Packing, and writing, and promoting . . . oh my!

Oh, and along with all the frantic last minute packing . . . note to self, try not to schedule a book launch and a convention at the same time again . . . I did actually do something useful.

I wrote 2800+ words on a new story for the Origins Game Fare anthology for next year. The theme is Robots and my story is tentatively titled “Paladin”.

I have to say, this is the most unlike me story I’ve ever written, but it draws heavily on an experience I had back in college. I usually don’t write something that draws from my own history this closely – but it just fit the theme of what I wanted to do with the story.


Just got the floor plan for Rocket City Lit Fest in Huntsville, AL. I’m going to be in Booth 410 (2nd top cluster from the left, on the center horizontal aisle).

We’ll be holding the official book debut party for Terra Incognito at 6pm Saturday at the convention (and a little room party later that evening) to celebrate the book release.

So, if you’re coming to Rocket City, be sure to stop by and say “Hi”.

Copy of 2015 RCLF table layout V2

Another exciting evening with a red pen

OK, what have we been up to today? Filled out a questionnaire for an upcoming convention appearance, edited a story due by the end of the week, and . . . wow, I guess that about covers it.

The questionnaire wasn’t too bad. I’m certain I probably gave the convention a LOT more information than they really wanted, but they didn’t give me a word count limit (heh, heh, heh). I got to not only talk about new and recent projects, but they let me ramble on about my sword fighting days.

Yes, I fenced in college, did SCA sword and board in college and in the Army, and now I participate in Kendo. I have no real interest in fighting hand-to-hand, but let me pick up a cane, large stick or something pointy, and I’m all over that.

I like to think my fighting experiences, as well as my military training, help me write reasonably realistic fight scenes. Of course, there has to be a little Hollywood in them, mainly because most real fights only go a few seconds if one of the participants knows what they’re doing or they go on forever if they don’t. The writer’s job is to find the sweet spot where you keep the reader’s interest, but you don’t just have Joe sucker punch Bill and then walk off . . . unless that’s what the story needs.

I’m almost done with the edits. (Huzzah) I’ll spend some time tomorrow typing them in and then have Joni go over the document to find all the stuff I missed – because I do miss stuff. Yes, believe it or not, a second set of eyes is a good thing BEFORE you send it to your editor. Make their life happier by getting it as clean as you can first.

(This PSA is brought to you by editors and aspirin makers everywhere.)

And now, to bed!

The Romantic Life of a Writer . . . Not

Continuing on with May’s death march.

Started work on Fool’s Cup, writing 1640 words on my final story for the For a Few Gold Pieces More collection.

Then, I made my Amtrak reservation to attend BEA. I’ll be working Friday at the SFWA booth with the rest of my Writer Beware teammates and then Saturday, I’ll be splitting time between the SFWA booth at BEA and the StarWarp Concepts booth at BookCon. I suspect this will be a very wearying weekend when all is said and done.

I also had to contact Southwest Airlines to update my travel plans for Origins. Additionally, I’ve been in contact with my points of contact at Origins and apparently a few pieces of email may have been sucked up by my spam filter (it gets snarky when there are too many people cc’d on a piece of mail). So, after getting things straightened out, I got my galley corrections for “A Gryphon’s Tale” and my bio for Monsters off to Mike Stackpole.

Then, I had to make a quick call to my friend, Steve Roman, to let him know when I was going to be arriving for BEA, since he’s letting me crash at his place in return for working at his booth.

On top of all this, I had to build a PowerPoint presentation and work on my talk for class tomorrow night. I’m doing a discussion on Amos Tutuola’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts . Again, if you have not read Tutuola’s works, I highly recommend him.

And now, I’ve just finished editing the first 14 pages of Murder in Monaco before sending it in to the editor. Along with trying to just make it a better story, I’m trying to trim about 500+ words out of my story so it’ll meet the max limit. Yes, once again, I’ve written long and have to trim down. Go figure, right?

But, now, with my eyes blurring and my back informing me I’ve been sitting here a bit too long, I’m calling it a night.

The Busy Month of May

Been a very busy day today, which is great because it means I got quite a bit done.

First of all, I did the edits on Strikeforce: Falcon. I’m a few pages from being finished, but it was very useful to go back through what I had done already and give it a good scrub. It’s a bit tighter and we’re getting read for the big fight scene when I get back to writing it.

Then I met with my graduate adviser and reviewed my comprehensives as well as discussing my future thesis strategies. It’s going to be a busy summer/fall if I want to get this done by December.

Then after I came home, I reviewed the galleys for Skin the Cat and “A Gryphon’s Tale” as well as writing up my short bio to go into Monsters for Origins.

Then, I spent some time talking to my editor about On Wings of Steel and how we’re going to proceed on the edits for the novel.

All in all, a very good evening.

Tomorrow, I have to knock out my PowerPoint for my Wednesday night class and then back onto these stories I need to get finished. Looks like May is going to keep me hopping – plus, I do have to schedule some time to see Gojira this week. (Maybe more than once. *grin*)

Gonna be a busy week this week.

Three events happened this week that are related to my writing projects:

1) I finished my final paper (not counting my Thesis) for graduate school. I am now one PowerPoint presentation away from completing my last classroom class in my program.

2) I just received my galley to proof for “The Gryphon’s Tale” which will be appearing in Monsters – the anthology for Origins Gaming Fair. I cannot wait until this comes out. It’s going to be a limited edition release, but wow, am I honored to be in the same book with some of these people.

3) I also received noticed that the galley for Skin the Cat is ready to be reviewed too. Guess I need to buckle down and finish the first draft to Fool’s Cup sooner than later.

I saw that meme that said, being a writer is knowing you have homework every night for the rest of your life.

It was funny at first. Now . . . I think there’s a lot more truth to it than I wanted to admit.



And Tonight at the Fine Arts Center . . .

The Sixth Annual College of Arts and Sciences Celebration of Excellence was held tonight at the Fine and Performing Arts Center.

For some obscure reason, I was one of the invitees.

I was more proud that my favorite professor was chosen as Instructor of the Year. Way to go Dr. Monifa Love!

It was an interesting evening. I wound up spending more time visiting with the faculty and administrators than I did other students, but that might be because until I was announced as a graduate student, I think 90% of them assumed I was another faculty member.

Can’t be the gray hair. Must have been how distinguished I looked in the jacket. *grin*

Outstanding Graduate Student Award Plaque from Bowie State University


Plans and Pains . . .

Some days, words come easy. Some days, not so much. Actually, the words were coming easy tonight, but my back was rather unhappy with me. It took quite a while to figure out the best set up for my writing area so I was late getting started.

Still, I knocked out 1567 words tonight on Murder in Monaco and have just finished setting up the final scene in this story. We’ll probably have to put this on hold because I need to focus on my paper for my Seminar on African Literature since it’s due next Wednesday.

Of course, while I was at work today, one of my colleagues gave me a great idea for a new story. However, I added it to my notebook to take a look at it later. I’ve already got too many things on the schedule to try to shoehorn in another story. But, it was a delicious idea and if I don’t use it for a separate short story, it may work very well in a story called Shattered Mirror I’m co-writing with April MacDee.

<Hannibal>I love it when a plan comes together</Hannibal>


Oh, and tonight, I got the envelope from Bowie State I had been waiting for . . . the results of my Comprehensive Exam.


I passed.

*fires the confetti cannon*

There’s no other test I’ve ever taken in college (graduate or undergraduate) I wanted so much to pass. I never want to have to take that again!

And now, I don’t have to!

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

(For those of you who follow me on FB, you may ignore this post.)

I don’t normally post a lot of non-writing stuff on this blog, but as you may know, I’m in my last couple of semesters at Bowie State University, working toward my Masters of Arts in English. It’s been an interesting three years, trying to juggle a full-time job, college, writing, and family and friends. It’s been interesting too since my daughter is currently in college also, so we double-check each other to ensure we’re current in our homework and such.

So, I was surprised last night when the office manager for the English department to me there was a letter for me in her office. Since there was a little time before class started, I followed her back, thinking it was my comprehensives results. Instead, it was from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Bowie State.

It took me a few passes to comprehend what it said:

“It is with great pleasure that I write to inform you that the CAS Awards Selection Committee has unanimously selected you winner of the 2014 ‘Outstanding Graduate Student Award'”

To say I’m flabbergasted is putting things mildly. I had no clue I’d even been nominated for this award by my faculty or what I’d done to deserve this. While I like getting compliments the same as anyone else, I really don’t see myself as anything special. I’m really humbled by this.

Next post, I’ll try to have some writing stuff for you.


Busy, Busy, Busy . . . .

Took a little time off tonight from my college work to get some writing done on Murder in Monaco. Added 2,395 words to the manuscript and I’m pretty happy with most of them. I’m sure there’ll be some shifting , editing, and rewriting when I do the pass before I send this off to my editor, but I think the story is finally moving in the direction I want it to go.

So, finished making a flyer for AwesomeCon, got progress made on a story, started getting my schedule figured out for Origins, and now I have the line edits for Skin the Cat to review and the cover art for Wings of Fire has been approved.

Not a bad day’s work.

Tomorrow, taking the flyer to Kinko’s to make the copies and then doing more work on my college paper before the big convention packing night on Thursday. I think I know where all my convention gear is, but “knowing” and” putting your hands on it” are sometimes two different things.

African Legends, The Blight, Old Friends & Writing

Took a little time this week to relax and get organized. Tuesday evening I spent doing my college homework, Wednesday I attended my African Literature seminar where we finished our discussion on Mission to Kala by Beti and then reviewed two stories by Tutuola – The Palm Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.

Tutuola’s stories were true fantasies. It’s as if he took a ton of campfire stories, mixed in the Yorba religion, and then invented enough of his own to tie them all together in a coherent story and then sent them out into the world. I think My Life in the Bush of Ghosts would make a great movie—surreal, without a doubt, but it would rank up there with Lovecraft or Carrol for things not making sense, but making perfect sense in the whole.

(And if that’s not clear, I can only recommend you reading the books to see for yourselves.)

Thursday and Friday I did more research for Troubleshooters Incorporated as well as writing on Murder in Monaco.

Saturday, I decided to spend some time with my family and we went into Ellicott City, MD and hung out at the antique stores and other shops down on Main Street. I ran in to some old friends down there. In one of the “junk” shops, I found four books I had had as a kid, but my parents got rid of them while I was in the Army by mistake. They thought I didn’t want them any more, but they were fragile, so I was hoping not to move them until the Army quite moving me every couple of years.

So, I can now say I am the proud owner (again) of The Indian Mummy Mystery, The Forest Fire Mystery, The Mystery of Rustler’s Fort, and Sand Dune Pony, by Troy Nesbit, in their original Whitman glory. Sure, they cost a bit more this time than the 99 cents I paid for the originals, but it was worth it to find these again, especially in the condition they were in.

Also, Saturday night to help get me back into the mood to write, I tossed an old favorite into the computer to help me unwind. I decided it was time to go back to Ferelden and take on the blight in Dragon Age: Origins.

When I finally wrapped up for the evening (after starting at 1930 (or 7:30pm for you non -military types)), I remembered why I have to try and limit my playing – there’s something about going to bed at 0400 to remind one how old they are and how much their knees object to sitting still that long.

Still, I told myself it was to warm myself up for writing, so I resisted the urge to finish one more quest today and pulled out Flashpoint to work on. I added another 2,577 words to this short story today.

Tomorrow, it’s back to work on Murder in Monaco. Deadlines wait for no man. *sigh*