Chosen_Sacrifice_f-1563x2500After a long week of formatting, I proud to announce that “Chosen Sacrifice” has been published! All of you demanding a copy of the short story can now own one for $0.99 no matter where you shop. The Smashwords edition is live and ready for download right now and the Amazon Kindle edition will go live tomorrow. The editions for Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Diesel should all be live by May 2nd at the latest (depending on the speed of individual company departments) and more likely available this Friday. In the future, I’ll do some tweaking so that the different editions’ release dates are much closer together. For now though, you can find just about every single file format type right now at Smashwords or you can wait a couple days to download from your favorite store. It’s completely up to you. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep you all entertained with a few updates and other such tidbits.

Since the last full update on March 18, I have:

Sat on my duff writing, reading, and not much else. The reason why is because I injured my right foot while running across an uneven parking lot. This has to be one of the dumbest injuries I’ve ever had and it also is one of the longest to heal. Consequently I have been relegated to the couch with a mound of pillows to keep my foot elevated while I continue to work using my laptop and a handful of books. The lack of solid footing has made photography and landman work largely impossible. Fortunately my clients have been beyond understanding and supportive of me as I take the necessary “down time” to rest my foot. The doctor thinks and I hope I’ll be back to normal in another couple of weeks.

Written, edited, and formatted a lot of fiction. Because I cannot sit still for very long without going crazy, I have filled my “down time” with lots of writing and related activities to help keep me sane. I received and finished implementing my editor, Lorelei Logsdon’s, corrections on Musings. I also finished writing all of Chapter 21 and most of Chapter 22 on Dreamdrifter. Chapter 22 has caused me more problems than I ever anticipated, but I think I can finally finish it this week. I spent most of last week formatting Musings and the “Chosen Sacrifice” ebooks according to Smashwords Edition and Kindle Edition standards.

Created book covers. I made a mockup of the Musings book cover using two photos that I shot months ago during unrelated projects. I also edited the book cover for “Chosen Sacrifice” (new cover featured at the top of this article) so that it complies with updated ebook cover standards. I think both covers look fabulous and I’m quite excited to see what you readers think this week with “Chosen Sacrifice” and next month when I reveal the cover for Musings!

Visited two friends in the hospital. Both friends had to undergo open heart surgery—one had a quadruple bypass, the other had a double bypass. Both of them are doing well, but it will take time for each to recover fully.

Visited friends and family San Antonio. Last weekend (actually April 11-13), my husband was kind enough to get me out of the house for a mini-vacation. We loaded me plus luggage, pillows, crutches, and a borrowed wheelchair into the car and then he drove us to and from San Antonio, Texas. The six-hour road trip was definitely worth the strategic nightmare. Matt and I ate lunch on Friday with my aunt at La Madeleine’s and then stayed with dear friends for the rest of the weekend. Hanging out with Ian and Chrissy and their family was a much needed reprieve for me. Ian is one of my closest friends, in fact I call him “bro” because he pretty much is the brother I never had growing up. Even though we talk regularly, I hadn’t seen him, Chrissy, or the kids in over two years. The four of us adults went to Oyster Bake while the kids were babysat by Ian’s mom. We were worried that my being on crutches and/or in a wheel chair during the weekend would cause problems, but there were enough handicap access routes to make our lives much easier. That being said, the bedroom and bathroom arrangements proved a little interesting once we got back to the Macs’ home. Since I couldn’t climb stairs, we had four adults using the same shower. Matt and I also had to take up temporary residence in the nursery while the baby slept in the master bedroom. (Chrissy, Ian, you’re saints!) On Saturday, Ian, Chrissy, Matt, me, and the kids went to the Farmers Market at the old Pearl Brewery for breakfast and shopping. As I expected, the food was just as spectacular as the company. That night saw even more great food thanks to a catered birthday party at Ian’s parents’ house. The food was divine, the company sublime, and we were sad to leave. On Sunday, Matt and I ate a good breakfast with the Mac family, ate lunch with my husband’s parents, sister, and our new nephew, and then we drove home from a weekend adventure that was too short.

Nearly had to shoot someone. Shortly after we returned from San Antonio, an intruder tried to pick the lock to our house’s front door. Matt was working at the time and I was sitting typing on my laptop in the den, so I assume that the would-be thief assumed that the dark house meant that no one was home. When I heard the door handle jiggle, I thought that Matt had come home early from his shift. I realized after five seconds that whoever was on the other side of my door didn’t have a key so it wasn’t my husband or anyone I trusted. I jumped into my office chair and rolled with lightning speed to grab my gun. By the time, I had rolled back to the door, the assailant was gone. A wise decision on his part. One might think that I’d be a little edgy after such an incident, but I slept soundly that night. I guess knowing that, should the worst happen, my husband and I are prepared to defend ourselves helps bring me some peace of mind. That being said, we will be upgrading our exterior lighting and security system this week.

Reading:

Continued reading the Bible. I finished 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, 1 Thessalonians, and 2 Thessalonians during my daily devotionals. I have supplemented devotional reads with daily entries from the Jesus Today devotional by Sarah Young.

Continued reading Duty by former Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert M. Gates. Dr. Gates was the president of Texas A&M University when Matt and I attended school there in the early 2000s. He worked as an intelligence professional in various capacities for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for many years (including his years serving as Director of Central Intelligence from 1991-1993) before becoming involved in academia. Ian and I were involved with an on-campus organization called Bonfire Coalition that worked closely with Dr. Gates and other members of the A&M administration to help foster the memory of Aggie Bonfire as an enduring A&M tradition and to lift the moratorium on Bonfire-related merchandise after the tragic collapse of Bonfire ’99. I greatly respect the man.

Read the Ciaphus Cain short story “Fight or Flight” by Sandy Mitchell. While I’ve never been particularly interested in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, I have to admit that Ciaphus is a highly entertaining protagonist. I will definitely read more stories featuring him in the future. (Thank you, bro, for the introduction!)

Continued From the Indie Side anthology. As I mentioned before, I found this while reading Hugh Howey’s blog the other day. I’ve finished seven short stories so far.

Continued The Crystal Shard by R. A. Salvatore. While I enjoy the characters of Drizzt and Wulfgar, the book drags too much for me to stick with Salvatore’s series. I need faster-paced writing as well as good world-building to keep me enthralled. While this book has great world-building, it just doesn’t have the pacing for me.

Gaming:

Played Jumbline. I love this smart phone game. Not only does it keep me entertained, it helps me expand my vocabulary a bit, too! A must-have for this writer.

Played Minecraft. I am still playing on peaceful mode even though I finished building my pyramid-style house weeks ago. After all of the conflicts I have to solve in life and in my books, sometimes it’s just nice to go fishing without worrying about getting an arrow in my back.

My goals for the next four weeks are to:

Finish Chapter 22 of Dreamdrifter. That will leave me with barely two or three chapters left to finish the book’s rough draft! I am so excited.

Format and publish “Raven’s Fall” for FREE through all major stores. I expect the publication date for this ebook short story to be May 9. Watch the blog for more updates!

Continue readying Musings for publication on June 20. I am shooting for at least a four-week long preorder window to give everyone a chance find the book before it launches.

Get back on my feet and shoot more photography. I was able to shoot the blood moon while sitting down thanks to a lot of help from my husband, but I haven’t been able to do anything else.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia C. Cooke and/or Alycia Christine Sears at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!