Zombies!

My latest story has been published in Corrugated Sky‘s anthology Cold as Death, a collection of four not-too-gruesome zombie stories. We got the editing and formatting of the book done and had our printed copies in hand just in time for RavenCon 14, where we had a vendor table. Our exhibits are starting to look pretty impressive: we had seven titles for sale, which included three anthologies and four novels.

The stories in Cold as Death have a wide range of locations: mine takes place on the asteroid Thisbe, where the zombies work as miners. The other stories are situated in Cape Cod, Casablanca, and Los Angeles. None of the stories is a gore-fest and all of them are suitable for adults and young adults. We’re also moving our books to Ingram, which means they’ll be available for purchase from more vendors, as well as showing up in bookstores nationwide.

And now that the zombies have been dispensed with (!), we’re busy working on our fourth anthology. The theme for this upcoming volume is urban magic, and it’s the first anthology that we’ve opened for submissions. In the next few weeks we’ll be reading through our submissions and getting the accepted ones ready for the editing process, as well as putting the finishing touches on our own entries.

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December Musings

Yeah, so in November I started pretty strong with the kick-off for NaNo, but by mid-month I was falling behind and stressing too much. I’ve done NaNo four times, so I know what it takes, but this year I’m so involved in paying projects (in addition to a full-time job) that my NaNo work-in-progress just had to go on the back burner. On the plus side, I have about 24,000 words of a novel that I think I can finish outlining to have a decent story.

The other plus was unexpected: once I made the decision to put my novel aside, it was as though a weight was lifted off my shoulders because I gave myself permission to not do something. That had repercussions for my contract work, too, and I felt like the massive writer’s block that I’ve had for months dissolved. Since the end of November I’ve had a couple of days to organize my workload and set specific task goals that are doable.

I also cut back my step-count exercise goal (10,000 steps a day) because I was almost never reaching it. At some point this led to a failure mentality and eventually I fell off the exercise bandwagon. By readjusting my goals to something just a little beyond reach — 7,000 steps a day — I’ve made it easier to tell myself that I can do it if I just take a few more steps. Last week I made my step goals six out of seven days, and that’s a new first for me. Don’t laugh, but much of my “workout” is going up and down the stairs or jogging in place. I live in a pedestrian-unfriendly area and sometimes just getting ready to go out turns out to be a way to avoid doing anything, so for now this is a start.

At Corrugated Sky we’re working on getting our third anthology ready for its release in February 2019. This one is called Cold as Death and will be four stories about zombies.

Encountering the Black Dog

Tales of the Black Dog was Corrugated Sky’s first anthology.

When you tell someone that you’re a writer, the first thing they ask is what kind of things you write. The second question they ask is where you got your inspiration for a story or book, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction.

When we decided to form our own publishing company we put our heads together and came up with some themes for anthologies. The black dog legend has a long history and surprisingly is found in cultures around the world. For my story I was inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles” as well as traditional English ghost stories that I grew up reading. The atmosphere of a lonely country road, the local inn where the country folk harbor some dark secret, and being stranded or trapped in a place or situation that you can’t get out of are all part of the setting for these traditional stories, and they worked their way into mine.

During the summer when we were working on Tales of the Black Dog my husband and I went on a trip to Maine. We stopped at a coffee shop for a bite to eat and took our coffee and sandwiches outside, where there were tables and Adirondack chairs for guests to enjoy. I went back inside the shop for something, and when I came out there was a huge black dog sitting next to my chair as though it were patiently waiting for me to return. No kidding, this really happened!

My husband gave me one of those knowing looks, and I burst out laughing. I sat back down and for a few minutes the dog didn’t move from that spot. Yes, it was really weird, but despite reading old legends of black dogs being associated with death, I’d read other legends that said the black dogs were protector spirits, especially of women. I’m pretty sure it was a real dog, and that is was just a coincidence, but there’s always that small doubt … in any case, that particular black dog did a good job of protecting my chair and making sure no one else sat there until I got back!

And now we’re working on our third anthology, which is about zombies. I hope I don’t meet one of them!

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!