Monday Morning Reset Button.

Good Monday, everyone! In a bold statement against tradition (or, perhaps just a benefit of not working a traditional M-F job), Mondays are easily my favorite day of the week. Monday’s the day when I start over, swipe clean the messy slate of the prior week, and look forward with fresh eyes and a new strategy. This week is going to be especially nice because I’m going in with four days off rather than my usual three. It’s not as nice for my paycheck (although I’ll make it up with the time-and-a-half working Labor Day next week), but I’m very excited for what it means for my reading and writing and doing things around the house.

On the writing front, I finished a story that I didn’t intend to write for On the Premise, but ended up sending it their way anyway. I’ve got two newer stories waiting in the wings to by typed up still, too, and I’ll probably finish up either the one about the literally absent-minded woman or the woman falling out of love with her childhood idea of love. I started a superhero story that will potentially be for Meerkat Press‘s “Behind the Mask” anthology. I’ll also be working on typing up some sections of Rosewood Manor to submit for an emerging writer award.

As of this morning, I’m sitting at 0 acceptances and 8 rejections since August 15th. Only two rejections this week, a big leap from the six I got last week.

Reading wise, I finished Lawrence Watt-Evans’s With a Single Spell. It was cool to read a bit of a “stand alone” fantasy (although there are other books in this world), but there was just too much about it I didn’t like. The characters felt very flat, the plot kind of rambling, and everything felt like it was right there on the surface, never digging in deeper. The writing was also really repetitive, which can be a pet peeve of mine. I started up The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (one of my absolute favorites), and I’m just in love with it already, but, then again, it’s all about a woman going to college and studying English, so it’s taking me back to my university days, like, get out of my head, geez. Brilliant, engaging, I’m a real big fan so far. I’m not really close to finishing many books at the moment, but I suspect I’ll try to devour Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove or this cool old book about Tarzan and Edgar Rice Burroughs by Robert W. Fenton that I’ve been reading.

My weight remains stagnant still, which is fine, because I haven’t been great about the whole What I Consume thing and I didn’t even get a hike in last week. I did go out to karaoke with some friends from work on Saturday and totally killed my rendition of “Don’t Stop Me Now”, if I say so myself. My boyfriend, by the way, did “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan, and it was epic.

So how’s your week shaking out? I’m really, really looking forward to the extra time off (assuming, of course, I don’t get called in, which is rare but has happened a few times this month).

Happy reading!

Interview: Max Booth III & Lori Michelle talk PMMP

This is my first time using the reblog feature on WordPress instead of just posting a link, but I just got finished reading this really great interview with Max Booth III and Lori Michelle at Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, a small press I’m paying a bit more attention to lately. I have a story in their ether there at the moment, and they’ve definitely caught my interest as a possible venue for Rosewood Manor when it gets finished. The passion and realism that these two have toward the industry is really refreshing and relatable to me as I put on my editor/publisher hat for World Unknown Review Volume III. So go ahead and check it out, if you get the chance. I found it a really great read that had my head bobbing along in agreement the whole time.

BeavistheBookhead

weblogo.pngI recently had a sit down with Max Booth III and Lori Michelle to talk about their adventures with Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing (Is this the longest named publisher in the industry?). Anyway, Max and Lori at PMMP have been grafting away since the summer of 2012 releasing a string of quality books that range from crime to horror to fantasy and pretty much everything in between. They also publish a quarterly horror fiction magazine called DARK MOON DIGEST. Issue #23 has recently been released and features 110 pages of bone-chilling horror, plus non-fiction by Jay Wilburn and an excerpt from Bob Pastorella’s excellent weird crime novella MOJO RISING. August 2nd saw the release of a horror anthology from PMMP called LOST SIGNALS. There are some great names included in this release including John C. Foster, James Newman, Mathew M. Bartlett and Damien Angelica Walters. The theme of the anthology…

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Monday Morning Reset.

My favorite day of the week is here! The prospect of new things is always an enticing thing, so I think my latest habit of a “clean slate” on Mondays is really helping to keep me motivated and excited about what I’m working on by introducing new things into the mix and hopefully finishing up on others.


The current reading line-up

Reading: As predicted, I was able to finish up The Color Purple by Alice Walker, which was really quite lovely and not at all what I expected. This week, I’m going to try to focus on finishing up Lawrence Watt-Evans little fantasy jaunt, With a Single Spell, although it ticks a lot of boxes on the List of Things that Annoy Me in Books. I’m really excited to crack into Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove for my new book this week. I’ve been itching to get at it since I bought it, especially since I remember reading the titular short story in college and thinking it was brilliant. It’ll be interesting to see if I feel the same way and what else Russell has to offer.

Writing: I don’t believe I finished any new short stories this week, which is an “oops” on my part, since I remember telling myself to make that a goal, just like finishing reading a book each week is a goal. Oh well. I’m making good progress on a few and even got over a little hump that was stagnating Fearless a bit. Looking over the body of WIPs, actually, I’m noticing a lot of novels at the moment, so those definitely aren’t going to be finished any time soon, but I’ve got about three short stories that are almost there, so I’ll have to focus on one of those this week. My new story for the week started out as a potential submission for On the Premises‘s “Darkness” themed issue, but it took a decidedly different turn as I scribbled it out this morning.

‘Rithmatic: Weight has been maintained; no up or down from last week, which isn’t too surprising. I’ve been cutting back on the late-night snacking a lot more, but I haven’t had much time for my hiking lately. Next week, I somehow scored four days off, which will be very sad for my bank account, but very awesome for my nature walks. I’ve also decided to keep better track of my submissions to acceptance ratio, inspired a little by Kim Liao’s “Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year” article on LitHub. As of August 15th, I’ve had 0 acceptances and 6 rejections. That’s practically a rejection a day, so I’m pretty much killing it.

I’ve managed to keep up the Mondays off of work thing (which I’m thinking of asking my supervisor to make an actual steady thing instead of just relying on the incredible luck of the draw I’ve been having), and today is going to be filled with grocery shopping, a little bit of a jaunt at the Salt Creek Trail, and then maybe a little bit of Final Fantasy IX. It’s going to be a great day, which will hopefully be the start of an even better week.

Monday on a Tuesday.

Since yesterday was a bit special, I chose to post about my recent lessons learned from a touch of failure instead of my weekly Monday Reset Button. Because every Monday, I try to look toward the next week with a clean slate, and I still did that. I just didn’t write about it, so I’m doing that today.

With my writing, I finished up a little piece about a man with a fear of flying and started up on a piece that I intend to finish up before the deadline for Less Than Three Press’s Heart of Steel anthology in September. I’ve just embarked on it, but I’m already in love with my main character and I think it’s just a really neat story, so I’m excited to see how it turns out.

As far as reading goes, I knocked out two books last week (The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama, which was okay, and The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which was incredible) and I’m juuuuust about finished with Alice Walker’s classic The Color Purple, but that’s probably the only one I’ll finish this week. Galápagos has gone missing. And the book I started for this week was Elizabeth Peters’s Night Train to Memphis, which is another of her Vicky Bliss novels, and I generally hate the Vicky Bliss novels, but I’m reading them anyway because I have them.

Meanwhile, while so many people talk about how they’ve lost some weight playing PokemonGo, I think I’m one of the few people gaining weight. Granted, this is period week, so the weight’s going to be a little higher, but the Slurpees the boyfriend and I have been getting before our Pokemon gathering adventures has not been helping much. Also, the oppressive humidity does not make for good hiking weather, so it’s been a fat, lazy week. I don’t have a lot of hiking time this week either, but maybe that’s for the best and I can hit it strong again next week.

How’s everyone else’s week looking? Anything exciting going on?

So where’s Fearless?

Today is a day that comes with a little twinge of guilt and disappointment for me. August 15th has been the release date for my Slayer Saga novels for the past two years, and I had every intention of bringing the final volume of the trilogy, Fearless, out at this time. I remember last year proclaiming to another author that a deadline is a deadline, and Heartless would be out on August 15th, no matter what. Naturally, I wanted to have the same attitude about Fearless that I had with the previous books. So where the heck is it?

Well, you see, there’s this thing called life that hit me pretty hard earlier this year. And, while I’m a big believer in fighting against whatever life throws at you to achieve your goals, this years brought along a very important lesson that, even with the best intentions, some things just can’t be done. The biggest issue came with the simple fact that I was unable to pay my brilliant cover artist Ingrid Pomeroy as I had for the previous covers. Now, as a part of a trilogy, consistency in the covers is paramount, so it’s not like I could just try to fudge one together cheaply myself. Besides, Ingrid’s work is something I’ll happily drop some cash on…but the problem is I didn’t have the cash. And won’t have it until next year. Add this to the fact that I was way behind on finishing the rough draft anyway, and it became clear to me that my original timeline was simply not going to work at. all. I’m now striving for August 15th, 2017.

I’m still new to this whole thing. I’m going to make mistakes, and promising a product that I couldn’t deliver is definitely a big one. But it’s okay. It’s a mistake I’m going to learn from, and hopefully one that my tiny little collection of faithful readers don’t hold against me (especially since I kind of ended Heartless on one hell of a cliffhanger). The key about making a mistake is acknowledging it and learning from it, which I’m definitely going to do, and sometimes just accepting that shit happens. As a result, my readers are going to be rewarded with a much better book than they would have gotten if I’d have stayed true to my deadline, and they deserve the best book I can give them. Even if that means kindly asking for a bit of patience and understanding and giving out a thousand apologies.

So thank you for your understanding and patience, and I really hope I make it worth your while.

An Interview with Helen Mijahlovic. [WUR 2015]

After a very long two months, I have finally had the chance to conduct my well-overdue interview with the very patient Helen Mihajlovic, whose story in last year’s World Unknown Review took us back to an old classic in a new way. And here I thought the wait for last interview was bad! Well, here it is, finally, my interview with Helen, to talk a little bit about herself and her featured story for August, “The Melancholy of Devotion.”

Who is Helen Mihajlovic?

A good person obsessed with the horror genre. I love classic horror books such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Stoker’s Dracula, and Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I love old horror films, like the 1920s silent film Nosferatu and a lot of the Hammer Horror films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Recently I have become obsessed with Hitchcock’s Psycho. My other interests include theatre, art galleries, ballet and opera.

How did you discover the World Unknown Review, and what inspired you to submit your story, “The Melancholy of Devotion”?

I think World Unknown Review is a book filled with interesting and intelligent stories. I chose my story ‘The Melancholy of Devotion’ because it is set in the 31 st century in a gothic world; the future is a world unknown to all, similar to the title of the book. Also I found the first volume of World Unknown Review intriguing after seeing it on the Internet and was honoured that my story was included in volume II.

Now Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of my favourite books of all time, which immediately endeared your story to my heart. What’s your own personal connection with that classic tale of reanimation and horror, if any?

Mary’s Shelley’s Frankenstein has had a huge impact on my writing; she’s one of my favourite writers. I love her poetic writing style. She has written a book with a great horror monster and with lots of intelligent themes. One of my favourite characters is Victor Frankenstein, he’s such a passionate, obsessed and almost mad character which makes him so interesting to read about. When I get writer’s block I always refer to her writing, it’s like a writing guide for me.

Who would play your main characters in a film version of your story?

My favourite actress Glenn Close would play Elizabeth and I like John Malkovich or Christoph Waltz as Dante. I am an independent filmmaker and would love to be the Director of the film. My horror films can be viewed online, my last short film was ‘Dominica- A Tale of Horror’, it can be described as being similar to Crimson Peak.

Tell us about the last book you read.

I read the short story ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ by Irving. It is in the anthology Chilling Ghost Short Stories. I love the warped ending. It’s an ending you don’t expect. There are too many happily ever after endings where everything is tied up with a perfect ribbon. I like it when writers do something different.

What’s next for Helen Mihajlovic?

I am currently writing a disturbing ghost story and I am working on my first horror novella.

Where might we be able find more of your work?

Many of my stories have been published with Horror Novel Review. If you google ‘Helen Mihajlovic Horror Novel Review’ you can read some of my stories for free; including ‘A Sinister Nature’ and ‘A Dark Love Story’ which has just been made into a short film.

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And that’s it for now! I’d like to thank Helen Mihajlovic for letting me pick at her brain a little bit, as well as for her unending patience with me. It was a long, bumpy road to get here, but we finally made it! So please, go do yourself a favor and read her story, “The Melancholy of Devotion,” in the Featured Story tab and consider picking up a copy of World Unknown Review Volume II to read even more great stories.

Monday Morning Reset.

Yeah, most people hate Mondays, but I guess that’s a weird benefit of working two unconventional jobs. Mondays are pretty consistently one of my days off, so I really look forward to it, especially since I’ve decided that, on Mondays, I wipe the slate clean, so to speak, and embark on a few new and creative things (in addition, of course, to my current workload, which might get a little overwhelming, but the idea is that at least some of it will get finished during the week).

Writing wise, the new piece I started in on is what I hope will be a little clever take on the idea of someone who is literally absent-minded. I got in about three pages of it today. It shouldn’t be too long of a piece, but I’m kind of excited about it. I’m also close to finishing about three other short works, and I’ve got about three in the wings waiting to be typed. Hopefully, I’ll get to one of those later today. I got a steady string of rejections this week (almost nearly one every day!), so there’s plenty of older stories to brush up and send out again, too.

Reading wise, the new book I started is Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson. So far, it seems a bit heavy on the spy fighting terrorism thing, so I’m not sure if I’ll really dig it, but I did just start it. I didn’t get a book finished last week, despite my best efforts, but I’m really, really, really close to finishing The Street of a Thousand Blossoms, The Bully Pulpit, AND The Color Purple, so I’m definitely going to be finishing one, if not all three, of those soon.

Weight wise, I gain a little weight last week, though I’m pretty sure most of it is the snack binge I went on last night after I did a bit of grocery shopping. Fair warning, Trader Joe’s Ghost Pepper Chips and Rice Cracker Medley are insanely addicting and I really need to stop buying them, but I just can’t help myself. I had a pretty good three hour walk yesterday, with another longer 10 mile walk planned for Thursday, and there might be another one day, but the boyfriend and I were going to do it together and his foot’s bothering him, so I’m not sure how far we’ll get. It’s a beautiful day so far, though, so I’m hoping we can take advantage of it.

Housekeeping wise, I finally got a full-length mirror for the entryway so that I don’t have to stand on the toilet and use the over-the-sink mirror in the bathroom to check my cute outfits, and I got a new little board for the fridge to help me keep track of my deadlines. I’m still struggling to find a good method for that.

It’s gonna be a good week. I’m back to part-time at work, giving me more time for writing and walks, and I don’t have to train the new girl anymore. Huzzah! How’s your week ahead looking?