Successes in June: Big Plans for July

June has been an absolute whirlwind of productivity and good things. Plus, a soupçon of pain as I dealt with a back issue that had me unable to walk in the beginning of the month.

We are part of the Micronomicon Kickstarter that launched this month. We are writing one of the stretch goals: the micro-setting Thule, which is based on Arctic history, lore, and myth. Our stretch goal has not yet been met but the project is doing well and is excellent. The Micronomicon is well-written and the stretch goals are great. The creator is even planning to create spell cards! If you enjoy RPGs, take a look and consider supporting it.


Other Writing Projects

We are awaiting a contract for another gaming project that has recently been accepted. I won’t tell you much more than that until the contract signed and sealed. I’ll just say that we are very excited.

One of my stories for the Pirate anthology was rejected and the other is still in consideration, having garnered a “Maybe.” With the caliber of the competition, a “Maybe” verdict is impressive. That said, I expect to have the story back in my inventory soon and I’ll send it out again.

I know that some people want to know how the novel is going and are disappointed that it isn’t done yet. I wrote another chapter in the novel this month. So it isn’t dead and cooling on a marble slab somewhere. It’s just moving slowly. However, what I am learning by taking The Great Challenge is improving the novel.

The Great Challenge!

By the end of June I’d written seven short stories in seven weeks for the Great Challenge.  It’s been an incredible experience and I feel that I am learning so much by doing this.

The Great Challenge has taught me the importance of keeping my focus on the game of writing. A weekly deadline is challenging. No lie. Several of my stories have been completed and turned in on Sunday, which is really the last minute. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t start working on the story until Sunday. Nope. What has happened over and over again is that I start a short story and then realize that I’ve written the start to a novel or that this short story has nowhere to go. So I start over again. And again. And again until I have the short story. 

I’m learning reasonably good work habits. Also, because I now have so many stories in my inventory, any individual rejection from a publisher hurts less. I just send out another story.

July’s Plans

I continue to write a story a week through July.

We complete the micro-setting, Thule, and start the secret gaming project we might soon have a contract for.

I’ve promised a short story set in Thule for backers of the Micronomicon. Now I need to write it.

We will attend a trail race in Wisconsin. (I will gently walk a 10K, babying my injured body. Steve will run 50K.) Then we head to GenCon in early August. I need to figure out how to produce a story a week while traveling. If you have any ideas, let me know.

New stories written this month are:

  • “Emissaries From Artemis” (Fantasy)
  • “The Snake that Bridged the Heart” (Science Fiction)
  • “Frozen Solstice” (Time Travel)
  • “I am Libitina” (Historical)


GOALS map divider sm


I’ve finished Dean Wesley Smith’s course on Writing into the Dark and am in the middle of his Time Travel course. I’m having so much fun and learning so much! Next up is Advanced Depth.

small gratitude clock

Time for Gratitude!

Every week I experience things that make me better and that I’m grateful for. Some are books, podcasts, websites, or videos. Some are simple experiences. I share them here.

There are so many good things this month:

First I need to thank my sports medicine doctor who got me functional again this month as well as my PT. I’m taking long walks and doing active yoga again and it is thanks to them!

Dean Wesley Smith is doing a book on trademark for authors and he’s blogging the chapters as he goes. Start here with the first chapter.

We received our copy of Pax Pamir and it is a beautiful game! But what I want to draw your attention to is this article written by the game designer/artist, “The Politics and Perspective in the Artwork of Pax Pamir.” His analysis of the political implications within games and how art contributes (or doesn’t) is fascinating. He compares this to voice for novelists. For my friends who are artists or gamers or interested in the politics of representation, this a great read!

Finally, one of my secrets for producing a story a week is my Mythulu deck. Basically it is a deck with six types of evocative cards: Characters, Habitats, Elements, Relationships, Traits, Textures. The cards are beautifully rendered and are meant to stimulate the imagination. Whenever I am stuck I randomly draw a card. I also draw a spread of cards for inspiration at the beginning of a story or if I need to figure out some particular story element.


Here’s my latest draw showing the monster my protagonist will find in my upcoming story. Now my imagination takes over and weaves it into something cool.



Best Short Story

“Death on the Nile” from The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories by Connie Willis is my favorite story of the month. It is a truly creepy short story that gradually marches  you to an awareness that you’d rather not have.

Short stories completed in 2019

  • “Made of the Future” First draft 4,217 words
  • “The Cat Ate My Naked Shorts” First draft 3572 words
  • “Dangerous Goods Done Dirt Cheap” Final Submitted 4695 words
  • “Djinn Fizz” Final submitted 3702 words
  • “Crocodile Favors” Final submitted  4,946 words
  • “Secret Memoir From the Pirate Portal” Final submitted 4984 words
  • “Cloning Sensation” First draft 6,000 words
  • “Lost and Found” First draft 5,500 words
  • “Every Lavender Dog Has His Day” Final submitted 4,500 words
  • “Emissaries From Artemis” Final submitted 4,100 words
  • “The Snake that Bridged the Heart” Final submitted 4,200 words
  • “Frozen Solstice” First draft 5,257 words
  • “I am Libitina” First draft 3,652 words


2 Comments Add yours

  1. jpayne1138 says:

    I hope you know where your parka is, because we are definitely going to reach your stretch goal. Not sure we’ll come back alive, but we will visit Thule. 🙂

    1. I will clothe myself in warming magic. Thule is a wondrous place. I can’t wait for everyone else to visit it as well!

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