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Category Archives: the red eye
Happy Thursday! I’m starting a new blog series today called “What I’m…” Every few days, I’ll update this site with what I’m selling, pitching, writing, or doing. Today I’ve got updates in all four categories!
What I’m selling
I’ll be at the Dayton Book Expo on April 25th at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, where I’ll have copies of The Red Eye available for sale (and signing, which I’m also happy to do if you’ve already purchased it earlier). If you can’t make it to the DBE but also haven’t gotten a copy of The Red Eye yet, you can purchase it via the DBE’s Amazon store to enter me into the running for DBE’s online bestsellers! And remember, too, that owning an Alliteration Ink title in print means you also own the ebook!
What I’m pitching
I’m nearing the end of my studies in Seton Hill University’s MFA program, and so I’m starting to see if my thesis novel can get any agent nibbles. The new web site Writer Pitch connects authors and agents. If you feel so inclined, you can share my pitch for The Curiosity Killers on social media to help me generate some buzz!
What I’m writing
In addition to making final tweaks to TCK, I’ve also got three short stories out on submission; two short stories, two novels, and one non-fiction book all in the editing phase; and twelve projects actively in the writing phase. Other projects are still being outlined or planned, but I wouldn’t call them “active” yet (and besides, I have to get through these other works first!). My 2015 goal is to finish all active works in progress before really digging into the next wave of planned projects. I’m really excited in particular about The Curiosity Killers, Blood Makes Noise (an urban fantasy novel), and the horror/mystery/urban fantasy novella The Skittering, which may just be the next work in The Red Eye series!
What I’m doing
In just seven weeks, I’ll be done with a graduate certificate in instructional design. This has been a challenging program, but I just adore it. I can now toss around fancy terms like “learner-centered teaching,” “course management system,” and “beyond bullet-point design” like a pro.
I’m also spending a lot of time with the kitten my husband and I adopted late last summer. She is a whirlwind and—parental bias aside—insanely cute. If you don’t already follow me on Instagram, head over there for an embarrassing amount of kitten-related amateur photography.
I owe this blog some posts about my time this spring at both the Pennsylvania Literary Festival and the In Your Write Mind book signing, but while I sort through all the amazingness that was those events, I thought I’d stall with an update on my works in progress.
What am I working on?
– Three different horror short stories
– Two science fiction short stories
– A fantasy flash fiction story
– A new edition of my short story chapbook Grinning Cracks with new cover art, as well as an abridged audiobook edition
– Three different urban fantasy novels and one novella (two of which are set in The Red Eye universe)
– Four different YA novels of various subgenres
– Two different science fiction novels, one of which is my MFA thesis, The Curiosity Killers
– A literary fiction novel
– A non-fiction writing craft book on drabble writing
– A non-fiction writing craft book on speed writing
– An academic non-fiction book on gender and media
This might explain my recent bout of insomnia, actually. I have too many ideas swirling in the brain, and when I’m trying to rest it all keeps me up. In addition to all these things, I keep a file on my phone for new ideas, those nagging bits of story that you can’t write right now but you have to document lest they’re lost. Yeah, that file is ridiculous, but it has actually gotten me through some idea droughts in the past. I heartily recommend that every writer with a smart phone keep such a notepad file and mine it when you’re feeling stuck.
Next week, I’ll be appearing at the Pennsylvania Literary Festival, along with a lot of fabulous authors of a variety of genres. The keynote speaker is John Dixon, author of Phoenix Island, which was the inspiration behind the CBS series Intelligence, starring Josh Holloway. Lots of authors, faculty, alumni, and students from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular fiction M.F.A. program will be appearing, including horror authors Michael A. Arnzen, Lawrence C. Connolly, Jason Jack Miller, and Stephanie Wytovich; science fiction and fantasy authors Ann Kopchik and K. Ceres Wright, and suspense author Randall Silvis. Leading the charge is science fiction author Heidi Ruby Miller, who just released Book 1 in her Ambassadora series, Marked By Light. I will be there to read excerpts from the first two volumes in my Red Eye series, The House on Concordia Drive and The Red Eye. I’ll also be on a panel discussing feminism in genre fiction, alongside Kopchik, J.L. Gribble, Carole Waterhouse, and Christina Fisanick.
This is one of my first such events on the other side of the microphone, as it were. I’ve done several readings/signings on panels with other Alliteration Ink authors. I also used to host a semi-regular reading series at a local coffeehouse, where I served as organizer, master of ceremonies, and read some of my own work, and I attend writing-related events and workshops as a student all the time. But I look at this event as an unofficial launch party for The Red Eye, in part, and it’s great to be experiencing such a thing with so many Seton Hill folks; this is my writing family in many ways, and the greater Pittsburgh area is becoming a second home.
There are events for folks of all ages, musical performances, and much to do every day, so come on out to the Uniontown, PA Mall, Friday May 30th-Sunday June 1. Hope to see you there!
My urban fantasy novel The Red Eye and its prequel novelette The House on Concordia Drive (both 2014, Alliteration Ink) mark the publication of my 49th and 50th pieces of writing.
I didn’t actually realize I hit the big five-oh until I started working on some bio/promo things for querying something else. Suddenly I saw that my list had grown, and I decided to add number bullets.
There it was. 49. 50. FIFTY.
For someone who used to write nonsensical (yet somehow endless) Dickensian soap operas every summer growing up, for someone who’s never quite felt “good enough” as any sort of artist (see my failed attempts as musician and painter), this is kind of huge. So even though I demur a bit and really don’t always feel like the most confident writer, I have to kind of say, “Good for me” for once.
I’ve had help. Every English teacher, from high school, college, and my M.A. program, and my colleagues in several arenas of my life certainly inspired this love of words and forcing them together into sentences and stories. I’ve had more specific help from the members of my writing group, my M.F.A. program classmates and mentors, spouse, and various helpful editors and publishers, some of whom even helped in their rejections.
Every day, I encounter something that makes me a better writer, whether it’s formal notes and edits on a story or something I read in which the author makes a particularly deft turn of phrase (or a not-so-deft one, one I then take pains not to emulate). I’ve learned from others’ success and failures, learned from others’ reactions and support and very occasionally the lack thereof, truth be told. But it’s both the acceptances and the rejections that make a piece of writing better, and I think sometimes in life it’s acceptances and rejections on a larger scale that make us better people, stronger people, more resilient people.
I was excited to figure out that I’d hit 50. A few years ago, I had a goal of trying to get 35 before I turned 36 (which I did do, but just barely). Once I stopped counting, something interesting happened. With this arbitrary goal gone, I just kept going, without real target in mind other than to keep writing and then sending things out. Once I stopped counting, I racked up more credits than when I was counting. Kind of funny how that works, huh?
The love of the craft is the goal, of course. That’s the real lesson. If I were only in this game for any reason other than the need to write stories, no matter the outcome, I would have either never started in the first place or kind of petered out after meeting that magic number. Instead, I just kept chugging away. The placement of a piece now is secondary to the thrill of really, finally getting a story into tip-top shape. Getting a full-length novel into truly tip-top shape is also paramount, which explains why The Red Eye was first due last fall but delayed a bit—I wanted it to be as perfect as I could make it more than I wanted to actually hold the thing in my hands.
When you do something for the love of it, some of the other stuff will come, too. Maybe not the way you think, the amount you think, the timing you think, but something will, and it’ll often be all the lovelier because you didn’t crave it quite so desperately but instead cherished it enough to wait until it was really meant to be.
Not gonna lie, though. Now I’m wondering if I can’t hit 60 in the not-too-distant future.