Running through the Year

My first attempt at acrylic painting. In case it’s not obvious, the red things are pears. And don’t ask why one of them is standing up!

I’m trying to get back into running. No, scratch that. I am getting back into running. I signed up for a 10K virtual race this time. No 5K — just straight into a 10K. Well, I haven’t been running, and the race is scheduled to be live in just three weeks, so I don’t have much time to train. That means, of course, that I’m going to be doing a lot more walking than I am running. The biggest issue is going to be just dealing with the time, because music, audiobooks, or story line for the race aside, the treadmill gets boring very quickly. But I have a list a mile long of why I won’t run in the neighborhood, and why I don’t want to drive to a park to do my running. So, treadmill it is.

The race is the Run to the Deep and I already have the tank top in hand (because who can resist a kraken?), but I won’t wear it until the official race. That’s going to be my reward for training and seeing the race through. After the race I’ll likely drop back and do some additional foundation work, aiming to keep building muscle and adding in some sprints to get my speed up. I’ve only been training about two and a half weeks, but I can feel a difference in my legs already.

In writing news, we’ve begun working on stories for our third Corrugated Sky anthology, which we hope to release in September. I can tell you that the theme is zombies, but you’ll have to buy the book to read the stories. I’ll keep posting updates as the projects progress. Meanwhile, I’m finishing up the cover art for Seacombe Island and doing a final read-through to catch any typos or other issues. The novel should be ready for release in early March and I’ll keep you up-to-date on its progress. We also have some other novels in the works, and a writer’s journal series that is currently under development. In all, we are hoping to release five new titles this year, so it’s going to be a busy spring and summer!

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Makin’ Smoke


Whew! November is over, and NaNo is over, and we’re halfway through December. I’m struggling to get back on track with several projects, although I’m making some slow progress on editing my novel and I have a few short articles to get done before the first week of January.

I haven’t written much about my story “Hekatite,” which appears in Smoke and Steam, the second anthology published by Corrugated Sky. In this one I get top billing. We’re calling them novellas because the stories are fairly long, and the book comes in at 260 pages. “Hekatite” takes place in the same universe as my forthcoming novel, Seacombe Island, and includes some of the same characters.

Writing the novella was a fairly straightforward plot, but it was an interesting way for me to fill in some of the backstory for the novel and figure out the dynamics between characters. As sometimes happens in writing, one of my secondary characters has become a favorite and is in danger of eclipsing my main character. But as I go through Seacombe with my final edits, I’m finding ways to strengthen the main character because I’ve finally figured out how some of the interactions need to take place.

What I need now is a good long vacation to deal with the task of writing, but unfortunately that isn’t going to happen. I’ve been using up my remaining vacation time a day here and a day there, and pretty much squandering any downtime by running house errands, and whether I travel or not, the holidays are not good writing time for me.

So, here we are nearly at the end of the year. My goals through the first week of January are to get at least halfway through Seacombe edits, finish four short articles on athlete bios for Salem press, and get back into research on my nonfiction book on Victorian detectives. And wrap up my author proposal for another book project. Not too many things, eh?

It’s Live! Anthology #2 Is Published

My novella “Hekatite” has been published in Corrugated Sky‘s second anthology, Smoke and Steam, and is available on Amazon. Because my blog isn’t a commercial site, I can’t provide you with a live link, so just go to Amazon and search for the book. The paperback is available now, and the ebook will be available in the next several days.

The “Hekatite” story takes place on Seacombe Island and happens before the events in my forthcoming novel, Seacombe Island. It’s Steampunk science fiction, set in a world where coal powers everything — but maybe not for much longer. Botanists on the island have discovered the Hekate orchid, a beautiful flower that has a surprise: burning the sap from its seed pods produces more energy than coal. Edward Gray is appointed to supervise the Hekatite fuel refining process, and he is tasked with producing enough to power the airship HMS Nares in England’s bid to win a race to the South Pole. But the ugly truth about Hekatite is that it is also a powerful toxin. Will Edward’s quest be successful? And will he survive the race?

If you want to know the answer, buy the book and read the story. And then, read the other three stories. Or read the stories in any order you like, because all of them are good!

And now, back to NaNo. I was away from my desk all day yesterday and I’m behind on my word-count goals, so I’ll have to burn some midnight oil to do some catching up.

October Is for Anthology

Ah, yes, that’s a bit of a lame title for the blog post this week, but it’s eerily prescient. Last year (in October) we launched Corrugated Sky Publishing with the publication of our first anthology, Tales of the Black Dog. We started a second anthology with the hopes of printing it this spring, but that came and went and then the summer sun burned down on us and we still didn’t have a finished book in hand. And now it’s October again, and we are very, very close to getting the second anthology in print. So close that we will probably have it next week, just in time for Halloween — again!

This second book is called Smoke and Steam and it’s big: 260 pages, which means that what started out as four Steampunk short stories morphed into four Steampunk novellas, including “Wings over Staria” by JC Rock, “Hekatite” by Karen Garvin, “Heart of the Matter” by Michelle Schad, and “Freedom for a Foster” by Cathryn Leigh. We’ll have the book available in paperback and ebook versions on Amazon, but while you’re waiting for our second anthology, why not pick up a copy of the first one — Tales of the Black Dog? After all, it contains some great horror stories, and what better time of year to read them?

With the anthology all but finished except evicting a few typos and finalizing our print files, it’s time for me to get back to other writing projects. The looming question, with November coming up, is whether I’m going to do NaNo this year. I did it last year and managed to meet the word count, so technically I had a “win,” but the story never quite jelled into something worthwhile. It was supposed to be a noir mystery, but the only “noir” was my character riding a bus at night and the only “mystery” was the plot. I loved my title (Killing Palatino); I also liked the art I came up with for the cover. Maybe I’ll dust it off sometime, but not this fall.

I do have another book idea that I’ve been thinking of developing. It would be a young adult story and the protagonist would be a young girl who lives in a country where being healthy is considered a social duty and being overweight is illegal. I want the politics to be in the background, not in-your-face, but I’ll need to develop an interesting character who has motives and desires. I have some ideas, but you’re going to have to wait at least until December to learn more … as will I!