Tag: Evolved

Summer 2014 goal review

Every year, I set goals for myself, and every quarter, I review my progress. This review will be very sad, because I currently work full-time, have a part-time internship, and take a couple classes in addition to writing and sleeping and eating when I get a chance.

1. Finish my third novel, tentatively titled On the Other Side, which will be a steampunk political thriller because, well, why not.

Same as in April: this hasn’t happened, and is nowhere close to happening any time soon. And actually, polishing my next novel, A Handful of Wishes, is taking longer than expected, so its release date has been pushed back to next April.

2. Write and submit at least one new short story every month.

I’m currently 2/6 for submissions. And one of those publications closed since I submitted. But on the plus side, I have a huge long list of story ideas that I’m slowly plodding through.

3.Get a short story collection ready for publication (not including The Futility of Loving a Soldier, which will be out this fall from Evolved – hopefully).

I have an idea for a themed anthology, kind of in the vein of Not My Thing, and I’m slowly working on some of them. Again, no time to write.

4. Self-publish at least two long short stories through my publisher.

My publisher, Evolved, released “Not My Thing” in April. It’s free everywhere, and currently #3 on Amazon’s list of literary short stories.

5. Read 100 books.

I haven’t read anything for about a month. According to Goodreads, I’m currently at 33 books – 16 behind.

6. Learn a new language – either Spanish, Tamil, Arabic, or Icelandic – to the point I can carry on a basic conversation in it.

Slowly but surely, I’m conquering Spanish. I’m able to read the Spanish billboards around town (although I think that’s more from knowing French than any Spanish I’ve learned). But I’ll get there!

If you’ve set goals for yourself, how’re they going so far this year?

Review: The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky by David Litwack

Daughter3DLast summer, I had a guest post by David Litwack, author of Along the Watchtower and There Comes a Prophet. He’s since signed with my publisher, Evolved Publishing, and his latest novel, The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky, is releasing today. I received a review copy through Novel Publicity Events.

After centuries of religiously motivated war, the world has been split in two. Now the Blessed Lands are ruled by pure faith, while in the Republic, reason is the guiding light—two different realms, kept apart and at peace by a treaty and an ocean.

A mysterious nine-year-old from the Blessed Lands sails into the lives of a couple in the Republic, claiming to be the Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. Is she a troubled child longing to return home, or a powerful prophet sent to unravel the fabric of the Republic? The answer will change the lives of all she meets… and perhaps their world as well.

This book fit in well with his previous two; There Comes a Prophet is a post-apocalyptic world ruled by an authoritative government set on controlling all aspects of its citizens’ lives, and Along the Watchtower is a blend of our world and a Dungeons and Dragons-esque fantasy world. The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky is set in a world similar to ours, except for a sharp divide between reason and religion.

All these books center on the main characters leaving the familiar to fight against the status quo because that’s what they believe is morally best. For this latest book, Litwack skillfully portrays each side – atheists and believers – as both good and bad. After finishing the book, the reader is left seeing that neither side is entirely right or wrong. Personally, I come down pretty hard on one side of that debate, and so I’ve been thinking about this book for the past few days – is it okay to maintain neutrality in a situation like this? Whether you agree with Litwack’s characters’ views on this matter or not, the important thing is, this book will get you thinking.

The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky is available now through Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can learn more about the author, David Litwack, on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

And, of course, there are goodies to sign up for!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Weekend Writing Warriors 4/13/14 #WeWriWa

Not My Thing coverThis week continues with the story from last week, “Not My Thing,” which was just released as a free short ebook by Evolved Publishing.

When The Dancing Freemasons embark on their first major tour, Jeff’s dreams of being a rockstar have come true – until he can no longer connect with the music. One night after a show, he meets a woman who might be the one to get the music flowing again, but is the cost worth it?

For the last few scenes, Jeff’s been awkwardly chatting with that woman, and finally worked up the courage to ask her to grab a bite to eat.

“Give me your hand,” he says.

 

Her eyes narrow, but she complies.

 

He traces the veins on her wrist. “This, in here… your blood flowing through your body tells a song, a story for anyone who takes the time to listen.” He taps her smooth skin, playing out a drum beat he’s been working on. “For me it’s all about finding that song, that story, and translating it into something that other people can understand and connect with.”

 

“You probably say that to all your groupies.”

 

“Groupies aren’t my thing.”

Get the whole thing free at Smashwords or Barnes and Noble, and help make it free at Amazon too by reporting a lower price.

And as always, post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

Weekend Writing Warriors 3/9/14 #WeWriWa

This week continues with the story from last week, “Not My Thing,” which will be released as a free short ebook by Evolved Publishing either later this month or early April.

Jeff is a drummer out on his first major tour, playing small clubs across the Midwest, but he’s come down with a bad case of writer’s (musician’s?) block and can’t get the songs to come out right.

Last week he met a girl in an alley after a show. It was a bit awkward.

A smile twitches across her lip. The vodka has begun flowing through Jeff’s veins, tamping his inhibitions; he feels encouraged to keep talking to her, but he can’t think of anything clever or funny to say, and he hates using the whole band thing as a pick-up line.

 

“So…” she says, hugging her arms around her body and shivering just a bit.

 

“Want my jacket?”

 

“I shouldn’t.”

 

“I don’t have cooties.” Who even says that anymore? She’s going to leave; he’s sure of it.

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

Weekend Writing Warriors 3/2/14 #WeWriWa

New month, new story. This time I’m pulling from a short story, “Not My Thing,” that’ll be released free from Evolved Publishing sometime in the near future.

Jeff is a drummer out on his first major tour, playing small clubs across the Midwest, but he’s come down with a bad case of writer’s (musician’s?) block and can’t get the songs to come out right.

In this excerpt, he’s just played a set and is in an alley outside the venue, where he meets a local woman.

He nods at her and says, “S’up.”
“Hey,” she says as she stares straight ahead, as if aware she shouldn’t be talking to strange guys in dark alleys.

 

“Want a light?”

 

Still staring ahead, she says, “I don’t smoke.”

 

“Me neither.”

 

She turns her head slightly, probably sizing him up. “But you offered me a light.”

 

“Then it’s a good thing you didn’t accept.”

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

I may be feeling a little overwhelmed

At my university, you don’t have to pay extra for any credits beyond 9 semester hours. Free classes, right? So, in the spirit of insanity, I’m taking 5 classes this semester (although one’s about to end and another start, so it’s just 4 at the same time).

And then I got a full-time job (which I love; although it’s in a field that makes my soul kind of heart I get to play in databases all day) that has mandatory overtime half the year.

And I have family obligations.

Oh, and writing – I’ve decided to go through my publisher, Evolved, for the short story collection I’ve been trying to release for the past year, and it should be released this summer. And I’m trying to finish polishing my next novel, A Handful of Wishes, which will hopefully be released in December.

A fellow grad student tonight, in a similar overload position, described herself tonight as “whelmed,” to which I responded:

How do you keep from being overwhelmed?

2013 Book Round Up

2013readingchallengelogoOne of my goals for 2013 was to read 100 books. While I didn’t quite make it (72), that’s still pretty impressive. Here’s a breakdown of what I read:

  • 11 were either kids or young adult; the rest were adult.
  • 9 were nonfiction and the rest were fiction.
  • 20 were single short stories (yes, I realize it’s cheating to include those), and 12 were short story anthologies.
  • I know the authors of 27 of the books; 8 of them are also with my publisher, Evolved.
  • Only 16 were books that randomly caught my eye on a library shelf or website; the rest were either recommended or written by someone I know.
  • 17 were by Lindsay Buroker.

Best books I read in 2012:

  • Lindsay Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge series (7 books, plus some short stories): A steampunk/fantasy series about assassins and intrigue that’s really just a lot of fun. Plus the first one is free.
  • Butter by Erin Jade Lange (who’s originally from my hometown, but I don’t know her – although I found out that she’s an ex-girlfriend of my high school best friend’s husband): a YA book about an obese kid who gains popularity when he announces his plans to kill himself live on the internet
  • Strange Pilgrims: a book of short stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

If you challenged yourself to read a set number of books in 2013, how did you end up doing?  What were your favorites?  Anything you particularly disliked?

Resolutions: 2013 review and 2014 goals

2013

Last year, I set some goals for myself.

  1. Publish my novel, The Lone Wolf.
    Yes! It was just released by Evolved Publishing in December. As of right now, it has a 4.6 star rating on Amazon, from 5 reviews. And a reader told me it made her cry. So, score.
  2. Average a short story acceptance each month, with the majority of them in paying markets.
    No. I had one acceptance this year, probably because I crapped out on submissions after about March.
  3. Put out a short story collection.
    Yes! I released Us, Together: A Short Story Collection in June. It’s 6 stories about the problems teenagers face, from relationships and unplanned pregnancy, to absent parents and poverty, loosely based on stories and students I encountered while teaching at-risk kids.
  4. Get another novel ready to query.
    Kind of. Evolved is scheduled to publish A Handful of Wishes in December 2014, which means I should probably get it all shined up soon.
  5. Read 100 books this year.
    No. I read 72, which isn’t bad considering I was also working and going to grad school and writing and wasting a ton of time on the internet.
  6. Kayak the entire length of the Hennepin Canal.
    No. The closest I came was looking at kayaks at Scheels.

2014

  1. Finish my third novel, tentatively titled On the Other Side, which will be a steampunk political thriller because, well, why not.
  2. Write and submit at least one new short story every month.
  3. Get a short story collection ready for publication (not including The Futility of Loving a Soldier, which will be out this summer from Evolved). Maybe the stories about India I wrote on my trip?
  4. Self-publish at least two long short stories. I have half a dozen in the works; it’s just a matter of finishing them.
  5. Read 100 books.
  6. Learn a new language – either Spanish, Tamil, Arabic, or Icelandic – to the point I can carry on a basic conversation in it.

Ideally, I’ll have something new coming out every 3-4 months, in addition to more published short stories which will later be compiled into a collection. I think this is doable, but it’ll require massively-focused time management skills that I seem to be lacking.

What are your goals for 2013?

And the winners are…

I just finished up a big contest to celebrate launch week, giving away two signed print copies and 3 ebook copies of my novel, The Lone Wolf. The results are in:

Print winners: Naomi and Sarah

Ebook winners: Heather, Heidi, and Becky

Congrats to the winners! And thanks so much to everyone who participated – now that you’re connected to my updates somehow, you’ll have a competitive edge the next time a contest roles around. :)

If you’d like to get even more insight and prizes, consider joining the Evolved Publishing Street Team. In return for spreading the word about EP, you get sneak peaks on upcoming novels, special giveaways, and the ear of your favorite writers. Win-win all around!

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