March 3, 2014, 12.23 pm
There are also a whole bunch of other stories by fabulous authors like Jenn Reese, Greg van Eekhout, Melissa Marr, and many more.
Here's a quick excerpt from my story:
"Oh, I’ve never seen his real face," my youngest sister says. "He only comes to bed in the dark, and he turns off the electricity at night, so…." She shrugs and takes another sip of coffee, just as if she’s reporting a normal relationship quirk.
I stare at her, my coffee mug cooling in my hands. "And you never even thought to light a candle?"
"I can't," Jane says simply. "He told me the first night — it’s not allowed."
Not allowed? I share a wide-eyed can-you-believe-this look with our other sister. Bree sits back, looking horrified but letting me take the lead, as usual. I am the eldest sister, the one who’s always had to take the bad-guy role to keep us all afloat...
Read the rest of the story here. If you've ever felt a fleeting moment of sympathy for the evil older sisters in fairy tales, you might enjoy it!
(But I also want to add a quick note: this is an adult magazine, not MG or YA, so the stories - including my own story - are generally aimed at adults. I don't want to mislead anybody who came to my writing through the Kat books!)
I hope you enjoy the story if you do read it! I'm looking forward to reading all the other stories - I've already devoured Jenn Reese's story, and I'm planning to reward myself with the rest now that I've got my latest freelance audition sent off. You can read all the stories online or buy the issue as an ebook if you'd prefer to keep them on your e-reader.
In other news, MrD is back in school today after a ten-day Half Term break, and we're moving back into normal life. It was...let's just call it "challenging"...to get my latest freelance audition revised over the past ten days, but oh, it really was nice to spend so much time with my fun five-year-old. He's working on epic narrative pictures now, many of them in preparation for books he plans to write. One direct quote from this past week, as he worked on his latest book-prep picture: "Mummy, in this picture I'm drawing you as a robotic girl who does Judo. With kicking!"
But now that he's back in school, I've sent off the audition package (wish me luck!), and I'm diving back into writing as much as possible. I had so much fun writing more of the Kat novella (tentatively titled "Courting Magic") this weekend! My hopeful plan for the month is to divide my writing time between my big MG novel rewrite (Family Magic) and "Courting Magic"...and on March 25th, the day that Stolen Magic comes out in paperback in the US and Canada, I'm going to include an excerpt from "Courting Magic" in my newsletter! (If you're not already a newsletter subscriber but you'd like to be, you can sign up here - I send out newsletters veeeeery rarely, and only to make big announcements, so I promise you're not going to have your inbox flooded!)
And over on my Facebook page, we're on Day 3 of March Magic, the daily productivity party I'm hosting throughout March. (You can read the full description here.) Even if you didn't join us over the weekend, please feel free to join in any day this month - you are all very much invited! :)
March 1, 2014, 11.17 am
I don't know if you guys remember me raving here about Daily December? It was the group Jenn Reese hosted on her Facebook page in December, giving a place for people to check in every day and get support on their daily personal goals. I loved it, I was SO much more productive because of it, and then I also loved Jump-In January on Sarah Prineas's Facebook page, and February Word Frolic on Kristin Tubb O'Donnell's page...
...So this month, it's time for me to host the daily productivity party! And we're calling it "March Magic." It's a place for everyone to get some accountability and support throughout the month for their personal goals, no matter whether those goals are related to writing, painting, parenting, housework, learning a new language - whatever you've been really wanting to move ahead on!
The only rule is that we try to set small, do-able daily goals, not scary inflated ones. YOU are the only one who can say what's do-able for you - but my personal goal is to write at least one line a day. Ridiculously trivial, right? Well, on a day without childcare or any real writing session, I probably wouldn't write that one line, without the goal. And when I last made that goal, in December, I ended up writing thousands of words that would never have been written otherwise, just because I sat down to write that one line at the end of each non-writing day...and often got sucked into writing more. But even when I only wrote one line, that still meant I was checking in with my work every day, and that made me feel so much more connected to my writing projects (and made it SO much easier to leap back in when I did have a real writing session scheduled).
You can set your goal at the beginning of the month (with full freedom to change it later), or you can set different goals every day. You can check in at the beginning of the day to tell the rest of us your goals/plans for the day, then check back in again at the end of the day to let us know how they went; or you can just pop in once a day for an end-of-day report. Whatever works for you! It's a place to cheer each other on, it's a place where people really care how your work is going, and it's a great source of motivation.
I'd love it if any of you guys joined in! It's being hosted on my Facebook page, which can only be viewed if we're Facebook friends - but if we're not yet Facebook friends, just friend me over there and I'll be delighted to accept. I just posted the first check-in today, and I'd love to see you guys there, but you can jump in and join the group any time this month.
Hope to see you there!
PS: And for a little bit of inspiration, check out this wonderful blog post by Justine Musk, Darling, Just Freaking Do It".
February 24, 2014, 2.31 pm
We had two big family health scares pop up at the end of last week, neither of which has been resolved yet, and what with that new stress added to exhaustion and a week of pushing myself too hard, I really crashed with the M.E. on Saturday. It was a very bad day, as some of you know or probably guessed. (Thanks so much to everyone who sent virtual hugs on twitter or facebook! They really meant a lot.)
In the middle of a bad M.E. crash, it's always hard to escape the moment. It's so easy to feel despair, because the truth is, that moment is honestly quite terrible. It's hard to remember that, really and truly, it is only a moment. By Sunday, I was so much better. I didn't go out, but I had a nice day and even a productive one, too. Today, I woke up exhausted (because Baby X had woken up 9 times between 11pm and 6:30am! Augh!) but no longer crashing. The moment had passed.
I need to find some way to remind myself, whenever those moments come, that they are temporary. And the same is true in other parts of life, too. Next time I feel despair about a writing issue that feels impossible to solve, my larger writing career, our finances, or, actually, anything else...I'm going to try very hard to remember to tell myself (and believe, if at all possible): This is one moment. It will pass.
Now, life is easing back into its normal grooves, except that it's Half Term here in Wales, so MrD is off school for ten days. That means that writing time is VERY hard to come by - the only goal I'm even attempting this week is the rewrite of my latest freelance audition, since it's due next Monday! - but I'm really enjoying the extra time with MrD. I love, love, love how curious and funny and fun he is, and oh do I love watching him play with Baby X. That really is one of the biggest joys in my life.
And! I finally discovered (YEARS after everybody else!) the American TV show "Leverage", which is so much fun. I've always been a big fan of Gina Bellman, and I sucked down the first few episodes with total delight this weekend after reading this fabulous blog post by Jennifer Crusie: Where Everybody Knows Your Name: Community in Storytelling. She's using an ongoing "Leverage" re-watch on her blog as a way to analyze that theme, and it was really fun to watch the first episode of "Leverage" and then read her step-by-step analysis of it.
What about you guys? What have you been doing for fun lately?
February 17, 2014, 1.11 pm
I had two pieces of really good news this past week! First, my short story "The Wrong Foot" just sold again - this time to the fabulous PodCastle as an audio podcast! They're hoping to put it up online in March, and I can't wait to hear it read by their narrator.
Second - guess what I spotted on Goodreads???
Aaaahhhhhh! Isn't it gorgeous? It's the Kat boxed set, which is going to come out on October 7th in the US and Canada. I love everything about it, especially the name they picked for it! (Finally, my UK titles and US titles are coming together! :) )
In terms of new writing, I have so many writing projects vying for attention right now, my head feels like spinning, Exorcist-style, whenever I let myself think too much about it. I've got the Family Magic rewrite (which feels more like first-drafting a brand-new book about the same characters, since I'm changing from 4 PoVs to 1 PoV and coming up with a whole new plot); the Badger Bandits rewrite (which is, thankfully, much less major); the secret YA project I've just started; and, well, actually...
While I was stuck in a hospital waiting room last week (ETA: just waiting for a physio appointment, nothing worrying!), I finally gave in and wrote the opening of something I've been wanting to write for years but have always told myself I mustn't. Mustn't, mustn't, mustn't - too impractical, too self-indulgent, too, too, too - !
Well. It's the opening of a novella...about Kat, all grown-up, getting introduced to Society by her older sisters (whether she likes it or not)...of course fighting a new magical battle...and finally getting a romance of her own!
And it was just too much fun to make myself stop. So, I think that's happening, too! Actually, I know it is, because I've asked Patrick to start working on an ebook cover for it, which makes it official. ;) It won't be finished for a long time - it has to be my evenings-and-weekends side-project...but it gives me a little shiver of excitement and happiness every time I think about it.
The paperback of Stolen Magic is coming out in the US and Canada in less than a month and a half: March 25th. I am crossing all of my fingers and toes that it WILL get stocked in more stores this time round, after the hardcover was caught up in last year's B&N/S&S standoff. (If any of you are planning to buy the paperback and feel comfortable asking for it at your local store, I will be so, so, so grateful to you!)
And I'm now really hoping to be able to post an excerpt from the Kat novella by the end of April, giving new readers enough time to have read the paperback of Stolen Magic first! :)
In the meantime, though, this week, I'm focusing on a new freelance project audition, so please wish me luck with that!
Oh, and I just finished reading my favorite new book in a long time, Rachel Neumeier's Black Dog, which I adored. I always like good werewolf stories (heck, I just finished writing a werewolf story of my own, and I may well write more! I like werewolves as a concept), but this one really was a step beyond most that I've read, with a really original take on the mythos and absolutely wonderful characters. You can read my full review on Goodreads - but to sum it up, this really is my very favorite YA werewolf novel so far (and one of my favorite werewolf novels for any age range). Highly, highly recommended!
So. Those are my highlights from the past week. :) What are yours?
February 10, 2014, 12.20 pm
It's amazing just how much better I felt the moment I hit "Post" on yesterday's entry (A Note on Awards and Self-Rejecting), after all my agonizing about it over the past month. I was actually surprised, at first, by just HOW good it felt...until it finally hit me: finally, for the first time since I'd first told myself No, don't post anything about it, what's the point - for the first time in a month, I was actually respecting my own work.
And that is absolutely priceless!
It was a really, really good writing weekend in general. I finished one short story on Thursday (a werewolves-in-Pittsburgh story for my brother Ben) and a second short story on Saturday (a science fiction story for my brother Dave). I really love our tradition of writing each other short stories for Christmas, even years (like this one, obviously!) when they turn out to be extremely belated gifts. We always give each other a challenge/request. (Ben had asked this year for another story in the vein of "Undead Philosophy 101" [which had also been a Christmas gift for him, a few years back!], while Dave had challenged me to push my comfort levels and write near-future SF instead of fantasy, for once.) I always end up writing something I might never have come up with on my own, without the challenge/request pushing me to think in new directions. I always have so much fun...
...and oh, I always LOVE the stories that I get in return! I'm really lucky to have two brothers who are writers.
I'm awfully lucky in my friends, too. After I finished my SF story, I had a sudden panic attack, thinking: Wait! Who am I to write science fiction? I'm not a real science fiction writer! and wrote off immediately to three of the most brilliant, tech-y people I know (two of whom are VERY real, award-winning science fiction writers!) to check: Have I made any terrible mistakes? All three replied within a day with really helpful thoughts and fabulous reassurance.
Now I'm turning my thoughts back to book-length work. My big goal is to finish the third-draft rewrite of my chapterbook (The Desperate Adventures of the Badger Bandits!) by the end of this week and then get moving solidly with my Family Magic rewrite the week after.
Of course, Baby X now has a stomach bug (wahhh!) and woke up every half hour for most of last night (wahhh!), the house needs cleaning, etc., etc., etc...
But right now, I'm going to make a (decaf) latte, eat some chocolate (my new chocolate obsession!) and set all of that aside for a couple of hours...
...because I'm feeling happier and more centered in my writing right now than I have in a long time. And oh, does it feel good.