The fairytale books I never meant to write

So, true confessions time. I don’t really care for fairytale retellings. Somewhere between Disney and Robin McKinley, I kind of lost my taste for them. I guess because it’s always the same plot? Like, I know Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast are good stories, but … there’s really only so many twists you can put on those stories to freshen them up. Believe me, I’ve read a few. All paranormal romances are Beauty and the Beast, pretty much without exception.

Anyway, I had the bright idea to stick tieflings in space and frame it as a Beauty and the Beast story. I can’t even remember why I thought this was a good idea. It was a week before Christmas, and the folks on my writing Discord were writing stories to swap on Christmas Eve. So I bashed out this little story in a few days about a human girl and an alien guy living in the same house as political hostages to ensure the good behavior of their politicians during peace talks. Naturally they fall for each other, and naturally a bad guy interferes.

My writing group loved it and begged me to expand it into a book. I liked the story, and I had some ideas about how to expand the worldbuilding, so I took a month or two and rewrote it into a nice novella. It became The Song of the Rose.

Well, once I’d written one story in this universe, I wanted to write another one. A Cinderella plot began to write itself in my head. What if, instead of the prince seeking Cinderella because of a glass slipper, he was seeking her because she’s the pilot of a living warship nobody else can tame? And what if, like, she and her ship have to fight really bad aliens? And what if the prince is kind of useless and lovable? So I wrote it, just to see if I could. It became Of Stars and Ashes.

Then I took a year off to write some other stuff. In the meantime, people read my two fairytales and asked for them in paperback. But the books are so little, I didn’t want to make paperbacks of teeny tiny books. So I promised that I would write a third one, and then make a paperback of all three books together.

I knew I wanted to do Snow White, and I wanted to do it as a political assassination story. (Think about it–the wicked queen trying to murder Snow White over and over? It’s political assassination attempts!) But I couldn’t come up with a guy to be the prince who rescues her. It took me the better part of a year to figure out how I wanted to frame this story, and to figure out the personalities of both the guy and Snow White.

Two different things made it click. The first was reading a book with an introverted healer character. The second was a discussion on my writing discord about how all women are written as spunky, bratty chicks who don’t need no man. Where are the gentle, soft-spoken girls who are genuinely nice and kind of shy?

I instantly knew that I had my male lead and my Snow White. The introverted human medic and the shy alien girl who is the target of a vicious political assassin. So I present to you the latest installment in the Celestial Fairytale series: Fairer than Snow!

I’ve also got an omnibus with all three books in it. By the time you read this, the paperback should be available here.

Anyway, I already have another story in mind that I want to write. It will be based on Snow White and Rose Red, except it will be a brother and sister who help out a Rox guy in trouble.

Help, I’ve fallen down the fairytale rabbit hole and I can’t get out!

The fantastic cannot exist without the mundane

I’ve had a few thoughts bouncing around in my head lately and I’d like to try to articulate them.

So, I’ve been reading a bit more widely than I have in years, dipping into westerns and historical fiction and stuff like that. And really, the venue doesn’t matter as long as the story is a ripping good yarn. Good guys are good guys whether they carry revolvers or swords. Bad guys are bad guys whether they’re robbing a bank or assassinating a king.

One funny thing I’ve noticed is that there are two sides to all stories. There is the fantastic and there is the mundane.

The heroes still have to eat, drink, and sleep. They still have to live somewhere and hold down jobs. They have daily responsibilities, or they did before the story kicked in. They have annoying neighbors and coworkers. They have lives, because if there’s no mundane, the fantastic becomes the mundane.

I tried to read this really weird book that was weird for the sake of being weird. Eventually the flying beasts pulling the chariots and the floating orbs in the air and the weirdly shapeshifting monsters just became pedantic. This was meant to be super fantastic and immersive and interesting. Instead, it just was so weird that it was boring. I slugged along for a couple of chapters, trying to get to the plot advertised on the back of the book, but eventually I gave up. There was so much weirdness, the story never grounded itself in anything I could understand. I needed that mundane element, the slice of normal that makes the fantastic interesting by contrast.

As I’ve been reading historical fiction, I’ve noticed that all you have to do is change a few elements to make it fantasy. Change the names of Roman Britain to made-up words and you have an instant fantasy novel. Change the horses to spaceships and the western becomes a sci-fi. As long as the story and characters are solid, the genre elements just add window dressing. Because the story, itself, is grounded in the mundane. The fantastic is the icing on top.

The more books I chuck into my Read pile this year, the more I encounter authors who struggle with this balance. As a longtime reader, I tend to think that this is self-evident, but apparently most authors don’t read enough. So let me tell you, authors: build your story from the mundane up. I know the fantastic elements are the most fun to think about, but you need that mundane grounding. It keeps your characters human and lets readers connect with them better.

Considering Noblebright

I’ve been considering the books I like to read and write lately, and how to connect with authors who also read and write the same things I do. As I’ve been sniffing around the internet, I happened across this Noblebright term. This is the official definition:

Noblebright fantasy is about how hope, courage, integrity, generosity, and kindness are not silly, pointless, and naive, but rather courageous choices that make the world a better place. Actions have consequences, and even good characters can make terrible mistakes, but in a noblebright story, even villains are not without hope. Redemption is possible, and justice is expected. Noblebright stories remind us that good is worth fighting for.

-C.J. Brightley

Apparently, it was started to help readers to find hopeful, moral epic fantasy just when the market was being flood with grimdark Game of Thrones copycats.


a type of fantasy fiction with characters who behave in ways that are morally bad and a subject matter that is sad, hopeless, or violent.


Incidentally, Christian fanfiction writers on is doing the same thing with the Salt and Light tag. I was happy to see this and immediately added it to my own work. has a list of authors whose books fit this profile. They don’t necessarily have to be Christians, but their books tend to embrace a Judeo-Christian worldview: namely that good is rewarded, evil is punished, and virtue, nobility, peace, and justice are real things and they are worth fighting for.

I’ve been hanging around other authors whose books fit this profile, namely Shari Branning, JC Joiner, H.L. Burke, Marc Secchia, and others. I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying Clean Fiction Magazine, an indie magazine that reviews clean books in the general market to new adult age bracket. At last, an escape from the all-encompassing Young Adult scourge! I’m currently making my way through a nice little book called Grimkeeper that I found in the magazine, and I’ll be buying back issues to get more recommendations.

As I’ve gotten older, I find that I’ve aged out a lot of popular tropes in the fantasy market, and Christian fantasy in particular. For instance, I am 40 years old and I don’t want to read about high school anymore. I don’t mind reading about teens, just … don’t make me go back to cliques and mean girls and jocks, as well as all the other tired old stereotypes (“They call me a freak because I’m different from them”). I don’t want to read about people who doubt their faith. (“OMG God must not exist because he allowed that fairy to take away my magic!”) (Bonus points if this person is a burned-out pastor, which for some reason is a staple of contemporary Christian fiction.)

I want to read people who are grounded in their faith and stick to their principles no matter what. This means they don’t sleep around, they fight for what’s right and just and true. They get smacked down a lot, but they triumph in the end, because Good is ultimately rewarded and Evil is ultimately punished. (Especially the not sleeping around. I can’t tell you how many otherwise moral characters I’ve read who are so promiscuous you have to wonder if the author realizes how broken their worldview is.)

This isn’t really that difficult of a list of requirements. Heroism and virtue used to be a staple of adventure fiction, whether the heroes traveled via dragon or spaceship (or both!). But it’s surprisingly hard to find, even among nominally Christian authors. I’ve been trying to get back into reading more fiction, since I kind of fell off the bandwagon in the past few years. Seems like everything I tried to read was something I’d read a thousand times before. And not like … just a well-done trope. If you give me a good rendition of the Chosen One or the Prophecy or Arranged Marriage or the Super Secret Magic Power, I’ll read it all day. But most of them aren’t executed very well.

So I started trying to find specific authors who shared similar views as I did, and tried to work them into their fiction. Patrick Carr is one such author who succeeds in permeating his books with not only a Christian worldview (good is rewarded, evil is punished), but takes time to chew on philosophical arguments like “if God is good, why does evil exist?”

I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of what’s out there, so I’ve been very thankful for Clean Fiction Magazine for lending a hand. They’re a new magazine with only four issues out on Amazon, but each issue is nice and thick with reviews in lots of genres. It kind of reminds me of what Reader’s Digest used to be, back when it featured, you know, stuff from books, and not women’s magazine slop. They got onto my radar when they reviewed Song of the Rose, and the next issue will also feature a review of Sanctuary. Fingers crossed that Blade and Staff for Hire makes it into the summer issue!

With a bunch of authors going back to blogging and beginning to drift away from social media, I’d like to join arms with them and help them out. Looking at you, JJ Johnson! I’m still thinking about how to do that, but maybe together we can start carving out a community of ex-social media people who just want to read a good book.

My 2022 life and creativity recap – what I’d like to achieve

Well, here we are at the end of 2022! As usual, the year went all kinds of crazy places I didn’t foresee, as years tend to do.

At the beginning of the year, my resolutions were to work in the yard and update my blog more. Ha. Ha.

Well, I worked in the yard, got it into good enough shape for the kids to play in. We got the terrible leak under the house fixed, which required a scorched-earth replumb of the entire house (it’s a doublewide so it’s not actually that difficult). However, the leak has led to the foundation shifting, so we have to get the trailer leveled NEXT. Ugh, cascading house repairs.

On the creativity front, I published three books in 2022:

Sanctuary is the eighth book in the After Atlantis series, which is sort of urban fantasy and superhero adjacent. Song of the Rose is Beauty and the Beast in space, and Stars and Ashes is Cinderella in space, same universe. They’re little novellas and I love them both dearly. Especially the giant stone spaceships that eat asteroids for fuel and argue with their pilots. Marek is the goodest boi frigate.

In June I started doing art commissions, and that consumed the rest of my year, all the way into November. I think I slightly over-committed, lol! I was totally burned out and closed commissions until March 2023.

I wrote an entire After Atlantis book that I had to scrap because it didn’t work. It didn’t work on so many levels. What it really is is the first book of the spinoff series I’ve been planning to write, where a kid and his robot companion solve mysteries in a world with superpowers. So I shelved it until I can ACTUALLY finish After Atlantis, then I will revisit Max and Zero and give them the series they want so badly.

Meanwhile, I sat down and wrote the REAL book nine, tentatively called Irregulars. It’s completely finished and just awaiting edits, and I’m quite happy with it. James is hunting the elemental aspects, as he was told to do in Mercurion. He has all of them except Air because the air elemental is dead. He reaches out to Jayesh, who in turn reaches out to the shard runner kids Jayesh befriended back in Bloodbound. Their efforts to befriend a girl with a nascent air aspect shard wind up taking them all kinds of fun places, eventually to the throne of the Emperor of Atlantis, himself. I’m hoping to publish that one first quarter 2023.

I also have a little sword and sorcery book in the hopper called Blade and Staff for Hire. It’s basically set in 1400s fantasy Spain, where a warrior with a huge sword and a young but powerful healer go on a road trip to find wives. Of course, finding girls isn’t that simple, and there winds up being all kinds of action and monster-slaying, and the warrior’s girl winds up being a delicate badass you just want to wrap in bubblewrap. The book just needs a couple of rounds of edits and it can hit the shelves, too. I just didn’t have the attention for it while trying to finish Irregulars.

So, for 2023, I want to get both of those books published. I’m writing the tenth and final book of After Atlantis, the big war for the Atlantean Islands that the series has been building to. I’m sorry, my readers who suffered through Sanctuary, it will all be worth it in books 9 and 10. 😀

Let’s see, resolutions for 2023 … I’d like to play more games with my kids and husband, maybe stream some. I need to get my oldest kid driving (screams in terror), and get this house finally fixed up. I also want to plant a big garden and do some canning this year. I don’t really want to plan anything more than that, because life is always so crazy and unpredictable. We’ll see how I did when I check in at the end of 2023!

Magnetic field musings

Every so often, I start reading about magnetic fields and thinking about science fiction concepts.

I was reading this article about what might happen to the animals if the magnetic poles reverse, and I found this interesting tidbit:

Numerous experiments undertaken by him and others since then have shown that many living things avail themselves of the magnetic field. Organisms as diverse as hamsters, salamanders, sparrows, rainbow trout, spiny lobsters, and bacteria all do it. “I would go so far as to say that it’s nearly ubiquitous,” says John Phillips, a behavioral biologist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University who himself has detected this ability in everything from fruit flies to frogs. (There’s no scientific evidence that humans have this “sixth sense,” though curiously, our brains do contain magnetite, the mineral thought to aid other animals’ brains in detecting the field.) (Emphasis mine)

I started poking around, looking for articles about what magnetic fields do to the human body. This article says generally, nothing, but there has been some correlation between sickness in humans and living in proximity to high-tension powerlines.

There’s also problems with what happens if people move too much during an MRI:

An MRI scanner is essentially a big magnet that produces a powerful magnetic field of around 3 tesla (or 3 million microtesla) — millions of times larger than the fields we’re normally exposed to. But because it’s a static magnetic field, MRI scanners don’t exert any noticeable effect on the body. That would change, however, if the patient inside the scanner were to rapidly move his or her head back and forth.

“Moving quickly induces a time-varying field, so by doing that you are inducing currents in different structures of your brain,” says Legros. Those currents may lead to nausea, loss of balance, a metallic taste in your mouth, or in some cases, magnetophosphenes.

I’ve heard other stuff about humans and magnetic fields, but I’ll be darned if I can find any sources for it. I’ll list it here, and just take it with a grain of salt.

Apparently humans get headaches and nausea if they’re isolated from the earth’s magnetic field for too long.

I saw a video of a fox pouncing in the snow to find mice. The photographer observed that the fox had better luck catching mice when he was oriented north/south.

Mammal brains have a particular electronic resonance at a certain frequency. This resonance is compatible with plant life and makes plants grow better when they are around animals and people. This seems to be what’s happening in the Mythbuster episode Talking to Plants, where they had greenhouses with recordings of voices talking nice to plants, voices cursing plants, heavy metal music, and silence. Heavy metal grew the biggest plants, but the ones with voices also thrived more than the ones with silence.

(And not being able to find sources for this is driving me nuts, but the internet is a cesspool of new agers selling magnetic bracelets, or SEO farms with AI-generated articles.)

Anyway, all this is more or less a springboard for some science fiction worldbuilding. Just say, in general, humans are attuned to Earth’s magnetic field and we need it to live and be healthy. Now, let’s talking about Jupiter’s magnetic field.

There’s a band of red near the north pole where the force lines emerge, but there are two blue areas, one near the equator that researchers dubbed “The Great Blue Spot” where they re-enter as well as another blue area near the south pole, in essence giving it two south poles. A large part of the magnetic field also appears to be concentrated in the northern hemisphere instead of being evenly distributed between the poles.

“It’s a baffling puzzle,” Kimberly Moore, a planetary scientist at Harvard University and first author of the study tells Ryan F. Mandelbaum at Gizmodo. “Why is it so complicated in the northern hemisphere but so simple in the southern hemisphere?”

Jupiter’s magnetic field is super weird and has two south poles

Jupiter’s field is so strong that it tends to short out probes we send to check it out. That’s why NASA tends to send more probes to Saturn than Jupiter, even though Jupiter is closer.

What might that do to humans who colonized those moons? Would a stronger field drive us mad or give us cancer? What if it made us smarter and stronger?

Now extrapolate that out. There’s lots of gas giants in the neighborhood of our solar system, and they all have loads of moons to live on. Imagine one gas giant that makes people super smart, and we built universities there. Imagine there was one that granted superpowers. Imagine there was one that enabled us to teleport, or “go between” as they did in Dragonriders of Pern. Imagine there was one planet that caused humans to go mad, without exception, and people avoided it like the plague.

Has anybody written books like this? And if not, I think I might have to write them.

In search of goodness in modern books

A few years ago, I was listening to Elizabeth Elliot teach on the Fruits of the Spirit. I knew what Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, etc. were, but I’d never understood what Goodness was. It’s sandwiched in between kindness and gentleness, and my thinking was that Goodness was part of both of those. Kind of like saying “He’s nice.” It doesn’t mean anything.

So I was fascinated when Elizabeth Elliot defined Goodness as being high quality. “It’s like when we say, ‘This is a good cheese,’, or ‘This is a good vintage of wine’. In the same way, we are to be high-quality people.”

This stuck in my mind, especially as applied to writing. Was I portraying Goodness as desirable? Was I showing characters struggling to become higher and higher quality? After all, the refining process takes time and pain, both of which make for great stories.

Note: Holiness is: The state or character of being holy or sinless; purity of moral character; perfect freedom from all evil; sanctity.

Goodness is: The state or quality of being good, in any sense; excellence; purity; virtue; grace; benevolence.

Speaking of great stories, the other day, we were talking in my Discord about why Narnia and Lord of the Rings are still the Christian fantasy gold standards. One person said, “It’s wrong that their writings are still the best of Christian fantasy. By now we should have hundreds of works that are way better, and they’d be mostly honoured as those who started, not … all that it’s recommended when looking for Christian fantasy books.”

This got me thinking. As a Christian writer, I am obsessed with showing sinful man grappling with Ultimate Good. Evil is less interesting to me. Like, I pick up any Christian book, and yawn, it’s some lukewarm believer sinning again. You know what made Lewis and Tolkien stand out? They didn’t bother wallowing in the evil. Sauron has zero on-screen appearances. Instead, they grappled with Goodness, and man struggling to measure up. The Ring is a constant temptation, and arrayed against it are the Goodness of the elves, and Gandalf, and Gondor, and all the Good characters struggling to maintain their holiness in the face of corruption.

Goodness is treasured. It is something precious and desirable.

In Narnia, it’s each character coming to grips with Aslan. We’re not so much interested in what a pathetic waste of space Eustace is. We want to see him face Aslan and see how he changes. Each character is transformed by the end of each book by their confrontation with Good–they are either changed, or destroyed by it.

How many Christian books have been written since then that focus on man’s struggle with Goodness and Holiness and Righteousness? How many treasure goodness and constantly seek it out? I can’t think of any, and I’ve read quite a few. They kind of miss the point. Instead, they turn God into this cosmic battery that the hero channels in order to defeat the Bad Guys. Oh, and the hero wallows in evil. A lot. Like, in some books, the evil is pretty much front and center. This is no different from any book written by a non-believer.

Now, Mormons tend to get it right, and that’s why we have runaway authors like Sanderson and Meyers and Farland. They still write the stories of Man grappling with Good, although imperfectly. I think that’s why their books resonate so much.

For instance, Jeff Wheeler says in his Manifesto on Virtue:

When I was in college at San Jose State, I took Latin classes from Marianina Olcott. That is where I learned about the Roman concept of Virtus (pronounced “where-tuus”). It was a trait that the Romans respected, but it did not mean just virtue. It included other qualities too: prudentia (prudence), iustitia (justice), temperantia (self-control), and fortitudo (courage).

As I look around in the world today, I see that these traits are no longer honored and respected as they were in the past. Maybe that is why I love reading and why I have certain favorite movies I watch over and over again. You see, in my favorite books and films, the stories that grab me are about Virtus. All right, they can be cheesy sometimes. But I love that moment in Return of the Jedi when Luke throws down his light saber and tells the Emperor he failed to turn him to the Dark Side. That despite everything that will happen to his friends and (gulp) his “sister”, he surrenders and takes the blast of Force lightning full in the chest. That is Virtus.

I posted about this in a Christian writer’s group on social media. I received comments utterly dismissing my argument out of hand.

“Simple factor. [Narnia and LOTR] were not wrtten as “Christian” books. They were written for a secular audience and published by secular publishers. They were just writing great literature. They weren’t writing great “Christian” literature.

And both being classically trained lit professors probably didn’t hurt, especially considering the types of education they got. They probably wrote more during their teen years than most authors writing today have done in their entire lives”

Because Lewis and Tolkien were obviously gods among men and we can’t hope to achieve anything they did, or even study them to learn what they did. Yes. Very good lesson to draw from this.

I was also informed that stories that are dark and vile and end in death and despair have value. I have to wonder, to whom? English lit teachers? Fantasy readers seem to enjoy it with Game of Thrones, but I think that, even there, people still hope for some kind of a satisfying ending. There will probably never be one.

So, as a fellow Christian writer, I challenge every writer. Look at your books and see if you are glorifying good or evil. How many pages are devoted to villains and sin and perversion? How many pages are devoted to Goodness and Righteousness and Holiness? And I don’t mean in an ironic way. I mean in an honest, actual, doctrinal way, which shows what you know of Goodness?

Tolkien and Lewis changed the entire fantasy genre. Let’s change it again, writers. But we have to focus on grappling with the Good.

And now February

I kind of fell off the bandwagon with Bloganuary, sadly. I kept trying to do the prompts, but they were like, “Describe yourself as a tree” and “what do you feel when you look at the stars?” and … I had nothing. Or more like, I had way too much and it was too personal to put in a public blog, heh.

Anyway, now it’s February, and I need to get my rear in gear. I have a book to publish this month! It’s Beauty and the Beast set in space with aliens. It’s only a novella, probably barely topping 100 pages. I had my husband proof read it for me. He was ‘meh’ until he got to the kidnapping and space battle stuff, and then he was entertained. So hopefully this story will entertain guys as well as girls.

I’m hoping to have it out by the 14th for Valentine’s, so I’ll be formatting and launching it this week to get it live on all platforms before I announce it. I like to give people lots of buying options.

After that, I hope to get Sanctuary launched in March. It’s the next book in my After Atlantis series, and it’s still deep in revisions. I’m pondering whether to add a couple of scenes, and got bogged down. I’m very happy with it so far, though. It has the fluff and magic and wonder I was aiming for when I wrote it: basically, what happens when a guy whose very life force is infused into a magical island begins breaking his heart over a fickle girl. And how both him and his island begin to die in very apocalyptic ways. And how the girl has to straighten out her own problems in order to save him … and then still half-injured, stave off an attack of bad guys who would like nothing better than to drag both guy and girl off and leash them for their magic.

And then I have to write a fresh book and I have no idea how I’m going to top Sanctuary. 😀 😀

Here’s a manga-style book cover mockup for another story I’m playing with. It’s high fantasy inspired by Final Fantasy 14, which is interesting, because I loathe high fantasy. It’s just a little story about an angstball knight on a quest to find the wife he saw in a vision, and the healer who travels with him and thinks it’s great fun. They earn their keep by slaying monsters, so … it’s like fantasy battles and romance all in one.

A couple of artworks

Been working on a commission to start the year, and it’s been nice to be back in the saddle again. I’ve been studying a bunch of different art techniques, and I’ve been quite happy with the results.

This is the cover art for Power Burn (title under consideration) by H.L. Burke. It’s part of a series, so look her up for the others. I had a lot of fun painting this one, and I think it’ll be a great cover once it gets the text on it.

Final Fantasy white mage

I did this artwork as an entry into deviantart’s Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker contest. Competition was stiff, but it was fun to participate. I haven’t actually done a lot of art for FFXIV, despite enjoying the heck out of it. Certain plot points in the Heavensward expansion made me ugly cry. I played World of Warcraft for years and never got kicked in the feels the way FFXIV does.

Anyway, I’ve been over here writing fairytales in space. I just finished a little novella that is Beauty and the Beast in space, and I’m currently working on Cinderella in space. I have no idea who will want to read this nonsense, but I’m currently in love with my alien spaceships. Hoping to do Snow White in space and make it a little trilogy. 😀

How 2021 fared, resolutions for 2022

Yikes, it’s already the 3rd, and I haven’t written my yearly resolutions post yet!

First, a look at last year’s post.

My goals were to publish Mercurion in the early part of the year, and to buy a house. Mercurion wound up needing a rewrite that took most of the year, and it got launched in the fall. And we bought a house! We absolutely had to move in June when our rent was up, and everything worked out perfectly. God’s hand was totally in it all. We live in the country now, and after 15 years in apartments, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is. Here’s one of my posts about the wildflowers out here in the desert.

Flowers on jumping cholla cactus

My goals for 2022 are pretty loose. I want to get our overgrown property whipped into shape, I want to get the kids playing outside more, and I want to write the last After Atlantis book.

After Atlantis has been building to a huge war between the supers and the Exiled Atlanteans, who want to come home and plan to drive everyone out of the islands. I had a lot of scattered ideas of books that could take place during the war, then it dawned on me that I could do all of them in one book. And what an awesome book it would be. My husband is over here hyping about it, and I’m like, dude, I just barely started planning it. 😀

I want to get back to doing a weekly art post on my blog, here. I kind of forgot about updating it, between my deviantart, my other deviantart, my tumblr, my other tumblr, and my instagram, where I’m the most active. Poor blog.

Anyway, that is my very short New Years resolution post. I want to write 1 book and work out in the yard. And … that’s pretty much it. But man, if you could see the ragged state of this property, you’d agree that it’s going to take a whole year.

The most wonderful time of the year: end of year recaps

I just love December, and not because of Christmas. I mean, Christmas is nice, too. But I just love it when people start writing their end of year retrospectives. What art they made, what books they wrote, what they learned, where their journey of life took them. They usually come along about New Year’s, and I’m looking forward to them.

I haven’t had a chance to go back through my records and see how my books did this year. I’ll save that for the New Years retrospective, heh. But I was looking over the artwork I did this year, and I’m happy with my progress. Here’s my Art vs Artist meme:

artvsartist meme

You can get on twitter or instagram and look for #artvsartist and see loads and loads of people showing off their best work. It’s a neat way to find new artists to follow or commission.

I had other artworks I’m proud of that wouldn’t fit into the eight boxes. Here’s a couple:

Girl and guy back to back, painted in rough brush strokes
“But where has he gone?”
Dark angel of fire and light angel of ice

Each artwork has been a study in a new technique. I’m trying to learn all the time. Starting next year, I want to feature some new artists I’ve found whose work I’ve found to be absolutely marvelous.

On the writing front, I finally finished the next After Atlantis book, Sanctuary. It had to have a giant rewrite the way Mercurion did, because I wrote it while pregnant and stupid. I can write fluff while pregnant, but not action scenes. My brain just won’t do them. Sanctuary needed a some really big action scenes at the end, with everybody getting their Crowning Moment of Awesome, so I redid the climax to make it better. I was joking to my Discord that this book is hurt/comfort, hurt/comfort, cool thing, cool thing, cool thing.

I’ve written enough books now that I can be my own developmental editor, and I am a brutal one. I wrote my own letter to myself. “The first 100 pages are nice, if a bit thin. But those last 90 pages? Garbage. Do them over with more attention to each character.” Crushing when coming from someone else. Pretty grim when coming from yourself, too, heh heh. But it’s done now, and I’m hoping to launch the book late January. Just depends on how long editing and revisions takes. I already have the cover done, which I hope to showcase on the blog soon. It’s already up on my deviantart gallery, if you want to take a peek. 😉

Also, have a merry Christmas! Here is my Christmas artwork from last year:

Father and daughter admire Christmas lights