Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #21

Whoops. Memorial Day got me all confused, I nearly forgot to post my Monday update! I’ve spent the entirety of my day snacking on the couch while I explored Ancient Egypt in Assassin’s Creed: Origins. So much relaxation!

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Start a new short story
  • Read Madhu’s pages
  • Finish reading Beneath a Sugar Sky

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog postsbeneath a sugar sky
    • Nope. Sorry about that.
  • Start a new short story
    • Yep! It’s coming along rather slowly at the moment.
  • Read Madhu’s pages
    • Yes!
  • Finish reading Beneath a Sugar Sky
    • Yarp, and then some!

Weekly Word Count: 465

Starting a new story is always a risky thing. Some come out the gate strong, knowing who and what they are. All they need is for me to sit down and devote the time to typing. Other stories are full of false starts and halfway there’s before the true tale unfolds and finally comes together. This new story is one of the latter kinds. It knows what it wants to be, I just have to keep trying until I get it right. I’m hoping slow and steady will do the trick.

I did a ton of reading last week. I finished Beneath a Sugar Sky, and read both All Systems Red and Artificial Condition. I even eked in the first 50 pages of Rogue Protocol. So, that’s part of why there was no second blog post: I was too busy reading! I also watched some nature documentaries, because nothing quite equals relaxation like David Attenborough’s voice.

There was also the matter of a very muddy, pleasantly tiring hike to Cape Falcon on Saturday and the fact that I worked six days last week. Looking back, I was surprisingly busy.

Aaaaand, this week is going to be more of the same.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 1k on In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Finish reading Murderbot books

This week is a busy one at work again, working another six days. Throw in a hike on Saturday and all the reading I want to get done before the end of the month and, well. It’s gonna be a busy damn week.

The good news is that I have a playlist built for the new story and like the most recent direction it’s headed. I think some of the previous work I have for it can even be incorporated, so that’s good! As long as my butt is in the chair, I should see some good progress on the story this week. Murderbot-novellas

I want to finish Rogue Protocol, Exit Strategy, read the newest Wic+Div, and read two short stories this week… I’m tired just thinking about it. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are my best bets for writing, with reading time happening before bed. And I have another hike this weekend, Marion Lake, which is up in the mountains and comes with its own falls. It promises to be chilly and gorgeous. Expect photos once again.

So, yeah. That’s the plan. Write, read, work, repeat. Sound good?

I’ll try to finally write that Post-First Draft post this week. I think I wrangled my thoughts into something like coherence. I guess we’ll find out!

Until then, Bloggos!

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #16

This last week was a blur. I’m trying to think of what all I did, and honestly I can’t tell you much. The weekend was full with hiking, family get-togethers, and yard work in the decent weather. We also watched a couple movies and spent the holiday relaxing together, a rare occurrence these days.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish reading A Conjuring of Light

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep! Including two book reviews.
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • YES! Writing went very very well this week. a-conjuring-of-light
  • Finish reading A Conjuring of Light
    • …yes. I am so sad because of it. What the hell do I do now?

Weekly Word Count: 4,980

I think it’s safe to say that the novel is officially in the third act and things are rolling downhill and gathering steam. Every time I sat down to write I wrote almost double of what I’d hoped to. I’d exceeded my word count goal by one hundred words by Saturday, and so rewarded myself with a writing-free Sunday. I also wrote about 1300 words hammering out a 500 word story for PodCastle’s Flash Fiction Contest. It was a real challenge, which was the point, but I’m pretty proud of what I came up with. I’ll have more details about this over the summer, once voting on the stories begins.

Book reviews for both Trail of Lightning and A Gathering of Shadows are out now, so check those out!

Thursday was a four mile Walk ‘n’ Talk with Madhu, where we mostly commiserated over waiting to hear about submissions. After that, since it was such a lovely day, I found a patio, had a beer and some french fries, and got some good writing time in.

I went on a lovely hike this weekend at Opal Creek, one of Oregon’s most popular hikes. It was a cool and misty morning that broke into a gorgeous day. The water was gushing with fresh snowmelt, the roar of the river never-ending. We packed a lunch of tuna salad, hard-boiled eggs, dolmas, cheesy bread, and dried coconut and apple chips. The picnic at the middle of the hike is always my favorite part.

And then Sunday was a chill day, watching movies, making good food, and enjoying the peace and quiet. I finished reading A Conjuring of Light last night, I cried a good deal, and then moped in bed because what else could I do? I have a serious case of book hangover right now.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish reading The Light Brigade

This straightforward approach has worked the rest of the month, so why not keep it going? I’ve got the review for A Conjuring Light to post this week, and will probably have another post later in the week as well. Writing continues to progress at a steady pace, so I’m confident that I’ll make my goal for the week. I’m working a little bit less this week too, so I have more time for writing.

the light brigadeI’ll also have some more time for reading, which is good because I haven’t even started The Light Brigade yet! It’s not too long, and all the press and reviews I’ve seen about it promise a fast-paced and gripping story. So, I should be able to finish it this week. I’m slowly, but surely, catching up to my reading goal.

This week is a busy one otherwise. I’m going to Portland on Thursday for the SFWA’s Reading series, where both Rebecca Roanhorse (Trail of Lightning) and Sam J. Miller (Blackfish City) will be reading and speaking! I am so stupid excited for this event and Trevor’s even going to come with me!

Then Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day. Each year The Book Bin does a big daylong celebration with panels and authors, and usually ends the day with a release party for the newest issue of The Audient Void. This year is no exception, with issue #7 final proofs returned to Obadiah today. So, if you want to come down, support a local bookstore, and grab your issue, hot off the press! If you don’t live near Salem, you should still visit your local indie Bookstore and give them some love.

No hikes for the next couple of weeks, there’s just too much going on. So I’ll be home or at writing/book events, getting work done. That’s the plan. I’ll see you soon with a review, Bloggos.

Until then,

 

BZ

 

The Recap – November 2018

Bloggos,

Video games are how I decompress, and apparently I really needed to decompress this weekend. I completely missed the fact that Saturday was the first of the month and spaced on writing up my usual monthly recap post! I’m so sorry for the delay.

November Goals

  • Write 800 words/dayLogo_of_National_Novel_Writing_Month
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep Reading!

How’d I do?

  • Write 800 words/day
    • YES! This was a really big win for me and I am still doing (exhausted) happy dances.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep! Both Lifelike and That Which Illuminates Heaven were submitted to various magazines in November.
  • Keep Reading!
    • Um… Yes! I read four titles in November, more than I thought I did.

Total Monthly Word Count: 25,069

November was intentionally straightforward. Three bullet points are not remotely daunting, but the prospect of writing 25,000 words sure as hell is. I needed to keep the docket relatively clear in order to make time and mental space for the giant hurdle I’d set for myself.  And it worked.

Did you see that word count? Did ya? It’s the most I’ve written in a single month in all of 2018 and I am ecstatic about it. I worked hard, stayed up later than I should, drank a TON of coffee, and committed myself to making the time to make my goals, which is the entire point of National Novel Writing Month. So, that was a wild success!

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 12.37.27 PM

As for submissions, my stories continue to do well but not quite well enough. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with every email notification, but it’s getting easier. I think I’m becoming desensitized. Which, if that could hurry the eff up, that’d be great. The sooner I don’t feel the sting of rejection, the better.

And then there was the reading. Despite my four titles and my one book review, I don’t feel very successful on this front. I tried to read A Map of Days, and had to abandon it because I simply wasn’t motivated to pick it up. I am on the cusp of doing the same for Skyward, although I am motivated to read it, only too late. I’m out of time with it and there are a slew of holds on it. I’m going to move on to Lies Sleeping and buy Skyward so I can read it at my leisure.

Adding two books to my Did Not Finish pile in November does not feel good, but I’m not really surprised either. There’s simply too much going on in the month for me to feel accomplished at everything I wanted to achieve.

December Goals

  • Write 10k
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Read three more titles!

Another straightforward month. It’s December, a busy time at Starbucks and in my personal life so I want to give myself some wiggle room. The holidays are stressful enough without adding my own unmet expectations into the mix. Besides, I want to end the year on a happy and accomplished note, so I can springboard into 2019 ready to shine!

I’m confident that I will make my reading goal for the year. I only have to read three more titles, and I think two of them are a shoe-in. I just have to pick a third book that will read quick.

Short story submissions will continue until each story finds a home. I am stubborn, infuriatingly tenacious, and there’s a steady supply of ice cream in my house. I will get these stories published!

The writing goal might be a close thing if I let video games get in the way. 10k feels like nothing after the blistering word count of November, but that’s kind of the point. I can’t write at that pace for two months in a row, at least not right now. I’ll just burn out if I try. So, I’m going to dial things back and write a little bit each week. Slow and steady wins the race or something.

Hopefully you’ll see some more book reviews this month, and I’ll get good news about one of my stories. Fingers crossed!

Until later, Blogland!

 

BZ

 

Call for Submissions!

The Audient Void is now open for submissions!

Now that the sixth issue of The Audient Void: A Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy is out, we are opening submissions for issue #7. We are looking for quality works of poetry and short fiction.

Poetry should be Weird or darkly fantastical with strong imagery. We pay $.35 a line with a $5 minimum, payable upon publication.

For short fiction our tastes are broad and we will consider anything with Weird, horrific or fantastical elements. We will consider any length work but will be much less likely to publish stories over 5,000 words. Our rate is $5 per thousand words, payable upon publication. First time publication only, no reprints please.

To submit please send your work as a .doc, .docx or .rtf file to:

theaudientvoidmag@gmail.com

Be sure to include a header with your name and email address. We do not accept simultaneous submissions and ask that you wait for our response before submitting elsewhere. The submission deadline is Nov. 15th, please do not inquire about your submission before that deadline and understand that it may take some time to follow up on all submissions after the deadline has passed. We very much look forward to reading everyone’s work!

Please keep in mind that Weird Fiction is a genre of its own. Do not send us simply strange stories,  but your dark, fantastical tales.

I can’t wait to read your stories! Best of luck to you all!

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 28

Bloggos!

Summer is finally here, at least according to the thermometers. Salem’s been enjoying a range of 90 degree weather, reminding me of home and filling me with a desperate need to find a swimming pool.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 7 of The Steel Armada
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
  • Finish tumblr prompt
  • Finish a Dresden audiobook
  • Submit Lifelike
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 7 of The Steel Armada
    • *drum roll* YES!!!! I wrote over 2,700 words on the book last week and it feels so. damn. good.
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
    • Yes! I managed to squeeze in another 700ish words last night after our Gloomhaven session.
  • Finish tumblr prompt
    • Nope. Though, I did look at it, so better than last week, haha.
  • Finish a Dresden audiobook
    • Yep! Brief Cases is done and off to the next person.
  • Submit Lifelike
    • Yep! It’s been out for a few days and haven’t heard anything yet. I probably won’t hear more about it until next week.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Of course.

Weekly Word Count: 3,464

When I wrote this list down last week, I felt daunted. That was a lot of bullet points, a lot of hope on a whiteboard. But, looking at it now, I feel really good seeing so much of it in black. Six out of seven ain’t bad, in fact, I’d say that’s a win.

I didn’t get the book review up like I wanted to, but this is a new week, with plenty of time to talk about all the reading I’ve been doing! I finally sat down and really hashed out what the hell needed to come next for Val. The chapter went mostly where I expected, although the stakes did get a bit more dire for her, which is always a good thing in your writing. The stakes are high in Sanctuary as well, as my couple finally has a major discussion about their actions and what’s to come.

My shipwreck tumblr prompt is languishing in my google drive. I might bounce over to a different prompt, simple because this one isn’t shaping up the way I want it to. It’s supposed to be funny, and so far it definitely is not.

I’ve got two audiobooks on deck right now, Side Jobs on disc for car listening and Bloodlist on my phone for any other chances I get to listen to a book. I’m also almost done with Moon Over Soho, the second Peter Grant book, with the third one patiently waiting on my library book shelf.

Lifelike and The Cost of Rain are both out. I received word that the latter is being held for further consideration, so my fingers are crossed that the editor likes it enough to take it. Wish me luck!

Madhu’s pages continue to show great improvement and are a testament to all her hard work. We’re almost done with this read through, and then it’s just editing and then sharing the full manuscripts for a finally proofread before we ship them off to Tim the Agent™.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 8 of The Steel Armada
  • Finish chapter 6 of Sanctuary
  • Post a tumblr prompt
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
  • Finish an audiobook
  • Review Madhu’s pages

This week I have two book reviews to share. First, the review for Midnight Riot, and then the review for Brief Cases. If my reading keeps on at this pace July will have a lot of reviews posted on the blog.

The next chapter in The Steel Armada is a bit of a blank spot in my mind. I know it needs to slow down for a minute and then things are gonna go crazy again, because we’re pretty much at the end. I expect the bulk of my week to be spent working this out. But, I’m about halfway through this chapter of Sanctuary and I’d really love to finish it. The same goes for recording the next episode of Santa Sarita.

I have ever confidence that I’ll finish listening to an audiobook this week, probably Bloodlist, simply because it’s portable so I have more opportunities to listen to it. And of course, there’s Madhu’s pages, which I always complete. But, I actually have pages to share with her this week! Whaaaaaaattttttt??????

So, yeah. That’s my week. Just trucking on, basking in last week’s successes and trying to keep the momentum going.

Wish me luck!

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 22

Ahoy Blogland!

It is a quintessential spring day here in the Pacific Northwest. Sunshine, wind, a smattering of clouds, and a comfortable 70ish degrees. It makes sitting still difficult,  but I’ll see what I can manage.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish reading The Master Magician
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
    • Yes! I didn’t think I was going to cross the finish line this week, but the writing came very easily last night, giving my word count the boost it so desperately needed.
  • Finish reading The Master Magicianmaster magician
    • Yep! I managed to sit my butt down and give this book a chance. Turns out, the last 70 pages are by far the best. But, I’ll talk about that in more detail later this week.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Of course! This is the one thing I always do. Need I say more?

Weekly Word Count: 3,866

This week was a really good one. I committed to my goals and made sure I did what was necessary to see them through. I can’t say I do that every week, but I’m doing better. I’m trying, and sometimes I even manage to succeed!

Aside from the writing going so well, my biggest win of this week was finishing The Master Magician. I was horribly opposed to that book by the middle of the week, but I finished the last 70 pages in one sitting, and I even liked them! So, that shows that sometimes, you really should forge ahead through that book that’s giving you grief. It might just be worth your while.

Progress continues on The Steel Armada. I wrote quite a bit on it this week and it continues to surprise me. I’m excited for the scenes I’ll be exploring in the days to come. And I think I might have come up with a new title! But, I’m not sharing until I’m certain, sorry.

My husband and I also did a TON of work on our front yard this weekend and found time to hang out with family and friends. It really felt like I was Superwoman this week, capable of anything and everything!

That was until the rejections for The Cost of Rain came in. One last week and one this morning. Now, I’m not too bummed, I know this is par for the course in writerland. But, it still stings a little, yeah? It still sucks for a second, before you decide to buck up and submit it to the next place on your list. I tell myself this is the harder story to place, that it falls between genre lines and between desired word counts and yadda yadda yadda. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what I tell myself, I’ve already decided to submit it until it sells. So there, self.

It was nice to keep things straightforward this last week. It made buckling down and getting the work done that much easier. Unfortunately, there’s a bit more on my plate this time around.

This Week

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish listening to Side Jobs
  • Submit Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship application
  • Review Madhu’s pages

Thoughts

I really should add a bullet point for Sanctuary, because I need to make sure I actually work on it this month. But there’s a lot of bullet points on this week as it is, and that doesn’t include my non-writing goals for this week! I have to get my passport application turned in, work on the yard some more, and do some of the general house chores that are starting to fall behind. Yikes!

The good news is that I’ve got the review for The Master Magician for this week, so there’s one goal that’s good to go. I’ve also got a big ol’ blog post planned that’s a bit of a self-indulgence. I think you’ll like it though, don’t worry! I’m not sure when it will be posted, but I promise it’s coming.

Since setting my writing goal of 500 words/day, I’ve only fallen short once or twice. I’m really plugging away on this book, and so far there’s no end in sight. That feels good. Like, really, really good.

side jobsI maybe, kinda, sorta forgot I had the audiobook for Side Jobs. I’m so used to digital audiobooks on my phone that I completely forgot about the CDs in my car! I started listening to it Saturday, and am making some decent progress. They’re fun, though a little repetitive. Hopefully I’ll get through them quickly, since Brief Cases comes out tomorrow!

Yes, you read that next bullet point correctly. I am applying for the Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship. My dance teacher, Mrs. Buren, always said that you should always try for the things you want, because the worst they can tell you is ‘no’. That’s damn good advice for any kind of endeavor, but particularly artistic ones. And well, this was another unexpected writing thing that came across my radar thanks to Madhu. And since I wouldn’t have thought to apply otherwise, getting declined won’t sting half so much as some of these short story rejections.

And who knows? There’s always a chance they’ll say yes! “You can only catch fish that are in the lake.” More sage advice from dear Mrs. Buren. If I don’t apply, then I have no chance at all. So, I’m applying, and other than next week’s Goals Summary, I won’t be talking about it again until I get the results.

Anyway, that’s the plan. That’s what’s up. That’s the skinny, the downlow, the scoop. You know, all those cool catchphrases only dads and cutesy moms still use. You know the ones, the ones that say “cool beans” unironically. Those ones.

Until later, Bloggos!

 

BZ

 

The Audient Void #5 Available Now!

the audient void no 5

The new issue of The Audient Void: A Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy is out now! This issue features incredible artwork by Brad Hicks and Allen K, short stories by David Barker and John R. Fultz, and a slew of poetry from Adam Bolivar, K.A. Opperman, Ashley Dioses, and many others.

We have an online store where you can pick up your copy and maybe snag a copy of Issue #4 while supplies last! The Audient Void is only in print; no digital copies, so you’re getting a physical product for your money!

Audient Void issue 4

If you’re in the Salem area, we’ll have a release party, as is tradition, on April 28th at 7pm at The Book Bin.  This coincides with Independent Bookstore Day, so even if you’re not local, maybe head out to your nearby brick-and-mortar bookseller to show your support!

Now that Issue #5 is out, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll be open for submissions again. As soon as I know more, I’ll be sure to share the details!

I look forward to another awesome release party!

 

BZ