Wednesday, January 27, 2016

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Obligatory Elk & Links

As you may know if you've been around here for awhile, whenever I go up to Estes Park, I have to get an elk picture. They're everywhere up there. Walking through town. Grazing by the side of the road. Wandering through Rocky Mountain National Park. I caught these guys grazing near Sheep Lake (where the bighorn sheep graze--I have yet to see any bighorn sheep in RMNP.) Apparently, bull elks get along better than male deer?

Now for some links. Bear in mind that I am not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence when submitting to markets or contests.

Accepting Submissions:

Less Than Three Press is open for LGBQTIA stories about zombies. 10,000-20,000 words. Pays $200, plus contributor copies. Deadline February 29.

Otter Libris has a couple open projects taking submissions. Inclusive Cthulhu is basically a Lovecraftian anthology with characters or ideas against Lovecraft's personal beliefs. The second one is The Trouble With Bob, which is adults only. BOB is "Battery Operated Boyfriend." So they want stories about sex toys with a mind of their own. Both projects should be 3000-10,000 words. They pay $25, plus a contributor copy. Deadline February 28.

Crystal Lake Publishing is taking submissions of modern urban legends (ones you make up, not ones already told) for the anthology Tales From the Lake: Volume 3. 2000-4000 words. Not horror-specific. Pays $20 and a contributor copy. Deadline February 29. 

Parsec Ink is looking for speculative fiction for Triangulation: Beneath the Surface. Up to 6000 words. Pays $.02/word, plus contributor copy. Deadline February 29.

Bundoran Press is looking for science fiction for Lazarus Risen, an anthology. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.04/word CAD. Deadline February 29.


Yolanda Renee has joined the Son of a Pitch team. This is a pitch contest involving your query letter and the first 250 words of your manuscript. There are several editors and agents who will be scouring the finalists for new writers. Starts February 15. is holding their 7th Annual Spirit First Poetry Contest. Your poem must have a theme of meditation or mindfulness. No entry fee. Cash prizes, with first prize of $200. Deadline February 29.

Of Interest:

eNovel Authors at Work posted about the changes Amazon is making in February. 

Have you heard of the flogometer? On Flogging the Quill, you can submit the beginning of your story for a flogging. Be prepared for negative feedback along with the good. It sounds like they can be pretty harsh on there. By the way, the person being flogged at this link is a friend, and the person I heard about this from. He got a high score for his flogometer. 

BookBub is a resource for authors (and a place to get discount books for readers). My understanding is that you pay x amount, and they will distribute your ebook to their subscribers. How much you pay depends upon the genre and the bargain price of your book. I was looking this up for a friend, so figured I'd pass it along since I've heard good things about it.

What animal do you have in your area in abundance? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share? Publishing news? Will you be taking part in Son of a Pitch?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Mulder's Back!

Come on. Dish. Who watched X-Files last night? Did anyone miss it because the football game went late?

My husband and I were excited for their return, as brief as it will be. We always watched the original together. It was the one show we recorded. (On VCRs, kids. That you had to program, hoping all the while that it would do what you programmed it to do. And if you hadn't watched other recorded shows yet, you might have to sacrifice one in order to find a tape to record it on.)

I had heard that early reviews for this first episode weren't good, so I went into it not sure what to expect, and figuring that maybe it wasn't as good as the others will be, because this is the episode that brings them back and establishes their new ordinary world, plus whatever it is that brings them back. I wasn't disappointed, though the alien topic was always my least favorite part. I'm a monster-of-the-week girl, which stands true for Supernatural, too. Bring me a gruesome baddy, and you'll make my week. (Except the fluke worm. Keep the fluke worm.And the Peacock family.)

Still, it was good. I'm looking forward to the next one (tonight). 

Speaking of aliens, I also finally saw The Martian. It was a good movie, and now I want to read the book. Matt Damon did a great job, and this is coming from someone who isn't a Damon fan. 

With this film and Gravity, does this mean our attention is returning to space? It seemed for awhile that space wasn't in our collective conscious anymore. Not for those over school age. Few movies and television shows were reflecting it, though there was a period where they were huge. Is it that people burned out on the topic? 

Wikimedia Commons

We scrapped aspects of the space program during this time, something that made me sad. But now I've heard there are launches from Florida occurring this year, so are we fully back in? Was it ditching our space exploration that made folks scramble to learn more, and to dive back into what was a childhood love for most kids? I'm not sure which comes first, progress in space exploration or fiction blooms about space. Either way, I'm happy it's coming back around. 

Now give the planet Pluto back.

Did you watch X-Files? What did you think? Will you be watching the next episode? What did you think of them adding Joel McHale? Do you follow the space program? Were you sad when they retired our ships without plans for more? Which do you think comes first, interest in the space program or increases in space fiction?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Mammoth Skies & Links

We went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science this week, hoping to see the temporary Sherlock Holmes exhibit, but it was sold out. Luckily, we have a membership, so it didn't cost us anything (other than 2 hours worth of driving, round trip). The kids still had fun visiting their favorite exhibits (one on the human body and one about space,) and when we left, the sun was starting to slip behind the Rockies. Denver is farther from the mountains than we are in Colorado Springs, so the view is different than I'm used to. No spectacular colors, but it was still pretty. Canadian geese were flying around a nearby lake, honking and gossiping. The nearby clouds were backlit by the rays of the dying sun. And it was fun imagining the mammoth was really there. Could you imagine the sight of a real one of these beasts among the skyscrapers, trumpeting out its call?

Now it's time for links. Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing any of these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence in researching markets before submitting to them.

Accepting Submissions:

The Lorelei Signal is open to fantasy. Because the twin magazine, Sorcerous Signals closed, they have changed to not requiring female main characters, though any female characters must not be window dressing. Short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $7.50 per short story, $3 per poem/flash. Current reading period ends February 15.

Lillicat Publishers is open for science fiction short stories for the anthology Visions IV: Space Between Stars. 3000-8000 words. Pays $25. Deadline February 15.

Lightspeed is open for science fiction short stories for People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction, a special edition. They are also running a kickstarter to finance this project. If they are successful and reach a certain point, they will open up People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy and People of Colo(u)r Destroy Horror. Up to 10,000 words. You must be a person of color to submit. I'm not sure what the pay is, but it is paying. They're also seeking artwork, which will be paid for. Both the kickstarter and the submissions close February 19.

Ninth Letter is open for literary fiction, poetry, and essays. Up to 8000 words. Pays $25 per printed page. Current deadline February 28.

Blyant Publishing is open for short fiction of any genre for their quarterly anthology blAekk. The current theme is nationality. 1000-2000 words. Pays £10 to £20 depending on length. Deadline February 28.

SpeckLit is open for speculative fiction and reviews. Drabbles only, so 100 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline for this quarter is February 28.

Vine Leaves Literary Journal is looking for prose, poetry, and script vignettes in any genre. Pays $5 AUD. Current deadline is February 28.

Nosetouch Press is open for horror short stories for the anthology Blood, Sweat & Fears: Horror Inspired by the 1970s. 3000-10,000 words. Pays $25, plus contributor copy. Deadline February 29.


Escape Pod is holding a flash fiction contest. Science fiction. No more than 500 words. Three winners will be paid $30, and their stories presented on a podcast. Deadline February 15.

Blog Hops:

The WEP Valentine's Edition details have been posted. You can submit in all kinds of ways, be it flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction, artwork, or photos. Up to 1000 words. Sign up and post between February 17 and 19th.

What creature from the past would you most want to see now? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share? Publishing news?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, January 18, 2016

2015 Post Year in Review

I've never done this before, but I thought it might be fun to go through my 2015 posts and see which were my favorite. Some are my favorite because they were fun to write, while others made the list because they had helpful information. Then there are the ones that helped me work through something, so I'm including those, too.

January 12

Contest & Submission Nitpicks 101: Standard Manuscript Format

January is the month I usually end up writing something about writing contests. The reason? It's when I'm judging for one. Whether you're entering a contest or submitting a piece to a publisher, you need to know SMF.

January 26

Psycho Horror Lovers Unite

This one was about confronting those who say people who enjoy horror, whether viewing, reading, or writing, are horrible people. It's especially important to me again right now, because an acquaintance made a comment that bothered me after the Planned Parenthood shooting up the road on Black Friday, basically implying that those who commit these sorts of crimes are the people who watch or read media involving violence. Other than being an ignorant statement, it put me on the defensive wondering how many other people I know view what I do as creating real human monsters? And how many view me as lacking human empathy, simply because I write horror and enjoy some Die Hard? Despite my hard feelings, the post was fun to write, and it showed in its humorous subject matter.

March 2

Author Headshot Tips

In which I give tips for those seeking author headshots. Pretty straight forward.

March 16

Good News & Amazon Central Author Account

This post was about setting up my Amazon Central author account, with information on how to do so for anyone else who needs to.

May 4, 11, & 18

Diversity vs. Exclusion
Diverse Authors vs. Diverse Characters
Writing Diverse Cultures

This was a series of posts exploring calls for diversity in writing. There were some great discussions here and on my Facebook page in response to the posts, which I enjoyed. It can be a taboo subject, and I was initially afraid of posting anything, but I ended up glad to have done so.

June 8

My Pledge

This was my simple pledge not to attack reviewers, even if they break my heart. It was in response to an author who had a meltdown on Goodreads and stepped over some lines, becoming a joke on the internet.

June 29

Critique Group Panel Discussion

This was a summary of a panel on critique groups I participated in. There was a lot of great information on the panel, with several different types of critique groups touched on.

July 6

Making Your Blog Your Author Website

This was written while I was researching using my blog as an author website, rather than setting up a separate one. I found a lot of great information on what was recommended for author websites, and was able to pass that along.

August 3

New Magazine Release & Magazine Submission Tips

In this post I gave tips on market research, submitting short stories and tracking them.

August 5

Why We Do It & Links

This was an Insecure Writers Support Group post, but it was one of the positive ones, all about why we keep writing and submitting, despite the lows that come with it.

October 12

What's Your Favorite Scare?

This one is all about what scares you, and why.

December 7

Experiments in Writing - Killer Critters

In my goals at the beginning of this month, I mentioned experimenting with my writing. Well, I tried out a new genre last month, and this was about diving into that.

What was your favorite of the posts you put up this year (feel free to link to it!)? Did you have any great conversations on your blog that stuck with you? Have you ever been able to work through something troubling you by posting about it?

May you find your Muse.

Horror - By Roberto Ferrari from Campogalliano (Modena), Italy (Horror  Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Community by OCAL,

Friday, January 15, 2016

Horror List Book Review: World War Z

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling and M.B. Partlow), posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.) To see the books I've reviewed so far, you can view the list at the end of this post where I rank them.

This week I'm reviewing World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks.

While I found the format and the idea for this intriguing, I didn't end up enjoying it. In fact, it was a little bit of a struggle to get through with my limited reading time. 

This story is told as a series of interviews with various survivors of the war, making a lot of them military from different countries. A compelling idea, but I found that the voices blurred together. It's hard to pull off that many characters, so instead of having individual voices, they were cliched in many cases, and often similar. 

I was distracted by the fact that out of all these many characters, only five or so were female. It took awhile to get to the first female, to the point that I thought perhaps the story was that all women had been killed in the war somehow. It could be he was wary of accurately portraying a female voice. Whatever the reason, it was something that I found irksome after awhile. Especially when the male voices all started sounding the same.

It was obviously well researched (or so it seems--I didn't fact check). There were some great details that spoke to the locations, characters, careers and such. To me, it was fun to have the whole world involved, though South America's presence was sparse. He theorized how different countries would respond to the same threat, and how the different cultures and laws might complicate things.

There was no classic arc, but the story progressed from the very beginning of the virus, through its development and fighting it, to afterwards. A couple characters were repeated at the end (I think? There were so many characters, but I'm pretty sure we revisited certain characters again), but we didn't overall see character development. 

With each section covering a specific time period, there was no real mystery or buildup of tension. The first section I was drawn into was an interview with a military veteran who was caught in a situation where they had to try out old fashioned tactics against enemies that didn't feel fear or pain, and they discovered their weapons weren't working the way they expected. There was finally tension in this section, and I read through that interview quickly.

Another section that interested me was bittersweet, and one of three interviews that hit me emotionally. It was an interview with a Chinese soldier serving on a sub. The commander made the hard decision to disappear into the ocean with his men and any family they could smuggle out, in order to save lives. This was another tense section, and it ended on a sad note.

A lot of the story felt like a commentary on politics, world relations, greed, military ineptness, and more. There was a certain respect for soldiers, but not for those leading them. I'm not big on blatant political commentary in my fiction, but it was well thought out, even if I was quickly over it. This played itself into the horror of the story, especially culturally. 

All in all, not a hit for me, but the idea was a good one. The follow through just didn't do it for me, except in some specific interviews featured in the book. 

My new rankings:

1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
3. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
4. A Choir of Ill Children (Tom Piccirilli)
5. The Year’s Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection (Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling)
6. Those Who Hunt the Night (Barbara Hambly)
8. Dead in the Water (Nancy Holder)
9. The Damnation Game (Clive Barker)
10. The Wolf's Hour (Robert McCammon)
11. Berserk (Tim Lebbon)
12. Best New Horror, Volume 1 (edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell)
13. The Tomb (F. Paul Wilson)
14. Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)
15. The Imago Sequence (Laird Barron)
16. My Soul to Keep (Tananarive Due)
17. World War Z (Max Brooks)
18. From the Dust Returned (Ray Bradbury) 
19. In Silent Graves (Gary A. Braunbeck)
20. The Cipher (Kathe Koja)
21. Drawing Blood (Poppy Z. Brite)
22. The Doll Who Ate His Mother (Ramsey Campbell)

23. Hotel Transylvania (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)

Did you read World War Z? Did you prefer the book or the movie? What about his other zombie book? Is it any good? Which is better?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Mountain Views & Links

Pennywise let me leave The Stanley, but only after I got some writing done. One of the days, I snuck out and did a little light hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. I walked around Sprague Lake and snapped some pictures of the lake and the Rockies.

The main road is closed above a certain elevation for the snow and ice, but there was still plenty open for me to spend a few hours out there. The wind was crazy; I'm surprised I had skin left on my face. There are two photos that look really similar above, one in b/w and one in color. The black and white one was to show the blowing snow in the air. It was NOT snowing. There were footprints covering the lake, despite the "Thin Ice" signs. But I didn't see any holes, so I figure it worked out in the end. Or not. Who knows?

Now for some links.

Bear in mind that I am passing along links I've happened across, and that this does not indicate endorsement on my part. Always do your own due diligence in researching markets before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Bracken is open for speculative fiction. Short fiction, poetry, and artwork. Up to 2500 words. Pays $.02/word for fiction and $15/poem. Deadline January 29.

Lit Select is open for erotic fiction for the food themed anthology Love Slave: Sizzle. 2000-8000 words. Pays $30. Deadline January 31.

The Geeky Press is open for essays, poetry, and short stories for their anthology Bad Jobs & Bullshit. 1000-5000 words. Pays in shared royalties. Deadline February 1.

The First Line is starting their next round of first line submissions. The Spring line is: "Unfortunately, there is no mistake," she said, closing the file. 300-5000 words. Short stories, nonfiction, and poetry. Payment varies by type of submission, ranging from $5 to $50. Deadline for Spring line is February 1.

Lamplight is open for dark fiction short stories and flash. Up to 1000 words for flash fiction. 2000-7000 words for short stories. Pays $150 per short story, $50 for flash. Deadline February 1.

Visual Adjectives is open for stories, art, and photography for the superhero anthology New Legends: The Hero*The Antihero*The Vigilante, Book 2. 2500-8000 words. Pays $25. Deadline February 8.

Six Minutes to Midnight is open for short stories for the anthology This Twisted Earth, Volume 1. 4000-9000 words. Pays in royalties and contributor copies. Deadline February 11.

Blog Hops:

The Lost & Found: Valentine's Edition Blog Hop is being put on by Arlee Bird, Guilie Castillo-Oriard, Elizabeth Seckman, Yolanda Renee, Denise Covey, and Alex J. Cavanaugh. Tell about a lost love, whether via short fiction, essay, poetry, song, or whatever other form takes your fancy. February 1.

Any of these of interest to you? Anything to share? Publishing news? Have you gotten outdoors lately? Was it sunny, snowy, rainy? Did you freeze or roast?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Retreat! Retreat!

Hello, from The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park! Pennywise and I are on an impromptu writing retreat. Despite his bossiness, I'm going to fit some side ventures in between writing and editing. (But only a little. Who wants to invite the wrath of a demon clown? Not I.)

I made the mistake of hopping onto Facebook during a writing break, and now he's watching me like a hawk.

He doesn't really approve of me doing a blog post either, so I have to run. But not too far. The ghosts in the hallway are bigger than him. And there are these two little girls whose parents don't appear to be supervising them at all. How much longer are they going to play in the hallway?

Parents these days. Yeesh.

What are you up to? Get any writing done this weekend? Or do you take weekends off from writing? When are you most productive?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

IWSG: Rejections - The Bark is Worse Than The Bite

It's the first Wednesday of January and 2016, so it's time for the first Insecure Writer's Support Group of 2016. Woo-hoo! Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG is open to anyone who wants to participate. Simply add your blog to the linky list and post the first Wednesday of the month. Share your insecurities and/or your reassurances. Be sure to visit our wonderful January co-hosts: L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace!

My insecurities were really bad in November and December. It was hard to get to a positive place. I figure this is more a reflection of how I was feeling about myself over all, but a lot of it got directed toward my writing.

It wasn't the rejections, despite the title of this post. Well, no more than usual. It may be trite, but rejections do keep me moving forward, because they mean I'm working.

In November, I had a magazine I was supposed to be in come out without my story in it. I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. Release day is always so exciting. To have it come out, view that cover, and then open it up and get that ugly surprise is unpleasant, to say the least. It was deflating.

It was an honest mistake. I've since spoken with the editor. But I realized this was a secret ugly fear that existed within me. And now that it's happened, I can move past it. It sucked, but the world didn't end. I spent an upset, sleepless night wondering what had happened. How had I been overlooked? Was there something wrong with my story? Did they drop me on purpose? I needed answers, and I'm not a patient person.

None of these concerns proved true. It wasn't about me. And that's what conquers that fear. In the beginning, I feared rejection. Not anymore. I'm still disappointed, of course, but I don't fear it. The rejections don't come with stamps that say "YOU SUCK." No editor has ever ripped my story apart, though I've gotten feedback from several.

It's part of what I do. I've learned some interesting lessons since I began submitting my short stories for publication. I've learned that you can do everything right, and still have things go wrong. You can do everything wrong, and still have things go right. I've had a magazine fold before it could print the story it had accepted. I've had a magazine fail to put my story in the correct issue. I've had a magazine publish my story, but not pay me. Multiple magazines have shut down while I had submissions out to them. There have been other disappointments, but they haven't stopped me. Eventually, they become fodder for stories, or something funny I can talk about, even if they don't seem funny in the beginning.

I still don't handle rejection well in real life, but short story rejections are survivable. Always remember that. Don't fear submitting because you fear the rejection that may come in response to it. That rejection is just a sign you're doing something right.

For those that are new here, I do a monthly roundup of my submission/rejection stats. I figured since it's January, I'll do my monthly roundup, followed by my numbers for the year.

In December, I:

Got 2 acceptances
Got 2 rejections
Withdrew 1 story when it was accepted elsewhere
Submitted 1 story (December was slow, and I already had stories pending)

I currently have 5 stories on submission, which is super low, but I have a couple stories I need to turn back around that were rejected this week, and I need to write some more to make up for the ones being accepted!

In 2015, I:

Got 9 acceptances
Got 60 rejections

Woof. That's a lot of rejections, right? But that means I submitted at least that many times. I guess I have a 15% acceptance rate? I'd love to improve that number this year.

On that note, let's hit the links.

I do not endorse the following, just pass them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

The Forge is a new literary magazine accepting submissions. 3000 words or less. Rotating editors, including our own blogging buddy Damyanti. Pays $.05/word up to 1000 words. No deadline, but editors change monthly.

Comet Press is accepting submissions for The Hardcore Horror Annual 2015, a new anthology. Short stories and novelettes. I'm unsure of pay. Deadline is January 30.

Fey Publishing is accepting submissions for the anthology Damsels in Success. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $5 per story. Deadline January 31.

The Overcast is accepting submissions for podcast. Speculative fiction. 2000-3000 words to make a 20 minute podcast, though they'll consider 1000-5000 words. Pay $.02/word. Deadline January 31.

Wordrunner eChapbooks is accepting submissions of fiction, memoir, and poetry. The theme for this submission period is Devices: Technology's impact on our lives and relationships. 1000-5000 words. Pays $5 to $20. Deadline January 31.

Dark Warrior Publishing is accepting submissions of serious science fiction. 2500-7000 words. Pays 1% royalties for a year, plus a contributor copy. Deadline January 31.

The Liz McMullen Show Publications is accepting submissions of essays and short stories for Laughing Out Loud: A Lizzie's Bedtime Stories Humor Anthology. 2000-4000 word essays or 3000-4000 word short stories. Pays $50, plus contributor copies. Deadline January 31.


Elevate Your Pitch challenges you to post a powerful pitch paired with a musical track from Elevation. Four sentences or less. Winning pitch will receive the right to use an Elevation track in a book trailer. Deadline January 28.


Bent On Books posted a holiday wish list from agents. Thanks to Stacy S. Jensen for passing this along to me!

How many rejections did you get this year? Do you track your submissions? Have you looked at your annual numbers? Are you amped for this year? Any links to share? Publishing news?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, January 4, 2016

What? I Set Goals Last Year?

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a pleasant kickoff to 2016, whether that meant staying in or going out. I stayed in, like last year. We were watching Walking Dead when the fireworks began on Pikes Peak. The kids were zonked out, but we woke them up so they could watch. My son just rolled over and went back to sleep, but my daughter watched them.

I inadvertently took a break for Christmas and New Year's. Despite the fact it was unplanned, it was nice to give myself time off, which not only included not blogging, but also included setting aside volunteer work for two weeks (for the most part.) There's been a lot going on, and I was reaching the point of being overwhelmed. A two week break was magical.

But I'm glad to be back!

I couldn't remember if I set goals for 2015, so I went back to January 2015 and checked it out. Lo and behold, I did! Not only that, but I did a fairly solid job of fulfilling the goals, even though I didn't remember having set them.

  • Finish revising my YA novel and get it ready for submission. I touched on it by post-outlining, but have done nothing more with this novel this year.
  • Finish my Urban Fantasy novel. Did it!
  • Revise my UF novel. Halfway through revising it.
  • Continue writing, editing, and submitting short stories. I kicked this one's ass!
  • Place several short stories for pay. Did it!
  • Start working on articles again. Mmmm...not really.
  • Journal. Nope.
  • Continue to experiment and enjoy collaborations and projects to expand my horizons. I've done plenty of experimenting with my writing this year, and look forward to trying more.
  • Continue with the horror reading/review challenge. Still on it.

I feel pretty good about this! Not half bad. So I'm going to set this year's goals, which I will promptly forget, but hopefully magically manage to fulfill anyway. (Really, the goals I set last year were in line with what I wanted to do through the year, so I may have forgotten that I wrote them down, but I didn't forget I wanted to do these things.)

Last year, I mentioned that I set goals knowing things change, sometimes drastically, over the course of the year. Any goals I set are to steer me in the right direction, not to give myself another reason to stress out or beat myself up when I don't accomplish them. With that understanding, here are my goals for 2016:

  • Finish first revision of novel #2 (UF above).
  • Do a second pass through on novel #1 (YA above).
  • Start novel #3.
  • Continue writing short stories, revising them, and submitting them. One per month would be fantastic, and give me time to focus on my novels, but we'll see.
  • Finish all short story revisions pending.
  • Submit those short stories once revised.
  • Have one of the novels (#1 or #2) ready by April, so I can query an agent at PPWC.
  • Continue experimenting with my writing and finding the joy in it.
  • Get back to my photography (what? I just slipped in a non-writing goal...)
  • Continue with the horror reading/review challenge

That's more than enough, BUT they're things I want to do this year, whether I write them down or not. My photography has fallen by the wayside. I haven't taken a photo just for fun (scenery vs. my kiddos) in months. So I'm throwing that in there, too. I figure exploring other creative ventures I enjoy is a good way to inspire my writing, as well.

What about you? Did you set 2015 goals? How did you do with them? Are you setting 2016 goals? Do you set them so they're hard to attain, or do you set them minimally to steer your year? Or do you skip them entirely? Most of all, what are you proudest of this year?

May you find your Muse.

Image by OCAL,