All the things!

I’ve finally caught up on all the things!!!

There will be more things, of course, but as an unrepentant optimist I believe I will now not only stay on top of everything, I’m even going to get months ahead on my upcoming deadlines! Hooray!!!

I realize that’s an awful lot of exclamation points, but this is the first time I’ve felt on top of everything in 2017, so it deserves a bit of celebration. 🙂

Next up: The Beneath the Waves bundle launches this week!

This is the fifth bundle I’ve curated through BundleRabbit. I really love putting story bundles together. Yes, it’s a way to get one of my stories out in the world, which is very cool. But I also love to organize things, and this way I’m organizing something writing-related, which is awesome. Besides, if I wasn’t putting together story bundles I’d be doing something like organizing my garage instead. Clearly this is a far better use of my time. 🙂

The Fantasy in the City bundle was the first bundle I curated – it launched on June 20th, 2016. When I first decided to put that bundle together I wasn’t sure if I could find enough authors interested in participating, I knew there were a lot of things I’d need to learn (fortunately I didn’t realize at the time just how many things…), and the entire idea seemed daunting. But I decided it would be fun even if it didn’t go well – and it was fun, and it went well!

One of the many things I learned from that first bundle was that as a bundle curator (aka the organizer), I’m responsible for the stories that the participating authors have entrusted me with. This makes perfect sense now, but it was something I hadn’t expected at all.

I still feel this sense of responsibility. Yes, I want to do a good job in general, but knowing all of these authors are counting on me to do the right thing with their art is a serious and wonderful and special thing.

In my recent musings, I also realized just how much I’ve accomplished in the last year. A year ago I hadn’t published anything for about three years. In the past 12 months I’ve had six (eight by the end of this month) stories published in bundles, one published in an issue of Fiction River, I’ve sold one new story to an anthology, and I’ve submitted another story to an invitation-only anthology. I’m curating two more bundles that will be released in 2017, at least five in 2018, and I’ve been asked to write a story for another invitation-only anthology.

Yes, I do still have an almost-finished-really novel, and could have published that long ago instead of working on all of these short stories. But I’ve learned SO much from them, and from curating story bundles, that this has all been totally worth it.

My current goals are: work on promotion for the Beneath the Waves bundle launch, make progress on the classes I’m signed up for, get ahead on my remaining story deadlines for 2017, and finish and publish my current novel. 🙂

Jasper and Rosie are always ahead on everything.

 
 

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Weeks are made of days

I’ve been “days” away from being caught up on all my writing projects for the past two weeks…but weeks are made up of days, so this still counts, right? 🙂

My last remaining tasks are for the Beneath the Waves bundle, which launches on June 15th. This is the fifth bundle I’ve cureated, and I learn new things each time.

My biggest lesson with The Faerie Summer was that I need to write down – and follow! – a launch checklist, instead of assuming I’ll remember everything. I do actually remember everything, but a list would help me think of things earlier, so I could get ahead of the game. With Beneath the Waves, I learned that it’s totally fine to launch two bundles a month and a half apart, but that it’s way less stressful if you’re ahead on all of the bundle-related tasks.

One slight complication time-wise was that I decided to completely redo the cover for “To Be a Monster” last week. This was the right decision – the original cover fit the theme of the story, but wasn’t super compelling. The new version looks much better, but I spent forever tweaking colors and trying different fonts – including yet more time today.

After the past few months, I’m full of motivation to get ahead on my deadlines. I’ve committed to delivering six short stories between August and December, and I’d like to get them all done as soon as possible. Not only will that give me more breathing room, it also means I’ll have time to run them past my editor, and I’ll have more time to work on cover designs (since all six will need covers). I’m launching two more bundles this year, have six in the works for next year (that will likely jump to at least ten), and I have plenty of non-bundled stories to work on. So I have to be careful not to let my guard down. 🙂

 
 

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Uncovering covers

I’ve spent the last three hours or so completely redesigning my cover for “To Be a Monster,” which will be in the Beneath the Waves bundle. My story is told from the viewpoint of Scylla, one of the many innocents who were unjustly turned into monsters in Greek mythology. My original cover idea used a photo of an ancient mosaic depicting a sea monster grabbing a man, which fit the story perfectly, but it was just okay as a cover. Yesterday I decided to scrap what I’d done and start fresh.

Coming up with the new design took a little time, but it was nothing compared to the hours I then spent adjusting the colors and fiddling with the font to get it to display better in a thumbnail on Facebook. It looks fine in the same size in Photoshop, so I can only assume Facebook does something to the image on upload. I do think the color and font changes I made improved the cover, but at this point I’m ready to call it good and just assume that most people won’t be looking at it in a thumbnail size on Facebook. 🙂 I’ll take another look in a few days, but wow, did that take forever!

My last cover, which took significantly less time to design, is for “The Switch,” a short story that will appear in a bundle that launches near the end of June. Edith, the protagonist in “The Switch,” is a seventy-some-year-old woman who is about to commit her first crime ever.

Speaking of crime, I’m starting a class on writing mysteries next week. I’ve been working on improving both my time management and scheduling time to relax (the latter seems crazy, but I’m trying to fit it in nonetheless), so I’m not sure how wise it is to start a 6-week class… But I’m doing it anyway!

In other news, I’ve decided to turn The Faerie Summer into the first volume in a faery-themed series. Issue #2 will be released in December; the theme is faeries and midwinter (also known as the winter solstice, at least in the Northern Hemisphere). Issue #3 is scheduled for April 2018; its theme is faery paths and passageways. The plan is to release three volumes each year.

And because that wasn’t enough, I’m organizing a bundle series of fairy tales! Some will be retellings; some will be new stories with a fairy tale feel. Right now the plan is for three volumes, but if there’s enough interest this could be extended.

It can be a little confusing to talk about both faery stories and fairy tales (which is part of why I’m using the different spellings). I’m working on naming each series, so things should be a little easier once that’s done. I hope. 🙂

 
 

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