Tag Archives: Sunday Small Talk

Sunday Small Talk

I almost didn’t bother with a post today because there really isn’t much to say. I’ve written all of two paragraphs on These Haunted Hills and all the rest of my time has been sucked up by the first week back to school stuff and editing Blood Red Roulette and making a fine mess of it.

Then I thought, you know what, let’s start this year out right by thanking the people who’ve helped me. So thank you to Betty and & for offering up some thoughts on how to even FURTHER revamp the beginning of Blood Red so Arrigo looks less like a selfish idiot because that isn’t what I wanted him to be. When I reconfigured Eleni to make her a more worthwhile villain, it was at Arrigo’s expense and that isn’t working either. So thank you, ladies.

And thanks also to & for weighing in on the rejection of Cassadaga Nights because I had to agree with the editors of the publishing house who said no. I had worried about that and now those worries were confirmed but you know, I think CN can wait until I get my way through BRR.

Sadly I see there is one less publishing house to consider. Wilde City closed its doors. I had noticed it wasn’t open for submission when I shopped around for CN and while I have nothing there personally it’s sad to see SO MANY indie LGBT publishers going under. I’m also worried about Wayward Ink. The owner there had said hopefully by Jan things would be rolling again (health issues are the concern here) but it’s mid Jan with no contact. Oh well. Right now I have enough on my plate without worrying about the SF short I have in consideration there. Once I get BRR and CN reworked, and if there is still no word by then (because seriously I’m thinking it’ll be mid-March by then) THEN I’ll pull that story.

Of course, I guess the argument could be made that we could just self publish all of these things but that really isn’t what I want to be doing right now. Mostly because with the indie publishing houses I at least have some marketing support, editors to help me and cover artists (I mean have you SEEN all my cover art? It’s amazing and I could never get anything that good on my own.) So yeah, it’s sad to see another one go and good luck to my friends who are affected by this. It’s not an auspicious start to the new year (especially following on the heels of the All Romance nightmare).

Sunday Small Talk

In all honesty, my week in writing can be boiled down to a handful of paragraphs on a steampunk short story and the beginning of a new idea. Writing time has been spent cleaning house and packing for the holidays.

So why bother posting at all? Because I wanted to share the reviews of Once Upon a Time in the Weird West. Let’s call it an ego moment. It was an exciting project for me and I’m so glad I got to be part of it because for a while I thought I might not be (because damn you story for being overly long).

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

The Blogger Girls

Gay Book Reviews

Joyfully Jay

Divine Magazine

And it’s a bestseller at All Romance so do go check it out. I’m sure you’ll find stories to love. (and now back to the Christmas packing for me)

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Buy Links Dreampsinner Press
All Romance
Amazon

Sunday Small Talk

I just made it through finals week. I’m disappointed that I didn’t write more while the students were testing but they like it when you grade things fast.

I’ve inched my way a bit more into a Steampunk Christmas story that I actually intend for next Christmas (i.e. send it to the themed anthologies and if they don’t bite, self publish it myself.) I think it’s 1899 and I’ve just realize I’ll probably have to make up a war for my airshipman to have fought in. The Civil War was too far in the past and I didn’t really want to set it in WWI (besides I don’t want it to be in Europe). So was America fighting Canada or Mexico…. I still need to name the lead. I’m between Adam and Abel but realize that if I want the professor love interest to be Al I shouldn’t use either of those. Literally just realized that while typing this. Excuse me while I beat my skull on the wall for a moment.

I know what the perfect gift he’s bringing Al for Christmas: a Buffalo coat and a Blackhills gold accented pocket watch (Al thinks the perfect gift is Whatshisname being home for the holiday).

Hmmm maybe instead of a war he’s lost a leg defending ships transporting Comstock and/or Blackhills gold.

I’ve nibbled around the edges of Behind Blue Eyes but haven’t gotten far and I am getting more and more sure I’m bungling the rearranging of Blood Red Roulette. I’m just going to keep going and get a second pair of eyes on it.

Also I’ve been kicked in the muse by another contemporary which I think might be better to try than the one I was noodling with (I’ll keep that one on the back burner as I like it but it’s impossibly geeky). Or might it be paranormal? One of the characters hunts ghosts for fun and for that matter so do I…I’m not sure yet what to do with it but I do know this: Brendan has come to the hocking hills and has taken a cabin there ala Hocking Hills Cabins I’m trying to decide between this large one  photo hocking_zpsom2h0ldk.jpeg

 

or this small one  photo hocking blue-cabin-intro_zps49jjazfx.jpg but it’ll probably closer to the small with a loft.

Brendan is a successful YA author from Columbus who wanted to do a horror/ghost story novel next and has rented the cabin for a month while he investigates haunts in SE Ohio, most of which he’s seen from a haunted ohio website. Brendan is dubious about being alone in the cabin as he’s still, three years later, deeply mourning his son’s death from brain cancer at age 5. His marriage has long since broken up and really he’s never sure he’s more than two steps from joining his child.

He meets the currently unnamed owner of the website who was going to be a naturalist but decided that was a tad too close to my friend whose job and website I’d be modeling this guy after. Also I just didn’t want to deal with some of that so instead he’s an environmental scientist at a local college (i.e. mine) doing research in the hills as well as being a guide for Brendan. Naturally they hit it off albeit rather slowly.

I do know Brendan wears a glass pendant forged from his son’s ashes and I need to find the site I originally saw those one but have found others. At one point he nearly loses it which is probably how the professor learns of the boy.

Drop by tomorrow for a release from me! And since I forgot to share this last week I think have the wonderful art Lex Chase did of Tsela Zahni in Once Upon a Time in the Midwest which comes out in 5 days.

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Sunday Small Talk

One weekend I’ll have time to actually compose something intelligible but that weekend is not this one. I’m still prepping for finals week.

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I did win nano! Huzzah. It’s not actually for publishing under this pen name and it’s not nearly finish but it’s a good start. It has some issues I need to work out but that’s what 2017 is for.

I’ll be picking up editing of Blood Red Roulette again. Sadly in the month of writing nano I forgot some of the changes I’ve made and need to reread the first 7 chapters again. The problem is, I’ve read that so many times I’m not sure I can without losing my mind.

I also want to start writing Behind Blue Eyes too and I have a couple story ideas knocking around in my head like a steampunk Christmas story for next year and I’m still going to try to do a contemporary if it kills me and it just might.

I did write Wayward Ink to retract Cassadaga Nights, haven’t heard back but I think with all that’s going on I’m not really expecting too. I think I know where to send it next.

I need to go back over Queer Sci-Fi’s workshop FB page because there was a question that had a lot of possible publishers I want to bookmark. There was one that was looking for nerdy short stories and I do have one. I printed that out for editing since it’s been a few years.

Also I’m going to try and take part in a weekly blogging challenge on Wednesdays so maybe there’ll be more interesting content soon enough.

Sunday Small Talk

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Happy World Kindness Day.

I wanted to talk a little bit about something I need to inject more into my current nano: raising the stakes for the character, giving them something to overcome.

I was thinking on two manga in particular I thought did this very well. A lot of manga I like for the art and the fun characters but many are just ‘beach reads.’ Some however are much deeper than that (not that there is anything wrong with entertaining beach reads). Some are truly transformative and their stories truly stand out (and it’s a shame in a way that the younger manga reading crowd jump from one thing to another so fast that stories are often quickly forgotten before they’re even finished).

Fullmetal Alchemist is one such read. Not only does it have the fantastic art and fun characters, it’s storyline is so very well done. I would prop it up against any fantasy novel as one of my favorite all time reads. We have several characters for whom the character stakes keep getting raised. Ed and Al start out trying to recover their bodies from the alchemical mistake they’ve made. This draws them in Roy Mustang’s military world and into a huge drama that threatens their entire country, if not the world, and has roots in their father’s past. Worse, Al’s soul is showing signs of becoming unanchored from his metal body so there in the stakes are upped. They must reach their goal before the last remnants of Alphonse are lost.

Roy has his own goals of becoming the leader of the country because he sees the corruption and wants it gone. He doesn’t want to ever be forced into another war like the one he was in in his youth. But this is no ordinary corruption and the alchemical monsters he’s fighting think nothing of threatening his ‘queen’ and his family and have already cost him his best friend. Then there is young Ling, one of the potential heirs to the throne in Xing. He wants something to make him the best emperor he can be but when he gets it, he faces the loss of all that makes him human. All the way to the end of the manga you felt there was a chance that not all of them would make it (and some did not).

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And there is one I’m reading now Noragami: Stray God that is shaping up to be equally good story wise (with very good art too), which surprising story arcs and huge stakes for the characters. In a nutshell Hiyori is a school girl who has a problem, her soul keeps slipping free, leaving her comatose. Her path crosses Yato’s, the titular stray god. He’s a war god (in reality a calamity god) who is struggling to keep his name in the consciousness of the people by doing odd jobs for them. His most desperate wish is to have his own shrine. He agrees to help Hiyori with her problem and soon they meet the soul a dead boy, Yukine who becomes Yato’s shiki, sort of a spiritual weapon and together they fight corrupt spirits. Simple enough, not even really unique in the world of manga.

But quickly the stakes begin to rise. Hiyori faces being lost in the world of spirits if she doesn’t find a way to keep her soul in place but she always wants so much to help Yato and Yukine that she’s putting herself at risk. Yato wants to help her but knows if he does, he could be forgotten entirely and if that happens, Yato will fade from existence. Yukine doesn’t want to be with Yato but his path quickly changes, escalates and has very high stakes indeed. And as if fading his own death, Yato wants something more. He wants to switch from being a god of calamity and destruction to one of happiness. It’s these sorts of stories that drag you in because it’s not a sure thing that all three of them will be happy or even survive.

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Then I have my story and yes it is a nano and will of course require much revision but the stakes are slow in coming and that’s not really a good thing.

For Cam, this is somewhat clear. He wants his freedom. He’s been in thrall to the war goddess for so long he can’t remember (it’s been centuries). Equally important to him is to keep free of those who have had him imprisoned for nearly that long (a cabal of mages but he doesn’t know that as his mind is clouded with magic). He’s at risk of being lost both back to the cabal, someone who wants to replace the cabal and to the goddess herself. His stakes are fairly high.

For Tenaldi there really aren’t any stakes yet. He’s happy as a journeyman poison gardener for the queen, content to make poisons and healing potions for his ruler. His only real ambition is to take over the garden as a master gardener some day but he’s too young for that. So…not the most compelling of stakes in what should be one of the three main characters. However, his stakes will come and I know that. Caught up with Cam and the drama, he’ll be fighting for his life.

It’s Solan who is giving me fights. She’s supposed to be the third main character and so far she’s not really holding up her own end. All I really know about her is that she wants to be a general (or whatever I’ll be calling them) in the Queen’s cadre of warrior mages and she’s well on her way. I know she’ll be caught up with Cam and Tenaldi but I really have no separate stakes for her and that is a problem. It’s something I need to work on.

The nano is going slowly too between depression and a lack of time. I have learned something rather depressing about my writing. If I have no competition, no goal to beat no stakes of my own I just wander about. Give me a word war against friends and I’ll crank out 2K in an hour. I don’t like this about myself. It’s something I need to work on. I’m closing in on 18K though.

No news on any of my other projects other than we’ll have the links for Once Upon a Time in the Weird West soon.