Call for Submissions! World Unknown Review.

Things have been pretty dull around here, as I’ve been in a big blogging funk that’s led to quite possibly the quietest release ever for the second book in The Slayer Saga, Heartless (have you got your copy yet?). But, really, my focus has already shifted, as excited as I am to have a new book out. Because my brain has already grappled onto the fact that the deadline for the next volume of World Unknown Review will be here in nearly two months. Yikes!

So consider this the first (of many!) official call for submissions to 2015’s World Unknown Review. I’m looking for ten stories, any genre, any length (including one novella!) to flesh out the next step in this new literary tradition. Even better, I’m looking to pay you for those stories, too. $15 and some contributor copy swag go to the lucky ten to grace these pages. Last year had a phenomenal reception, and I can’t wait to see where this year takes us.

There’s plenty of time (OR IS THERE?) until the October 31st deadline, but get your stories in and start spreading the word to help me reach out to as many bright new voices as I possibly can. You can find all the guidelines here.

And, hey, if you want to help spread the word about Heartless, that’d be swell, too.

Happy writing!

Cover Reveal: The Slayer Saga: Heartless

Welcome to August, everyone! It’s hard to believe that what is usually deemed as the last month of the Summer is already here. But August brings more than hot weather and back-to-school sales. It brings my next release, the second book in the Slayer Saga trilogy, Heartless! The further adventures of the Slayer of the Soulless and her friends will be officially available on August 15th, and I’m super excited about it. Here’s to hoping many of the fans of Soulless will find a lot more to love, while it inspires others to perhaps pick up the series. It’ll be interesting, seeing how sales play out, since this will be my first foray into a sequel.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me muse about book sales. You’re here because the title of this post promises to give you a pretty book cover for Heartless. So kindly feast your eyes on this baby:

All praise and exultation for this scrumptiously gorgeous cover goes to my friend Ingrid Pomeroy, who suffered through a busted computer and a flighty, procrastinating client to bring you this piece of art you see before you. She has such an amazing talent for putting together media like this, so you’d do well to check out her other works, and I’m so lucky to have stumbled across her one day and have the gumption to approach her about the project. I can’t wait to see what wonderful art she creates for the final book in the series, and there’s no question that these will look phenomenal on anyone’s bookshelf.

So, what are you throught? Please, feel free to share the book cover in your own circles if you’d like; I know I’d lovve to start getting the attention and hype going, as well as to spread the word about Ingrid’s work. August 15th and the next installment of The Slayer Saga will be here before we know it, and yet I still can’t wait!

Happy reading, everyone!

It’s July 15th!

As the title of this post, your calender, your phone, and whatever other time-telling device may tell you, today is July 15th! The Ides of July is a particularly exciting day for me, because it means that the next installment of The Slayer Saga, Heartless, will be released exactly one month from now! I can’t wait!

…well, actually, I can, because there’s still a boatload of work to do, but it’s exciting to know that we’re getting closer to unleashing the next book on the world. Next week, I hope to post my Cover Reveal, so you can all ooh and ahh over the wonderful work of my fantastic cover artist Ingrid Pomeroy and maybe, if you’re awesome, share it with your friends. Today, however, I have one matter of business to attend regard the book and eventual release.

I would like to do a little bit of an informal “Blog Tour” following the release, August 16th and onward, dependent on the number of interest parties. Basically, I’m wondering if anyone would like to take a day in August to sort of feature the book, whether it’s just providing the cover with a link, saying a few things about it, doing an author interview, character interview, whatever grand scheme might enter your mind, to help spread the word about Heartless and The Slayer Saga series. It would be nice to link through the previous and upcoming blogs, too, though it might not be wholly necessary. If you’re interested in featuring me and the book for a day, just let me know and I’ll hit you up and we can figure out what to pursue and when to post and all that lovely stuff.

As we all know, word of mouth is easily the best form of marketing at our disposal. Any help I can get in spreading the word about the book is fantastic, and I’d really love the opportunity to work with some of you on spreading the love. So, hit me up, let me know, and, in the meantime, happy reading, everyone!

An Author Among Us.

So, a strange thing has been happening at work lately. A very small frenzy seems to have started up about my books. Now, last year, a few of my coworkers expressed interest in reading Soulless and Bowlful of Bunnies, and so I got them copies, and that was kind of that for a while.

My part-time is working as a barista in a coffee shop in a local grocery store chain (Chicagoan, guess which one!), and my boyfriend works in the deli, and we’re on the smaller side for this chain, so there’s a lot of chit-chat and friendly relations between the departments, especially in the area with the cafe/hot foods/deli sections. A lot of the basic, “So what’re your plans for the weekend? What are you going to do on your day off?” With Heartless“s release right around the corner, my reply has been a slightly timid chirp of, “I’ll be working! My book’s coming out in August, so I have a lot of work to do.”

So one them decides to buy Soulless, especially since the next book coming out and she wants to start a new series to read. And then someone in the cheese department checks it out because he’s always asking me about it. And now I have to try to remember to bring in three copies on Monday because of requests, I have someone talking about how much they enjoyed it to everyone else, someone saying everyone should check it out because it’s good even though I have “a real sick mind” (lol), even someone saying I better not die before I get the third book out or else they’ll be really mad.

And I’m all, “Holy crap, where did this come from?” It’s freaking awesome, and it just makes my little heart go pitter-patter thinking people are actually enjoying the books and wanting more, but it’s just so weird. Good weird. But definitely weird. These are people I see a few times a week in a capacity that has nothing to do with my writing and everything to do with paying my bills, their coworkers, colleagues, and, in a few cases, superiors, but they’re also fans. Fans that I know on a face-to-face basis, fans I know by their first names, fans who see me regularly to remind me that I better get working on producing more stuff.

Mind. Blown. When I watched the latest season of Orange is the New Black a few weeks ago, I remember chuckling a little wistfully at Crazy Eyes’s stories going around the prison and how surreal and strange and terrifying and awesome that might feel, and now it’s almost as if something similar is actually happening. It can be really overwhelming, too, as flattering and encouraging as it is, because as much as I inwardly love the attention, I still feel a little embarrassed and shy, which I worry comes off as rude or pompous, which might alienate the very people who might be essential to my success. I also wonder if it’s a little weird for them, too, like, if they do enjoy my work, then they’re all, “It’s weird that this person has written something I like so much” because most readers don’t personally know the authors they like. Or if they don’t like it and they don’t want to hurt my feelings! I’m sure there’s a little of that, too. It just reminds me of what my ex-roommate’s dad said after BoB was released, “It’s just weird thinking that you wrote it, you know?”

I know some writers like to completely separate their writerly lives from their personal lives, but writing has always been such an integral part of who I am that I could never manage that. It’s also weird when you’ve been striving for something for so long, and, all of a sudden, your hard work is getting some traction and it’s not just all putting things out there with no response. It’s actually putting things out there and going somewhere, which is thrilling and exciting and daunting and amazing.

So, in conclusion, excuse me for a moment while I hide over there and make small excited squealing noises and wring my hands a lot.

Anyone else experienced anything like this before? How did you manage to overcome the anxiety that goes along with it, if you had any? How do you go from having no success to suddenly embracing success (even if it’s just a little success) without it driving you crazy?

But I like you.

So this showed up on my Facebook feed the other day, and the feels, they are REAL.

Not only is there an adorable drawing of a kitty cat, but it rather succinctly sums up a part of my personality that has always driven me crazy. I am quite possibly the worst person when it comes to keeping in touch, keeping tabs, keeping up appearances. It’s a handicap that could prove fatal in the world of independent publishing, too, because there’s so much emphasis on putting yourself out there, following up, so on and so forth. Does this mean I’m doomed to failure? Hopefully not. I’m getting better, though it comes in valleys and peaks…One strong week of getting out there and cavorting with my fellow writers and readers, followed by the long stretches of retreating to my own little bubble.

But I’m an outgoing brand of introvert, meaning that I really do love talking to people and engaging, but I often get overwhelmed by the interactions, and that stress drives me deeper into the mode of isolation. And I put thing off because I can’t “deal with it” at that moment, and then I feel bad for ignoring someone or something, and I feel so bad about it that I’d rather avoid dealing with it all together. So somethings fall by the wayside, and I can’t even talk to the person because I feel so bad for being the flightiest person in the world.

Definitely a conundrum. And definitely a good reason why I have to invest in an agent eventually, probably. But for now, I’m just going to tut along as best I can, try to be better, and just keep forging forward, even if I’m doing it in the complete opposite direction of effective, feeling incredible comfort in the fact that there’s at least one other person out there who understands what it feels like.

Get Hype.

What does this rickety old train car given over to the power of Nature have to do with the month of July? Everything.

You see, July is the month when I buckle down and finish my manuscript for the next book in The Slayer Saga to prepare it for publication in August. I’m finishing up things with my brilliant cover artist Ingrid, I’m comparing my final beta-reader notes to my current draft, and, in a week or so, I’ll be starting that wonderful things call formatting that sometimes makes me want to throw my laptop out the window. And, yes, this battered old train car is an image that I feel ties in very closely with Heartless, but you’ll have to wait until August to find out how.

Another key component to wrapping up a book is the marketing, babbling about it to anyone who will listen to build up that momentum to get people interested in checking it out. Of course, I know those of you who have already read the first book, Soulless, will be eager to dive into the next one, but it’s also a good opportunity to check out the first book before the second one arrives. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how they don’t like starting a series that’s unfinished because they hate the waiting, and the series won’t be finished entirely until next August, but, hey, two books to read in one year before the third and final one isn’t so bad, right?

So, basically, I’m brushing off the dust from this blog yet again to tell everyone to GET HYPE. Heartless is coming soon, and you’ll want to hop on this train, because it’ll be a better ride than if you jumped on that rickety train up there. This begins a month of Heartless, of cover reveals and snippets of text, of sharing and social media and one heck of a good story heading your way in less than 40 days. Get hype. Get Heartless.

“The First Line” is now available!

I am very, very pleased to announce that the issue of The First Line (Summer 2015) with my story “Laura and Ollie” is currently available for purchase and perusal. It’s a really cool journal with one basic guideline: Whatever you write, it has to start with the given first line, so that everything starts the same, but, after that, the stories are just as varied and diverse as the authors themselves. This editions line was “Laura liked to think she was honest with herself; it was everyone else she lied to.” I’m really looking forward to seeing the other interpretations once my contributor’s copies arrive!

The next issue’s line is “The old neighborhood was nearly unrecognizable.” and the deadline is August 1st, so I highly recommend giving it a try and submitting. I’ve really enjoyed my interactions with them so far, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re a paying market, too!

In other publication news, I’m also excited to announce that, this morning, I received an acceptance for my flash fiction “Eden” to appear in the upcoming volume of Cake & Grapes. Three so far this year alone! Feels pretty good, especially after so long of just rejection after rejection. Oh, there’s still plenty of rejection, but it’s nice to know that sometimes, your shots do manage to hit the target.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t met my selling goal for this month, which is making me a little nervous. So, if you get the chance to spread the love, I’d really appreciate it! All I need is one sale of either World Unknown Review, The Slayer Saga: Soulless, or Bowlful of Bunnies, so any help would be lovely.

Oh, and we’ve added Bianca Gainswellow and Caitlyn Battarack to the Aryneth A-to-Z on Tumblr, so feel free to give those ladies some love, too.