Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 in Review

Notebook on table
What a year it has been! I was not expecting the rollercoaster that 2022 turned into. 

The big high (and biggest distraction from writing) has been the new job I started back in February. I finally took the first step on the long journey of my career as a librarian. I found a niche job hiding in the basement of the central branch of a public library. What do I actually do? I catalog and process new materials. But hiding in the basement sounds more mysterious. I don't have to interact with the public aside from the rare occasions on which I venture out from my basement abode to help upstairs. The last time I did so, I ended up manning the teen desk amidst a horde of 7th graders on a tour of the library. Yikes! But for the most part, my position is an introvert's paradise. Books and hardly any people around!

To be serious, I have quite enjoyed my new job even though I had to put writing and publishing plans on the back burner for most of the year while I wrapped my head around the massive change in routine and location (moving to another city is not easy, regardless of the size of the move). However, I was finally stable enough to pull that back into focus in the fall of this year. That led to a retargeting of my publication plans towards the short story series "The Salon of Enchanted Beauty" while pushing back the "Märchenverse" series till a later date. Novels take so much more time than short stories to edit and I am terribly slow at editing to begin with. If I wanted something published before next spring, a short story it would have to be. 

In November, I attended, virtually, the 20booksto50k Las Vegas conference. Virtual only after plans to go in person fell through (drat cars and how expensive repairs can be!) It was highly inspiring and has only solidified my determination to attend in person next year. I'm extremely excited to buy my ticket next month!

Now, onto what you really wanted to know from this update: what projects am I working on and what is my progress! 

1) The Salon of Enchanted Beauty

As I mentioned above, this is the series that is at the forefront of my energy and attention. It's a cozy fantasy series of long form short stories following the misadventures of a sorceress named Philliya Wridall as she runs a magical beauty salon.


Book 1: In editing and pushing for a January 2023 release (I hope!!)

Books 2 - 4: Written awaiting editing

Book 5: Halfway written

2) Märchenverse

The series of sci-fi novels which cover various rewritten and adapted fairy tales from classics to lesser known tales. I do love this series, but pushing it back for now was the right step. I'm still eager to get this done and published! I can't wait to share it all with you. If you are impatient, you can join my patreon to read the original first draft of book 2 in the library.

Book 1: In editing

Book 2: Awaiting a complete rewrite.

Book 3: Writing, floundering, rewriting, etc. Horror is not my strong point when it comes to writing.

Books 4-8: Planned and waiting in the wings to tempt me to focus on them instead of what I should be working on! How rude of them. lol

3) The fanfiction - Kagerou: A Pathfinders Journal

I know, I know. I keep promising that this one will get done, but it keeps getting pushed back in favor my non-fanfiction series since I'm just your basic human who has to prioritize money over fun. 

Book 1: In the process of rewriting and editing

Book 2: Planned but no timeline set for actually writing it. 

Books 3-6: Possible and advisable if I want to complete the entire adventure path, but I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch.

4) The magic academy (series? webnovel? who knows at this point!)

This one is shaping up to be my longest work ever at a projected 300k+ words if I cover the four projected plot arcs, but it needs a serious world building overhaul before I can dig into rewriting and writing it. Apparently I am not very practiced at building magic systems and this book needs one that's pretty solidly planned out...yay me...

Book ?: Partially written, but needs planning and a rewrite.

5) Survival 

Aka the R rated sci-fi book/series I've been trying to write for years. It is also partially written, but needs a major restructuring and planning before I can even attempt to begin again. In other news, my brain has decided it's more interesting to work on plot arc #2 instead of #1. So I have made some progress? Brain! Focus!

So there you have it! Those are the major projects I'm attempting to guide towards publication. That doesn't mean they are the only projects bouncing around in my brain or on my PC, however! I don't lack for ideas (ever), but the other projects are on hold for now so I can try to focus my limited energy and time on the most viable series for publishing. (Though, check out my patreon for glimpses into the archives and chime in on whether a project should be pulled from cryostasis!)

Which project are you the most interested in? Are you leaning towards fantasy or sci-fi?

So long 2022 and thanks for all the fish! 

boy staring up at ufo

Friday, July 29, 2022

Book Review: This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi


I enjoyed this book immensely, especially as set against the backdrop of Persian mythology. It’s the typical-for-YA coming of age plot with a main character who is hiding from her grand destiny. In this case, Alizeh has been waiting for it so long that she’s basically given up on it ever arriving. She survives as a servant until a chance meeting with the prince of that country sends her life into a spiral of danger and she is forced into the open.

The book kept me reading and wanting more so I was quite disappointed to reach the final 10% of the book and realize that it must have a sequel. It is, in fact, book 1 of a duology so I must wait for the second book. I wish book series were more upfront with series numbering on books. Going into this, I had hoped for a nice standalone fantasy novel. Oh well.
The book leaves off on a literal cliffhanger (I won’t say what it is exactly so as not to spoil it) and with our heroine on a detour which is taking her in a direction she never wanted to go or had planned on. And it ends with two male leads, neither of which I’m terribly fond of as they are both jerks in different ways. I’m looking forward to seeing if Mafi ends up redeeming one of them enough in the second book for me to appreciate the happily ever after she seems to be aiming for.
All in all, a near perfect book in my opinion filled with myths and legends not commonly found in English fantasy. It’s a breath of fresh air.
The formatting for this book on the printed version (I read the hardback) is particularly lovely. The chapter titles have a whole page with filigree designs and the numbers are in both roman numerals and what I'm assuming is Arabic numerals. I like to see books that are creatively laid out so the books themselves are art

Oddly enough,
very shortly after reading Woven Kingdom I had a chance to lightly skim another series by Tahereh Mafi: The Shatter Me series. It's a 6 book (plus three novellas) YA dystopian sci-fi series with a superhero/mutant type twist. The plot is intriguing enough, but the fragmented stream of conscious narration in 1st POV threw me off (and there are multiple POVs too with varying degrees of "mental instability" and fragmentation). It's a unique read if it's your type. However, it's not mine. I just find it interesting how the same author can write two so very different styles of books. Shows a wide range on her part.
Have you read The Woven Kingdom? Do you want to? I'm definitely looking forward to reading the sequel "These Infinite Threads" when it releases in February 2023. I'm very glad this is a duology so I only have to wait for one book!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Mid Year and Juggling

Photo licensed from Depositphotos
It's already July. Wow.

I'm astounded at how fast time is flying past this year. I thought it was time for me to do a check in on my writing goals I set back in January. How did I do? Some I accomplished and some I won't. I'm not displeased, however. Rolling with the punches is the best way to stay on track the best I can with my scattered brain.

Writing goal #1: releasing a new social media story. 

Status: Checked off and it's still running though I took a break from it for a while. No Return is live on IG and Patreon every Sunday.

Writing goal #2: launching the webnovel Kagerou.

Status: The novel is being rewritten and edited. I'm still on track to begin releasing it sometime later this year.

Writing goal #3: Finally completing and publishing book 1 of Märchenverse.

Status: Most likely won't happen this year. I had too much of a delay earlier this year. I have made progress on books 1-3 however. I haven't yet started draft 2 of book 1 but I have started to line things up that need fixing or adding. Book 2 is slowly pushing its way out the chrysalis to show me the new form it will take during the rewrite. Book 3 has almost completely replotted itself and just needs more work on the middle section before I can start it again from scratch to have a much more horrifically terrifying story that it was before. Wish me luck. I am NOT a horror writer...

Writing goal #4: Attending my first 20booksto50k conference in November.

Status: Car decided it wanted to use up all my available funds so, alas, I must postpone this until 2023. I shall attend virtually and still take days off of work to focus on that, however.

And why all the huge delays and postponements this year? 

That all comes down to my one non-writing goal: to land a full-time job. 

I did it!! Back in January I finally received an offer to start a full-time job at *drumroll* a library! Yes, that was the job I was hinting at in the previous post. I'm now a Library Assistant who gets to hide in the central library's basement doing cataloguing. It's fantastic and right up my alley, but it did require a move and a complete halt on the writing front for months while I unpacked and got settled into my new job and city. So, now that my brain has had time to adjust, I'm finally getting back into the groove for writing. 

First up on the writing schedule? Finish Kagerou and get that ready and waiting in the wings to start. July marks the running of Camp NaNoWriMo and I'm hoping to use that to motivate me enough to accomplish at least half the rewrite.

Second, back to Märchenverse and try to get as much of that done as quickly as possible so I'm prepared for any other road blocks that may pop up.

While you are waiting, I would suggest popping over to my patreon. I recently finished updating the patreon library and I've started posting occasional book reviews. I'm hoping to post a little more consistently over there with new content. But, writing comes first before updating here or on patreon so please forgive me for inconsistency. 

Happy 4th of July and enjoy your holiday weekend!

Photo licensed from Depositphotos

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Book Review: Queen's Peril by E K Johnston

Time to bring back an old (very old!) topic of mine on this blog. Book reviews! This time around, I'll be much more casual with the reviews, however. They won't be super detailed but I hope you find them useful. If you want more book reviews, click on the book review tag to read my other reviews.

First up, the new SW series by EK Johnston focusing on Padme Amidala. I didn't pick up the first book when it came out so this review is only on the second book which is technically the first chronologically as it covers her life from election as queen through the events of Phantom Menace. What started out as a really engaging plot fell flat for me the minute it hit the movie part of the timeline. The first part of the book was creative and intriguing as you saw her "creating" the persona of the queen while gathering her merry band of handmaidens. And then the author decided that of course her readers must have watched the movie and the plot ended up being far too disjointed as it interwove tiny fragments of scenes from the movies with some new material in a method that made logic go out the window. The last two thirds of the book would make zero sense to anyone who hasn't watch the movie. It's more like a behind the scenes rambling diary of the queen and select handmaidens without enough plot to sustain it. So, alas, I must drag the rating down to 3.5/5. A full star off for the above atrocity. As for the half star off? Only cosplayer/costumers will understand this part. Amidala has those incredibly intricate costumes in the movie and this book attempted to create new outfits as well as describe the ones from the movie. The latter were so badly described that it would have been better to just leave out any details and describe them vaguely. (For example, the one I've studied the most is the purple traveling dress and she described it as having the opening up the back. IT IS NOT.) Her costume advisors failed her miserably. Queen Amidala's costumes and their descriptions are basically on the level of handwave "magic" sci-fi science which bugs the costumer in me as these costumes were actually created for the movie using real couture techniques. (Yes, I do get passionate about sewing and costumes as I do costuming as a hobby. Random fact about me you never knew.) Also, random period scene?? Why? Please no. Just no. My rating stands as it is. Enjoyable as an addition to the movie, but don't expect a book that holds together as a standalone. Will I read it again? Probably not. Will I read the other two books? Depends on whether those are as dependent on the movies as this one was. If they are, probably a hard pass.
Thoughts? Comments? Want to tear my review to shreds? Have at it in the comments. I'd love to hear what you thought about the book and the series. (Just stay respectful please!)

Sunday, January 16, 2022

No Return: A Social Media Story

Hiya! As I hinted in yesterday's post, I have a brand new story for your reading. The first post is up on IG now and I hope you do enjoy episode 1. One episode will release every Sunday so it is a slow burn story. Enjoy the ride!

For more information on the story, or to find links to each of the episodes as they release, check out my website. Click here to access the page for No Return.

What is this new story about?

"Forced to flee from Earth to outrun the sun going supernova, a young woman must figure out how to survive amidst a crew of strangers as they seek a new place to call home."

Genre: Sci-fi 

Click here to read it on Instagram. Or, if Patreon is more your thing, click here to read it!


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Looking Ahead to 2022

I can hardly believe that 2021 flew by so fast. I landed a new job, got rid of an old one, and the time flew by in a blur while I was adjusting. I didn't get much written in the last half of the year due to that, unfortunately, but I'm finally reengaging now that the holiday season is over (thank goodness that it is! I definitely burnt out during it).

And so now, as I face down the coming year ahead, I see a year full of potential and possibilities. And that also means change and lots of it. Some decided and actioned by me and some foisted upon me to which I must adapt. So I thought I would officially write down my goals for the year so that you might have a glimpse into what possibilities I see lurking in 2022.

Writing goals:

1) The first goal I wanted to accomplish this year was to whip up a new social media story to air on my Instagram. It's a small experiment that I hope you all enjoy. I can check off this goal starting tomorrow when it begins releasing!

2) The second goal is a bit further out. I know I've been promising to finally get around to relaunching the rewritten Kagerou novel for quite a while now. I'm aiming to get it started this year (possibly spring). No idea when I'll get around to writing the second novel as that depends on where in my crowded writing schedule it could fit.

3) The third and most important goal: the completion and publication of Märchenverse. Book 1 is still needing rewriting and editing and I'm midway through the little prequel. Book 2 need a complete overhaul of a rewrite and I'm in the beginning stages of writing Book 3. That said, I am hoping to publish Book 1 in the fall of this year. *crosses fingers* So, I would hope to have books 1-3 written and edited by then so I could write book 4 during NaNoWriMo.

4) The fourth goal (numbered so by virtue of being the last scheduled to happen), is to save up for and attend the 20booksto50k indie publishing conference in Las Vegas next November. If I accomplish goal #3, then I can hopefully participate in the book signing event at the end of the conference and sell some physical copies of my new shiny book. But, I will need to save up the money! It isn't cheap and I've got publishing costs to pay before then.

Non-Writing goals:

I only really have one big goal for this year and it's the same one I've had since before the great plague killed the job market: get a full-time job! I've been switching from part-time to part-time for jobs and I'd like to nail down one that is full-time so I can finally get full benefits (and possibly finally latch onto the bottom rung of a career track). Now, if I do get that job, that's the big unknown factor as to how the writing goals will progress or if they even will progress at all for a time. And I might be completing this goal sooner rather than later as I currently do have a possible job (with a move!) lined up at present. We shall see what happens and I shall roll with it. If I go radio silent for a while, that probably means I got the job and am completely focused on adapting to the new situation and learning the ropes. 

Hopefully I'll remember that I wrote this post at the end of 2022 so I can see how much I checked off, or not, over the course of the year. As with any goal setting, I'm aiming to knock off every single item on the list! 

Do you have any goals you want to tackle in 2022? If you don't mind sharing them, comment below! 

Happy 2022 to you all and may this year be better than the last for all of us!

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