in the valley of words


Writing-wise 2015 turned out better than I thought. There were plenty of misses where the goal exceeded my reach, but there was strong progress too. So here’s my 2015 Accomplishments and my 2016 Writing Agenda.

2015 Accomplishments

  • Two short stories accepted for publication
  • Completed Dust, short story
  • Completed  Werewolf, Zombies, Sunrise, short story
  • Revised A Useful Blind, mystery short story
  • 10 short fiction submissions (far more than I’ve ever done in a year)
  • Wrote 20,000 words in 1st quarter (50,000 for the year)
  • Revised The Obelisk, short story
  • 52 penpanther posts
  • Began writing The Bone Box

Altogether I wrote more than in previous years and submitted more, and there was less wailing and flailing about–a good year.

2016 Writing Agenda

1st Quarter – January – March

  • Write Discovery Draft of Writing Emotion, creative writing e-book. Deadline: Jan. 31
  • Revise Runaway Heart. Deadline: Jan. 31
  • Finish writing Runaway Heart: Deadline: March 31
  • A Fall of Diamonds – write 2000 words a month minimum. (Draft at 9,817 words)

2nd Quarter – April – June

  • Order cover – Runaway Heart
  • Runaway Heart – Publication date: May 31
  • A Fall of Diamonds – 2000 words a month minimum

3rd Quarter – July – September

  • Finish Discovery Draft of The Bone Box . Deadline: July 31
  • Outline The Serene Widow
  • Writing start date – The Serene Widow: August 1, 2016. Deadline: September 30
  • A Fall of Diamonds – 2000 words a month minimum

4th Quarter – October – December

  • Plan NANO book – October 1 – 31
  • Write Discovery Draft of NANO book – November 1 – 31
  • A Fall of Diamonds – 2000 words a month minimum to finish December 31


I’ve allowed for thinking, research, shiny objects, and  downtime. I’m going to work hard to hit my quarterly goals.



april progress

LaBacchante.Gerome   A bright and sunny Sunday outside, makes yesterday’s trouble with Shadow Walk seem minuscule, but still, after a week of wrestling with the story, I’m feeling frazzled and anxious. It’s the last day of Grand Prix weekend, could hear the furious buzz of racing cars from Shoreline all day yesterday. April’s progress so far . . .

  • Finished Dust, short story, draft was 8014 words, edited final 5743
  • Finished Werewolf, Zombies, Sunrise, short story, 1311 words.
  • April 5, attended Literary Orange Conference, Irvine. Excellent conference. Really enjoyed the “Modern Ficton” panel. Emily St. John Mandel was the morning speaker. Bought her book, Station Eleven, and got her autograph too. The afternoon speaker was Annabelle Gurwitch, actress, activist, and comedic writer.
  • Shadow, horror short story, published in The Horror Zine Summer Edition.
  • Revising and editing Shadow Walk, horror novella, at 28,152 words, (wrote 4,747 words this month so far)
  • April 15 – 17. Attended online IndieReCon 2015. My first time; great conference for independent publishing. Took pages and pages of notes from the many video seminars, learned much, saved a number of seminar blog posts too. Recommend it. Also, discovered writer Roz Morris
  • Started a new short story, working title, Brenda. Wrote 581 words.
  • Romancing the Night, vampire romance novel for April Camp Nano, stalled at 8049 words. Don’t think I’ll make it this time.
  • Prepared A Terrible Thing, horror short story, for submission. Second time.
  • Posted 7 blogs

Total words for April so far:  46,756.

Indelible Beats: An Abishag’s Second Mystery

Indelible Beats

In Michelle Knowlden’s Indelible Beats, the second Abishag  mystery, intrepid romantic rationalist, Leslie Greene, finds herself entangled in the secretive doings of betrayal, fraud, and murder when she becomes an Abishag wife to the reclusive and misunderstood artist Jordan Ippel. Leslie realizes she’s not connecting with Jordan Ippel with the same affection she had for her first comatose husband and she struggles to understand what she’s learned about him. Leslie’s friends, Cat and Dog, are back and, surprise, Sebastian Crowder, from Sinking Ships, shows up too. I like Sebastian. I do not like Donovan Reid, Leslie’s arrogant and condescending boyfriend. He is neither a prince nor charming. But I digress. Indelible Beats, an Abishag’s Second Mystery, is another winning entry in the Abishag series. Enjoy!

Sinking Ships

Sinking Ships Cover with Eric's picture

Unusual characters combined with unusual ideas are a hallmark of noted mystery writer Michelle Knowlden. Sinking Ships is no exception to her talent. From the first page, I was hooked. Needing money to continue her education, Leslie Greene becomes an Abishag wife, a young woman whose job is to provide therapeutic comfort to comatose men in a temporary marriage that ends when the man dies. A unique and fascinating idea, and Miss Knowlden does it justice in a story with surprising twists and turns. Leslie is a courageous young woman determined to do her absolute best despite the prejudicial attitudes she encounters. Arriving at the home of her new husband, Thomas Crowder, Leslie finds the body of Hillary, Thomas Crowder’s niece, dead on the kitchen floor. With an eye to the care and comfort of her comatose husband, Leslie sets about solving the woman’s murder. Blackmail, an old secret, and a tragic shipwreck combine to make Sinking Ships a fascinating and well-written mystery. This is the first in a series of Abishag mysteries and, having read the excerpt included at the end for the next one, Indelible Beats,  I am eager for it. Not to be missed!

where i live


While cleaning the kitchen, the thought crossed my mind: in my home, where do I live? What spaces do I actually inhabit in the complete sense of the word? Turns out it’s the living room and my writing office.

I’m either on the couch writing, reading, or watching cable or a movie dvd or I’m at my writing desk. These two places are where I spend most of my daily hours. We all have our favorite spaces and probably don’t realize or think about the amount of time we spend in them. Some people can always be found cruising through the hours in their living room, or bedroom, kitchen, game room, or home office. And what do you do in these favorite spaces? Your favorite activities, of course. Mine are writing, reading, or watching.

Yesterday had a good meeting with my writing buddy, a productive day. And this morning I spent time creating a cover for my sword and sorcery tale which I plan to publish as a Kindle Single. I’ve got one more of those to do for another short story. Today is all writing desk time.

And, after a long time thinking about it, I’ve published a print edition of Grave Shadows, with a new cover and available at Amazon (Reviews are welcome!)  and at my CreateSpace page.

Happy writing, d:)!

omg it’s october!

Trick or Treat, Tim Burton

October 1st! Summer’s long fingers grip the season still–not that I’m complaining; I like hot weather. But I know many people are longing for Fall’s cooler weather.

The cosmic clock has ticked-tocked its way to NANO prep time. I wasn’t sure I’d do NANO this year, felt like I needed a break from the annual pressure of November, but an idea jumped up and waved at me and now I’ve decided I will write another 50,000-word draft in one of my favorite subgenres: Sword & Sorcery. Not much of it around anymore, but I’ve always loved sword & sorcery, so yeah y’know I’ll be writing one for the love of it!

I’ll have to carve out some time this month to prep for NANO and continue making progress with Shadow Walk. My worry was taking two months away from SW, especially since I want to finish it by December 31st, but I think I can do it, despite my long commute and full-time job.

I’m not sure yet what I’m going to write in November. I’m kicking over a couple of ideas–a sword and sorcery anthology? a sword and sorcery novel? a sword and sorcery novella or two plus short stories? Tonight, to kick off the start of prep, I’m going to take an hour and brainstorm.

Saturday I attended an excellent seminar on ebook publishing given by James Scott Bell at The Writer’s Store in Burbank. First time visiting the place–small town feel, tucked against foliage-covered foothills, hot as the Mojave that day. It was a long drive for me, but well worth it. Looks like he’s giving it again at Writer’s Digest Conference, West in Hollywood in October. If you’re interested in Creating A Career Out of Ebooks and you plan to attend the conference, his ebook seminar is a go-to in my opinion.

Sunday was devoted to Shadow Walk, in the trenches working out Act 3 and the Five Point Finale. Got 6 new scenes to write, mostly in Act 2. I’m kind of afraid about the Act 3 scenes. All I want to do is finish, let it set still for a couple weeks, and then dance it around somemore.

Happy writing, d:)