The Wand that Rocks the Cradle: a Fantasy Anthology Coming in September!

Another project coming out.

Building Worlds

I’ve been sadly quiet since May, mostly because I’ve been trying to juggle several different projects. First off, the long-running “Politics for Worldbuilders” project is finally being compiled into a book series; the first volume is nearing completion. Second, Lagrange Books is getting ready to publish our first single-author book, by fantastic author Misha Burnett. More news on that soon…

But it’s the third project, which was actually the first project, that I want to tell you about.

Back in May, I was spamming everyone with the Kickstarter project for The Wand that Rocks the Cradle, our fantasy anthology on magical families. Since we met our funding goal, I’ve been working hard to finish the editing, coordinate with our cover designer (the talented Melody Knighton), and produce the actual book. And now, behold:

We are now taking pre-orders on Amazon for the Kindle edition, with a special pre-release price…

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(2^3)((2^3)-1))

August is always a time for introspection for me, due to the whole birthday thing.

So I have been taking stock of where I am, where I’ve come from, and where I am going.

No real conclusions, as yet, except that I think I am mostly satisfied with my progress as a writer this year. I’ve talked about that some in my monthly status updates. To sum up, I set myself too ambitious a pace, but I learned a lot about how I work, what a more reasonable goal would be, and the sort of work that comes easy to me.

I have a project in the works that I am very excited about, and a couple of others on the horizon. Managing workflow is of primary importance to a freelance career in the arts. If I had a piece of advice to give new writers it would be to forget the MFA, get a degree in Project Management.

I recently gave an interview on The Horror Tree where I talk about my thoughts on writing in general and Horror in particular. As part of my looking back I found an interview I did for the Sins Of The Past anthology back in August of 2015, and I found it interesting how consistent my perspective has been over the years.

I also ran across an essay from August 0f 2013 that I particularly like, and a poem from August of 2012 that I think stands up to the test of time.

I’m still not sure what I am doing, but I do seem to be doing it consistently.

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Wild Stars Kickstarter is Live!

Wild Stars is now available to back on Kickstarter

Cirsova

The Wild Stars IGG didn’t quite do the numbers we were looking for, so we’re opening up another short crowdfund for folks who prefer to use Kickstarter as a platform.

Also, this Kickstarter WILL be open to international backers!

wild Stars Thumbnail

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July In Dracoheim

It’s hard to fight wizards and demons when all you have is a gun and a badge.

The use of magic in the Sovereign City of Dracoheim is regulated by the Lord Mayor’s Committee For Public Safety. From the licensing of magi, to the health and safety requirements for magical manufacturing, to the import and export of magical goods to the Realms of Nightmare, dedicated civil servants ensure that the metropolitan area stays safe from magical mayhem.

Most of the time, anyway.

My name is Erik Rugar. I’m an agent of the Criminal Investigation Division of CPS. We operate outside of the authority of Parliament and are answerable only to the Lord Mayor himself. We get involved when the regular beat cops are out of their depth. If a magic shop gets robbed by junkies, or someone gets vaporized by a fireball, or shapechanging creatures start infiltrating the city, I get the call.

But I’m not a mage; I’m just a cop. I face down magical threats with my keen investigative skills and a trusty revolver.

Welcome to my world.

July turned into Bad Dreams & Broken Hearts month. I had been talking with Legrange Books about publishing a collection of my Erik Rugar stories, and then a few behind the scenes things happened to move the project from back to front burner. I’ve been in contact with both a cover artist (and the cover is awesome, it’s killing me that I can’t share it yet) and an artist who is working on a map of Dracoheim to use as an interior illustration. (Also awesome. It’s great to finally have a visual of all the different places I refer to in the stories.)

I’ve been having to edit the stories and work out things like who Erik’s boss is, and how the Department works in day to day operations, and a calendar of the world to get all the dates to work out, etc, etc.

So my plan for 2019 is pretty much dead in the water, but that’s okay. I still have a bunch of stories in the pipeline for various publications (Storyhack, Switchblade, Dimension Bucket, three upcoming anthologies).

And I have learned a lot about my workflow and how to manage it better.

I still have one story to finish for Bad Dreams & Broken Hearts, which I hope to hammer out over the weekend, and then some consistency editing on the collection as a whole. It’s a kind of an oddball project (I know, who’d have thunk it?) because it’s almost a novel–the stories, I think, fit together well (and will hopefully fit together better once I’m done with my next rewrite) but the stories are very much self-contained, with a beginning, middle and end.

I’m psyched about this project. It will represent the first time that a book that is all mine will be published by someone else. That’s kind of a milestone.

So we’ll see how it does. I’m not at a point where I can estimate a publication date closer than before the end of the year, but as plans get firmed up I’ll share what I can.

Fortune Favors The Bold!

 

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Gingerbread Wolves — A Review

And the conclusion to a great series of reviews.

The Eldritch Paths

And here we are at the conclusion of Misha Burnett’s bizarre, yet beautiful series. This will likely be a series review just as much as a review of the last book, Gingerbread Wolves. Allow me to put things in perspective for a bit. I have a full-time job, a wife, three kids, and another on the way. Somehow, I still managed to finish this entire series in about 10 days. That says more about the quality of the books than it says about me.25819890

Everything seems to have lead to this. James finds himself swamped by his sister’s, Agony’s, suicidal desire to use her corporate empire to challenge the power of the Outsiders. Worse, Agony has been planning this for a long time, and, given her inhuman and amoral nature, there is nothing and no one she will not use to achieve her goals of world domination, oops, I meant…

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The Worms of Heaven — A Review

I’m not paying this guy, honest.

The Eldritch Paths

If there’s one thing Misha Burnett can pull off extremely well, it’s the beginnings of his novels. Every novel in his Book of Lost Doors series so far dives right into the action. No boring exposition or “previously on”. Perhaps that, more than anything else, kept me reading.

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It’s been about a year since the events of the last novel, and James has had time to deal with the fallout, mainly Godiva’s sudden parting. His sister, Agony, is on the rise in the world while James himself occupies a top position with Agony’s corporate empire. And then Agony gets kidnapped. From that point on, the story blasts into hyperdrive and doesn’t give you time to breathe until the end.

Misha Burnett can do characters. That much is obvious, but even better, he does characters without pages of flashbacks and pointless exposition *cough cough* Stephen King. In addition, these characters are…

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June

This is last month’s picture, since I only have one more line on this month’s and it’s an unfinished story.

Current Stats:

* indicates stories written this year

Stories Published: 

Stories accepted: 

  • “My Foe Outstretched” (3,800 words, Science Fiction)
  • “Fragile” (4,600 words, Science Fiction)
  • “She That Was So Proud And Wild” (4,700 words, Dracoheim Universe Fantasy)
  • “The Hopeful Bodies Of The Young” (4,200 words, Dracoheim Universe Fantasy)*
  • “Replevin” (1,000 words, Memoir)
  • “What Lola Wants” (3,200 words, Crime Noir) *
  • “The Darkest Hour Of The Night” (3,500 words, Weird Horror)
  • “The Irregular” (3,700 words, SF Military)  *

Stories Out On Submissions: 

  • “The Lord Of Slow Candles” (3,700 words, Modern Fantasy)*

Stories Complete and Available:

  • “Conessa’s Sword” (4,500 words, pre-Industrial Fantasy)
  • “Watchman, Mark The Tide” (3,700 words, Weird Tale)*

Incomplete Stories: 

  • “The House Of Spectral Discipline” (10,000 words, Horror/Erotica)
  • “The Mad Fishmonger” (4,400 words, Kaiju Romance)
  • “A Dreadful Feast” (6,600 words, Zombie)*
  • “A Murder In Plague Town” (2,000 words, Medical SF)*
  • “Where Your Eyes Don’t Go” (2,200 words, Time/Alternate Universe Travel SF)*
  • “This Green And Pleasant Sky” (3,100 words, SF for an upcoming project)*
  • “To Wound The Autumnal City” (5,400, Dracoheim Universe Fantasy)*

This is a tough update because my initial impulse is to just give up on the whole project. I had two good months this year, a fair month, one that I struggled through, and then two unproductive months. It’s a struggle to remind myself that I intended this challenge as a learning experience, not as a pass/fail test.

Okay, so what have I learned?

Well, I can produce, when my head is in the right place. I have done some very good work this year. What I need to figure out is how to tell when my head is not in the right place and stop trying to force it.

Because I can write–and produce decent stories–when I don’t particularly want to write. I can write when I don’t feel inspired or particularly enjoy sitting down and doing it.

On the other hand, sometimes I simply can’t produce, and no amount of self-discipline will make me. That is the main lesson that I have learned, and it’s been a tough one.

What I really need to do–if I am ever to be a serious writer–is to learn what distinguishes “I don’t feel like working today” (which I can work through if I sit down and start typing) from “I can’t write now” (which means I need to walk away from the computer and do something else.)

Secondary to that is learning to give myself permission to walk away when I have to, without beating myself up about it and without falling into despair. It’s not giving up and it’s not permanent. Rest is part of the process.  And I expect (I hope) that taking the mental rest I need, when I need it, will lessen the down time that I have.

In any event, I am back at work now, on a new Dracoheim story, and it’s going well at the moment.

I’m back in the saddle again.

Fortune Favors The Bold! 

 

 

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