“How’d I Miss That?” (Self-Editing)
Presented by: Kathryn Jane
Date: May 1 – 31, 2021
Pricing: A2P Member fee: $15
Non-A2P Member fee: $30
About the Workshop:
Sending to a contest? Sending to an agent? Sending to an editor? Self-publishing?
No matter where your words and pages are headed, they need to be the best they can possibly be, and that means self-editing. Yep, the initial cleanup is your job and that’s why self-editing skills are so darned important.
This workshop will provide you with all the tips and tricks I wish someone had shared with me.
About the Presenter:
Kathryn Jane, author, artist, and coach, loves to share her knowledge and experience in workshops designed to assist others in every stage of their publishing adventure. Her own career has included everything from short stories and novels, to multi-book series. Whether romantic suspense or the escapades of feral cats, Kathryn’s unique voice will take you on a journey rich with pitfalls on the way to the always promised happy ending.
Novellas and How to Knock ‘Em Out Fast
Presented by: Ivy Quinn
Date: May 1 – 31, 2021
Pricing: A2P Member fee: $15
Non-A2P Member fee: $30
This month-long workshop will show you how to quickly write the first draft of novellas — 30-40K word stories in 7-10 days.
Learn how to understand your writing schedule and the best times for writing, tricks for concentrating, how to outline, and strategies for getting it done and making sure you get through a novella when other things are pressing on you and responsibilities clash with your writing.
Ivy Quinn has written the novel Frozen Ashes and Smoldering Shards with her co-writer, Midnight Voss. The book was part of the USA Today bestselling Sirens and Scales boxset in 2018 and is currently being revamped and expanded into a longer work.
She also co-wrote the novella, The Golden Stag, the first in her Jaeger Detective Agency paranormal noir books with Megan Hussey. That novella was published in the limited edition and also USA Today Bestselling Once Upon a Rebel Fairy Tale anthology set last summer. She worked as a ghostwriter for four years on over sixty novellas and a dozen novels, some Amazon bestsellers.
She’s also taught workshops, including one on novella writing and one on adapting fanfiction ethically into original works, for a variety of RWA chapters, including the Maryland Romance Writers, the Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers, the Young Adult Romance Writers, and the Yosemite Chapter of the RWA.
Currently, she (usually) balances her graduate schoolwork in psychology with her writing schedule, which includes the Fanged Fairy Tales series, the Vegas Shifters series, and more of the Jaeger Detective Agency novellas currently in development for Sapphic Alliance Fiction.
Date Published: April 13, 2021
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Orion City has been on lockdown for ten years. Courtney Spencer, a disillusioned barista doomed to live a “normal” life in a quarantined fishbowl, is certain she’ll never see over the Wall again.
Until one rainy evening, Courtney unintentionally befriends W, an eccentric customer who leaves a switchblade in the tip jar. The unexpected acquaintance soon opens the door to a frightening string of questions that flips everything she knows upside down. Stumbling into a world of secrets, lies, and disturbing truths, Courtney grapples with a burning temptation to look again at the Wall. Surrounded by citizens trained to ignore its looming shadow, Courtney no longer can.
Intrigued and terrified to expand her world, Courtney finds herself toeing a knife’s edge between the law and justice, learning quickly that the two are not always compatible. She wants to cling to her morals. She also wants to stay alive. But most of all, she wants to see a certain customer again, despite everything in her whispering W is dangerous.
In a gritty urban clash of hope and fear, passion and survival, The Walls of Orion explores the edges of light, dark, and the gray in between.
About the Author
A world-romper from the Pacific Northwest who quite enjoys the label “crazy,” T.D. Fox supplements a hyperactive imagination with real life shenanigans to add pizzazz to her storytelling endeavors.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in Intercultural Studies, her favorite stories to write usually involve a clash of worldviews, an unflinching reevaluation of one’s own internal compass, and an embrace of the compelling unease that arises when vastly different worlds collide.
When not recklessly exploring inner-city alleyways during midnight thunderstorms in the States, she can be found exploring rainforests without enough bug spray somewhere along the equator.
Facebook: T.D. Fox
“Hey,” she called again. “We’re closed. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
He didn’t make any sign that he’d heard. Courtney took another step forward. A deck of cards lay scattered over the table, white faces sharp and crisp in the shadow. At first she thought he was playing solitaire, but she noticed half the cards appeared to be cut in half. Diagonal slashes from corner to corner, oblong triangles and half grinning faces of Jacks and Queens.
Courtney blinked at the soft voice. “Sorry?”
W didn’t look up, just took a handful of half-cards in his hands and shuffled. She was impressed he could do so with such deft precision, given the weird shapes.
“Bor-ed. You know, weary, restless, your little world holds nothing of interest. The repetition, the grind, marching toward that same paycheck every week. You’re over it.”
She stared at the mangled cards. “What are you—”
“Wake up. Eat cereal. Work your tail off for eight dollars in tips. Come home to an empty hole in the wall. Pass out and repeat. Sound familiar?”
Something prickled at the back of her neck. He flipped a card onto the table. A three of hearts, with two of the hearts cut out.
“I really have to close up,” she tried again.
W looked up then. Leaning forward, he laced his fingers under his chin and peered up at her. “Got somewhere to be?”
She opened her mouth, but a picture of her silent apartment filled her mind. Shadows slinking through the tiny space, the stars in the window blacked out behind the Wall. The breath slid out of her lungs without a sound.
W motioned to the bench across from him. Without really deciding, Courtney found herself moving. She sank into the booth. Just for a minute. Her knees ached from standing all day. All week.
“Two minutes.” She nodded at the cards. “What are you playing?”
“It’s called Life.” He glanced up at her. “Wanna learn?”
“Does it work with all those broken cards?”
W laughed. “Darlin’, it only works with broken cards.”
He started dealing. As she watched, a little voice in the back of her mind asked what the hell she was doing. He explained the rules of the game, and she found herself distracted by the way his face changed as he spoke. He was a very expressive person. But nothing quite seemed to touch his eyes. Frowns, smiles, laughs. Those pale eyes stayed the same. At first she’d thought they were gray, but now she could see a faint swirl of color inside them. She couldn’t decide if it was icy blue or green.
In this light, he looked younger than she’d initially figured. The sharp skin-on-bones angles stole some of the youth from his face, but she noticed a boyishness in the crooked grin that startled her. He probably wasn’t more than a handful of years her senior, mid to late twenties maybe. The contrast of dark hair and pale eyes made the edged features more striking, not quite handsome, but something close.
He went silent, and she realized with flushed cheeks that she’d been staring.
“My, my, kiddo, you really are bored.”
Defensive felt better than embarrassed. “Who’re you calling kiddo?” She leaned back. “And you keep saying I’m bored. You don’t know me.”
“I know your eyes. They’re the reason I became a regular in the first place.”
“What do you mean?”
He peered at her over the cards. “Your eyes. They’re restless. Not something you see every day in this city. You want more.”
“More of what?”
He leaned back, a small smile playing about his lips. “You tell me.”
Clearing her throat, Courtney sat back in her seat and picked her own intrusive question. “Why W?”
“It’s the most inconvenient letter to say.”
“No, I mean—why just the initial? You never give your real name.”
“Who’s to say it’s not real?” He glanced down. “C suits you better than your nametag. An initial has infinite potential. You could be anything. Not ordinary, not a repeat label your parents picked out of a baby book. The possibilities are limitless.”
Again, he’d steered the conversation off an uncomfortable edge. Courtney nodded to the deck of cards. “You were teaching me how to play.”
W chuckled, and Courtney couldn’t decide if the sound was pleasant or unsettling. She paid close attention to the way he laid out the cards, whole and broken pieces alike. Some looked like the other halves of cards cut in two. Others seemed to have no corresponding piece. She wondered if they were all from the same deck.
He dealt, and she did her best to play along. A steady current of doubt hummed beneath her thoughts. She glanced up at the clock above W’s head, at the minute hand ticking past closing time. Why couldn’t she bring herself to get up and leave?
Courtney figured out pretty quickly that the rules of this game made no sense to her. Every time she thought she’d gotten it down, something changed. Maybe W was messing with her. Was Life even a real game? Matt was right, he was kind of a loon, as he proved more and more throughout the course of their interaction.
“Y’know, C.” He shuffled the cards again, dealing out a different number than last time. Which was a different number than the time before that. Courtney really didn’t get this game. She was starting to think there was nothing to get at all. “I mean absolutely no offense. But I can’t help but notice you’re a little crazy.”
Courtney looked up, choking on a laugh. “Me?”
“Because you’re still here.”
“You’re the one who invited me to play cards,” she started.
“Nah, not here with me. I mean here.”
She waited. “I think I’m following this conversation as much as the game.”
“Surrounded by crazy people. Working a crazy job, in a crazy city, waiting for the next crazy thing to happen and hoping it doesn’t happen to you.”
A prickle ran up her spine. “You’re talking about the news this morning.”
“Something happened this morning?” The cards shuffled through his long fingers with a magician’s flair. “Don’t watch the news much.”
She frowned at him. “I suppose that’s one way to survive in this town.”
“Who wants to survive? I quit surviving ages ago. You should quit, too. What a boring habit.”
Courtney stared. “More of a basic instinct, I think.”
“No. Our instinct is to live.” The cards fluttered with a rippling swoosh. “These big four Walls can make a body forget that, though.”
Date Published: 3/26/21
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Following a global pandemic, which has either killed or weakened most of the male population, women now dominate all aspects of life.
Dr. Morgan Digby, married to a man rendered bedbound from his bout with manflu a decade prior, is working tirelessly on a vaccine, yet obstacles keep springing up in her path.
When she meets a handsome neighbor who has never been exposed to the deadly virus, things become…complicated. There’s something between them, but he can’t leave his home.
Morgan’s struggle to remain faithful to her ailing husband isn’t her only battle. Someone has been one step ahead of her, countering her every move. Will she find a vaccine before it’s too late to protect those she loves?
About the Author
Simone de Muñoz writes dystopian, or perhaps utopian, fiction, depending on your perspective, where women drive the story and sometimes even run the world. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in economics from MIT, which she uses in her day job as a data analyst at a nonprofit. Based in Silicon Valley, she lives with her patient husband, their two young sons, and a grumpy dog named Fish. Manflu is her debut novel.
Morgan Digby woke up groggy from her usual nap as her self-driving, electric car pulled into the driveway of her small suburban house. She had dreamt that her husband Jonas was walking toward her on a crowded sidewalk, cradling a baby in his arms. If only any small part of that dream had the remotest possibility of coming true, Morgan could be happy.
She stretched and brushed her black bangs out of her eyes, feeling the hollow spaces beneath them with her fingertips. Tired from a busy day working at the lab on the manflu vaccine, the nap prepared her for the long evening of caretaking that lay ahead. Her husband Jonas was mostly bedridden after his bout with the pandemic ten years ago. His body no longer actively fought an infection, but he would never be the same.
Morgan was about to enter her house when she saw her neighbor put down her garden rake and cross the street to chat. Sarah, like many women nowadays, no longer bothered with a bra. Her full, bouncing breasts, barely covered by a thin, V-neck t-shirt, drew the eye. An image quickly flashed through Morgan’s mind of a time years before when Sarah had pressed those breasts against her and leaned over to kiss her on the lips. Morgan quickly shook her head to clear the thought.
“Morgan, big news!” said Sarah when she was within gossip range. “Beth’s nephew came to stay with her. He’s a Vulny. I got a glimpse of him through the curtains, and he is a hunk and a half. Pale, obviously. About 5’10” with black, curly hair and surprisingly muscular. He must spend a lot of time lifting weights. I’m charging my vibro3000 as we speak.”
Wow, a Vulny! Morgan had never seen one before. Vulnies were the men who had never gotten manflu and were therefore still vulnerable to it. These men could not go out in public for fear of being infected, thus the pale skin. Women could be infected as well as transmit the virus to others; however, they experienced very mild cold-like symptoms and quickly recovered. Both men and women who had previously been infected could not contract the virus again; however, men with post-manflu viral syndrome were immunocompromised and at high risk of contracting other infections.
Morgan immediately thought of the vaccine she was working on, and she wondered if this man could be a test subject for it when it was completed. She wanted to rush over to Beth’s house right away to meet him and find out more, but she couldn’t. Jonas waited inside for her to make his dinner, bathe him, and keep him company. She was accustomed to putting aside her own desires to care for her husband, but she still felt a sting of disappointment each time.
Simone de Muñoz
Author of Manflu
March 16, 2021
After the 2016 election, I felt an emotion that I had never felt before–rage. It was scary. I had to find a safe place for those feelings, so I started to write. In my fiction, women weren’t the victims of misogynistic men and a patriarchal society–they were powerful heroes. If women couldn’t come out on top in real life, they could in my fiction. I slowly thought about sharing my writing with the world–maybe other women could read my work and feel the possibility of this power.
I had the idea for my novel, Manflu in the summer of 2019. The “Me Too” movement was in full swing and I thought, what if there was a way to get these men out of power and replace them with women? What would the world look like if women were in charge? I came up with the idea of a pandemic that weakened or killed men. I started writing down my thoughts, centering the story around a married researcher seeking a vaccine for manflu when she meets a handsome neighbor who has never been infected. And only a few short months later, Covid hit!
I attended my first writing conference in February of 2020 right before the US basically shut down. I met the women who would eventually publish my book at that conference and I remember them saying, “This concept is so timely, you have to get the book written as soon as possible.” We had no idea what was coming because there were hardly any known cases of Covid in the US at that time. However, it was clear that the pandemic was about to affect us all. Despite a full-time job and family obligations, I wrote as quickly as I could to take advantage of the moment.
I found myself in the midst of a pandemic, writing about a pandemic. For a while, all I thought about were viruses as I researched pandemics, tried to keep my family safe from Covid, and worked to help clients affected economically by the pandemic at my nonprofit job. I finished writing the book in the fall of 2020, right around the time it became clear that my children wouldn’t return to in-person school for the 2020-21 school year.
My hope is that I have ultimately created a novel that is timely, and yet a break from the pandemic-restricted world that we are all still living in right now, and that Manflu helps to empower women to dream of a different society where they are in charge. It is always a good time for sexy, escapist fiction featuring diverse characters and a strong female lead and it is an especially apt moment for Manflu.
The Chronicles of Granny Witch (Book 1)
Paranormal Romance, Historical Fantasy,
Magical Realism, Visionary Fiction
Date Published: December 27, 2020
Once upon a winter’s night, a lost cowboy finds himself in Purgatory Bend.
Patrick Doolin is plagued by a wound that won’t heal, but winter is the
season of miracles. As Patrick wanders through Wyoming, he meets Fawna
Darling, the mysterious granny witch, who channels the folk magic of her
With nowhere to go and a secret Patrick doesn’t yet understand, he seeks
shelter with Fawna in the snowswept prairie. Forbidden to fall in love, they
form an eternal bond in the dreamscape, but when the bluebirds sing of
summer and threaten their empire of dreams, they are faced with an
impossible decision. Will Patrick stay in the land of the living, or will he
cross over the prairie?
Summer is the season of surprises, and Fawna’s childhood sweetheart, Dezi
Ketchum, longs to win her heart too. When winter melts across the gold-slick
prairie, Fawna searches for answers under the rose moon. Caught between fire
and water and flesh and fantasy, she follows her heart and ventures into
Praise for Snow Dust and Boneshine
“A warm and spellbinding tale…Soleil’s writing flows like a stream,
relaxing and exotic. Mixed with folk magic, simpler times and beliefs, this
is a wonderful escape.” ~ Tome Tender
“Soleil’s writing is riveting…It’s much more than a fantasy – it’s a
story of love and faith.” ~ Literary Titan
“Curl up under your blanket, grab a cup of tea, and let yourself wander
between magic and reality in Purgatory Bend…Snow Dust and Boneshine is one
of the sweetest, selfless, heartbreaking but also heartwarming love stories
I have ever read…The characters, the atmosphere, and the imagery are done
so beautifully. Every description made me sink my teeth into the story just
a little bit more.” ~ Snez at Book Lifey & A Quintillion Reads Book
“Snow Dust and Boneshine was incredible…There’s romance, intrigue and lots
of magic. It’s very well written, so much so, I could feel the cold and
bitter wind as I read about it. The characters are beautifully written, and
I could see it playing out as a movie as I read. I highly recommend picking
this one up. 5 stars all the way.” ~ Angela Scavone, Author of Celebrity
“This story was magical and fascinating with an element of surprise. It was
well-researched and beautifully thought out to bring us so many amazing
details. If witches and love stories set in a small town with a sprinkle of
magic interests you, I would urge you to read this.” ~ Kriti Dalmia at This
Grendolyn Peach Soleil was born in the Appalachian Mountains on a full
moon. She is an old soul and a folk magic fiend. Grendolyn loves twisted
fairy tales, all things vintage, tales of true love, and creature features.
Some of her fancies include pumpkins, black cats, mermaids, tea parties,
cowboys, dahlias, and sunsets. She is a member of the Visionary Fiction
Alliance and The Independent Author Network. Grendolyn is the author of
Limbo Jubilee, The Mermaids Melt at Dawn, and Snow Dust and Boneshine: The Chronicles of Granny Witch (Book 1).
Patrick Doolin hid behind a sunbaked boulder, his bare ribs sticking to the sagebrush. He grabbed the wet, mushy hole in his belly, his heart pounding, his ears ringing raw. Around the bend, there were howling beasts in the canyon, sniffing his blood trail. Trapped in the crossfire, he closed his eyes and pretended it was all a bad dream. He cloaked himself in a cloud of dust and prayed for invisibility. Patrick didn’t know whether to beg for his life or submit to death’s sting, but instinctively, his body forced him to gasp for air.
From the moment he boarded the ship last summer, he regretted leaving Ireland. He missed the sheep-strewn pastures and the soggy sea cliffs. He missed the rolling fog and the taste of coddle by firelight. By the grace of God, Patrick survived the great hunger, and despite its brutal aftermath, he still yearned for his motherland, for fairy trees and cloud cover. It was better to be hungry at home than stuffed to the gills with strangers.
Patrick’s father suffered the most during the great hunger, so when a fever ravaged him last February, he was too weak to recover. Although Patrick bowed his head and prayed every morning, his father was skin and bones by Easter. Worst of all, his father’s spirit was troubled by Patrick’s black-hearted brother, Liam, so Patrick made a deathbed promise to his father. He vowed to look after Liam come hell or high water.
As soon as their father rattled his last breath, Liam set his sights on California. After the wake, the Doolin brothers boarded a ship to Philadelphia. From there, they made the long trek to Dakota territory. It took them three months to reach their uncle’s homestead, and by the time they arrived, old man winter was already there. The Doolin brothers agreed to work for their uncle until the following summer and then make their way to California, but after Christmas, Liam didn’t want to wait any longer.
Patrick knew they were late to the gold rush. Their uncle showed them the newspapers and implored them to stay in Dakota. He said it was treacherous to travel in the dead of winter, but there was no reasoning with Liam, so the Doolin brothers saddled up and battled the pelting ice and blowing snow. They slept under giant fir trees, their fingers and toes tingling with frostbite. They hadn’t been on the trail for long when Liam started a gunfight with a goliath of a cowboy, then disappeared into thin air.
Now, Patrick was all by himself, stranded somewhere between Dakota and Wyoming. Utterly disoriented, he clutched his belly in agony and stumbled through the wilderness. He meditated on the pine trees as they swirled into a blur of whistling green. Patrick saw trains and ships in the shadows. He saw the sea cliffs of Ireland in his dreams. When he couldn’t take another step, he collapsed on the edge of Angel Creek, his wounded body glinting red with sunburn, his sticky blood mingling with the cold stream.
As he faded in and out of mortality, he saw a young woman with hair as black as a raven. A pack of wolves surrounded her and swaddled her porcelain skin with their ashen fur. Patrick couldn’t get a good look at her face, but he caught a glimpse of her scarlet lips. She was nothing more than a stranger to him, but he took comfort in watching her dance through the shimmering snowfields. As he stood there in the frozen prairie, held captive by the bone-chilling wind, he felt strangely warm as though a hearth was glowing inside him.
The next morning, an old cowboy named Charlie was fishing for salmon when he came across Patrick’s body floating belly-up in the creek. Charlie took Patrick for dead, but as he got closer, he witnessed pulse and breath. Charlie rubbed his eyes in disbelief. He figured there was a reason this poor man was still alive, so he slung Patrick over his shoulder and lugged him for half a mile, dabbing his sweaty face with a red bandana. When he got back to his wagon, he plopped Patrick down next to the salmon and gave him a ride to Purgatory Bend.
Everyone has a secret fantasy—even a rich and powerful vampire…More info →
Pindlebryth, and Lenland's untried sorceress Darothien, struggle against betrayal, international intrigue, and an unseen puppet-master, as they race to follow a bewildering trail of ancient clues to locate the most powerful of the Artifacts.
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