Character Introduction: Lucynda Moseman

Howdy, howdy!  A friend recently tweeted about the fact that many writers have an idea of what the main characters in their WIPs look like and he asked for pictures or GIFs.  It made me realize that out of all my stories (shorts, novellas, and novels), I had only come up with character images for one story.  My supernatural/paranormal cozy mystery characters all have pictures associated with them, which I would reference as I was writing the first draft because the cast is large enough that I needed reminders.  Now, that novel is tucked away until I finish revising another one, but I thought I would introduce you to its main cast of characters.  First up, the protagonist: Lucynda “Cyn” Moseman.

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Yes, that’s Cody Horn.

Lucynda (30) is the owner of Dreamscapes, Dallas’s first and only host club.  It was always her dream to own some kind of club, but she never expected it to be one where most of the employees were vampires.  Thanks to her prolonged exposure to her number one host and roomie, Jyou, she’s not particularly susceptible to certain charms the vampires use to get their way.  And she’s not afraid to remind them of the rules everyone agreed upon when they came to work for her, the most important of which is “no biting the customers.”

Originally from Marfa, Cyn got out of there as fast as she could when she turned 18.  She keeps her past to herself.  So much so that even Jyou only knows bits and pieces.  However, her bestie, Cerise “Cherry” Wapachee, grew up with her and followed Cyn all the way to Dallas (not that she’d ever admit that was the reason).  Their friendship is the only non-familial connection to Marfa that Cyn maintains.

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Of course a full body shot was needed.

Quiet, sarcastic, and a natural people reader are some of the best ways to describe Cyn.  She has a weird ability to pair new guests with their ideal hosts and she’s an outgoing, friendly face that helps club customers feel at home.  But outside the club, Cyn likes to mind her own business and keep to herself, which makes being dragged into a murder investigation pretty damn awkward.  She’s a reluctant participant who winds up getting deeper and deeper into the investigation, but she doesn’t let her trepidation stop her from rising to the challenge no matter how badly she thinks it will end.

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But let’s do it anyway!

That’s Lucynda Moseman at the moment.  Do you have any characters you would like to introduce to me?  Are you the type who gathers images and creates character sheets to get to know your characters?  Or do you just wing it like I usually do and hope they seem like real people?  Feel free to share any tips about character development, characters, or general comments here or on my social media pages!  Come back next week to meet Detective Alexsandro Reyes.

She’s a Pisser, All Right…

Hello, hello!  How is your month going?  Things are about the same as usual around here.  Writing is a struggle, submissions are on schedule, reading is being accomplished, and I’m slowly getting into my new hobby of crocheting (we’ll see how far I can get with it).  But I have nothing writerly to talk about, so I thought I would formally introduce you to the dog we got on Christmas.  You’ve seen pictures of her if you’ve been stalking me, but it’s time to let you know all her dirty little secrets.

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On Christmas, Dad’s friend and the friend’s woman-friend brought over two Pomeranians, husband and wife.  The woman had inherited them from her dead husband who had inherited them from a friend who had passed away.  Due to the hours she works, she didn’t have enough time to dedicate to properly caring for the dogs, so Dad’s friend suggested us as potential pupper parents.  Unfortunately, they neglected to mention that the boy dog had congestive heart failure (claiming repeatedly that he just had a cough and was always lethargic like that) and didn’t bring his medicine until the next day, so he passed away.  It was a bit traumatic for Dad (especially since the dog died in his lap while he was trying to give it its medicine) and I, but the girl dog stuck around.

Her name is Lady.  For the record, we didn’t name her, not that it really matters since she doesn’t seem to know her name anyway.  She answers to “Hey!” more than anything.  I tend to call her Fuzzybutt, but Dad thinks she should be named “Rocks” since she’s about as smart as a box of ’em.  She doesn’t know any commands and doesn’t seem keen to learn any.  But aside from being on the dumb side, she is the happiest dog ever!  Always prancing around like she deserves ALL the treats.  She demands cuddles and pets, but she won’t kiss for them.  As long as you’re touching her, she’s your friend for life.

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Pretty much.

She’s a great dog.  Super sweet.  She goes outside to poop.  The only problem is that she pees wherever she wants, which is usually in the house.  Dad even installed a doggy door for her, but it makes no difference.  In the beginning, we assumed it was her bedwetting problems, which she has medicine for but refuses to take recently.  Apparently, she just likes peeing on soft things.  The sofa, clean laundry, pillows, our beds, her bed.  It’s weird.  And it’s like she holds it all day or night just so she can soak things down.  She’s just doing it out of spite, because it seems to get worse when we leave her alone for a few hours (like to go get dinner).  She’ll be fine while we’re gone, then she’ll soak her bed or a pillow or something after we’ve been home a while.  Suggestions for how to break this habit are welcome.  Everything on the Interwebz starts with “put her bed there because she won’t pee where she sleeps!”  But I call bullshit, because she most certainly does.

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And they do.

Other than the peeing thing, she’s such a good pupper (she’s 8, but all dogs are puppers).  The vet and staff love her.  The groomer loves her.  We love her, but shhhhh… don’t tell her that.

Summer Reading List

Hello, hello!  It’s already the first day of May.  Can you believe it?  And even though it’s not technically summer, we’re starting to warm up around here, so I’ve been thinking about what to sit outside (at least until we hit the triple digits, then I’ll probably stay inside) and read.  Do you have your summer reading list ready?  I thought I would go ahead and share mine.  These are just my “for fun” books, not the ones I plan to review.  Also, the list is a work in progress, so I might add some or replace some.  Nothing is concrete, but these are all part of my current plan.

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Anyway, here are the books in no particular order!

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1. A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman, Rafael AlbuquerqueRafael Scavone, and Dave Stewart.  It’s been a while since I’ve read a graphic novel, so this should be a fun read.  Not to mention that it’s a Lovecraftian Sherlock Holmes story with Gaiman at the helm, so it’s right up my alley.

From the back: This supernatural mystery set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos features a brilliant detective and his partner as they try to solve a horrific murder.

The complex investigation takes the Baker Street investigators from the slums of Whitechapel all the way to the Queen’s Palace as they attempt to find the answers to this bizarre murder of cosmic horror!

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2. Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse.  It’s the second in The Sixth World series and I’ve been looking forward to it since I read and reviewed the first book.  Can’t wait to see what Maggie and Kai get up to this time!

From Amazon: It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a girl with a strange clan power.

Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai’s a true believer, but Maggie suspects there’s more to Kai’s new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, then rescue Kai and make things right between them.

Her search leads her beyond the Walls of Dinétah and straight into the horrors of the Big Water world outside. With the aid of a motley collection of allies, Maggie must battle body harvesters, newborn casino gods and, ultimately, the White Locust himself. But the cult leader is nothing like she suspected, and Kai might not need rescuing after all. When the full scope of the White Locust’s plans are revealed, Maggie’s burgeoning trust in her friends, and herself, will be pushed to the breaking point, and not everyone will survive.

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3. Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien.  This is the third book in the A Noodle Shop Mystery series, of which I reviewed the first.  It’s a cute little cozy series and I really enjoy the characters even if the mysteries have been a little predictable so far.

From Amazon: Lana Lee’s stake in her family’s Chinese restaurant is higher than ever now that she’s been made manager. So when she enters Ho-Lee into Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest, Lana makes it her business to win—at all costs. But when a local food critic receives a threatening note in a fortune cookie and is later found dead, face-down in a bowl of lo mein, all bets are off. . .

Now, along with her sweet-and-sour boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana decides to take matters into her own hands and dig into the lives of everyone involved in the contest. But when she receives an ill-fated fortune, Lana realizes that in order to save the reputation of her restaurant, she needs to save herself first. . .

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4. Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert.  This one is also the third cozy in a series (A Blue Ridge Library Mystery) where I reviewed the first one.  I really don’t know why I keep coming back to this series except that I find the love interest and side characters amusing, but I will give it another shot.

From Amazon: Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first—but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire. 

The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished—or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy. 

When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events—and a dead body lying nearby—an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth in Past Due for Murder, Victoria Gilbert’s third charming Blue Ridge Library mystery.

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5. Finding Baba Yaga by Jane Yolen.  Ever since I read Briar Rose, I’ve been meaning to look into more of Yolen’s work.  This seemed like a good opportunity for a quick read by an awesome author.

From Amazon: A young woman discovers the power to speak up and take control of her fate—a theme that has never been more timely than it is now…

You think you know this story.
You do not.

A harsh, controlling father. A quiescent mother. A house that feels like anything but a home. Natasha gathers the strength to leave, and comes upon a little house in the wood: A house that walks about on chicken feet and is inhabited by a fairy tale witch. In finding Baba Yaga, Natasha finds her voice, her power, herself

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6. A Hero Born: Legends of the Condor Heroes 1 by Jin Yong (translated by Anna Holmwood).  A friend sent me this one a few months ago and I haven’t had a chance to dig into it yet, so I’m looking forward to it.

From Amazon: China: 1200 A.D. The Song Empire has been invaded by its warlike Jurchen neighbours from the north. Half its territory and its historic capital lie in enemy hands; the peasants toil under the burden of the annual tribute demanded by the victors. Meanwhile, on the Mongolian steppe, a disparate nation of great warriors is about to be united by a warlord whose name will endure for eternity: Genghis Khan. Guo Jing, son of a murdered Song patriot, grew up with Genghis Khan’s army. He is humble, loyal, perhaps not altogether wise, and is fated from birth to one day confront an opponent who is the opposite of him in every way: privileged, cunning and flawlessly trained in the martial arts. Guided by his faithful shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing must return to China – to the Garden of the Drunken Immortals in Jiaxing – to fulfil his destiny. But in a divided land riven by war and betrayal, his courage and his loyalties will be tested at every turn.

That’s my list so far!  Plus, I plan to read a poem every day starting today.  Recommendations for books or poetry are always welcome.  Feel free to share your own summer reading lists here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on the PIECES OF ME Duet

Howdy, howdy!  It’s the last Wednesday of April!  Can you believe it?  Time sure flies, I guess.  Anyway, it’s time for another book review!  Actually, this month is a little different because I’m reviewing two books at once.  My friend, Danielle Rose, has a duet coming out on May 14th, so I decided to see if I could get some Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of the books.  Thanks to NetGalley and Waterhouse Press, I did just that.  The duet is called Pieces of Me and it’s comprised of Lies We Keep and Truth We Bear.  They are contemporary romances, so they’re not my usual reads, but I knew that going in.  I thought you should know as well.  Anyway, as usual, I have to thank NetGalley and Waterhouse for allowing me access to the ARCs in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  Let’s get on with it!

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The covers are pretty!

The Pieces of Me duet is centered around famous author, Jezebel Tate, and her bodyguard, James Blakely, as their relationship blooms from “just sex” into full blown love.  Lies We Keep is told from Jezebel’s perspective and follows her as she hires Blakely to protect her from her stalker.  Along the way, she has to confront her past and accept that she isn’t to blame for her parents’ deaths.  Truth We Bear is told in Blakely’s perspective and follows him as he and his past chase each other into a head-on collision.  He has to learn the same lesson as Jezebel, but under completely different circumstances.

Let’s talk plots.  The whole of the stories are vastly different, but both books are pretty similar if you boil them down to their bones.  Both Jezebel and Blakely have to deal with stalkers while they sort out issues revolving around the deaths of their folks.  Plus, they have to find time to cram in lots of steamy sex (a requirement of the romance genre, so don’t pretend you didn’t know it was coming).  Granted, Jezebel’s journey to resolving her issues is more internal and psychological while Blakely actually gets to confront people from his past, but still similar.  I enjoyed the parallels.

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The characters were interesting and mostly fleshed out.  Jezebel vacillates between a strong woman who knows what she wants and takes it and an insecure woman who feels that only a big strong man can save her.  It’s annoying at times, but not out of the realm of believability.  Blakely is basically your average stoic dom on the outside with a bunch of weird insecurities inside (I say weird because I didn’t understand why he was worried about her leaving him over what happened when he was a kid).  Tara, the literary agent, was a neat character that I felt could have been used more.  As far as the bad people go, I felt like Jezebel’s stalker could have shown up earlier and played a bigger part.  He seemed a little like an afterthought.  I really liked Blakely’s stalker, though.  Her development was quick, but nicely done.  And lastly, the pastor (Blakely’s actual bad guy) was a bit flat.

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I laughed every time a lip was bit.

The writing is crisp and flows well.  It makes for a quick read.  There are some gestures that became repetitive.  Distractingly so.  Lots of bit lips and bobbing Adam’s apples and clenched jaws, especially in the first book.  But to be fair, this happens in every romance I read, so I guess it’s a genre thing.  But what I really liked was that they’re written to work as both a duet and standalone novels, so even if you only read one, you get the pleasure of a satisfying ending.

Ultimately, both books in the Pieces of Me duet were fun and I’m glad I read them.  It’s good to get outside of my comfort zone once in a while.

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Overall, I gave both books 4 out of 5 stars.   The issues I had with them are minor and seem fairly common in the genre.  If you like romance and lots of random sex, these are definitely worth a look.

More Shameless Self Promotion

Hello, hello!  How is everyone doing this wonderful day?  I just realized it’s National Poetry Month and what better way to celebrate than to announce my latest publication?  My poem, “Dear God,” was released on Monday in Breath and Shadow’s Spring ’19 issue.  So, I thought I would take a moment to update you on this and on how Road Kill: Texas Horror by Texas Writers Vol. 3 is doing.

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Couldn’t find one with a writer instead of the skier.

First, the new one!  “Dear God” is a piece I shared on here a few years ago, so if it seems familiar, that’s why.  However, the version posted on Breath and Shadow has been edited into a more streamlined piece.  It was originally written while I was an undergrad taking an Intro to Poetry Writing class with professor Jennifer Key.  One of our assignments was to write a poem speaking to God.  Many of the students wrote extremely happy and/or vague poems, so it was a little weird when it came time to read mine.  But I’m glad I read it to the class and I’m proud that this newest version is out in the world.

A little bit about Breath and Shadow.  It’s a quarterly journal out of Maine that focuses strictly on disabled writers, no matter the disability.  It’s a wonderful publication that gives a voice to a vast group that often goes unheard.  Normally, I keep my disability to myself when I’m submitting my work because I don’t want to be a publication’s token cripple or fodder for inspiration porn, but Breath and Shadow is a place where I didn’t have to worry about any of that.  Why?  Because all of the editors and staff have their own disabilities, as well as all of the contributors.  It’s simply a neat journal that publishes awesome writing by people who happen to be disabled.  Check it out.

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Inspiration porn, BUT there’re also adorable puppers.  I’ll let it slide.

And lastly, an update on Road Kill vol. 3.  It recently won the North Texas Book Festival Book Award!  I’m super proud to be in a collection with such a wonderful group of writers.  Thank you once again to E.R. Bills for putting it together.  If you haven’t checked it out, visit the link at the beginning of this post and consider picking up a copy.  It’s available as a paperback and a Kindle ebook.

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Wootwoot!

I’m wrapping this up a little quicker than usual, since I’m sure you’re tired of my shamelessness.  I’ll be back next week with a special book review of a duet (two reviews for the price of one)!  In the mean time, feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or recent accomplishments here or on my social media pages.

Hobbies Are Important I Guess…

Howdy, howdy!  I’ve kind of been in a funk for a long time.  None of the things that used to excite me (anime, manga, even music) have held much interest for me.  While I was sick, I even stopped playing my mindless games for a few weeks.  The only thing I’ve been consistently doing is reading, and that hasn’t really drawn me in either.  I read a chapter or two at a time, then get bored no matter whether I’m enjoying the book or not.  And I think we all know (if you’ve been following my blog) that my writing schedule has been super inconsistent.  So, I decided to try finding some kind of hobby that might interest me.

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Apathetic, not sad.  Thank you very much.

While we were running errands on Friday, Dad and I stopped by Hobby Lobby for some yarn for a project he’s doing in the pond.  As he was searching for a certain type of yarn in green, I looked around the aisle just for the fun of it.  I like yarn and random crafts.  I used to love cross-stitching.  But I don’t do anything like that anymore because I have a stupidly limited range of motion and can’t get my hands close enough together to manipulate everything that needs manipulating.  It’s the same reason I stopped playing video games.

Anyway, when I was younger, I had tried crocheting.  I never finished anything and have no idea why I stopped, but I never started back up because the hooks were all too short for me to reach with both hands.  Needless to say, I was surprised to see a few hooks that were super long hanging above the normal crochet hooks at Hobby Lobby.  After much internal debate, I decided to get one and a skein of multi-colored yarn.  Actually, Dad got them for me (thanks, again!).

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This is going to be more fun than I thought.

A lot of writers I know seem to knit or crochet or have similar hobbies, so when I saw that hook (which is apparently a Tunisian/Afghan hook designed for a special type of crocheting, but can be used like a regular hook) I figured I could give it a shot.  Granted, I remember absolutely nothing from my earlier attempts at the craft, so all I’ve been doing thus far is research, but I feel that little tug of excitement that I’ve been missing.  I have a project picked out (and approved of by a friend who crochets as something a beginner can handle).  I’ve been watching videos of how to do the chain and single crochet, as well as how to sew the project together when I reach that point.  All I’m missing is a yarn or tapestry needle, but I won’t need that until I get the crocheting done.  I hope to start on that part soon.

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Me: “Wish me luck?” Also me: “Nope.”

What about you?  Do you have a particular hobby (or two, three, forty)?  What drew you to it?  Are you currently looking for a hobby or learning a new one?  Feel free to share your thoughts or comments or questions here or on my social media pages!

P.S. If I succeed at my first project, I’ll make sure to post pictures!  If I fail, I’ll probably just let this whole thing fade into oblivion with no further mention.

It’s In The Bag…

Hello, hello!  Hoppy April!  Yes, I did the corny bunny joke since Easter is coming up later this month and I’ll probably forget about it that week.  Anyway, I had zero ideas what to blog about today, so I went to this post and convinced myself I would do the third thing on the list (because it’s the 3rd).  It seems pretty silly to me, but apparently people believe that what people carry around in their bags (purses, backpacks, fanny packs, whatever) can tell you a lot about them.  You probably won’t learn anything about me, but if you do, feel free to share it with me!

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Pretty.

First off, I don’t have a bag or purse or anything extravagant like that.  I have a pouch that Dad bought me from Thatcher’s Leather Artistry during one of our long ago trips to the Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival.  It’s small enough to tuck it away for short trips out of the house and, if we’re going to be out for the day, there’s a little loop on the back so we can hang it on my seatbelt where I don’t have to worry about it falling off somewhere.  It’s durable.  I can’t even remember how long I’ve had it and it’s still going strong.  But most importantly, it has a dragon on it and I love it.

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Be jealous. ^__~

As far as the stuff that goes in it, there isn’t much.  I keep a handful of my own business cards that I always forget about, thus never giving them away.  There were originally ten of the new ones and I’m pretty sure there still are.  I also have at least one of my old cards as well.  Plus a bunch of other people’s business cards that I collected along the way, though those get purged about once a year, whenever they get unruly.  There’s also a library card that I haven’t used in years and some other random cards.  But, of course, I always forget to toss the gift cards I’ve accumulated in there, so I never have one during my rare stops at Starshmucks or whatever.

There’s also a little baggy of pills hidden in its depths.  Don’t get excited, pouch thieves.  It’s just Dad’s diabetes pills in case we’re out for our first meal of the day and he hasn’t taken his meds yet.  Anyone who steals those won’t get high, but they might end up in a low sugar coma!  I suppose that could be fun.  But yeah, that’s in there.

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It’s a nifty little thing.

I also got this little card holder thing recently.  It holds the few semi-important things I have: my ID, etc.  If the sigil makes no sense, it’s from Supernatural, so don’t worry about it.  I mostly just got it because it was on sale and the colors match my pouch.

Other than that, I don’t keep anything in my pouch.  Not even change.  I might drop a lipstick in on the extremely rare occasion that I wear makeup and we’re going to be out all day, but that’s a once every five years thing.  What about you?  What does your bag say about you?  What does mine say about me?  Whatever it is, it’s probably wrong.  Feel free to comment here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on SEA WITCH

Howdy, howdy!  Due to the random sicknesses of the past couple of months, I forgot to request a book from NetGalley for March.  Luckily, I had a book on my to-be-read list that I’ve been looking for an excuse to read ever since it came out in July of last year.  My love of mermaids automatically drew me towards Sea Witch by Sarah Henning.  The fact that it sounded like a new take on the Little Mermaid (my favorite fairy tale) sealed the deal.  I had to read it.  But that’s enough of why I chose it, let’s get to the review.

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I love the cover.

Sarah Henning’s Sea Witch tells the story Evie, a peasant and a witch, who not only has to hide her power, but also has to put up with the townsfolk accusing her of not knowing her place just because she’s best friends with the prince (Nik) and close to his cousin (Iker), another prince.  When her other best friend, Anna, was taken by the sea, Evie’s whole life fell apart until she thrust herself into studying magic.  Evie and Nik never stopped mourning Anna, but when a mysterious stranger who resembles their dead friend appears, Evie finds herself a purpose: keeping her new friend on land.  Unfortunately, Evie has no idea what kind of magic it will take, nor does she understand the repercussions until it’s too late.

This isn’t some Disney-ified version of the tale with replicas of Ariel and Ursula and Erik.  These characters are mostly well-developed and have a nice balance between light and dark within them.  However, I do admit that Iker and Nik could have used a bit more personality.  Nik was an ideal prince through and through.  I wanted him to be a little selfish and at least make his desires known.  Iker, on the other hand, is a stereotypical playboy prince who turns his back on Evie when he thinks she’s a threat to him and his family.

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For some reason, Iker reminded me of this.  “Love me Evie! … from afar.”

As far as the plot goes, I have some issues with the reasoning behind Annemette’s whole revenge thing.  I just don’t believe someone who was always best friends with these people would blame them like that.  But I’ll say it was because of her lack of a soul.  I’m sure that would corrupt people and make them do weird things.  But other than that, I have no real qualms with the book.  In fact, I’m really happy the story didn’t take the happy ending route where friendship conquers everything.  That would’ve been far too sappy a climax and not a fitting tribute to the original Little Mermaid.

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Because we’re talking about writing next.

The writing is mostly smooth and enjoyable.  Most of the romance between Evie and Iker comes off as corny and more funny than I think it was supposed to, but I got a good chuckle out of it.  I also admit that a couple of the past sections confused me.  At one point, I’m not entirely sure if Iker or Nik is the main character for one of those parts.  It’s easy enough to figure it out after the fact, but during it, I was super confuzzled.

Ultimately, I’m glad I found this book.  A friend actually pointed out that a second one is coming out this year.  I will definitely be picking it up to see what Evie is up to next.

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Overall, I gave Sea Witch four out of five stars.  If you love mermaids or witches or both, this book is a worthy addition to your library.  Bonus points if you’re into fairy tale retellings!

Keeping Track

Hello, hello!  Thanks to my friend and fellow Stonecoast alum, Tony PisculliI actually have something halfway productive to talk about today.  After my last post, he asked me how I keep track of my submissions and gave me a couple of ideas for how to improve on it.  So, I’m going to ramble a bit about three options for keeping track of the things you submit and where you submit them.  The first two options are things I currently do, but the third is one that I hope to implement in the near future.

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As one should.

1. Duotrope.  This is a nifty website that offers a searchable database of magazines and anthologies looking for submissions.  It keeps track of acceptance rates and a bunch of other useful tidbits like what word count and genres these places accept.  Its information is fairly accurate, but always check the submission guidelines of each venue before you submit, just in case.  One of its main features is the ability to track what you’ve submitted where.  It’s currently my go-to way of keeping track of everything, but it is flawed in that some smaller venues aren’t listed, so I need a backup way of tracking those.  But for $50 a year, it’s a great tool for writers to invest in.

2. File names.  I learned a long time ago to use the date, the story title, and the name of the publication when I’m saving my work for submission.  Labeling the file something like 2019.03.20_story_publication keeps everything in a neat chronological order.  However, the more submissions you make, the more unruly this method becomes.  One thing Tony suggested to help improve this was to give each story its own folder, that way everything isn’t mixed together and it’s easier to scan through and see where you’ve submitted individual stories.  I plan on giving this a shot before I send out too many more submissions.

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3. Spreadsheets.  This is something I’ve been meaning to create for a while now, but I keep putting it off because it’s going to take at least a couple of days.  It has been a long time since I’ve made any kind of in-depth spreadsheet for anything, so I’ll have to teach myself all the ins and outs of it again.  But I would love to not only track where I’ve sent things, but where I want to send them in the future and when.  It’s difficult to keep track of which venues have open submission periods.  I’ve almost missed a number of windows because I didn’t write it down anywhere.  Plus, a spreadsheet would allow me to personalize the information I keep track of, like which venues encourage me to submit again or random encouraging words for a particular story to look at when I’m considering trunking something.  When I do get around to creating a spreadsheet, I’ll make sure to give you all a glimpse!

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Sure…

What about you?  How do you keep track of your submissions?  Do you have any tips or tricks to share?  Have you ever considered a spreadsheet?  What kind of information would you include if you created your own tracker?  Feel free to comment here or on my social media profiles!

Revised Goals

Howdy, howdy!  It’s mid-March, and as many of you know, I’ve been sick most of the year thus far.  I don’t want to jinx it, so I won’t say that I’m definitely better, but I think I’m on the right track.  Anyway, I thought I would take this week’s post easy and revise my goals for the year since everything is screwed up.  I’ll try to post something writerly or personal or worth reading next week.  Suggestions for topics or questions are always welcome.  For now, let’s get to it.

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This has been me for a while now.

So, yeah. Goals: revised.

1. Finish revising LR1.  I was hoping to get this done by early April, but that’s not happening.  All I’ve managed to do with this story is figure out I forgot to swap some scenes around as I was going through it.  So, I’m hoping I can get it done by late June or early July.  At least I’ll know where to start when I can dig back into this one!

2. Begin revising DS1.  I was hoping to get this novel polished up by the end of the year, but with all the work it needs, that’s a tall order.  I’ll be happy if I can get through a second draft and end up with something vaguely readable by the end of the year.  There’s always next year if I need more time.

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That’s also the secret to finishing second drafts!

3. Submit short stories/flash pieces (at least 2 subs a week).  I admit that I fell a few weeks behind on this while I was sick, but I did take a day to send a bunch out in order to catch up.  Now, I’m back to doing it regularly, so this is one goal that gets to stay the same.

4. Write 5 short stories/flash pieces.  I highly doubt I’ll get the story I wanted to get done by the end of March finished.  However, I still believe that five new short pieces is a reasonable goal.  It’s less than one per month.  Maybe I’ll also add some poetry, but I can decide that later.

5. Shop LR around to agents.  Still hoping to meet this goal.  If I can get it revised by July, I don’t see why this isn’t something I could accomplish.  It’s not like I’m saying I want to get it published or anything.  That’s more of a five year plan goal.

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6. Read 25 books.  This was originally 30 books, but I’ve lost a lot of time and don’t know if I can make it up.  I’m a slow reader.  But I’ve still got a long list of to-be-read books!

I should also throw it out there that I need to socialize more and write to people and take care of my health.  Hopefully, I can do all that plus get to everything on my list.  What about you?  Do you have any goals you need to rework this year?  Feel free to comment here or on my social media pages!