fun, especially if you have good company.

7. Where is your favorite place to escape from the daily grind to?

First, I apologize on behalf of this question – its grammar is terrible. LOL

But to answer, I have to admit a penchant for Starbucks.

8. What is your best memory?  (You probably have several, but pick one)

Standing on the pier in San Francisco with my best friend and the love of my life.

9. What is your favorite hobby?

Since writing is now my full-time occupation and not merely a hobby, I’ll say my favorite hobby is painting. And photography.

10.  What is the most memorable book you have read, or movie if not a big reader?

This is another question that could go lots of directions. I’ll go with Winnie The Pooh. It was my first favorite book, and I still consider Pooh and his friends to be some of my most steadfast companions. (A.A. Milne version, of course. NOT Disney version.)

11. Would you travel around the world in 80 days if you could?

In a heartbeat, camera in hand.

11 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I’m technically an introvert, but I really like to be around people. Well, the right people.
  2. I would wear nothing but jeans and t-shirts ever if I thought I could get away with it.
  3. Though I was once a die-hard TV addict, I’ve discovered that I don’t really miss it when I’m too busy to watch it.
  4. Coffee. Lots of it. But it either needs to have flavored creamer (or be something like a vanilla latte) or just be black. I find just cream and sugar in my coffee to be a little bit disgusting.
  5. I’m a bit of a tech nerd.
  6. I have an Associate’s degree in music, and I regret never following through on the Bachelor’s.
  7. I used to be a cat person. Now I’m more of a dog person. I still like cats though.
  8. I used to hate driving long distances. Now I kinda like it.
  9. Someday I want to run a marathon… or at least a half-marathon. But I hate running. Go figure.
  10. Take me snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. Please.
  11. Grew up an Air Force Brat. I’ve lived on both coasts, in Hawaii, and smack in the middle of the country. Sadly, we never went overseas as a family when I was a kid.

My Nominees (Since I have no way of knowing how many followers anyone has, I’m just nominating people I like and follow, all of them fellow authors. They can choose to participate or not as their time, interest, and conscience allow. My apologies to anyone already nominated for “piling on.” I tried to avoid it, but may have missed a few.):

  1. Wendy Smyer Yu – Wander-Bird
  2. Autumn Kaquist – Author of the Fractured Era Series
  3. Rabia Gale – Writer at Play
  4. Katharina Gerlach – Intelligent stories for clever readers
  5. Jenn Johnson – Inspire. Believe. Dream.
  6. Lyn Washington – Writer In Progress
  7. Peter Cruikshank – It Is What It Is
  8. Felicia Fredlund – Author of the Sorceress Island Series
  9. Kirsten Bolda – A Scenic Route
  10. Martha Gilstrap – Stories of wonder and magic
  11. C.L. Roth – Author of Cosmic Shift and Cosmic Chaos

And I’ll add a “twelfth man” too. If you’re not nominated and you want to be, please feel free to nominate yourself. I won’t tell. 😉

My Questions for My Nominees:

  1. What color shirt are you wearing right now? (If it’s multiple colors, choose the base or predominant color.)
  2. Have you traveled outside your native country? If so, where’d you go?
  3. You’re all writers. Tell me your primary genre, any secondary genres, and what genres you prefer to read. (Not all writers read in their own genre.)
  4. Who or what has been the biggest inspiration for your writing?
  5. Computer or longhand?
  6. Location of your ideal writer’s retreat. Where would you go to just write? Would you take someone with you, or go alone?
  7. Aside from writing, what other creative pursuits do you enjoy?
  8. If your life was a movie, who would you want to have play you? Or, if you prefer, if your book/story was a movie, who would you want to have play your main character and/or antagonist? Feel free to answer both of these if you wish.
  9. Coffee? Tea? Soda? Wine? Water? Double bourbon, no rocks? What is your beverage of choice? (Sorry – just looking for something different to ask.)
  10. Roller coaster or carousel?
  11. What interesting writing rituals do you have? Include anything you want… music you listen to, habits you have, whether the TV is on in the background, whether you pour coffee and let it sit there getting cold while you’re working (like I do). Whatever. The question is wide open.

That’s it. That’s all I got. I hope I didn’t bore you too much.


Now I’ve done it

I signed up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

Why? Why do I subject myself to such tortures? The world may never know. But there you have it. Expect to see more of me come April. Possibly more than you ever wanted to see.

Any thoughts on a theme? Perhaps I will write flash/micro fiction for my posts. That might be fun. 🙂 But I haven’t decided for sure yet, so you’ll have to check back with me closer to the challenge date.

If you are also participating, please feel free to share your blog location in the comments. I’ll try to visit if I can. 🙂

Also, I think it might be wise if I change my email updates from “every time I post to the blog” to “a single weekly digest type email” just to keep from annoying everyone and blowing up your mailboxes.