Four Stories to Kick Off Your New Year!

Apparently, I should go on vacation more often—because while I was traveling and visiting family for the Christmas and New Year holidays, four of my short stories were published!

Normally, I’d spotlight each publication individually, but since they all happened in such a tight time frame, I figured I’d tell you about all of them at once.

You can read two of these publications for free (hooray!)—and the other two are part of benefit anthologies with all the proceeds going to two very deserving charities.

First up, my romantic short “Anything But Plain” is included in the Giftmas 2018 Advent Anthology, published by Rhonda Parrish and benefiting the Edmonton Food Bank. Read all about the fundraiser and the advent theme HERE. And yes, while we already surpassed our fundraising goal for December 2018 – and you can read all the stories for free on Rhonda’s blog –  all proceeds from the sale of the anthology itself will continue to go to the food bank. (And bonus, you’ll have them all in one place, so they’re extra easy to read.) So, if you dig the idea of reading a super diverse anthology with stories across genres (for a good cause!), check it out in either ebook or paperback format!

Secondly, my sad but sweet, punk-tinged meditation on teenage grief, “Unspoken Words,” was published in Christmas Lites VIII. This anthology, compiled by Amy Huntley, benefits the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The collection is family friendly (PG13 at most!) and features some stories by kiddos, too! Right now, the anthology is only available in ebook format, but I believe a print version is forthcoming.

Next, my drabble “All That Glitters” graced the Christmas edition of Trembling with Fear, which you can read for free online. Not for the faint of heart, Trembling with Fear keeps the merry scary going with stories of maniacal elves, age-old hauntings, revenge, and, in my micro-story, a grave decision.

Lastly, you can read my image-inspired flash fiction piece, “Le Cauchemar Vivant,” on Nina D’Arcangelo’s blog as part of the Ladies of Horror Flash Project. Can I scare you in less than 1,000 words? Check out my story to find out!

And with that, I’m off and writing into the New Year! On the docket so far for 2019 – a superhero origin story, a trilogy of M/M vampire romance novellas, some Black Mirror-inspired shorts, and much, much more.

Wishing you all a happy new year!

I Don’t Believe in Resolutions

Photo by flickr user "Angle Torres."

Photo by flickr user “Angle Torres.”

Because I think starting a new year trying to “resolve” something is negative in connotation. Now, I do believe in setting goals. And if you do it right, your goals should build on successes or progress you made the previous year. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to fail because you’re starting from square one (never a fun place). New goals for a new year should be all about momentum, continuing the GOOD things you’ve already done, taking them to the next level maybe–from a place where you’re already ahead of the pack. Doesn’t that sound so much better than making resolutions?

That all being said, here are my goals for 2015:

1. Get four short stories published–with pay. In 2013, my goal was to publish one story during the year, because it was the first year I started submitting my work publicly. Invidia was published that year. In 2014, I set a goal to publish two pieces, and I’m proud to report that I did publish two–Blood Melody and Give It Back. In 2015, my goal is four, because I already have two pieces accepted and lined up to be published. Two more pieces on top of that seems very realistic but also a bit of a stretch goal. Let’s do this.

2. Be more active. Notice how that goal doesn’t mention anything about a diet or losing weight? This is because I’ve identified that I need the happy endorphins released during exercise more than I need to be a size 2. I had a revelation the other day. I get depressed when I don’t have consistent physical activity in my life. That part I already knew, but the ephiphany was that I’m a little addicted to endorphins, because growing up, I was a competitive dancer. I was naturally doping myself up on an almost daily basis through pirouettes and pas de chats. When I don’t get a hit of endorphins at least two or three times a week, I lose energy, get moody, and past body image insecurities come back to haunt me. For my mental and emotional health in 2015, I need to be very conscious and intentional about exercise. Lucky for me, I found a kickass yoga studio in 2014 and I just purchased a Groupon for bellydance classes a couple weeks ago. I’m ready to stretch and shimmy myself to good health!

3. Read 40 books. I’m a better writer when I’m reading. I get inspired by those who’ve come before me. Sometimes, the writing style of the author I’m reading seeps into my writing, and that’s always an interesting experience that I tend to grow from. Most importantly, I’m exercising my brain. Reading isn’t a passive act. It keeps me sharp and engaged with the storytelling part of my brain. On top of all that, I genuinely enjoy it. When I carve out time for reading, I feel like I’m spoiling myself. In 2015, I deserve to be spoiled. And I’m already planning out my reading list. First up, Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, and The Carnal Prayer Mat by Li Yu.

4. Self publish a collection of short stories…or at least make a lot of headway toward this goal. This is the big one, kids! I’ve had an idea for a collection for over a year now. Recently, I talked to a good friend about it and she gave me some amazing ideas for art and the confidence boost I needed to decide it was about damn time to do this. My collection will need 12 short stories, two of which I have already crafted. So, 10 more stories to go. For this goal, I’m giving myself a little leniency. If I can’t crank out 10 stories that are totally worthy of this project by the end of 2015, I’ll publish in 2016. But I want to be intentional about my work and truly start to focus my creativity into this project. It’s time for a book. And the thought of it makes me happy and excited and ready to work.

Okay, those are my major goals for 2015, a continuation of everything I accomplished in 2014. And I’m not the least bit intimidated. Rather, I’m excited. I’m ready. May this be the Year of the Writer.

What are your goals for 2015?

Photo licensingAngle Torres