Summer sun shining…

Today I have been working on several smaller projects, getting things set up for the rest of the month. That includes getting my bullet journal in order, setting goals for the month, and starting in on a new art challenge to get me warmed up in the morning.

I’ve also made a priority of taking care of my mental health this month. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is having trouble with staying indoors so much. I’ve been trying to just get out in the back yard and sit in the sun a bit more. Exercise every day by dancing. And eating something healthy (with the occasional unhealthy cookie now and then.) I’m in Texas so things are starting to open up again, but I won’t be able to go out just yet. But soon!

This weekend I have two free books, and anthology and a short story.

Twilight Tales: three unusual tales of creatures that go bump in the night.

Ghostly Intentions: A fantasy horror romp through a haunted house.

Review: Locke & Key season 1

We just finished watching Locke & Key, the new netflix series and… I’m torn on what I think about it.

I have the complete series of Locke & Key graphic novels, though I have only read the first one. I found the whole idea of keys that magically unlock things to be fascinating. A key that you can unlock the mind and step inside the memories. A key that allows you to step through a doorway and separate soul from body. Each key a new experience and wonder.

So watching the new series was a must for me. And I have to say I do love the way they did most of the keys. You put them in a key hole, and unlock, or lock something. Except the fire key, that one is odd because all it does is light things on fire. No locks to go with it, just fire.

The story, itself, started interesting as well. It starts with three children and their mother moving to an old mansion left to them by their deceased father, but no one knows much about this house, or their fathers past. The father kept it all a secret. Then when the youngest starts finding keys with magical abilities they start to find a dark secret that they have to unravel before things go terribly, terribly wrong.

The secret of their fathers past is locked together with the traumatic way their father was murdered, and the emotional scars it left on each of the family members. Each of them blames themselves for different aspects of the death, and each of them have to come to terms with that perceived blame.

Where I think the story falls short for me is the lack of a cohesive plot. There is an ancient evil, a “bad guy” per-se, but the reason you are given for them to be at odds with the Lockes (the desire to get specific keys) falls apart in the end. They finally have access to the key they were searching for all this time, but they don’t take it for some reason. It left both my boyfriend and myself staring at the screen just wonder… but why? What was all of this for?

So, yes, I did enjoy it. I liked the mystery, and the magic. I didn’t like the ending. It was a bit too much of a cliff hanger with the family getting closer to one another, but the over all plot left hanging. And if you’ve read many of my reviews you probably already know I hate cliffhangers for the sake of cliffhangers.

Will I watch the next season? Probably. It wasn’t a bad series, and I would like to see what it does. However, I can say that if the second season doesn’t at least give the series a purpose, and some overarching plotline, then I probably wouldn’t go for a third season.

I will give them a little credit through, adapting a comic book series to TV can be challenging, especially with some of the visuals inside the graphic novels. They managed to do some interesting things with the mind key, letting us get a glimpse inside of several characters memories. They also simplified some of the plot between comic and tv series, so I will probably go back and read the comics now just to find those differences.

2019 Writing in Review

It’s the new year, and it’s time to look back at what happened in 2019, and see where things will go in the future.

2019 was a year of change. First, I quite my job and we moved from Seattle to Houston. That was a huge change for Bjorn and I, but so far it was definitely been worth it. It was also the first year I have been writing full time. That’s taken some getting used to, and I am finally starting to get into the swing of making writing/editing/etc a priority, but I have a ways to go.

In 2019 I wrote 209k words. (Red line on graph is story writing, blue line includes newsletters, blog posts, and other projects.) This was double what I wrote in 2017 and 18, and a lot closer to what I was writing before that dip happened.

 

With all that writing I published three books. Steel Heart, and Steel Line which are the second and third books in my  litRPG series, and an anthology of scifi short stories, Stars End. I also started working on Vertigo, which I have uploaded six chapters of for free. It’s available on RoyalRoadWattpad, and WebNovel.

I am disappointed that I didn’t keep up with the chapter a week on Vertigo. To be fair, the reason I stopped was because of NaNoWriMo, and getting the 50k done on my Half Blood Sorceress, and book four in the litRPG took up a large part of my time. Then December I spent most of my time hand making all of my Christmas gifts. I forgot how time consuming crocheting hats could be. And a final trip back home to Seattle rounded out the end of the year, so I didn’t get much writing done in December, but I did spend some quality time with family and friends.

Going forward for 2020 I told my family I would be looking to complete, and publish, four novels. That will include book two in my Half Blood Sorceress series, book four in my litRPG series, finishing up Vertigo and publishing that on amazon, and …. I’m not sure what the final book will be yet, but I have a few ideas.

I have been scheduling time to write, read, and edit for this year. Three things I need to do more of in order to get my goals. I’ve also been making some plans to do something more with my art because it makes me happy, and is a nice break from writing when I need it. It also gives me something to do while listening to podcasts.

We’ve also committed to taking better care of ourselves, Bjorn and I. We’ve been eating more salads, going on walks, and getting to the gym more. It’s making him feel better, I’m still struggling with the exercise part, but I can be pretty stubborn, so I haven’t given up yet. I would just like to get to the point where it doesn’t feel awful every time I go… Don’t treat your body badly for years on end, folks, fixing it sucks.

Overall I have high hoped for 2020 going forward. More writing, more art, and more creativity in general. Lets see how far I can go with this.

Top Reads of 2019

I read a lot in 2019, and I enjoyed…almost everything I read. I stuck to a lot of series, with a few random books thrown in, and almost entirely novels this year. Unusual for me since I like short stories, and comics, but that’s where my time reading went this year.

I also read quite a bit of litRPG. Fitting since I was writing more of it. This may be one reason I haven’t been reading short stories… there aren’t any in litRPG. I managed to find two, and that was difficult, though there are a few novellas, but even they are rare.

Some of my tops!

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The Dark Herbalist series. I only read the first two so far, but the next two are on my list. I love the swash buckling nature of it all. I started the third book, but got annoyed with the first few chapters. I’m still going to push through and see what happens with it though.

The Noobtown Series started with a man’s character creation being lead by a demon. After he gets control he rushes into the game world, and finds a starter village that is overrun by monsters. Loving this series, and can’t wait for more to come out.

The Divine Seed series is a different take on the dungeon core idea. A soul seed from the world tree of Norse mythology is sent to a distant realm to set down roots, and immediately things start going wrong. It’s a really good series that keeps upping the stakes, and this dungeon cares more about testing the metal of those inside than simply feasting. Book three is on my short list to read in 2020.

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Life Reset needs more books. I love this series! Human stuck as a goblin in a game? Yes please. The fact that he needs to keep upping his levels to get out of the game, and the humans who trapped him there in the first place keep trying to kill him, is really

The Crafer’s Dungeon is another one of those dungeon cores that do something different. This core just wants to craft and uses all her traps to try and make a crafting location. She only fights if those around her won’t let her craft in peace. Can’t wait for book three.

Alpha Company is another series I read. I’ve only got one cover up there but that’s because there were eight books, and I read them all. Now a complete series, I’m sad it’s over, but it was a fantastic world to visit. Also, this involves a harem so if you’re not into it maybe it’s not for you. (Though I really wish the author would go back and update his old covers so they all match. Come on Daniel!)

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Some of the stand along books that I loved this year include:

Bone Dungeon. The second book will be out this year. It is more in the traditional dungeon core style with a dungeon creating creature to fight adventurers, but it adds a dose of comedy to the mix and I really enjoyed it.

CivCEO is a civilization style game, and unlike anything else I have read in the litRPG area. Definitely portal fiction where the main character is transported to a magical land by a wayward goddess and dropped off as a mistake. But he quickly owns the situation, and makes the best of it in this new game of civ.

The Legacy Builder is actually a series, but I only read the first book. I will probably make my way through the rest of the series in 2020. This starts with the main character being robbed, and scammed, and he is absolutely thrilled about it! And doesn’t take long to get his own back. A really fun city builder litRPG.

And lastly, The Tower of Babel which is only on the bottom of my list because it is an abandoned series. The last book came out in 2017, and the author has said he doesn’t know when he’ll get back to it. A pity because the first two books were really good. They can, however, stand on their own. There just isn’t the satisfaction of the main character making it to the top of the tower.

I did read a lot of other books this year, but these were the top picks. You can find the rest of my reads, and the reviews, here.

Kindle Unlimited for FREE for 3 months!

Amazon Prime day was just last weekend, but they didn’t stop everything. I just found out today that they are giving away three months of Kindle Unlimited for absolutely free for three months. You have to cancel after the three months or get charged $10, but there is no obligation to keep your subscription after the three months.

If you have a phone, tablet, computer, or any other Android or Apple device, you can read kindle books wherever you are. And the authors still get paid, so it’s great for everyone involved.

Also, my books are in KU so if there is one you’ve been thinking about reading the next three months have you covered. From litRPG to fantasy, and all the short stories in between.

It doesn’t matter how much or how little you read, this is your chance to check out what is available in KU, and get your summer reading. Here are some suggestions:
The Hollow Series by Kim Harrison (A little like a female Dresden, but with her own twists.)
Ascend Online by Luke Chmilenko is one of the best litRPG adventures I’ve ever read.
Life Reset by Shemer Kuznits where a player gets trapped playing a monster and the only way out is to get stronger.
The Fallen Empire series by Lindsay Buroker. Think Firefly, cowboys in space, with a new flare.
The Baine Chronicals by Jasmine Walt. A young shifter in a world of mages. Fantasy with a touch of steam punk and political intrigue.

Happy Reading!

Crissy

Adventures Await!

The next book in The Hub World series is out!

The virtual world holds many dangers, and secrets.

Ever since that faithful day Jupiter was left standing alone on the beach, he’s been avoiding the virtual world. Staying away hasn’t been easy. When reality is nothing but a cell and powdered food, how could he resist the siren call of freedom and a chance to make amends with his best friend?

In order to find Cas, Jupiter must travel to The Hub, the center of all virtual worlds.

There are new opportunities, new people, and new AI’s just dying to meet him. If he can manage to find Cas, then maybe they can find out just how far the rabbit hole goes and just what troubles been waiting for them below the surface.

 

I also have two short stories that are free this weekend. Now is your time to grab them.

Footsteps– a man who takes a trip out to the woods to deal with his fathers death and ends up dealing with something else entirely.
The Ring – a thief finds a ring with some interesting properties….

Hello Texas!

It is March first, and we have started our new life here in Texas.

It took five days to drive from Seattle to Houston. We would drive six to ten hours a day, stopping along the road to visit with friends, have lunch, and get out and stretch. When the sun went down we found a place to stay, and get up bright and early the next morning to push on.

It rained from Seattle to northern CA. We were so happy to get out of the rain. Still, it was cold until we got to southern CA.

The land was beautiful, from the mountains in the north west still covered in snow, to the warm deserts in Arizona and western Texas. The place we are staying in The Woodlands has….well…woods. I was so happy to see trees again! So much of AZ to TX is bereft of trees, and I really missed them.

During the week traveling I managed to write quite a bit and flesh out book 3, Steel Line, as well. Because I was only writing on my tablet and phone I had files saved on each of them that were not connected to my actual scrivener. Yesterday I compiled everything together and rewrote a bit. I’m really happy with how it’s turning out.

Steel Line is going to be a lot longer than the first two books, and have a nice dungeon crawl. It’s been fun to write it, especially because I have been digging into the world building a lot more. Can’t wait to get it done and out to everyone. I’m hoping by next month. Even while moving, transferring things from our home to the trash, and thrift stores, and trying to see as many people as possible, I still managed to write about half my normal monthly total. Now that I’m writing full time I’m aiming for a lot more, though.

For THIS weekend you can get book 1, Steel Soul, for free. Click right here! Book two is also available on KU as well.

There are great dangers in the forest…

Jupiter and Cas are out adventuring again, this time in the pass going toward Uldwin, a bustling coastal city. But a trip through a mountain pass is never easy in an RPG. Steel Heart is out today!

If you would prefer to read in KU both Steel Soul and Steel Heart will be available in KU within a couple of days.

You can also get Costume Shop for free today. Costume Shop was the story I released for Halloween, and it has a very R.L. Stein feel to it.

I am already hard at work on book three of my litRPG series, because gaming never ends.

Being Productive

Today has been an incredibly productive day, and it’s only 8:30. It feels weird.

I finished reading two books. Dungeon Born, which was amazing, and First Blood, which was a decent short story.

I also did some editing on both my second litRPG book, and my second Half Blood Sorceress novels. Both are coming along pretty quickly, and is awesome.

I’ll probably go write a little more tonight because this is all energizing, and I have time. It’s fantastic!

Productivity for the win! I’m going to hang onto it for a while because I know the days will come that aren’t productive and I’ll feel guilty, but for right now I’m going to enjoy it.

Favorite Reads of 2017!

I set out with a goal of 30 books this year, and managed to read 30. I will admit, I upped my book count because I realized they wouldn’t all be novels. I had a few graphic novels, and some short stories in the mix, as well as a few audio books for my long commutes.

In all I read 16 novels, ten short stories, and four graphic novels.

I’d have to say the Baine Chronicles were my absolute favorite this year. Jasmine Walt spun a fantastic story about a shifter hybrid who gets caught with her magic on display and has to avoid being killed, then ends up rescuing the arch mage. So much allegory for real life in this series. Lots of magic, and mischief. Loved every page and I read the first six books pretty quickly.

Star Nomad by Lindsay Buroker is another favorite. This read very much like Firefly, and Buroker wasn’t afraid to say it up front. That’s what she was going for, and she managed it with flying colors.

Dungeon Crawl by Skyler Grant hit on a second love of mine, LitRPG, which I didn’t even know was a thing until just this month. I’ve been enjoying Sword Art Online, Kilobyte by Piers Anthony, and other movies and books in this genre, but didn’t know it had an actual name until just recently. Dungeon Crawl scratched that itch (so to say) quite nicely, and I’ll be reading more of these types of books this year.

I also read Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker. This is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to make their story telling better. I had to rewrite a lot of chapters because of this book, but my novels are so much better because of that rewrite. Worth it!

Lastly I’m going to say Grizzly Shark is my favorite graphic novel this year. Oh, Heathen and LumberJanes were good, but Grizzly Shark is one of those books that will stick with me for the rest of forever. With sharks swimming through the trees to eat everyone, and irreverent jokes on every page, I loved it. Crass, unapologetic humor that goes out of it’s way to just be itself. Would read again!

Of the other books, there were some good ones, and a few fell short, but nothing really bad. The books I chose just stood out a bit more than the others, either because I loved the series as a whole, it hit that nestalgia button, or it was incredibly memorable (queue the grizzly shark!)

How did your reading challenge go?