Happy Halloween

This is one of my favorite holidays even if I haven’t dressed up for it in years. It’s also a reminder that NaNoWriMo starts as All Hallow’s Eve comes to a close.

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Because DPS have reasonably long queues and I can write while waiting.

It’s also the time of year in which I see certain things happen in regards to NaNo. First of all is the variety of ways people prepare for the challenge. This year I overhauled my office (closet). I got rid of one of the desks that made the room even smaller and shrunk down to just the one and the file cabinet off the other one has remained until I find a suitable replacement (not in the picture). Still need to figure out what to do with some of the things that have now been displaced, but I can breathe.

And yes, I have a glow jar I found for a dollar at the grocery store.

I will be hunting for snacks once they go on sale after Halloween. My playlist for this project is in progress and I created my Scrivener file for it. I have some notes of things I want to try and include and an idea of where to start so I’m ready.

The other thing I see pop up at this time of year is the anti-NaNoWriMo posts. Those bother me in the sense of they usually don’t quite seem to get the point of the challenge. Everyone is different and certainly entitled to their opinions, but that’s also the point – everyone writes differently. I love this and the community that comes together to push each other along. It’s not for everyone though and a few people I’ve spoken with won’t be participating in the challenge itself but they are planning on joining some write-ins and cheering everyone on.

And on a side note. Heh, side… That side story I thought about sidelining got finished and sent off. Yay! Taking my daughter trick-or-treating and then getting ready to start getting words down on the first draft of book 3.

Side project getting sidelined

There’s a side project I’ve been toying with, trying to get it together to submit (or keep for my own nefarious purposes). I even submitted it to a couple of critique groups and received fantastic feedback on how to improve it.

And now I’m poking at it with a stick. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this particular project for years and only recently took the plunge to get a full rewrite done of it. I was all ready to make the changes and call it good. Then after taking a short break to clear a few other things off of my plate my energy and excitement fizzled. And now it looks like more of a chore which I’m contemplating sidelining for a while.

Likely because in the back of my mind I have a little voice telling me that it’s a waste to submit it where I’m planning. That this story barely skirts inside the theme they’re looking for.

The overall plan for this project is to start off a collection of short stories with these two characters. I even have another short story written (which needs a full rewrite) to follow with notes for a third.

And perhaps I’m looking forward too much to the next big project and it’s distracting me from what I need to finish.

Recent Events

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Indie Author Day: sharing a table with the amazing Loni Townsend

Here you’ve heard me talk quite a bit about Indie Author Day and those who follow me on Facebook have gotten to hear me go on about Boise Book Fest. With the two events running back-to-back weekends, it was hard not to be super excited about both.

I didn’t get the chance to escape my table for Indie Author Day so I missed out on the panels, but had a great time talking to everyone who stopped by. This was the first year this event ran and I can’t wait to see what they decide to do next year. I shared a table with Loni Townsend as you can see in the picture and just had fun.

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Boise Book Fest 2016

Now onto Boise Book Fest. This was simply so much fun and I can’t wait for next year (September 16th, 2017 – mark your calendars). I went as an attendee and managed to drop in on a number of panels. Got some great ideas from people, picked up a few books, and most importantly, made new friends.

Where Indie Author Day was, as expected, all indie and hybrid authors, Boise Book Fest had a mix and it was just so incredibly interesting to listen to the different points of view. Both events also pointed out at how bad I am in talking about my book. I  go into ultra-shy mode unless I’m trying to help sell someone else’s books. I guess I’m just weird like that.

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I came home from Boise Book Fest with even more, but not as many books as I would have liked.

A few people have inquired when I plan to release Shattered Illusions. I’m aiming for next summer just to give myself some breathing room. I’m drafting out book 3 next month during NaNoWriMo and I recently dug an old short story out of my archives to rewrite while Shattered Illusions is out to my beta readers. I have no planned release yet for the short story as it’s going to be part of a set. Yay, something new!

I learned so much just by listening and observing at both of these events. I’m so glad I attended both and look forward to seeing what the future holds for both these and other upcoming events.

Is it ready yet? #IWSG

This month’s question is: When do you know your story is ready?

Um… I don’t? Looking back at Twisted Magics, I’m sure I could have spent more time on it. I could have driven myself even more mad and kept working on it. But then I’d never move on.

The truth is I had someone else tell me it was time to let it go. With Shattered Illusions, I’ve set my deadlines and I need to meet them. While writing is fun for me, I also treat it like a job. Since I’m my own boss it would be easy to simply push off those deadlines or not even make them at all.

But I won’t. Part of it is my small audience looking for more. As much as I continue to doubt anyone actually likes my work, the occasional comment keeps me going.

The rest is likely insanity. I’m still working out this faster paced schedule, but it seems to be okay so far. Though I know I drive my husband mad sometimes with how obsessed I get with needing to get work done so I can meet my self-imposed deadlines.

Now I have to rely on myself to schedule when I’m done (pending massive issues of course).  Unfortunately I still haven’t figured out how to do it with my shorter stuff. Mostly because I dabble with those stories in between everything else.

And I think I’ve come to accept the phrase about how it is never finished, just paused. Or something like that. Honestly, I’ve forgotten the actual quote.

About the Insecure Writer’s Support Group

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Reading Recommendations and Indie Author Day

I finally just sat down and started working my way through my backlog on reading. I previously read This World Bites by Loni Townsend, which I thoroughly enjoyed and am now working my way through Thanmir War. I highly recommend fantasy readers to take a look at her work. She’ll be at Indie Author Day in Boise so if you’re in the area, come meet her! Her bio is in the list below.

Indie Author Day is now only a week away! Below I’ve shamelessly copied some of the information about Boise’s upcoming event:

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If you’re a writer – aspiring, bestselling, or anything in between – we hope you’ll join us for Indie Author Day.

Festivities will include panel discussions on publishing, author resources, and elements of craft; a local author reading and book sale; and a digital gathering featuring authors, agents, and other industry leaders.

Events
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Panel discussion: Resources for local writers: Idaho Writers Guild, The Cabin, Rediscovered Books, and more

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Digital gathering: The publishing industry. This discussion features Jon Fine, previously from Amazon, as the moderator, and the following panelists: Kiera Parrott of Library Journal; Robin Cutler of IngramSpark; 2012 Mover and Shaker award-winning librarian Jim Blanton; and BCALA award-winning author L. Penelope.

1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Panel discussion: Writing (and re-writing) effective dialogue: A discussion of craft

Panel discussion: Marketing your book to fans and fans-to-be

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Panel discussion: Traditional publishing vs. self-publishing vs. small press: How do I know where to start?

3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Local author reading

Ongoing
Local author book sale

Speakers and participating organizations:
The Cabin annually serves about 500 member households, more than 2,000 children and youth, and more than 16,000 people through educational and cultural programs. Their mission is to inspire and celebrate a love of reading, writing and discourse.

The Idaho Writers Guild offers professional networking and educational opportunities as diverse as the writers who join it. In addition to serving as a networking resource for writers wishing to become actively involved in the writing community, the IWG plans and develops programs to aid writers. Our membership reflects all genres and media.

E.L. Skip Knox is a writer and historian. He is the creator of the fantasy world called Altearth, a place where magic is real, monsters roam the land, and the Roman Empire never fell.

Skip has published a novelette (The Garden of Hugo Vuerloz, 2013, available on Amazon) and a short story (The Roadmaster). The short story was selected as an Editor’s Choice at Bewildering Stories for 2012. He is currently completing his first Altearth novel, Goblins at the Gates, and is one of the moderators of Mythic Scribes, a forum for writers of fantasy.

With an M.A. in Medieval History and a PhD in Early Modern History, Skip has been published in a Festschrift, in Asynchronous Learning Environments Magazine, and has four articles published by ABC-Clio. He has also presented several papers at Educom and at academic conferences.

He is a pioneer in web-based teaching, developing the first virtual course on the Renaissance (1993) and the first college-level virtual Western Civilization course (1994) to be available on the Web. He also teach courses on the Crusades and the Reformation. All course essays are free to read at europeanhistory.boisestate.edu

When not writing or teaching, Skip loves to spend time with his wife and childhood-sweetheart, Debra. Two dogs, video games, cooking, and travel occupy much of the rest of their time.

Logan Miehl loves writing from anywhere with a plugin for her laptop—ideally among her native Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys hiking and camping with her husband. The travels that inspire her stories include the year she spent exploring the country of Ireland, and later living as a volunteer missionary in both Virginia and Rio, Brazil. Logan believes traveling is life’s greatest teacher, and she hopes that her readers will discover new and exciting places through her stories.

Joanne Pence is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling author of the Angie Amalfi and Rebecca Mayfield mysteries as well as historical fiction, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, a fantasy, and a supernatural suspense series. Joanne has been both a “traditionally” published and an “indie” published author, with about 14 books in each category. Her books have won or been nominated for a number of high honors, including the Willa Cather Literary Award for Historical Fiction; RWA’s Rita and Golden Heart Awards; the Daphne du Maurier Award; Romantic Times Career Achievement Award; and the Idaho Top Fiction Award for mystery. Born in San Francisco, she now lives in Boise, Idaho where she has been president of the local Sisters in Crime chapter, and is a founding member of the Idaho Writers Guild.

Bruce and Laura DeLaney opened Rediscovered Books in September of 2006 to create a place where people could find books and conversation. Since then, Rediscovered Books has grown into Boise’s downtown community bookstore, providing literature for the Boise area, author events, and an expert staff to help match customers with the right books. Rediscovered Books is active in engaging in discourse about interesting books, and we are always ready and excited to share our passion for reading.

Matt Sharar is the author of the 5-book all-ages fantasy series, GARDEN TIME. He has also published two short story collections, SAN PEDRO STORIES (about his hometown) and GOTHIC TALES, as well as the novella for Banned Books Week, THE STORY OF THE COMMON HANGMAN. He has also finished the first book in his adult fantasy series, THE SHADOW CABINET. He lives in Boise, Idaho. His books showcase covers by celebrated artists: photographer and musician Mike Watt, NY Times Bestseller Nate Powell (MARCH), and Eisner Award Nominee Brett Weldele.

Clara Stone lives in the beautiful city of Boise, ID.  Unlike what most believe about Idaho, it’s more than a sack full of potatoes. When she’s not writing, you’ll catch Clara reading mostly YA books and enjoying time with her family. She is a proud CW TV addict.

The Dracian Legacy is her first YA paranormal romance series. She strongly believes that true love conquers all and that’s a common theme you’ll find within her novels.

She is published through Reuts Publications.

Loni Townsend Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel. By day, she writes code. By predawn darkness, she writes fantasies. All other times, she writes in her head.

People call her peculiar with a twisted sense of fashion, but don’t let those understatements fool you. Her behavior is perfectly normal for a squirrel disguised as a human. That’s part of being a ninja—blending in.

She makes her home in Idaho with her sadistically clever—yet often thwarted—husband, two frighteningly brilliant children, and three sneaky little shibas.

Lisa L Wiedmeier loves hiking, camping, watching her boys fish, and taking long walks with her yellow labs, Taylor and Mandi. She enjoys cooking when the mood hits, and not only has she published a nine-book YA paranormal romance series, but she’s the master of redesigning just about anything. She’s the DIY author who has made Idaho her home for 28 years, and she can’t wait to spend another 28 years here.

Christian Winn is a fiction writer, poet, and sometimes journalist who writes and teaches fiction at Boise State University, The Cabin, and the Writers Writer Workshop Series. He is the 2016-2019 Idaho Writer in Residence. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Santa Monica Review, The Pinch, Story Houston, and elsewhere. His debut collection, NAKED ME, is recently out from Dock Street Press who will be publishing a second collection, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU IS WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME, February ’17.

Erica Crockett knew she wanted to be a writer as soon as she could chew on a pencil. Her first novel, Chemicals, exploring the dystopian nightmare of a world without pharmaceuticals, was released in 2014. Her newest venture is the twelve-book, serial killer thriller series, The Blood Zodiac, which began in March 2016 with The Ram. In addition to writing novels, Erica also writes comics, including the webcomic Kali, and Subterra with Mike Dreher. Her comics work has appeared in the anthologies 6×6:Feral and The Wisdom of Fools. She’s also delving into humorous picture books with artist Sarah Ragan Olson, beginning with What Weeds Are Thinking. When not writing, she’s traveling the world, adding to her list of countries visited. She’s currently at twenty-three. Erica has been a book-schlepper, an adult educator, a marketing rep, and a gold miner. Twitter: @EricaCrockett

Heather Lee Dyer lives near Boise, Idaho. She has published three books in the Recycling Humanity Series, and one romance novella. She is a poet, space enthusiast and fangirl of most things YA, Sci-fi, romance, or paranormal. Addicted to Sci-fi Conventions and Pepsi. Book nerd.

Kurt Zwolfer is The Cabin’s Executive Director. He has over fifteen years of experience creating and administering public education programs including previous work at Idaho State Parks and The Idaho State Historical Museum. He has a BA in Rhetoric with a minor in film studies from the University of Illinois and a MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Boise State University.

Margo Kelly loves to be scared … when she’s reading a good book, watching a good movie, or suffering from the hiccups. She loves writing mysteries and thrillers for young adults and hopes her stories give you the goose bumps or the itchies or the desire to rethink everyday things. Margo is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. Her award-winning debut, Who R U Really?, was published by Merit Press (an imprint of F+W Media) in 2014. Her second novel, Unlocked, also published by Merit Press, released October 1, 2016.

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3D Mock Up
This event is turning out to be amazing. If you’re in the area, I urge you to come down and check it out. There are also other events scheduled in the Treasure Valley in both Meridian and at the Ada Victory branch (though I can’t find their schedule). If you’re not in the area, check the national site for who is holding events near you.

I’ll be in Boise with copies of Twisted Magics for sale. Come down and say hi!