First Update in a YEAR?!?

Good heavens to Betsy and tarnation and holy cow! Big off and ope all over this. 

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve updated my website with writing news. I apologize for the massive absence. I feel like I have an excuse — I did write, edit, and publish a novel in that time. Yes, you read that correctly! 

But first, some other news. I started a Teachers Pay Teachers store where educators can purchase units and other resources I’ve created. I mention this here because I most definitely use writing skills when drafting these products. I want to focus on educational games, specifically what I call Learning RPGs. Maybe EduRPG would be a catchier name? What are your thoughts? Anyway, these simplified tabletop role-playing games are usable in any subject/content area. All you have to do is provide the math problems/review questions/equations to balance, whatever you want the students to do. In order to solve the RPG quest, they need to answer the questions correctly. If you are a teacher, or a friend of a teacher, please direct them to my shop. My games are highly engaging and guaranteed to get your students excited! I write these for grades 7-12. I hope to have a wide variety of adventures up soon. Right now, my first game is a spy mission!

bugs

I need to get paid.

In other news, I have finished the first very rough draft of Retinue of Lost Ones, which I’ve been publishing on Wattpad. This story’s working title was I Was a Teenage Necromancer! It details the adventures of Shane Elliot, a high school student who not only sees dead people, but can tell them what to do. When a new girl comes to town, trailed by a mysterious but utterly malevolent spirit, Shane must find a way to help her. I look forward to moving into the editing stage. At that point, I’ll be looking for beta readers 🙂

I’m very excited to announce that stories I’ve written will appear in two new anthologies that should be coming out soon. The first story is “The Pearl,” written for the Iowa Writers’ House Writers’ Rooms anthology Writers from the Depths. “The Pearl” tells the story of a young woman who feels she has no way out of her life, and throws herself into the ocean. Beneath the waves, she finds a mystical creature that changes the course of her life forever. Awhile back I wrote a story called “A Mother’s Song” for an anthology called Unlocking the Magic, edited by the fabulous Vivian Caethe, who I worked with for Humans Wanted. Unfortunately, my story didn’t make the cut, but I managed to get it into another anthology with the same editor I worked with for Enter the Rebirth. “A Mother’s Song” follows the struggles of a court bard battling postpartum depression. Witches, Warriors, and Wyverns can be purchased here. 

In non-writing related news, I moved! My family and I left our 900 square foot condo for a 4,250 square foot former Catholic church that we are remodeling into our home! Yes, it’s a HUGE job, and it is cutting into my writing time, but this was an incredible opportunity that can’t be ignored! Once we have more of the renovations done, I’ll try to post some pictures. 

legendary

Last, but assuredly not least, my novel Legendary was released in November of 2019. At last, James and Arthur’s legendary love story is out there for everyone to read and enjoy. Copies can be purchased on Amazon, and I hope to have them in local bookstores soon. I’ll be doing a book signing at Beaverdale Books in Des Moines on 2/8 from 1-4. Legendary also earned a Kirkus starred review!

I am a published novelist. That is some bucket-list shit right there. 

I’m Appearing in a Science Fiction Anthology!

The most fantastic news!

The first science fiction story I ever wrote will be featured in the anthology Humans Wanted, and will appear in print and ebook format!

You can check out the kickstarter page here and pre-order your copy!

Here’s a description of the concept behind the anthology:

When going somewhere dangerous, take a human. 

Humans are tough. Humans can last days without food. Humans heal so quickly, they pierce holes in themselves or inject ink under their epidermis for fun. Humans will walk for days on broken bones in order to make it to safety. Humans will literally cut off bits of themselves if trapped by a disaster. 

You would be amazed what humans will do to survive. Or to ensure the survival of others they feel responsible for. 

That’s the other thing. Humans pack-bond, and they spill their pack-bonding instincts everywhere. Sure it’s weird when they talk sympathetically to broken spaceships or try to pet every lifeform that scans as non-toxic. It’s even a little weird that just existing in the same place as them for long enough seems to make them care about you. 

But if you’re hurt, if you’re trapped, if you need someone to fetch help? You really want a human.

I jumped at the chance to submit to this because it’s true — in this era of dystopian future themed literature, it seems humans are the worst thing to ever happen to the universe. So why not create an anthology where authors showcase what humans have to offer the future?

I read a great article in Smithsonian last year about the dystopia trend, and how some science fiction writers are fighting back by offering optimistic visions of the future. After all, art imitates life imitates art, am I right? If we want a brighter future, we need to start teasing it out in our speculative fiction. That’s why I’m a Trekkie. I believe if we shape things right, we can have a better tomorrow.

My story, “A Second Zion,” tells the tale of Rani Okalivi, a kick ass Kurkani mercenary who is very dismayed to learn that her new team has three squishy, pathetic humans. Humans: famous throughout the galaxy for destroying their planet through unstoppable industrialization and, more unforgivably, race war, causing what was left of the population to flee to the stars. Will they be an asset to the team sent to save the child of a galactic diplomat, or will they betray her as they betrayed their own world? Buy the book to find out!!

I am absolutely thrilled to be accepted, and I can’t wait to get my copy.

***

Well, aside from this major news, there hasn’t been much going on. A few rejections, but they’ve been rolling off me like unsupervised kids off a trampoline. I’ve submitted a couple of things, and written a chapter of my SUPER SECRET writing project. Also for over a year now I’ve been plugging away at a book I’m calling Our Liberties We Prize. This weird little book is a collection of short stories that retells notorious events from Iowa history from a different perspective (think the Villisca Axe Murders through the eyes of the murderer) or from a cosmic weird detached 1st/2nd/3rd person. Many of the stories play with the idea of time and space being spongy. People and things and energies fall through all the time and nobody ever sees the holes. I have no idea where this work is going, but I keep having ideas for it, so I guess we’ll keep going.

On a side note, nothing kills my writing energy faster than being WAY TOO FULL. This post has been shortened for you by Zombie Burger…