Another long-overdue update…

Good night, what a year it’s been. How is it already November?!

Health remains a rollercoaster, though less of one thanks to a more aggressive treatment plan. But it didn’t help that my house suddenly got sold out from under me this spring, and getting into my new house took about four months longer than planned. Almost all of the projects I’d intended to work on this year have been on hold or canceled as a result.

But I’m in the new house at last, settling in slowly and working on various projects for Etsy (hoping to relaunch before Thanksgiving), and my latest book is off to beta readers. More on that next week, Lord willing. Once things calm down a bit further after the holidays, the next big things on the to-do list are compiling a short story collection with Enola and (please, Lord!) finally finishing Loyal Valley: Diversion. And maybe, maybe, I’ll get back to blogging here more regularly.

So yes, still alive, just up to my ears in ~stuff~. What else is new?

Latest News from Casa Lobita

Still here. Still writing. Still sick.

There has been actual progress on the latter front this winter–the food poisoning I had in October finally pushed one piece of the puzzle far enough out of line to warrant medication, which is in fact helping. Quite how much it’s helping remains to be seen. I’m hopeful, though, and any improvement is better than none.

My hands have been too swollen lately to do much in the way of thread crochet for new Etsy merchandise, but a timely gift from Enola has put me on the trail of antique shawl patterns from the Antique Pattern Library. So far I’ve tried out two, gotten one to work, and figured out (probably) how to adapt the other for someone who doesn’t wear hoop skirts. I’m hoping to be able to make a few to sell and record YouTube tutorials for anyone else who might be interested, possibly this spring but possibly not until summer. (Patreon support can make it happen sooner, hint hint….) In the meantime, I’ve been posting progress pics on Instagram.

Work on my various Witty Word Press commitments continues more or less apace, and I have not forgotten or given up on Loyal Valley: Diversion. It would be nice to have Diversion done to launch at this year’s West Texas Heritage Days at Fort McKavett, especially since it’s the last year for that event (sadness!), but as busy as I am with everything, I can’t promise.

On Facebook, I’m participating in a page hop to celebrate Litmosphere Editing reaching one thousand likes; Emily edited GR8 Greeks and Of Myths and Men. There are lots of giveaways to be had–I’m giving away three ebook copies of Loyal Valley: Assassination on my own page, and there’s also a Rafflecopter giveaway for two grand prize packages, one of which will include an ebook of Look Behind You! You can find the full hop itinerary here; it runs today through Tuesday.

And that’s about all the news that’s fit to print. Here’s hoping for more good news to share soon, the good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.

Oy, what a month…

First I had food poisoning without realizing it–I didn’t have “stomach bug” symptoms until after I’d been diagnosed, and the symptoms I did have were mostly the same as the symptoms I normally have. Then BCF got slammed by Hurricane Michael. Then historic flooding hit the Llano River.

All things considered, I’m fine… still sick, but neither my home nor my parents’ home was affected by the flooding here, and BCF classes continue apace online. A lot of my neighbors and students can’t say the same.

If you want to donate to relief efforts, here’s a link for donations to a fund being managed by the Llano Chamber of Commerce. Convoy of Hope has boots on the ground in Florida, and Texas Baptist Men is both there and here; both organizations are continuing to provide relief work in areas affected by Hurricane Florence as well.

I’m hoping to get my Etsy shop back up and running on November 1, preferably with a few new items, but I’ll just have to see how everything goes. Books will… be happening sometime.

Life, eh?

New releases–not all mine!

Lots happening on the publishing front in the near future! Of Myths and Men: An Anthology is now available for pre-order and will officially release on July 21. I’m hoping GR8 Greeks will follow in the next month or two, but I haven’t heard definitely. Our lovely and gracious editor, Caitlin L. McCulloch, has also just published the third book in her Francine the Monster children’s series, Francine Appreciates Art, illustrated by Rayan Turner.

In further Witty Word Press news, I’m involved in several more anthologies coming out in the next year:

  • FOUR, in which my character suddenly finds herself one of only four people left on Earth;
  • BC Now, modern adaptations of Bible stories–mine will be based on the Book of Daniel;
  • The Day Before, differing perspectives on August 5, 1945, the day before the bombing of Hiroshima;
  • and The Rough, a space Western anthology (YEEHAW!).

I do hope to get Loyal Valley: Diversion finished in there somewhere, but a lot depends on health and other work demands. (Your pledge on Patreon or donation through Ko-fi can help make it happen faster–the less I have to scrape for a living, the more time I have to write!) If you’d like to see some fun Loyal Valley content sooner, however, I’m participating in #WIPJoy on Facebook this month, hosted by Bethany A. Jennings.

I also want to plug a couple of non-fiction books by friends of mine that are also available for pre-order. If you already follow my Facebook page, you’ve probably seen a few videos I’ve shared in which O. Alan Noble discusses his new book Distruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age, published by InterVarsity Press. That comes out on July 17. And on December 6, Our Sunday Visitor will be releasing Amanda Martinez Beck’s memoir Lovely: How I Learned to Embrace the Body God Gave Me.

Another forthcoming project!

The Cipher teaser
Teaser image courtesy of Caitlin L. McCulloch of Witty Word Wire

To super-spoiled Trojans football star Troy Kingston, the pretty fifteen-year-old is the only thing his perfect life lacks. To her greedy Uncle Pando, she’s a bargaining chip. To her conniving father Cal, she’s a piece of furniture. But to Spartans powerhouse Dio Prince, she’s Cressida Rogers, a beautiful girl with a terrible past that has left her unsure of who she really is. When Cal moves his household from Ilium to Rock Island, forcing Cressida to break off the relationship with Troy that Pando has forced her into, she teeters on the brink of despair—but with Dio’s help, she may be able to recover her sense of self and find true love as more than just a cardboard cutout.

Based on Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and (more loosely) on the Iliad, “The Cipher” is my contribution to GR8 Greeks Anthology, forthcoming (later this summer, I think) from Witty Word Press. The goal of GR8 Greeks is to recast Greek myths and legends in a modern setting and make them accessible to middle-grade and young-adult audiences. So far we’ve also got Perseus saving Medusa from cyberbullying, a couple of kids having epic adventures in their sleep, and Prometheus stealing the Internet to give to humankind, so it looks to be an adventure-filled volume!

Incidentally, in the process of giving the ol’ blog here a bit of a facelift, I added a new page under “My Books” with info on the Witty Word Press anthologies to which I’m contributing. I’ll try to keep it updated with Amazon links, etc., as each volume is released. More on future projects as they get closer to completion!

(And yes, I am going to finish Loyal Valley: Diversion as soon as I’m able–in fact, I’ve passed on one WWP project already because I need to focus my attention this summer on class prep, LVD, and Etsy stuff. Please pray for me, and buy something or drop me some pennies through Ko-fi or Patreon if you want to help!)

Coming soon!

Teaser image courtesy of Caitlin L. McCulloch of Witty Word Wire

Frank Ross might seem like any other young man who’s struggling to care for a disabled sibling on low pay in a bad economy. But Frank’s in a bigger pickle than most: his brother Toby bears the stigmata, the marks of Christ’s Crucifixion, and bleeds in the presence of evil. When white supremacists riot in their neighborhood, Toby lands in the hospital alongside the best friend he’s never met and her three flatmates, all of whom are prophets. Yet this one day of intense suffering may bring all six of them a happy ending none of them have foreseen.

Of Myths and Men: An Anthology is coming soon (mid-May, tenatively) from Witty Word Press. I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to this project, not only because it gives me a chance to call Enola my writing partner in an official capacity, but also because my dear friend Caitlin is organizing it and her sisters are pitching in with copy-editing and illustration! The rest of the stories in the anthology sound intriguing, too, so don’t buy it just on my account. 😀

Small Business Saturday

Lord have mercy, what a year it’s been. Still sick. Still stressed. Still need new glasses.

The good news is that I have gotten quite a bit accomplished this fall. You may have noticed a couple of new links and social media buttons in the sidebar–I’ve finally launched my new Etsy shop, E. Wolfe Mercantile, mostly to sell the items I’m crocheting but also as an outlet to offer autographed copies of my books online. And since a fair amount of Etsy’s marketing is done on Instagram, I’ve bitten the bullet and gotten an account there. I’ve added a sizeable number of new designs to my CafePress shop as well, including the new “Quotation Corner” and “Doc Wolfe’s Whimsies” sections; I hope to add more designs to both in the coming weeks. On the writing front, I spent most of September compiling my first textbook; it’s very much tailored to my own syllabus and lacks a lot of the study helps that would make it marketable to a broader audience, but it’s an accomplishment nonetheless.

The bad news is that it looks like Loyal Valley: Diversion isn’t getting done this year, either. I have been working on it–if you follow me on Goodreads, you’ve probably noticed some of the research texts I’ve been reading–but with eeeeeverything else that’s been going on and that I still have to do between now and Christmas (including grading five sets of essays!), there’s no way I can finish the book before the holiday sales deadline.

So what I’m hoping right now is that I’ll be able to have Diversion ready to launch in time for West Texas Heritage Days at Fort McKavett the first weekend in May. There’s a slight chance I’ll have an event happening before then, and if so, I might get Diversion finished in time for that–but there’s no guarantee on either score. Once Diversion is out and I’m able to publish the first hardcover omnibus, I’ll start thinking again about the poetry book and the next Order of the Silver Star book.

Want to help out? Buy something! 😄 If nothing I’m selling takes your fancy, you can pledge monthly support through Patreon or send a one-time donation through Ko-fi. Signal boosts are always welcome, too; there’s only so much marketing I can do myself, even on a good day.

More Updates and Requests

Poking away at everything, inching toward progress… slow going, but it’s better than lying around doing nothing! I’ve shared a little of my progress on Patreon for patrons who’ve pledged $5/mo. and up, and you can see some discussion and teasers for Loyal Valley: Diversion on Facebook for this month’s #WIPJoy, hosted by Bethany A. Jennings.

You might also notice a few new buttons on the sidebar. WordPress just launched a new social media widget, which allows me to place buttons not only for my Facebook and Goodreads pages but also for my author pages on Amazon and Apple iBookstore. I’ve also added a link to my new Ko-fi page, which is sort of like a tip jar. If you like what you see of my work but don’t want to commit to a Patreon subscription, Ko-fi lets you “buy me a cuppa” (or two, or twenty, or however much you want to give).

The first goal I’ve set on Ko-fi is labeled “Eye Exam and New Glasses” because that’s one expense that isn’t in my usual budget but really needs to get taken care of soon. My glasses are six years old, give or take, and while I can still see well out of them, I feel a very definite relief around my eyes whenever I take my glasses off. Unfortunately, though understandably, the patient assistance I get through the hospital system doesn’t cover routine eye exams; I am, as I said last time, flat broke and won’t be able to pay out of pocket myself; and with as much help as I’ve had to ask my parents for this summer, I don’t know how soon they’ll be able to afford this expense as well. (And before you suggest Zenni or EyeBuyDirect or any other online discount optical shop: I have a very strong prescription with features Zenni doesn’t allow for, and I’m just not comfortable trying to measure my pupils on my own. I’d rather pay a little more to work with my favorite optician in person.) So if you’re inclined to help out with that, I’d appreciate it!

Updates and Requests

How is it almost Independence Day already?!

As I mentioned in my last post, it’s been a tough few months, for health reasons and quite a lot more. God’s closed some doors I was really counting on, and I’m struggling mightily because I don’t understand why. But giving up is not an option, and I do in fact have some fun projects and events lined up for this summer:

  • Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my CafePress shop! I just updated it a couple of weeks ago with three new designs and a big batch of new products, and I’m hoping soon to launch another new set of designs inspired by The Dream of the Rood.
  • The Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale starts Saturday and ends 7/31! Loyal Valley: Assassination will be FREE with coupon code SSW100, and my other three books will be 50% off with coupon code SSW50. (This offer applies only to Smashwords ebook sales.)
  • My friend Caitlin is having another book launch party on Facebook this coming Sunday, this time to celebrate the release of her new poetry collection, and I’ll be taking over–probably to do a reading, though whether or not it’ll be live I don’t yet know–at 3 p.m. CDT. And part of what I’ll be talking about is…
  • My friend Peter G. Epps has challenged me to a creative race! The project I’m planning to tackle is a hardcover coffee table book of calligraphed poems, with a section of my own poetry and a section of classics. (I have plans for Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings,” oh yesss, precioussss!) I may try a Kickstarter campaign to cover the costs of self-publishing this volume, but I’ll decide on that when it gets closer to being ready to scan and prep for printing.
  • I also hope, sooner than later, to launch an Etsy shop for my crocheted snoods and reticules (and anything else that takes my fancy).
  • And of course, I still want to finish at least Loyal Valley: Diversion, possibly get the first omnibus volume out (which might also involve a Kickstarter campaign), and possibly start to work on the next Order of the Silver Star book.

All of which is the sort of thing I’d love to be able to do full-time, or as close to it as I can get in my current condition, because except on the very worst days, it’s much easier for me to do creative work even when I’m not feeling so hot than it is to focus on intensely left-brained work.

But of course, there’s one major hang-up: I am flat broke. I need to make at least $1000/mo. to make ends meet. As sick as I’ve been all year, though, I haven’t been able to take enough freelance projects to cover the gap between my teaching income and my budget, and what little buffer I had built up in the fall is gone. The school doesn’t pay me in the summers, either, and there are annual expenses like my antivirus program subscription coming up in July. Nor can I cut anything at all from my budget without losing my independence–what doesn’t go to housing and utilities goes to business expenses and student loans. As things stand now, I have to prioritize paying work over creative work… and pickings are slim on that front as well.

If I’m going to make any of my planned creative projects happen this summer, dear readers, I desperately need your help.

Patreon may be the most attractive option if you’re willing to just give me money. It’s a monthly subscription service, although you can make a one-time gift by cancelling your subscription after the first month’s payment is sent to me. Plus, patrons who donate $5 or more per month get exclusive sneak previews of my projects and a host of other rewards. If you’d rather buy some of my work, well, I’ve already given you those links earlier in this post! Or you can hire me as a translator or editor, and I’m open to calligraphy or crochet commissions within reason.

I want to finish all these projects eventually in any event, but it’ll happen a whole lot sooner and with a much happier, healthier me if I can count on your financial support.

Pretty please?