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The Troll's Toll coverThe Troll’s Toll is a Retailored Fairy Tales novella following Princess Lilly, the ultimate middle child. She’s lost in the crowd with nine siblings and her father struggles to even remember her name.

Her father’s disregard goes far deeper than that though. She discovers how unimportant she is to him when there isn’t enough money for the bridge toll, so he pays the toll with her – giving her over to the troll that runs the bridge.

From princess to housemaid, Lilly’s got a lot to deal with, and she even has to learn how to do the chores that are now her job. When your boss is known for grinding peoples bones to make his flour you sure don’t want to keep him waiting for dinner. And yet, the troll is not the most dangerous thing in the forest.

Set in the same world as Charming (readers of Charming will get to enjoy a few cross over moments), The Troll’s Toll is slightly more a ‘cozy’ adventure, as compared to Charming‘s galavanting around the countryside style adventure, but there’s just as much fantasy, wonder, and adversity.

Grab it for cheap at 99c(USD), or if you’re hunting for an even better deal join my newsletter to receive an email when I do promotions.

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Game_of_Thrones_title_cardBlogging again over on the Vision Writers website today while riding the high of watching the first episode of the new season of Game of Thrones. What I’m blogging about however is one of those ‘filler’ shows the networks put on before and after to try and rope in the viewers and how that filler show might actually prove helpful to writers (both myself and others).

Understanding Powerful Scenes with Game of Thrones

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Now that Charming is out in Leading Edge, and The Troll’s Toll is getting close to release I thought it was time to look into getting a logo for the Retailored Fairy Tales series which they are both a part of.

The Retailored Fairy Tales series is a world where a lot of my stories happen, a world where fairy tale happenings are every day occurrences, though like with real life, the happy ending isn’t assured and more is happening behind the scenes than in your usual fairy tales.

The upcoming releases of Glass Bones (in Ink and Locket‘s upcoming LGBT Warriors Anthology) and Groundskeeper (in Stupefying Stories) also take place in this world, as well as the novella I recently completed, Glass Slippers, about how the glass slippers actually came to be on Cinderella’s feet. And don’t forget the several sequels to Charming!

With so much coming out I thought it a good idea to get them all under a nice little umbrella together, so people could know they were all in the same fun universe.

So without further ado:

RFT

What do you think? Are you looking forward to any particular Retailored Fairy Tales? I’d love to hear from you.

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285174I’ll admit a more apt word choice would have been contradictory rather than paradoxical, but you’ve gotta agree, paradoxical just sounds so much cooler ;p

Another writing prompt over on the Vision Writers website for you to check out.

 

Writing Prompt: Paradoxical Titles

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ASIM-63-CoverIt never rains but it pours, doesn’t it? Only a few days after Charming‘s release in Leading Edge Magazine 68, my next short story, Gaps, has launched in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine issue 63.

Gaps is about Derek, a young man with an unusual memory problem. He doesn’t just forget things with alarming frequency, his mind sometimes fills in those gaps with false memories which are often indistinguishable from reality. One day, in the car park at the Indooroopilly shops he sees a gap in the concrete, and instead of the lower level of the car park below, he sees a forest and a mysterious young woman. He must be creating the memory, but there’s something about the girl in that other world, the way she looks at him, the way he wants to be with her. It’s got to be real. Right?

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (sometimes referred to as ASIM) is a fantastic Australian magazine (that they should totally sell at airports for a laugh ;p ) that I’ve been reading for years, so if you like this volume consider subscribing.

You can buy both the print version and the various e-formats direct from ASIM.

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Leading Edge 68
Click to buy

I’m elated today to announce that Charming has been released in issue 68 of Leading Edge Magazine.

Even more exciting, that’s Prince James, my protagonist, on the cover! I may or may not have been dancing since I first realised a couple of weeks back when I received a sneak peek at the cover.

My morning has been a flurry of social media sharing it and I just sent out my first email newsletter ever announcing it. If you’re a newsletter member please let me know if the email looked good – it really is my first ever attempt!

Do you not know anything about Charming yet? Charming is one of my Retailored Fairy Tales, the very first to be released. Here’s the story in one line:

“To keep his small kingdom from bankruptcy Prince James sells his services to worried parents and lazy lovers to rescue their princesses for them. His latest mission however, is proving to be his most difficult.”

A dire wolf, an enchanter’s eldest daughter, lies, a princess trapped in a tower at the bottom of a lake, and the dark secrets of the Black Forest, all while trying to keep his kingdom afloat and maybe, just maybe, finding his love-at-first-sight girl.

Right now it’s only available in paperback (buy here) but the ebook version will be along shortly and I’ll let you know at once when it’s released.

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Under_ConstructionHi guys, just a little post to let you know things are going to be chopping and changing a bit around here, so if things look a little weird, it’s not permanent – I’m playing around with the themes and look of the website.

The content is still the same, and (mostly) should still remain visible if you want to keep browsing, but things might not look as pretty as they should ;p

I’ll let you know when things are finalised.

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mydeskATMThus far I’ve done fairly well with my goals this year. I’ve had to do a few reassessments – mostly for goals I didn’t set well in advance (see yesterday’s goals round up for an example).

This month the website becomes my focus for a bit. It’s been four years and I’m still rocking the same look. However I’m not sure exactly what will change. I’m spending a lot of time looking through themes, seeing if I can use multiple themes on the one site, looking into subdomains, trying to decide how to make my books and stories pages look prettier. And then there’s the really big goal…

I’m going to self publish The Troll’s Toll. Ideally this month, but if things get in the way next month, I don’t want to rush it and publish rubbish after all. Yet neither do I want to wait too long.

I’ve self published a few flash fiction pieces here on the site before, but they’ve never made it anywhere else on the internet. Except for those little flash pieces, everything has been traditionally published. But my vision is to be a hybrid author, and since novellas are typically a hard sell to traditional markets those are what I’m going to start publishing myself.

I’ve been working with a designer for a logo for the whole line of my Retailored Fairy Tales (which Charming, coming out this month in Leading Edge magazine #68, is a part of), working on a cover, the last of the copy edits, and soon will be diving into formatting. There’s much to do and it’s very exciting!

So, my goals for April:

  • Revamp of website
  • Release The Troll’s Toll
  • Help with the promotion of the releases of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #63 (which contains my story Gaps) and Leading Edge #68 (which contains my story Charming)

Stretch goal:

  • Write first draft of (very loose working title) Kitsune In Space

You need to read the ‘Space’ part of the title all deep voiced and drawn out like a TV show announcer in the 70s.

Also, though I really should be focusing I keep thinking of writing my own game using software/websites like Twine or One More Story Games. But focus. Put on those old fashioned horse-blinders and focus Kirstie, you’ve got enough to do this month already!

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Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons
Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

March was a fairly busy month, with two long weekend trips away (one to see my parents before they headed-off on an around Australia trip they won’t return from until Christmas, and the other an extended Easter holiday), the Aurealis Awards ceremony, and Xander’s last few weeks of his first ever term of school (plus first week of school holidays ;p ). Not that that stopped me, only slowed me down a touch.

Regarding goal #2 (being a killer president(not to be mistaken with president killer ;p )) I went to the Aurealis Awards Ceremony in my official capacity. I couldn’t help but bask in the glory of Vision Writers presence at the ceremony as our founders were MCs, past presidents and members presented awards, received awards, and my VP was a judge in the horror categories. If you want to read a more thorough run-down check out the post on the Vision Writers Website. I also did a lot of work on the upcoming Vision Writers anthology (mostly people and time wrangling, but you’d be surprised how much effort that can take sometimes).

Goal #3(work on my novellas) went swimmingly as I completed the first draft for Glass Slippers (though went quite over the projected word count ;p ), and finished my final revision of The Troll’s Toll before it’s upcoming publication(more to come on that very soon!).

Regarding goal #8(keep learning) I’ve been listening to podcasts nearly all month. A huge backlog of The Creative Penn podcasts, the new The Self Publishing Formula podcast, and the Kobo Writing Life podcast. If I haven’t learned a few new things in listening to easily 20+ hours of podcasts then I either am omniscient and all knowing, or too thick to learn ;p

No significant reportable progress on the rest of the yearly goals, but some pretty solid results on what I did get done.

In regards to my March specific goals:

  • Write Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters (projected length 7,000 words): I wrote 6,000 words of it then realised that I was going to go waaaaay over the word limit for the anthology I wanted to submit to. Also my conflict at the start was poor. Very poor. And that’s being generous with myself. I’ve come up with a better plot outline and will work on it later in the year.
  • Write Glass Slippers (projected length 15,000 words): Finished the first draft at just over 30,000 words. It’s a pretty solid first draft, with only one trouble area I’m aware of ATM. Currently letting it percolate before revising.
  • Begin revisions on both Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters and Glass Slippers: This was a stupid idea. Stupid. I realised if I did rush both first drafts and try to revise them for submission by the end of the month I’d just end up submitting severely sub-par work, so I scrapped this goal entirely, because there’s no point submitting junk. It doesn’t matter how badly you want to be a part of that anthology, you won’t be if you send the editor rushed rubbish. Better to miss out and not give yourself a name for submitting crap.
  • Help with the promotion of the release of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #63 (which contains my story Gaps) and Leading Edge #68 (which contains my story Charming): Lol, neither ended up releasing this month. Leading Edge will be out any day now though – watch this space for further news!
  • Complete plot outline for first Charming Sequel: Yes and no. I realised what was wrong/missing in the plot outline I did last month. The problem is this needs to be two separate stories. I’ve got a very good idea for the first half of the split(needs to be properly outlined still), and last month’s outline mostly takes care of the second part(just needs irrelevant parts removed).
  • Complete plot outline for (working title)Kitsune In Space: Done, and I can’t wait to write this story, Japanese shape shifters in space, and a trans character = my hands up in the air like I’m on the best roller coaster ever. I also spent a whole day working on the kanji for the main characters names(this matters, here’s why).
  • Figure out the plotting problems with the end of Skeleton Romance(working title) so I can finish the novel: I’ve made a little headway on this, but nothing significant
  • Complete final revisions on The Troll’s Toll so it’s ready for editors: Yes I did this one! It’s being proofread/copy edited as we speak! You’ll be seeing and hearing a lot about The Troll’s Toll over the next couple of days/weeks 😀

All up I kept pretty busy in March, and April doesn’t look any quieter.

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Too Many WordsOne thing that ALL of my projects thus far this year have taught me is that I am a severe under-estimator when it comes to setting projected word lengths.

If you have any doubts here are my estimates for the writing projects I’ve started this year:

Skeleton Romance (working title) novella, I projected 20,000 words originally. I upped that figure to 30,000 once I saw where I was in my plot outline after writing 15,000 words. I then upped it again to 40,000. I’ve currently written 43,000 words and am just about to begin the final climb towards the climax, and as it stands I strongly doubt I can do the ending in less than 10,000 words. So basically, this novella is a novel.

Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters‘ projected length is 7,000 words. I’ve written 6,000. Of course on closer inspection its a terribly slow start, and I need to ramp up the conflict before the inevitable appearance of the swamp monster (what, you thought there wouldn’t be one? Who do you think I am?). So basically, I’m going to scrap just about all of those 6,000 words and rewrite. Maybe I’ll come in a bit closer to the estimate this time…

Glass Slippers was to be a long short story/short novella (depends on your own ideas of what word counts define those terms) and I projected a 10,000 word length. In fact I was worried I wouldn’t hit the 10,000 because the market I intend to submit it to won’t take less than 10,000 words. I just finished it at 30,700 words. Frustratingly enough the market I’d wanted to submit it to has a roof limit of 20,000 words.

So, in case you missed it, I can’t accurately project word counts on my stories this year. I must have lost the talent last year while wallowing in the editing trenches.

On a slight side note, if my project Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters excites you because you like swamp monsters go check out The Bandershin by Talitha Kalago for another Australian swamp monster story. Don’t forget to review it if you like it too!