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writing

MultiverseCon 2019

MultiverseCon

Ready for the first ever MultiverseCon? I am so excited for this convention! From the MultiverseCon website:

Every fan has a story. Together, our stories make up MULTIVERSE, the multi-genre literary con for everyone. Panels, Gaming, Cosplay, Shopping, Art Show, Book Signings, Parties, and more!

I am heading up the Writers Track and we’re going to have a bunch of great programming for you! Have I mentioned how excited I am? 🙂 Check out our Featured Guests of Honor:

Author Guest of Honor: SEANAN MCGUIRE

Artist Guest of Honor: JOHN PICACIO

Industry Guest of Honor: CAT RAMBO

And that’s just the beginning! 🙂

MultiverseCon memberships are now on sale. If you purchase before March 1, 2019, you can get an entire weekend pass for under $60!

Get your membership here!

Con Season Winding Down: Dragon Con & MultiverseCon

Conferences, Publishing, Writing

Summer’s almost over, though you wouldn’t know it in Atlanta. Our temperatures are still in the mid-90s! I’ve got one more convention and then con season is over for the year. Dragon Con just finished up and now I’m marching toward MultiverseCon!

Dragon Con

I did a Con in Review post over at Speculative Chic last week about Dragon Con, so I won’t rehash a bunch of that. But, in that post, I didn’t talk much about the writing things that happened at con. Nothing super huge, but some fun and interesting stuff happened.

Dragon ConI got to reconnect with a couple really amazing women writers that I’d met in previous years at Dragon Con, one of whom had an idea for an anthology. She’s already got some big names who are interested, if she can pull it together and find a publisher. There will be a certain number of slots for invited folks, folks who are invited to submit, and a certain number for open submissions, meaning anyone can send their story in. I got invited to submit! It’s the first time I’ve been invited to submit to an anthology. That is super exciting.

A panelist on one of the early Dragon Con Writers Track panels mentioned Zombies Need Brains, a publishing company that uses Kickstarter to fund their anthologies. (Later, I got to meet Joshua Palmatier, who is the brains behind the zombies!) I went and checked out their current Kickstarter, which was open for pledges at the time. They open for submissions once the Kickstarter funds. One of their proposed anthos is a post-apocalyptic theme, which I think would be a great home for a short story based on my Hovel Rats world (which you don’t really know anything about yet, because the books aren’t out). The Kickstarter funded and so that antho, along with the other two, are now open for submissions! If you’re a writer-type, be sure to check it out!

And the other cool thing I did at Dragon Con is that I got up the courage to ask one of the authors I respect a lot if she’d be willing to blurb Jivaja, if she liked it. She agreed! Doing that always scares me, so I’ve mostly chickened out in the past. This time, I didn’t allow myself to think about it. We were in a conversation and when it occurred to me that this might be a good time, I asked. I didn’t allow myself to think about it or dwell on it. I just asked. And she said yes! I hope she likes it 🙂

Multiverse Con

MultiverseConI mentioned I have one more con and that’s next month’s MultiverseCon! I’m especially excited about this one, because I love its mission (to bring and celebrate greater diversity in fandom) and I’ve got in on the ground floor from almost the beginning as the WRITE Track Director. This is our inaugural year and we’re so stoked to get it going! More info below and I’ll be posting the WRITE Track schedule when we get a little bit closer.


What: MultiverseCon
When: October 18-20, 2019
Where: Atlanta, GA

I’d love to see you there next month!

Have you been to any cool conventions this year?

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Dragon Con logo is owned by Dragon Con, Inc., MultiverseCon logo i owned by Multiversecon.org; both used with permission. Featured image is copyright Venessa Giunta.

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

State of the Book: Surgery, Writing, and Cons, oh my!

Book news, Conferences, Life Stuff, State of the Book, Writing

Whew! It’s been a minute.

I thought I’d take a moment and update folks on what’s going on with me.

Surgery Stuff

In February, I had rotator cuff surgery. I’d love to say that I got hurt doing something exciting or sexy, but no. It was a couch potato injury. The MRI showed a tear (there ended up being 2 tears, they discovered when they were in there), which can really only be fixed with surgery. So in I went.

I don’t recommend tearing your rotator cuff. The recovery time is forever. It is now late May and I’m still in physical therapy. I’ve gotten about 70% of my range of motion back, but we’re still working on it, and we’re just now beginning strength therapy. Do not recommend.

While I’d planned to get some writing done while recuperating, I didn’t factor in the idea that I would be on narcotics daily for two and a half months. My therapist keeps telling me to let myself off the hook for not writing that entire time, but I admit that I’m having trouble not beating myself up. It feels like a bunch of wasted time.

Which brings us to…

Writing Stuff

Yep. Blank page.

The end result is that Book Two of the Soul Cavern series — titled Visci — is still in the works. My current plan is to publish in early August (in time for Dragon Con!), with Book Three coming either at the end of the year or in early 2020.

I’m disappointed that I’m not likely to make my goal of publishing 5 books this year, but having lost almost an entire quarter to health stuff means I have to pivot and adjust my goals to reality. So I’m going to see about 3 books published this year (one, Blue Edged Soul, was released early this year and I’m hoping to count Book Three as the third book published, as I’d really like to get it done by the end of the year).

On a good note, I’ve got the cover for Visci and will be doing a reveal in a few weeks!

Convention Stuff

If you’re in or around Charlotte, NC, next weekend – May 31 through June 2, I’m a guest at ConCarolinas!

Photo: ConCarolinas

Here’s my current schedule:

Friday

3pm – How to Speak “Editor”
Most of us are years past our high school English classes. What does it mean when your editor complains about copulas? Or past-perfect tenses? What does she mean about the commas? This panel of editors will explain some of the most common editorial suggestions and help you learn the best way to handle them.

7pm – Designing a Government (moderating)
The way a land is governed colors the behavior of its citizens. Even if your character isn’t involved in government, it’s still an important aspect of world building. This panel discusses the best governing system for your story, and how to blend it into your narrative.

Saturday

10am – The Ups and Downs of Traditional and Indie Publishing (moderating)
The publishing world has seen some exciting changes in the last fifteen years, and things aren’t stopping yet. Our panel will talk about the pros and cons to both aspects of publishing.

11am – Con Survival
Tips and tricks for surviving a convention, whether it’s your first or your fiftieth.

12pm – Writing the Fight
The best stories include conflict of all kinds. Our writers talk about writing physical fights, from fisticuffs to fencing, and offer their opinions on some of the most famous fight scenes in SF/F.

1pm – Choosing an Editor
Acquiring editors, developmental editors, copyeditors… what kind of editor do you need? And how do you find one? Join the panelists to learn more about the kinds of editors, what to expect when working with an editor, and how to choose an editor that you can work with—and how to work in a situation when you don’t get to choose your own editor.

Sunday

12pm – An Hour with… Venessa Giunta & Quincy J. Allen

2pm – Book Signing with Venessa Giunta

So that’s my stuff! You can check out all the great programming here!

I hope to see you out at ConCarolinas next weekend!

Quick Edits: Name Magic

Craft of Writing, Quick Edits, Writing

Quick Edits is a short feature where I give quick editing advice on how to handle common problems in fiction writing.

I haven’t done a QE in a long time! I’m excited to bring it back 🙂

Name Magic

To know and use someone’s True Name is power.

You might wonder what this has to do with writing fiction. As authors, we have power and control over our readers while they read our books. We use this power to create stories in their imaginations that, hopefully, elicit the emotions we’re looking to pull from them.

The names you choose for your characters play an important role in this. Is your yuppie lawyer named Tyler? Or Brittney? Or Ahmed? Each of these names will bring up a different vision for your reader, before you’ve even begun to describe them physically.

Stereotypes

William Edward Charles Weddingham III

Who do you envision when you see that name? A stuffy, suit-garbed, man, perhaps in his 50s, perhaps British? What if I told you that yes, he’s wearing a suit and tie, but he’s Jamaican with rasta braids tied back into a long ponytail down his back and when he’s not working in his investment firm, his friends call him Chuck?

Play with stereotypes to your advantage. You can play directly to them. Or you can break them. (I encourage you to break them 😉 )

Avoid Naming Echoes

One thing I see with relative frequency, particularly with newer writers, has to do with what I call “naming echoes.” This is the tendency to name characters with the same first letter: John, Jessica, Jerry. Sometimes, it’s deliberate (sometimes authors think it’s clever), but usually I think it’s unconscious.

Regardless of the “why,” it’s generally not a good idea to name characters in a similar way, whether that’s first letters or names that sound like each other. This is because readers will often read quickly, especially if they really want to know what happens next (yay!). If you have both John and Johanna as character names, it would not be difficult for a reader to mistake which character did what thing.

As a reader, I’ve done this. Nothing pulls me out of a story faster than a reference to something one character did when I think a different character did it. Then I have to go back, find the scene, and re-read it. And that messes up my entire experience of the book. To be clear, it’s my fault that I misread. But it is an easy fix for an author that will avoid the problem altogether.

Have a look at your WIP. Do you have a “naming echo” issue? I tend to lean toward female names that end in ‘a’ for some reason. So when I’m naming my characters now, I pay attention to that specifically. I also seem to like “J” names a lot (as evidenced by this post 😉 ). So I keep an eye out for those also.

Figure out your own “naming echo” issues so that when you name characters, you do it intentionally.

Are there any editing issues you run into that you’d like covered in the Quick Edits series? Drop a comment below!

Keep writing,

State of the Book (and Arm) – February Edition

Blog news, Book news, Life Stuff

Time for another State of the Book!

The first draft of Soul Cavern 2 is almost done (I know, I’ve been saying that for weeks!). It’s so close to being done, I’ve already started revising the first part and sending it out to beta readers. I’m still hoping to get it out in April.

I’m also getting ready to commission the cover art for SC2 and SC3 before the end of the month, so should have something to show for that in the coming weeks, as well!

Obviously, I’ve done this surgery thing before…

My overall production schedule is going to slow down, though, as I am having rotator cuff surgery on 2/13. I’ve been dealing with pain since June, but more aggravated pain since November. The MRI I had last month showed a 5mm tear in one of the muscles (or tendons? Dunno) in my rotator cuff. So… surgery.

My arm will basically be immobilized for 3-4 weeks, then 4 weeks of movement therapy, and then 4 weeks of strength therapy. So, yeah, 3 months. Whee. I am not entirely sure how the immobilization is going to affect writing. I’ll be doing some work with Google Docs and their free voice to text function, but I don’t really know how well I’ll do with dictation. We’ll see.

The last couple weeks I’ve been working on a website redesign (mostly randomly) and that only takes my mouse hand, for the most part, so perhaps I’ll do more work on that! I’m really excited about it, because it’s going to be gorgeous! 🙂

And I’m set to start outlining Soul Cavern 3 this month also. ALL THE THINGS!

So there’s the State of the Book for February! Thanks for hanging with me 🙂

New Release: Blue-Edged Soul! Be sure to grab your copy!

Book news

It’s here! It’s here!

Blue-Edged Soul is here!

Look at that cover! Isn’t it gorgeous? My cover artist is Sylvia Frost at The Book Brander. And she is amazing! If you’re in the market for a fantastic cover, definitely give her a look!

I was just going to make this a cover reveal, but Amazon published Blue-Edged Soul faster than I expected, so I decided just to go ahead and announce it a day early!

Blue-Edged Soul is a short-story follow up to Jivaja. There are a couple cool reveals in it. One has a big effect on Soul Cavern Book 2 and the other one opens the series up for more books after this initial trilogy. You’ll definitely want to read it if you liked Jivaja. And you definitely don’t want to read it until you’ve read Jivaja. It won’t make very much sense on its own 😉

Blue-Edged Soul tells the story of Ken, David’s brother. In Jivaja, David asks Ken to go to London to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron. This is the story of what he finds there. In the timeline, it runs concurrently with the climax scene of Jivaja.

Now, there are two ways to get Blue-Edged Soul:

1. If you want to support me on Amazon, you can purchase it for .99

Or

2. You can get a FREE copy in exchange for signing up to my Reader Group (then you become a Reader Groupie 😀 lol )

Either way is fine with me. And please, whether you purchase or get it for free, don’t forget to leave a review! Reviews help authors more than you know.

I hope you enjoy Blue-Edged Soul!

Look for Book 2 of the Soul Cavern Series in April!

Happy New Year! And stuff!

Blog news, Book news, Publishing

 

Yes, yes, I know we’re already a week in, but that’s okay! It’s still pretty new and sparkly!

If you read my last post, you already know what’s going on and what my goals are for this year, as far as publishing. I wanted to drop a quick line and let you know about my goals for content for 2019, as well.

Early last year, in February, actually, I made the announcement that I was going to be making a change to my posting schedule for this blog. Instead of weekly posting, I would be posting every other week. This was to free up time for my fiction writing.

That was a good plan, but what ended up happening was that I no longer felt accountable to post anything here. So every two weeks became every three weeks, which became…eh…whenever.

I am recommitting to posting every two weeks. Now, the posts may be updates, they may be reposts, they may be Tool Time Tuesdays, they may be Quick Edits, or they may be the more in-depth posts that I used to write regularly. I’m not committing to any particular type of post. But I am committing to at least 26 posts over the course of the year. I promise. As we say in my family, “Fingers up to heaven.” (I’ll tell you about that sometime, if you’d like.)

Are you a writer?

 

Most of my posts here have been about writing, rather than books or random things about my life. Maybe you miss that content?

Since last spring, I’ve been on a new journey of indie publishing. I’ll be posting some about that here, but I’ve also created a new avenue for that content! I started my own YouTube channel!

My channel is going to be really focused on my journey as an indie publisher. I’ll share the ups and the downs. I’ll likely be sharing more detail about the whole process there, because it’s quicker to talk about a thing than to write about it 😉

Don’t expect anything super fancypants. But I may also occasionally do the YouTube live from somewhere that is not my desk, surrounded by bookshelves 🙂

Here’s my intro video! Check it out and, if you’re interested, head over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel!

 

 

ALL THE BOOKS!

And don’t forget, Blue-Edged Soul will be released NEXT WEEK!

I should have the cover this week and will be doing a reveal very soon!

The 12,000 word short story occurs concurrently with the climax in Jivaja and features Ken, David’s brother. He has just arrived in London to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron, at the request of his brother. But what he finds will change all of their lives forever!

Read Jivaja and then read Blue-Edged Soul. You won’t be sorry 🙂

And remember: If you’re a member of my Reader Group, you will be able to get Blue-Edged Soul for free! Make sure you sign up to get your copy!

 

 

I’m also going to be playing with a new website design, because this one is really old and tired at this point. So, yknow, in all my free time, I’ll be working on that too. LOL

Okay, that’s it! I’ll talk atcha later this week with the cover reveal for Blue-Edged Soul 🙂

Ciao!

 

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

Venessa’s State of the Book! December 2018

Free Fiction Friday, State of the Book, Writing

Happy Boxing Day! I hope you had a lovely holiday yesterday, if you celebrate. If you don’t, then Happy Random Day Off Work Day! 😀

I’ve decided it would be fun to give periodic updates as to what’s going on in my writing life, so you know when you can expect goodies! So here’s my very first State of the Book Address!

Jivaja begins 2019 with a sale!

I’ve got a week-long promo from January 1 through January 7 where you can snag Jivaja on Amazon for .99! Make sure you bookmark the Amazon page! (Don’t worry; I’ll post a reminder next week!)

In the meantime, if you’re not familiar with Jivaja, you can check it out here!

Blue-Edged Soul to be released in mid-January!

Blue-Edged Soul, or BES as I like to affectionately call it, is almost done — ie, it’s being formatted right now! — and is slated for release around January 15!

BES features Ken, David’s brother, in London where he’s been sent to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron. This short story runs concurrently with the climactic scene in Jivaja.

And there are BIG REVEALS!

If you’ve already read Jivaja and would like BES for free, make sure you’ve signed up to get your copy (and updates).

Get your free book!

Soul Cavern 2

Yep. It still doesn’t have a proper title. I’m almost done with the first draft. Hoping to finish it this week so that I can jump into revisions in the new year! Publication time frame is mid-April. Really excited to get this one out there!

Sad news for Free Fiction Friday

Jivaja is currently enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (yes, that means you can read for free with your subscription!). The unfortunate thing is that it also means I must suspend Free Fiction Friday until my KU term is over (in April). KU requires an exclusive distribution license, so I cannot offer Jivaja anywhere else, including my own site.

This Friday will be the last FFF for Jivaja. *sadface*

Around January 15th, I will be taking down all the sections of Jivaja after Chapter 5. The first five chapters will remain up so people can still read a free sample. (That’s allowed.)

I’m kicking around the idea of putting up a few shorts stories I’ve had done for awhile that are just sitting around, gathering electronic dust. They’re about the MSA — Magical Security Agency. ooOOoo 😉  But that wouldn’t be a weekly thing. Likely monthly. I’ll decide after the first of the year. Let me know if you’re interested!

So that’s the December 2018 State of the Book! 🙂

I hope you all have a lovely remainder to the holiday season and I will see you in the new year!

JordanCon! Free Stories! Tribes! (ALL THE THINGS)

Book news, Conferences, Craft of Writing
JordanCon

Happy December!

Just a quick update about a couple things.

First, it’s official! I’m a Featured Guest at JordanCon! I’m really excited. You can find me at the very bottom of the list right here! (They’re alphabetizing by first name. If they’d sorted by last name, I’d be just before Faith Hunter! lol)

JordanCon runs from 26 April 2019 to 28 April 2019 right here in lovely Atlanta! That’s a great time of year too, because it’s not too hot and not too cold (usually… you can never really be sure here 😉 ).

I’ll be selling print copies of Jivaja at my author table and my plan is to release the sequel around 15 April, so I should (hopefully) have copies of that as well! Super exciting!

I’ll have some other awesome convention news for you in a couple weeks too, so stay tuned.

Free short story!

I’m in the second-to-last round of edits for the new Soul Cavern short story (tentatively titled Blue-Edged Soul) that is a companion to Jivaja. I plan to have it ready for release mid-January. It will be up on Amazon as a .99 read, but folks who’ve read Jivaja already can sign up right here to get their free copy when it’s released!

Sign up so you know when it’s ready 🙂

Are you a writer?

Ready for 2019?

Right now, over in The Writing Tribe, I’m doing a series of videos about planning for 2019. The Writing Tribe is a small group of authors who are dedicated to improving (or creating) their professional writing career. We have a lot of newer writers and quite a few successful veterans.

If you’re a writer who’s serious about doing this for real, drop in and join us! (Please make sure you answer the questions when you request to join. Otherwise, your application will be rejected.)

Stay tuned for more Quick Edits and Tool Time Tuesdays in 2019! I’m planning to do more updates so you really know what I’m working on.

Okay, that’s it for now!

Wishing you a lovely holiday season,

 

 

JordanCon image courtesy of JordanCon.org

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

 

NaNoWriMo Winner!

Writing

Wooo! I did it! I won NaNoWriMo! Yeah, it took me the weekend to recouperate enough to write this post, but there it is! Lol (Okay, in truth, my mom in law is also in town, so that’s my excuse!)

What is NaNoWriMo?

For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month happens every November and it is a personal challenge to write 50,000 words (usually on a novel, not always) in 30 days. Kinda crazy, yeah. But a lot of fun and incredibly productive.

It’s not always easy. It means writing an average of 1667 words each day. That may sound daunting, but it isn’t. Not really. Sit down with a 15 minute timer and write. Don’t allow yourself to stop for more than 5 seconds at a time. Don’t sit, staring at the screen, thinking about what you’re going to write. Actually write. For fifteen full minutes. Then count your words.

I’ve discovered that if I’m really in the zone, I can kick out 700 words in 15 minutes. But that’s not a usual 15 minute sprint. The absolute minimum I get is 400 words. But that’s not a usual 15 minute sprint either. A usual 15 minute sprint is about 550 words.

With 550 words every 15 minutes, I can write 2200 words in an hour. (You can probably get somewhere in the ballpark too. I’ve noticed that most writers can get at least 1500 words in an hour.)

So it’s not the number of words that’s the challenge. It’s the consistency of doing it every day.

And then there are the non NaNoWriMo events

In addition to NaNoWriMo and the usual Thanksgiving holiday, I also had an out of state wedding in the first part of November. And when I got home, my mother in law came over from Europe for a visit. We picked her up at the airport 4 days after we got back into town and she was here… Well, she’s still here. 😉

Since I knew I was going to have a lot of distractions this year, I front-loaded my writing. I wrote at least 2500 words almost every day for the first week. Don’t get me wrong. I was still behind by day 20, but I wasn’t nearly as behind as I would have been.

And I pulled it out in the end, so go me! 😀

What I used

Scrivener for Windows (of course!)

Write or Die 2 (Gaaaah! There’s a version 3!!!)

Jamie Raintree’s Writing & Revision Tracker (new one’s coming out soon! Squee!)

Writing sprints with my Tribe (if you haven’t joined The Writing Tribe, why not?)

What I worked on

I was a bit of a rebel this year and did two different projects. First, I did a short story (about 11k words) that will be a bridge between Jivaja and Book 2 (which is, as yet, title-less). And then, I wrote the remaining words on Book 2. So that is more than halfway done!

The short story is already with my beta readers and once I figure out the title of that, I’ll have a cover. I’m looking to release it in January. But if you’ve read Jivaja (or plan to read Jivaja) and want a free copy, drop your email address in this form and I’ll let you know when it’s available! It’s my little way of saying

As a note, it isn’t a stand-alone story. You will definitely want to have read Jivaja first.

All very exciting! Stay tuned for more cool news coming up!

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂