Sometime, long ago, I had the idea for an ABC book. It was dark, creepy, and awfully cute. However, I have no skill at art. Thus, A is for Apex sat in the "hiatus" file for years. Then I met Elizabeth. I liked her art style. I liked her. I thought we might work well together. We auditioned each other on The Prince of Artemis V, a comic book version of my most popular YA short story to date. We liked it and thought, why not do another project together. Rubbing my hands together, I asked, "Have you ever wanted to do an ABC book?" The gleam in her eyes was answer enough.
May I present to you, A is for Apex!
Learn the English alphabet with this one-of-a-kind book for the little ghoul in your life. Monsters, mayhem, graveyards, and a zombie named Oscar, mixed with a little bit of science, come to life in charming rhymes and illustrations. Each letter receives its own two page fun illustration to spark the imagination of you and your little ghoul. There are many details to be explored during every read.
This book is dedicated to all the little mad scientists out there, especially those who like the creepy stuff.
I hope you all love this book.
Amazon ebook, physical | Barnes & Noble ebook, physical
Release date: 1 August 2018
Crypticon Seattle has come and gone. We did well enough in the sales department. We’ll probably be back next year—timing of the convention and other conventions willing.
It occurs to me that I should probably mark down somewhere all the conventions I’ve been a Guest of Honor at. I no longer remember the years. I mostly remember all the conventions. I should probably look that up now.
30 minutes later, I think I have the list. If you remember one that I don’t remember, please let me know.
• BayCon 2009 – Toastmaster (San Jose, CA)
• GothCon 2013 – Guest of Honor (Gothenburg, Sweden)
• Context 2014 – Featured Presenter (Ohio)
• LepreCon 2015 – Guest of Honor (Phoenix, AZ)
• Gen Con 2015 – Industry Insider Featured Guest (Indianapolis, ID)
• Gamehole Con 2015 – Special Guest (Madison, WI)
• OrcaCon 2016 – Guest of Honor (Everett, WA)
• Radcon 2016 – Guest of Honor (Pasco, WA)
• Capitol Indie Book Con 2016 – Featured Author (Olympia, WA)
• Tracon 2016 – Guest of Honor (Tampere, Finland)
The slow paring down of stuff continues apace. I move stuff to donate out of my overstuffed office and into the cat/exercise room. Currently, there’s a huge mound of stuff. I think once a month, we get out to donate it to Saint Vincent’s.
Thinking of paring down stuff, I’ve come to a realization on some of my knick-knacks. I’m keeping them because someone 10 years ago gave them to me. It’s an obligation. Not a joy. I think I’m going to pull down all the knick-knacks I no longer love, put them on the dining room table, and invite my friends over to pick out what they want. The rest will be donated or sold if our neighborhood ever gets organized enough to do the neighborhood garage sale.
Thinking of the neighborhood. Can I just say that I love that my neighborhood has a close FB page? It allows us to post about rescued pets, lost keys, found items, mention stuff we’ve seen, and warn each other of danger.
Thinking of danger… I’m getting better at the “not panicking, planning” thing. One of my projects dropped a bombshell on me and it was a doozy. However, as one of the other people involved said, “We can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” with this. I was in “fix it” mode for most of yesterday. It’s a good thing I have the ability to know who might have an answer if I don’t have it.
Thinking of fixing things, I have a 5.5 lb cat insisting it is time to play and that is the only answer she cares about. Have a cat picture. Leeloo and Pharaoh were very glad I was home from the convention.
On Friday, December 9th, I turn 46. I didn’t have a problem with 29, 30, 35, 40, or 45. But, for some reason, 46 is messing with me a bit this year. I don’t if it’s because 2016 has been a rough year all the way around or what.
All I want for my birthday (and for Christmas for that matter) is for you to buy one of my books (for yourself or as a gift to someone else) and leave me a review. It’s been my standing birthday wish for a few years now. Please consider getting yourself a gift of one of my books for my birthday. You have a great selection. I would love to see pictures of you and my books, too.
This year, I’d like to highlight a couple of books that came out in 2016.
Never Let Me – This is the omnibus of my Bram Stoker nominated YA sci-fi thriller series. It contains Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, and Never Let Me Die as well as an original short story in the universe, “Never Let Me Feel.” This omnibus is only available in print form.
The Karen Wilson Chronicles – This is the omnibus of my urban fantasy quartet. It contains Caller Unknown, Children of Anu, Keystones, and Chimera Incarnate as well as every Kendrick short story ever written and a John Corso story that is only published in the omnibus. This is available in trade and ebook as well as a signed, numbered, limited edition hardback.
The Last Days of Salton Academy – This is my most recently published book. It’s YA horror. Think Night of the Living Dead meets Lord of the Flies. It’s been called a “gothic zombie book” and I’m just fine with that. It is available in trade and ebook formats.
Of course, if you have those already or aren’t interested in them, you can pop by my website and see the whole list. As always, if you want a signed book by me—even my obscure stuff—the University Bookstore is your best bet. Also, I signed a bunch of books for the Cedar Hills Powell’s Bookstore, too.
I’ve already written about what I did in 2015. Now I’m looking forward to what I need to do for 2016. The short version: A whole lot of contracted tie-in fiction, some editing, and a bunch of travel.
Contracts signed: 1 board game mythology/background, 1 reprint RPG fiction collection, and 1 tie-in novel.
Forthcoming contracts: 1 serialized YA tie-in novel, 1 anthology as editor, and 2 tie-in short stories. (As in, discussion is done, I’ve agreed to do it, and we’re just waiting on paperwork.)
Planned contracts: 1 tie-in novella. (Proposal requested. Writing is probably slated for early 2017 if all parties agree.)
Planned editing: 2 novels, 2 omnibuses, 3 novellas, 1 monthly fiction feature, and 1 anthology. (For Apocalypse Ink Productions and Evil Girlfriend Media.)
Events planned: 8 conventions (3 as GoH), 1 workshop, 2 readings, 1 wedding in Iceland.
The writing metrics for 2016 are daunting. It’s about 200,000 words of contract tie-in fiction. This doesn’t count any of the editing for that work or research or one-off anthologies or one-off articles. Or any blog posts. Or any of the 10,000 other things a freelance author-editor does.
What this means is that I’m going to have to buckle down and change my personal working schedule. I’m probably going to have to institute a “no internet before noon” policy to focus on my writing. Leave all the email and such to the afternoon once my word count for the day is done. It is too easy to fritter away my time online, answering emails, reading articles, and watching videos.
- Jan 8-10, 2016, OrcaCon, special guest
- Jan 26, Reading at University Bookstore
- Feb 5: Foolscap, Workshop leader
- Feb 12-14, 2016, RadCon, Writer GoH
- Mar 23-27, Norwescon, dealer/panelist
- May 12-15, StokerCon, Panelist
- Jun 15-20, Origins Game Fair, dealer/panelist
- Aug 17-21, Worldcon/MidAmericon, ??
- Sep 4-6, Tracon XI in Tampere, Finland, GoH
- Nov 4-6, We Are All SF Con, Ocean Shores, Lead Writer GoH
Today begins my birthday week. (My actual birthday is on 9 Dec, Tuesday.) Birthdays are important to me because, sometimes, I’m twelve. The Husband knows this and he left me a bar of chocolate and a little love note to kick things off. I won the world with that man.
As with most authors, what we really, really, really want for our birthdays is to be acknowledged in some way. I don’t need a gift from you but if you want to gift something to me, I’ve listed some little things out.
1. Like my Amazon author page. (If that’s still a thing.)
2. Leave me an Amazon or GoodReads or Barnes and Noble or DriveThruFiction review. Every single word helps.
3. Like my Facebook fan author page or the Apocalypse Ink Productions Facebook page.
4. Take a picture of one of my books with you or a furry friend or a fabric friend and send it to me.
5. Buy yourself (or a friend) a book from Apocalypse Ink Productions. If it is one of my books and you want a hard copy, I can even sign it for you. If it’s an ebook, I still believe I can sign it for you through authorgraph.
6. Gift yourself with the gift of editing from me.
And I hope you have a great week, too. Ping me on twitter and tell me about it. Send me puppy and kitten pictures. Tell me something awesome about your day.
I just got back from Gen Con. As usual, it was the busiest four days of the year – panels, signings, manning the booth. I got to see old friends and new. I sold a thing. I got offered a gig which I will do. I got to talk to a bunch of fans. I shared my experience and knowledge with those who asked. It was a convention.
We got to have three of AIP’s six authors at the table at one point. Four if you count me. Dylan, Ivan, and new author Wendy. She’s a sweetheart and smart! I’m so happy we’ll be publishing her next year.
I had to take the week of Gen Con off writing for two reasons: 1. Con. That’s a given. Unless under deadline, I shouldn’t do a lot of writing at a convention because I’m so tired by the end of the day. 2. I did something very bad to my shoulder and needed to rest it. It seems to be better now. But no clicky games for the foreseeable future.
Not being allowed to write always makes me want to write more. I love conventions but I’m never happier to get home, back to my routine and to write. I’m almost half-way through Chimera Incarnate and Never Let Me Leave is fully outlined. I’m giving Peter M. Ball’s Flotsam #2 a read through and then it’s onto Dylan’s Sheynan #2 for a full edit.
It’s a busy schedule but I’m looking forward to it.
Book release day is always fun. KEYSTONES, Karen Wilson Chronicles #3, is out. Buy it at Apocalypse Ink, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.
“The Keystone. It must be destroyed.”
By the Children of Anu.
But the Children aren’t done with Karen or the city of Kendrick yet. The supernatural societies of Kendrick are being attacked, one by one. As each falls, the Avatar of Anu grows stronger, and Karen is left to defend the city with fewer and fewer allies… while also being hindered by a new leader of Kendrick's Special Unit Police Force.
Karen knows that she and her allies must stop the Children before everything important is destroyed. Only by working together, and sacrificing what some hold most dear, will they prevail. It’s time for the denizens of Kendrick to determine what they’re willing to give up in order to stop the evil running rampant.
Some will sacrifice everything they have—and everything they are—to protect the ones they love.
My ebooks from Apocalypse Ink Productions are on sale for $0.99. If you get the physical copies, all domestic shipping is free. It's a pretty good deal.
If you prefer Amazon:
Caller Unknown, Karen Wilson Chronicles, Book 1
Children of Anu, Karen Wilson Chronicles, Book 2
Industry Talk: : An Insider's Look at Writing RPGs and Editing Anthologies, non-fiction
Dylan Birtolo is a great friend of mine and I have had the privilege of working for him several times. This time, I do have skin in the game. It is my company that will be publishing the Sheynan trilogy. The Kickstarter (5 days left) involved is already funded with extra books coming from Apocalypse Ink Productions. Dylan is here to tell me who his fictional hero is and why.
We all have heroes when we are growing up – people that we respect, admire, and want to emulate or even become. As you can imagine, I was a very imaginative child and grew up with a lot of science fiction and fantasy, for which I am immensely grateful. Heck, I am told that the first book I “read” was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The story I have been told is that I had it read to me so many times that I memorized the words and “read along.” Needless to say, there were a lot of opportunities to find heroes.
The one that rose to the top was Buckaroo Banzai from the cult hit The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Why was he my hero above and beyond all of the other stories I read or watched? I had Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia and more to pull from – a very competitive lineup. Quite simply, he did everything. He was a scientist, a race car driver, a neurosurgeon, a martial artist, a rock star, and had his own comic book. He was everything that you could possibly be. I guess when I was a child and my parents said I could be anything I wanted, I took that to mean that I could be EVERYTHING.
With writing, I get a taste of that. For me, writing is a form of wish fulfillment. I get to create worlds and characters that can do anything, where anything is possible. I have the opportunity to write the stories that I want to read. There are characters and worlds in my head that I want to explore, and “what if” questions I want to see the answers to. Writing is a way to do that. Not only that, but it also lets me share those ideas with others.
This is especially true because I write a lot of fantasy. The idea for my first novel, The Shadow Chaser, was born from a very simple wish. I wished that I had the ability to change into an animal. That got my brain going. What if I could? What if I wasn’t the only one? How would it work? What if there were hundreds of people living in this world who can do it, and we just don’t know about them? That was the seed that grew into this novel.
While I may not be able to do everything (although I am making as good a stab at it as I can), being a writer lets me emulate Buckaroo in my own way.
Right now I am in the tail end of a Kickstarter campaign to rewrite my first two novels and write the third in the series. I’m excited about this. It is an opportunity to revisit one of the first worlds I created with all of the writing skills and knowledge I have now. I have gotten to the point where, while I am proud of what I have done with my first novels, I cringe a little to read them because I know I am a much better writer now. With this project, I will be able to go back and give this world another turn so I can share it again with people.
Because let’s face it – a world where some people can take on the shape of an animal sounds like a lot of fun.
Charity: CALLER UNKNOWN by ME is included in the BUNDLE OF HOLDING +5 to benefit Defenders of Wildlife and the Wikimedia Foundation. Only three days left to get an awesome bundle of ebooks and help out two charities.
Announcement: "Dreams of a Thousand Young" will be in Jazz Age Cthulhu. Yes I know I'm late on posting this.
Funded: The Sheynan trilogy by Dylan Birtolo, to be published by Apocalypse Ink Productions, has been funded. New stretch goals have been plotted out.
Kickstater: Broken Eye Books has a kickstarter that now includes a critique from me: $75 level - BROZEK CRITIQUE: Everything included in the WEIRD LOVE reward, plus you receive a critique from Jennifer Brozek of either a story up to 5,000 words of text or a novel synopsis and query. 1 of 2 is already taken.