Coming Soon: Sonnet Coupled

Sonnet Coupled Cover Art

Sonnet Coupled, Roxanne’s New Adult Interracial Erotic Romance novel, releases April 25! 

ER nurse Sonnet Mendoza’s new housemate Griffith Parker proves there is more to a man than meets the eye, and shows her there’s more to life than just her career.

ALWAYS FAITHFUL

Sheltered and cosseted, Sonnet Mendoza abided by her papi’s wishes her whole life: no boys, studies first and always. Now an ER nurse in a busy Chicago hospital, medical school is so close Sonnet can taste it. Just like her father always wanted. Just like she can taste all the things she wants—like Griffith Parker, the man of her dreams and her new housemate.

Working “graves” in a large hospital as a security guard while attending the police academy during the day doesn’t leave ex-Marine Griffith Parker any personal time, but after meeting the beautiful Sonnet Mendoza, business as usual is anything but. Sassy, smart…and interested in him, too? Except, she’s made an art of keeping her distance, and she’s been clear that her plans don’t include him. But the heart wants what the heart wants. His wants Sonnet. He’ll put it on the line to win her.

P2

Bio

Roxanne D. Howard is a U.S. Army veteran who has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English. She loves to read poetry, classical literature, and Stephen King. Also, she is an avid Star Wars fan, musical theater nut, and marine biology geek. Roxanne resides in the western U.S., and when she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children. Roxanne loves to hear from her readers, and encourages you to contact her via her website and social media.

Welcome, Roxanne!

I was excited to learn that Roxanne was not only a fellow romance author and reader, but that she was also a fellow veteran. I reached out to learn more, and found that she served for six years, both on active duty and with the Utah Army National Guard. She was administrative specialist, serving in an O-6 office (that’s a Colonel for you civilians out there – the one with the bird on their shirt) in Heidelberg, Germany.

She writes: “[I]t was a great post and I really enjoyed my time in the Army. It paid my way through school, and I’d definitely encourage my daughters and anyone interested to join. The military shapes lives.”

Check out her new release at the buy links below!

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sonnet-Coupled-Roxanne-D-Howard-ebook/dp/B071RCN2NX/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sonnet-coupled-roxanne-d-howard/1126254545?ean=2940154129517

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/sonnet-coupled

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/719258

Boroughs Publishing: http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/books/sonnet-coupled

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34857409-sonnet-coupled

Social Media Links:

Website: www.roxannedhoward.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoxanneDHoward

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010437978489

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roxanned.howard/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15019190.Roxanne_D_Howard

Author Announcement

I am happy to announce that Boroughs Publishing Group has picked up my romantic suspense novella, Negotiating Her Release! Many thanks to Boroughs, as well as to Emmy Curtis, who was my mentor and kick in the pants while writing. Stay tuned, and I’ll be sharing more information and, of course, cover pics and more. You can also sign up on their Web site to review ARCs as well as get the latest info from them.

So, phew … that was cool! Now, I’m headed into the pre-release marketing, spreading the word, editing, and also writing the next novella in the series, so things are a little hectic.

Bonus Announcement! And not only that … our expected arrival showed up exactly a week early. Baby Jennifer decided that she was done hanging out, giving her mom heartburn, and so the day (actually night) after Valentine’s Day, dear hubby was driving exactly the speed limit to Womack Army Medical Center, where Baby J showed up after a qui16836059_10158181975435363_4915682667791615169_ock two and a half hour labor.

So … actual baby AND book baby. There are lots of things going on in the crazy world that is my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Peace!

Bullet points and productivity…

My productivity in the New Year was going well … until right around sometime last week. At that point, I got some great news that caused me to pretty much drop everything and scramble to catch up. (More on that news at a later date…)

Not only that, but I’m in the midst of preparing for a new arrival, and trying to wrap my head around all the hormones and emotions that cause me to want to wash dishes instead of write. Seriously? This is a thing?

So back to productivity. In my case, I had to kick myself and remind the old brain that I had some lists of things to do that all tied in with the goals I’ve been writing about the past two weeks.

On the left side of my computer screen is a digital sticky note with my 2017 writing projects outlined. These are broken into two categories: “For Love” and “For Money.”* Each of these projects tie into the goals that I’m working on writing up. Furthermore, at the top of the list, I’ve written a reminder to myself: Work for YOU before you work for someone else.

This is just a writerly version of the old financial management advice: Pay yourself (i.e. put your money into savings), before you pay others. And it works about half the time. Anyone who’s ever seen their bills outpace their investments knows that budgeting–whether time or money–requires discipline and sometimes is too challenging.

The good news is, if we drop the ball, we get the chance to start over. Which brings me to my weekly bullet points.

On my actual, physical desk, I have a whiteboard with a “To-Do” list of bullet points for the week. These are also divided into “For Love” and “For Money.” I’m still working on achieving that sweet spot of just enough tasks for me to fill the week with and not try to bite off more than I can chew–and yet still be accountable enough to achieve those larger goals on that computer sticky note.

I’ve been asked before, how do you get all this stuff done? One way is through caffeine and checklists, especially when it comes close to the actual execution of complicated events on the schedule.

But the other part of that is bullet points and to-do lists that keep me on track, and help me gauge that productivity. Although I did get off track this past week, I look back at my bullet points and realize that I’ve actually gotten more creative work accomplished this past month than I have in the past year. And that is saying something.

To my fellow writers, organizers, communicators, and leaders–good luck. Hope your bullet points are sound, your checklists are neat, and your caffeine is plentiful!

 

~~~
* Projects that I’m writing on spec count as “For Money.” Because I’m spending my own time, but the goal is that I will be shopping them in the future. Therefore, I’m working for myself, and I consider my time to be money in this case.

 

A(nother) Conversation with Connie Wilson…

Spring comes in flush of pink in our NC backyard.

In the past few years of hosting Infamous Scribbler, I’ve had the chance to have a few conversations with Connie Wilson, interracial romance author and good friend. With the occasion of the release of Northern Lights: Two Worlds Collide, I invited her to come by and talk about not just the book, but the process leading up to where she is today. Her story is a story shared by many in the indie publishing biz, and I hope you enjoy it!

Q (Infamous Scribbler): Tell me a little about the background of NL, the series and today’s release.
A (Author C.M. Wilson): The Northern Lights series will forever be my first baby. I started writing this series as wrestling fan fiction back when the internet was brand new and fan fiction wasn’t a thing yet. It started with four girls in a bed room talking about what ifs and drooling over hot guys. We wanted to write our own version of Sweet Valley High. It’s morphed into an interracial romance and what it is throughout the last 21 years.
It’s now about Carrington and Eli, two seemingly polar opposites, from completely different worlds. But they’re both deeper than they look on the outside. Eli is running from a past that keeps following him around. Carrington’s world isn’t as perfect and All-American family as it looks from the outside looking in. They some how fall in love and go through a whirl wind life together.
Two Worlds Collide is the first of the five book series. It got released on January 9, 2017, under Sharpe Pen Publishing.
I am currently working on the fifth and last installment and it’s bittersweet. I’m completing a dream. A dream that people called silly and that it wasn’t worth holding on to. I was bound and determined to prove the nay sayers wrong and I did. On the other side of the coin, this is something I’ve been doing since I was 19 years old and it’s almost over. I’ve grown up and changed right along with these characters. It has definitely been a heck of an enjoyable ride.

Q: What are some of the challenges of indie publishing and how have you overcome them?
A: The biggest challenge of indie publishing is the lack of a PR team. You have to hustle a little bit harder to get your name out there, but it can be done. Having a publisher is a little easier because you have someone else behind you, helping open avenues that you may not have known about. Sharpe Pen is more like a little family so I have others hustling with me and helping me get my book out to readers that may not have known about me otherwise.

Q:  (Trigger Warning: Miscarriage) You’ve been through some personal challenges this year, and then came out strong, finishing a novel even while dealing with life-changing events. Can you talk a little about that, and what you might have for people going through the same thing?
A: Thank you so much for asking this question. I don’t know if I necessarily came out strong but I’m definitely still working through it. April 6, 2016, I was in the hospital for a heart related issue and they told me that they couldn’t do the chemical stress test because I was 6 weeks pregnant. So, life changing event number one. I was told that I would never get pregnant, and well SURPRISE. Right from the point I found out I was pregnant, I started to miscarry. 13 days later on April 19, it was determined that her heart was no longer beating.
I started journaling the day I found out I was pregnant. The plan was to write in my journal every day and turn the entries into a book about how I handled a high risk pregnancy. Then, when Angeline passed away, I was still writing in my journal and planned on turning the entries into a book about miscarriage.
Five weeks after the miscarriage, I found myself fighting for my life because of a diabetic ulcer on my toe. I landed in the hospital for 8 days and then in a nursing home for a month. I didn’t write anything during that time because I was focused on saving my life.
Once I got out and returned to life as I knew it, I started realizing things that a woman who has never had a miscarriage wouldn’t notice. So I turned my journal entries into a book about what I went through and how I handled things in the first year after losing the baby. The book is called My Walk Through Hell; A Grieving Mother’s Tale of Miscarriage and it will come out on Angeline’s angelversary, April 19, 2017.
My advice is that there is no time limit on grief. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to grieve. No matter when the miscarriage is – early like mine was or later on – it’s still the loss of a life and all those hopes and dreams you had for that life that you carried inside your body. Do what you have to do to try to get through it. Writing about it was my outlet and it saved my life.

Q: What is unique about your books when it comes to the subject of interracial romance? Any advice for IR writers?
I don’t use the stereotypical white girl that dates black men or the stereotypical thug. My characters are just people who find love in each other.
My advice is, don’t listen to no. There are a lot of publishers that won’t take interracial romance. Write it anyway. If that’s what drives you – keep going until you hear yes.

Q: Where can people find you and your books?
A: You can find my fan page at www.facebook.com/theoriginalglowstick
And my books on Amazon.com

Thanks for stopping by, Connie! Best of luck. 😀

Like Urban Fantasy?

Check out the Amaranthine Chronicles! Released yesterday as a three-novella box set. For more information, keep reading!



Book Information:

Title: The Amaranthine Chronicles Box Set (3 Novellas)

Author Name: Tiffany Shand

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: January 25, 2017

Page Count: 203

Amazon:

http://amzn.to/2iCihkV

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33642816-the-amaranthine-chronicles-complete-series

Follow the Tour to Read Reviews of The Amaranthine Chronicles:

http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/review-tour-schedule-amaranthine.html

The Novellas in the Box Set:

Betrayed by Blood:

In a city of lies and deception, only one thing stands between chaos and justice. For centuries, a band of outlaws called the Amaranthine has kept the peace in Ormere and hidden in plain sight whilst the Order of Sorcerers spreads their deadly magic among the city’s inhabitants.

After losing her fiancé in bust gone wrong, Amaranthine Agent Kaylan Avilion returns home to discover that Elijah didn’t die but instead was changed by the twisted guards of the Order, who seek to find a dangerous artefact tied to Kaylan’s past and the murder of her family. When her sister goes missing and a foe from their past remerges, Kaylan knows she must save Freya before she’s poisoned by the very people who took Elijah away from her. But how will Kaylan react when she learns Elijah’s secret and can they come together to stop the Order’s plan in time?

Dark Revenge:

Darkness is sweeping through the city of Ormere as unnatural creatures stalk through the streets. People are dying and time is running out as a new evil threatens to take control of everything. The Amaranthine Order has been decimated leaving only a few of its people left to fight the coming terror.

Stunned by her sister Freya’s betrayal and plot to take over the city, Kaylan must do everything she can to find out what Freya plans to do when she finds an infamous book linked to the murder of their family. A book considered so dangerous that the last High Lord erased its location from history, the Amaranthine Chronicles are said to contain the darkest of all magics.

Kaylan is happy to finally have her ex-fiancé, Elijah, back in her life but he’s not the man she once knew and loved. After being turned into a shapeshifter, Elijah struggles to control his inner beast and his lingering feelings for Kaylan.

Can Elijah and Kaylan come together to stop Freya and uncover the secrets of the book before it’s too late?

The Final Battle:

Darkness has claimed the city of Ormere and death has become a certainty for anyone stalking its empty streets. The government is in ruins and lawlessness ensues.

After their last encounter, Kaylan and Elijah barely managed to thwart her sister, Freya’s, latest attempts to find and use the elusive Amaranthine Chronicles. But in her desperation to receive ultimate power, Freya will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Even if it means destroying the last of her family.

Kaylan and Elijah must work on their fragile relationship and put their personal feelings aside to find the book and stop Freya before it’s too late. But with their allies growing thin, and a gang of ruthless shapeshifters close on their trail, will they finally find the book and stop Freya before time runs out? And will Kaylan have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her city and the man she loves?

Meet the Author:

Tiffany Shand started writing short stories when she was a child. After doing a creative writing course in her teens, she discovered her love of nonfiction writing and is now a freelance writer and professional editor.

She writes both non-fiction for writers and fiction, and is the author of the urban fantasy Excalibar Investigations Series. When she’s not writing, you’ll usually find her reading.

Tiffany lives in Essex, UK with her family, two very spoiled cats and a hamster.

Tiffany’s Blog

Tiffany’s Author Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

Goals, Step Two – Getting SMART

Welcome back to what is apparently going to be a little mini-series on setting goals. Last Monday, I wrote about goal setting from a place of desire–start with what you want. Get to the heart of the matter.

(Apparently, use italics to emphasize those things…)

How do we get from here to there? How do we set goals that move us from the heart to the head, and then eventually to the point of publishing those goals, both as an internal azimuth and an external document, i.e. business plan.

Keep in mind, at this point, we’re still at the strategy level. Why? Goals are strategic. Plans are tactical. We’ll get to those, eventually, but it’s hard to plan effectively if you don’t have strategic goals to focus what you’re trying to do.*

With that, one of the best models I have found is the SMART model. Namely, goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, and Time-Based.

While this model covers everything a specific goal should include, it doesn’t prescribe a set way to write it, or go about forming it. So whether you, like me, are setting personal business goals, or whether you are working with a team to develop project goals, the goal-setting SMART model is flexible and expansible.

Last week, I sat down and wrote out a list of one- to two-word phrases that encapsulated what I want to do with Infamous Scribbler. These came from the heart, and required no further explanation–at least to myself: Entertain, Coach/Mentor, FOCUS: Veterans, Challenge, Money.

Let’s take a look at the “want” words, and see how they can be used to write draft SMART goals.

“Entertain” is pretty darn generic. While I do desire to entertain people through my fiction, this word encompasses so much in its definition that it will be hard to nail it down to its specifics. However, I’m not willing to give it up, just put it aside.

“Coach/Mentor” is more specific, in that I can point to a specific definition of the words, as well as to some specific actions that I am currently undertaking. Right now, I volunteer with a local writing group (and in fact, have just raised my hand to assist in a co-leadership position.) I also have a few clients that I been working with, and enjoying my time working with them. I think I can work this “heart” word into an actual goal.

“FOCUS: Veterans.” Right now, what I want to do is help service members and veterans tell their story. This desire comes from a place of often not seeing myself and my experience reflected in the accepted veteran stereotypes and narratives. What I would like to do is work with veterans who have a desire to tell their stories and contribute to a richer fabric of military service narratives. Hmm … that sounds like it’s getting pretty specific. And starting to touch on the rest of the SMART model.

“Challenge.” We’re back to the general, generic, not very well-thought out strategic desire. Again, I’m not necessarily going to throw this one out, I just need to do some serious thinking about what I mean by “challenge.”

“Money.” I can think of some very specific money goals, and for the purposes of my business plan, I will attach some numbers to my goals. But what I truly mean by this is that, Infamous Scribbler and Scribbler Coach should be treated like a business. I need to remember that businesses won’t survive if I work for free for everyone, and that charting growth from year to year is a good thing when it comes to determining which marketing and sales efforts are growing, and which are not.

This post is getting a little long, and giving me some food for thought about what I actually want, and how to get there. From examining my “desire” words in the light of the SMART goals model, I see that I have a couple of very helpful “wants,” and a couple that need revising or re-thinking.

I invite anyone to drop me a line as to whether or not this process is helpful. And, if you’re looking for someone to bounce ideas off of, drop me a line at infamous_scribbler ~at~ yahoo.com

Enjoy!

~ ~ ~

* This is especially true when you have a group of people who may be more experienced at planning and execution of specific campaigns, but who are used to doing so either in isolation, in reaction to circumstances rather than an overall goal set, or in accordance with goals handed down from higher.

Goals, Step One – What Do You Want?

Goals. What are they? How do they help us? Why do we need them? Why are they so hard?

If you’re reading this then, like me, you’re probably running up against a circumstance where you have to sit down and write a set of goals from scratch. Or perhaps you’re refining your goals, in preparation for submitting a business plan or grant. Perhaps you’ve read through some of the literature and seen the acronym “SMART,” and thought about what it truly means to make a goal:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic/Relevant
Timely & Trackable.

And perhaps, also like me, you’re staring at a blank screen trying to figure out the best words to capture those goals.

Let’s start from the beginning. Grab a scrap of paper, or a large whiteboard, or have someone take some notes on a computer. You can do this by yourself, or in a large group of people. Focus on the question: WHAT DO I/WE WANT?

Here’s the time for opening your brain and shutting off your inner critic. Limit yourself to one- or two-word phrases that answer that question. For example, when setting goals for my business I wrote:

Entertain
Coach/Mentor
FOCUS: Veterans
Challenge
Money

There were a couple of other keywords in the list, but you get the idea. This is the kernel of what I want. These are the seeds of my goals.

Chances are, the larger the group, the more discussion and wading and culling you will do during this goal-setting process. The thing to remember is, these are the words that are coming from you heart. This is what you want when you’re not overthinking it. These words will likely end up incorporated in the rest of your eventual business plan or organizational map, as well as your SEO optimization, future planning sessions, etc. Think of them as the focus and compass of your strategy (goals) that will inform your tactics (targeted measures to achieve those goals).

After you’ve got your goal keywords written out, then comes the next step–transforming WHAT you want into HOW to get it. It’s not a process that happens overnight. In fact, I recommend that any organization re-visit its goals and plan (the WHAT and HOW) on an annual basis to stay on track. Goals change as organizations grow and thrive, and what you might want when you’re starting out may change once you hit that measurable and trackable benchmark. Perhaps one goal is no longer relevant, or you find out you weren’t specific enough to use it to generate tactics.

Take a moment to think about what you want. Write down your keywords. Make them loud and proud, in the largest letters you can. And if you need someone to bounce some ideas off for the next step, hit me up at infamous_scribbler ~at~ yahoo.com.

Good luck!

It’s all story …

Last night, I had the good fortune to be invited to a rehearsal for Sweet Tea Shakespeare‘s production of Antony & Cleopatra, opening January 5 at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, NC.

Beforehand, director Jeremy Fiebig warned that this rehearsal would be less of a full run and more of a chance to get into the nitty gritty of some last details and choices in various scenes. This sounded like a great opportunity to watch a bunch of creative people hone their craft, and perhaps derive some insight into how people tell stories in different media.

First, Fiebig eased the Company’s way into rehearsal by adding a small bit of choreography to one of the pre-show songs, then moved onto another song, a cover of The Great Divide by Humming House. Drawing in the ensemble, he and music director Jacob French worked to fine-tune the arrangement, ensuring that each note was where it was supposed to be.

img_7831

Cast members William Collier, Joyce Borum, and Cerina Johnson rehearse a pre-show song for Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s production of Antony & Cleopatra.

This process reminded me a lot of my own approach to editing, or to re-entering a story to continue it when I’m writing. You need to rev the engines a little to warm them up before pulling out onto the highway. I think of it this way–if you’ve ever had to pull into traffic on I-95 with a manual transmission Jeep Wrangler, you derive a new appreciation for the acceleration lane. In the case of creative work, warm ups with low-hanging fruit, whether a song or a few edits on yesterday’s word count can get you up to speed and cruising along.

Also, it was fun to listen to.

img_7822

Jeremy Fiebig, right, gives direction as he works through a scene with the actors of Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra, opening January 5.

Once the actors and crew had warmed up, the cast began a deep dive into Act II, Scene II. As they progressed through the scene, the process started to seem very familiar. The underlying question seemed to be, in two parts:

  1. What was the goal of this scene?
  2. What was the actual goal of this scene?

On the surface of it, this scene is a reconciliation between Caesar and Antony, consummated by the agreement of Antony to marry Caesar’s sister, Octavia. And yet … surely Caesar, that calculating intriguer, knows that this marriage would force Antony to continue to give service to the repair of their relationship while inserting a wedge through Antony’s true desire, Cleopatra. Thus, Antony would be weakened in his power plays, even as Egypt would be weakened in its regent’s desire for the Roman, and while there remained the risk of violence between the two Empires, it would ever be Caesar and his sister with whom the Roman populace sided against the luxurious barbarians and that traitor, Antony. And yet … how could Antony say no to this offer?

How devious! How delightful…

As writers, this is what we strive for–to present one set of conflicts/goals/resolutions, and yet have these aspects mask the deeper, hidden desires of the actors in the story. In sum, we must as writers and readers look beyond the obvious goal to find the actual goal.

img_7829

Sharyn Beal, as Cleopatra, learns of the news that Antony (Jeremy Fiebig) is set to marry another woman. Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra opens January 5.

One last insight before this blog post goes too long, or I just devolve into a monologue on how cool it is to watch STS behind the scenes (which it is, by the way…)

 

In one of the next scenes, the Messenger (William Collier) brings news of Antony’s pending nuptials to Cleopatra (Sharyn Beal), who takes it with all the grace and poise of an extremely petulant toddler. The Messenger escapes the room with his life, but is re-summoned by Charmian (Cerina Johnson), who gets him back in the room to give her all the deets.

The first time Charmian leads him in, she pushes him from behind. The second time the actors ran through the scene, Fiebig suggested a different approach. This time, Charmian–an attractive attendant on the Queen–coaxes him in with smiles until stepping aside and abandoning him in front of the still-seething Cleopatra.

What is interesting here is how this one small yet very deliberate choice COMPLETELY changed the energy of the scene. The small, comedic reprove heightened the frustrated tension of the rest of the action, ensuring that the energy didn’t remain the same throughout the scene, but rather ebbed and flowed in natural progression.

As writers, we have to be aware of these ebbs and flows, as well as the fact that everything that happens in a story is a deliberate choice. We shouldn’t be afraid of diving into the minutiae of presence and timing, and giving full attention to what might seem like minor moments. Are we pushing our audience into a scene? Or are we luring them in with promises made of smoke and mirrors?

In all, this evening was the perfect chance to watch a group of storytellers come together to bring a narrative to life, and to gain insight into the creative process. I’m looking forward to seeing the play when it opens January 5.

For tickets, contact Sweet Tea Shakespeare at (910) 420-4383. The show runs weekends through January 21.

Words complete…

And by complete, I mean that I have finished my first draft of Steel-Toed Blues, and I am fully cognizant of the fact that there is a LOT of work to do before this manuscript is beta reader-ready, let alone good to query. Still, it’s been a long road from there to here.

In November of 2013, I decided that despite the fact that I had no plot, no characters, and definitely no time–in fact I was PCS’ing from Kuwait back to Fort Bragg with some block leave in New Jersey thrown in there–I was going to do NaNoWriMo. I even wrote this blog post about how I could totally pants the thing because I was soooOOoooOOooo experienced with narrative. Of course I was going to be able to handle it…

Cue maniacal laughter. And tears. Both from future me.

Anyway, just some of the things that have happened since then:

  • Moving back to the States
  • Getting off active duty with the Army
  • Having a child
  • Starting a small business
  • Taking command in the Reserves and traveling back and forth to NJ from NC every month
  • Getting ready to have another child
  • Picking up a new instrument/Getting involved with a local theater group
  • Trying to write all the things at once.

S0, yeah… It’s a complete mystery why it took three years to finish this thing…

And yet–in some aspects, taking my time with the project has been a good thing. I’ve written a number of short stories, been involved with a few anthologies, and had a chance to let things sit and percolate and that allowed some things to intensify with the characters that wouldn’t otherwise have broken through.

One of the things I love to do is bake bread, especially bagels. Now, the important part of bread baking (other than making sure your kitchen is warm so the yeast activates well) is making sure the dough has enough time to ferment. When making bagels, you proof them in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours, just to make sure that the glutens have enough time to do their thing and get to the place where you can pop them in the boiling water and then bake them up and have a little taste of home.

And now I’m hungry. Let’s move on from this metaphor.

Back to my story. While it would have been better to write faster and be on the third or fourth novel for which I have notes floating around my desk/journal/laptop/five gajillion notebooks, this is a good time to have Steel-Toed Blues finish up.

Since I’m drinking for two, I decided to forego the normal celebratory Scotch, and instead my spouse and I took the Ladybug out to dinner, followed by some shopping at the bookstore, which is a pretty good Thursday night in my book. Tomorrow, it’s back to getting things done, cranking out words.

And also, plotting the next book, because plot outlines are awesome, no matter what the 2013 version of me told you.

Happy New Year!

Back from the hiatus!

Welcome back to me and everyone else who decided to stop by. As you can probably see by some of the lack of posting that’s been going on, I’ve been on a bit of a vacation. If, by vacation, you mean I’ve been going a million miles an hour and finally am getting back to normal.

First, I did NOT do NaNoWriMo (shame on me.) BUT — I am offering a special deal for those who did. I am available to edit your NaNo 2016 manuscript at my discount rate ($0.05/word). Deal will last until January 15, 2017, so if you’re interested, hit me up at infamous_scribbler ~at~ yahoo.com.

So what was I doing while I was gone? I’ve successfully extricated myself from my Army Reserve company command, and will be entering the Individual Ready Reserve very shortly. (For the non-military folks, that means I will be in a status where I don’t have to drill every month, and I don’t have a specific unit I’m assigned to, but I still have the ability to participate in certain activities and can still be called up if the Big Army so desires.) With everything going on, and trying to concentrate on the number of books I intend to write in 2017, it seemed like a good decision.

I’ve also started paying a lot of attention to local politics, with the intention of becoming more involved on the state and local level. I’d love to try my hand at volunteering with a campaign, or perhaps even running myself. But likely, I will stick to volunteering. I’ve become a little more realistic with the amount of hours in a day that I actually have at my disposal.

Of course, I’m still volunteering more than I should for the things I love. Sweet Tea Shakespeare has invited me to get involved more behind the scenes, and I’m happy to oblige. I’m looking forward to spreading the word about what they do, and hopefully finding us new places to share the performances as well as recruit more people. And I also have this secret love of playing the bass that they seem to be willing to indulge, so that is another benefit. I won’t be in the upcoming performance of Antony & Cleopatra, but I’m looking forward to going and sitting in the audience, and you should come, too!

With the onset of the third trimester of Ladybug II, who will NOT be named Platypus, no matter what a certain significant other keeps lobbying for, I find that my mental concentration is going downhill. So I’ve been doing a lot of reading, trying to get it back, as well as a lot of crafting, such as knitting, spinning, sewing, etc., and baking. This way, I can MAKE something and not have to necessarily think about making it as I go.

But wait, I hear you say. Aren’t you supposed to be pursuing a writing career? Why yes! Yes, I am. And this blog post is the first in a sequence of getting back to my routine of putting words on paper, digital and otherwise. I’ve got a short story started for Writerpunk Press that needs another couple thousand words. I’ve got the last 5-7,000 words of Steel-Toed Blues to plow through. I’ve got some unnamed romance novel edits, and then another round of querying to go for that. I’ve got a non-fiction book proposal to write. I’ve got a sequel planned for Cold Run, a sequel for STB, and a zombie apocalypse novel that is in the works. Is it realistic to think that I’ll get all this done in 2017 with another new baby and a Ladybug who is in full terrible twos mode? Don’t crush my dreams. It can be done.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for following along. Hope the holiday season doesn’t find you too crazed, and if you would like to drop me a line or visit me on Facebook, please do!

~ ~ ~

Want to support an indie author AND find a great holiday gift? I’ve got poetry and essays, urban fantasy, or suspenseful thrills — all available through Amazon!