Wednesday, April 26, 2017

News, Revise and Resubmit, and Notes

So. Busy day for me means a long post. We'll get to the editing notes in a minute, but I got two emails within 30 minutes today that were slightly exciting.
First, my short story Chrysalis will be made into a podcast that will air on Cast of Wonders as part of their Little Wonders collection in mid-July. Exact date to come.

And then there was the rejection for my novel.

I know what you're thinking. "You said this was exciting?" It is, I swear!

This was a rejection on my first full manuscript request for FreakShow, and while I was really hoping it would be accepted, the editor gave me a lot of great notes and said I could resubmit if I wanted to revise my novel.

In a way, it kind of hurts to see paragraph after paragraph of things I did "wrong." I love this book so much, and the perfectionist in me sees all criticism as a personal attack (even though I know it isn't). And then there's the feeling that I somehow disappointed the editor, which I don't think is true.

But I don't really disagree with anything she said, and I kind of feel like I should have seen these problems before I submitted it.

You know the big exciting thing, though? There were a few parts and characters I love (Billie, m' dear, I'm looking at you, you darling little knife-wielding nutjob) that I worry other people won't "get", and as I read the notes, I kept expecting to see "This whole plotline seems unnecessary." But all my favorite bits were "spared." Nice things were said about some of them, too. (And those of you who've read my editing notes for this novel will appreciate this: absolutely no mention of how I kept using birds to symbolize other birds!)

I feel like I should be dreading the idea of editing this again, but honestly? I'm kind of looking forward to going back to the FreakShow world again and making it even better.


Okay. Making the longest post even longer, I'm slowly working my way through the awful first draft of Blue Incarnations, my young adult novel. Join me as I laugh at myself, won't you?

"CHAPTER 6 GOES HERE"? Are you freaking kidding me?

Wait, then immediately after that I have what appears to be all of chapter 6?

Why is Carey dressed like Elton John from the 1970s but also from the future?

The best thing I can say about this scene? It's very short.

Blue Incarnations first draft drinking game: take a drink every time I forgot whether Carey was tall and gangly or very fat.

I don't know if all these jungle references are on purpose or not, but it's getting to be about as annoying as when you kept symbolizing birds with other birds.


You have definitely eaten recently, Diane. There was a super important scene all about it. Twice.

And here I thought being finished with FreakShow meant we were done with scenes where people go "Omg stars are so pretty!"

SHE'S GAY. ALWAYS. (I originally had her realize she was attracted to girls after meeting the love interest. This was my subtle way of telling myself to have her know from the beginning.)

I highly doubt the government is going to be overthrown because they unscrew the lids on the salt shakers, Jen. I mean, there IS something in between "juvenile pranks" and "political assassination."

Obliviate is not a word. Problem is, I have no idea what word you were thinking of. (Used in the context of "Advancements in technology helped the computer obliviate the need for typewriters." I MIGHT have meant "eliminate"?)

Rubber bands don't have the mental capacity to repent. Your metaphor is invalid.

Oh YAY. (<--sarcasm) We've reached the part of the book where you gave up and named everyone after Walking Dead characters for some reason.


So yeah. That was my day. :D

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Review: Stranger

(image from Goodreads)


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Equus Cover Reveal!

Today my blog is participating in a cover reveal! And it's sooo pretty!

World Weaver Press has announced Equus, an anthology of short fantasy stories about horses, unicorns, centaurs, and other equine mythology edited by Rhonda Parrish, will be available in trade paperback and ebook Tuesday, July 18, 2017.

There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there? Whether winged or at home in the water,
mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through these pages span the fantasy spectrum. In one story a woman knits her way up to the stars and in another Loki's descendant grapples with bizarre transformations while fighting for their life. A woman races on a unique horse to save herself from servitude, while a man rides a chariot through the stars to reclaim his self-worth. From steampunk- inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom.

Featuring nineteen fantastic stories of equines both real and imagined by J.G. Formato, Diana Hurlburt, Tamsin Showbrook, M.L.D Curelas, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, VF LeSann, Dan Koboldt, J.J. Roth, Susan MacGregor, Pat Flewwelling, Angela Rega, Michael Leonberger, Sandra Wickham, Stephanie Cain, Cat McDonald, Andrew Bourelle, Chadwick Ginther, K.T. Ivanrest, and Jane Yolen.

Equus is the newest installment of Rhonda Parrish’s “Magical Menageries” anthology series, preceded by Fae (2014), Corvidae (2015), Scarecrow (2015), and Sirens (2016). Equus will be available in trade paperback and ebook via,, World Weaver Press, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram.

Rhonda Parrish is driven by the desire to do All The Things. She was the founder and editor-in-chief
of Niteblade Magazine, is an Assistant Editor at World Weaver Press, and is the editor of several
anthologies including, most recently, Sirens and C is for Chimera. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012 & 2015), and Mythic Delerium. Her website, updated weekly, is at

World Weaver Press is an independently owned publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction.
We believe in great storytelling.

Publication Date: July 18, 2017 • Anthology • Fantasy / Science Fiction
$13.95 trade paperback, 325 pages • $4.99 ebook
ISBN-13: 978-0998702209

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I Finished a Cross Stitch Thing!

I am a crafty little dino dork.

And here's my first finished cross stitch project!

It's easier to read in real life, but it says "Goodness gracious - we've reached the late Cretaceous," which is a line from the Magic Schoolbus episode about dinosaurs. (That was such a good, educational kid's show; I can't count how often I quote it in daily life.)

Because I'm a nerd, all the animals featured are actually from the late Cretaceous.

Going clockwise from the top left: A tyrannosaurus skull, a parasaurolophus, dinosaur footprints, a pterosaur, two velociraptors (with feathers, like they had in real life), a hatching parasaurolophus (technically the babies weren't born with head crests, but then they probably weren't purple, either - I'm willing to take creative liberties for adorableness), and a sauropod.

The whole thing is about four inches square, done on 11 count Aida fabric with two strands of floss.

I thought cross stitch would be an good craft for me because my muscular dystrophy limits my movement and strength while my fine motor skills are generally unaffected. I had to cut the fabric smaller than I wanted because it was unwieldy, and sometimes my arm fell over while I was pulling a thread that was a little too long, but overall I'm very pleased with the experience.

My mom is less than thrilled at my calling it "analog pixel art," but I grew up recoloring Pokemon sprites. Working in tiny squares comes natural to me.

I designed all the patterns myself (I traced the outline of the skull from a picture). Here they are, along with some extras I didn't use. Feel free to use and share them if you want (and I can do custom designs if anyone needs anything).


Dinosaurs are just about my favorite thing ever. I've always been a dinosaur nerd. My favorite movie when I was 5 was Jurassic Park, and I so idolized Drs. Grant and Sattler.

I loved the chase scenes and the science, but one of my favorite parts of the movie is actually the boring beginning part before they go to the park. The dig. That's what I liked. I always felt like I should have been a paleontologist.

I think that's one of the few things that I can't do because of my disability that actually bothers me. But any time I learn a new skill, I use it to make dinosaurs.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Return of the Editing Notes

On April 19, World Weaver Press is revealing the cover of their new equine-themed fantasy anthology Equus, which will be available in paperback and ebook on July 18. And I'm part of the reveal team, so come on back here next Wednesday to see the cover (it's real pretty, you guys).

Now, on to the editing notes. The first draft of Blue Incarnations is not improving. Most of it isn't actually that bad, but the bad parts are reeeaally bad. (You can tell by how many times I use "omg" in my notes.)

  • This is a chase sequence! Stop describing the scenery!
  • Wait. Hold up. Did she just super casually remember very specific details about her past life? You know, the thing she can't do BECAUSE IT'S THE ENTIRE PLOT OF THE BOOK?
  • Is there mall jail in the future?
  • Aaaand "Namey Namerson" wins the prize for stupidest placeholder name ever.
  • "Don't you have a wishing well to patrol?" Best insult ever.
  • So this is the Jetsons then. Because I get how maybe adding water to a futuristic food tablet could fill a glass with a chocolaty beverage. But no way can it put a cherry on top. OMG fix the science!
  • Is she seriously surprised by the fact that she died in a past life? What exactly does she think happened to make it a PAST life?
  • Omg stop talking about flarpball. It isn't a sport.
  • Yeah you totally stole that scene from an episode of Rugrats.
  • "Focus groups indicate cursive is the most sympathetic writing style." I don't remember writing so much of this book.
  • Yeeeah, the file clerks are clearly not the enemy here.
  • Convenient plot time is convenient.
  • Is there a better way to do this major plot point that doesn't involve whimsical fridge magnets?
  • I think Gran would rather you get her out of jail and then go have girly funtimes in the city.
  • Pineapples. They're not pines, they're not apples... what's up with that? Omg was she Jerry Seinfeld in a past life?
  • It's not mindreading if the other person says their thoughts out loud.
  • "Pride, not hide." Well, it rhymes but it's still a stupid slogan.
  • It's the future. Do men still wear ties?
  • I find myself doubting every detail I add: "It's the future. Would there still be eggs, or are chickens extinct? Are velociraptors farmed for eggs?"
  • *whispers* It would improve the story significantly if they were.
  • "Hey, welcome to our super secret bad guy villain lair. May I teach you to tango?"

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Book Review: The Girl from Everywhere

(image from Goodreads)
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
4 out of 5 stars
Any time, any place. Real or imaginary. If Nix and her father have a map, they can steer their ship there.
But when her father finds a map that will let him go back and save her mother, who died just after Nix was born, Nix worries that changing the past will effectively erase her life as she knows it.
The Girl From Everywhere is full of beautiful language and interesting characters. I especially love Bee, an African woman who blames the ghost of her wife for knocking over bowls and things.
It's clear the author researched and cares about Hawaii in the 1800s. The details are amazing.
And, because the crew of the Temptation can go to mythical places, there are lots of little magic objects and creatures.
The plot itself is a bit confusing at times, and I got a little lost sometimes with the time travel. I liked the complicated relationship between Nix and her father.
I also liked that, while there are romantic undertones at some parts, it was more along the lines of having a crush rather than "true love will save the world!" The latter I can enjoy every once in a while, but I appreciate when an author doesn't try to cram it in where it isn't needed.
All in all, a very nice book. As I excitedly told my mother last night, "This is the best book because it has like ten pages of author notes explaining the real history and myths!"

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Editing Notes

As expected,, the first chapters of Blue Reincarnations, my young adult reincarnation thriller, are a hilarious mess.
  • Starting with an infodump, I see.
  • An infodump in which you show, within the first five words, that you have absolutely no idea what's going on or when. Good job; that's a new record.
  • What if instead of infodumping all the info you dump, you had Diana in a biology class that's like, "Welp, we should be teaching y'all about not getting pregnant but there are literally so few free souls compared to the amount of people having sex at any one time that you have a better chance of getting struck by a lightning shark that just won the lottery on a leap day than you do of getting pregnant. So today we're learning about DINOSAURS."
  • It sounds like the lack of babies is the plot and this is going to be a thriller about getting to the IVF clinic before they close.
  • Revolutionary concept: What if the characters had personalities? And you could actually remember what they looked like?
  • Grandma tears are clearly not what makes flowers grow so let's turn the melodrama knob down just a few clicks here, mkay?
  • Flarpball. That is what you think sports will be called in the future.
  • You named the doctor... Dr. Doctor. Do you have a bad case of being unable to think of names?
  • Should I be worried how casually everyone handles having memories of murdering each other?
  • Plot twist: everyone dies of salmonella!
  • Ooh. (Super helpful note, self.)
  • What is that outfit? Why is she dressed like Star Trek Hillary Clinton?
  • Sorry I didn't get you acquitted of murder; I was distracted by memories of dust.
  • Way to make a subtle parallel and then POINT IT OUT IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH.

In other news, I'm learning to cross stitch. Bought supplies with my first Circuits & Slippers royalty check!
And, as is my way, I'm launching straight into making my own complicated patterns without really practicing much at all. Below is the chart I'm starting with, in case anyone else needs a parasaurolophus cross stitch pattern. (And really, who doesn't? They're the best dinosaurs.)