I’ve bundled up three of the stories I’ve written which were set in Aphanasia into a collection I have cleverly titled Aphanasian Stories, and it’s now available for you 🙂 Including in this collection of re-released stories are Lost and Found, which was originally given away here on this blog, A Love Story, which was originally published by Sam’s Dot Publishing as Shades of Green and Sister Margaret which was originally published by Wild Child Publishing.
A Love Story: Z’thandra, a swamp elf living with the Reptar, discovers a human near the village. When she falls in love with him, she faces the most difficult choice of her life, a decision that will affect the Reptar for generations.
Lost and Found: Xavier, the escaped subject of a madman’s experiments, and Colby, a young lady on a mission to save her brother, must combine their efforts to elude capture and recover the magical artifact that will save Colby’s brother before it’s too late.
Sister Margaret: A vampire hunter and a half-incubus swordsman are hired by a priestess to kill the undead pimp that is extorting, torturing and murdering vulnerable girls.
The physical copies of these books are fan-freaking-tastic, no word of a lie. The original art is the illustration I commissioned from Darek Zabrocki long ago for Lost and Found and Jo (my husband) had turned it into the sort of wrap around cover that dreams are made of (mine anyway). However, if you like to read electronic books I’ve got good news for you. The Kindle version of Aphanasian Stories is available for free for May 15th and 16th.
It’s that time of year again, when I look back at the goals I set the year before and create new ones for the year to come. These are not resolutions, I was sorely tempted to begin and end my yearly goals in the middle of summer just to get away from the R word, but it turns out that my desire to be lazy outweighs my desire to be contrary 😉 So here we go, how did I do on reaching my 2012 goals?
For 2012 I wanted to address not just writing, but also editing and schoolwork so I broke my goals up into four categories: Health (because that affects every part of my life), School, Writing and Editing. My specific goals for 2012 were:
Continue to eat healthy. In my case that is a low-sodium pescatarian diet.
I’m going to call this one successful (hence the bolding ;)) though there is definitely room for debate. I eat when I’m emotional and it’s been an emotional freaking year, but overall, I’m pleased with how I’ve done, not least of all because this year I was able to recognize when I was eating for reasons other than hunger. It’s a small step, but at least it’s in the right direction.
No drinking energy drinks
Um, I did pretty well with this at first, and I’m not drinking them now, but there was a period when my sister and niece were staying with us and also when my mom died that I used energy drinks as a crutch to get through the day without napping. Understandable, I think, but it means I didn’t reach this goal.
Remember soft drinks are a ‘sometimes food’ (Thanks Cookie Monster)
Erm… yeah. I started out strong on this one but as I write this blog there is a Diet Dr. Pepper sitting within reach on my desk so… yeah. Goal not accomplished.
Workout at least five times a week
This I was good at for most of the year. I was working out six days a week and was making Danica do it with me. We did some 30 Day Shred stuff, Couch to 5k (before I screwed up my ankle. Again) and were only a couple weeks away from completing the P90x Lean program when my Mom died. It sounds like an excuse, but when she died my world sort of tipped upside down and I am still struggling to get back into the workout habit. It will definitely be on the goal list for 2013. I’m calling this goal accomplished though because I did very well.
Not even close. This has been SUPER frustrating for me because I felt like I was working really hard and the scale just wasn’t moving the way it was meant to. (I say that in the past tense because I sort of fell off the ‘working hard’ wagon in November and December.)
School: I think this year is going to be more writing and editing-centric so my school goal is optional, depending on time and stress.
Finish one, or, if I’m feeling super energetic, two more courses toward my degree
I didn’t do any courses toward my degree in 2012. I intend to change that up for 2013.
Write the first draft of Consequence
Didn’t happen. I don’t have a great excuse as to why it didn’t happen, I just got distracted.
Participate in the monthly version of Write 1 Sub 1. I have a habit of writing ‘cast-off’ poetry for things like this when I become overwhelmed. That’s not acceptable here. Poetry only counts if it is in a complete and publishable form that I’m proud of. Same goes for stories.
Thank gawd for W1S1. Without it my writing productivity would have been even lower than it already was. I was successful in doing the monthly version of W1S1 and I look forward to doing a modified weekly version in 2013.
Figure out what to do with Shadows and my zombie poetry and get to work on doing it. This can mean looking for an agent, a publisher or any number of other things. I can’t be specific until I’ve made a decision
Done and done. Shadows has been shelved for the time being. I keep having ideas on how I can improve it and feeling the temptation to pull it out and revise it again but so far I’ve resisted. I think I need to move on for now. I’ll come back to Shadows someday, but not anytime soon. As for the zombie poetry, I’ve also figured out what I’m going to do with it… I just haven’t actually got it done yet. I will definitely be including that in my goals for 2013. The zombie poetry project is stalled temporarily while I wait on something I need from someone else, but soon… soon…
Either finish a first draft of Hollow Children or a transcription of Twixt
Hmm… I don’t know whether or to call this accomplished or not. Technically I didn’t do either of those things so I guess it’s not accomplished, however… instead of transcribing Twixt (I wrote the first draft long hand and so needed to type it up) I started doing the How to Revise Your Novel course using it as the project I was working on. What I discovered in the process of taking that course and doing the exercises was that Twixt, as it was written, was fatally flawed so I didn’t transcribe it. I didn’t begin working on a new draft either because it wasn’t until the end of November that I figured out what exactly I’d done wrong and how to fix it. Interestingly enough, that is also true of Hollow Children. I was hopelessly stalled on it until the end of November when I had an epiphany and figured out how to fix it. So there’s that…
Revise the whack of ‘mostly finished’ short stories sitting in my Dropbox and start looking for homes for them
I did manage to do this… and then I participated in the Whittaker Prize (see below) and added a bunch more ‘mostly finished’ short stories to my Dropbox to work on. Wheee!
NaNoWriMo is optional. So is NovPad.
I participated in NaNoWriMo and was successful despite restarting several times and switching projects three times. I attempted NovPad but was far less successful. The good thing about NovPad, as my friend Beth pointed out to me is that the prompts are always there. So I’ll keep working through them. Just like I did last year (see below). Ya know, it seems I’m not really very good at this NovPad thing LoL
Participate in the Whittaker Prize again this year, but in only one category, not both.
I participated in the short story section of the Whittaker Prize this year and ended up placing 10th overall with a final score, after six rounds, of 453. I… don’t know how that compares to how I’ve done in previous years but I feel really good about the work I produced for the Whittakers this year. In fact, one of my stories even tied for first on one of the rounds O_o That had never happened before LOL
Finish writing poems for all the 2011 Novpad prompts
Done. One of these years I may actually finish writing poems for all the NovPad prompts in November. One day…
Implement the new payment system for Niteblade
Done. And best of all, it seems to be working. I haven’t finished all the totals for Niteblade’s sales for 2012 but I strongly suspect that when I do we’ll find that we had our best year yet. Yay!
Run a fundraiser and increase promotion in order to move out of the red
Done. We raised $108.78 to help pay our writers and artist.
Super Sekkrit Projekt w CJD (not Niteblade-related)
I’ve done what I can on this project and it’s now in other people’s hands. I’ve got my fingers crossed that something will come of it, but right now I have to wait and see.
Also? I blogged every week. Whoot!
You know, looking back, I’m actually super impressed with myself. I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do, but overall I did pretty damn good. Even without factoring in all the challenges I had to overcome (because really, though this year feels like it was exceptionally bad for that, every year comes with its own set of obstacles, right?). Maybe I’m getting better at this whole goal setting thing LOL
In addition to the goals I set for myself, 2012 had a few other highlights for me as well. A few, just off the top of my head are:
Writing my first story with Jo and having it be a whopping success. That story, Sea and Sky, will be included in the Masked Mosaic anthology which is coming out in February.
I was just editing the page for Shades of Green to link to a review that was just done of it (ChrisChat Reviews) and in a roundabout way it reminded me that I ought to remind you — If you want to read Lost and Found for free you should do that sooner rather than later. In the near future I will be taking it off my website and re-releasing it (along with some other stories) in other formats.
This post is about video games. I was originally going to write about the video games I play these days, but then I had a better idea. Let me tell you about a fantastic video game that was never made.
Abbadon’s Curse is a game I wanted to create over ten years ago. I looked over the main game description document that I gave to the developers and it looks like it was created in early 2002 and I’d been working on stuff for the game long before I began that file.
Abbadon’s Curse was going to be fantastic. It was an MMORPG with all of the usual MMORPG-type things in it, but there were a lot of other cool things that I hadn’t seen done in games up until that point. Night and day, for example, with certain spells and abilities only being able to be used in one or the other. Capes which could be designed (like tabards are now in WoW) to have a unique look for each guild (or character). It was also going to be very story-centric, very lore-based.
The game was set in the world of Aphanasia. A place where, upon the death of her son in battle, she blessed that land so that any who died in battle would not remain dead but rise up once more to fight again. Unfortunately, despite the fact her intentions may have been good, in reality her blessing turned out to be more like a curse. Dun dun dun.
Moonberrys were also very important in that world, as was the magical tree they came from. They were especially important to a race of lizard-men called the Urbagdú or the Reptar who used them in every part of their society. The wise men used the berries for medicines, the mages for magic and the warriors used shed boughs from the trees for weapons. Moonberries were even the closest thing the society had to a currency.
In developing the game and it’s storyline we focused a lot on the reptar because they were going to be our first set of adversaries (you know, after everyone was done leveling off rats, and moving on to wolves, and then…) and we needed to give them depth and story. We had several other races in mind we were going to use as spice in our first release and make more important in the future. The Reptar were found mostly in and around the swamp, but the mountains were home to a race of shadow elves, and pirates tended to prowl the coastlines. And of course, what kind of RPGMMO would be complete without vampires? We had them too… In fact, one of our important, named NPCs was a vampiric pirate 😉
In addition to our races and plots and maps and game design documents, we also had a series of gods for the denizens of Aphanasia to worship (the icons for each are along the bottom there). Abbadon, Calamyr, Rakkir (named after a character I used to RP with), Xaphan and the Dragon Gods.
Alas the game fell apart. I totally blame myself. I was the lead on the game, the story was mine, the bulk of the world development was mine, and it was my work that filled the game design documents, but I can’t program. Not even a little. I wasn’t able to provide strong leadership to the programming team and I think it was largely because of my ignorance in programming. I couldn’t set reasonable timelines or expectations and I didn’t know how to crack the whip.
I’m still very sad this game never got to become a reality, but I was determined not to allow the insane amounts of work I’d put into the world development for it to go to waste. That’s why, if you’ve read any of my Aphanasian stories, a lot of this stuff will sound familiar to you.
The moonberry tree got a bit of a makeover, and I set my stories in a time after Abbadon’s curse has ceased to exist (so far anyway LoL). I tweaked my races and my world to suit the world of fiction better than that of video games, but the skeleton of that world definitely comes from what I developed for a video game.
All the above stories are set in Aphanasia, and most of them can be read for free, if you’re interested. It looks like the e-zine that published The Legend of the First Reptar is no longer in existence, but the other stories are all still available (except Shadows which I just finished LOL)
So, yeah. While I’m terribly sad that Abbadon’s Curse will never be a game you can download and play (barring a minor miracle anyway LoL) I’m pretty pleased with myself that I managed to continue to use the world I’d created for it, making it even more lush, detailed and populated than I had for the game.
This blog post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge over the month of April and was brought to you by the letter V for Video Game. Tomorrow my husband Jo will be doing a guest blog. He won’t even tell me what it’s going to be about except that it has something to do with chickens. I hope you’ll stop by, it ought to be entertaining 🙂
I suck at managing my time. I really, really do. I make plans, I make schedules — they don’t work, or worse, they do for a couple days and then fall apart all around me. My Epic Win! to-do list tells me I’m supposed to make a blog post every Monday, but I’m failing at that too.
To be fair, I’ve a bunch of deadlines kicking my butt.
Writing, revising and polishing a short story to submit to the Whittakers every other week
Writing, revising and polishing a poem to submit to the Whittakers every other week
Writo De Mayo writing goals
Self-imposed June 1st deadline for this draft of Shadows
There was also a death in the family that, while I couldn’t make the funeral, did have me writing only about my deceased aunt for a few days. It was good, it was cathartic, but it didn’t help with my accomplishing other stuff.
…that sounds so callous. I hope if you’re reading this you know me better than that.
So, anyway, I’ve been busy, busy, busy. So busy that I’ve been thinking of bailing on my daytime raids, which I love. Hopefully things will come together soon though. WdM and the Whittakers, for example, don’t last forever, and progress on Shadows has been great. I just need to suck it up and keep going. In the meantime though, I’ll probably continue to be scarce around here. Thinking of interesting things to blog about is, quite simply, beyond me at the moment.
I do want to thank everyone who has taken the time to email me and tell me what you thought about Lost and Found, or added it to their shelves in GoodReads to tell the world. Thank you -so- very much. I’m writing you each back, honest, but it may take me a little bit. Thank you. Hearing someone say ‘I loved this story’ or ‘I love CHARACTERNAME’ makes me smile like you wouldn’t believe.
I have a new layout. If you’re reading this on livejournal pop over to my main site (http://www.rhondaparrish.com) and take a look. It’s a lovely green layout that looks fresh and ready for spring*. My friend BD made it for me, because she is incredibly awesome. I actually want to write a whole blog entry about how awesome she is and invaluable to my writing, but, that would embaress her. I don’t want to do that (and not just because she could totally kick my ass), so I’ll just leave it at this:
BD, you rock. Thank you.
In other news, Heather, from Doubleshot Reviews gave Lost and Found a read and made me happy with her review. She analyzed Xavier and Colby’s characters a little bit, found them believable and gave them a thumbs up. That makes me smile. You can check out the whole review here: Lost and Found Review.
Lost and Found is almost done! That’s crazy. It seems like it should keep going, but next week will be the final chapter. Then what am I going to do for my Monday blog entries? I’m going to have to like, think of something clever to write, or something. I apologise in advance 😉 I do hope you’ll check back next week though, to get the final chapter of Lost and Found and see how it all turns out.
*I took the photo used in the new layout. Another point in the win column if you ask me.
I seem to be seeing a disproportionately high number blog posts about book piracy these days. For example, and just off the top of my head, there’s Jim C. Hines, Tobias Buckell and Tom Hansen. Those three blog posts all relate to one another quite directly so you’ll understand why one prompts me to think of the other, however, after reading all three of them the thought which was foremost in my mind was ‘Man, with so many people stealing books you’d think they’d be easier to give away’. This says something about my self-interested little soul, but bare with me.
If you’re reading this blog you’re probably aware that I’ve been serializing a novella on it called Lost and Found. That is, I’ve been giving it away a chapter at a time. It’s been a lot of work. In fact, to do it really well I’d need a lot more time than I actually have, but I’ve been making a valiant effort.
On paper things look pretty good for it. Carrie Jones, a NYT bestselling author who writes in a similar genre gave me a glowing blurb that made my millenia:
“Rhonda Parrish’s descriptive and action-packed prose grabs you by the hands and doesn’t let go. This is the kind of story that’s so good you clutch right back because you don’t ever want it to end.”
The reviews, when I could get them, have been positive.
I commissioned a freaking fantastic artist to make a killer cover for me. No stock images for this novella.
Bill Ratner, a well-known voice over artist, liked it enough to create a podcast version of it for me.
It’s difficult to judge exactly how many people have been stopping by to read the story; relying on comments is foolish in the extreme, my webstats are not the best and this blog is mirrored to Livejournal, but I know enough to know that interest has not been what I’d hoped.
There are good reasons for why I haven’t been overwhelmed.
People like their stories all at once, not doled out a chapter at a time, and I’m not offering Lost and Found as a .pdf (yet).
Reviews are tough to come by because this story hasn’t been through an independant editorial process (and who can blame them? Let’s face it, folks, most self-pubbed stuff is crap).
I haven’t got hours to dedicate to driving people to this blog to read it, and I’m not fantastic at it in the time I do have (I hate over-plugging my work so tend to err on the side of infrequency).
Still, when I read about piracy I can’t help but wish the people stealing those books would instead just pop over here and read the one I’m offering for free.
I know it’s not the same, not really, but you can’t blame me for the thought.
By the way, if you’re here reading this — have you checked out Lost and Found yet?
I can’t wait to get reading them, though I don’t know where to start. A dear friend of mine, Amber, sent me a crapload of books just before Christmas, and I want to read them too. I need a few more hours in the day, please. That would be fabulous. It’s also fabulous to have so many books I can’t wait to dive into 🙂
In related-to-my-book news I have a new review of Lost and Found to share. Clayton Bye, of The Deepening, reviewed it and he liked it. I liked his review, in fact it made my day yesterday. Why? Well, in part because he said this:
Parrish represents a fresh and powerful voice in fantasy
*happy dance* How cool is that?
As you may have guessed he mostly liked the story with one notable criticism. The review is right here if you want to read it in its entirety, but be warned, it’s pretty spoilerific. If you don’t like spoilers you may want to wait until you’ve finished the story before popping over.
Speaking of the story, the next chapter will be going up on Monday 😉
The first review of Lost and Found is in. I sent Kari Wolfe of Imperfect Clarity a review copy of the manuscript, which means she got to read the whole story in one sitting instead of getting it a chapter at a time.
I love reading Rhonda’s work… I love the descriptions she uses. She’s very exact in what she writes. There’s no ambiguity here at all, Each word has a reason for being chosen–they all have weight. A substance.
There is a whole lot in between the first sentence and the second there in the original review, but I wanted to share both tidbits here. Hence the elipses :-p
Overall Kari seemed uncertain about her feelings for Lost and Found, which is somewhat disappointing, but whatcha gonna do? I’m grateful to Kari for taking the time to read and review my story just the same. You can read her whole review here. Then, if I may, I’d suggest heading over to the page for Lost and Found and either reading, or listening to the first few chapters. If you like what you read/hear then check back and keep following the story, and then you can make up your own mind about how you feel once we reach the end.
Incidentally, once you make that decision, I’d love to hear what you think. For better or for worse.
You know, I’m still not happy to be unemployed, but I am beginning to feel like my life is more under control than it has been. For the longest time I’ve been doing too much and trying desperately to try and figure out how to balance things and where to cut back. Now I’m getting things done and the other day I almost managed to do everything on my to-do list. I realise how pathetic that sounds, but it’s absolutely true. And it’s progress. Could be that I’ll go back to work sooner or later, but right now I’m truly enjoying feeling like I’m climbing out of the hole I’d plunged myself into.
We’ll have to wait and see if NaNoWriMo plunges me right back into the pit. It could happen. I have a basic premise for the story and one character and that’s it. Not exactly a strong platform to go into NaNo on, but it’s what I have so I’m going to work it. My plan is to embrace this as a chance to feel out the story and find out how to tell it. I don’t expect anything good but I’m not going to resort to any of the word-padding ideas so popular in November. We’ll see how it goes.
In other news, my poem After The Storm is up at Tales of the Zombie War. They have a comment option so you can tell me how much you hate it (Kidding, please don’t. I want you to like it. Like it, I say! :-p).
Finally, World of Warcraft has recently gone through a very disruptive patch. It’s been kinda crazy and overwhelming, in no small part because I have far too many characters with too many specs that I need to relearn how to play. Still, I’m muddling through. Right before the patch, however, I allowed my WoW nerdiness and my fiction writing to collide and snuck off to take a screenshot to share.
Please note, this screenshot is rather spoilerific if you’ve not read Shades of Green. Also, if you’ve not read Shades of Green you won’t likely find it very amusing, so click with caution.
It has been a pretty long day, and I’m exhausted. In fact, I’m just about to go and enjoy some well-earned video game time, but before I do I have something I’m pretty pleased with I’d like to share. LOST AND FOUND has it’s own page on my blog now. I didn’t know where to put it so it’s under ‘Publications’. That feels a bit weird because it’s not actually published (and when I put it on the blog if you want to call that ‘publishing’ it, it’s self-publication at best), but I didn’t know where else to put it. So there you go. Anyway, it’s right here:
I’m really pleased with it. Take a look, it’s nothing fancy but I think it’s pretty cool. I’ll be linking all the chapters from there when I post them on the blog to make it easier to find and read them, and adding some reviews once I get them. What do you think? Not too shabby, eh?