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Winding Down The Year

Lioness looking pensive

It’s halfway through October, and creeping ever closer to the day on which I will close the doors on The Scribbling Lion for good. I still have several excellent books in stock, and I’ve set the prices as low as I can afford to drop them; there’s even a coupon on a couple of them, for folks who watch my new YouTube channel or subscribe to my newsletter.

(Haven’t done that yet? Here you go!)

Since I won’t be going out of state to any conventions at this point, I’ve closed out my sales tax accounts in Maryland, South Carolina, and North Carolina. All that’s left is Virginia. I’ll shut that door at the end of December, after Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, this is an excellent time to clear out my inventory with orders. How about SISTERS OF THE WILD SAGE, a magical collection of stories by Nicole Givens Kurtz? Or CITY OF WEIRD, a fantastical anthology of weird Portland tales? I still have cookbooks, one copy each of THE HEARTHSTONE INNKEEPER’S COOKBOOK and STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE. If you’re more interested in epic fantasy, I have all seven books of the CHILDREN OF THE DESERT series — five main, two side novellas — in stock and ready to ship. I have the second and third books of Angela P Wade’s EDWARD RED MAGE series in stock — if you want the first book, just contact me. It’ll be a bit of a wait, given holiday printing demands, along with shipping mayhem, so order that sooner than later!

Wander through the shop, as there are many more titles to be had than what I can reasonably list here. I’d planned on a busy convention season in 2020!

By the way, if you’re missing convention companionship, take a look at ConTinual, an ongoing virtual convention that’s running over on Facebook. There are panels, and seminars, and meet & greets, and a vendor room, and live performances, just like an in person convention. I’ll be presenting on at least one panel in November, so keep an eye out for that!

In person conventions coming back in 2021 is dubious, in my opinion; the economic reality of many conventions is that they run on such a thin margin that this year has completely destroyed their savings buffer. If they’re lucky, their host hotel released them from the contract and they have a chance at starting up again next year; if not, the funds to run a convention just aren’t there. Also, a high proportion of the vendors, writers, and artists that draw attendance in the first place are just as desperately dry, and are, like The Scribbling Lion, effectively out of business.

So virtual meetings, or much smaller meetings in person, are going to be the way forward at least through 2021, I think. It’s going to be an interesting year….

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Writing Group Invitation

I’ve been running a small writer’s group called The Ink Stained Fellowship, based out of Williamsburg, VA. With the pandemic, we’ve moved to online meetings, which means I can throw open membership to a wider geographical area. Here’s what you need to know about the group:

  • Members are all seeking publication
  • The focus of the group is on science fiction, fantasy, and horror
  • Members need to be familiar with editing using Microsoft Word Track Changes
  • Members should be working on at least one project (slowly is fine, and given current chaos, this is largely a goal more than a requirement.)
  • Meetings are once a week, on Zoom, usually Sunday evenings at 7:30
  • Meetings are for catching up, reporting progress, and setting goals, not critiques
  • Projects for critique are generally loaded to our FB group, or sent to individuals who express interest in critiquing that particular project. Critiques are sent individually via email. If I get a pro Zoom account we may start doing video critiques, but the time restriction right now makes that impossible.
  • There is a penalty for not meeting your self-selected goal each week, so choose with care! The penalty is: whatever money you can spare goes into a group kitty. If five dollars is painful for you, then that’s the amount to choose. If you only say ouch when you lose fifty dollars, then that’s the penalty. It’s entirely subjective. Every few months we vote on how to use the kitty. Given that we’re not meeting in person anymore, funds can be sent via Paypal (A specific account for the group is on my To Do List.)
  • Members (theoretically) submit presentations roughly once a month, written or spoken, on the intersection of one of our areas of interest and how to write about it. For example, I’ve presented on how to use plants and gardening to fill out your backdrop; another member has spoken on period clothing; another on ball jointed dolls. (Again, this is more of a goal than a requirement. Once stress levels drop across the board, we’ll get more serious on this and other points.)
  • Life is chaotic and time moves fast; you’re not going to get scolded for not living up to a set standard. This is a group focused on support and community and pushing each other to do more and do better, but NOT faster.
  • I’m not going to put a hard limit on membership numbers right now, but I’d rather grow slowly, so I may only take one new person a week and see how that works out.
  • Sorry not sorry, no Trump supporters. My tolerance for that mindset has burned to the ground.

If that sounds appealing, contact me at writer@leonawisoker.com, or DM me via Twitter (@leonawisoker) and ask about joining the group!

See ya soon!

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Cooking For Writers

I’m delighted to announce that another project is officially under way! With a hopeful publication date of January 2018, I’ve assembled a LOVELY team of smart (and smart-ass) folks to create a Cookbook for Writers. This book (which will not be very long, no, damnit, it will NOT overgrowth itself) will have everything from tips on eating at conventions without breaking the bank to how to feed your writer at home during a deadline week; there will likely be recipes from our various fictional worlds; and more! I’m seriously jazzed about this project. More details as content develops. Wheeee!!!!!

4/2/18 Update: This project had to be moved out to a July 2018 “hopeful” date for various reasons. At latest, it will be released by the end of 2018. The content is finally stable, and complete; now comes the formatting….

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More About Martin!

Gail Z. not George RR. (Big difference. For one thing, Playboy hasn’t yet tried to make a sexy Halloween cosplay of her, but they sure have gone there with George….)

Now that you’ve wiped the coffee from your screen and cursed us in six languages for an image you’ll never, ever be able to get out of your mind, let’s move on to talking about our Martin.

Readers may recall that Gail ran a post here on TSL recently, talking about her upcoming and current projects; well, if that caught your interest in the teensiest bit, THERE’S MORE… she’s actually going all out on a long blog tour, trekking with digital backpack and data shoes along the ether to bring more aspects of her creativity to as many sites as possible. Kinda like a cheerful writer’s version of Santa, in a way…

Anyway. Besides her post here, she also has delivered, for your reading and listening enjoyment:

The Well-Mannered Woman’s Guide To Kicking Ass Whilst Wearing a Corset

A detailed post on Goodreads about what’s coming up in the months ahead (and the freebies, mustn’t forget to read about the freebies!)

(John G. Hartness podcast) Literate Liquors: What To Drink While Reading Deadly Curiosities

Older posts that are just as worth reading:

2013 Days Of The Dead Blog Tour:

Looking Over The Brink

The Hardest Part

Other great articles:

My So-Called Writing Life

Writing the Ensemble Cast

Please note: For the absolute freshest links, please check Gail’s Facebook and Twitter feeds; she posts the latest and greatest blog stops daily. Enjoy!

 

 

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Cursed Trinkets and Haunted Heirlooms

There’s a new holiday (only in the sense that we hadn’t previously made note of it–this one’s been around for quite a while)  to talk about here at TSL. It’s called The Days of the Dead, or Dia de Muertos–a Mexican holiday, primarily, but other cultures celebrate it as well. And no, it’s not about partying with zombies; it’s a time to gather with our friends and family to appreciate one another’s love and support, and to honor those who are no longer with us. That’s a sentiment that we can certainly get behind!

Gail Z. Martin runs a blog tour every year during this time, with lots of free fiction giveaways, interviews, computer wallpaper, contests, and more. We’re honored to have her here today, talking about her Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series–which is absolutely excellent and really ought to be picked up by anyone into spooky, fast-paced UF.

Read on! Here’s a pumpkin-spice latte hot chocolate with no seasoning in it at all, and a plate of your favorite cookies. Pull up a big ol’ overstuffed chair and prepare to be seduced into a new series.

 

Deadly Curiosities, Gail Z MartinCursed Trinkets and Haunted Heirlooms

 

By Gail Z. Martin

 

In my Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series of books, Trifles and Folly is an antique and curio shop in Charleston, SC that exists to get dangerous magical items off the market and out of the wrong hands.

Cassidy Kincaide is the proprietor, and she’s a psychometric, someone who can read the history of objects by touch. Together with her assistant, Teag Logan, who has his own magic and her business partner, Sorren, who is a nearly six hundred year-old vampire, Cassidy and her team intervene when it turns out that there’s a touch of evil or a hint of haunt lingering over old trinkets or heirlooms.

I grew up going to antique stores, used book stores, flea markets, and museums as a kid. When I was amusing myself at an antique store or flea market, I would wander the aisles looking at the old and unusual items. I loved finding out what strange pieces actually did, and when certain objects caught my eye, I made up stories about where they might have come from and who might have owned them.

Sometimes, old objects seem to already know they should belong to us. If you’ve ever walked into a store like that and had a particular item just seem to call your name, you know the feeling. And if you’ve ever put a family heirloom into a drawer or tucked it away in storage because it made you feel uncomfortable, or put a piece in a prominent place because seeing it made you happy, you know the kind of connection antiques can make with your soul. Those experiences all shaped my Deadly Curiosities world, and influenced me as I created the magic and danger behind that world.

The first book in the Deadly Curiosities series came out in June of 2014, and I’m working on the second book for a Fall 2015 debut. But the books actually happened because of a short story, Buttons, that I wrote for Solaris Books award-winning anthology, Magic: The Esoteric and Arcane. The editor liked the story so much he asked if I could do a series in that world. And while Buttons is set in modern-day Charleston, as is the Deadly Curiosities series of books, that story actually grew out of a fictional universe I had invented for prior anthologies, with stories set in the 1500s and 1700s.

Fast forward a little, and I’m still writing Deadly Curiosities short stories for anthologies. Retribution appears in Athena’s Daughters from Silence in the Library Publishing, and The Restless Dead is included in Realms of Imagination from Dark Oak Press. Buttons has been reprinted in three different anthologies. There’s also a free Deadly Curiosities novella, The Final Death, on Wattpad.

Leona sez: Check out the post Gail wrote on Goodreads about switching from short to long formats!

Last year, I started writing stand-alone Deadly Curiosities stories and bringing them out on Kindle/Kobo/Nook. These stories include some set in prior centuries, but most tell about new exploits of Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren, falling before, between, and around the books in the series. Each story runs about thirty pages, so there’s plenty of room for magic, thrills and chills. You don’t have to read the stories to enjoy the books, but if you do choose to read the short stories, you’ll learn a lot more about the characters and my slightly altered version of Charleston.

Right now, there are over a dozen Deadly Curiosities short stories on ebook, with more to come. I’m having a lot of fun imagining new adventures. Every time I go into a museum or flea market, I spot new objects that would be perfect as the centerpiece of a new story.

So the next time you stop at a garage sale or walk through an antiques market, imagine that you can read the history of those pieces by touching them. If you could do that, would you? What secrets might you discover? Something that might be better off left unlearned…

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for stories and books by author friends of mine. And, a special 50% off discount from Double-Dragon ebooks! You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat!

Trick or Treat:

Enjoy an excerpt from Bad Memories, one of my Deadly Curiosities Adventures short stories here.

And a bonus excerpt from Among the Shoals Forever, another of my Deadly Curiosities Adventures here.

And a second bonus audio reading from my friend David B. Coe’s The Witch of Dedham here.


Gail Z. Martin can be found on Twitter (@GailZMartin), Facebook (/WinterKingdoms),Google+ (+GailZMartinAuthor), YouTube (/ghostwriter45), and even has a newsletter (go to her site to sign up).