Life, Writing

Working on my Next Manuscript

Three years.

That’s how long it took to write my first novel.

And as they say, the first novel is the worst. (They should add so is the latest.) In three years, my manuscript went through multiple rewrites, a few cycles of beta readers, and now slinks in my hard drive, waiting to be deleted on accident. Or on purpose. Probably purpose.

In case you’re curious, Roco is a contemporary forest fantasy about a squirrel who goes on an adventure with a teenaged rune mage. The villains are a backwoods clan of snakes in the guise of people; their leader, called Mother, wants to slither inside the mage to take over her body and command her powers. Think Yeerks meet ancient serpent gods.

Most of the story centers on the rune mage’s escape through a swathe of forest and her burgeoning friendship with a helpful Western Gray (a relationship initiated by magic). The book culminates in a final showdown between the deuteragonists and the snakefolk, with the denouement setting up a sequel.

Mari and Roco by Mowkiii

What I earned after an endless three years was first-hand knowledge of how demoralizing writing a book can be.

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Life, Scifi

My friend wrote a book

Stuart J. Warren, of his-own-blog fame, wrote a book about a robot who activates in the wilderness and stumbles on an automated society. Humanity, apparently, has been wiped out completely, and this robot tries to adjust to a brave, new world of logic, code, ailing technology, and fervent racism against long-gone Creators. 

My small contribution was as one of Stuart’s beta readers. Here’s the cover:

Dynamic Synapse Protocol is on Amazon.

 

Life

Rejection Letters of 2020

2020 was a tough year in terms of self-motivation and sitting down to actually write (or read, or do anything beyond doomscrolling and video games). The Coronaverse was overwhelming—the unknowns, the paranoia, the deaths, the blur of weeks spent indoors.

Only now, in January 2021, am I actively seeking restoration (even though the pandemic continues to rage).

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Fantasy, Scifi, Writing (Published)

Published — “Rona of the Els”

Electric Spec picked up my short story, “Rona of the Els,” about a peasant witch who takes a noble girl on a tramp through the marsh.

“Quiet Reflections” by Yuri Magalhães (2020)

There’s an LGBT undercurrent here, as well as what I hoped was an interesting application of old fantasy tropes. This is meant to be a fun read, but maybe someone who’s looking at their future with a little less-than-hope might read “Rona” and feel inspired.

Electric Spec is a not-for-profit speculative magazine that publishes four times per year. “Rona of the Els” is featured in Volume 15, Issue 2, May 31, 2020, which also features a wonderful interview by Blogcritics Magazine editor Barbara Barnett.

Writing Process

The Horror Writer

The Horror Writer: A Study of Craft and Identity in the Horror Genre is a comprehensive resource on writing horror. Interviews and essays cover a range of topics from inspiration to productivity, literary elements to marketing, exacerbating your reader’s sense of existential dread to publicizing your book in an oversaturated industry. I especially liked Chat Lutzke’s instructions on hooking the reader through empathetic, universal fears, Kenneth W. Cain’s near-prose essay on maintaining tension, and Kevin J. Kennedy’s frank, personable, and immensely useful observations about the writing profession. I could go on, but then I’d be spoiling this anthology’s secrets. Overall, a treasure trove of good information for the emergent and established alike (including those uninterested in writing specifically for the horror genre).

The book is available for purchase here.

Life, Writing (Published)

Unpublished — “Cuidado”

Another example of how COVID-19 is affecting everyone these days. A multitude of magazines have stalled, and a few are folding up due to economic hardships.

This includes an anthology which was about to publish one of my poems. The editors sent me this email:

We are unfortunately now forced to make the decision to not finalize the Impact anthology as we will most likely no longer have the financial means to carry the second URL (Unincorporated.site) for our magazine.

We are honestly barely holding on to our primary literary magazine and may have to fold indefinitely.

The future is unknown as Las Vegas has taken a dramatic hit financially because of the pandemic. Many of our volunteer local readers and editors are no longer employed or only partially employed.

We appreciate all the work that was sent and enjoyed reading many of them. It was a laborious effort and we were already having to make hard decisions regarding which pieces to include.

There were so many wonderful pieces, yours included. This was the hardest decision we had to make but didn’t want to leave our contributors in limbo any longer than we already have.

Helen: A Literary Magazine is (and hopefully will be again) a biannual magazine that celebrates literary works and fine art reflecting ‘the spirit of Southern Nevada.’ (Although I’m not from the area, the editors found my poem reflected an important conflict in their community.) The magazine takes its name from the “First Lady of Las Vegas,” Helen J. Stewart, a pioneer who helped forge the valley in the 1880s.​ They have an internal division called Unincorporated which specializes in anthologies and collections, including Impact. They also run Breedlove, a literary arts blog. As of April 2020, Helen is on indefinite hiatus.

Impact was going to be an anthology focused on Social Justice, ranging from personal experiences to works of fiction. The hope was to expand readers’ perspective on what social justice means and its effects and after effects in our society. Hopefully, those many contributors and their pieces will find other opportunities to publish, to shed a menagerie of lights on our conflicts and corruptions, those things we must repair before we pass the world to our children.