Writing Contest Submission

I was invited to join a writing contest on a site called Inkett. This is a new site for me but they have a great layout and the stories that have already been submitted are interesting and well written, so I thought that I would give it a shot and see what happens. I decided to submit my favorite of my short stories, Crated Glory. This is the story of Nadine Denish, the daughter of the infamous Denish family, known for their activities in smuggling and giving the Faction a hard time.  Crated GloryI invite you to click the image above & read the story, or reread it if you’ve had the pleasure. If you enjoyed it, please vote for my story and consider writing a review. There are tons of other sci-fi stories available as well, so if mine didn’t tickle your fancy, you can easily find one that will!

One Step at a Time

Today I had a meeting with my advisor at my community college to update my educational plan. I’ve now got a rough idea of what classes I’ll be taking for the next year and a half on my quest to get a AA degree. It’s a transfer degree and I am considering continuing my education further once that step comes. It’ll take some time to consider and make that decision, luckily I’ve got plenty of time to do that.

Meanwhile, I am still working on trying to produce another novel. I keep finding myself staring at my manuscript without a clue on how to progress any further. Randomly the other night I woke up to have an entirely new idea and, outside of writing it down so I didn’t forget it, I have been putting off working on it so I don’t lose steam on my current project. But what I am realizing is that I already HAVE lost steam. It’s gone. Petered out. And I can’t get it back again. So here is my dilemma….do I push on and continue making this project happen or do I shift gears and start on something new?

I feel so lost sometimes.

Rustycon 2015

Last weekend I spent at Rustycon 32. I had a BLAST, as usual, and am already looking forward to next year. 

I was on panel with Author Guest of Honor Timothy Zahn, best known for his ten Star Wars novels. I also got the opportunity to be on a panel with Timothy W. Long, who wrote the Zombie Wilson Diaries. We had a chance to talk after the panel and he was really nice, very supportive and very insightful.

A. Maire Dinsmore & Todd McCaffrey at Rustycon 32

A. Maire Dinsmore & Todd McCaffrey at Rustycon 32

After meeting him last year at Rustycon, I met up again with Todd McCaffrey and I had a slight mental breakdown in the hallway during our conversation. He graciously accepted a copy of my book (checking off a life goal) and proved himself to be one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. 

Crypticon 2014

ArA'Kus at Crypticon

Every year I attend Crypticon Seattle, both as an author with Blysster Press and as the High Priestess of Biohazard. Pulling double duty makes for an extremely long weekend. During the day you can likely find me in Author’s Alley, manning the Blysster Press table with my fellow authors, though I’m a terrible table sitter (I constantly have to leave the table to deal with something, so they put me on the end with a space so I can escape when I need to). I do enjoy the table time, though. I get to meet some great people – other authors, artists and readers – and have some really great conversations.

Across from our Blysster booth was Nick the Hat, who has an amazing vision and amazing artwork. It’s a pleasure to get to stare at his work all weekend [is it just me or does that sound dirty?].

Behind us was the QEW Publishing booth, where Quenton Shaw was a delight and kept me laughing all weekend. As a bonus, he had some awesome comics and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on them [my world for a disposable income…even a small one!] in the future. I also met Kyle Shold at the QEW booth, whose artistic ability I am not ashamed to say I kind of fan-girled over.

After a full day of booth-ing (it’s a new verb), it was time to head over to the Mercer room and get the party ready. Biohazard runs from 9pm to 2 am and is a madhouse. By the time midnight rolls around, I feel about sixty years old and ready to pass out. Nine times out of ten, though, I head down to the hotel room and by the time I get the door unlocked, my second wind kicks in and I head back up to the party. We had an amazing group of volunteers this year, and I want to give a special shout out to Scare Productions who once again, gave us a helping hand – they really stepped up and literally, the party wouldn’t have been as awesome without you.

I always wish I have the time for panels or to check out the movie premieres, or a few bucks to get some signed photos. But I got a zombie flower pot [now that one I won’t kill!] from my lovely Tammy and as always, I had a wonderful time. This year’s Crypticon was better than all the previous combined and I am already anticipating 2015.

World Building & Manuscripts

World building is a never-ending process. Especially when you’re building a world in which you’re planning on writing six books. I am thrilled to report that the writing of my manuscript, given the work-in-progress title ‘Feathers’, is progressing wonderfully. I should be completed with it sometime this summer and be well into edits this fall.

This is especially pleasing given the fact that I am registered for college as a full time student and classes are going well. Even math.

Recently I had the pleasure of doing an event with Diana Lanham at Verne & Wells, a social club for geeks in Kirkland, WA. I had a wonderful time and met some really great people. The club is interesting, they provide their members a place to relax and socialize, organize events monthly (like our round-table discussion on writing & publishing) and offer full concierge services among other perks. I am very much looking forward to hearing back from my new readers and to reading Diana’s book, The House of Aegea.

Meanwhile, it’s already June and time to start stocking the summer calendar. Luckily this one shouldn’t be too busy; with school and writing in addition to my kids, I’ll have enough time to keep my usual social life commitments.

What exciting events do you have planned for the summer? Any writing workshops? Book releases you’re looking forward to (I admit, I’m saving my pennies to get my copy of ‘Mr. Mercedes’!)? Let me know what you’ve got going on.

The Balance of Life

When I got laid off from my last job, I had to make a serious decision. Either I could find another position in customer service and continue with life as normal OR I could venture down a completely new and unknown path. I decided, after a lot of soul searching and evaluating of my life, that it was going to be in my and my children’s best interest that I choose the latter option. I registered for college for the first time ever to complete a certificate program. The plan is that after a year, I’ll have a better job so that I’ll be able to support my children and write without all the stress that living paycheck to paycheck put on my shoulders.

Because, let’s face it, I’ll never just live off my books.

And I’m okay with accepting that, because I write for me. Not because I want to be a famous, rich author or anything. The fact that I was ever published or that some people enjoy what I write are bonuses that I never expected.

It does, though, make my life incredibly stressful and that’s something that I am having a hard time adjusting to. But it’s only a year. It is having a terrible impact on my writing though and even though I kind of expected that, it’s not something that I am dealing with well.

One day at a time though.

The new book is coming along, slowly, but it’s emerging and I am really liking it so far.

Whirlwind of a Debut!

My novel was officially released on January 17th, 2014 and time seems to have flown by since then.

The weekend of the launch I was at Rustycon, enjoying my first experience as a Pro at a convention. The shipment of the books didn’t make it to me by the time I had to leave for the convention but I still had an amazing time. I met Todd McCaffrey, who was really nice and had a lot of insight, I sat on a few really good panels (some that were just odd and one that was a bust) and I got through the weekend despite the trepidation and nerves that built up in the weeks prior to the event.

On January 25th I held my official book launch party. While none of the reviewers from any of the local papers attended (not shocked at that, lol) I did have a lot more people show up than I expected and I nearly sold out of the copies I had on hand. I also sold several anthologies as well, so in all the event was a complete success.

Since then I’ve been laid up with my condition for the most part but I’ve recently started to work on my next project; book one of a Gothic YA series.

Currently I am giving away a signed copy of Planet Bound (see the sidebar over there —> for more information!) and looking at getting some ebooks out to reviewers as well.

I am super excited about my next project and hope that things work out in the future to get my pain levels under control so that I can concentrate on writing as much as possible.

Have you gotten your copy yet? What did you think?

Cover Reveal!

Planet Bound Cover

Planet Bound Cover

My debut novel, Planet Bound, will be available January 17th from Blysster Press. To celebrate this momentous event, we’ve decided on a sale price of $10 for the paperback. Reserve your copy today! Click the image above to visit the Blysster Press store.

Don’t worry, e-book format will be available as well!

Cover art by Alexandria N. Thompson of Gothic Fate


Time passes too quickly.

I use Grammarly for english proofreading because having a tool that makes me a better writer is like using weapons when facing a dragon. You wouldn’t go empty-handed, would you?

Though I haven’t updated this site in entirely too long (oh, my god, has it been three months?!) I have been hard at work. Planet Bound is now set to hit the shelves of Blysster Press and where ever books are sold mid-January. I have been working with an amazing artist who has agreed to do the cover art. Not only is she extremely talented but she’s been super flexible & easy-going. Check out her website Gothic Fate, you won’t be disappointed.

My next event is Rustycon – January 17th-19th and is the weekend that the book is being released. I am both super excited [for the book release, a close friend’s wedding & the fun with friends] and super nervous/terrified about the entire weekend. I’ll be doing some panels, though I am pretty sure my involvement will be more embarrassed mumbling than anything else and apparently I’ll be doing a reading of the book.

At some point, I think the weekend after the convention because doing it the weekend of just won’t work, I need to plan a release party. I have no idea what I’m doing and the whole idea of it just overwhelms me. Is it SO different than any of the other parties I’ve planned? Well, yes. This one definitely is not a Biohazard event. But… I don’t know. I am getting nervous to the point of wanting to skip that part. I haven’t decided yet.

Meanwhile, I need to start writing again. Writing the next project. I’ve got the chapters planned out and outlined. I’ve decided on a total of six books for the series. The story arcs will cross paths in some places and there will be some unexpected twists. I am really excited for this project. What I need now, is to have pain-free & distraction-free time to write. Which is pretty much asking for miracles. In other words. . . I need to figure out a way to write through the pain & distractions cause they’re not going away.

Not like THAT’S asking much — Right? Ugh.

An interview by Smashwords

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

I usually always have a story forming in my head, no matter what I am doing. Writing allows me to let the story out while giving me the chance to fully form the details. I am a detail-oriented person, I love making things more complicated than they need to be and things like creating an elaborate plot or world-building really let that part of me shine. The strongest characters I create attach themselves to me, making a place in my head where they can flourish.

What do your fans mean to you?

Everything. I never thought that I’d publish anything… ever. I spent years of my life hoarding my stories away and finding ways to sabotage myself so that I didn’t have to worry about anyone ever reading the words I’d written. After some not-so-subtle encouragement from my husband, I entered a writing contest held by a convention we were going to be at. I wrote a short story and submitted it, expecting to never hear a thing about it again. Little did I know that was going to be the start of a whole new journey. That anyone likes my work in the first place means a lot to me. Anyone who professes themselves to be a ‘fan’ of my work…that is surreal and amazing.

Who are your favorite authors?

Patrick Rothfuss. Hands down, my favorite author and the only one I’ve ever fan-girled over. The way Mr. Rothfuss uses words is captivating and I find myself almost insatiable for more. I love the detail in the world he created.

I also read a lot of Stephen King, I love the unexpected twists to his stories and the way he’s not afraid of just doing what he wants.

I am a big fan of George R.R. Martin, his complete abandon of doing what’s expected and how he sticks to the story he has inside of him, no matter how much it angers his fans. Plus, if you’ve ever read my work you’d know that I love killing characters and that habit of Mr. Martin’s both thrills and terrifies me. If Arya ever dies, I just don’t know what I’ll do.

I love J.K. Rowling. Her character development is so intense and pure that they become familiar friends, ones I consider essential parts of life. I admire that trait, the talent she has for creating characters with depth and richness. I’m also incredibly envious of it.

I am a big fan of Michael R. Hicks. He’s created a series that grabbed me and sucked me in. I am still reading through it because I can’t get enough.

What do you read for pleasure?

Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Mysteries and Thrillers.

What is your writing process?

I find that I’m most productive when I know what I’m doing. I write a rough list of the parts of the story, main and sub plots, then arrange them into sections. Using these sections, I write the chapters. It’s weird but it works for me.

What are you working on next?

Right now I’m editing ‘Planet Bound’ my debut novel with my editor. I’m also working on world building for a series…I’ve mocked 6 books in the series so far, not sure if I’ll end up doing more or not. They’ll be YA novels, written in honor of my daughter. As with pretty much everything I write, they’ll be dark, I’m not sure if my style will work for YA but I’m plunging ahead.

Describe your desk

I spend a lot of time at my computer. Dual 22″ widescreen monitors, a massive whiteboard with plot info and more sticky notes than I can count are the things you’d notice first. There’s usually a cup of coffee with me while I’m working and a few reference books scattered about. I try and keep my space neat but using it so much lets it get out of hand.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I have a day job taking calls and answering questions. I spend time with my kids, Christian and Ashleigh, as often as I can. I have a huge group of friends with whom I enjoy an active social life. I am a huge fan of football and I love to read, cook and watch movies.

What is your e-reading device of choice?

I own a Kindle, a gift from my father.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I was born in Anchorage and grew up in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle. I don’t know if the location of my childhood had as much impact on me as the influence of those around me. My parents have always been big readers, encouraging the habit since I was little. I was also exposed to science fiction and horror at a young age, things I latched onto with glee. When I found fantasy, I began reading as much of it as I could. I am a speed reader and started on adult novels before I was out of grade school.

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