World Fantasy 2023 Cover image
Writing Life

The Writer’s Update

It’s been a minute so I thought I’d start with a bit of an update. I’ve been writing, submitting to agents, and I’ll be at World Fantasy in Kansas City October 26-29, 2023. So there you go. That’s me!

Maybe I should elaborate a bit? I can do that. Breaking it all down.

Writing

I’ve been enjoying focusing on my writing. I finally finished all my editing of a novel I’m calling WAKE THE EARTH. I’m quite pleased with this one. It’s been a full re-write of an earlier manuscript.

It took a long time for me to really figure out what the story was and what the main reason for certain things happening.

Kind of key, that reasoning. Made a huge difference in how I told the story.

I’m pitching it as “For fans of the fairy court intrigue of THE CRUEL PRINCE and A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, and the real world setting and consequences of NORTHERN SPY.

More on that in a bit.

I’ve also been working on what I’m calling a cozy thriller. Still in early stages of the first draft but I’m really liking how it is coming together. It seems that whenever I sit down to write, the words just flow.

I did a fair bit of detailed outlining on this one. I’m not usually one to do a lot of outlining, especially not before I start writing, but I did on this one. I think the genre fits well with pre-writing outlining. Have I stuck to the outline? Not specifically. I am still well within it, but I have definitely expanded certain parts.

Having the outline has helped with making the words flow, and allowing myself the flexibility has helped me to figure out what the characters need, and the reason they are doing what they’re doing.

Really good to figure that out the first time around, rather than much later and needing to do a full re-write!

Submitting and Pitching

I’ve been querying agents for a few months now. It’s an entirely subjective industry and it can be wholeheartedly devastating.

One rejection came back saying the book wasn’t commercial enough. Another one said it was too commercial. So who knows? I just keep trying. Maybe something will happen, maybe it won’t.

I remind myself of the subjectiveness and the constant shift of the industry. I have options if I should choose. I can always self-publish it at some point. Though I’m not sure it is a good fit for the self-publishing marketplace. So we’ll see and we’ll keep trying.

Most importantly, I keep writing and thinking up new story ideas. I have a few things percolating, with some basic notes written down. I’m going to let them cook until I’m ready to start writing them.

In case you’re wondering, I love QueryTracker.net for keeping track of all the agents I’ve queried. I could, and probably will, write a whole post on why it is so great. Most everything you need is in the free version, but for a mere $25 a year, you get some awesome premo features as well. And really, I don’t mind supporting the site even when I’m not querying because it is such an awesome service, and the fee is so minimal.

There are also Twitter/X pitch contests every now and then, though I haven’t participated in one of them for quite a while.

Up next for me, though, is through SavvyAuthors.com. This is another great website full of support for writers, mostly romance and mystery, but really for all writers. They have classes and critique groups, and semi-annual PitchFests. The next one being October 25 – 27.

So I’ll be posting my pitch probably on the drive down to World Fantasy in Kansas City.

Which leads me to…

World Fantasy Convention 2023

I totally buried the lead here!

I’m super excited about this Convention. I don’t often get to go because of my day job. My biggest work event, which I’m responsible for, is always on the first Sunday of November, which is usually the same weekend as World Fantasy (WFC).

But not this year or next year! So I get to go 2 years in a row!!!

WFC is THE convention to go to for fantasy writers. It’s known as the business convention. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be a writer or in the publishing industry to go, there certainly are a lot of readers there too.

One of the best parts, is the free book bag! That’s right. All registrants get a duffle-bag filled with books.

That alone is worth the price of admission.

And then there is the book-exchange table. So if you get a book in your bag that you’ve already read or it is one you’re really not interested in, you put it out on the exchange table for someone else to take if they didn’t get it in their bag. And hopefully, and most likely, someone else will put out a book that you wanted to get.

This year, they’re also having a digital book bag, for all attendees, including those attending virtually.

Cover for Mabel the Lovelorn DwarfI couldn’t let this opportunity pass. Given the rants and raves about Travis Baldree’s book LEGENDS AND LATTES, I had to, haaaaaddddd to, put MABEL THE LOVELORN DWARF in the digital book bag. If Mabel isn’t cozy fantasy, then nothing is.

Building on Mabel and Cozy Fantasy, I’ll be on the panel discussing the Rise of Cozy Fantasy at WFC, on Sunday, October 29 at 10:00 am in Room Atlanta/New York with Jennifer Hudak, Megan Bannen, Paige L. Christie, and Sara Beth Durst.

I am ridiculously excited about being on this panel with these amazing writers. 

WFC is simply a fabulous convention. I’m looking forward to seeing friends I haven’t seen in person in years, and meeting new ones. I’m looking forward to connecting with other writers and readers and those in the publishing industry at parties, in the bar, at the restaurant, and all the places in between.

Whatever happens, I’ve done, and I continue to do all I can to put myself in the best position possible to say yes to interesting opportunities. I look forward to seeing where this road takes me. Whatever happens, though, I know it is already going to be a great weekend.

Wrapping it up.

So there you go. This is where I’m at and what I’ve been up to lately. I look forward to reporting back once I’m home from WFC.

If you’re going to be there, please do come say hi. We’ll hang out, laugh, get into some shenanigans (if we do it right), commiserate, and have a great time.

Now it’s your turn! Where are you with your writing? Submitting? Attending conventions or meeting with your writing community in general? I want to know!

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