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To Heaven And Back Again – A Steampunk Short Story

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Cover Art, To Heaven And Back Again

This short story was originally published in Galaxy’s Edge magazine. It’s releasing indie on February 5th, but is available here for Members to read early.

Meleny is a Lady of the Queen’s Court and that makes everyone frustrated, but Meleny is the most proud of how well she can piss off the captain of the Queenguard. So well, in fact, that he will commandeer a spaceship of the fleet and pursue her to the very ends of the system. What is she to do with him now?

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To Heaven And Back Again is available for purchase or preorder as Ebook or AI audio. Members, don’t forget your 10% off coupon for (DIRECT sales only) listed on the Perks page.

Ebook: Direct
Ebook: All Other Stores (preorder, releases Feb 5th)

AI Audio: Direct (coming soon)
AI Audio: All Other Stores (preorder, releases Feb 5th)

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Goals: Week 4

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Goals tracking! There are three major goals I’m tracking this year for both personal and business improvement. Comment below with your goals and how you did this week.

1k words/workday:

Monday: 1000
Tuesday: 1374
Wednesday: 400
Thursday: Put Hellhounds through PWA, +~400 words
Friday: Break

Notes: I finished a short story this week! That’s Princess Hellhound, To You was written specifically for an urban fantasy anthology call by an editor friend of mine. I’ve submitted that story and now everyone cross their fingers! Hopefully she buys it! Monday I’ll be getting back to my PNR novel Fated To The Wolf, which will be serialized here for members first.

10k steps/day

Monday: 6239 – below goal
Tuesday: 7203
Wednesday: 7384
Thursday: 7432
Friday: 7936
Saturday: 7852
Sunday: 7731

Notes: Monday wasn’t a surprise. I had a 9k day last Sunday and Monday I was tired! 6k is still much better than previous tired days, though, and it’s great to see progress. The rest of the week went very well. I’m getting better at front-loading my morning with at least a third of the steps I’ll need for a 10k day. And the weather has finally warmed up enough that some of these steps are outdoors now!

1 completed line art/week

Notes: I’ve realized that I need to post the art here even if it’s incomplete, in order to keep myself from going “well, I’m not going to finish it, so it’s fine if I don’t work on it” No. All progress gets posted from this week forward. I’ll go back and post the incomplete art from last week, too.

Last week I started something heavy on the scale patterns and I wasn’t too pleased with the design of it. So this week I went heavy on the scale patterns with a different style. I like this style more, but I’m still not thrilled. More exploring to do.

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Friday Update 1/26/24

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Friday Update 1/26/24

Progress was made this week! I’ve finished and submitted a Hellhounds short story to an anthology for consideration. Cross your fingers for me! I think it’s a good one.

I’ve also tackled the initial stages of publishing for the next three short stories. Preorder will be populating in all the stores over the next couple of days. Anyone interested in getting them early can find all three listed on the web store: To Heaven And Back Again (an alt history steampunk scifi), A Brand New Day (a scifi horror), and Carrot Cake (a contemporary horror).

I’ve started the AI audio, but I realize I have to make cover art, so more work will be done there next week. I’m also checking on my contemporary romance Rough Recall. I have a note in my to-do list that it didn’t end up on all stores when I went wide, so I’m following up on that. (Which, oh look, I can’t link to the webstore because it’s not there! Gotta fix that.)

Next week is also my last full week of work before Superstars conference in Colorado! I’ll be driving out on Monday the 5th and really looking forward to meeting up with old friends. It will be a week full of learning and talking and people, which will be exhausting but oh, so, fun.

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Maj And The Outlaws #1 Murder Is A Family Business

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cover art, Murder Is A Family Business

This short story was originally written for the scifi magazine Boundary Shock Quarterly and has since turned into a series of shorts. They will be released here for members to read as I get the rights to publish them indie.

This content is for members only.
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Murder Is A Family Business is available for purchase as Ebook or AI audio. Members, don’t forget your 10% off coupon for (DIRECT sales only) listed on the Perks page.

Ebook: Direct
Ebook: All Other Stores

AI Audio: Direct
AI Audio: All Other Stores

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Goals Tracking: Week 3

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Goals tracking! There are three major goals I’m tracking this year for both personal and business improvement. Comment below with your goals and how you did this week.

1k words/workday:

Monday: National Holiday
Tuesday: 1537
Wednesday: 985
Thursday: 1058
Friday: 1500

Notes: How did I miss the goal on Wed by 15 words! I must have come to the end of a scene…. Well overwriting on Tuesday and Friday certainly made up for it. Friday marks the start of a new dictation experiment, the goal of which is to get comfortable with dictation. That’s it. It’s very weird to transition from fingers to speaking.

10k steps/day

Monday: 6317
Tuesday: 6590
Wednesday: 6873
Thursday: 7059
Friday: 6838
Saturday: 6888
Sunday: 9114

Notes: The auto-goal set by my watch is still hovering below 7k, but not for long, now. And it turns out, I pace when I dictate, so the above dictation experiment may actually improve this step goal at the same time! Friday was a surprise! I felt very tired for most of the day (turns out I’m having a reaction to some food, fatigue and back pain are always the first symptoms) but I went for a walk around the park with Mr V for the first time in probably two months (the cold and I do not agree) and ended up blowing past my mid-6k goal and nearly hit 10 without trying. It has bumped the goal for this week up over 7k/day. Woo!

1 completed line art/week

Notes: Week 3 and all of a sudden I don’t know what to draw for the week. It took almost two months for me to get to that point with writing a short story/week. So this week’s drawing is not complete, but I did spend many hours on it. The holiday on monday screwed up my time perception and I didn’t even start working until wednesday or thursday because I forgot all about it. Lots of weekend time instead of spacing it out. Lots of initial sketching that got wiped out to try something else. For sure a milestone in this practice. A reach for the moon and fall among the stars situation. The piece isn’t done but it exists and it wouldn’t have otherwise.

Like the christmas tree from week one, if I have time and energy in the future, I’ll come back to this one and wrap it up.

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Friday Update 1/19/24

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Friday Update 1/19/24

A lot has happened this week and almost all of it is the kind of admin work that no one tells you is necessary when they say “hey, you’re really good at this, have you thought about publishing a book?”

First: my unnamed Hellhound short story is marching along. I’m half way through it with every expectation of finishing next week. This one will be submitted to Camden Park Press for their upcoming anthology Street Magic 2. Lyn, the editor, has purchased from me several times in the past, including for Street Magic 1, but I’m still going to ask you all to cross your fingers when the time comes. Sometimes the story is great, but it doesn’t fit the mix of others that have been submitted.

Also progressing this week is my next batch of short stories to publish. Feb, March, and April all have back cover copy and text in their formatting files. Next week I’ll polish those up and put them through my compiler, Jutoh, to create final files for publishing. Over the holiday, another formatting tool called Atticus offered a lifetime deal on their software and I grabbed that, so the next round of shorts will go through Atticus instead. I just wasn’t ready to learn a whole new program so soon.

Website and Membership progress inches forward. There is now a Perks page for members to browse the serial stories and other members-only bonuses that will start building up in the archive of the blog. It’s a bit bare right now since things are just ramping up, but that will change very shortly. I’ve started scheduling member-only content on the blog every Wednesday. The first several weeks will be short stories, then as I continue writing new work I will start posting chapter-by-chapter from the novels and novellas I have planned this year.

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Goal Tracking: Week 2

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Goals tracking! There are three major goals I’m tracking this year for both personal and business improvement. Comment below with your goals and how you did this week.

1k words/workday:

Monday: 1683
Tuesday: 1200
Wednesday: 2053 – finished a short story!
Thursday: 530 – started outlining the next one
Friday: 300

Notes: I finished a short story and sent it in to the editor, so it’s expected that my wordcount dropped the following days. Writing an outline involves a lot more thinking about things than writing about things, but it’s part of my process! I’m really pleased with this week’s results.

10k steps/day

Monday: 6693
Tuesday: 6725
Wednesday: 6502
Thursday: 7079
Friday: 1252
Saturday: 6122
Sunday: 6325

Notes: Started the week off strong, hitting my step goal every day. Friday was really tough as I had a health flare up and chose to rest and recover. That worked well since the weekend went strong and I hit my goal both days. This coming week I’m going to try pushing to 7k more than once!

1 completed line art/week

Notes: I’ve been watching the birds at my feeder for weeks, now, and I’ve decided to draw a few dragons based on my local birds. This first one is a downey woodpecker (male) and here’s a photo to go with it!

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Friday Update 1/12/24

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Short update this week, because I had one goal and one goal only: To finish this Bone Witch short story for a Valentine’s anthology coming up. I did it! I wrapped up the story on Thursday and I turned it in today to the editor after a proofread and some tweaks <3 I’m excited to have an extra, unplanned story that I can put in the publishing schedule next year.

While I only had one goal, I got a lot of other admin work done during the week. I have cover art for 10 of the 11 short stories being published this year (since January is already done).

I’ve also confirmed with the editors of various projects I’m working on that I’ll be allowed to release the stories here on the blog for my subscribers, chapter by chapter as I write them. I’ll be sure to let everyone know what story is coming up first and when so you don’t miss it.

And that’s it for this week! Next week I ramp up words on another short story in the Bone Witch world, but not featuring the bone witch herself. We’ve got a spinoff based on the short I just finished.

And don’t forget to check back on Monday for my report on goals this week.

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Game Night

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Thursdays here in town are open Table Top Game Night at the local game shop. I’ve been the store a few times to browse the latest offerings, but the last time I went, just before the end of the year, I saw a sign for TT Game Night and asked about it.
Because, you see, I love table top games, but they just arn’t Mr. V’s thing, which means even though I have a small collection to play, I have no one to play them with!

Currently my collection includes: Mantis (by the Oatmeal), Munchkin, Photosynthesis, Ouch!, Arboretum, Here to Slay, and Unstable Unicorns. There are a few others, but that gives you a good feel for the group. And if Mr V was into this type of gaming, I’d have a much larger stack of boxes, let me tell you.

So when I saw that sign I realized there are a batch of people who enjoy these games like I do and here was the perfect excuse to go meet them all! Meeting new people is terrifying without my emotional support husband, but I DID IT.

I played two new-to-me games. The Princess Bride (a Battle of Wits), and 7 Wonders.

The first game is card-based and is all about that moment in the movie where Westly (the swordsman in black) faces off against Vizzini (the Cicealian who finds things Inconceivable!) The players are presented with a row of cups and a hand of cards representing wine or poison. You place wine or poison in the cups secretly, and bid for the cup of your choice hoping you’ll win the right cup that’s not full of poison! Or perhaps you’ve spent the last several years building up a tolerance to iocane poison because the trump card that makes you immune to your own poison is in your hand. Playtime was about 15 minutes, and a chunk of that was rules. I can see this going quickly with a group who’s familiar with it.

I, sadly, drank a cup of poison.

7 Wonders is a card game of supply and demand. You are provided with a world-wonder to build and you have 3 ages of your civilization to build it. There are 5 or 6 points-winning categories in this game, which means there are a lot of ways to win and building your wonder isn’t strictly necessary. There are also trade and war mechanics that are based on what your neighbors around the table have done with their civilizations, which makes for a lot of moving pieces to track.

With seven players (and the rules) this took about 45 minutes to play all the way through, but the sequence you’re playing repeats, so the first couple of rounds are slower than the last as you figure out the cards. This game comes with an alternate, harder difficulty for groups familiar with the play.

I built my wonder, traded with my neighbors, won ALL my military battles, and still only placed in the middle of the pack when the points were tallied at the end. Next time I’ll go for the science win!

Game night was, in short, a success. I met quite a few people and I’m definitely going back next Thursday to play again. I’m going to bring Mantis with me, since no one seemed familiar with that game, it plays fast, and you can include a lot of people.

I’m excited to explore more games and hopefully make a few local friends.

Do you play table top games? Which ones are your favorite? I have access to an entire store of games and I want to play the best ones!

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Goal Tracking: Week 1

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Goals tracking!

There are three major goals I’m tracking this year for both personal and business improvement. Comment below with your goals and how you did this week.

1k words/workday:

Monday: New Year’s Holiday
Tuesday: 329
Wednesday: 1060
Thursday: 1035
Friday: 1007

Notes: Since Tuesday was the first day back after nearly two weeks off, the small wordcount doesn’t surprise me. Much of the day was spent organizing myself to start the new year instead. But after that I jumped right back into 1k/day and I’m very proud of these numbers! Starting strong.

10k steps/day

Monday: 6892
Tuesday: 6309
Wednesday: 3791 – below goal
Thursday: 7438
Friday: 5461 – below goal
Saturday: 10825 – first 10k of the year!
Sunday: 3479 – below goal

Notes: Since I’m not currently doing 10k steps on average, the goal my Garmin watch sets for me is slightly higher than the day before. There’s a calculation involved, but basically, if I beat the goal it bumps up, if I don’t it bumps down. The limiting issue with movement of any kind is my autoimmune. I can’t push too hard or I’ll trigger a flare and have to spend a week not moving much at all, so jumping straight to 10k isn’t feasible or healthy.

So, if I reach for the goal my watch sets for me, I’ll inch up toward 10k at a steady rate, and that’s what these numbers reflect. You may also notice larger numbers have led to rest days. I expect my endurance for this kind of movement will increase as I keep striving. I’m very happy to have hit a 10k day last week (We took a trip to Kansas City) and look forward to pushing my watch-goal numbers over 6k and holding them there this week.

1 completed line art/week

Notes: This week’s image is a Christmas tree based on a photo I took during a walk. I think this was a little complex for the week time-limit, but I did get it finished and I even started shading. That remains incomplete but I’m pleased with the progress I made and I’d like to go back to it if I have time other weeks.
I noticed myself getting frustrated with the repetition of the line art in this one. It’s mostly a single motif over and over and I found that dull. I need to be sure I put iPad down when it feels like a chore. Art is supposed to be fun!

Results

Didn’t hit every goal every day, but started the year strong and I’m very pleased!

Share your goals and last week’s results below <3