Musings_Cover-4x6ACIt’s been a crazy summer…heck, it’s been a crazy year. I’m trying to remember the last time I didn’t work at all on a weekend. April? February? I think it was one of those two months. If I’m not writing, I’m editing. When I’m not editing, I’m formatting. When I am doing anything publishing-related, I’m shooting photography, tweaking graphic art designs, or sleeping.

And why am I doing all of this? Well, simply put, I’m doing it for you. I want my readers, fans, and clients to have the absolute best work I can produce, so I have done everything I can to ensure that projects like the book MUSINGS are finished on time in top quality. When MUSINGS finally becomes available this Friday, June 20, 2014, it will have a gorgeous cover and (hopefully) zero typos because of the hard work and long hours that the book’s editor, beta readers, designer, formatter, printer, distributors, and I have put into it.

Yes, my world has largely revolved around the short story collection for the past several months, but MUSINGS is not the only project on which I’ve been laboring. Below is a look at other things that have occupied my time.

Since the last full update in April, I have:

Finished writing the rough draft of my novel DREAMDRIFTER! The current version stands just over 126,000 words. I have lots of personal editing, beta reader critiques, formal editing to do before the book will be ready for publication, but having the first draft done is a great accomplishment.

Continued writing The S.E.E.D. Keeper novella. This piece started out as a short story originally titled “Zoo Tales” and grew from there. The current word count is about 11,000. I am not resolutely focused on this story so its germination will likely be slower than other works on my writing desk.

Continued writing “Thorn and Thistle” story. I assume that this swashbuckling fantasy story will end up being a midsized novelette (around 12,500 words), but I could be wrong. So far I’ve written 7800 words on it and am having a blast with the characters.

Logged 15,000 words total in fiction writing during April, May, and the first half of June—a bit less than what I would normally prefer (I like a minimum of 6500 words a month), but good progress nonetheless.

Made lots of updates to AlyciaChristine.com including creating a special Fan Corner and adding sidebar images of my published stories. I plan to add more features to the Fan Corner and to the website in general as fans request it.

Finished creating cover art for short stories and a book. “A Song for Naia”, “Chosen Sacrifice”, “Of Kelpie Lullabies”, “Raven’s Fall”, and MUSINGS all sport cover art that I designed from photographs that I shot and/or art that I drew. The five final images represent a combined total of 12 photos from nine different photo shoots and countless hours of graphic design work.

Proofed, formatted, and published for eBook versions of four different short stories: “A Song for Naia”, “Chosen Sacrifice”, “Of Kelpie Lullabies”, and “Raven’s Fall”.

Proofed, formatted, and pre-published eBook and print book versions of the book MUSINGS.

Changed my author name from Alycia C. Cooke to Alycia Christine. Find out why HERE.

Photographed a wedding reception party for friends and clients of mine.

Photographed several residential properties for a client.

Created two new company logos for Purple Thorn Press for use in all print and electronic communications.

Created 24 advertising pages for inclusion in the print edition of the 131st West of the Pecos Rodeo program.

Helped replace our home’s defunct water heater.

Upgraded our home’s outdoor lighting.

Reading:

Began reading Jesus Today by Sarah Young. I like Young’s devotional books. Their daily readings are short, but always poignant.

Continued reading the Bible. I have finished the books of Titus and Philemon. I am currently reading the Gospel of Luke.

Continued reading Duty by former Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert M. Gates.

Continued reading the From the Indie Side anthology.

Finished The Crystal Shard by R. A. Salvatore. The book’s world-building is wonderful, but I must confess that the pacing felt off to me. There were times in which the characters were in supposed situations of mortal danger and I found myself yawning through the fight scenes. Salvatore writes well overall, but this first book lacks tension. As the author has gone on to write many more books, I do suspect that that aspect does improve in future books, but I haven’t had the chance to test my theory. Overall rating: 3 of 5.

Read Storm Front by Jim Butcher. Butcher’s main character Harry Dresden is interesting, but I’m not sure if the series is quite my cup of tea. Generally speaking, I have a very difficult time getting into murder mysteries (with the exception of the Castle TV series) because I’m not a huge fan of the macabre. When you add a pretty deep introduction to occult ritual magic into the mix, I start to feel downright queasy. Harry is written as a smart-alecky anti-hero character with a bit of old-fashioned charm thrown in to help lighten the mood in an otherwise extremely dark book, but I found his character to be far more of a jerk than perhaps the author intended. I made a promise to Ian to give the Dresden Files series another chance. Hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised. Overall rating: 2 of 5.

Began reading On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers

Began reading The Last Jihad by Joel Rosenberg

Gaming:

Played Jumbline.

Played Cubis 2.

Played Mahjong. The casual games have abounded these past two months because I just don’t have time for anything more in depth.

My goals for the next four weeks are to:

Continue work on the rough draft of “Thorn and Thistle”.

Proof and submit SKINSHIFTER for publication.

Enjoy MUSINGS Release Day on June 20 with my friends and family.

Find out how to set up book readings and signings around my local area.

Take a full weekend off.

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 Christine 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!