"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." - Toni Morrison
"Don't forget - no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell." - Charles de Lint

11 May, 2023

A Haunting In Venice | Teaser Trailer | 20th Century Studios

Oh, HELL YEAH. I can't wait for this! I actually stumbled across this trailer over at Rotten Tomatoes, and it not only got me way hyped but also reminded me I've yet to see Death on the Nile.


I rented Murder on the Orient Express a year or so ago and enjoyed it enough -- admittedly it's one of those mysteries that I have to read the source material for in order to appreciate it fully, but I've also seen enough adaptations to know what's going on. That said, I'm not a fan of this story specifically, no matter who adapts it and stars in it. 

But A Haunting in Venice ticks all the right boxes for me. Love Venice as a setting for a gothic horror (got introduced to that via Don't Look Now, which is one of my favorite horror / suspense films in spite of the gratuitous sex scene), and anything to do with ghosts will always have my attention. Now as to whether or not I'll actually go for every ghost story that comes my way is another matter entirely, but I'm more likely to dig deeper when it comes to classic haunted house films than, say, slasher films. 

One thing I do notice that's threatening to dampen my enthusiasm for this movie is the depiction of the ghost. I mean...

Ever since The Ring, I've been seeing SO MANY female ghosts with long, stringy hair either half-covering or fully covering their faces. Really, guys -- there's more than ONE way of depicting restless spirits. Even when I look for images I can use for cover art? I do a search for "ghost" or any variation of the word, and half of the images in my search results show the same *beepbeepbeep* stringy-haired girl ghost. 

Not scary. No. There's nothing scary about something that's obviously not an original idea. So those glimpses of the girl ghost in the trailer made me cringe a little, I have to admit, but I'm still looking forward to watching the movie either in the theater or via streaming as a last resort. Hopefully it'll be the theater since as of late, I haven't been stirred enough to check out my favorite blockbusters from Marvel. I guess those days reveling in superhero fun are over, but my interest in entertainment just experienced a shift.*

And I'm rambling. Jinkies.

* caveat: Blade. That's the one Marvel film I HAVE to watch.

07 May, 2023

Updated 2023 Calendar (Or What's Left of 2023)

There's been a lot of gray cell activity this weekend following the completion of The House of Ash and some projections as to my progress involving the book coming after that. And as always, I come out of it making an outright liar of myself, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's followed me since the beginning.

Okay, you know how I said I really, really need to slow down and put more space between books? 

Yep. Nope. 

Because given the recent surge in energy I've been having (for over a year now, frankly) so that I've been able to work on simultaneous books on the weekends, it looks like some factors are somehow working together to make things -- er -- way more doable than I first expected. Like I can really (realistically) get away with publishing four novellas in a year. 

Remember three novellas? Or an alternating two novellas one year, three the next, etc., when I follow a five-month release schedule? 

So what changed my mind? 

Ideas. Story ideas. Too many of them hitting me at the same time and getting me really worked up and so motivated to get going on them, and it sure doesn't help that despite my fatigue from my day job, that part of my life doesn't zap my need to create at all because I'm no longer in an environment where my mental and emotional health are constantly being tested. Any fatigue I experience is strictly physical and nothing else. My mood's good, I'm a lot more aware of what I do, and even when I'm just crashing when I get home, I'm mentally in a pretty good place. 

So yeah. 

And basically what that means is an updated calendar for the rest of 2023 looking like this:

A banner showing three book covers side by side with dates superimposed on them. Left cover: a detail of a stained glass window with "out on May 16" and "The Heart of Ameinias" for the text. Middle: a picture of an old garden with the statue of a girl in the forefront, "out on Aug. 16" and "The House of Ash" in text. Right cover: detail of a stained glass window with "out on Nov. 16" and "Ada and the Singing Skull" for the text.
click to embiggen

So a good deal of movement happening here so that 2024 will begin with Charon's Crossing. Not sure what month yet (likely February), but if the energy and motivation levels hold, we're looking at another four-book calendar next year. 

Next year might also mark the final year for any sequels for Ghosts and Tea (I know -- it's crushing for me, but I don't want to drag this series out any longer than necessary). Now I don't know how many more books can be written after Ada and the Singing Skull, but as I've mentioned before, I'm looking at somewhere around 8 - 10 books total for this collection. It might very well be 8 since I find myself more inspired with story ideas for standalone gothic books than for Prue and Freddy's universe. 

I'll grieve and raise a tea cup in their honor, but if there's nothing there, there's nothing there. Know what I mean? As long as I end the series with an appropriate conclusion, I'll be happy.

So as always: onward!

06 May, 2023

'The House of Ash' is Done, Done, DONE!

Wow, I haven't had this crazy spurt of energy in just one day, but I managed to write the last three chapters today, including the epilogue, so that The House of Ash is finally done in its rough form. Behold the requisite celebratory disco video:

At the moment the draft clocks in at 48,200+ words. The gap of over 1,000 words will be divided between the chapters when revision and edits happen, and that's doable as heck. I'm pretty strict with the final word count and am always determined to max it out to an even 50K so as to make the reading experience complete even with the book being a long novella. 

Speaking of, I think I'm doing pretty well settling down to this length for the long haul. I really love it. I love the control I have to have on every chapter I write, the final word count also forcing me to limit my plotting since I tend to get carried away sometimes with unnecessary scenes or even side stories. 

So, yay! Another book under my belt! I'm taking the rest of the weekend off to recover and just be lazy while outlining the next WiP I'm set to work on (Ada and the Singing Skull). I did say before that there's a chance the release date for this book will also be fluid because of how early I got it done, and I'm going to be looking into alternative calendar dates for it. And that means there's a good chance it'll be pushed forward as well to an earlier date, which always feels good. Booyah!

04 May, 2023

Music + Diversity = Magic

I can never get enough of this video, and it's always good to share the wealth, yeah? Yeah. 

The voice actors almost sound the same. Almost. If you listen carefully and very closely, you'll be able to tell the difference between them when the characters change language partway through the song (the difference in voices seems to be more pronounced when the language shifts from European to Asian). It's so much fun though to what extent high tech editing magic was involved in the seamless flow of voices from start to finish, I don't know. 

Regardless, I don't let stuff like that ruin my enjoyment of a terrific video.

30 April, 2023

'The Heart of Ameinias' Release Date Pushed Forward (Woot!)

Okeedokee, I made good a threat (!!!) regarding my scheduled release for The Heart of Ameinias. Instead of releasing it on June 1 -- traditionally my spring/summer release date for any book -- I'm pushing it forward to May 16. I've already updated Draft2Digital with that change, and I also got the print book set up to release on the same day. 

So yay! Earlier than originally planned, but that's the good side to getting so much stuff done sooner. And with The House of Ash winding down, I expect this to be just as fluid when it comes to the calendar date of Oct. 1 (my fall release for any book). Sure, it might be a bit of a bummer as it's very much a Halloween-friendly book, but I'm not going to get myself stuck on trivialities like that. If it's good and ready and there's lots of wiggle room, I'll push it forward, too, and adjust 2024's calendar accordingly.

In fact, the weekend I get going on the revisions and edits, I'll also begin work on the next sequel to Ghosts and Tea (Ada and the Singing Skull). I think the overlapping writing schedule works the best for me though working on two books at the same time is much more preferable than three like I managed to do before (though working on three books at once is the reason why I'm way ahead of the game right now). 

I do have a relatively complicated pattern of writing I religiously follow on the weekend. I'll look into Madrigal and Voices in the Briars again like I promised and will be messing around some more with the calendar. And I'll be posting the live link to The Heart of Ameinias once the 16th rolls around.