A poem inspired by Khadijah Queen’s 2014 Naropa SWP Workshop at the Jack Kerouac School Of Disembodied Poetics.

Red Liniage

My name is string tying the hawk’s legs red.

My mother’s name is springtime in a land where she wasn’t born red.

My father’s name is pencil markings of the bombs red.

My sister’s name is lovely flower red.

My brother’s name is unstoppable fission red.

My grandmother’s name is sorrow on a soft wind red.

I come from a people known for bootlegging, broken cathedrals, and long voyages across the sea.

Remember me.

Warning: I did not do so well this month…

Days I didn’t write:

11

How many words:

14,428

Projects I worked on:

Moon Shine

The Heart of the Forest Cycle

Havoc’s Moon

Resonance

What I actually wanted to work on:

just Moon Shine

Goals for next month:

Publish Moon Shine

Gear up for July Camp NaNoWriMo

Be more active on my blog

Submissions sent out:

0

Submissions accepted:

0

Submissions rejected:

1

So you can clearly see all the things I didn’t do this month (mainly write). But here’s what I did do:

I attended the Arkansas Writer’s Conference and met some extremely lovely local writer ladies.

I am working hard to study for the College Algebra CLEP exam so I can enroll in Biology and Chemistry classes this fall.

I moved all my furniture from our apartment into my house in Arkansas. I have a new writing space and everything! And with that move came the re-introduction of Mr. J’s cat Tiny Rick into our family. Titain and Leela are not pleased.

Also quit smoking AGAIN and withdraw has killed my productivity.

June is going to be no less busy. I’m taking a vacation to Florida with Mr. J next week and have to do a few more home repairs for my mom before we leave. I’m working on the final edits of Moon Shine and hope to be ready to publish it when I get back.

I’ve also been working on my urban fantasy series: The Heart of the Forest Cycle. At first I thought it was going to be a trilogy with each book focusing on different central characters but now I am thinking it needs to be a two-volume collection of short stories and novellas set in my magical universe. Because I’ve woven so many plot threads and am having a hard time connecting everything.

Whenever I find myself in a plot jam like this I find cutting things down is the best thing to do. I’m a poet first, fiction writer second, and I utilize a lot of my poetry skills to fix my fiction. I like to think they give me a unique perspective.

So what was going to be BOOK ONE of the HOTFC is now three stories about modern fairies set in the same universe. I’m working on adding two additional stories to give the collection more meat.

I’m not going to plan for it but if I can stay on task with my work in The Slaughter Chronicles I might be able to keep my original August deadline for the Heart of the Forest Cycle.

So far I have published one novella and two short stories this year. My original plan was to publish two more novella, one more short story, and three novels. So that’s five things I have not published yet and we’re already half way through the year. And I want to go back to college in the fall…

My new plan is to publish at least the two novellas and one novel bringing my total publications this year to 6 pieces of fiction, which isn’t bad. If I can maintain my self-discipline and stick to my plan the short story collection will come out as well but, again, I’m not going to push it, I have too much going on.

See you on the other side!

Update #1: the publication of Moon Shine, the next novella in my Slaughter Chronicles series, will be delayed a few weeks because one of my beta readers isn’t finished giving me feedback yet. I want this book to be the best that it can be so I have to wait a bit.

Update #2: I have put up all my books (excepting the Prolific Works Exclusives) on Kobo. They were live there before but I was distributing them with Draft2Digital. There are a few pros and cons to using a publishing service to “go wide” as they say, I may discuss them with you later but for now let me just say that Draft2Digital is awesome and I have no problems with the service, I just want to do the distributing myself. So I have. New Kobo links to all my books will be available shortly.

Update #3: TINY RICK IS BACK WITH ME!

Tiny Rick, our Feline Immunodeficiency Virus cat, is living with me now as Mr. J prepares for the next phase of job traveling. I am still living with my mom and Leela and Titain who, excepting my mom, are not pleased by his arrival.

Note: Yes, he’s named after the Rick and Morty episode 🙂

Note the second: We are well aware of the risks of adopting a FIV positive cat and introducing him (in this case) into a pre-existing healthy cat environment. I can report right now that Leela and Titain are FIV negative and have been living with Tiny Rick since 2017 without any problems. We try to make sure everyone is as healthy and safe as possible while keeping in mind that Leela and Titain (and Tiny Rick) are all elderly cats now and they will die eventually from something so FIV contamination isn’t really a big deal for us.

As I’m winding down the final edits for Moon Shine (goes live in 12 days) I thought I’d compile a list of steps my draft goes through when it becomes “done.”

1. Draft/Edit: it can feel frustrating at times but really it’s the most fun part of the process.

2. Finish Draft: then put it down for a week to let it simmer.

3. Proof-read + make notes of repetitive words.

4. Make corrections

5. Copy edit #1

6. Proof-read again + fix dialogue

7. Read draft aloud + Copy edit #2

8. Proof-read #3 + find continuity issues

9. Add to fill plot holes

10. Read aloud again

11. Take list from step 3 and use thesaurus. Use the fuck out of thesaurus.

12. Proof-read #4 fixing problems from notes taken during steps 1-11

13. Read aloud #3 + Copy edit #3

14. Give manuscript to final beta reader (Mr. J)

15. Re-read manuscript specifically focusing on using correct names/descriptions/actions/mechanics of firearms (if applicable).

16. Final read aloud

17. DONE

Note: Reading your draft aloud is the best thing you can do for editing, in my opinion. I catch so many grammatical errors and passive voice issues when I read my work aloud.

Note 2: Throughout the editing process I look for A) filter words, B) repetition, and C) passive voice

Note 3: Throughout the editing process I make notes every time I re-read the manuscript. I write down questions I have about setting changes and character development. I also write down/highlight all plot holes and anything I think is boring.

Note 4: I do not spend money on a freelance editor and copy editor. I have an MFA in Creative Writing. I do all my edits myself because I know how (feel free to argue with me in the comments if you’ve read my work) but I do use beta readers to gauge plot pacing, character development, and identify possible sensitivity issues.

Note 5: As important as it is to work consistently on your manuscript (especially if you have a deadline) it is equally important to give your book some down time. I try to take days off whenever I feel myself getting frustrated with a scene or when I feel myself over-editing. Remember, writing is supposed to be fun. You’re doing something you love, don’t burn yourself out. Also, taking breaks lets new ideas emerge and distance allows you a fresh perspective.

Days I didn’t write:

3

How many words?

48,035

Projects I worked on:

Moon Shine

Here and Away

Morning and Evening

Havoc’s Moon

What I actually wanted to work on:

Here and Away

Goals for next month:

Publish Moon Shine

Work on Havoc’s Moon

Submissions sent out:

1

Submissions accepted:

1

Submissions rejected:

N/A

Hi there, readers!

I’m doing a few formatting/administrative updates to my Slaughter Chronicles content. If you’ve already downloaded your free copies of either Demon Moon or Dead Girl Moon I want to assure you that there have been no changes to the content (except for, you know, that comma that I kept missing through 12 rounds of editing or that word that was meant to be “cheese” but somehow autocorrect through it should be “wheel barrow.” I fixed that word. Thank you, autocorrect).

Demon Moon has a new cover for font consistency.

The Sneak Peek of Havoc’s Moon that was at the end of Demon Moon has been removed because while I was finishing up Moon Shine a secondary character decided he was going to be more of a main character than I originally thought and now he’s making me change the entire story (exaggeration) so he can get all snuggly and cozy. Typical.

(Note: I guess that is a content change but not really because the story of Demon Moon is still the same and not dependent on the Sneak Peek.)

I have fixed some formatting errors (ePub/mobi page layout stuff) for Dead Girl Moon and a new version of that will go live on MAY 20 with…

PUBLICATION OF MOON SHINE!!!

Save the date! Moon Shine, the next installment of Regina’s story and The Slaughter Chronicles will go live May 20, 2019.

You will be able to download your free copies from:

iTunes/iBooks

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

Google Play

Smashwords

And all other free Draft2Digital distribution platforms

And, of course, Prolific Works, where you will be able to download a mobi file for your Kindle.

Lastly I just want to say THANK YOU for reading my work. Writing isn’t just a “job” or a “hobby,” it’s a true labor of love for me. Writing and self-publishing my stories has greatly improved my quality of life and I hope that you all get as much enjoyment reading them as I do writing them (even if they’re bloody and scary). 🙂