Games and faeries and justice

Only a few more days left before The SF&F Binge Reader Bundle will be gone forever!

If you purchase the bundle, you can choose to donate a percentage of the purchase price to The AbleGamers Foundation, an organization that provides customized video gaming equipment to disabled people.

I interviewed Steve Spohn, the COO of AbleGamers, on Blackbird Publishing’s site. It was fascinating to learn about both the technology and the positive impact video gaming can have on someone’s life. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn more about what AbleGamers does, and I plan on selecting them as one of the charities readers can donate to for future story bundles I put together.

The SF&F Binge Reader Bundle contains The Faerie Summer one of the bundles I’ve curated. This is the first volume in a fairy-themed bundle series. That wasn’t my original intent, but I had so much fun putting this bundle together – and I’ve always loved fairy stories – so once I realized I could turn it into a series it was a done deal. 🙂 I came up with the series title last week, although I’m going to hold off on announcing it for a little bit just to make sure I don’t change it. The theme for the next volume is Midwinter + fairies, and the third volume will be about portals and passageways between our land and the land of Faerie.

Next up is the justice-themed bundle – and yes, there’s at least one fairy story in it! I gave the authors a pretty broad range to play in, although I have to say even I was surprised (in a good way!) when I saw some of the stories. My story is a western, and is set during the time of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which was repealed in 1864. This is a time in history I’ve read about, of course, but not for a while, so I’ve been doing research to make sure I get the historical details as accurate as possible. While there are plenty of positive, heart-warming stories in what I’ve read, there are also far too many grim tales. My story will, of course, have a happy ending. 🙂 But this story and the research I’ve done for it have been a good reminder about what is really important in life.

 
 

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Saved by a list!

I’ve reached the point where I have so much to do I have no clue what to do next when I finish a task…

But never fear – I’ve made a new list! 🙂

I love lists – my mom says I made lists even as a little kid. We didn’t have spreadsheets back in the olden days, but if we had I’m sure I would have made lots of them – and they would all be colorful.

The new list is really just a simple to do list that contains what I have to do today, what I should work on next if I have time, and what I should work on tomorrow. Once I finish a task I delete it (well, I actually put it on another list that tracks what I’ve completed…), so I only see what I haven’t yet done.

The ‘tomorrow’ part is really helpful because I start each day with a plan rather than relying on my memory and my not-always-prioritized sense of what to do next. And the ‘nice-to-have’ section – which I’m intentionally keeping very short so it truly does contain things I could realistically work on if I had time – is helpful as well. I don’t get to many of the nice-to-haves, but having them listed there means I will (probably) work on them instead of wander off and do something less important if I get ahead for the day.

I’ve been posting author profiles on The Faerie Summer’s Facebook page, and timed putting these up around The SF&F Binge Reader Bundle, which ends on August 10th. The Faerie Summer is one of the 7 anthologies in this bundle – there are also 19 novels. I’ve never been a part of something this big before, and it’s really cool.

Just for fun, here’s a snippet from the private eye novel I’m apparently putting on my to-do list. This is from the first draft of the opening – Jack is a blue heeler aka Australian cattle dog. I’m cutting out the part where I introduce him, so to give you an idea of what he might look like here’s a picture of Lucy, a blue heeler who is one of our dear departed hounds. (Notice Lucy was playing with a pine cone in this photo…)

It was half past two on a Wednesday afternoon. I sat in my dingy office dressed to the nines in my charcoal gray suit, a white and gray pinstriped shirt, and a gray tie. I’d spent all my rent money on that outfit, hoping I might get more work if I looked a bit classier. The plan was not going well. My rent was due in less than a week, and so far no one had even stopped by my office to see just how classy and hirable I looked.

With Alda, just the fact that a dame like this showed up looking to hire me at all should have been the biggest clue. She gave a sharp rap on the door, then waltzed in like she owned the place. Jack gave a low, deep growl, the kind of sound that he normally made when my brother visited. That should have caught my attention, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the woman.

She wore a red dress that clung to every curve, and made me want to cling to them as well. A fuzzy white stole was draped over her bare shoulders, although it couldn’t possibly have done enough to keep her warm in the cool October air outside. Her long, blonde curls looked buoyant, as if they might float up in the air on their own.

“Mr. Gibson?” she asked. “Mr. Robert Gibson, Private Investigator?” Her lips were painted the same crimson shade as her dress, and her golden-brown eyes were framed with long, dark eyelashes that fluttered as she looked down at the small piece of paper she held in her delicate fingers. Her nails were the same color as her dress. She looked as out of place in my office as a Ming vase in a subway station.

“That’s me,” I said. I shot a glance at Jake. He glared at the woman from his perch on an old armchair I’d pulled out of someone’s trash last year. I’d thrown a flannel blanket over top of the chair to make it more comfortable for him, and for me when I had to spend the night in it with him, which happened more often than either of us liked. Jake glanced at me and flicked his pointed ears back, and then laid back down, his eyes fixed on the woman.

“Oh my,” she said. She raised one hand to her ample bosom and took a breath so deep I wondered if the fabric of her dress would hold. Unfortunately it did.

“That’s Jake,” I said. “He’s all bark and no bite.” That wasn’t actually true, but Jake had never bitten one of my clients. So far.

“I’m Alda Amriss,” she said. “I’d like to hire you to find a murder.” She tugged on the ends of her stole and sat down on the worn wooden chair that sat on the other side of my desk.

I forced my eyes to stay focused on hers instead of on the parts I really wanted to look at.

“A murderer?” I asked. “Isn’t that a job for the police?” Not that I couldn’t do the same thing that they would – and probably faster to boot, since I didn’t have to follow all the rules and process that slowed them down. But people who hired private eyes for cases like that usually did so because things were messy, and I didn’t feel like dealing with messy. At least not unless it paid well. Or, well, just paid at all.

Alda shook her head. “Not a murderer, a murder,” she said. “It hasn’t happened yet.”

~ ~ ~

I have no idea what happens next, so your guess is as good as mine. 🙂

 
 

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A bundle of bundles!

The Faerie Summer is one of ten collections in The SF&F Binge Reader Bundle, which is available on StoryBundle.com!

Yes, this is a bundle of bundles! The SF&F Binge Reader Bundle includes bundles of novels, anthologies, and short stories. It’s only available for a few weeks, so grab a copy while you can!

In addition to the crazy amount of fiction the bundle includes – there are 19 novels and 7 anthologies! – you have the option of donating a portion of the purchase price to The AbleGamers Foundation, an organization that helps people with disabilities participate in the world of high tech gaming by customizing equipment for them.

I’ve created a giveaway for the bundle – the winner will receive one gift code.
Click here to learn more and sign up!
The giveaway ends on July 28th.

 
Promotion for this bundle and The Faerie Summer has taken up a big chunk of my time over the past week, so while I’ve thought a lot about writing, I haven’t had the time to do much. I’m in week 2 of an online fantasy workshop, and have to write and turn in the opening to a new story by midnight tonight, so that will be a nice change from writing promotional material. 🙂

 
 

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