Cover Reveal: Entangled

Entangled--Broken Fairy Tales

A foster mother is torn between loyalty to the sea-girl she raised and the people she left so long ago. A runaway daughter receives help from her mother’s love reaching across the sea. A woman who lost everything to a curse of thorns is given another chance to love. 

Entangled: Broken Fairy Tales explores the relationships between mothers and daughters in three short stories.

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I’m thrilled to share the cover of my newest broken fairy tales anthology, Entangled. The wonderful Robin Cornett (who designed the covers for Shattered and Wired) did an awesome job with this one. This time around, I wanted to move away from the monochromatic look of the other two covers while still retaining series elements (ie: the fonts). I’m so pleased with the result!

Entangled is almost ready to go live. I’ll be announcing its release here (of course) and also in my newsletter, which you should totally subscribe to, for three very good reasons:

  • Bonus Content (This newsletter’s bonus content is another broken fairy tale called The Bargain, in which the Rumpelstiltskin story ends differently from what you know).
  • Coupons
  • Giveaways

I also promise to never ever ever sell or give away your email address (I hate unsolicited email just as much as you do!) and my emails will be short, sweet, and infrequent. Just use the form below to sign up (check the newsletter box).

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The Adventure of Creation: out now!

The Adventure of Creation anthology is now out!

The Adventure of Creation cover

Get it now at Amazon (in either print or e-book versions)

(I’ll update this page as it goes live in other stores)

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Also, you can now get print copies of both Rainbird and Mourning Cloak via Createspace (or from Amazon itself). They’ve been available for a while, but–ahem–I haven’t been too good about mentioning that.

And for the record? They both look AWESOME in real life.

So thrilled!

I am honored that my short story, Restoration, won first place in the first-ever How to Think Sideways anthology contest, judged by Holly Lisle. It sounds like there were many fine stories to choose from, and I’m excited to read them all when the anthology comes out July 24th.

The Adventure of Creation cover

HTTS Anthology Winner

Here’s my Sentence for Restoration:

“In a world where art and magic are one, an outcast in a decaying city finds inspiration in the works of a long-dead artist for her only act of magic.”

While you’re waiting for the anthology’s release, pop over to Goodreads and add The Adventure of Creation to your to-read shelf!

Cover Reveal: The Adventure of Creation

I’m thrilled to be part of the big cover reveal for The Adventure of Creation, a Think Sideways anthology presented by Holly Lisle. I’m honored to have my short story, Restoration, included in this collection. Here’s what the editors of the anthology have to say about it:

In May, the moderators of Holly’s Forum (that’s us), approached her with the idea of an anthology. With the 5th anniversary of “How to Think Sideways” drawing nearer, it seemed a good idea to match the release date with the anniversary. Holly agreed to the idea and even added a monetary prize for the top stories. After a very, very difficult selection process, we settled on thirty-five stories. It’s a pity that we couldn’t take them all. The scores were so close, we had lengthy discussions and finally went five stories over the 30 story limit we had planned.

With the stories selected and in Holly’s hands to pick a winner, we are proudly presenting to you:

The Adventure of Creation

The Think Sideways Anthology #1 presented by Holly Lisle

 

The Adventure of Creation cover

35 marvelous short stories by gifted new writers

 Follow a girl to the Below-World to slay the Sharkshadow, or help a timid girl to overcome the destructive criticism of her art teacher. Witness a solitary drone on Mars or a naive homunculus struggle to become human. Sew with a mother who lost her daughter in a quilt, defeat super-villains in a bank robbery with an unlikely superhero, or join a great mage in the fire.

In thirty-five imaginative stories, emerging authors present the diversity of their creativity. Each author found a different angle for the unifying theme: The Adventure of Creation. Witness the talent nurtured by writing teacher Holly Lisle. For the 5th anniversary of her first big writing course, How to Think Sideways, this anthology features the best of her talented students in a great variety of genres.

The eBook and print book will be released on the 24th of July. Help us spread the word. If the anthology is successful, we might do another one next year.

Wordle-ing my story

Today’s WANAFriday blog prompt is: Share an image from Wordle. For those of you who don’t know, Wordle is a web gadget that generates word clouds (that is, lovely patterns of the most used words) from text that you input.

I created this image from the text of A Crackling of Thorns, a short story from my upcoming broken fairy tale collection (click to embiggen):

Wordle: A Crackling of Thorns: a broken fairy tale

Updated with links to other wordles:

how to collaborate with another writer: a case study

One Small Step: an anthology of discoveries launched last weekend at Conflux. I’m honored to have a story (co-written with the super-talented Jo Anderton) included in it.

This was my first ever collaboration, and I thought it’d be useful to talk about how the process worked out for us.

The Setup

Last fall, Tehani Wessely, editor of the anthology, contacted Jo and me with the idea of collaborating on a short story for One Small Step. We (metaphorically) looked at each other, looked at Tehani, and said, “Sure!” After all we’ve been friends for almost a decade now (has it really been this long, Jo?) and have a lot of experience with each other’s work. Even though our styles are different, we have enough common overlap that we could (probably) handle writing a short story together.

It was also the perfect project for collaboration. Neither of us was playing in the other’s sandbox (“hey, want to write a story in my world?” “Er… no.”) nor was our canvas unlimited (“So what shall we write together?” “Uh, I dunno”). We had a theme (discoveries), a form (short story), and a deadline.

So, we got to it.

The Idea

Almost immediately, we ran into some uh… differences in our processes.

Me, I come up with an idea, then run with it. I churn out several pages to see where it’ll go. Sometimes the idea works, sometimes it doesn’t. I have lots of unfinished short stories on my hard drive. I consider them regrettable but expected casualties of my writing process.

Not so with Jo. She isn’t willing to latch on to the first shiny idea that floats by. She wanted to wait for something special, the idea that set her story senses a-tingle.

So we waited for the lightning strike (some of us more patiently than others). A week or so later, Jo emailed me a photo of an old woman huddled in a doorway with an ornate doll next to her. “I think there’s a story in this picture,” she wrote me.

By golly, she was right.

We were both fascinated by this picture and traded speculations back and forth for days. Both of us agreed that dolls were creepy (I kept having flashbacks to Child’s Play). Then I remembered Hinamatsuri, or Dolls’ Day in Japan. We put the two together and I–yes, well I did what’s natural to my style–forged ahead and wrote a bunch of snippets exploring character, plot, and setting.

I think Jo knew I was chomping at the bit, so she let me. We talked over the snippets a lot (and I learned something about Jo: she doesn’t like to write about royalty). Both of us were very excited and creeped out about what we were getting. And I really appreciated Jo’s insistence on digging deep into the idea and taking it from good to great. “Good enough” doesn’t exist in her vocabulary, and it’s a lesson I’m applying to my own writing from now on.

An Aside

I’m going to pause here to mention one very important thing: do not look at a collaboration as something that will save you time. More likely, it won’t. Jo and I could’ve probably written two stories each in the time it took us to write Sand and Seawater.

Think about it this way. When you’re writing your own story, you only have to satisfy two people: You and Your Muse. When you’re writing with someone else, there are two Yous and two Muses, and they all need to be on board. It’s bad enough keeping one pairing happy, but two…!

(Oh, and apparently, our Muses have some telepathic connection that doesn’t go through us. Now that is also creepy.)

The Actual Writing!

All right, so once we were happy with our ideas, we started writing! Luckily for us, there were two POVs, so Jo took the doll and I took the old woman. We alternated scenes, and I noticed a style difference right away. My scenes sprawl, while Jo writes tighter. Once we hammered out the plot and nailed the climax, we each went through to cut out redundant material and tighten everything up. (I may be a first-draft sprawler but I’m ruthless when wielding a red pen).

A fitting concluding scene took us a bit of back-and-forth, but I think, again, we nailed it.

Checklist For Success

I would call this a very successful collaboration. Not only did we sell the story, but:

  • We are both very proud and pleased with it.
  • This is a story that neither of us would’ve come up with on our own.
  • And–most importantly–we’re still friends. And we both see this experience as a net positive, not something to be quietly shoved into a closet and never ever done again. We’re both too much of loners to do a lot of collaboration, but who knows? In the future you might be seeing more work with both our names on it. *is deliberately vague and mysterious*

Jo has her own thoughts about our collaborative experience here (link might not work until later in the day, since she’s already gone to bed). Update: Link works!

Have you collaborated? Share your experiences!

proofs! and a release!

My proofs for Rainbird and Mourning Cloak arrived earlier this week.

Aren’t they pretty?

Proofs

They look EVEN BETTER in real life.

There really is nothing like seeing your name on the cover of a physical book. I had an ear-to-ear grin on my face for about an hour after they came.

Right now, David’s checking them for errors (I know, I know, I’m spoiled). They should be ready to go in a week or so. Keep an eye on this space!

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One Small Step

One Small Step: an anthology of discoveries launched last weekend at Conflux. Jo Anderton and I have a story in there. “Sand and Seawater” has already gotten some nice shout-outs on Goodreads, and the anthology as a whole has been favorably reviewed in places like Publisher’s Weekly.

Next week, I’ll post about our experience collaborating on this story.

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I’ve been busily working away on some short stories for the past couple of weeks, including some broken fairy tales for a follow-up to Shattered. I’m hoping to get that out in June and then buckle down to Ironhand and release that a couple months later.

What are your writing plans? Do you have any new or upcoming releases? Let us know in the comments!

goodreads giveaway of One Small Step

One of the few rays of light brightening my Week of Gunk was the arrival of One Small Step: An Anthology of Discoveries and Jo Anderton’s The Bone Chime Song and Other stories. I’m reading One Small Step right now, and I’m so impressed with the caliber of all the stories. I’m honored to be in among such company.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can enter a Goodreads giveaway for One Small Step for a chance to see for yourself!

And while you’re there, you could also enter to win a copy of Jo’s short story collection. She’s a fine writer and I’m looking forward to the stories of hers that I’ve missed!

friday this and that

Are you a NaNoWriMo winner planning to self-publish for the first time? My fabulous and generous cover artist, Ravven, is giving away a FULL publishing package to one deserving writer–complete with editing, proofreading, formatting, cover art, website graphics, and marketing help.

(And yes, yours truly is one of the volunteer beta readers!)

Go here to find out the details.

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The cover for FableCroft Publishing’s One Small Step is here!

One Small Step

This anthology contains the short story “Sand and Seawater”, co-written by Joanne Anderton and me.

Our tagline–brought to you by Jo–is Dolls are creepy, read this story!

(Better tagline coming soon…)

Aussie peeps, you can pre-order a copy here (you lucky things, you!)

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Links from around the web:

You Don’t Do Much Else Interesting and 25 Other Reasons Why No One Likes Your Art

More Insights on Sharpening Your Creative Mind

IndieReCon (posts, videos, chat replays)

Out, All of You! On fighting for your own voice

3 Reasons Why You Should Subscribe To My Newsletter

You guys! I was just working on my first. ever. newsletter which is going out on Monday. And yes, I’m going to encourage you to sign up for it.

Why? Three reasons:

1. Never miss out. If you enjoy my work, make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming releases. Let’s face it. Sometimes life gets busy; we drop out of Twitter and nuke our RSS feed readers and disappear from the Internet. My low-frequency newsletter delivers news of my published fiction right to your Inbox. Your time is valuable, and so is mine. My newsletters will be short, sweet, and come out no more than once a month (realistically, more like once a quarter–a fast writer I am not!).

2. Coupons! I love to thank my readers with coupons for my work, which you can use at Smashwords.

3. Exclusive content. This will mostly be short fiction, though I’m open to other suggestions (character interviews, for instance). The newsletter exclusive for this month? A short story set in Highwind, featuring a girl who sets off into Deep Night to rescue her sister from wither women.

Convinced? Sign up below! I respect your privacy, and will never sell or share your email address.

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Speaking of Highwind and Mourning Cloak, my early reviews are all asking for more stories set in this world. My muse has obligingly handed me about four more Highwind stories, including a direct sequel to Mourning Cloak. I guess I’d better get cracking!