Writing Update: A Starred Review for Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem!

The current pandemic has me working a lot and reading a lot (expect more reviews as soon as I have time to get them up!), but I’m popping in briefly to share that the upcoming anthology I have a story in, Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly!

Click here to read the review on the Publisher’s Weekly site

Note: The cover inside the review is wrong, the actual gorgeous cover of the anthology is below.

I’m really excited to be part of this project alongside some fantastic authors and looking forward to sharing more details about how you can purchase a copy as we get closer to the summer release!

Writing Updates: Winter’s Cry to Be Reprinted in May and Some Personal News

In the midst of all this Coronavirus craziness, I haven’t had time to update my blog at all – and definitely not with the bright spot of news I recently received!

My short story, “Winter’s Cry,” is being republished by The Magazine of History and Fiction in May! It was previously published by The Copperfield Review in 2012.

“Winter’s Cry” is a short story set in the mountains of Colorado in the winter of 1890. Short on cash to fund his upcoming wedding, a young man accepts a position as a ranch hand. But as an unusually harsh winter descends, his friendship with the owner’s young daughter is put to the test when wolves close in on the ranch.

In other writing news, I’ve finished two new short stories since the beginning of the year. I have one more I’m working on then I’ll start writing my next book. Looking forward to starting a new big project!

And in personal news, I have an announcement…I got engaged in February!

My fiancee surprised me at home after we went downtown to celebrate a late Valentine’s Day! We are planning on a wedding in 2021.

 

Cover Reveal: Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem Anthology

Before Christmas I shared that the story I’d submitted to the Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem Anthology had been accepted! Today I’m excited to share the cover of the anthology which will be released this summer!

The anthology was developed for the Publishing MA at Western Colorado University and is being published by WordFire Press. Edited by Kevin J. Anderson, it includes new stories from Jonathan Maberry, Fran Wilde, Rick Wilber, David Gerrold, Steve Rasnic Tem, and others…including me! The anthology is expected to be out in July 2020. I am looking forward to the release and am delighted that my short story, “Hyde Park,” will be included!

Writing Updates: “Hyde Park” Short Story Sold, Publication Expected July 2020

In my last writing update, I mentioned I wrote and finished a short story two days before the Halloween deadline for an anthology. Well that story, “Hyde Park,” is now sold!

Apparently there were over four hundred entries for the Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem anthology and just twenty-two made the final cut! I’m honored to have made it all the way to the end with my story and can’t wait to check out all the other pieces in the finished anthology.

Here’s my original pitch for the story:

Doctor Faustus meets The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde in “Hyde Park”, a story about a young writer-director who’s keeping a monstrous secret about his overnight Hollywood success.

Executive edited by Kevin J. Anderson with an editorial team provided by Western Colorado University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Publishing MA students, the anthology will be published by WordFire Press. Expected publication for Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem is July 2020.

 

Writing Update: Rainbow Bookshelves, Audio Books, and More

I’ve needed to do something about my book shelf situation at home for about two years Problem was, I really liked the bookshelf I had, really liked my living room set up, and didn’t want to just get rid of a perfectly good bookshelf (or perfectly good books). So I kept piling all the new books on the floor near the book shelf, telling myself I’d figure this out once I got a little time. Except that never happened and months became years.

We recently hired someone to come clean our house every three weeks (it’s every bit as worth it as everyone tells you it is) and I realized that I really had to figure out this problem because there’s a whole corner of the house that was super dusty and full of cobwebs that she couldn’t clean because of the precarious book stacks. Not to mention our cats love to sit in the window since the shade broke and they had to jump over the books to get there.

I polled a few friends with all the ideas I’d been kicking around, but it was the Boyfriend who sealed the deal when he suggested we just move the existing book shelf into his room. I loved that idea because it handled my conflicted feelings of getting rid of something that was still great and usable by repurposing it to a different area of the house.

Last weekend, the long-awaited project finally got under way. I forgot to take a true “before” picture, but the books that are on the floor in front of the shelf, are actually the overflow books that have been sitting on the floor forever. So you can kind of imagine how bad this situation had gotten. I had books on those two shelves as well as along the top.

Keep scrolling to see the final product!

Before I started the project, I’d a found a picture of a rainbow book shelf and showed it to my friend, fellow writer, and book worm, Kristin Luna. She suggested I go for it since I was redoing everything anyway. I’ve always loved the look of a rainbow book shelf and wanted to do one “someday.” But I hadn’t thought seriously about doing it this time around. Again, I polled some friends and then asked the Boyfriend if he minded that I created a giant rainbow in our living room. Bless him, he said he didn’t care at all.

I am absolutely in love with how the finished product came out. I want to tweak a few things about the decor, but I love this effect and it makes my heart so happy seeing it every day.

Now on to the writing updates! Cursed Collectibles is now available as an audio book! You can buy it here from Amazon or if you do an Audible trial, it’s actually free! If you want a little preview of the collection, when you join my email list, you get a free download of the recording of my story, “The Garden Party.”

I finished another short story around Halloween for a themed anthology two days before the deadline and sent it in because you miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take. Also YOLO. I heard there were over four hundred submissions to this anthology so I’m not hoping for much as I literally stayed up to midnight writing it, but I’m pretty proud of myself for getting two stories written and submitted to things with actual deadlines this fall.

This month, I haven’t written anything as I’ve been busy with client projects and prepping them for the holiday season/end of the year. I have an outline for one more short story I want to write before I start writing my new book and I’m actually more excited about this short story than the other two I finished. Overall, I’ve been super, super antsy to get back to writing so hopefully I’ll manage to carve out some time in the middle of the holiday madness to get that done.

 

Writing Updates: Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

After last month’s writing update, I officially started the process of querying agents. And I forgot how much the querying process SUCKS. You basically send out a letter to decide the fate of your baby to someone you’ve never met and then spend literally weeks and months waiting around for the response to drop like a thunderbolt from the sky to either ruin or make your day. Not fun.

So far I have one rejection with the other agents yet to reply. To quote Jack Johnson, just sitting, waiting, wishing.

This will probably be the end of the updates about Shadow for a long while as everything will move glacially from here on out. So to tide you over I put the playlist of songs I wrote the book to up on Spotify. Enjoy!

As I mentioned in this post, Cursed Collectibles: An Anthology is out now! The paperback and Kindle versions are available, with the audio book to come. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, click here to buy. Also if you’d like me to sign a copy for you, I would love that! You may even get cute pictures like these with your request:

One of my barn buddies asked me to sign some copies for her to give as gifts so of course I had to get Pia and Escobar in on the action. As you can see, Escobar thought about eating the book and Pia was completely unenthused. And in the name of authenticity on the internet, I hope you appreciate the raw, realness of these pictures. No makeup, hair in disarray, one leg inexplicably dirtier than the other. Definitely not an IG riding model posting my #ROTD.

I also officially have an Amazon author page! Feelin’ legit now. Click here to check it out in all its glory.

This month I wrote and submitted a new short story to a contest. Fingers crossed on that one. I challenged myself a little bit with the writing so I’m hoping it pays off.

I also found a few more places to shop around a story I’ve been trying to find a home for so I’m waiting to hear back on that, too. So much sitting, waiting, wishing going on around here!

Finally, if you haven’t signed up for my email list, you’ll want to do that here! I have a surprise I’ll be sending out in the next month or so to all of my subscribers!

Cursed Collectibles: An Anthology is Available Now

It’s officially Spooktober and what better way to celebrate than with a new collection of spooky stories?!

Cursed Collectibles is officially available through Amazon! The Kindle version is available now, with print and audiobook versions to come in the next couple weeks.

Click here to purchase Cursed Collectibles: An Anthology for Kindle 

Cursed-Collectibles-Anthology-Shannon-Fox-The-Garden-Party2

Spend an afternoon antiquing and it’s not hard to figure out why picking has become one of America’s fondest pastimes. It’s treasure hunting while connecting with history. But what if those treasures hunt us back?

From old books, to vinyl records, antique mirrors, vintage figurines, or a Bob’s Big Boy piggy bank, curses have no limits.

Featuring stories from D.J. Butler, Joy Auburn, Martin L. Shoemaker, Jessica Guernsey, John D. Payne, Jen Bair, Karen Pellett, Steve Ruskin, Tanya Hales, Lauren Lang, Frank Morin, Mike Jack Stoumbous, Kelly Lynn Colby, Jace Killan, Jo Schneider, Gama Ray Martinez, Martin Greening, Chris Abela, A.J. Mayall, Heidi A. Wilde, Shannon Fox, Lauryn Christopher, and Mark Leslie.

Edited by Angela Eschler

Cover art by Novae Caelum

And audiobook narrated by Shaun Smith and Hillary Andrus Straga

All proceeds from the sale of this anthology go to benefit the Don Hodge Scholarship fund. This scholarship helps aspiring authors attend Superstars Writing Seminars. Click here to learn more about the scholarship.

 

Cursed Collectibles Anthology to Be Released October 1st

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I’m so excited to share I have a story coming out in the Cursed Collectibles anthology and it’ll be available for purchase on October 1st – just in time for Halloween!

The story I have in this anthology, entitled “The Garden Party” is actually one I wrote way back when I was going to UCSD – and then rewrote and submitted for this! I love the theme, the cover art, and can’t wait to read/hear the rest of the stories. Thanks for all the hard work Jace Killan!

Authors with stories in the Cursed Collectibles anthology are Dave Butler, Mark Leslie Lefebvre, Joy Johnson, Martin L. Shoemaker, Gama Martinez, Mike Jack S, Lyn Worthen, Shannon Fox, Karen Pellett, Jessica Springer Guernsey, Jennifer Blair, Steve Ruskin, Tanya Hales, Frank Morin, Lauren Lang, Jo Ann Schneider Stringer, Kelly Lynn Colby, Heidi Andrus Wilde, Adric Mayall, Chris Abela, Martin E Greening, John David Payne

Edited by Angela Eschler

Cover art by Novae Caelum

And audiobook narrated by Shaun Smith and Hillary Andrus Straga

All profits from the sale of this anthology go to the Don Hodge Scholarship Fund (which is a scholarship that helps people attend Superstars Writing Seminars)

The anthology and audiobook will be available for purchase on Amazon.

 

Writing Updates: Starting the Query Process for Shadow of the Magician

This month I’m starting the agent querying process for Shadow of the Magician. I got feedback from most of my beta readers back and made all my changes to the manuscript from there. I also finished doing the grammar line edits so I feel like this is a solid, clean draft. I’m now at the point where anything else I might do it just feels like picking at it to procrastinate on moving on. I still have a few readers I haven’t heard back from yet, but unless I get some significantly new and different comments, I’m done with this for now.

So next stop: try to find an agent for it! I’m going to the Fallbrook Writer’s Conference on Sunday where I’ll have the opportunity to pitch it to one of the agents there. I also have a few other agents that are my on first round query short list so I’m working on creating all the submission documents I’m going to need.

If you’re not familiar with the agenting process, all agents represent different kinds of projects so it’s important to spend time researching agents so you approach the right people. They also have their own submission criteria of things they want you to send to them which differs from agency to agency. From there, if they like what you see, they can ask you for more pages or the whole book to read. So before you start querying, you need to have a number of things ready to go besides the full manuscript itself. Query letters, summaries, synopses…and all of differing lengths and formats too! Sometimes actually finishing the book feels like the easy part!

I’m also planning to get another short story written for another writing contest this month. Maybe even two. And I have some new edits I want to make to the flash fiction that earned me an Honorable Mention recently. Feeling more encouraged and believing I’ll find a home for it eventually.

Beyond that, I have few more short story ideas I want to write and then I’m planning to start my next book soon. I’ve had the outline done since May and am still feeling really eager to dive in with that one which is a good sign. I’m excited to see how the writing process goes on a new novel now that I can try out all the things I learned from writing Shadow. If I haven’t mentioned this before, Shadow is really special to me because it’s the book that more than anything else I’ve ever written, really taught be how to construct a story, write a book from start to finish, and also how to revise. I learned so much from the process (*cough* hell *cough*) with that one so I’m eager to see what all that learning looks like on a new book!

Writing Updates: Congratulations and Write On

Two rejections.

That’s how my July went.

I could stop here.

But this blog post is, after all, called “Congratulations and Write On.”

Clearly, there’s more.

The first rejection I received was for a short story I submitted to a themed anthology. On the whole, I thought the story was pretty good and one of the better things I’ve written recently. I did get a little feedback about it and I know it had been in the “maybe” pile after all the submissions were initially reviewed.

Still, at the time, this didn’t make me feel any better. I was actually pretty down about this one. I tend to think I’ve desensitized myself to rejection. Small, low-stakes rejections that feel impersonal – like writing rejections. Yes this one made me mopey for three days.

A few weeks after that, I remembered that I’d submitted a flash fiction I’d written last fall to a contest and needed to check and see if there were any updates.

There were.

I didn’t win.

Nor was I a finalist.

This rejection didn’t both me as much. A flash fiction is kind of a weird entity. I’d written the piece originally for a prompt I did with my writing group and after it was surprisingly well-received, I started shopping it around, not really sure if I’d find a home for it.

Still, two rejections in one month is not the best for a person’s confidence in their art.

One night I was sitting at my computer working on something when I saw I had a new email from the contest I’d been rejected from.

The subject line?

“Congratulations and Write On!”

I clicked it open, figuring it was just marketing ploy to get me to open an email about submitting again. That’s the problem with working in marketing. You see all the puppet strings.

But rather than a sales email (okay they did encourage me to submit again, too) I received the following message:

“Congratulations to you on being selected as an Honorable Mention for ‘Uncanny’ in the ___ Writing Awards. We’re so pleased at the chance to read and commend this fine work!

The quality was high, and you should be proud of your accomplishment. Although your piece won’t be published, I hope you’ll be gratified to know that as an Honorable Mention, you placed in approximately the top 8% of our entries (or, as I prefer to look at it, your piece beat out 92% of the competition).”

You can bet I was happy to get that email!

After I got up and told the boyfriend about my bit of exciting news, I started thinking: this one little email had turned my night around. And my month, too, as far as my writing was concerned. But what if I never received it?

.

.

.

I’d still be beating myself about being rejected twice in the same month. I would still be thinking that I’d failed. That my writing showed no promise whatsoever.

I’d still be missing the big picture.

One contest took the time to send me and however many others (or maybe this IS all part of a fantastic marketing ploy, in which case hat’s off to you) this email about being in the top 8% of the entries. Top 8% is not failing friends. That’s coming pretty damn close. That’s the luck of the draw. That’s subjectiveness.

Which made me think back on the other rejection. I knew that in the final anthology selection, only one story out of all the maybes had made the final cut. Mine wasn’t the one. But it didn’t mean my story was terrible. It just wasn’t as strong as some of the other submissions in the eyes of the reviewer.

That’s not failing. That’s coming pretty damn close. That’s the luck of the draw. That’s subjectiveness.

What an incredible, incredible gift perspective can be.

So yes, I got two rejections in July.

I didn’t fail.

I just didn’t win.

But I came pretty damn close.

Congratulations and write on!