Category Archives: Writing

The Ghost in the Woods – Urban Fantasy novel coming in 2019

I’ve mentioned this in a few places but not put anything official here yet. I’m writing a book for Ed Greenwood’s Onder Librum project. The Ghost in the Woods is currently scheduled for publication in early 2019.
Winterknight Towers Logo
I’m thrilled to be a part of this project, which is ambitious and exciting: 15 different settings from fantasy to SF to horror, each with novels, short stories, games, and more.

It’s a weird feeling to have a publication date for a book I’ve only just started writing. In the meantime, the first several novels in the first setting have already been published–and right now they’re 20% off. Enjoy!

My book is in the Winterknight Towers setting. It takes place in central Illinois, so I’ve been enjoying reading up on local history while I do research. Here’s the blurb for the setting:

Death is not the end. The stately manors, castles and centuries-old buildings of our modern world are more than just landmarks of our past… they are homes and waystations for the ghosts of our ancient dead, connected by a mysterious network of otherworldly gates.

When the flesh-and-blood residents of these grand locations become ensnared in the plots and schemes of these wayward specters, they discover that the passions and desires of life do not end at the grave… and can become most inconvenient, perhaps even deadly, complications to the world of the living. In the world of Winterknight Towers, the crossroads of Life and Death is a busy intersection where love, laughter, and murder collide.

The schedule of book releases will be posted soon. If you want a heads up when that happens, sign up for my newsletter and I’ll let you know!

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Solarpunk Anthology Calls

Recently I’ve run across a couple anthologies looking for hopeful stories about climate change. Looks like people are tired of gloom and doom, or maybe even looking for solutions. Hooray!

Ecopunk, Ticonderoga Publications

“We are looking for optimistic stories envisioning the future of our world as we are impacted by and adapt to climate change. New narratives of radical transformation and sustainability.”

Story length: 2k-10k words

Payment: 2 copies of print anthology and Aus 5 cents/word (GST inc., maximum payment AUD$500) on publication.

Submissions open from May 15 to June 30 2016.

Sunvault, Upper Rubber Boot

“The anthology will focus on times of environmental crisis and the people inhabiting these tipping points, fighting to effect change and seek solutions, even if it’s already too late. But these are stories of hope, not just disaster!”

Story length: 500 to 7500 words

Payment: US$0.06/word for original stories, or $50/$100 for reprints depending on length

Submissions will open once their kickstarter (planned for April) is fully funded.

Earth Day Contest, Sapiens Plurum

Not an anthology. The top 3 stories will be published on their website. They’re looking for heroic and inspirational stories.

Story length: 1500-3000 words

Payment: $300, $500, or $1000

Open now; deadline is April 22, 2016 (Earth Day!)

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Gen Con Writing Panels

Two weeks ago I was in Indianapolis for Gen Con, my fifth time there. I found three games to buy, none of which are out yet. So that saved me some money.

The writer’s symposium was well attended and everything I was at went very well. For once I not only took notes at the panels but actually posted them. They’re on my writing group’s blog:

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More stories inflicted on the world

Way back in January I sold two short stories! The first of them is out now: “Sticking Together” in Abyss & Apex. The story got a brief good review at SFRevu. I think that’s the first time one of my stories has been reviewed, so I’m glad they liked it.

The other story, “All That Matters,” will be in Schoolbooks & Sorcery, an anthology of YA urban fantasy stories involving magic. (School and magic: I’m looking forward to reading the other stories!) There’ll be a kickstarter for that coming soon.

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Read my story “Alpaca Tricks” in Fictionvale

My short story “Alpaca Tricks” is out in Fictionvale‘s December issue.

Kylie is determined to win an alpaca obstacle course competition when a strange, suspiciously well-trained alpaca arrives at the barn, with an owner hiding a secret that makes him just as determined as Kylie.

I’ve been intrigued by alpacas since I interviewed a family who owned some for an article back in journalism school, so I’m delighted to see this story out in the world.

You can buy the Fantasy/Mystery mashup issue directly from Fictionvale (you get a zip with Kindle, ePub, and PDF files), or from Amazon.

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BLTTs and Fall Fun

On the way home from work the other night, I was grumbling about having to make tofu for dinner. I keep looking for good tofu recipes, but we always end up falling back on stir fry. I didn’t want to do all that chopping only to end up with a meal that’s only ok.

Luckily, when I walked into the house the bowl of tomatoes caught my eye. I’d been meaning to have BLTs ever since the tomatoes started getting ripe. I ended up slicing the tofu into thin slabs and frying it in the bacon skillet once the bacon was done (best tofu ever). The bacon, lettuce, tomato, and tofu sandwiches turned out quite tasty.


I still plan my life in semesters. Here’s what I’ll be doing this fall:

• Writing, of course. I’m working on a short story to be finished this month, I plan to write a novella in November, and I have various things in various stages of revision to finish up and send out.

I also have a new story coming out in November: Fictionvale is publishing “Alpaca Tricks” in their mystery issue. This was a fun story to write. I watched a bunch of alpaca obstacle course competitions on YouTube.

• Tennis. I rejoined the singles league I was in a couple years ago. I’ve been playing doubles all summer, and the Thursday workout we go to is mostly doubles, so playing singles is tough. Tennis courts get really big when you have to run back and forth across them for over an hour.

• Painting. I signed up for an introductory acrylic painting class. Then it was canceled because no one but me registered. They moved me to the second session. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll either try to switch to a drawing class or find some tutorials online.

• A Coursera class called Designing Cities that covers the history of cities, current urban issues, and possible future cities. In addition to being interesting, it might be a good source of story ideas.

Some recent posts from my writing group’s blog:

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Yes, I’m Still Here

It’s been a busy couple months, but at least it’s finally spring. My garden is going strong. We’ve eaten a lot of radishes and lettuce, and a few carrot thinnings. (Did you know the leaves taste like parsley?) The chard and beets struggled to sprout but seem to be doing nicely now. The zucchini, beans, tomatoes, and pepper are flowering, and the carrots have lots of leaves. The volunteer raspberry in the backyard has little green berries that I’m sure will delight the squirrels in a few weeks. Last month I added a potted lingonberry, which has a few small flowers.

In April, I took an introduction to drawing class, which was awesome. This month I’m taking landscape drawing. The first class was (obviously) pretty basic, but I learned a lot. Even with the parts I’d read about before, having the instructor there to help makes a huge difference. We’ve only had one week of the landscape class, and it made me appreciate charcoal. We’ll also be using ink (with a brush and bamboo pen) at some point. Of course, I’m just happy for an excuse to sit around outside.

I posted this to Twitter et al when it happened, but if you don’t follow me elsewhere, my story “Pictures in Crayon” went up at Cast of Wonders. It’s really neat to hear my words read by someone else.

Some recent-ish posts from the All Rights Reserved blog:

Finally, a great post on persistence from James Clear: How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Toward Your Goals

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Last Thursday, I wrote 289 words. Nothing special about that, except that it was the 365th day in a row that I wrote at least 250 new words of fiction. In that year, I wrote big chunks of two different novels and all or part of 15 or so short stories.

According to Wolfram|Alpha, that’s at least almost half of the Origin of Species.[1]

Why did I do this? The best answer to that, I suppose, is that I started trying to write 250 words every day back in August 2012, but it took me until the following February to not miss a day. I wanted to see if I could write every day for a year. 250 words isn’t much. If I know what I’m writing, it takes less than 10 or 15 minutes.

That’s a big if, though. One of the challenges was what to write when my main project was planning or revision. That’s how I ended up with a big chunk of that second novel–my novel-planning process involves writing lots of snippets. Some of them, most of the early ones, are getting thrown out because they ended not being appropriate for that book. But I’m keeping enough that I had half a draft of the book before I started actually “writing” it.

In that sense it was a success. But I’m not continuing with the challenge. My new goal is to write 100 new *good* words of fiction a day.[2] There weren’t many days where I just blurted out words to check that day off on my calendar, but there were enough. Besides, going with the concept of deliberate practice, it’s quality of effort that counts.

[1] The first time I did that calculation, I left off the units, which gave me this:

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 9.25.24 PM

So, had I written these words at a rate of one a day, while lying on my back outdoors, it is likely that a bird would have pooped in my mouth. Good to know.

[2] That’s for the whole year. Right now I’m finishing that novel so my word count goal is much higher.

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Podcast sale! And writing post roundup

I sold a podcast! Cast of Wonders, the YA speculative fiction podcast, will be running my story “Pictures in Crayon”. I’m looking forward to hearing it.

Recent things I’ve posted on the All Rights Reserved blog:

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ConFusion Schedule

This weekend, I’m off to ConFusion, a Detroit SF convention. (Actually Dearborn. Close enough.)

If you’re going and you want to find me, or if you’re just curious, or if you don’t care at all, here is where I’ll be, trying to rein in the sarcasm:

Worst. Advice. Ever.
John Klima, Aimee Carter, Elizabeth Shack, Howard Tayler, Catherine Shaffer, Doselle Young
10am Saturday – Southfield

Everything I needed to know about writing I learned by reading slush
Ferrett Steinmetz, Sarah Gibbons, Elizabeth Shack, Nancy Fulda, Patrick Tomlinson, C. C. Finlay
1pm Saturday – Erie

What makes a shorter fantasy “epic”?
Christine Purcell, Sam Sykes, Elizabeth Shack, Bradley Beaulieu, Brigid Collins
2pm Saturday – Erie

What does rejection Mean?
Ian Tregillis, Elizabeth Shack, Mike Carey, Amy Sundberg, Nancy Fulda, C. C. Finlay
5pm Saturday – Rotunda

Don’t write what you know
Brian McClellan, Elizabeth Shack, Stina Leicht, Tobias Buckell, Catherine Shaffer, Mike Carey
11am Sunday – Erie

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