ETA: Voting has closed and that’s the winner right there ^ Chancer’s Inn. Thank you to everyone who helped me pick the theme for this year’s poetry challenge. Now I better get my butt in gear and write the poems 🙂
The original post is below for archivey/context purposes 😉
Whaaat? Two blog posts in one day?!
I have a bit of a problem… it’s an affection for pre-made book covers. I love them. The problem is, I buy the cover and then I have to find the time and inspiration to write the stories to go with them, and sometimes that’s a pretty big challenge.
Several weeks ago I held a flash editing sale on social media. The idea was that if enough people bought in for me to pay for the pre-made covers I had my eye on I would buy them and write the stories to go with them. Well, lots of people supported my sale, more than enough to pay for the covers, but when I went to buy them they’d already been sold! *sad face*
Since I couldn’t get those covers I said I would pick a selection of other pre-mades and let Twitter and Facebook decide which one of them I would buy and write something for.
But then there was this sale and I spontaneously bought premade covers for a trilogy. And added those to the other trilogy I haven’t written yet but have covers for. I was forced to admit that I had a bit of a problem. A wee bit of a backlog. I still wanted to let Twitter and Facebook vote on a cover for me to write for but it was pretty obvious that I could not commit to a full-length novel for that.
And then today my November Poem-A-Day partner in crime, Beth Cato, sent me a message and said, “Are you doing NovPAD this year?” and I was like, “Yes. But I wonder what my theme is going to be.”
And then EUREKA! It struck me.
I could let you vote on a pre-made cover and use that cover to determine my NovPAD 2018 theme. And then, eventually, use that cover to publish the resulting poems. Perfect.
Except that NovPad begins tomorrow, so there’s a huge time crunch on this. >_<
Here are the covers:
Two things to remember while looking at these:
That is dummy text. It’s just there to show off the typography and will be replaced with my name, title, etc. when the time comes. In other words, those titles are not staying 😉
My interpretation of the theme based on the cover may not match the text at all. (ie: Just because it says ‘Horror novella’ doesn’t mean my poems will be horror-themed). It also may not match your interpretation or expectations.
To vote, drop me a line however you prefer (Tweet, Facebook comment, Blog post comment, email, whatever) and tell me the dummy title for the cover you want me to use (ie: ‘The Road of Lost Souls’ or ‘Frozen’ or whatever).
I will total up all the votes that are in when it’s time for me to start working on my poem for tomorrow (probably around noon Mountain time), purchase the winning cover, announce it here and on social media and then get to work.
Thank you for taking the time to help me decide on my NovPAD theme. I look forward to discovering what it will be!
All month long I’m going to be hosting the posts of other people as part of my 2015 Giftmas Blog Tour. All the guest bloggers are welcome to write about anything they’d like so long as their post touched on a December holiday in some way, no matter how tangentially. The blog tour extends beyond my blog as well, and I will do my best to link to each external post from the here and share them on socialmedia using the hashtag #GiftmasTour.
But wait! There’s more!
We’re also giving away a whole whack of prizes (check out the list here) which you can enter to win using the Rafflecoper code below. Whatever December holiday you celebrate (or don’t) winning a stack of books will make it better!
Night of Promises
by Fred Warren
Beneath soul-crushing darkness, a chill, silent shroud blankets the earth
We are alone, shivering, hungry, stalked by ravening despair among the barren trees
We glance upward and notice the stars, distant gems scattered across the inky abyss
One stands out, brighter than the rest—there, in the east!
And we remember an ancient promise that night will have its end
We hasten to fill our dwelling with brave little motes of light
Candles and lamps, shouting against the darkness, tiny echoes of the celestial vision
They flicker and dance, shimmer and shine
We feel a bit braver now, watching them
And we remember an ancient promise that winter’s death-grip will not endure
We wrestle a gnarled oaken burl from our meager woodpile and set it ablaze
Warmth overflows the hearth, searing cheeks, thawing fingers, toasting toes
Huddling around the fire, absorbing the heat of its growling, spitting defiance
We wonder why we ever feared the cold
And we remember an ancient promise that the frozen earth will live again
We raid the cellars, larders, and pantries for a feast–we will not stint!
Aromas fill the air, sweet and savory, cinnamon and nutmeg, sage and rosemary
They enfold us as we eat, drink, and laugh in fellowship generous and loud
We banish hunger from our midst this night
And, once more, we remember an ancient promise that we will not be abandoned
We gather close together–family, friends, and the wanderers among us
Sharing gifts of love, gaily wrapped, freely given, gratefully received
See here! Look at this! Thank you! How wonderful!
We feel our loneliness overwhelmed, melting away; we share a song of joy
And we wonder at promises made and promises kept
Afterward, tired and happy, we drift off into sleep
Caressed by candlelight’s soft glow, safe and warm, comforted, wrapped in love
Yes, on this night, of all nights, we will not despair
For we are here, all of us, together
And we remember
Fred Warren writes science fiction and fantasy, with over thirty published works of short fiction. His first novel, The Muse, debuted in November 2009 from Splashdown Books, followed by a collection of his short stories, Odd Little Miracles, in July 2011, and The Seer, a sequel to The Muse, in October 2011. He works as a military contractor in eastern Kansas, where he lives with his wife and three children. He’s probably shoveling snow by starlight right now. You can find him online at http://frederation.wordpress.com.
This year’s Giftmas Blog Tour contains a giveaway. A pretty freaking big giveaway. We’ll be using Rafflecopter to get entries into the draw and choose our winners, but there are so many prizes I didn’t want to have to try and list them on the Rafflecopter widget. That’s where this post comes into play–it gives me a single URL I can use to link to and list all the prizes 🙂
I’m so excited. Firstly to have my work, Hereditary Delusions, included in this collection at all. It means an awful lot to me to share a table of contents with the mind-blowingly talented authors whose work is included here, it means a lot to have my poem chosen for inclusion in any anthology by two awesome editors and possibly most of all, it means a lot to have my poetry under a cover that says ‘Best Canadian Speculative Writing‘*.
I left this announcement off for two days in the hopes I’d be beyond gushing by now and able to post a nice, professional announcement, but it seems that isn’t going to happen–I’m still too full of squee–so just check out this amazing TOC:
The Smut Story
The Full Lazenby
A Spell for Rebuilding Your Lover Out of Snow
Jelly and the D-Machine
The Perfect Library
The Colour of Paradox
The Man Who Sold the Moon
Brains, Brains, Brains
The Lonely Sea in the Sky
A Wish from a Bone
We Be Naked
The God of Lost Things
The Lark, The Peat The Star, and Our Time
Chant for Summer Darkness in Northwest Climes
The Beat that Billie Bore
Lisa L. Hannett
The Trial of the Beekeeper
Self-Portrait as Bilbo Baggins
The Parable of the Supervillain
The Mermaid at Seaworld
Left Foot, Right
Return to Bear Creek
The Inn of the Seven Blessings
What You Couldn’t Leave Behind
Death and the Girl from Pi Delta Zeta
My World of Warcraft-inspired poem, “In Space No One Can Hear You QQ” has been published in Grievous Angel today. This poem, which is almost shorter than its title, was inspired by a conversation I had with my 2v2 partner and so it is dedicated to him. I hope you like it, David 🙂
A release date for the third in Carol Hightshoe’s Zombiefied anthology series has been announced. Zombiefied III: Hazardous Material will be released into the world on June 1st.
This anthology includes my poem, When the Zombies Came.
I had a poem in the first Zombiefied title as well, and that anthology was the very first royalty-paying anthology I’d contributed to which actually earned out and started paying me royalties. The expirience was so novel and cool I decided to submit to all Carol’s zombie-centric anthologies. I’m glad that policy has earned me a spot in another, and I look forward to sharing the details of where you can find it as soon as it becomes available in June 🙂
I am so, so, so excited to announce that my poem, In Space No One Can Hear You QQ, will be included in a future issue of the Grievous Angel webzine. This poem came out of a discussion *cough* dare between myself and my 2v2 PvP partner from back in the day. I love it, and I can’t wait to share it with you all — especially those of you I played WoW with. Thank you for the motivation, David 🙂
I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions, because I’m crap at keeping them, but I do enjoy setting goals for the coming year each January. I find them super helpful staying focused and find the accountability which comes from sharing them publicly really helps as well. This year I’m a wee bit late on getting this blog post done, so it may be slightly less chatty than in years past, but without further ado, here are some of my work-related goals for the coming year (and health counts because you can’t work if you’re not at least a certain degree of healthy).
Weigh less at the end of the year than I do at the start
No working on weekends and minimal working on evenings.
Editing / Publishing
Publish the final three issues of Niteblade and then close down that aspect of the magazine
Complete Corvidae and market it to the best of my ability
Complete Scarecrow and market it to the best of my ability
Write and submit at least one new short story a month*
The ‘submit’ part of this is important. I can’t just write a first draft and leave it to moulder indefinitely. The story needs to be ready for submission and, in fact, submitted, within the month to count.
Begin querying agents about Hollow
Self-publish at least one collection of reprints
Complete work on collaborative project with Marge
Successfully participate in April Poem-A-Day
This means actually writing a poem a day or at least having thirty poems written by the end of the month
Participate in NaNoWriMo*
Either complete the first draft of a new novel, or revise one of the novel first drafts I’ve already written (this can be completed in conjunction with NaNoWriMo or separate from it)
Read at least 50 books
Slush doesn’t count, nor do books by friends I read to critique.
When someone visits this blog and leaves a comment — reciprocate.
As of New Year’s Eve of 2014 I’d sold a total of one book via Kobo**. One. For a whopping $0.45 in royalties. One of my goals in 2015 is to improve that. I don’t have a super firm goal in mind but it shouldn’t be too difficult to top one sale and less than fifty cents in royalties, right?
I’ll probably tweak this list as the year goes on, but for now I think it’s a very good jumping-off point 🙂
*under this name or as a pen name project. Either counts.
**this doesn’t count books I didn’t self-publish like Fae, Metastasis etc.
It’s that time of year. Where we share the work we did in the previous year which is eligible for awards. This is, for me, an awkward process that always feels a little vain, but I recognise that it is my job and it’s important, so I do it anyway 🙂
Being human, however, I do have a few favourites I would especially like to bring to your attention, and pieces with an asterisk are my favourite, favourite. I’m allowed to have those because I said :-p
Published by Mythic Delirium in April 2014 and then again in the Mythic Delirium anthology which earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly this story was described as being fairy tale-esque, which made me happy.
…when you got down to the marrow of it, she was a storyteller. She created her own paper, beautiful stuff that was strung through with coloured fibers and peppered with seeds and blossoms. She wrote on it, her hand as elaborate as the paper and reminiscent of medieval scribes. She would often sew the pages together, creating books that she lined up, spines out, along her mantle. Sometimes though, she’d bury them by moonlight in her garden—
The Other Side of the Door (2,700 words)
Published by Kzine in January 2014. This is a ghost story I wrote while on vacation in Nova Scotia and it has been described as being haunting and heartbreaking. Two awesome things for a ghost story to be, right?
The boat was carried in on the back of the fog.
Growing up on the bay, Aric had seen boats slip through fog plenty of times, he’d even been on a few of them. They were nothing new or unusual for him, and yet—there was something about the shape in the mist, about this particular vessel. He leaned closer and pressed his forehead against the glass…
Matches (13 lines)*
Published by Ruminate Magazine in August 2014. This poem isn’t speculative, which is problematic for me since most of the poetry awards I know are speculative, but it is my favourite poem, maybe ever.
She liked their straight lines, / bright red tips. / The sulfur taste / on her tongue…
Hereditary Delusions (32 lines)
Published by Every Day Poets in February 2014. The speculative angle is subtle, but it’s there if you look for it 😉
I thought he’d come / from light years away, / that the dust was residue / from the Big Dipper…
Editing (Anthologies / Related Work)
Fae (17 short stories about fairies)
Published by World Weaver Press in July 2014
“The Fae prove treacherous allies and noble foes in this wide-ranging anthology from Rhonda Parrish that stretches boundaries of folk tale and legend. These fairy stories are fully enmeshed in the struggles of today, with dangerous beings from under the hills taking stances against the exploitation of children and the oppression of women, yet offering bargains in exchange for their aid that those in desperate need had best think twice about accepting. There’s no Disney-esque flutter and glitter to be found here — but there are chills and thrills aplenty.” — Mike Allen, author of Unseaming and editor of Clockwork Phoenix
A is for Apocalypse (26 short stories about the apocalypse)
Published by Poise and Pen Publishing (me) in August 2014
“In A is for Apocalypse, the world ends in both fire and ice–and by asteroid, flood, virus, symphony, immortality, the hands of our vampire overlords, and crowdfunding. A stellar group of authors explores over two dozen of the bangs and whispers that might someday take us all out. Often bleak, sometimes hopeful, always thoughtful, if A is for Apocalypse is as prescient as it is entertaining, we’re in for quite a ride.” – Amanda C. Davis, author of The Lair of the Twelve Princesses
“The haunted, wonderful stories and poems published by Niteblade are often unsettling and strange but always utterly fantastic. I look forward to every new issue and I am honored that my work has been a part of it.” – Brittany Warman
(I won’t pick a favourite favourite from my edited works)
This year I can nominate and vote only for the Prix Aurora Awards, World Fantasy and Dwarf Star awards (I think). I will be keeping my eyes out for blog posts like this one, listing peoples eligible work, but if you’re afraid I might miss something you’d like me to consider, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or drop me a line.
So this is it. The time of year where I look back at the goals I set for 2014 and find out how well I did at reaching them. What’s usually most interesting about this time for me is seeing how my priorities have shifted over the course of the year, the number of things which were really important to me at the beginning of 2014 which I was happy to back burner (which is totally a verb) but the end.
Also, I have a rule. I may explain failures, but not excuse them. Who wants to read a whole blog post of self-justifications and excuses? Not me LoL
So. 2014 goals. How’d I do?
bold = success
tl;dr — Overall, it was a pretty freaking awesome year 🙂
No drinking pop. Period.
Lose 20 lbs
Lower blood pressure (bonus points if I get to reduce my medication)
Didn’t do so awesomely here. Or well at all, really. I’m still drinking a lot of pop (diet pop, for better or for worse) and my weight has remained steady. Much, much too high, but steady. I *was* making (very slow) progress on that 5k run thing before plantar fasciitis reared its ugly head but once it did I was less than enthusiastic about actively stretching to relieve it or exercising in a way which didn’t aggravate it so… pretty sure that counts as an excuse, not an explanation. The only thing I did manage here was to lower my blood pressure. Alas, I did not get to reduce my medication in the process so no bonus points for me. *pout*
This degree is taking a ridonkulously long time. I need to finish another course toward completing it this year. Bonus points if I manage two, but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that this is honestly more of a hobby than anything and it must not negatively effect my work.
I didn’t find the time to finish even one course toward this degree. In fact as of last month I became inactive in my program, which is kinda crappy but I felt like my writing and editing took off to such an extent that it would be a bad choice for me to prioritize school over them at this point in time. So what I’m saying is, I’m okay with having failed to meet this goal. I think it was the right decision.
Solicit writers for B is for (haha not telling yet!) and begin that process
Continue to edit and publish Niteblade, keeping it something I can be very proud of.
Complete the edits on Grammy’s book
Wow. What a year it’s been under Editing / Publishing. Going to tackle all these one at a time…
First, I did finish FAE and I promoted it to the best of my ability. That included getting over my anxiety about holding a physical launch party, and making sure I always had copies of the book on hand at every convention I went to (and I went to three) to sell. Some of these efforts were successful (the party at When Words Collide, for example) and some, like the postcards with discount codes I printed up for World Fantasy were abject failures. Live and learn, right?
I was also successful in pursuing other anthology ideas. My goal had been to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of the year, but I smashed that to bits. I have two anthologies with signed contracts which I’m even now finalizing the tables of contents for and which will be published this year. They are SCARECROW and CORVIDAE. I also have a verbal agreement to begin reading submissions for a fourth anthology for World Weaver Press (tentatively entitled SIRENS: Sea and Sky) this year and publishing it next year.
I did not find any awesome ways to increase promotion efforts for METASTASIS, but even so it earned out all its production costs and began sending small (but emotionally meaningful) donations to support cancer research.
I also didn’t come up with a way to set concrete goals for promotion, but I did get far better at tracking the results of promotions, so I’m going to call that a step in the right direction.
We held another successful fundraiser for Niteblade in 2014, raising $510 and (even better for my ego) collecting a whole lot of really nice things Niteblade authors had to say about it.
I didn’t produce a NaNoLJers anthology last year, but that is because there wasn’t much in the way of interest.
A IS FOR APOCALYPSE is awesome. I did, in fact, publish it and promoted it as well as I could. I think in some ways it suffered for being launched so close to FAE but despite that sales exceeded my expectations and it has been very well-received including having stories from it on people’s top five lists,end of the year reading recommendations and getting a handful of nice reviews here, there and everywhere.
Not only did I solicit writers for B IS FOR BROKEN I’m nearly finished editing those stories and I’ve settled on the themes for the next two alphabet anthologies and let the authors know about them so they can decide to sign up, or not, in a leisurely fashion.
Niteblade had a fantastic year with me at the helm and though I’m partly saddened that 2015 will be its last year, mostly it feels like the right thing to do. End on a high note and go out in style 🙂
I completed the edits on Grammy’s book. Added the whole new section she wanted appended to the back, got it formatted, published and shipped to her in time for her to give out copies at Christmas. So, basically, I rocked it 🙂
2014 is the year of the novel. It is because I say it is, damn it!
Complete the novel currently known as ‘Hollow’
By ‘complete’ I mean have that sucker ready to start querying agents about
Complete the first draft of at least two other novels
One of these may be one of my pen name projects
Self-publish the zombie poetry book and complete my other plans for it
Write 350 words a day, five days a week. So 1,750 words a week.
Yes. A week. It’s not huge, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff on this list, damn it! :-p
Bundle up and self-publish more of my reprints
Complete sekkrit collaborative project
Participate in NovPAD and/or April PAD
Anything with the word ‘NaNo’ in the title is optional
…except NaNoLJers. Set up prompts for odd-numbered Mondays
Well, despite my intentions 2014 turned into the year of the anthology, not the novel. Hollow is done. Mostly. I had to do a whole extra draft I hadn’t counted on, but now it only needs a final spit polish and it will be ready to start querying. It’s finding the time to do that polish that is turning into a tricky thing.
I also sold my Aphanasian novel, SHADOWS, to World Weaver Press. That required a lot of re-writing and I anticipate at least one, possibly two more passes before it’s ready for release. It’s scheduled to be released some time this year though, so we’ll have to wait and see when that comes to pass 🙂
I did self-publish my zombie poetry book, and a collection of funny zombie reprints. I didn’t find time to ‘complete my other plans’ for the zombie poetry book, but who knows, perhaps a miracle will happen and I’ll find a way to do that this year LOL Could happen…
Still not finished my sekkrit collaborative project with Marge Simon, but working on it. Still working on it. Kind of like the tortoise in that story…
I participated in NovPAD and April PAD. I was not super successful at either but… I got a few poems out of them. I also participated in NaNoWriMo, however in recognition of how busy I was I re-named it MicroWriMo and aimed for 10k words. I wrote just under 8k. Meh.
Also, I had prompts set up and scheduled for odd-number Mondays for NaNoLJers and then I did something very stupid and deleted them all. So, that was a big fail right there.
Read at least 50 books.
Have 25% be non-fiction
According to Goodreads I read 63 books (I really ought to keep track of how many stories I read in slush LOL) 11 of which were non-fiction. So, I surpassed the main goal but fell short on the mini one. Of those books my favourites, in no particular order, were:
So… the good news about all the things I missed on this list is that they are all still on my radar, and aside from A Month of Letters I can do them anytime. I’m surprised I missed A Month of Letters this year, so surprised I had to go and check my blog archives to make sure I really had. Weird. I do write snail mail sporadically over the course of the year anyway but historically I’ve really gotten a lot out of A Month of Letters so I’ll have to work pretty hard at re-adding that next year.
Also, I went to three conventions. When Words Collide is my new all-time favourite convention ever. Plus I also attended my second World Fantasy and went to Pure Spec here in Edmonton. The highlight of Pure Spec, for me, was the Character Death Matches (I participated and got my butt kicked. Fun!)
And there you have it. My year in review or, more specifically, a look at the goals I set last year with an eye to seeing how successful I was.
On paper I wasn’t super successful, but as I mentioned at the start of this (very long) entry, it’s always interesting to see how my priorities shift and change over the year. While my health-based priorities remain the same and I really need to devote more time, energy and effort to them I’m perfectly good with the progress I made on my other goals. Writing a lot of novels got pushed back a bit in favour of editing a lot of anthologies, for example. I’m good with that, and very proud of the results.
I know a great number of my friends struggled through 2014 in ways that meant getting dressed each morning was a victory, but overall, 2014 was a very good year for me. How did it treat you? Did you accomplish most of the things you set out to do? Are you happy with what you managed?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer. I’ll be making a new set of goals for myself and sharing them here in the near future. If you do the same please let me know, I like seeing the goals other people set for themselves, sometimes they help inspire mine 🙂