Genre: Horror Format: Hardback novel I picked up Meddling Kids because Goodreads recommended it to me and because I absolutely loved the cover. If you like Scooby Doo, Stranger Things, the Stephen King novel IT, or 80’s/90’s nostalgia horror like My Best Friend’s Exorcism, … Continue reading
I’m thrilled to announce my first short story collection, Dead Girls Don’t Love, and my first novella, An Ideal Vessel, are available in ebook and paperback! *insert muppet flail* (If you back my Patreon, please look at the latest post for instructions to obtain discount copies of each.) For those who like to read samples before you buy, you can find stories from the collection online here, here, and here. And there’s a portion of the novella on my blog here. Check out the gorgeous covers by Luke Spooner below. They made me cry actual tears when I saw them for the first time, and hopefully you can see why.
If you buy copies and read them, please please please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I’m an indy author with a small publisher. We have virtually no budget for marketing, which means I need your help! If you can’t buy copies or leave reviews, please post about the books on social media. I need your support if anyone is going to see these books. I appreciate whatever help you can give!
It has been a dream come true for me to see my stories finally published in a collection. I now have books! Books I can hand people with my name on the covers that contain my writing! I can’t tell you how amazing that feels. Thank you for supporting me along the way! I couldn’t have gotten here without the support of my friends and readers.
Next weekend will find me at the International Steampunk Symposium! I haven’t received an official schedule, but here’s where I think I’ll be presenting:
6:00 Lit Track Reading Hour (Salon C)
5:00 Envisioning a Better Steam Society Revisited (Patriot North)
11:00 Fiction and Faith (Salon C)
I hope to see you there!
In other news, I posted sneak peaks of my book covers on my Patreon, which you can view for only $1.00! My first short fiction collection and a novella should be dropping next month, just in time for PenguiCon, and I couldn’t possibly be more excited. More news on that when they go live!
I’ll be at ConFusion in Detroit this coming weekend! All my panels are packed onto Saturday, which is great. Sadly, I’m not on any literary panels, but it seemed like they were having a harder time finding people for the general geek culture panels than they were for the literary ones, so since I volunteered for both, they probably put me where they needed panelists the most! Here’s where you can find me:
Parenting in the 21st Century
10am Saturday: Saugatuck
Parenting has always been a challenge, but is it more challenging these days? Are “the kids” no longer sufficiently respectful of one’s lawn? And what is it with the YouTubes and the Twitters? Are these new problems, or just the same problems other generations of parents faced, dressed in new clothes?
That’s Not My Star Wars!
11am Saturday: Leelanaw
At one point, it appeared most of the world agreed on the canon-destroying awfulness of the Star Wars prequel films, and their unholy avatar Jar Jar Binks. But a new generation of Star Wars is taking hold, and not everyone is pleased with the direction that’s going, either. Where do we draw our mental lines, and why?
The Do’s and Don’ts of Fandom
1pm Saturday: Interlochen
Supporting one another is always important, especially in small communities. What is the best way to support others? How do we keep ourselves from hurting other fandoms
Reading: Dyrk Ashton, Tracy Townsend, Sarah Hans
5pm Saturday: Leelanaw
So…will I see you there?
As the title implies, 2017 was a flaming bag of hot smelly dog turds for a lot of reasons, mainly political. Oddly enough for me, however, it was actually a pretty great year on a personal level. Let’s do a point-by-point rundown:
- The Kickstarter for Steampunk Universe funded and backers received their ebooks
- I started a Patreon where you can read my stories for just $1 a month
- I entered and was a finalist in the Green Ronin Lost Citadel contest
- I had a great time creating my first roleplaying game supplement
- One of my reprints got great reviews in a book called Memento Mori
- I wrote my first collaborative story with the amazing Maurice Broaddus, which will be appearing in print in 2018
- I sold 3 or 4 other reprints that will be appearing in 2018
- I started a really kickass D&D group
- I got a job I love, teaching eighth grade
- I visited Toronto to see the At Home With Monsters Exhibit
Big shout-out to ADHD medication, which I started in January 2017, and without which this list of accomplishments probably wouldn’t exist.
Of course, none of these things involved Getting A Novel Published, which has been my focus all year. But I am halfway through writing my young adult horror novel, and I’ve gotten some excellent feedback from pros I really respect, so I will finish it this year. It’s hard, when you have ADHD, to keep your eye on the prize where long projects are concerned. I’m constantly tempted to do other things, because switching is easier than seeing it through. But I’m going to finish writing this YA novel, and then I’m going to go back and do some edits to my first novel, and then I’m going to start submitting them both to agents and publishers. Here’s to laser-like focus in 2018.
What are your plans for 2018, dear friends?
I’m crazy excited about Motor City Steam Con later this month! Here’s where I’ll be:
The Steampunk Genre, Friday 2:00-3:00
Writing for Young Adults, Saturday 1:30-2:30
Fiction Reading, Saturday 4:00-5:00
Eatin’ Mummies and other Strange Victorian Fads, Sunday 10:00-11:00
The Art of the Short Story, Sunday 12:00-1:00
I highlighted the fiction reading, because obviously that’s what I most want people to attend. I love reading my fiction (and other peoples’ fiction, and nonfiction, and fortune cookies, and grocery lists) aloud, but that’s hard to do without an audience, so please attend if you can. Maybe I’ll give away a book!
My besties with the Airship Archon will also be doing the following panels, and I may sit in on one or more:
Lie Back and Think of England, Saturday 7:00-8:00
My Favorite Apocalypse, Sunday 10:00-11:00
Prop & Costume Alchemy, Sunday 11:00-12:00
These times are subject to change, so be sure to check the final schedule on the website (when it goes live) so you won’t miss any of the fun. I can’t wait to see everyone!
Conveniently, this post comes at the end of 2016, but I promise you, that’s coincidence. This is NOT a New Year’s Resolution Post. For real! This is a post I’ve not had time to write for two months. Also, I’m a teacher now, so the end of the year comes in June. December is a reality break, not an end or a beginning.
Anyway, a lot of things changed for me in the last few years. The last year has been especially full of super serious life changes, and I’ve done a lot of contemplating how to deal with it all. I finished getting my license in Special Education 2.5 years ago and I’ve been teaching ever since. My first job was pretty laid back–adult students and only on the clock four days a week (and let me tell you, I miss that schedule sometimes, even if they did pay me a pittance). I only worked about 36 hours a week, so I had lots of time for writing, and with every Friday off, conventions were a breeze. I continued to attend 8-10 conventions a year, and got a lot of writing done in my off time.
But I didn’t get to teach in that job, as great as it was in other ways, so ultimately I left to pursue a position at a school where I could do the thing. I don’t want to say that switching schools was a mistake–more on that in a minute–but the second school was not a good fit for me. It made me question whether I should be a teacher. Hell, it made me question whether I should be a person. I felt inadequate in every way. I started having weekly panic attacks. I noticed that I was more exhausted than everyone else, exhausted all the time, down to my soul, the kind of exhaustion that made me feel like I’d never stop being tired. I’d been fatigued before but never like this.
The upshot is that I went to a psychologist and got a new diagnosis: ADHD. I was skeptical until I talked to friends who have it (which, as it turns out, is like, most of my friend circle? Because of course it is) and read a book about how untreated, undiagnosed ADHD can manifest in adults. Once I saw how highly I rated on both the inattentive and hyperactive scales, I thought, well shit. And when the psychologist explained it to me–ADHD is an inability of the brain to prioritize and control impulses–I thought, well double shit, that describes me completely. I cried in his office. Not because I’m sad, but because I’m relieved. There’s a reason I’m like this. It’s not my fault, and now I can finally do something about it, something that’s more than just treating the symptoms.
I also got a new job. And this is why I don’t regret Job #2, even though I was miserable there and my boss made me cry more than once and I thought about jumping out a window every day. Because without Job #2, I wouldn’t have gotten Job #3. And this job, you guys. I love this job. I love the school where I teach. I teach in a beautiful building with amazing coworkers and supportive administrators and the kids are tough but that’s why I love them. Because nothing worth doing is ever easy.
This post is getting long. Still with me? Okay. You get a gold star if you’re still reading. I’m getting to the point.
I love my job now, but holy cow the long hours. This is a for real teaching job. I go in at 7:30 and I’m lucky if I leave by 5:30. I usually work six days a week. For the first two months, I was working every waking moment. They changed my job responsibilities, so now my schedule has gone from 80 hours a week to about 60, which is an improvement, but that’s still a lot. I barely see my friends and family. I don’t get much writing (or editing) done. I have a panic attack every Sunday, like clockwork, as Monday looms.
The point is this: my life has changed, so now some other things need to change. My time is suddenly very, very precious. I still want to be a professional novelist, as I always have, and my focus needs to be like a laser instead of scattershot to make that happen. Here are the changes I’m implementing:
- Fewer conventions. I used to enjoy going to small conventions where I barely break even on book sales, but now I find them really stressful. If I attend a convention, it needs to be one where I can network and/or benefit my craft.
- More writing retreats. If I’m going away for a weekend, it needs to have purpose. I need to get shit done, especially if I’m taking a day off work. Retreats help me do that. Plus, they’re relaxing AF.
- No more short stories. My focus can only be in one place right now, and that needs to be this novel. I’m going to finish the collaboration I’m currently working on, and then I’m done with short stories until I have a finished novel in my hands. I’ll continue to submit works I’ve already written, but I won’t be writing any new shorts.
- No more editing. I’ll complete Steampunk Universe and then that’s going to be it, maybe forever. If you want to know all the reasons, buy me a drink sometime and I’ll tell you all about why I don’t really want to do it anymore.
- Medication. For ADHD, specifically. Hopefully soon I’ll be less of an anxious wreck and better able to get long projects finished because I won’t get inexplicably bored after writing the outline.
Thus, for a while, at least, I’ll be turning down invitations to conventions (as a panelist) and short story anthologies (that pay less than pro rates). I don’t want to turn them down. It kills me to say No to anything, because some part of me still feels, after 5+ years, that I’m still a beginner in this writing game and I shouldn’t turn down any opportunity. But things have changed for me, and now I have to turn down anything that’s not going to get me from Point A to Point B. I don’t think I’m too fancy for your anthology that pays $50/story or your convention that has 300 attendees. I just can’t afford to take detours from the main route anymore, no matter how much I may want to.
Onwards and upwards in 2017. Here’s to a finished Young Adult Horror novel. I leave you with a picture of my dog, Princess Sophia McSnarfles, aka Tiny Bites, who I adopted in September, and who is pretty much the best dog ever and kept 2016 from being a total shitshow. Thanks for reading this far. In the comments, tell me about your goals for 2017.
I’ve been so busy with my day job, I haven’t had time to tell you that Eldritch Embraces is out! If you missed the crowdfunding campaign, now is your chance to get a collection of Lovecraftian romance that features a story by yours truly. I promise there are no tentacles in my story. Check out that awesome cover!
In other news, I’m proud to announce that Tade Thompson’s story from Steampunk World is available for your listening pleasure on the prestigious Escape Pod podcast. Please give it a listen and tell the author how much you loved it.
Speaking of anthologies, here’s your reminder that you have less than two months remaining to get me a story for Steampunk Universe. The revised Call for Submissions is here. If you’d like to know why the Call was revised, you can read about that on my publisher’s blog, here.
Now that the school year is drawing to a close, things are calming down at the day job and I have some fun blog posts planned. So stay tuned for Hopefully More Content! LOL.
Happy reading and writing! 🙂
Here’s where you can find me this year:
Cleveland Concoction – March 11-13, Cleveland, Ohio
International Steampunk Symposium – April 7-10, Cincinnati, Ohio
MARCon – May 6-8, Columbus, Ohio
Motor City Steam Con – July 22-24, Detroit, Michigan
Imaginarium – October 7-9, Louisville, Kentucky
World Fantasy Convention – October 27-30, Columbus, Ohio