Supernatural adventures for girls and women.

[writing] Project List, May 2017

Another month, another list. Still have things out on submission, still nothing from this actual list. Useful! 

Current active projects:

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one on hold. Rewriting the outline.

2. Winter Cabin
New adult or adult paranormal romance. There are monsters in those snow-filled trees. Status: Feedback from early readers coming in, draft four well underway. Goal is still to submit this summer. 

3. Monsters and Music
Young adult horror. Ghosts and werewolves, oh my. (witches and dead people and haunted things, too.) Status: Rewriting the outline.

4. Frozen World Fantasy
Adult fantasy. Brainstorming and talking to JBJ, another fantasy author, about how to write a fantasy novel. Doing some research on the writing side, working through world building before I start outlining.

5. Marching Rock Band
New adult or adult contemporary romance. Drumlines and rock bands and romance. Status: Draft two on hold until Winter Cabin is complete and out on submission.

6. Siblings Saving the World
New adult or adult supernatural adventure. There are monsters in the world — and sometimes we become them. First draft in progress, but progress has slowed, so the new goal is to get it to early readers by this fall. 

7. Lovecraft Goes to College (short story)
Adult horror. The hounds are hunting, and they howl for you. Status: Expanding the outline, research.

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[gaming] Sims 3: Rainbow Legacy 1.2 I Can Read Your Mind

Intro: Previously on the Rainbow Legacy we met our founder, Red Rainbow, a ridiculous, somewhat stereotypical vampire. (The theme of this legacy makes me laugh every time I think about it. I know, I know, I am easily entertained.) She ran around the gorgeous Moonlight Falls in all her red finery, making enemies of half the people she met, and flirting with the other half. So far, no spouse or potential heirs, but Red has her dream career and has made some romantic progress with Helen Hall. After a zombie attack gone awry, we return to Red Rainbow, Ridiculous Vampire.

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[reading] Review of TIGER IN THE HOT ZONE by Lauren Esker

Book: TIGER IN THE HOT ZONE by Lauren Esker (Amazon link)
Genre: paranormal romantic suspense
Series: Shifter Agents #4
USA Release Date: available now
Source: ARC from author
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Recommended?: Yes, yes, a billion times yes. You’ll get more out of the world building if you’ve read the others, but it absolutely stands alone, and is a fine place to start the series. It is absolutely the best book of the series, and I’ve loved each one a little more than the one before, so it’s a high bar to reach.

Summary: When danger threatens the entire shifter world, two rivals are about to discover they have worse enemies than each other …

Punk-haired reporter Peri Moreland, of the popular conspiracy blog Tell Me More!, has been a thorn in the side of the Shifter Crimes Bureau for years. In particular, Peri and her tell-all blog are a headache for tiger shifter Noah Easton, who runs the SCB’s public affairs office … otherwise known as their cover-up department. It’s Noah’s job to make sure normal humans don’t find out about shifters—especially humans such as Peri Moreland, his beautiful and oh-so-sneaky nemesis.

But this time, Peri has stumbled upon a story even the SCB doesn’t know about. Half-shifted bodies, dead of a mysterious illness, have been turning up around town. Peri connects the clues and before you can say “conspiracy theory,” she’s on the radar of a bunch of very bad people … and the SCB.

Noah hasn’t done field work in years; ever since a disastrous assignment years ago, he refuses to go out in the field or even carry a gun. But now he’s got Peri to protect and a secret anti-shifter organization on his tail. They’re out to kill anyone who gets in their way before their custom-engineered shifter plague can do its work. As the SCB’s agents fall sick one by one, can two pariahs team up to save them all?

Review:

(Let’s just get the shallow out of the way first: holy hell, that cover model is smoking hot.)

This is much more of a thriller than a romance, though there is plenty of romance, too; for me, the balance is perfect. Peri and Noah have been subtly flirting for awhile as they keep running into each other at scenes where Noah is having to cover up the truth from Peri; we’re told this more than shown it, and my only complaint about the romance is that we didn’t get to see more of this previous slow build before they’re giving into their attraction, first for sex and then for a serious relationship. (This complaint is limited to the build of the romance itself; starting the book any earlier would have slowed down the thriller plot, and that would have been a bigger shame than missing out on some of the romantic development.)

I love both Peri and Noah as characters, together and apart, especially when they end up spending a little time with Peri’s past. I don’t know if the reveal about where she grew up was supposed to be a surprise or not; I figured it out very early on, but I grew up in a slightly similar background, so it is possible that I am extra sensitive to plots that have it coming. And the way Peri uses her prosthetic running leg in her adventures is fantastic. Watching her learn to rely on other people, to trust them despite the huge lies they’ve been telling her (understandably to protect their world) was fantastic, and I thought she changed in a very believable way.

Noah is a particularly compelling character, and probably my new favorite out of the entire series. He’s a black man who became a Shifter Agent because his parents started the entire organization, and he thinks it’s what they want for him, but he’s not particularly happy. In part because unlike the field agents who get to save lives, all he does is tell lies and destroy them to discredit humans who have seen too much. That would be a much worse position. His background was wonderful, too, the reasons he took himself out of the field, and how he struggles now that he’s been forced to return. He, too, grows throughout the story, and when we finally get to see his parents, their relationship with each other and with their son is warm and wonderful and exactly what I was hoping to see.

I don’t want to give away the plot, because it is a rolicking adventure, but it is generally very well paced, face and interesting. Things do slow down a little during the middle, when Peri and Noah end up alone together and then dealing with some of Peri’s past, but though I normally would have been put off by that de-escalation, this time it mostly felt like a nice little breather before the excitement of the plague story picked up again.

I loved this book, and how it expanded the world of this series, and I can’t wait for more. The ending itself is cheesy as hell, which is probably the lowest point in the story for me, but the rest of the story is so great I can’t really bring myself to care much about that ending. I love the world building and the characters, love the plot and the new shifters, love how much is answered by the end and how much is left open (though that means the wait for more is going to be excruciating), and I highly recommend you read this book and this series.

(Final bit of shallow: Noah is so hot, y’all, and so RIDICULOUS. He is a tiger shifter, and he wears a leather jacket with fucking tiger stripes. HOW HAVE YOU EVER KEPT A SECRET IN YOUR LIFE, NOAH? HOW? I love him so much.)

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[writing] Project List, April 2017

Slightly late this month, but I was out of town helping my sister and brother-in-law move into their new house (their first home purchase! It’s super exciting!), and got back too late (and too exhausted) to want to do anything but shower, cuddle the dog, and go to bed.

I have been submitting more things lately, though none that have actually been on this list. Ah well.

Current active projects:

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one on hold. Need to revisit the outline.

2. Winter Cabin
New adult or adult paranormal romance. There are monsters in those snow-filled trees. Status: Draft three is still with early readers, but I am working on draft four while I await the rest of their feedback. Goal remains to submit this summer.

3. Monsters and Music
Young adult horror. Ghosts and werewolves, oh my. (witches and dead people and haunted things, too.) Status: Draft two on hold. Had an epiphany about the main romantic relationship, which I think will help structure the story.

4. Frozen World Fantasy
Adult fantasy. Brainstorming and talking to JBJ, another fantasy author, about how to write a fantasy novel. Doing some research on the writing side, working through world building before I start outlining.

5. Marching Rock Band
New adult or adult contemporary romance. Drumlines and rock bands and romance. Status: Draft two in progress. Goal is to get it to early readers by this summer.

6. Siblings Saving the World
New adult or adult supernatural adventure. There are monsters in the world — and sometimes we become them. First draft in progress, but progress has slowed, so the new goal is to get it to early readers by this fall. On the drive back yesterday, I worked out two complicated plot points, and have a new, better focus for the main thread of the story.

The UK seaside horror series and the Rocks Fall, Everybody Dies standalone book cowritten with Sarah are on hold until we make some decisions about how we handle our cowriting career, and will not be on this list again until that is resolved.

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[gaming] Sims 3 Legacy: The Rainbow Legacy 1.1 I Want to Suck Your Blood

Welcome to the Somewhere Over the Rainbow Legacy. This is a very fly-by-night legacy; I have no idea what kind of rules I’ll follow, what the goal is, what I’ll track – basically, the only thing I’ve decided on is that everything about the founder was chosen by the roll of a die and the generational theme will be the colors of the rainbow. Will it end up being an ISBI? Will I have our founder kill everyone she marries? Will anything ever be chaotic again? NO ONE KNOWS!

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[writing] Project List, February 2017

First writing update of the new year. I am sometimes still struggling with writing in the face of facist regime — what is the point of creation? I struggle with this a lot, though, because creating, especially the story of fiction I write (and art I make), seems futile. (It was supposed to get better as the world gets better, or at least that’s what they used to tell me.) But writing can be resistance, too, and so I create.

(On a more mundane note, I was finally able to work editing into my schedule better. My writing numbers for the month took a hit, but I try to focus more on year-long numbers than individual days, weeks, or months. [Try. Mostly fail, because I have OCD-tendencies with the bipolar, and can focus on the numbers too much.] But at least things are getting editing now.)

Current active projects:

Stand Alone Books:

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one on hold. Need to revisit the outline.

2. Winter Cabin
New adult or adult paranormal romance. There are monsters in those snow-filled trees. Status: Draft three complete, and with my early readers. Once I receive their feedback, I’ll begin the next edit. Goal is to submit by late summer.

3. Monsters and Music
Young adult horror. Ghosts and werewolves, oh my. (witches and dead people and haunted things, too.) Status: Draft two on hold. Had an epiphany about the main romantic relationship, which I think will help structure the story.

4. Frozen World Fantasy
Adult fantasy. Brainstorming and talking to JBJ, another fantasy author, about how to write a fantasy novel. Doing some research on the writing side, working through world building before I start outlining.

5. Marching Rock Band
New adult or adult contemporary romance. Drumlines and rock bands and romance. Status: Draft two in progress. Goal is to get it to early readers by this summer.

6. Siblings Saving the World
New adult or adult supernatural adventure. There are monsters in the world — and sometimes we become them. Reworked the outline this month (while talking to JBJ, I described it as having to draw a new map while lost in the middle of the forest), and am back into writing mode. (I lost the path of the story for awhile, but going back to the outline helped.) Goal is to finish the first draft by the end of June.

7. Rocks Fall, Everybody Dies
(cowritten with Sarah)
Young adult horror. Seven friends go off on an adventure. Not everyone comes home. Sarah and I decided we needed a break from series writing to focus on a one-off, a palate cleanser as it were, where we can just build a world for one book, and write completely within that boundary. We are reevaluating how we want to handle our co-writing career, though, so we’ll see how this goes.

UK Horror Project
(cowritten with Sarah)

1. Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, monsters, and killers, oh my. Status: Fifth draft in progress, plus a fun side project that will be released as a companion piece once this is published. (We hope we’ll reach the day this is published.) Progress has slowed a lot; sometimes we don’t even get an entire chapter done in a session. Having so much down time between writing sessions is hard. And now we’re reevaluating how to manage our co-writing career, so this is on hold.

2. Halloween Horror
Young adult supernatural adventure. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters. Tam needs the supernatural world to shut up a second so she can get laid. Status: Second draft outline in progress. More fallout from the big series breakdown. Monsters & Magic used to be #2, and then it was rolled into #1, and now a very different story has been pulled out of #1 and made into #2 again. *hands*

3. Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventure. It’s a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Halloween Horror draft 2 complete.

4. Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventure. Witches, dude, always with the witches. And the world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Supernatural Slumber Party draft 2 complete. Second draft combines Wicked Witches and Monster Mash into one book.

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[writing] Project List, December 2016

Another year nearly done. This year, unlike last year, I wrote a lot and finished a ton of first and second drafts, but I need to work on building more time to edit those drafts into my schedule, because I do want to take the next step of submitting to agents and publishers soon. I’m not quite back on my writing feet after November, but I’m getting there.

Current active projects:

UK Horror Project
(cowritten with Sarah)

1. Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, monsters, and killers, oh my. Status: Fifth draft in progress, plus a fun side project that will be released as a companion piece once this is published. (We hope we’ll reach the day this is published.) Progress has slowed a lot; sometimes we don’t even get an entire chapter done in a session. Having so much down time between writing sessions is hard.

2. Halloween Horror
Young adult supernatural adventure. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters. Tam needs the supernatural world to shut up a second so she can get laid. Status: Second draft outline in progress. More fallout from the big series breakdown. Monsters & Magic used to be #2, and then it was rolled into #1, and now a very different story has been pulled out of #1 and made into #2 again. *hands*

3. Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventure. It’s a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Halloween Horror draft 2 complete.

4. Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventure. Witches, dude, always with the witches. And the world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Supernatural Slumber Party draft 2 complete. Second draft combines Wicked Witches and Monster Mash into one book.

Stand Alone Books:

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one on hold. Need to revisit the outline.

2. Winter Cabin
New adult or adult paranormal romance. There are monsters in those snow-filled trees. Status: Draft two complete. Edit in progress. Still need to figure out where in my writing schedule to edit.

3. Monsters and Music
Young adult horror. Ghosts and werewolves, oh my. (witches and dead people and haunted things, too.) Status: Draft two on hold. Had an epiphany about the main romantic relationship, which I think will help structure the story.

4. Frozen World Fantasy
Adult fantasy. Brainstorming and talking to JBJ, another fantasy author, about how to write a fantasy novel. Doing some research on the writing side, working through world building before I start outlining.

5. Marching Rock Band
New adult or adult contemporary romance. Drumlines and rock bands and romance. Status: Draft one complete. I’m going to let it sit for a month or so before I delve into editing/writing draft two, but I want to send it to first readers early next year.

6. Siblings Saving the World
New adult or adult supernatural adventure. There are monsters in the world — and sometimes we become them. Outlined, draft one in progress. Loving it so far, though it’s slightly on hold due to holiday stuff until the beginning of January.

7. Rocks Fall, Everybody Dies
(cowritten with Sarah)
Young adult horror. Seven friends go off on an adventure. Not everyone comes home. Sarah and I decided we needed a break from series writing to focus on a one-off, a palate cleanser as it were, where we can just build a world for one book, and write completely within that boundary. We started brainstorming over the weekend, and it is great.

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[reading] Review of Dust Bath Revival by Marianne Kirby

Book: Dust Bath Revival by Marianne Kirby (Amazon link)
Genre: YA horror/supernatural adventure
Series: Feral Seasons, Book One
USA Release Date: November 21, 2016
Source: Advanced ebook copy from the publisher. No compensation received for this review, and it is my honest opinion.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Recommended?: Yes, absolutely. It is a gorgeous, haunting southern fairytale about hunger and danger and how little we see even when we try to look at the world.
Content note: Non-explicit violence to animals.

Summary: 16-year-old Henrietta Goodness – Hank to all that know her – has heard all the stories about how the Dust made the dead rise. She’s heard about how life changed.

But that was a long time ago, and Hank is ready for another normal dry and dusty Florida summer. She knows the thunder doesn’t really promise rain. Instead, Hank and her brother will do their chores, run into town as much as they can get away with, and lock up tight and safe in their Aunt Marty’s house once the sun goes down. That’s the plan, at least, until an itinerant tent revival rolls onto their land, with a Reborn – one of the risen dead – traveling caged with them.

The arrival of an unknown cousin connected to the revival starts Hank on the road to solving a mystery that even the government might not want unraveled. There’s nowhere to go when the night isn’t safe and there’s no one to trust when everyone might be part of a conspiracy to keep the Reborn walking.

Review:

Dust Bath Revival is a gorgeous, haunting southern fairytale. The story is a slow burn build, and the world opens up for the reader in a slow, sensuous way that meanders and loops, and even the things we see, the things Hank sees as she is shoved out into the world, aren’t what we want them to be, or fear them to be, both and neither at the same time. This is Hank’s story, her creation story, and it is lovely.

Kirby’s writing is gorgeous, and she captures a dark, twisty southern gothic feel. The slow pace of the book feels like a story being told around the campfire, late into the night; there’s an otherworldly quality to the descriptions that holds the reader at a distance and weaves a compelling, complicated world around them.

There was no real sense of fear for me as a reader; the story unspools in a way that feels inevitable and comfortably familiar, a beloved tale that I’ve returned to a hundred times before, though this is my first reading. (It will not be my last.) The ending is less a satisfactory conclusion and more a pause; Dust Bath Revival is clearly the introduction to a much larger world, and though I am eager for the next book, I do wish the end had felt more like a resolution. That’s not to say that the book doesn’t resolve; the story that it sets out to tell is finished, but it so well sets up the next part of the story in such few words at the end that I was left wanting more.

That in itself is a delightful bit of writing. I am left hungry and wanting and frustrated by it, as is Hank. And it is in that hunger, that wanting, that Hank must find her answers, and in her search, exactly what I want more of, too.

Dust Bath Revival is the story of family and need, betrayal and hunger, and it will stick with you long after you finish. It will leave you, always, wanting more.

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[writing] Project List, November 2016

November is on track to be my worst writing month of the year. None of my anger or fear is new, because I am constantly worried about my beloved friends and family who face racism, homophobia, ableism, sexism, transphobia — but it is particularly terrible right now, and it is hard to focus when I alternate between rage and terror, for my beloveds, for myself.

My current writing playlist was already full of angry music, but it is so, so necessary right now.

Current active projects:

UK Horror Project
(cowritten with Sarah)

1. Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, monsters, and killers, oh my. Status: Fifth draft in progress, plus a fun side project that will be released as a companion piece once this is published. (We hope we’ll reach the day this is published.) Progress has slowed a lot; sometimes we don’t even get an entire chapter done in a session. Having so much down time between writing sessions is hard. This month in particular; we don’t have a single writing session scheduled, due to how many things happen on weekends in November for both of us.

2. Halloween Horror
Young adult supernatural adventure. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters. Tam needs the supernatural world to shut up a second so she can get laid. Status: Second draft outline in progress. More fallout from the big series breakdown. Monsters & Magic used to be #2, and then it was rolled into #1, and now a very different story has been pulled out of #1 and made into #2 again. *hands*

3. Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventure. It’s a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Halloween Horror draft 2 complete.

4. Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventure. Witches, dude, always with the witches. And the world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Supernatural Slumber Party draft 2 complete. Second draft combines Wicked Witches and Monster Mash into one book.

Stand Alone Books:

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one on hold. Need to revisit the outline.

2. Winter Cabin
New adult or adult paranormal romance. There are monsters in those snow-filled trees. Status: Draft two complete. Edit in progress. Still need to figure out where in my writing schedule to edit.

3. Monsters and Music
Young adult horror. Ghosts and werewolves, oh my. (witches and dead people and haunted things, too.) Status: Draft two on hold. Had an epiphany about the main romantic relationship, which I think will help structure the story.

4. Frozen World Fantasy
Adult fantasy. Brainstorming and talking to JBJ, another fantasy author, about how to write a fantasy novel. Doing some research on the writing side, working through world building before I start outlining.

5. Marching Rock Band
New adult or adult contemporary romance. Drumlines and rock bands and romance. Status: Draft one in progress. It is particularly difficult to finish this one right now, because writing a contemporary story feels a little like writing torture porn at the moment, but I’m so close to the end that I am going to knock this draft out before I go back to my beloved supernatural stories.

6. Siblings Saving the World
New adult or adult supernatural adventure. There are monsters in the world — and sometimes we become them. Brainstorming this one, because I figured out some big changes. Pretty sure I’ll start this one next month.

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[writing] Project List, October 2016

Writing is going very slowly this month, which is a downer after the past few months of putting up big numbers. I’m sitting at 450k out of 500k for the year, though, so still ahead of schedule. Trying to finish the marching rock band story I’m writing now, and I think I’ve chosen the next project.

Still need to figure out how to work hardcore editing into the schedule, though. The winter cabin story needs to be cleaned up and sent out to first readers.

Current active projects:

UK Horror Project
(cowritten with Sarah)

1. Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, monsters, and killers, oh my. Status: Fifth draft in progress, plus a fun side project that will be released as a companion piece once this is published. (We hope we’ll reach the day this is published.) Progress has slowed a lot; sometimes we don’t even get an entire chapter done in a session. Having so much down time between writing sessions is hard.

2. Halloween Horror
Young adult supernatural adventure. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters. Tam needs the supernatural world to shut up a second so she can get laid. Status: Second draft outline in progress. More fallout from the big series breakdown. Monsters & Magic used to be #2, and then it was rolled into #1, and now a very different story has been pulled out of #1 and made into #2 again. *hands*

3. Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventure. It’s a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Halloween Horror draft 2 complete.

4. Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventure. Witches, dude, always with the witches. And the world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Supernatural Slumber Party draft 2 complete. Second draft combines Wicked Witches and Monster Mash into one book.

Stand Alone Books:

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one on hold. Need to revisit the outline.

2. Winter Cabin
New adult or adult paranormal romance. There are monsters in those snow-filled trees. Status: Draft two complete. Edit in progress. Still need to figure out where in my writing schedule to edit.

3. Monsters and Music
Young adult horror. Ghosts and werewolves, oh my. (witches and dead people and haunted things, too.) Status: Draft two on hold. Had an epiphany about the main romantic relationship, which I think will help structure the story.

4. Frozen World Fantasy
Adult fantasy. Brainstorming and talking to JBJ, another fantasy author, about how to write a fantasy novel. Doing some research on the writing side, working through world building before I start outlining.

5. Marching Rock Band
New adult or adult contemporary romance. Drumlines and rock bands and romance. Status: Draft one in progress. I’m not sure I will ever be able to write a contemporary story — I tend to get bored writing without monsters — but damn it, I keep trying. More than 50k into this, and just hitting the emotional climax. On the downhill slope to the end now.

6. Siblings Saving the World
New adult or adult supernatural adventure. There are monsters in the world — and sometimes we become them. Brainstorming this one, because I figured out some big changes. This may be the next project.

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