Saturday, January 5, 2019

Happy Birthday, Upstream Writer!

Six Years!!! And what years they have been... So much writing, SO much reading, SO much agonizing over putting my thoughts into words, the ups and downs, ins and outs... Watching the hit counter go zig-zagging its way across the screen, cheering for each day that topped 100, and wondering where I went wrong when days would go by with no hits at all...

But through it all, you have supported me! Thank you! Let's celebrate with a retrospective look at some of the stats I've garnered over the last year! And then, afterward, we'll be looking ahead at what's to come for this blog!


Blog Stats:

Total Views in 2018: 17,325
Total Posts in 2018: 82
--18 Reader's Reviews

Achievements Unlocked:

Gained 50 Blogger Followers!
This was an unexpected surprise to discover at the end of this year! I had been sitting at 48 followers for so long I suppose I wondered if anybody even USED the little blue button anymore... Looks like they do! What fun!

700th Post--Flash Fiction #16

This was a fun experimental series that I enjoyed putting together, and it turns out, marks my 700th post on this blog! This installment, in particular, was very intriguing when I first saw it, but it took a considerable amount of time and really several failed attempts before I landed on a storyline I was happy with. I really wanted to do something with "Rabbit's" apparent omniscience, but couldn't figure out a decent action/breakout scene to feature it in the limited amount of time I gave myself. So there it is, in all its glory!

Another situation that I think was a bigger deal for me. Don't get me wrong, it started out great and I think a lot of people were excited, some even communicated their excitement to me... But the longer it went, the more it felt like the feedback sort of waned. But, by jingo, I finished it in grand style! It was fun to write a RPG-style story... if anybody feels like adapting it for a playable tabletop campaign, just let me know! I think there's plenty of potential there, with the diverse archetypes and the myriad ways things can go very wrong or very right!

Started and completed an original fairy tale re-telling: "The Dragon's Mark"

Huzzah! I've finally finished another one! It was originally going to be an anthology submission. The concept started with "Cinderella WITH DRAGONS" and that was it. I had a few ideas at first, and enlisted the assistance of a writer friend (Thanks Raven!) to help me decide which one, and to brainstorm how to make it work... and in the process of discussing with her, I remembered that I actually had a story that included a dragon and an ancient artifact, that could possibly work its way into the Cinderella fairytale--and it did! It was fun to set it in the Mediterranean region, rather different from the "orthodox" tendency to choose more Western Europe places like England or France. About halfway through it, I was just days away from the deadline and closing in on the word count limit, so I quickly decided that I wasn't going to submit it after all, but I was still going to finish it! And now you all can enjoy it on my blog or on Wattpad!

"Heartsong" accepted and published in an anthology

This was fun! After participating in two other anthologies, I had such a great experience that when the opportunity came up to submit to another one, I immediately checked through my stock of short stories to decide which one fit the theme that I would begin polishing. That ended up being "Heartsong", another mermaid-themed story that explored more of the "magical singing voice" concept that I invented for Ylaine in "Princess of Undersea." The way a "heartsong" works is this: Every living creature has a "heartsong" that is basically their innermost psyche, a musical interpretation of their personality, proclivity, and thought processes. A natural conclusion of this is that two creatures with complementing heartsongs will be drawn to one another. Now, a siren can hear the heartsongs of other beings, and yet only they have the ability to reproduce the heartsong they hear. When they are singing along with a creature's heartsong, the creature in question is immediately attracted to the siren. Once this connection happens, the siren then has the ability to change the heartsong ever so slightly, gaining control over the creature and bending it to her will. In my story, one siren is in the middle of drowning a victim when a second person interrupts and tries to save the intended victim. The siren cannot switch songs, so the first person survives, but when she tries to sing the heartsong of the rescuer--she cannot. The notes just won't come. She takes him prisoner until she can figure out why this happens. If you want to read the full story, you can find it in the anthology "Cracks In The Tapestry."

100th Reader's Review--Painter Place by Pamela Poole

Honestly, I think this was a bigger deal for me than it was for anyone else. I had been saving this book for my hundredth review ever since I downloaded it a while back. I had high hopes of the confetti-and-balloons type, but as it turned out, review #100 came and went relatively quietly... Here's hoping #200 fares better!

Most Popular Reader's Review: The Secret King: Letháo by Dawn Chapman
Not 100% the best book I read all year (beat out just barely by just a few others!) but I think this highlights the importance of sharing, and the key to making blog reviews worthwhile. When the author has a strong online presence, a simple review like this one can be shared, re-shared, and spread far and wide, into multiple networks that I personally don't have access to. When it's a type that relates to other books I read, I can include the title in my "Further Reading" section on other reviews, netting it even more visibility here on my blog. Thanks to all that sharing and social media presence, this review earns its slot in my Top-10-All-Time-Viewed posts, even beating out posts from the very beginning of my blog!

Reader's Reviews with +100 Views: Charon Unguarded by A. H. Johnstone, What We've Unlearned by The Writerpunk Press Group, The Secret King: Letháo by Dawn Chapman, DreamtimeDragons by The Dreamtime Fantasy Authors, and Chasing Rabbits by Erin Bedford

These books were so much fun! I'm glad they got so many views--it was worth it! Of course, the one with the most views I've already mentioned: The Secret King: Letháo was one of a couple space operas I read early in the year. It felt like reading Asimov, honestly! If Asimov decided that he was going to forgo hard sci-fi and cyberpunk for a host of deep fantasy twists, that is! 
Then, of course, there was What We've Unlearned, which was probably my FAVORITE READ OF 2018. I loved all the unique renditions of classics that I'd grown up reading, from Mark Twain to Jane Austen, and even Beowulf as you've probably never thought of it before! The Writerpunk Group is full of awesome and all of their adaptations are on point!

Speaking of anthologies, I finally got to read Dreamtime Dragons and discover exactly what I had contributed to, back in the day. My favorite story was the one I got to "peer edit" pre-publishing--Nav Logan writes like Jasper Fforde, and I am ALL HERE for that! There were a couple other stories that I absolutely loved there, too. You can read my review to find out which ones they were--and if you've seen that little bit of short story I posted a couple years ago, called "Arthur and The Egg"... That's the one I completed and submitted to this anthology! 

Chasing Rabbits was a dark, steamy kind of twist on Lewis Carroll's already-twisted Alice in Wonderland, and  Charon Unguarded pleased me exceedingly, as a unique take on "deities from multiple pantheons with real-world personas"--Kind of like a grown-up ersion of Rick Riordan's books, without the gritty darkness of Gaiman's "American Gods". Lots of great fun to be had here!

Reader's Reviews with +80 Views: Jacq of Spades and The Alcatraz Coup by Patricia Loofbourrow, Do You Trust Me? by Kelly Blanchard, and Amster Damned by Nils Visser

And one of those (Amster Damned) is only recently posted! I loved the time-travel-plus-steampunk-plus-foreign-slang Visser uses; his characters are always successfully charming! 
Two of the books listed above are from the same series: The Alcatraz Coup is a prequel to Jacq of Spades, which is the first book in the Red Dog Conspiracy Series, and it is wonderful! I love good wordplay, and this series is full of it! The setting is called Bridges, it's ruled by four crime families battling for supremacy: The Spadros family, the Harts, the Clubbs, and the Diamonds. Each book is named after a card value: Jacq of Spades, Queen of Diamonds, King of Hearts, Ace of Spades--you see where I'm going with this? 
Even an "Alcatraz Coup" is a move in the game of Bridge... And the steampunk neo-noir style is at once enthralling and intriguing! 
Last one to mention is Do You Trust Me?, the fourth book in the Chronicles of Lorrek series that started on Wattpad for at least the first two, and the series just exploded after that! This one was a sort of "backdoor prequel" as it gave glimpses into what happened before the start of the series, and it filled in gaps while remaining interesting and engaging in the present, losing none of the momentum for the characters!

Wattpad/Writing Achievements:

Completed The AmazonTriangle--102K words and I am finally done with it! The Amazon Triangle currently holds the record for "Longest Finished Manuscript"... the operative word being Finished. If I ever get to the end of "The Last Inkweaver" it's going to beat that record all to shreds... I left 102K in the dust a long time ago on that one, and I'm still not even done!
Speaking of which...

+100K words on The Last Inkweaver--Yep, that's something I achieved this year! Considering that the whole thing (Plus all the "Tales of the Inkweaver" I tossed in) came to around (or maybe just under) 100K in the first draft... the fact that I'm now over 120K with 4-5 chapters remaining is nothing short of miraculous! Who knew there was that much still to be told in this story?

2 short stories published in anthologies this year: Yes, it finally happened!
Facing a dearth of technical difficulties (and unforeseen life changes on the part of our editor, the poor woman!) DROWNED IN MOONLIGHT finally released in the spring, and in it is my short story "The Starborn Legacy"! The story itself is a combination of the last two installments of a serial story I wrote for my second-ever NaNoWriMo--which was itself a combination of all the Suggestion Box lists I had garnered from my first attempt at running that series on my blog!
"The Starborn Legacy" focuses on a teenage girl living in a faraway space colony, long after Earth had been abandoned and forgotten. She's been trying to get closer to her mother, to reach through the anger and the bitterness against her own mother, the girl's grandmother--only to find out that her grandmother was the legendary space explorer who maintained the continued existence of Earth, moreover claiming that it was still inhabited by some humans who had found their way back. But before this young girl can convince her paranoid mother to let her follow in her grandmother's footsteps... people in the colony start dropping dead, the mother included, and it's a race to figure out why.

The second story was the one I mentioned earlier, "Heartsong" in CRACKS IN THE TAPESTRY.

Wattpad Stories Added: (*Fanfictions)

Next-Generation Grimm*--Two girls, both Grimms; one raised by the Royal Family, the other by Wesen. A desperate hunt for a mysterious key brings them together.
Keep Portland Grimm*--The Winchesters come to Portland in search of a girl in danger--what they get is far more than any of them bargained for!
Alice's Adventures in Storybrooke*--What if Alice and the others really did enter Storybrooke? What would Regina do to keep Jafar from taking over the town?
Read Between The Lines*--An abandoned hiker, a light-fingered hotel maid, a sudden and reluctant bride... What strange malady is afflicting Portland, and can Nick find the cause before he becomes the next victim?
Fair Trade*--Nick and Juliette finally get the chance to plan their wedding and focus on a future together... But old enemies desire to "rewrite" the Grimm's "happily ever after."
The Sound of An Echo*--Percy encounters a Half-Blood camper with a strange ability... Then discovers that their fates are tied together in a quest to save the world--again!
The Glow--In an alternate world where a person's heart literally glows when they meet their soul mate, Jessica is nearing her thirties and she hasn't ever "Glowed"... part of her wonders if she ever will.
The Misfortune Cookie--An innocent night out to a Chinese Art Gala turns into a race against a terrorist group to find a bomb set to destroy the city.
A Writer's Tale: The Series: The Dragon's Quest, The Commander's Courage (Coming Soon: The Sheriff's Showdown)--A writer with a penchant for staying at home is pushed to think beyond her comfort zone... and thus she accidentally stumbles into an adventure beyond her wildest imagination!
The Dragon's Mark--In a small Italian city governed by the secretive, exclusive Drakistos family, a simple housemaid shunned for her grotesque appearance slowly uncovers a secret that threatens the lives of everyone around her.

Word Tracking Stats

In April, I set up an account on WordKeeper Alpha and started tracking the different projects, setting myself deadlines and just having fun with the pretty colors and the goal trackers and whatnot. I set myself a goal of 25K a month, and determined to track anything and everything I could. According to the tracker, starting in April and going until the end of the year, I managed to get at least 222K words written. Adding to that all that I wrote in January to March, even though I wasn't able to log it, I probably achieved somewhere in the ballpark of 250K last year. We'll see how much I get done, starting fresh from the beginning of a year! As you'll see at the end of this post, I still have plenty of opportunity to get those words in!

Months I achieved my monthly goal: April, July, August, September, October, November

Reading Stats:

36 Books Read
17 Library Checkouts

Dreadfully lax, compared to previous years, I know... But 2018 was stressful in terms of working at my day job, so there wasn't much energy or time to read, regardless of whether it was ebooks or library checkouts! Though what I did read... was brilliant!

  1. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman--This one wins everything! It had a secret order of Librarians, time/space travel, alternate dimensions... What more could my book-loving soul ask for?
  2. Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence--Mark Lawrence nails it again! The sequel to Red Sister and the continuation of his first trilogy featuring a female lead--everything about this series is amazing and I love all the science inspiration (pseudoscience though it may be) and the unique characters strike just the right emotional chords!
  3. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik--Enjoying this book almost makes up for having to return "Spinning Silver" un-read (ALMOST...) Ever since "Uprooted" I knew I loved Novik's style. The way she incorporates dragons into Regency-era wartime is MAGNIFICENT and totally credible--I love Temeraire!
  4. A Sliver of Stardust by Marissa Burt--Ah yes! Nothing like going to the library and finding out that the author of a duology you enjoyed has another series out! This one incorporates stardust, nursery rhymes, and lullabies into magical abilities and there are gryphons and I am SOLD!
  5. End Game (Will Robie #5) by David Baldacci--This man doesn't stop... and unlike another super-prolific crime novel writer whose books I did not enjoy, Baldacci never ceases to offer respect for his craft, honing his storytelling to get his readers right at the heart, not just for the money or the popularity, but because he consistently delivers genuinely good stories. Every. Dang. Time! This one in particular, an unexpected continuation of a series I thought for sure was done back when it was a trilogy... now this is Book 5 and it takes us deep into the life of a character that was probably only going to be very much a secondary sort, one of those who is more name than substance... Not true anymore! Brilliantly staged, and expertly executed, all the way through!
  6. The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman--My first introduction to Patrick Carman (not counting those installments of the 39 Clues series that I read, since I didn't know it was him at the time...) and I enjoyed it quite a bit! The world-building, the distinct characters, the unique premise--everything worked together very well and I would definitely read more of the series!
  7. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz--Ah, self-insertion at its finest! In the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Horowitz inserts himself as a writer following around a brusque, self-absorbed investigator and recording this investigation in memoir form, sort of like the Watson to his Holmes... but not even his familiarity with Sherlock could prepare the unsuspecting writer for the peril in store! I spent half the book thinking I could pick out the clues from among the red herrings... and the twist happened and I was very wrong--but I'm not even mad! Nicely done!
  8. Death Masks (Dresden Files #5) by Jim Butcher--Always a treat! Another Dresden File under my belt, and a great one, at that!
  9. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater--Sheer magic from the pen of Maggie Stiefvater! Occasionally it got too trippy and I couldn't follow what was going on, but I loved the poignant prose and it brought immense satisfaction at the end, so this is definitely a Top 10!
  10. S is for Silence /T is for Trespass (Kinsey Millhone #19 and #20) by Sue Grafton--Yes, it's a double. Still working my way through the ABC Mysteries--How Grafton managed to come up with 25 unique ways to put her main character Kinsey into mortal peril is mind-boggling--I'm up to 20 and I still can't guess how a book is going to turn out! "T for Trespass" was kind of gruesome, actually... but still good!


Now that we've gone over a quick review of my year... What do you have to look forward to?

Priscilla Sum--That's right, I'm giving it a second chance! I know it was a little tenuous, and part of me is not too excited about having to struggle for each plot point, but maybe--just maybe--I can pull it off!

The Prince and The Rose--In addition, I'm finally going to finish this one! I've had the ending in mind for quite some time, I just got too busy writing other things to get back to the last half of this one. I think you all are going to like it!

Red, The Wolf--Speaking of new things... Another twisted fairy tale is on its way! 
Those familiar with Clan of Outcasts might remember Velora,  the "Wolf" character--and that is who inspired the idea for the main character of a Little Red Riding Hood re-telling--like, if Velora became the unofficial defender of a remote forest village! I'm excited to see how it all turns out!

A Writer's Tale, The Series--With The Last Inkweaver coming to a close, I think I can finally turn my focus back to this series, bringing it all the way to its conclusion. Even if I just took it a book a month, that's around 25K per book, so it would be well within my monthly goal, anyway!

That should take me well into the spring--and who knows what will happen next? There are plenty of half-way projects that I really should get back and finish--hopefully keeping a word-count goal in mind will help me tick items off the list!

Here's to another great year, and as always--

Catch You Further Upstream!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Reader's Review: "Finding Pandora, Book One: World" by E. Rachael Hardcastle

Synopsis from Amazon:
Arriette Monroe never expected to be thrust into the heart of supernatural chaos, nor did she deem herself worthy of four incredible gifts. 

But when she hears the legendary Pandora's box has been reopened, putting the human race at risk of extinction, Arriette and her friends begin a quest to find and protect it from Haeylo's most powerful Everlast, Falkon Lou.

Although Arriette thinks she's walking pandemonium, the Recruit think she's their saviour...

And they're willing to prove it.


My Review:

Well! People say history tends to repeat itself... but ancient history? Proof that people don't exactly change, modern-day Pandora finds and opens her fated Box once more, thrusting humanity as we know it into near-extinction while some of them receive special Gifts of supernatural abilities like telekinesis, memory and perception control (called Retainers), Dream-walking, and even Angels with wings for flight. Nearly all of the population are immortal Everlasts. Others aren't born with these special powers but may receive them from others via a blood transfusion. Ariette is one of those, an "average" human with an insatiable curiosity who read all she could about every different Super ability.
That much I got. The rest was a little confusing, when it pulled away from the core group of characters. This adventure, while entertaining enough in its premise and very unique in its plot, just felt far too large for the size of the novel. There were a lot of details in the onset, spanning whole centuries of development that the reader could not experience, and that made it difficult to get going, hard to keep track of everything--but about halfway through, when those pieces came into play, the story flowed a lot smoother and it was easier to understand when I was experiencing and observing those same details, but through the eyes of one character or another.

Those characters, though! I loved how diverse and vivid they all were. From elderly Everlast Casper, to snarky, big-hearted Baby A, soft-spoken Dion... and the villainous Retainer Dean, who never failed to make my skin crawl whenever I saw his name on the page. In that respect, Hardcastle excels, as these characters band together to find Pandora and her Box and get the world put back to rights, before anyone else gets to it first and tries to use all that power for their own purposes.
This was a very unique and eclectic book. More like a web than a neatly-woven ball of yarn, it pulls from many far-flung story aspects, all connecting and combining and converging in the middle for a sweeping debut and the start of a promising new series! I loved the characters, I loved the concept of the Gifts, with all their features and limitations... It might take another read or so to understand the context in which this is placed (Haelyo doesn't strike me as the same dimension as Earth, but then again... a century into the future, it might be...) but I would definitely say it is worth that effort!

FINIDING PANDORA: WORLD certainly qualifies for a modest ****4 STAR**** rating on this solid first installment, and I'm also going to add an Upstream Writer Certified Recommended endorsement for Hardcastle--she's definitely an author worth following!

Further Reading: (Future Dystopia/ Powerful Heroines/Supernatural/Paranormal)

The Untamed Series--Madeline Dyer
The Jill Andersen Series--J. D. Cunegan
       -Blood Ties 
       -Behind the Badge 
The Vemreaux Trilogy--Mary E. Twomey 
       -The Way 
       -The Truth 
       -The Lie 
The Red Dog Conspiracy--Patricia Loofbourrow
       -The Alcatraz Coup 
       -Jacq of Spades 
The Firebird Fairy Tales--Amy Kuivalainen
       -The Cry of the Firebird 
       -Ashes of the Firebird
Lord of the Wyrde Woods--Nils Visser
     -Escape From Neverland 
     -Dance Into The Wyrd
The Portal Prophecies--C. A. King
     -A Keeper's Destiny 
     -A Halloween's Curse 
The Books of Winter--R. R. Virdi
       -Dangerous Ways 
The Shaudrey Universe Series--J. E. Mueller
       -Fire's Song 
The Runespells Series--Sarah Buhrman
       -Too Wyrd
Tales of the Fallen--Katika Schneider
The PSS Chronicles--Ripley Patton
       -Ghost Hand 
       -Ghost Hold 
       -Ghost Heart 
       -Ghost Hope 
The LouisiAngel Series--C. L. Coffey
        -Angel in Training 
        -Angel Eclipsed 
Judah Black Series--E. A. Copen
       -Guilty By Association

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Reader's Review: "Amster Damned" by Nils Visser

Synopsis from Amazon:

A seemingly routine missing person case brings Alice Kittyhawk to Amsterdam where she discovers that locating a missing botanist will involve delving into the murky and illicit world of temporal displacement. Working with the mysterious Ministry of Lost & Found, Alice will have to take on some formidable foes and race against the clock in defiance of the odds which seem to be stacked against her.

My Review: 

More than ever l am convinced that a book by Nils Visser will invariably contain characters that win your heart, a suitable amount of action and peril, plenty of heart-warming moments... and a LOT of colorful slang!
He adds to his native Sussex jargon a plethora of Dutch phrases and terms, and one necessarily hears the thick accent anytime the strange terms appear—but that is all part of the immersive experience of Visser’s storytelling. The foreign words sound natural, and it’s easy to discern their meaning, with the context of the dialogue in question.

And what a context it was! A daring agent of time-travel, making her way around Victorian-Era Amsterdam on a quest to find antique books that will eventually lead her to an important figure who may hold the key to unfettered time travel. A figure that the time-travel authorities are also hunting down, in a much more ruthless manner. It’s a zeppelin battle, a race through the Dutch alleyways, it’s alternate identities and fierce combat.

Beyond the strange terms, both multilingual and slang, the feature that took me the longest to get used to was the fact that the entire book is written in limited third person, present tense. It’s a style usually reserved for first-person narrators, but the fact that the present narrator focused on Alice and her experiences is not in fact a participant in the story, gives a strange sort of sense of an external observer recording these events, but transcendent beyond the specific time and space they are observing. That being said, the deeper I got into the mystery and intrigue, the faster I got used to this unorthodox method of phrasing.

I cheered, I gasped, I eagerly flipped page after page till I got to the end. All in all, Amster Damned delivered a rip-roaring adventure with lots of intrigue and heart, and I am definitely interested in pursuing this unique premise further as the series develops!
Amster Damned earns for itself a top-marked *****5 STAR***** rating, and I'll throw in an Upstream Writer Certified TOTALLY Recommended endorsement. If you like steampunk, aeroships, colorful characters, and don't mind some funny new words in your literature--the Time Flight Chronicles is waiting for you!

Further Reading: (Also By/Steampunk/Time Travel/Strong Heroines)
Lord of the Wyrde Woods--Nils Visser
     -Escape From Neverland 
     -Dance Into The Wyrd

-Sky Knight--Sandra Harvey 
The Alexander Legacy--Sophronia Belle Lyon 
       -A Dodge, A Twist, and A Tobacconist 
       -The Pinocchio Factor 
Dawn of Steam Trilogy--Jeffrey Cook
      -First Light
      -Gods of The Sun 
      -Rising Suns 
Punk Anthologies--Jeffrey Cook et al. 
      -Sound & Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk, Vol. 1 
      -Shakespeare Goes Punk, Vol. 2: Once More Unto The Breach 
      -What We've Unlearned: Classic Literature Goes Punk (*Also contains a story by Visser!)
The Red Dog Conspiracy--Patricia Loofbourrow
       -The Alcatraz Coup 
       -Jacq of Spades 

The Firebird Fairy Tales--Amy Kuivalainen
       -The Cry of the Firebird 
       -Ashes of the Firebird 

The Vemreaux Trilogy--Mary E. Twomey 
       -The Way 
       -The Truth 
       -The Lie

Monday, December 3, 2018

Upstream Updates: December Edition!

Ah yes, the annual post where I come off my “writing high” and take stock of where I am at with my various projects, and decide what I will be working on in the coming year!


The Last Inkweaver

I am now closer than ever to the end—and stinking proud of how far I have gotten! By the end of NaNoWriMo, I had made it all the way into the thick of a scene I like to call "Storytime with Tark", where Callista is telling this long and convoluted story as a diversion while her friends work together and escape the clutches of yet another trafficker... This scene is important for two reasons: first, it's actually the first time that Callista has put together a plan herself and delegated roles to other people with the expectation that they'll follow through on what she's asked them to do. Second, it's the first time that Callista has actually made up a story--and stories, at least in this world, don't just "write themselves"; this marks a real turning point in Callista's journey, and according to the Story Circle, I believe we're on the upswing and getting ready to put everything all together and bring it back around "home"!
This is the first time I have ever been successful with a second draft, and so to finish it would be a motivation for all the other projects I have ever abandoned over the years....

I won’t be spending ALL my time writing it, but I will at least shoot for finishing a chapter every other week until it is done. Then it’s off to the beta-readers! 

And speaking of “abandoned projects”...

A Writer’s Tale

Laura is well and truly entered into the society of Phantom Gulch... and right about now is the point at which she's going to run smack into the trouble that plagues the land, and get thrust into the forefront of the problem she will need to help the citizens solve! 
Granted, I didn’t quite manage “half and half” like I thought I would this NaNo... mostly because Inkweaver turned out WAY longer than I could have predicted... But anyway, I will be back to writing this one more regularly, too; probably I could manage a chapter or so a week, because it’s not as involved as Inkweaver. At any rate, I’m likely not going to count this project as “finished” until all 7 books are done, so it’s going to be a while! I should finish Book 3 by January, and by February, I should be halfway through the series, so here’s to more shenanigans there!

Short Story Sectional

So a lot of you might know that although I have not published another book since Princess of Undersea (Two years old, coming up!!) I have gotten a few short stories published in anthologies! 

There was “Arthur and The Egg” in DREAMTIME DRAGONS;
Also “The Starborn Legacy” in DROWNED IN MOONLIGHT;
And finally, “Heartsong” was included in the anthology CRACKS IN THE TAPESTRY.

Well, recently I submitted an old story to another anthology—I will announce which story and what anthology if and when it gets accepted (although if you’ve followed me on social media you might already know which story...)—and I am excited to announce that the same creative force behind DREAMTIME DRAGONS is producing a second anthology, this one with a theme of “Dangerous Damsels”, stories of strong female heroines who wind up facing their own demons and saving themselves.

To that end, I will also be poking away at my submission for that... which I recently devised!

I call it “Red: The Wolf”, and it’s a twist on the story of Little Red Riding Hood... except that “Red” is a known lycanthrope who defends her little woodland village from threats by taking on the appearance of a wolf to track down missing objects and people, fight off threats, and chase down runaway miscreants.
All that changes one day when she goes after one such swindler... only to find herself stuck in wolf form. 

It’s going to be wonderful and I am super excited to be working together with this group again!

The Return Of Old Projects

As Inkweaver draws to a close, and I find my enthusiasm for writing renewed with each accepted short story... I am once again drawn to return to old projects, just to see what I might be able to do with them now.

One such project is the adaptation I was writing, of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion", which I dubbed "Merely Meredith." I posted excerpts on this blog long ago, before my “career” really “took off”, back when my writing habit wasn’t any big deal... 
But after revisiting it briefly in the recent “A to Z Challenge” (notably for Letter E and Letter M), I found that I kind of missed it and I really did want to find out how it ended up! So in the coming year, I’ll be adding that to the regular rotation, taking a day or so a week to sit down and have a look over it, and perhaps to get back into the groove and push through to the end of that one.

Then, too, there is the matter of what kind of serial post to do. There was Priscilla Sum that never really got off the ground... I could possibly revisit that one and make it work.

That OR the "Flashes of Inspiration" series... Should I get back to doing those? Did you all like them? There are still plenty of prompts where I got them, people in that group just keep posting more and more. Should I keep writing with new prompts?

Or what about doing another Suggestion Box? Would anyone be interested in something like that? It would require participation and involvement from you, my followers. If you’ve never done it before... I promise it’s really easy, and a lot of fun, and I always credit the contributors, so that is more visibility for you, if you’re an author or a blogger like me!


I have a new project started! Since the works that seemed to be getting more attention (votes as well as adds and the like) were my fanfictions, I decided to start posting another fanfic--and the fun thing is, this particular fic is unfinished, so if it garners enough attention, then I would consider adding that to the "weekly writing rotation" until it's finished!

For those interested, the fanfic is titled THE SOUND OF AN ECHO and it's my contribution to the Percy Jackson fandom. I actually developed the idea for it shortly after being very disappointed with the films and pleasantly enamored with the books! It introduces a few new characters, actually centering a lot around a new enemy who wants to get control of a magical Hourglass that is basically "All of Time" and counts down to a global "Judgment Day" that would allow the deity controlling it to pronounce a sentence over the whole world and basically wipe it out... and meanwhile, Percy has to travel with and frequently defend a girl who is the daughter of Echo--and she's inherited Echo's curse in that she doesn't have a voice of her own, she can only speak with a voice she's heard. (Of course that doesn't go over well with the Aphrodite kids...) I got as far as not-quite-halfway, I think, so I still have a bit of time before I have to have a new part ready, but yeah... It's been fun to revisit that one and recall the ideas I'd dreamed up for it--I still have all my notes, so it still might happen, if enough people are interested!

Meanwhile, I've opted to hold off on updating A WRITER'S TALE until I finish "The Sheriff's Showdown." It doesn't seem like many people are reading past "The Dragon's Quest" anyhow... I'm wondering: Should I make each book its own separate work? I thought it might be more cohesive if I kept everything under the same cover, and treated it like a long, continuous work... but at the same time, that doesn't seem to be going very well. Maybe? Please do take a look at what I have there (particularly if you do have a Wattpad account, and thus can have unfettered access to it!) and let me know what you think I should do!


It’s taken quite a while for me to get back to reading... So many GOOD books out there, so LITTLE time to enjoy them like I want to!! After having to return quite a few checkouts to the library unread (a couple of them in particular, I had been waiting for months, and just when I was about to have time to enjoy them... To send them back in??? Travesty.) I am finally to the point where I can take a break from writing to read a bit. Therefore, I am going to try and get through His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik before it comes due, and I’m about halfway through Sue Grafton’s T is for Trespass

In regards to ebooks, I am trying out reading two ebooks at once, since my copy of AmsterDamned by Nils Visser is only on my phone, and I have a Kindle Fire that I'm using for ebooks I get from Amazon, so on that one I've just started reading Finding Pandora by E. Rachael Hardcastle. Both are pretty interesting so far!

So these next few months are going to be pretty busy for both reading and writing. But it's what I love to do, so I don't mind it a bit! Feel free to let me know what you're reading and writing in these next few months! And as always,

Catch You Further Upstream!