Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I have hit the 45,000-word mark on this first draft of my as-yet very untitled work.

This is significant because I'm estimating that 45K is about the halfway point.


I've finally stopped being a perfectionist on this thing and started a revisions document, so I can note down the things I want to change when I get to revisions, so then I'm just a-typin' along.

45K might seem like a lot of words to be only halfway through a novel draft, but this is historical fiction (well, women's historical fiction? Women's fiction? Whatever). Historical fiction is usually somewhere in the 90,000 to 110,000-word range and sometimes is as long as 120,000 words.

I think 90K is about the limit of this particular story. And after some of the unnecessary drama of the past few days, it's time to move on and celebrate getting to the halfway mark.


Friday, September 16, 2016

An Anthology Announcement: When Publishing Goes Awry

You all might have seen and read some of the posts I've done on here and on my author Facebook page about an impending anthology that I had a short story in.

Past tense, yes. Keep reading.

This anthology came together late last year and I was super excited about it because I was looking to have another piece out in the world after Pearl, but I'm not a fast writer, so this offer seemed like a perfect solution. It would be my first experience with a publisher who isn't me and I would be in the company of so many talented authors. Short stories take less time to write and I hadn't written a short story since college, so it would be like using an old artistic muscle.

Well, things haven't quite worked out. The authors are currently trying to decide on a solution.

As much as fiction writing is about inspiration and other twee sort of things, the publishing side is a business: is it selling? How can it be marketed? Who is the audience? There are contracts and clauses, marketing considerations, money and business obligations in publishing; this is the stuff I studied in grad school.

So: for authors, if you're considering going into an anthology, it may be a worthwhile experience. It may expose your work to a new audience, you'll make some new writer companions and contacts, it might stretch you as a writer.

BUT---as with everything in publishing, do your research. Check out the publisher. Ask questions. Make sure the communication is regular and business-like. Read that contract.

I cannot stress this enough: read every word, every clause. Make sure it's in the right format and wording for a publishing contract. If you don't understand something, find a legal adviser. Make sure your copyright reverts to you if something goes wrong. Make sure you can get out of the project if it goes south. Explore how the funds are to be distributed and how the publisher is permitted control over your work and your name.

As for me and the other authors: we're considering other ways of getting our stories out there. I'm not hugely attached to my entry in the anthology; I think it needs a developmental editorial brush-up. It's called "The Disappearance of Miss Mary Dawkins" and it's about the mother of little Alexandra Keegan, one of the children in Pearl. To be honest, I haven't actually read "Mary Dawkins" in several months. Though I'm not attached to it, I want it out in the world and not hanging over me like Eeyore.

Edited to Add:

The publisher finally resurfaced today on Facebook and wrote a pretty passive-aggressive status update saying the anthology was dissolved and she didn't appreciate the "nasty correspondence" she's been receiving as of late and she "didn't want that nastiness on her shoulders." Um, maybe if there was communication, this would've gone better? If the authors knew what was going on?


Monday, September 12, 2016

TIMELESS (#3 Maiden of Time) by Crystal Collier #CoverReveal

TIMELESS (#3 Maiden of Time) by Crystal Collier #CoverReveal

Book Title: TIMELESS (Maiden of Time #3)
Author: Crystal Collier
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2016


In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

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Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her Blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

Want the first chapter free? Sign up HERE.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11, 15 Years Later

Half a lifetime ago, I was a fifteen-year-old girl who had just begun her sophomore year of high school and was still not back in the swing of the school year. I was in the car with my mother on the way to school one pleasant, blue-skied Tuesday morning. We were driving on an overpass, the Z100 Morning Zoo blaring out of the radio when one of the DJs suddenly said, "Hey, I think I saw a plane fly into the Twin Towers!"

What? It didn't make sense. All my life, the Twin Towers--the World Trade Center--had loomed, two huge silver buildings at the foot of Manhattan, distinct from the other towering figures anchored in Manhattan's bedrock. When I arrived at school, on a mission to get myself switched from Earth Science into Chemistry, the DJ's exclamation left my mind.

I went to a large public high school in Queens, New York, one of the many schools built for about one thousand students and instead, in that fall of 2001, buzzing with about three thousand kids. We were packed in the halls like sardines, jostling and bumping as we moved up and down the four floors. But because there were so many of us, our schedules were staggered and we started and ended school on shifts. That day, as every period brought another group of kids in to start their days, the rumors spread across the school.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

IWSG September

It's the first Wednesday in September--must be time for IWSG! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a large group of writers online and we come together to exorcise our writerly insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month. Our co-hosts for today are: C. Lee McKenzie,Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata!  

This past month, I have been insecure not so much with the quality of my current draft, but with the speed. I am a slow writer. I am also an easily distracted writer. I am also not quite an outliner; I have a very loose and vague outline, which comes to bite me in the ass at least once per draft when I'm sitting there staring at my document, going "Right. So she lands there. How do I get her there?"

I resorted to what I do during NaNoWriMo: I put my Word document in full page view so that I can't look at the word count, turn off the Internet on my computer, and force myself to type.

I also read two writing books by Libbie Hawker: Take Off Your Pants!, which was about outlining, which helped me think about my story in a different way that's helping me scoot along, and Making It In Historical Fiction. 

The IWSG question: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

It's not time to write that eludes me, it's me wasting time while I'm supposed to be writing. Since I was in utero, I've been a night owl, so I tend to write more at night, though I've been trying to change that to writing more in daytime when I can. 

But in and among work, family, friends, reading other peoples' books, the odd TV show, and the shiny lights of the Internet, I write better when I know I can't be on the computer for an extended period of time. So if I'll only have an hour that day that I'll be home and able to write, then that's when writing needs to happen--and that's when the Internet needs to be shut off!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

33 Books Read!

Here we are at the almost three-quarter point of the year... and here I am with 33 books read!

What are you reading?

23. The Suffragette Scandal (Brothers Sinister #4) by Courtney Milan. Fiction/Historical Romance/Victorian England. 4 stars.

24. Plastic Smile (Russell's Attic #4) by SL Huang. Fiction/Science Fiction/Action/Thriller. 4 stars.

25. A Leaf on the Wind of All Hollows (Outlander #8.5) by Diana Gabaldon. Fiction/Fantasy/Historical/ Novella. 3 stars.

26. The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy by David Cannandine. Nonfiction/History/Social history/Britain. 2 stars.

27. Collecting The Constellations by Emily Steers. Fiction/Mystery/Thriller/Contemporary. 5 stars.

28. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. Nonfiction/History/American History/African-American history/Twentieth century. 5 stars.

29. Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing: Revised Edition by Libbie Hawker. Nonfiction/Writing. 3 stars.

30. Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary by Anita Anand. Nonfiction/ Biography/History/Feminist/India/Britain/ Nineteenth century/Twentieth century. 3 stars.

31. A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley. Fiction/Historical Fiction/Women's Historical Fiction/Dual Timeline/Action/Romance/ France/18th century. 3 stars.

32. Making It In Historical Fiction by Libbie Hawker. Nonfiction/Writing/Publishing/Historical Fiction. 3 stars.

33. Talk Sweetly To Me (Brothers Sinister #4.5) by Courtney Milan. Fiction/Historical Romance/Novella. 3 stars.