Kristin and Jon over at Christians in Motion had me on as a guest this week to talk about education–its scope, its purpose, and its importance in the lives of believers. Go check it out! 🙂
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.
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!)
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. 😀
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.
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!
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.
I’m still sick.
You have no idea how much I did not want to have to start this post with that sentence yet again.
I really thought at the beginning of October that I’d have Diversion finished by the end of the month–I even went ahead and commissioned the cover art, which you can see along with a sneak preview of the book if you pledge $5 or more on my Patreon. When a worsening flare meant work took up all my energy for more of last month than expected, I thought I’d be able to set aside the first two weeks of this month to buckle down and get the book done, assuming I could keep on top of grading well enough not to need to spend much time on it each day.
It hasn’t happened.
What has happened? Fever. Fatigue. Brain fog. Pain. Nausea. Upper respiratory crud. Struggling to figure out what I can eat without spending the day in and out of the bathroom. Struggling to do more than veg out with TV and crochet or computer games or wandering in circles on the ‘Net. The last two weeks have been the worst yet out of this year-plus slog. I’ve barely managed a paragraph all month.
A week from today, I go for what ought to be the final round of tests to get this mess diagnosed and get treatment started. But I have essays coming in this weekend, and grading those is likely to use up all the energy I have between now and the deadline for getting books published through the various outlets I use in time for holiday sales.
Barring a miracle, Diversion may not get finished this year at all.
I’m crying as I write this. I know a lot of the pressure I’m feeling in this regard is self-imposed, but I still can’t help thinking I’m letting you all down by not getting a book out this year. And I’m really, deeply sorry.
How can you help?
- Buy things I’m selling, whether books or items from my CafePress shop. Christmas is coming, after all. Surely you know someone who needs a journal or a mug or a T-shirt or who likes good books, right?
- Support me through Patreon. Anything, even a dollar a month, will help. (I still need to get my backer acknowledgment page set up; it’s on my to-do list.)
- Help me get the word out about my works. Granted, I’m horribly introverted, but even if I weren’t, I’m just too sick–and broke, frankly–to do any sort of full-court press of marketing on my own. Here again, anything will help, even if it’s just a short tweet or a Facebook share. Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon would help, too.
- Above all else, pray for me. His ability is far, far greater than my inability (or disability).
Work on Loyal Valley: Diversion continues… not apace, exactly, but better than it had been. I think I’m about to the halfway point, if not past it. Unfortunately, that means I’m not going to have it available for this month’s events, but I still intend to have both it and the hardcover omnibus out in time for the holidays and so will be taking pre-orders at those events. More on that as I progress.
Speaking of events, I will definitely be at the Kingsland Library for Breakfast with the Authors on Wednesday morning! About a dozen authors are slated to attend, I’m told, and several of us are planning to give readings as well. (Just FYI, I didn’t discover until Friday that I’m nearly out of copies of Loyal Valley: Captives, and the new batch I ordered won’t arrive by Wednesday, but I’ll take orders at the table and fill them ASAP.) I’m also still planning to have a booth at the Llano Wild West Weekend Oct. 15-16, not only demonstrating calligraphy and selling books but also selling a limited selection of crocheted snoods and reticules.* Unfortunately, between health, finances, and other factors, I’m not going to make it to Fort Croghan or the BCF Holiday Heritage Festival this year, and we’re still not sure about Frontier Days at Fort Martin Scott–the latter will most likely depend on my parents’ schedules and the weather.
Still, as one of my new reproduction copybooks proclaims, “Excelsior is a good motto.” So in the spirit of pressing on: EXCELSIOR!! 😀
* For those who don’t know: a snood is a type of hair net, and a reticule is a purse.
And I’m still sick, but I’m hoping things will calm down enough once the semester starts that I’ll be able to get Diversion written sooner than later. (This is why I don’t do assetless preorders through Smashwords… life has a tendency to get in my way!)
I’m also making plans for the first Loyal Valley omnibus volume, which–the good Lord willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise–will be out in hardcover in time for the holidays. I intend to launch a GoFundMe to fund both it and Diversion soon, in part because, thanks to the excellent suggestion of a couple of people on the AoSHQ Goodreads group, I’ve been talking with my cover artist about including MAPS with this edition!
Thank you all for your support over the last three years. Here’s hoping for better days, more books, and more content here and at The Frontier Calligrapher in the year ahead!