Where Have I Gone? What’s Coming Next?

Whew – it was a doozy of a February! It looks like I was barely even online, going by my post schedule and how good (i.e. bad) a job I did at reading other people’s stuff. But that’s ok – I think I did more good by choosing the path I took this month.

It’s made me sit back and think, though: what are/were my goals for the blog? How is what I’m doing going to get me closer to those goals? Have my goals changed?

The short answer: my life goals have most definitely changed, and everything else has as a result.

The longer answer is more complex. Chief among the things behind all these changes is my depression has, in recent months, gotten significantly better. I am able to experience things and have my mind not instantly go to “well, life is basically over now.” I’m also not constantly afraid that I’m going to be fired, and thus I don’t feel like I have to get a book traditionally published as a backup career. I’ve never wanted to self-publish because then I’d have to spend time and effort being my own salesman, which I hate and am not good at. I’m not invested in blogging as a sales platform, and I’ve only done it when my short story contracts required some social media presence as part of my contract. And that’s fine. The career/monetary/advancement prospects of blogging have essentially evaporated.

Related to feeling less depressed, I have new reason to become more introspective for a while. It’s not bad stuff that’s happening, and neither is it good things coming to pass. It’s just real life things I need to meditate on, mull over, and think about. It’s things that I won’t be able to do by focusing on trying to make people like me – whether that be in real life or over the internet.

And, as much as I hate to admit it, I must let some things go, and it’ll be a while before I’m back on the blog at full speed.

So, new rules for my blog:

  1. I’m not going to be reading as many posts. Most people’s posts are interesting and fun, and I’ll still try to peruse the WordPress reader and pick a few to read, but I’m going to turn off all my email notifications. I can’t follow anyone religiously anymore.
  2. I encourage everyone to only read my posts if you’re actually interested. I’ve planned this year’s book review posts in advance (except June, which I may be changing), and all of those will be published on the blog and my Goodreads. I’ve also got many other posts planned in advance.
  3. Except for those posts I’ve already pre-planned, I’m only going to write a post if I’m inspired to do so. No more forcing myself to respond to a prompt with the hopes to bait people to the blog. No more struggle to boost the stats.
  4. I’ll respond as quickly as I can to comments, etc., but won’t work myself up over it.

In effect, these new “rules” will likely kill the blog. I assume I’ll start back up on full steam at some point, and I’ll potentially have to do so from almost scratch. I’m not worried, though, because there’s many times I’ve had to do something new. I don’t have a timeline for when I may pick up the blog again fully, and honestly it may end up being “never.”

Godspeed, my friends. Regardless how involved I am in your and your blog’s future, I hope I’ve improved a day or a moment for you in the past. You have almost certainly improved some of mine.

The Rodeo Has Begun!

It’s time to saddle up and get in line, because the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic is happening NOW at the Carrot Ranch! Writers will have the opportunity to support Sue Vincent, a stalwart center of our blogging community, as well as compete for a $100 prize!

That’s right – we’re trying to make this the biggest writers’ Rodeo yet and celebrate Sue Vincent’s work and writing in the process. On the Rodeo Classic page, you can find a beautiful photo (from none other than Sue herself) to serve as a prompt. Write a story of 99 words or a poem of 99 syllables – no more, no less – based on the prompt photo on the Rodeo page. Also on the Rodeo page is an entry form where you can put up to two entries for the contest. And don’t worry, entries will be anonymized – everyone’s on an equal playing field at the Carrot Ranch, even if you get some TUFF bulls to ride or horses to break! But don’t lollygag – you only have until February 19th to get on your bull and ride out the chute.

There are many ways to participate in the rodeo. Every Rodeo has multiple events, and the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic is no different. In addition to participating in the contest and donating to the cause, we have multiple events you can participate in!

  • The Sue Vincent Reblog Barrel Race – Check out Sue’s website or the website she shares with Stuart France. Find a poem, essay, or photo that speaks to you, and re-blog it. Feel free to include links to the contest and make sure to include a comment on the re-blog!
  • The Great Book Parade – Buy and read one of Sue’s books. If you’re feeling adventurous, leave a review or publish it on your blog!
  • The Comment Riding Contest – The prize for this one is a fuzzy good feeling and the sharing of community. Like and/or comment on Sue’s posts, whether new or old.
  • Snack Stands – Share the contest on other social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or others! You can definitely follow Sue Vincent on Twitter.
  • The Prize Ceremony – Winners will be announced on March 21st, 2021. It could be you, but even if not, come see what Sue’s prompt invoked.

See you on the Carrot Ranch circuit, cowfolk!

Come Ride in the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic at the Carrot Ranch!

Sue Vincent is one of those special bloggers that inspires people all over the world. Personally, I have been touched by several of her #midnighthaiku posts. Not only does she write beautiful haiku, she includes her own fabulous photos to match. The haiku “Weep” is one of my favorites. Imbibe that and try not to be moved after the words.

Readers have long been galvanized by her posts about mythology, about ancient ruins and medieval churches, and her daily #midnighthaiku. Even more have participated in and grown as a result of her #writephoto prompts. In addition to posting her prompts, Sue has tirelessly supported other bloggers by sharing others’ responses to her 19,000 and counting followers.

Recently, Sue has been faced with a new and difficult challenge: lung cancer. You can follow her blog to find out more directly from her. The Covid pandemic has served not only to pose a specific threat to a person with a severe respiratory illness, but it has caused loss of human connection through self-imposed quarantine.

Now it’s time for Sue to receive something back from the community she’s been a cornerstone of for a decade. Let’s bring the Rodeo into Sue’s house through her computer, and let’s come together with hearts full of joy. Join us for the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic at the Carrot Ranch – a contest, parade, and celebration all in one!
There are many ways to participate. One is to visit the prompt image, “Hidden”, at the Carrot Ranch. The prompt image and entry form will go live on Monday, February 1st, 2021. Enter a flash or a poem by Friday, February 19th, 2021, and you could win either $100 or a copy of one of Sue’s books. The form will allow you to give a small donation for Sue and her family, and a link can be found on the contest page. The winning entries will be announced at the Carrot Ranch on March 22nd, 2021.

If you’re not ready to rodeo, there’s always the “Parade”. Reblog one of Sue’s posts from any of her sites (Daily Echo or France and Vincent) with a comment about why you found it special. Follow her blogs. Read one of her books, then leave reviews where you can. Several people are already gearing up for the parade – so feel free to check out other people’s blogs for suggestions.

Also, go ahead and reblog, tweet, Facebook, or somehow otherwise share the contest! 99 word literary art is a fantastic way to celebrate a blogging hero and very deserving person.

Saddle up, everyone! It’s time for a Carrot Ranch Rodeo like none ever held before. The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic begins on Monday, February 1st, and it’ll be a TUFF prompt to fit within 99 words. 
See you at the Ranch, buckaroos!

Patriot(ism)

I’m a big fan of America. A big fan. I believe in American Democracy, in hope, in the essential goodness of people, and the bend of the universe toward righteousness. I’ve written only one purely political post before, and I honestly don’t like writing them because this is an author blog. I’m here to talk about books, connect with authors, and share works of my own.

Now I can’t hold my mouth shut. Even if things go terribly and I end up having to shut the blog or Twitter or other media down, fine. I probably wasn’t going to be a successful/famous/whatever author anyway.

The storming of the capitol upset me vigorously. As I type this, I’m eating sweetened condensed milk straight from the can because I want it and it feels like there’s no good reason to hold back. The events at the capitol were entirely wrong, and we should feel some sort of anger at what the perpetrators did. To contest the election in such a blatant, hypocritical, cowardly manner was un-American. Whether the police and/or national guard were limited by executive actions, inexcusable lack of preparation, or by sympathy of law enforcement with the perpetrators, the successful armed invasion was not acceptable.

I was ok for most of the Wednesday Jan 6 news cycle, but one image affected me more intensely than anything else. As staunchly Southern and milky white as I am, I could feel my eyes welling and my rage accumulating when I saw the image of the Confederate flag in the capitol. How dare someone perform such sacrilege? How dare someone nonchalantly bring in the flag of treason* to the center of government? A flag which hundreds of thousands died trying to deliver to the building, and hundreds of thousands of others died preventing its arrival? How dare you dishonor them by, at best, treating the action as a joke or, at worst, declaring the 155** year-old-peace invalid?

It was that image that shocked me into both writing this and delaying writing this. It was the image of someone trying to overthrow the government and replace it with something terribly flawed that broke me. The Confederate government was built upon faulty ideals, and the ultimate goal of what this insurrection sought is equally destructive.

I will not stand for monarchy or dictatorship. I will not bow to a King, will not roll over for an Emperor. My vote, whichever way I voted, counted for something. I voted for both winners and losers, as I have in every election and primary since I turned 18, and I am not afraid of the future that will be brought by the politicians I voted against. Those poltroons who stormed the capitol are afraid to face the future, and their base cowardice has resulted in a terrible price for everyone’s – including their own – freedom. Their villainous intentions and polluted ideals have resulted in death and stunted the search for happiness across the world.

I have hope that things will look up. Ultimately, I still believe the universe tends toward good. The United States has never been perfect, and at times we’ve espoused some horrible practices. But we’ve always, eventually if belatedly, done the right thing. I think we’ll still come through this, and in the end we’ll find a new way to approach existence a nation where all our citizens, not just a select group, can seek happiness.

I’ll leave you with the same quote as I left off with in the last political post I made.

“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.”

–John McCain, Liberty Medal Speech, October 2017

*I understand the Confederate flag’s presence is more complicated than this. I chose “treason” here because the flag does represent separation and rebellion at its core. The battle flag, the one used for terrible intent in this attack, has come to represent white supremacy; truer “Southern Heritage” (i.e. white Southern heritage) flags include the Bonnie Blue or, if you’re a devious butthole, your own Southern state’s flag. (I dare you to look up, for instance, the modern NC flag compared with the Confederate flag version. Even the recently re-done Mississippi flag has its roots in the Civil War flag). I do not believe you when you say heritage not hate anymore, at least not for publicly displayed flags.

**This can be different depending on when you consider the end of the war to be (surrender at Appamattox, capture of Jefferson Davis, surrender of the Cherokee, declaration of the war’s conclusion by Johnson, end of Reconstruction, and culturally it’s still ongoing).

I’m Published in Lethal Impact!

Some of you may have been alerted on Twitter that I got a second story accepted into an anthology released by Dragon Soul Press – and it’s here on Kindle and paperback preorder!

DragonSoulPress Square HRR Gorman

In this post-apocalyptic anthology, nothing matters except survival.
In a world full of humans pitted against each other, how can there be anyone left to trust?

This book contains 16 stories by different authors, of which yours truly is one, about post-apocalyptic struggle.

As more marketing shenanigans for this book starts happening, you’ll start seeing more from me!

Time’s Running Out! “If I Only Had No Heart” is Going Away SOON

If I Only had No Heart is Heading to The Vault!

If I Only Had No Heart_Small

The 2016 If I Only Had No Heart was written for a National Novel Writing Month and follows one of the most unique ideas I’ve ever had. It’s a bloody sword-and-sorcery fantasy focused on an awakened machine main character. And, what’s more, it’s currently available for free on the blog.

Quick summary to tease them tastebuds:

Spirit, an acolyte of the machine goddess, performs her duties well and still yet absorbs much torment from her superiors. Thought to be a viral creation, the android is banned from speaking with the goddess until, one day, her friend Klavdiya hands her a prayer card. Spirit hopes that the prayer card will bring her peace, but the goddess has other ideas…

However, this book won’t be free for long! Next week, the Free, Downloadable PDF of If I Only Had No Heart is going away for an unspecified amount of time (maybe even forever), so you’ll need to get it NOW if you want to read it.

Why Am I Doing This?

Though I can attest that the story itself is extremely unique and follows an intriguing plot, it hasn’t been edited quite as well as something I would like to have self or traditionally published for money. In an effort to either show only my best work, I’m taking down all serially posted novels on my website. Evolution of the Predator is already a couple months into the removal process, so get into this one while you have the chance!

Don’t Let the Vault Swallow This Quietly!

Go to the If I Only Had No Heart home page and either read each post (removal dates posted on each chapter) or download the PDF while they last.

Are there any online serials you’ve enjoyed reading? Let me know in the comments!

Cheers and happy reading!

Late May Newsletter

Hello, all! I usually do my monthly updates at the beginning of the month, but this time – June 2020 – I decided I needed to do this update a little early!

Why?

Well… you’ll see. 😉

Dark Divinations is out!

DarkDivBanner Dark Divinations Horror Addicts

The first anthology I’ve participated in – Dark Divinations – is available on Amazon! People have asked if they’re doing anything other than Amazon, but I don’t think that’s available right now. Amazon’s the easiest and biggest market right now, but I know they own their own rights and ISBNs, so they could expand in the future if they wish. I’ll update if it changes.

But, in bigger news for the blogging folk, Dark Divinations gave me a great excuse to create new profiles you may not have seen.

My profile pic is now an actual picture instead of the ye olde Grandfather Mountain landscape you’re used to. Now it’s just sexy as hell.

Amazon Author Page and Facebook Page

The Dark Divinations team wanted a recording of us reading our story – and, if you go to my twoFacebook page (sorry, Chelsea, but I loved that term too much to not use), you can watch the video I made and hear a sample of “Miss Mae’s Prayers”.

But don’t expect much out of the Facebook page – I frikkin’ don’t like Facebook, and I feel like just having something on there makes me a hypocrite. Feel free to follow or share it around if you want (I don’t care), but I only plan on using it for truly official crap like when a publisher makes me or if it would really help the anthology out (like making the vid for their watch party).

And! AND! The same publication meant it was time for me to get an Amazon Author Page! It’s just got that anthology for now, but maybe – just maybe – that will grow one day! I’m pursuing the traditional publishing route, though, so I wouldn’t expect that to be soon.

Carrot Ranch Column

My new profile pic actually made a stealth debut in my latest Carrot Ranch column. Check it out down at the bottom!

into the past carrot ranch square

In this column, I talk about a powerful and underappreciated influencer from American history: Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee syllabary. Ride over to the ranch if you want to know more!

Wattpad Journey: OVER

I didn’t make the longlist with my weirdo Wattpad story Our Lady of Perdition, but honestly I didn’t expect it. It’s clearly an adult tale with a ton of symbolism and metaphor that in no way works with the target audience (and, thus, the judges) of the Open Novella contest. I’m actually honored to have made it as far as I did!

So, if you want to read an approx. 20k story about WWII pilots landing on a really terrible island, you can go here!

Our Lady of Perdition

WORK

Ok, I’ll admit it – the big reason I’m not as available now is I got a job. A job making drugs.

I don’t think it will keep me away forever, but the initial push to get myself up to speed and doing well has taken quite a bit of effort. I can feel that stress of being new letting up, but it’s not quite done yet.

(Also, secret secret… I had a video game I wanted to play this month, so even my free time ended up going to complete waste, haha!)

Divider

What all sorts of things have you done this month? Anything you’d like me to check out? Leave them in the comments!

 

Dark Divinations Party – Facebook, Saturday, May 23rd

You’re not going to miss this party – join in if you have the chance!

Come join Emz and the whole cast of authors at the Facebook Book Party! Readings, Games, Prizes, Fun, Trivia! This Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 starting with a WatchParty @ 1pm PDT and a Facebook Party @ 2pm PDT Dark Divinations Edited by Naching T. Kassa Authors: Stephanie Ellis, Michael Fassbender, Alan Fisher, H.R.R. Gorman, Ash […]

Dark Divinations Party – Facebook, Saturday, May 23rd

Time’s Running Out! “Evolution of the Predator” is Going Away SOON

UPDATE 30 May 2020: This has been updated to account for the takedown of the book.

Evolution of the Predator is Heading to The Vault!

The Evolution of the Predator

The 2015 Evolution of the Predator was written during a National Novel Writing Month and follows an idea I’d had for quite some time. It’s a quaint survival science fiction currently available for free on the blog.

Antoinette crash lands on the planet Osmina, home to a xenophobic species still in an early, tribal phase of development. In order to uphold Earth’s directive to remain as uninvolved as possible with alien life, she tries to remain hidden and survive for the two years before a rescue party will arrive. A curious elder cast out of its nomadic tribe throws a wrench in her plans and efforts, pitting Antoinette’s conscience against her duty.

However, this book won’t be free for long! Next week, the Free, Downloadable PDF of Evolution of the Predator is going away for an unspecified amount of time (maybe even forever), so you’ll need to get it NOW if you want to read it.

Why Am I Doing This?

Though I can attest that the story itself is pretty interesting, especially if you’re into heady, quiet sci-fi, it hasn’t been edited quite as well as something I would like to have self or traditionally published. In an effort to either show only my best work or participate with the community, I’m taking down all serially posted novels on my website, starting with Evolution of the Predator.

Don’t Let the Vault Swallow This Quietly!

Go to the Evolution of the Predator home page and either read each post (removal dates posted on each chapter) or download the PDF while they last.

Have you posted any work serially? Leave a comment below so that I or other readers can check out the story! I understand from experience how hard it is to do a serial because readers who don’t start when you post part one are rarely going to head to the beginning and churn through the rest. How did you keep your serial going?

Cheers and happy reading!

May 2020 Author Newsletter

Hello there, Friends and Stuff! I’m excited to enter a new month and bring you some new and brilliant updates!

Dark Divinations – A Victorian Horror Anthology

DarkDivBanner Dark Divinations Horror Addicts

First, Dark Divinations debuted on May 1st. You can order it now in paperback on Amazon. If you want to get the party pack, you can still get that here! Later this month, I’ll be posting updates about some special videos going up on Facebook… you’ll want to get in on that for sure!

Open Novella Contest

Whaaaat!? I made it through Round 2 of the contest? I couldn’t believe it. My novella, a 25,000-word story about a gay WWII pilot who crashes and washes up on an island reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno, actually had enough score to make it through. You can find the novella here if you’re interested.

Our Lady of Perdition

Do I think it will win? Hell no. It’s the most artsy-fartsy thing I’ve written in my entire life, and it seems like Wattpad is more interested in YA-focused romantic fantasies or something a bit more… commercial. But the fact I’ve made it through round 2 is really pleasing, because it means the story’s well written enough to make it through despite sounding like it was written by a person totally not in Wattpad’s primary audience.

Changes on the Blog

You’ll notice a few (somewhat unfortunate) changes on the blog. Let’s start with the good and move our way to the bad!

Home Page Updates

My home page has been updated – now it’s easier to find the How-To articles by clicking on the Witty Nib Writing Club. There’s also a new blog-roll going where you can access recent posts more easily.

Expect New Graphics in June

I’m preparing for a few big changes that will go up in June and will reflect some of the things associated with the Dark Divinations anthology. If you stick around and watch the video watch party on Facebook, you may be surprised to see an interesting face and hear a terrible voice! To go along with these revelations, my avatar and a few other pieces of the website will be changing.

Witty Nib Writing Club Changes

06092019 Writing Club witty nibSadly, the prompts and attempts at collaboration with the Club didn’t quite turn out. I’m ever grateful to Robbie Cheadle for her response to the research prompt, but I think among the corner of blogs I survey, there’s a plentitude of prompts. As a result, the Witty Nib Writing Club will change from a monthly prompt and informative post to a monthly informative post alone. You can still join in the club using the comments, but I thought it’s time to retire the club. Maybe I’ll start something easier up in the future!

More Professional Foci

Something I’ve realized in the past few months – while I’ve not had a real job – is that blogging, sadly, doesn’t further professional writing credentials. It does help me meet new people who I love to follow, obtain new info about upcoming releases, and fulfill a long-term audience goal, but it takes up so much time. So much. I’ve decided to reduce the time spent on my blog in order to attempt more short story submissions, perhaps consider doing a poetry submission, and finish my newest novel.

Sadly, I’m probably not going to be reading as many blogs or be quite as responsive. I’ll give it my best shot, but that’s all I can promise!

I’ll also be (at least temporarily) closed to beta reading requests, and any book review requests (while still open) will not be completed for quite some time.

Speaking of Novels…

I’ve got several novels up on the blog: American Chimera, If I Only Had No Heart, and Evolution of the Predator. You can click on each of these links to see their representative pages. However, these links aren’t going to work forever. No – I’m going to be taking my novels down, one at a time, starting at the end of the month with Evolution of the Predator. I was pretty torn when making this decision, but ultimately I think it needs to happen.

The reason for this decision is because they’re second drafts, beta read only by my partner, and they’re not representative of my best work. Because I seek to present a higher level of professionalism, I’m taking the oldest work – Evolution of the Predator – down first because it represents that which was written at my least mature point. That will start at the end of this month, May 2020.

It’s Not Too Late to Catch These Novels!

Nope! Until May 30th, all novels will be available for download. You should head to their pages and download the PDF files if you want to save them for later reading.

Evolution of the Predator

On May 23rd, 2020, I’ll have a reminder post telling about the imminent takedown of the novel. On May 30th, 2020, the downloadable PDF of Evolution of the Predator will be taken down from the Evolution of the Predator page. Starting on June 6th, I will take the post containing the first chapter down. Following that, one chapter will be taken down per week (as long as I don’t forget – but I’ll handle it as soon as I can). They’ll be removed in order from first chapter to last with the hopes that potential readers will be able to read one chapter per week without losing access (though I will probably email you chapters if you ask nicely). The page already lists the dates I plan to take down each chapter. The page and entire story will be gone on November 14th, 2020. All links to it on the site will be broken, though I will attempt to remove links by hand as I can.

If I Only Had No Heart

On July 18th, 2020, I will post a reminder that If I Only Had No Heart will be ending soon. On July 25th, 2020, the PDF will be removed from the If I Only Had No Heart page. On August 8th, the first chapter will be removed. One chapter will removed per week after, starting with the first chapter and ending with the last chapter. The page and entire story will be gone on November 14th, 2020. All links to it on the site will be broken, though I will attempt to remove links by hand as I can.

American Chimera

Don’t worry about this baby for now! I’m still posting this one serially, and she won’t be finished posting until December 2020. It’s also a pretty good little book, just needs some editing. However, I will be taking it down sometime in 2021 (not yet planned fully), so catch it while you can!

What About You?

Do you have any cool new things going on in May? Any excellent accomplishments in April? I’d love to hear about them to celebrate and/or commiserate with you! Cheers!