Our authors, some of whom have vanished for a few mystery months, have emerged from their various cocoons with many assorted topics this month!
Janet Loftis discusses a movie she saw recently, The Witch, and describes her accompanying nightmare in Witch-fueled Dreams.
Xina Marie Uhl posted a visual treat with photos taken from various plane windows at spectacular views below in Leaving on a Jet Plane, and discusses independent author strategies with How to Develop an Ebook Strategy.
Cheryl Dyson is finally continuing her A to Z blogging challenge with part ten, J is for Jace wherein she discusses one of her favorite characters in the Gauntlet Series.
And Deborah Ochery has begun a new series of
rants blog posts talking about her self-absorbed ex in Living With Mr. Cray.
As you can see, there is a large variety of interests and life stories amongst our authors, all of which gives them fodder for writing, or at least many experiences and ideas with which to enrich their skills and entertain you.
Well, the calendar has turned another page and we’ve all made it to 2016. Books and writing are, of course, in the works for this new year. Here are the plans for a couple of XC authors:
Janet Loftis will be completing a couple of new short stories early in the year and may add them to her collection Skin and Bones. She is also planning on releasing a paperback edition of this collection. Her graduate program is keeping her busy in the meantime. Who knows what dark and devilish tales will occur to her after that? Why not subscribe to her blog to find out? Also, check out the Thrills and Mystery Podcast in April for an audio version of her chilling story “Talebones.” If WordPress isn’t your thing, visit her on Facebook or Twitter.
Xina Marie Uhl has changed her blog to focus on travel and photography, though she does occasionally post some writing-related content as well. She is steadily working away on various fiction projects, (fantasy, historical, and humorous), some of which will see the light of day this year, hopefully. Hear more about her writing process and plans in this podcast interview by the Thrills and Mystery host. Speaking of the Thrills and Mystery Podcast, you can hear her humorous fantasy story, “A Fairy’s Tail” at the end of March. Don’t miss it! She also continues to pound out educational books such as these. Keep up with her on Facebook or Twitter.
Thanks for reading – and may your year bring your health, happiness, and prosperity!
It’s been a while since we’ve updated here, thanks to winter stealthily sneaking up on us and then hitting hard like the cold, cold beyotch that she is. Where did December come from? What happened to November?? Two of our authors were very busy this summer making an epic pilgrimage across Spain. Xina Marie Uhl and Janet Loftis started their journey together, although Janet was forced to call it quits and return home before completing the trek. Xina continued on and took some brilliant photos and videos (over 200!) of the interesting people and places she encountered. You can view them all at her blog HERE.
Just one of Xina’s amazing photos.
Perhaps they will inspire you to head for Spain and carry on the tradition of walking the Camino de Santiago? She also has many excellent tips and tricks to help you out with writing and marketing your own books. She is currently working on several projects in between writing textbooks, but you can always find her published works by clicking on the New Releases tab above.
Although Janet Loftis could not complete the Camino, that did not stop her from continuing her travels once returning to the U.S. She recently visited Acomo Pueblo just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico and posted a fascinating write-up HERE. She also discovered the previously unknown world of people who really like walls. At her blog you can also follow the travels of her friendly penguin, who seems to be a fan of world travel, sushi, and beer. That penguin really gets around!
Cheryl has been mourning the loss of her beloved laptop and is currently writing on PAPER, therefore we cannot link anything yet. She recently purchased a new laptop and plans to be back in cyber business soon!
Deb is ridding herself of 200 pounds of useless material that used to occupy her house. (Former significant other.) The proceedings have made it difficult for her to write anything but angry text messages, but she hoped to get back to writing other things soon. Possibly ranting diatribes about the stupidity of hooking up with self-absorbed persons with tendencies toward the less-than-sane end of the spectrum. We await her forthcoming scribbles.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!!! OR HAPPY DECEMBER IF YOU ARE OF THE NON-CELEBRATORY PERSUASION. 😀
(Please use photocopied pages for the above craft project. Do not cut up your books.)
Xina Uhl’s history book for kids is now available – The Passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – at: http://www.amazon.com/Passing-Civil-Rights-Stories-Movement/dp/1624038832/
Xina has completed the audio recording for The Ruling Elite and Other Stories, and it is now on sale at Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Ruling-Elite-and-Other-Stories-Audiobook/B0153VWA26/
Her Icebound stories are making the rounds at publishers. One publisher said they wanted to publish it but their contract terms made Xina wary. Another publisher is looking at it now so we’re all keeping our fingers crossed.
She also continues adding to her photo series about the Camino de Santiago (Spain) on her blog – https://xuwriter.wordpress.com/tag/100-spanish-photos/
In between graduate classes in Crisis Management, Janet Loftis took a September vacation to New Mexico, looking for inspiration – and a setting – for a story collection about the enigmatic Arijia (a magical race of creatures mentioned in “Wedding Night” and “In the Service of the Queen”). Although their appearance is behind the scenes, the Arijia are highly important to both stories, which are related to one another (you’ll note the surname of the main character in each is the same – although Janet has not yet decided if they are father and son, or grandfather and son, or perhaps separated by several generations). The tales of the Arijia and the Diallo family are still evolving.
Janet’s short script “Santa Needs a New Red Suit” made it to the semi-finals of the 2015 Shriekfest Film Festival which will be held next weekend. This marks her fourth try and her fourth placement (she has twice now been a semi-finalist and twice a finalist). Janet is considering including the four scripts in a print edition of her short story collection: Skin and Bones http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Bones-Janet-Loftis-ebook/dp/B00E19DQHA/ (via Createspace) which recently received its first five-star ***** review!
Cheryl Dyson finished a new book which has no title yet. It’s off to a few pre-readers for more feedback prior to sending it off again for editing. It’s a young adult horrorish book that was inspired by her daughter. She’s still trying to finish the Gauntlet series, frustrated by her characters whose most recent accomplishment is their dancing three steps ahead of her and her will to bring their story – and their fate – to a close. Could it be that a certain someone doesn’t want to be killed off? or married? or wants an even greater challenge? Indeed, perhaps it was a vengeful Gauntlet character she’s already killed off that jinxed her laptop recently, causing the hard drive to fail, and who wants their fate rewritten?
Deb Ochery remains in hiberation. Occasionally, she wakes up and scribbles a few words before sinking back to the soft dirt of her cozy den.
Xina Uhl is working on the second of her Icebound stories, a quirky collection following the inhabitants of the frozen edges of the earth. These stories take place in a past much like that which occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with characters and settings just a little bit … unexpected. (The first story in the series, Whiter Pastures, is currently being workshopped.)
She is in the process of recording an audio version of The Ruling Elite short story collection combining her own stories with those of Janet Loftis, available on Amazon Kindle.
Xina also had good news to share: a 4.5 star review on Twitter of her humorous short story collection A Fairy Tail and Out of the The Bag, also available on Kindle.
Janet Loftis is continuing with her graduate program in crisis management which leaves her with little writing time (well, other than research papers). But she did complete a Christmas-themed short horror script that she submitted to the 2015 Shriekfest Film Festival, founded by actress Denise Gossett, who has been “Voted Number 5 out of 13 Most Influential Women In Horror History.” In the past six years, Janet has submitted three other short horror scripts to Shriekfest and placed once in the semi-finals and twice in the finals. Wish her luck in making it to the winners’ circle this year!
Janet is squeezing in time to work on an outline for a horror short story about a mother and daughter, Girls Night Out. When completed, she will be adding it to her short story collection Skin and Bones available on Amazon Kindle. In what little free time she has, Janet has been exploring with different marketing techniques on her Facebook author page and Twitter account.
Cheryl Dyson and Deb Ochery are in hiberation. Occasionally, one or the other of them wakes up and scribbles a few words before sinking back to the soft dirt of their dens. Both will reawaken in a month or two, or so we hope.
What’s going on in the writing world of XC Publishing’s authors? Um … not a whole lot, unfortunately. Fallow time. It’s necessary to let the fields go unplanted to replenish minerals in later times, right? That’s our story and we’re sticking with it!
Cheryl Dyson got stalled at “H” for her Gauntlet Trilogy blog posts. Why not drop by her blog and leave a note of encouragement to continue the blog posts and, while she’s at it, FINISH THE THIRD BOOK ALREADY.
Deb Ochery is lost in the harems of Arabia. We think. Deb. What’s up, eh? Write some more romance for us, will you?
Janet Loftis and Xina Marie Uhl spent considerable time in Spain walking the Camino de Santiago. This involved sipping from wine fountains, sleeping on bunk beds amidst enthusiastic snorers, ogling cute Irish pilgrim men, visiting lots and lots of churches, and eating pilgrim menus at ever-present bars (name for Spain’s cafes). Visit their blogs for reflections and photos.
More to report next month!
March has been a busy month for our authors, as two of them are planning an exhaustive 500-mile trek across Spain on foot. WHY WOULD YOU DO SUCH A THING? you ask. Well, the answers may be found in their blogs here and here. Neither of them are strangers to world traveling, although this will be the first long-term adventure they will embark upon together. Janet recalls the first time she met Xina and her promise to throw herself in front of killer penguins should any happen to attack during their journey. I predict the only penguins they might encounter will be tuxedo-clad Spanish lads, in which case Deborah Ochery has placed a standing order for one to be shipped to her straightaway. Deborah has been occupied with the serious and demanding study of the male anatomy in order to write with improved biological accuracy, so she’s been far too busy to blog. She can be found on Twitter and Tumblr these days, retweeting sarcasm and reblogging posts of scenery (and nice-looking men) for future writing inspiration.
Xina Marie Uhl has some fascinating insights into why she chose to embark upon the Camino de Santiago, as well as some extremely valuable information regarding how to find the best airfare when planning to travel globally. Money saved on airfare can be used for more important things, such as FOOD. Xina also has a fascinating blog post on how to properly use hiking poles. Who knew there was an actual technique to using big sticks for walking? Apparently there is, so hie thee to the post and LEARN before you hurt yourselves! Also, they have the added benefit of giving you something with which to fend off rabid raccoons or killer penguins. Better to be safe than sorry. Also, as Xina would prefer not to starve whilst walking hundreds of miles and perhaps being attacked by lost penguins, so if you would like to contribute to her “please keep me alive” fund, click on her GoFundMe page found here and toss her a few bucks. SACRIFICE YOUR DAILY LATTE TO KEEP HER FROM BEING EATEN BY KILLER PENGUINS FOR PITY’S SAKE.
In less dramatic news, Cheryl Dyson has been writing eight to twelve novels at the same time, one of which is actually the third book of the Gauntlet Trilogy. The bad news is that this ridiculous writing process is exceptionally time-consuming. The good news is that once she finally finishes a novel the other seven will be released quickly thereafter because they are basically being written simultaneously. Yes, she realizes that she is insane and no, she has not consulted a physician about this because such a visit would most likely give her the idea to write novel number nine and that would be extremely counter-productive. Also, she has been blogging WEEKLY for seven whole weeks, which is not only a record but might actually rip apart the fabric of reality. If you see things beginning to warp your existence after week eight, please send her a comment begging her to cease and desist.
Our XC Publishing authors have no lack of projects in the new year. For instance …
- Cheryl Dyson has been blogging every week about The Gauntlet series characters and world. She also continues to labor over Book III in the series. In the meantime, why not re-read The Gauntlet Thrown and The Challenge Accepted?
- Janet Loftis and Xina Marie Uhl have partnered up to tackle a formidable challenge of the non-writing variety – walking the ancient Spanish pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela, said to hold the bones of St. James, apostle of Christ. What would possess two intelligent and courageous women to take on such a challenge? Janet explains here and Xina here. Check out their respective blogs for gear updates and other topics as they train, overcome mental blocks, and roar into the fire, stoking their bravery … Stay tuned for Camino-flavored writings to come!
- Deborah Ochery seems to have become distracted chasing after hunky young men with dinosaur stuffed animals. But stories are a-brewin’ in her mind. Be sure to follow her blog to see what wickedness she comes up with!
Until next time ~
Since I utterly, utterly fail at regular blogging, I’m taking part in Tonia Brown’s 26-week blog challenge. I’m gonna put the rules here so I don’t forget them:
1) You must blog once a week for 26 weeks beginning Sunday February 1st and ending Saturday August 1st.
2) Each week starts Sunday 00:00:00 and ends Saturday 23:59:59. You will use your own time zone. You may blog any time in that week, as long as it is before the Saturday limit. (ex. You can blog at 23:58 Saturday night, then also blog 00:10 Sunday morning and cover two weeks. It’s a cheesy and sneaky way to do it, but it is allowed.)
3) Each blog must total at least 500 words. To give you an idea of how many words that, this list of rules is words.
4) The theme for this blog challenge is A-Z. You must include a letter of the alphabet in your blog, starting with A and ending on Z 26 weeks later. The blog doesn’t need to be entirely about the letter. Just use it as a prompt for the blog. The title, the ending, a slight mention, as long as you include it you will satisfy the rules.
5) You may employ guest blogs to fill out your weekly requirement. In other words, you can trick someone else into writing a blog post for you, or use an interview or even a feature about someone else’s work. As long as the posts are 500 words and include the letter of the week.
6) This is limited to one blog. You cannot carry the week to week across blogs. Please announce the blog you are going to use on under the “What blog are you using” post on this page.
7) You may also make a new post here about your blog, but only post once about your blog. Don’t flood the group. If you want to keep us updated, please use the comments section to post your links to your own blog under your own post header. This isn’t required. Don’t tag everyone in the group if you post it on other pages or places.
8) If you fail to post on any given week, you must announce your withdrawal. There are no passes. Learn to use your blog tools to prepare for vacations and the likes. If you must withdraw for personal reasons, please feel free to message me and I can announce your withdrawal if you’re unable to deal with it.
9) At the end of 26 weeks I will issue three levels of digital prizes.
a. A “Participatory” badge for you to display on your blog. These are for everyone who participated.
b. An “Almost There” badge. These are for folks who completed over half the challenge.
c. A “Winner” badge. These are for everyone who completed the challenge.
10) As a bonus, I will include all of the “Winners” into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card. There is only one gift card and everyone who finishes the challenge will be eligible.
11) This is a self policed challenge. The only time I will check up on folks is when I draw the wining gift card. I will go through the winner’s page, and if they failed to meet the rules, I will discard their entry and draw another.
12) Have fun! If you aren’t enjoying, then what is the point?
Now, let’s see if I can do this thing. *FISTPUMP*
I plan to write about characters and places in The Gauntlet Series, with hope that it will motivate me to get off my arse and finish the damn thing. I have been working on it, just slower than Frodo’s trip to Mordor, apparently.
Happy New Year!
Xina Uhl has been hard at work on a number of projects. She turned in her book “The Civil Rights Act of 1964” (children’s nonfiction), and finished a short story “Whiter Passages” – an Antarctic romance. She’s now working on the next volume in the Icebound series called “All Mouth and No Trousers,” which is soon to be finished. You can read some more about that here: https://xuwriter.wordpress.com/tag/icebound/ She’s also submitting queries for her Black Death/1918 Influenza Pandemic children’s nonfiction book.
Both Cheryl Dyson and Deb Ochery have been writing, and writing, and still more writing. They hope to have new works available for you soon.
Janet Loftis has been doing a ton of writing…but most of it for school unfortunately. She’s now pursuing a graduate program in Crisis and Disaster Management, and exploring such fascinating topics as ebola quarantines and fires in the wildland-urban interface (e.g., the 1991 Oakland Hills Firestorm). But never fear, where other students may simply glance at a list of biological warfare tactics over the centuries, Janet sees more fodder for future horror stories.
And in an amusing turn of events, Janet was happy to share a tale from one of her co-workers who, after having a discussion with his 60-year-old mother about “50 Shades of Grey” recommended downloading a sample of Janet’s erotica titles from Amazon Kindle. Despite her deep blushing, and her “oh my”s, his mother not only kept reading, she bought some more. It’s very rewarding for a writer to hear they’ve entertained someone, so Janet will be working in February to put together another collection of her erotica stories. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, you might want to try these works:
The Guantlet Thrown (Fantasy)
A Fairy Tale (Light-hearted Fantasy)
The Box Quadrilogy (Erotica)
Be Careful What You Wish For (Erotica)