How is it April already??
Every 3 months, I review my annual goals. Here’s my progress so far this year.
- Publish to Medium at least weekly and Patreon monthly.
So far I should be at 13 or Medium stories, and 4 Patreon stories. I’m at 5 Medium stories and 0 Patreon stories. Although to be fair, I currently have 0 patrons, so I’m not really that motivated to post any stories there. No excuse though for Medium.
- Finish my novella series.
I’m in the final revision stages of book 1, Captive and the Cursed, and have book 2, Sleeping Shamans, about half written. If I can keep up the pace of writing a book every couple months, I’ll be on track to have this done in a year or so. We know I won’t stay on track, but it’s nice to currently be on schedule.
- Increase my networking.
I’ve been reading and clapping for about 20-30 Medium stories a week and commenting on quite a few of the blogs I follow as they write new posts. Most of my comments have been on fellow writers’ blogs, so I need to expand to industry people too.
- Read 100 books.
I’m at 27 right now, which is 2 ahead of schedule. I haven’t read much nonfiction yet, but I have been trying to read more than just US/Western authors.
- Keep going with my trauma-informed care/school social work writing.
This has not happened. At all.
- Have more adventures.
This has also not really happened, sadly. My son and I went to Detroit for a few days, but I wouldn’t really call that an adventure, even though I could probably spin it that way if I mention, completely without context, that he held a human brain and we dug around in a cemetery. I’d planned to go to Florida or Carhenge over spring break but my car needs a new radiator and I decided to be responsible and fix it rather than go on a trip. I probably won’t have time for an adventure until this summer, when hopefully I’ll have an epic one.
Mostly I’m not meeting my goals right now because I have too much free time, and I tend to waste it on YouTube videos or just not being productive since I think I have all the time in the world. Fortunately my writing group is keeping me focused and accountable, at least for my series!
Not on my goals this year but something I DID accomplish – a new short story collection! Going in Circles: Vol 1 contains 10 connected very short stories that were originally published on Medium. If you’re not a member of that site, you can pick up a copy of the collection at Amazon.
If you’ve set goals for yourself, what are they? How are you doing with them?
I’ve been posting a lot of stuff on Medium over the past year or so, from short stories to preview chapters of a novel I’m working on. A lot of the stuff I’ve posted has been members-only (since I like getting paid for what I write).
I know a lot of people aren’t paying Medium members, so I’ve put together a short collection of some of my related stories for nonmembers to read.
Going in Circles Vol 1: 10 Very Short Stories is about 6 connected people:
- Reggie, who is the son of Carly and Mark from Yours to Keep or Throw Aside (bet you didn’t see that one coming!) and will be one of the main protagonists, opposite Aida and Zoe, whenever I get around to writing its sequel
- Stella, Reggie’s girlfriend
- Curtis, Reggie’s best friend
- Rana, Curtis’s sister
- Big Ed, Rana’s boyfriend
- The Fox, the villain of my current WIP novel, Waylaid on the Road to Nowhere
So yes, that means that Yours to Keep or Throw Aside and Waylaid on the Road to Nowhere are set in the same universe, although they’re both standalone novels and only connected by these short stories.
Anyways, if you haven’t already read these stories on Medium, please check out this compilation. It also has the first chapter of Waylaid (which you can also read on Medium, if you have a membership, along with several other chapters of the book).
And go ahead and read Yours to Keep or Throw Aside, too, if you haven’t already.
Let me know in the comments below what you think about crossovers and shared universes, and whether you have any predictions about that sequel.
After – well, let’s just say a while – I have a couple new releases!
The first is an audiobook of The Futility of Loving a Soldier, narrated by Maria Kelly. She has a beautiful Irish lilt that makes the eleven short stories a joy to listen to.
Get your copy at Amazon/Audible or iTunes.
The second release is a paperback of “A Place to Die.” I wanted to have print copies on hand for an upcoming book fair event thing but didn’t get them ordered in time. However, you can still get your copy at Amazon. And don’t forget, you can read the story for free if you sign up to my mailing list.
If you’re wanting actual new stories, I’ve been posting pretty regularly over on Medium. I’m also nearly done with the first draft of the first book in a new series, which is retellings of fairy tales but with Vikings and no magic. My writing group is loving the first book – the MC was described as “wonderfully prickly” – and they’ve been pushing me to finish. I’m hoping to have the first one out by Christmas, with more to follow over the next year.
I also started a Patreon account. One of the tiers includes access to a new story every month. Please consider supporting me – just $1 will give me that extra push to actually write each month!
Thanks for your support!
Eight years ago, in 2009, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I came out of it with a really crappy novel and a renewed love of fiction writing – it had been over a decade since I’d done any creative writing. Although my first novel will never see the light of day without massive rewrites, I’ve built up quite a collection of short stories that are ready to be released into the world. Some have been published in various online and print journals and anthologies, while others have been compiled into collections on their own.
But I still have a lot of stories that are just languishing in the cloud. While I intend to release them in collections some day, when I have enough to combine into a decent offering, I want to be able to get them out NOW. I’ve been too busy with grad school over the past few years to focus on submitting them to publications, so I was glad when I found out about Medium as a platform.
Medium is a website that delivers your work to potentially millions of readers. I’ve set up an account, where every week or two I plan to publish something new. I already have a handful of stories that you can read.
I also plan to publish articles and guides related to my career passions – trauma-informed care, education, and research. I’m hoping my fiction readers aren’t too turned off by this stuff, but I don’t feel like maintaining two accounts so you’ll just have to learn while being entertained.
Please, if you have a chance, follow me on Medium and read the new stories I have to offer!
This week’s excerpt is from “Us, Together,” the first story in my short story collection of the same name.
Jake and Andrea are two high schoolers with a bit of a problem, to put it mildly.
* * * * * * * * * * *
There are lots of words nobody wants to say or hear during sex, but I think the two syllables I’d just uttered were at the top of the list.
“What do you mean, ‘uh-oh’?” Andrea asked as I eased my sweaty body off hers. We were in our usual spot, parked halfway down an abandoned driveway off Route 12, scrunched into the back of my beat-up Impala; several weeks ago when we’d first come here we’d tried doing it on a blanket in the grass, but I got too nervous thinking about a cop or somebody coming along and had what I euphemistically called performance anxiety.
“I think it broke, Andrea,” I said as I reached down and fumbled between my legs. “Shit.”
“Yeah, I always do with you.”
* * * * * * * * * * *
Read more in Us, Together, then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.
I have a new book of short stories, The Futility of Loving a Soldier, available now from Evolved Publishing!
The Futility of Loving a Soldier is a collection of eleven short stories about the effects of combat on relationships with military friends and family. Moving between why we love our troops to why we hate them, The Futility of Loving a Soldier demonstrates that we wouldn’t want lives without them.
Today’s excerpt is from “A Wedding,” which is my favorite story in the collection. Eli and Abby were best friends growing up and haven’t really talked in nearly ten years – Abby went to college and Eli enlisted. Now they’re both back in their small hometown where everyone feels like commenting on their lives.
“So, Abby, did you hear that the Hicks boy is getting married this month?” she asked as she placed a couple frozen pizzas on the belt.
I nodded and reached for the bar to separate our orders.
“Jamie Linn is just a doll, ain’t she? They’re so happy together,” the gray-haired woman said, straining to lift a two-liter Diet Coke from her cart, “ and Eli deserves some happiness after all he’s been through, bless him.”
I bit my lip and swallowed the lump in my throat.
“You and him was so close growing up, we expected y’all to get married someday.”
The lump grew with each of the woman’s words.
“But that was before he came back ” – her voice dropped to a false whisper – “like that.”
Read more about Abby and Eli, and the other soldiers in this collection, by getting your copy at Amazon for just $2.99. Then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.
And while you’re at Amazon, get a free copy of my latest short story, “Not My Thing.”
I have a new book of short stories, The Futility of Loving a Soldier, coming out December 1st from Evolved Publishing.
The Futility of Loving a Soldier is a collection of eleven short stories about the effects of combat on relationships with military friends and family. Moving between why we love our soldiers to why we hate them, The Futility of Loving a Soldier demonstrates that we wouldn’t want lives without them.
Today’s excerpt is from “Burger Run,” about two friends sneaking out for a late-night snack the summer after their high school graduation. Eli has enlisted in the Army, and Abby is headed to college.
Eli cut the engine, handed me a burger, then took one for himself. I unwrapped it slowly, focusing on the patterns the grease made on the paper. I took a bite, even though I wasn’t that hungry. Beside me, Eli stared straight ahead, the burger on his lap untouched.
“Eli?” Usually he’d inhaled at least an entire burger before I even had mine out of the bag.
“What if they make me kill someone, Rabbit?” His voice was so quiet I had to strain to hear him.
Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.
And make sure to get a copy of my latest short story, “Not My Thing,” free at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.
It’s summer in the Midwest, which means it’s either record flooding or record drought (although last year, we managed to get both). The Mississippi is once again out of its banks and causing havoc, so in honor of that I’m posting from my short story “Of Gods and Floods,” about two kids dealing with flooding near their homes in Cairo, Illinois. I think I’ve posted this before, but it’s fun and appropriate, and probably one of my favorite parts of the story.
“Ritchie,” Granddaddy would say to me every year, “let this be a lesson to you; who created the world?”
“God did, Granddaddy.”
“And who floods it?”
“Well, my teacher said it ain’t nobody’s fault, just the snow melting up in Minnesota with no other place to go.”
“Your teacher’s an idjit.” He paused, sucked on his teeth, then continued, “Mother Nature floods us in Cairo, and you know why?”
Of course I knew why, but I didn’t want to ruin his story, so I said, “No, why?”
“Cuz no matter if’n it be a woman on Earth or a woman in Heaven, she gonna do what she can to make her man look a fool!”
Read the rest of the story in my collection “Us, Together,” just $.99 at Amazon. Then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website. And make sure you get a copy of my short story, “Not My Thing.” It’s currently free at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon (where it’s currently in the top 5 for free literary short stories!).
For June, I’m pulling from my horror/paranormal universe stories. This week, it’s from a still untitled story about Sara from “Tim and Sara” and Alec from “The Kindness of Strangers.” It takes place before either of those stories.
In this scene, Sara is talking to her twin brother Levi, who kind of takes care of her, about her new job.
“Work is going great,” Sara gushed.
“Great for you, or great for a normal person?”
Sara ignored me and continued, “The best thing is that I met a guy and we’re going to have a baby.”
My fork clattered onto my plate; I was used to the crazy stuff she said, but this was out there, even for her. “A baby?”
“That’s the only logical thing when you love someone, and I am nothing if not logical.”
“It’s not my fault you don’t understand logic, Levi.”
Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website. And make sure you get a copy of my short story, “Not My Thing.” It’s currently free at Smashwords and Barnes and Noble (Amazon is still dragging their feet with the permafree thing, but you can get a Kindle version at Smashwords).
It finally appears we’re getting spring this year after all. To commemorate the warmer weather, green grass, and chance for outdoor activities not requiring mittens, this week’s excerpt is from a short story, “Man of the House,” that’s in my collection Us, Together.
For eight-year-old Jerry, Sunday, May 17th, 1987, started as a day just like any other, with church in the morning followed by an afternoon on the couch watching baseball with Dad. Mom kept popping her head in from the kitchen to complain about the beer, the cigarettes, the TV being so goddamn loud and didn’t he realize the baby was trying to sleep?
Of course Dad must have realized it, sitting there hunched over, rubbing his temples and downing can after can of Budweiser. Good American beer for a good American man, he always said. When Jerry was older he was never able to drink the stuff himself, told everyone it tasted like crap but really the taste brought back memories that made him cry.
But that day in May, that Sunday, Jerry wasn’t crying. He was eight years old, bouncing on the couch, rooting for the Cubbies. Asking Dad if he saw that play, if he thought it could’ve gone another way, if that ump was crazy, and Dad just sat there on the couch, drinking beer after beer, not answering.
Read the rest of the story, and five others about kids trying to cope with what life throws at them, in Us, Together, just $.99 at Amazon.
And then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.