New Short Story! Roaring Twenties Fantasy Adventure!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve published anything, though I’ve been getting more disciplined with my writing habits. I finished this short story months ago–even had it edited and revised and everything–but for some reason I just hadn’t pulled the trigger yet. Why are us writers and artists sometimes so reluctant to share our beautiful and finished projects with the world?

The answer to that is, I think, long and complicated and the subject for a different blog post. But anyway, I finally did click “upload” and “publish” on Amazon, so here we are: a brand new short story in my decopunk Roaring 20s historical fantasy series! I’m currently writing the first actual novel of this series, but this story should give readers a little more insight into my character and her world before the novel is ready. Click the link to buy and enjoy! Continue reading

My Favorite Writerly Moments of 2019

Instead of writing a new year’s post about my writing goals for the coming year, I decided to reflect for a moment about the year I just finished. On a non-writing front, 2019 was an odd year for me (mostly personal stuff), and I had some financial difficulties, but all in all it was a good year. I didn’t get nearly as much written as I’d planned at the beginning of the year, but even a little progress is good, so I’ve decided to focus on that. And so, on that note, here are some of my writerly highlights from the past year:

Favorite Book of 2019

Since the dieselpunk historical fantasy novel I’m writing has elements of a mystery story, I’ve started reading some mysteries. My favorite read was Silent Murders by Mary Miley, the second book in a mystery series set in the 1920s. I read the first book, as well, and enjoyed it, but the second book was the better of the two. I have the third book sitting on my book shelf, so I’ll be reading that this year. Continue reading

My Favorite Christmas Books

Christmas is my favorite holiday – it always has been. I love everything about it – whether it’s decorating the tree, wrapping gifts, or just eating candy canes. And reading Christmas books has always been part of the holiday for me. I know that I have read way more Christmas books than are listed here, but these are not only some of my favorites, but they’re also books that I still own.

My Christmas Treasury

I think this was my all-time favorite book (Christmas-themed or otherwise) when I was about five. I distinctly remember asking my mom or dad to read it to me Every. Single. Night. I’m sure they were sick of it, but I loved it. It’s a fun collection of Christmas stories, poems, and artwork, all Little Golden Book style. Continue reading

The Right Way to Write

So many blogs, books, and classes these days tell you how to write. Some offer craft of writing education, others (like mine), offer tips and ideas for genre-specific works. For example, I’ve offered advice from my own learning and writing experience about inventing fantasy words for your epic fantasy or sci-fi story, or researching for and writing historical fiction.

But a bigger, and perhaps more important, question is this: is there a right (and thusly, wrong) way to write? My answer is both yes and no.

First of all, in fiction writing, there are some basics that yes, you need to get right if you’re going to have a marketable (or even readable) book. Stuff like coherent plot, characters, and basic grammar and spelling really do matter. Studying writing crafts books, taking seminars from established writers, and just plain old reading well-written books are great ways to learn how to write right.

But what about the more abstract elements of writing “right”? Does that even mean? Continue reading

How to Write Historical Fiction

For those who don’t know, I am currently writing – and reading – historical fiction. To be specific, I’m currently writing in the historical fiction sub-genre of historical fantasy, retro-futuristic science fiction, or dieselpunk.

One of the key elements of writing historical fiction and its various relatives is, of course, research. And as any writer knows, the very act of doing research can often inspire other ideas – which can be great if you’re just at the start of putting together a book, but can also derail you from a good work in progress.

But anyway, let’s say that you’re wanting to try out the historical fiction genre. Where do you begin? As with most any writing, I believe good historical fiction writing comes from reading books in that genre. Also, most historical fiction writers have a love of history – whether it be a love of a certain place or time in history, or a broader love of anything that is old. So if you love history, how do you start writing a fictional story? Continue reading

The Value of a Writing Retreat

A few weeks ago I took a four-day writing retreat with the members of my monthly writing critique group. Last year we’d decided to try a retreat, and loved it so much that we did it again this year.

We booked a 6-bedroom cabin at a retreat center in a nearby town, and spent four days just writing. Yes, we did other things, too – went for walks or a swim, got together for meals and a movie every evening, and chatted here and there about our writing projects. We all get along really well, and even though we’re all writing different things in different genres, we enjoy talking about writing and even helping one another with brainstorming ideas.

A scenic view near our writing cabin.

Continue reading