A short and spooky tale

This past month I participated in a Twitter writing challenge. There were daily word prompts, but other than that each person could write whatever he or she wanted.

I wrote a short story using the prompts. While I've been posting it daily on Twitter, I thought it would be fun to post the whole story here. The prompt words I used are in red.


Carnival. From the Latin “carne vale,” or farewell to meat. A word that rose from the penitential practice of giving up meat for Lent. Written in human blood on the wall of the dingy apartment, it took on a much more sinister meaning.

I glanced at my partner out of the eye above my ear; one of six total, though the two on the back of my head were covered by my hair. “Well?"

My partner, Sol Brisham, is human. Mostly. He lacks extra eyes or retractable appendages. I’m told human girls find this attractive. “Nothing, Cy,” he replies.

I raised an eyebrow. “Nothing?”

“The place is more butcher shop than cemetery. You can see that for you…

Really busy!

I've been really busy working on many aspects of my writing, and haven't managed to come out here and post. Here are some things I'm working on:

1. Changing the covers and keywords of my books to match their designation as Clean Young Adult fiction.

2. Simultaneously editing two books in the same series, one of which I hope to publish by the end of the year.

3. Making plans to publish another book by the end of the year, which means editing, proofing, etc.

4. Beginning the editing process on the final book in the "Ordinary Sam" series, though that will probably not be published until early 2020.

5. Creating a whole new plot/character concept for the book I will be writing in November.

How's your Fall going?

Major changes ahead

This past Friday I got some wonderful advice about my books, and the most important piece of that advice is this: my books really aren't middle grade fiction. While they share some elements with books that are written for the older end of the MG fiction age range, they are a better fit for the young adult category.

I didn't think I was writing YA fiction because I tend to think of YA as always edgy, dark, and pushing the envelope in terms of sexual and violent content along with some other adult elements. But there are writers today whose books are classified as "clean teen" or "clean YA," and that's where my books belong. I have older protagonists; I write complex, multi-layered plots (not always well, but I do write them); I do not avoid all serious topics or difficult situations. What I do avoid are just three things: actual swear words, explicit sex, and gory or gratuitous violence. These are the same three things most writers of clean YA also avoi…

On age categories for books

I'm still working on editing my current book series--the good news is I'm finally making progress.

I started wondering the other day: what age range should this series be for?

If you don't already know this, most US publishers consider Middle Grade Fiction (MG for short) to be suitable for kids ages 8 to 12. These books are, generally speaking, a little harder to read than the earliest "chapter books" for younger readers, but not yet as challenging as many books for young adults. But the content of the books is important, too: a book may be written simply enough for a younger reader, but if it contains content that is very edgy, dark, sexual, graphically violent, or disturbing it will be put in the Young Adult (ages 12 and up) category instead.

What's hard about some of this is that the lines often get blurred. There has been a push by many MG publishers to include more and more envelope-pushing content in books aimed at younger readers. At the same time, so…

Editing goals

Summer is winding down, even though here in Texas we will have summer weather until roughly Thanksgiving. I am still trying to get myself back onto a regular editing schedule; editing is so much harder than writing, and requires a lot more focus.

I am hoping to finish this current pass on Wizard's Mischief: Flame by the middle of September. After that, I will switch gears and start working on the edits for the final book in my Tales of Telmaja series. My goal is to publish both of these by the end of the year.

This will be the first November in ten years that I haven't been writing a Tales of Telmaja book! I don't know yet what I will start in its place, but I'm working on some ideas.

Diving back in

Summer has been far busier than I expected it to be! Here's some progress reports on my various works:

Still working on editing Wizard's Mischief: Flame. Hope to have good news soon.

Spent July writing the entire first draft of Wizard's Mischief: Thorne, the second book in the series. I'm really excited about this book and about the whole series! It is, quite simply, the best writing I've ever done.

Planning to jump into edits for the final book of the Tales of Telmaja series in September. I haven't worked out the timing yet, but it's possible that I will publish that book before I publish Wizard's Mischief: Flame because I need to learn the new Kindle Print tools anyway.

While I would like to finish the edits for the last book in the Ordinary Sam series by the end of the year, I don't know yet if that's feasible considering that I'll be starting a new writing project this November. I don't want to build up a backlog of too many unpubli…

Nearly there...

Wasn't able to do any more editing today, but I'm almost finished with this part. Next up: cover design (by a talented artist) and proof copies.

This is going pretty well!