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January 2018 writing update

January was busy but quiet. No publications this month, no events. I spent most of my writing time working on the novel-in-progress, and submitted three stories, two original and one reprint, to various magazine or anthology projects. I received one rejection: a reprint poem submitted to a speculative fiction magazine.

Most of my January reading focused on research for the historical fantasy novel. Two notable exceptions were Thunderbird, the fourth book in Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black series, and The Fire in Fiction, an excellent book on the writer’s craft by literary agent Donald Maass.

The oft-delayed anthology Hath No Fury has been delayed again, this time to May 1. The new publisher is committed to publishing the book, so I’m pretty confident that it will be out this year.


2017 writing summary, plus plans for 2018

2017 wasn’t a big year for publications: one new short story (“Royal Daughters” in Sword & Sorceress 32), three reprints, and three history/historical fiction book reviews in the Renaissance Magazine “Tomes of Lore” column. Three completed short stories are in the pipeline for 2018–one in a reprint anthology and two new short stories in themed anthologies. No firm publication dates have been announced for any of these yet. I also finished an as-yet-unsold short story and heavily revised an old “trunk story.”

My primary focus in 2017 was researching and writing what will be my first new novel in several years. It’s set in a fantasy version of Elizabethan England in the years 1566-1567, and it focuses on many of my favorite things: music, magic, books, swords, folklore, history, complicated elves, treacherous fey, and lots of intrigue. It’s full of characters whose company I enjoy, and I’m having a ridiculously good time writing it. The first pass is finished and I’m working on the revised first draft. 

In writing-related news, I attended Gen Con as a guest of the Writers Symposium and joined the Horror Writers of America. I’ve set up a Patreon account to be launched in 2018, and I’ve started drawing again. A cartoon illustration of “Family Matters,” the first piece of flash fiction in my Patreon, will be posted in January.

On the personal front, I walked over 5 million steps in 2017, which works out to about 2330 miles. That’s longer than the Appalachian Trail, though admittedly with far fewer mountains.

Looking ahead to 2018!

I plan to have the first draft of the novel ready to submit in February. After a short break to write and submit a proposal for a Mythos-themed novella, I’ll be working on the outline for the second and third historical fantasy books, diving into book 2, and creating a website for the project.

For Patreon, I have enough stories and writing articles for the first few months. My goal is to publish, at minimum, one of each throughout 2018. How much additional time I can devote to Patreon content will, of course, depend upon the level of interest and support it inspires.

For conventions, I will be attending Boskone in February and South Coast Game Fest in March. An event schedule will follow shortly. I have been invited to participate in the Writers Symposium at Gen Con 2018 in August, and I’m open to invitations from other cons.

Sword and Sorceress 32

The latest anthology in the long-running Sword and Sorceress series is out today. I am very happy to be a part of this one.

My story, “Royal Daughters,” is a historical fantasy tale set in the tumultuous border country of Scotland during the infancy of Mary Queen of Scots. It’s a standalone story, but it also gives a glimpse into the setting of my novel-in-progress.  The story takes place about twenty years before the events of the novel.

Here’s a link to the Amazon.com page. Hope you enjoy this collection!

Cover and ToC for SWORD & SORCERESS 32

Coming November 2!

Eighteen tales of magic and mayhem, in plenty of time for the holidays. If you really want to run with the Formidable Women theme, you could pair this with the Hath No Fury anthology that’s coming out the first of December.

My story, Royal Daughters, is a blend of fantasy and historical fiction, set in Scotland’s border country during the infancy of Mary Queen of Scots.

Table of Contents

Women’s Work by Pauline J. Alama
Hostages of Honeycomb by Marian Allen
The Sound of the Moon by Robin Wayne Bailey
Finding Truth by Lorie Calkins
Wight Nights by Steve Chapman
Royal Daughters by Elaine Cunningham
Unexpected by Suzan Harden
Save a Prayer by Mercedes Lackey
Sky, Clouds, and Sonam by Catherine Mintz
Shaman’s Quest by Kevin L. O’Brien
Authority Figures by Michael H. Payne
The Girl from Black Point Rock by Deborah J. Ross
Till the Cows Come Home by L.S. Patton
Deadly Questions by Jonathan Shipley
The Nature of Wraiths by Dave Smeds
Add a Cup of Terror by Michael Spence & Elisabeth Waters
A Librarian in Distress by Rose Strickman
Expiration Date by Julia H. West

New pub date for HATH NO FURY

This anthology, which features stories of kick-ass female characters, was funded by Kickstarter and expected to come out in mid 2017.  Is has been delayed several times and was just rescheduled for release on December 1.  Here’s why:

The publisher, Ragnarok Publications, merged with Galaxy Knight Games, and the company is going through management change and reorganization. Things seem to be settling down, and I’m fairly confident that the new pub date will happen.

August writing summary

This month was mostly about the novel-in-progress. The highlight, however, was attending Gen Con for the first time in a decade. I met lots of interesting people, touched base with friends old and new, signed some books, played some games, and talked about various Secret Projects.

August summary:

Publications: 1
Submissions: 2
Acceptances: 2
Rejections: 1
Projects currently in circulation: 3

Work in progress:
  • Writing Draft Zero of a historical fantasy novel
  • A Mythos-themed novella, still in brainstorming stage
  • Awaiting editor’s notes for a short story solicited for a shared-world anthology


  • Winterhexe, a German translation of the Pathfinder Tales novel Winter Witch, was published by Feder & Schwert.


  • “Family Matters,” a new flash fiction story, submitted to a webzine
  • “The White Tunic,” a story published in 2013, submitted to a reprint anthology

Acceptances: 2

  • “The White Tunic” was accepted for publication in a fantasy reprint anthology by Digital Fantasy Press. I’d submitted it last month to their horror anthology; this, apparently, was a better fit.
  • A review of A King’s Obsession, a historical novel by Allison Weir, was accepted and scheduled for publication in Renaissance Magazine, issue #112

Rejections: 1

  • “Dead Men Tell No Tales” did not make the final cut for a ghosts & pirates reprint anthology.

Completed in August:

  • Wrote and submitted “Family Matters,” a flash fiction story (800 words)
  • Wrote “Turning Characters into People,” an article about the writing process, to be published on my Patreon.
  • Wrote 7 blog posts for this website, including two longer articles on the topic “Setting as Character.”

Writing related:

  • Attended Gen Con 50, participated in 11 panels, the Candlekeep seminar, and the Worldbuilder’s Party charity event organized by Patrick Rothfuss.
  • Working on a Patreon account, which is still in the planning stage.

Books read:

  • Focus by Daniel Goleman
  • Positivity by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D.
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax, by Dorothy Gilman

Books reading:

  • The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph From the Frontiers of Brain Science, by Norman Dolge
  • How the Mind Works, by Stephen Pinker
  • The Private Lives of Tudor Women, by Elizabeth Norton

Literal Illusion

“Lorelei,” a historical fantasy tale that takes place near the Rhine in pre-Roman times, has been published in a new reprint anthology.

Table of Contents:

Half-Dime Adventure – Don Webb
Cry Havoc – Julie Frost
Lorelei – Elaine Cunningham
These Walls of Despair – Anaea Lay
Lady of the Plagues – Elena Gomel
The Seventh Trap – Adam Knight
How Fox Fixed the Sky – Stephen Case
The Well – Gregory L. Norris
Found Things – Gerri Leen
The Heart of a Diamond – Lillian Csernica