Friday, October 26, 2012

Captive by the Fog Released Today!

Yep-- today's the day! Captive's diving off into the unknown. :D It's hard to believe that little over a year ago, I often thought I'd never get any fiction published-- yet here I stand. Or rather, it stands. Looking all pretty and foggy-like. Parts of it really wrote itself, after all. It's all rather amazing.

I know I promised a book trailer, and I'm still working on making one, but it'll be a wee bit late for the launch of Captive, unfortunately. But don't worry! It'll still be awesome. Or so I hope, anyway.

This past week, I've been appearing on some awesome folks' blogs. I blabbed a bit, talked about Captive a bit. It was fun! At Clarissa Johal's blog, I babbled a bit about the stark contrasts often made in speculative and paranormal fiction, why I think they help those genres resonate with us as readers, and what types of contrasts I tossed in Captive by the Fog.

I also took part in my imprint's blog, Erato, and babbled about myself. If you've ever wanted to know some really goofy things about me, take a peak. As a bonus, I also talked about my next project I'm working on! Well, going to work on. Yeah. I've decided to try NaNo again this year. Eek.

Published today, I also babbled on Musa Publishing's blog. I took on the infamous "write what you know" statement that got me into so much trouble in college, and hopefully made some sense with what I came up with.

With all that babbling out of the way, I know you want more, right? Fear not! Captive's awaiting:

That link goes to the buy link on Musa's site. It should be up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble soon-ish, but I strongly encourage folks to check out Musa's site and order it directly that way if it's not too much trouble. Why? My editors, cover artist, and I get paid a teeny bit more that way, due to third-party retailers charging publishing fees. Love to read? Support your writerly team!

Musa also sends you a nifty gift certificate when you sign up for the first time (check your email's spam folder if you can't find it the first time-- mine was hiding there), so it's worthwhile to do so just for that. Technically, you can get Captive for free that way!

If you're having trouble figuring out what ebook format you need to purchase, check out this guide on Musa's site. My non-technical guide may also help:

  • If you have a Kindle, you want PRC. Nook? ePUB. You'll need to transfer the file over via USB cable.
  • If you're using a smartphone and have a big enough screen to enjoy reading on it, you probably want ePUB, as I'm fairly certain that works for both Android and Apple phones. To view an ebook on a smartphone, you'll need to download a free app. I personally use Nook's, which can be found in both the app center or on Barnes and Noble's site. After which, you'll need to transfer the file over to your phone with either the USB cord or through email or whatever. 
  • If you're going to be reading it from a computer, you have three choices-- you can either download the free Nook program (Barnes and Noble's site has it), download the free Kindle program (on Amazon), or use your free Adobe Reader program to view the PDF version. Most PCs come with a PDF reader of some type. Oh, and as a warning, I linked the reader versions for Windows. Both sites have Mac versions as well.
  • You'll generally have to place the file in a certain folder in order for the program to register it (except for PDF). This folder is usually pretty obvious, and will read "ebooks" or some such. If you have any questions, you can try checking out the FAQs of whatever program you choose, or if in doubt-- poke me. I'm not expert, but I'll help the best I can! 
 All that said, please enjoy Captive if you do check it out, and remember to leave me feedback in one form or another (even if it's angry!). If you have questions, feel free to ask those, too! I love feedback, and since I do plan on making a serious go of this writer stuff, I need all the feedback I can get. I may be a nub now, but I hope to always improve.

There's a lot of... well, me, in Captive, and I'm sure you'll figure that out as you read along! I'd love some reviews if anyone's willing to share their comments publicly. Leaving a review on Musa's site or at Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes and Noble is a great way to get the word out on my little book. And yes, get the word out if you'd like to. Tell your friends, etc. I won't discourage that in the least!

Happy reading! And... go, Captive, go!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Finalized Blurg, Tagline, and Excerpt!

Sam is caught in a life she can't escape as the caretaker for her terminally ill homophobic father, but what she wants more than anything is to find the courage to escape and live her own life.

One fog-filled evening, Sam, her father, and a group of strangers are captured by beings from another world. Held prisoner by this mysterious race, the band struggles to hold on to the hope of freedom.

As Sam finds herself unexpectedly falling into a leadership role, she also falls for the shy smile of fellow prisoner Kisana. But as freedom continues to slip beyond the reach of their prison, the group must find the strength to carry on, maintain their humanity, and most of all—survive.


I needed a better look. I headed into the living room and to the front door. To my surprise, the door was wide open and the couch empty. I sprinted out the door and found my father sprawled out on the ground, half of his body on the sidewalk, the other half on the stairs.

“Dad!” I yelled, “What the hell are you doing? What’d you do, fall off the stairs?” I bent down to help him up, and then realized he wasn’t looking in my direction. He was frozen in place, staring directly at the sky. I followed his gaze, and I too, froze. My heart leapt inside my chest, scrambling to escape.

A huge, metallic, disc-shaped object hovered in the foggy darkness above the grass of a nearby park. Round portholes on the sides emitted silver beams of light that screamed soundlessly into the fog. Three large metal beams extended from the base and onto the ground. Landing pads. I didn’t see a door. Yet.

My breath caught in my throat. My vision almost glazed over, and I had an overwhelming desire to run and escape my body and what I was witnessing. 
“I—it…c-can’t b-be…It’s…It’s a…UFO…” The words tumbled out of my mouth, rolling over themselves like a rock slide.

I averted my eyes from the object, and saw my neighbors all out on their front doorsteps. Their eyes and bodies were rigid as they stared up at the spacecraft. Some were in their robes and pajamas. One woman two doors down lay in the grass after having fainted, her hair in curlers. 

Bruce still hadn’t moved or uttered a word. He swallowed hard and gave me a quick, terrified glance. His mouth gaped open as he attempted to find words. There were none to be found, and his jaw shook with tremors. His frail frame shuddered beneath my hands, and my insides felt just as shaky.

My gaze drifted back toward the spacecraft, almost in slow motion. My mind tried to force my body to look away as if I were watching a horror movie, and the zombie was about to jump out of the shadows. A garage door-sized hull opened on one side of the UFO, and a large, metallic cube floated out. It was about the size of an RV, but had no windows or wheels. Instead, it had discs on the bottom that emitted blue beams of light down toward the ground. It hovered in the air through the power of that light. A single huge, mechanical arm extended from the front, and next to the arm were two mechanical jaws clenched shut. It reminded me of a trash truck—only sterile, alien, glistening, and unquestionably life-threatening. 

The door on the UFO snapped shut, and the smaller craft rotated toward us. It began to whirr, creating the revving noise I had heard. I could see what looked like a spotlight on the very front of the mechanical jaws. It twisted around and sent forward a bright beam of yellow light that cut through the fog like a knife slicing butter. The fog had little choice but to disappear in its path.

In order to survive, a prisoner must confront the darkness or crumble with the world around her.

Captive by the Fog
October 26 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

And We Have a Winner!

I know-- I'm a bit slow with the news, but I went out of town this past weekend to meet up with a good friend and cause some early Halloween mayhem at Knott's Berry Farm. Much fun was had! And now for the big news: Congratulations to Cia Nordwell for winning Captive by the Fog's Musa anniversary giveaway!

Yep, that was my grand ol' method of choosing a winner. I love dice. I collect dice. So, why not put them to good use?

Cia, I'll be sending you an email! Everyone else who entered, thank you for entering, and for the comments and well wishes about Captive's release. The weeks are counting down, and it's exciting to have friends and fellow readers and writers along for the ride!

Oh, and for the news about the winner of the Kindle (though you probably know already!), check out this page.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Musa!

One year ago, Musa Publishing was just finding its way into the wide, wide world of e-publishing. The folks in charge were (and still are!) talented individuals, with experience, writerly know-how, and a whole bunch of ambition. They then opened their arms to us loonies-- er, writers, and what do you know-- it's now Musa's first anniversary, and our books are a force to be reckoned with.

Well, everyone else's, anyway. Mine hasn't been released yet, but it will be soon! How soon, you ask? October 26th soon! Before I tell you about my soon-to-be-released novel, let me babble a bit more about Musa, and why, to me, their books are a step above.

My reasoning is simple-- Musa takes chances. Captive by the Fog, my debut novel, wouldn't be readying to dive into the reader universe if it weren't for Musa. The novel deals with an odd mixture of subjects, including but not limited to: aliens (yep, have a spoiler-- free of charge!), grief, friendship, self-esteem, LGBT issues, illness, disability, creativity, love, happiness, desperation, dreams, captivity, and more that my readers may hopefully one day point out to me. And ALIENS. Did I mention that?

Now, when I first began pitching around my synopsis (which looked far different from my current blurb), the reactions I received were, well, odd. I think most folks thought I was crazy. And hell, maybe I am. But I honestly don't think many publishers would have given my goofy-sounding novel a chance, let alone read the entire thing. People need to take chances to see the true bounds of happiness. Books need to take chances.

Lesbian science fiction and fantasy is a rare breed. And I intent on helping to change that. Musa was that first step.

Seriously, take a look at some of the excerpts and blurbs for the books listed under Musa. Musa takes chances. And for that, I wish them years and years of good luck and hawt books. Okay. Back to Captive, and the reason you're probably here-- phat loots (yes, I'm a gamer-- I'm all about the shinies).

Captive by the Fog

Earth has been captured by an alien species, and one prisoner, Sam, must confront the darkness as well as her own dreams-- or watch the city crumble.

Release date: October 26, 2012

Genre: Modern day science fiction, LGBT

Formats: All popular E-book formats

Here's a not-so-final version of the blurb:

Sam feels like a prisoner within her life until one foggy evening, when she is captured by beings from another world along with a group of strangers. As they are held within San Francisco, Sam and her fellow captives are told they are under surveillance, and that in order to survive, they must trust these creatures who won't show themselves. 

The group has no choice but to do so, and cling to the tiny pieces that make them human--hope, curiosity, courage, and love. Sam befriends Kisana, a shy woman with a captivating smile, and despite the harsh conditions, they find strength in one another--and love. Both are needed when Sam begins experiencing strange, prophetic dreams about the city around them being blown apart.

Will love--along with the power of Sam's foretelling dreams--be enough to ensure their survival after the fragile trust with the aliens is shattered, the city falls, and the fog of desperation rolls in?

See more information about Captive, including a rather long excerpt (which may still change), here

Now, for the blog hop details. Since my release date isn't until October 26th, I'm going to be promising a copy of Captive to the winner of my hop. That copy won't be delivered until October 26th, unfortunately, but the second I'm able to grab a copy, I'll send it in an email!

Don't also forget, of course, that by posting a comment to this blog post, you'll be entered to win our awesome grand prize-- a Kindle Fire!

To enter the Captive by the Fog Musa Anniversary giveaway, please do the following:
  • Include a comment with your email
  • Do ONE of the following: Follow this blog (check the sidebar on the right), or follow me on Twitter
  • If you've already done both, no worries, just toss me a comment and your email. I'll know who you are! :D 
As the weeks to Captive's release count down, I'll be providing as many updates as I can! I also have a Facebook page, which you're welcome to check out and friend me on.

Thanks for stopping by! To get back to the original Musa Anniversary Blog Hop page, go here. Alternatively, here's the full list of participating blogs:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Captive by the Fog Cover Reveal!

Huzzah! This is the cover for my debut novel, Captive by the Fog, due out October 26th. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Pretty nifty, eh? I'm pretty dang happy with it. In the information I provided the artist, Kelly Shorten, with, I just kinda babbled about the San Francisco skyline, ruins, fog, a lamppost, and a whitish/blueish technological "sheen"... and well-- wow, major props to her for somehow being able to decipher my random items and come up with this. The color scheme's exactly what I'd imagined!

I'm finished with Captive's edits (special thanks to Megan Embry, my fantastic editor who somehow put up with my noobness!), and am now heading into the final stretch before publication. I've got some nifty Captive-inspired projects in the works, including a book trailer, an amazing instrumental song composed by my awesomely-talented friend, Jeremy Jones, and a slew of guest blogs that I'll be babbling on-- er, appearing on-- as the countdown to October 26th nears. 

I'm also going to be taking part in Musa Publishing's 1st Anniversary Blog Hop, which is starting in October. I'll be giving away a free digital copy of Captive by the Fog during the blog hop, but since my release date's after the hop ends, it'll pop up in the winner's email box when the novel is released. Think of it as a pre-order, but free! Expect to see more information on the blog hop this coming Sunday.

In the meantime... huzzah x2!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Journeying Into a Writer's World - One Year Later

I'm not normally one to talk about myself. I'm not sure if my random seven and a half Twitter followers know anything about me. I think most of my family members and Facebook friends see me as a weird, quiet reader who plays video games and kind of leave it at that. It's all true, of course. I am quiet, and generally content observing and listening. I am weird, but not as a result of my quiet nature. I'm just me-- at times goofy, eccentric, and nerdy, yet oftentimes lost inside my own head. I am, of course, a reader and gamer.

And I am also a writer. This part still causes me to blink a bit, which is odd, really, when you consider the fact that I have a B.A. in English. I've been writing since middle school, yet not consistently, and not professionally, until July of 2011. Now, at age 30, more than a year later, I finally have the confidence to say, "Yep, I'm a writer." There are a lot of reasons behind both my natural position of disbelief and my late-in-life acceptance. For me to explain those reasons... well, you're going to have to put up with a bit of my blabbing.

The years following my time spent at U.C. Davis were a bit unusual from the normal 22 year-old career-aspiring graduate. I didn't spend them frantically job-hunting or searching for internships. I didn't concentrate on my writing career at all. Or any career, for that matter. I didn't fall in love and get married. I spent them taking care of my mother-- the most kind and generous woman ever to have graced my life-- until she passed away in 2007.

Less than a year after that I also found myself burying my father, who died of cancer after I spent his last month with him as we watched old black and white Westerns stream across his television set. It was just him and I and the outrageously terrible medical care he received, even as a former Vet. I don't regret a minute of the time I spent taking care of both my parents during their final days, but let me tell you-- that year, and the following years-- were the darkest in my entire life, and will always be.

It took me until July 2011 to finally have the courage to face the world outside my grief-colored box and remember what the hell it was I wanted out of my time on this planet. If it weren't for my three lifelines-- my sister Debbie and my friends Angel and Chris Kyler-- I may never have braved the sunlight.

Now, my journey back to the world of the living-- and writing-- was kind of ironic, in a sense. I took my love for getting lost in video games and MMORPG worlds and finally... did something with that passion. I saw an ad and offered to become a writer on a popular RIFT fansite, Rift Junkies. The position was paid. I doubted myself for days, and was sure I'd be no good, yet I tossed out the application anyway. And somehow my editor had faith in me. And still does more than a year later.

I've since gone on to become a writer on multiple sites within the same network. I toss out new content between the three sites on a 5-night-a-week basis. My editor offers me all the freedom I could ever want, and along with that freedom, the job has given me one very precious gift-- confidence. That's not to say I, uh, am truly confident yet. I still struggle with confidences issues daily, but I am on the mend.

During the past year, that confidence gave me a glimmer of hope, and with that glimmer, I reached out and grasped my true writerly passion-- fiction writing. I've finished one novel, fully edited it, and had it accepted at Musa Publishing. I've also written about five short stories, four of which are currently circling the speculative short fiction market. I have quite familiarized myself with the concept of a form rejection this year, and I've yet to have a short story accepted for publication, but hey-- I'm on the mend.

Captive by the Fog, my upcoming novel, will be released October 26, and I'm excitedly awaiting its high dive jump into the wide, open world. A huge part of me rests in between the pages of Captive along with a large host of goofy characters, an alien species, a blossoming lesbian romance, and an encompassing hope for freedom. For those of you who plan on picking it up, I hope you enjoy the leap.

In the months to come, expect some pretty cool updates about Captive. In the meantime, I've got some more journeying to do, and I hope everyone who reads this has their own journeys to continue, begin, or lovingly recall (or all three!). Remember, the journey is everything. And yep-- everyone better have a Journey song in their head right now (A Jerry Maguire song's acceptable, too).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Featured Musa Book: Day Dreamer by Devin Hodgins

In the spirit of learning all things awesome about my fellow Musa authors (Wut? I'm an author? Oh... right! One day it'll hit me. One day!), I'm going to be starting a monthly feature of some of the fantastic Musa books I've been reading. Yeah, just when I didn't think I had enough to read, I discovered there's actually quite a cool collection of fantasy and sci-fi goodies by Musa authors!

First up, "Day Dreamer" by Devin Hodgins!


I was awarded "Day Dreamer" in my first-ever meandering during a Musa blog hop last month (which was pretty nifty, by the way). It's not a full novel, but rather, a novella. Perfect for a quick read, and priced at just 99 cents. The true genre of "Day Dreamer" is a bit two-fold, I thought. It definitely has a speculative fiction edge, but that edge is curved, wrapped around the mysticism that accompanies nighttime dreams, which are interestingly enough, a blend of reality and fantasy.

The dreams themselves, which in "Day Dreamer" are brought into daylight and propel the story forward, encompass the main character's entire, young life. Through his dreams, a very realistic and thought-provoking story about two characters who share a resonating and artistic bond forms. I refuse to go into spoilers! You'll just have to read it for yourself!

All this becomes quite interesting when you consider how short the book is. I definitely felt like I wanted more-- yet I was still satisfied by the scope of the story-- which to me, personally, is a trademark of great short fiction. And hey, short fiction's damn hard to write (I say as I scowl at my pile of short stories that have awarded me with quite a stack of market rejections).

The prose in this novella has a very natural, dream-esque flow to it, which heightened the themes of the story for me. The descriptions are beautiful and sensory. Devin Hodgins, the author, told me that for him, "Day Dreamer" was a different sort of tale to write, and that struck me as very interesting. As writers, when we dive off into the unknown, that's sometimes where our best ideas come from.

Enough prattling from me, though! Check out Devin's website for more information about the author and his current projects. For more information about "Day Dreamer," make sure and check out its page on Musa Publishing's site.

Oh, and hey, for other Musa authors out there that foray into science fiction, fantasy, GLBT fiction, and other regions of speculative fiction, if you'd like me to give your book a read and babble about it a bit, let me know here, on Facebook, or on Twitter. I'll buy the books, of course! I'm currently looking for new reading material. :D

(And yeah, yeah, I'm also due for an update about Captive and my other writing goodies! I'll update you guys soon, I promise!)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Big news! I uh, guess I'm an author now?

Oh, yeah, new site design, too! Finally got tired of the kinda-customized, default mountain-looking design. So now I made a slightly-more customized, weirdo star-themed design. I hope you like green.

Um, right. You're probably still wondering what I meant by the title. See the little "author" word in my banner? Yeah, that's right. Captive by the Fog, the novel I finished a couple months ago, is getting published! It tied for second place in the contest, which granted me a contract.

I actually heard the news a couple weeks ago, but was waiting to find out more details before I made a big announcement. It will be published through Musa Publishing, and will be published in e-book form. I signed the contract, and am now waiting to begin the editing process. I was told they're looking to release Captive during late October of this year, but that may change.

Exciting news! I'm still not completely sure I believe it, sometimes. I'd been throwing around short stories, thinking that if one of those hit a wall and stuck to it, that I'd maybe have a shot at one day stepping up to novels. But uh, seems the novel stuck first... the goofy LGBT alien novel based on a really silly dream about my dad, San Francisco, a hot girl, and well, aliens. This just in-- I'm going to be really bad at promoting this thing...

But yeah. That's my big news. The folks at Musa seem pretty awesome, so far, and I'm looking forward to digging my heels in the experience, and finding out about all the work that goes into publishing a book. I'm really looking forward to the editing process. Since I haven't had much exposure to professional critiques or editing, I'll finally be able to learn a few things about what I need to improve on. And well, that's important. I'm not done yet. Not by a long shot.

My next big project is already taking shape, in fact. I'm going to finally novelize the world that Quest was based on. What's Quest, you say? The fantasy world my friend, Heather, and I created back in high school. Originally, it was kinda based on a bunch of various books and sci-fi shows we loved, but as the world grew, and I realized I liked to write stuff, I started making Quest its own universe. And yeah, shaddup-- I know the name's silly. It's not staying!

It will probably take the shape of at least a four-part series of novels. I have the first two books loosely plotted out, and hope to start the first soon. Its tentative name is Wardens of Wandering, but that may change later down the road. It'll be awesome seeing the unique host of characters come to life.

I'm still planning on continuing submitting stories to WotF quarterly, but other than that, I think my focus will remain on these novels. Novels may definitely be my forte. I've always found it easier to work on longer pieces-- projects if you will. I love the idea of sinking down into the process of extensive world building, involved character subplots, and all that jazz.

Anywho, that's my update. I'm gonna be a published author! I'll keep everyone updated on Captive's progress!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hay Look, a Novel

Been a while since I've updated. Luckily, it's been a busy March, and I feel like I've made some good writerly progress during it.

I submitted three things at the end of the month. One was my 2nd quarter WotF submission. Fun little story to write. I'm not entirely sure how it'll do as far as the contest goes, but I'm honestly not stressing it. I know it's a decent piece, and may have a home elsewhere.

I also dug out an old, old story of mine from college, reedited major parts of it, and sent it off to a small press-type anthology. I'm not entirely sure how that piece will do, either, but I'd really love to find a home for it. It was my first fiction piece I wrote after coming out as bisexual, and features an interesting mix of a raw coming out story and an edgy, kinda experimental narrative structure. The narrative structure by itself may make it a hard piece to sell, but eh, I'm gonna try a bit. I have a few other markets in mind, too, if it doesn't fly for this one.

My novel, Captive by the Fog, also finally got finished. Yes, finished. Big news, I know! After a year and a half of randomly chucking it aside, then turning back to it and furiously editing, yet leaving off the end unfinished... I finally finished the dang thing. Luckily, thanks to my half-year spent editing the first three-quarters, it didn't need much polishing after it was complete.

One of the small publishers I've had my eye on held a fiction contest for their LGBT imprint, and that, well, that was the reason I finally buckled down and decided to finish it. I think deadlines are good for me. That really isn't too surprising, though, considering the rate I used to write essays/stories during college... BREAK-NECK LAST MINUTE 3 AM WRITING, GOOOOOO. Sigh. Some things never change!

Anyways, the contest will have two rounds. First round, the public gets to cast votes on our queries. Second round, the five queries with the most votes get to submit their full manuscripts to the editors. Those are judged by the editors, and results are given. The top three get published. I figured what the hell. If anything, it'll give me a good reason to finish the dang thing. And so it did.

Voting is currently underway, and will continue until the end of this week. Feel free to check out my query, the contest, and vote for it here. Thank you so much if you decide to vote!

I have a couple projects in mind for April, too. I kinda like this whole projects with deadlines thing... It's working.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

BioWare, SWTOR, and Same-Gender Content

Wanted to pop in and briefly plug my latest Star Wars: The Old Republic editorial. It's about one of those close to home subjects for me - LGBT content in video games. There isn't much of it out there unfortunately, so when BioWare announced that same-gender companion romances werre going to be featured in SWTOR, it was exciting. Then it... wasn't placed in the game for release. Instead, BioWare promised to add the content in a post-launch update.

Now it's, well, post-launch, and the community hasn't received an update. In my editorial, I go a bit into the matter, and discuss ideas in which the content can be added. I also talk discuss some of BioWare's other games that feature same-gender content.

Anywho, if you're into gaming at all, check it out!

Here's the link to it: Patiently Waiting for Same-Gender Content

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What happened to trying to blog more?

It seems I'm still pretty terrible at providing normal updates. Ah well.

My non-fiction writing has been going well. I've been pretty knee-deep in Star Wars: The Old Republic and writing about it, which may explain part of my disappearance from the whole blogging thing. It's actually an interesting turn for me as far as gaming goes, because instead of focusing on just the game and one particular character, I have been spending the majority of my time researching various classes and aspects of the game in order to write from different angles. It's a much more casual style of gameplay, but at the same time, still rewarding. Fairly win-win.

Eventually, I'll update the sidebar with my latest articles, but there has been quite a lot of them. I've been trying my hand at writing class guides and other guide-type articles, as well. I don't think they're my forte, but it's been fun trying new things. I'm still experimenting with the style of my column. Some days I go for a more casual, humorous angle, other days I'm more serious. I like to think they both fit, but one day I'd like to settle on one.

Fiction! I hit a bit of a stumbling block when it came to September's WotF's entry, which also explains my disappearance. It came back as a form rejection, which I should have expected, but I was admittedly pretty stupid about my expectations. I ended up feeling the good ol' 'first rejection blues' from it, even though I had my first real rejection years and years ago. After spending years away from fiction writing, however, it was kind of like being a rejection virgin again.

Was sort of an eye-opener for me. I spent a month or so determined to try and figure out what I did wrong with the story. Threw it out at critique sites. I learned some things from the critiques, but I think the piece needs more work than I really wanted to put into it at the time, so that led to more disappointment.

I'm glad to say I'm over it now. I ended up shelving the piece for now, until I can look at it again without getting all annoyed. I think the truth of the matter is that I have farther to go in order to become published than I originally thought. I'm okay with that truth, though. It just means I need to work harder at this.

I finished a fun little short story for WotF's last quarter at the end of December. I'm more realistic with its expectations this time, thankfully, but I'm happy with the piece. It was a bit of an experiment. The few people who have read it so far have enjoyed it. If anyone reading this is interested in becoming a beta reader for it, or any of my fiction in general, please drop me a line. I could use more beta readers.

Currently, I'm working on a new short story that's based on a bit of science and a bit of mysticism. It's one of those that I really have no idea how it'll end-- so it'll be interesting to see how it does end. It's funny how little control a writer has over a story's ending sometimes. Stories often kinda scream out their own ending.

I also spent November and December doing some fine edits and working on the last few chapters of my current novel. I've yet to go back to it and finish it up, but I'm kind of waiting until I'm in the novel mode again. For the moment, I'm in more of a short story mode, which is fine by me. Within the last few days, I've had a few other random ideas for short stories. I jotted them down, and will come back to them later. Ideas are always good.

I also took some time to attempt a short list of writing goals for the year. I'm not much for new year's resolutions, nor goals really, but I thought I should at least try. Here they are:

-Submit to each quarter of WotF
-Finish my WIP novel
-Find a good beta reader or two
-Send out a few submissions, whether they be non WotF stories, rejected WotF stories, or the novel above
-Continue my non-fiction projects
-Never go weeks without writing fiction again

Fairly simple. I hope I can stick with them. So far, so good.