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Showing posts from 2014

Friends and Miracles

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As many of you know, I’m not much into the whole Santa Claus part of Christmas. I’m not in the vehement camp of “Santa is an evil lie we should not perpetrate on our children!” (OK, well, being honest here, not anymore) but neither do we play make-believe with our children that maybe a jolly man is going to sneak into our house and leave gifts. But the spirit of Christmas miracles is alive and well in our house. More years than not, we have feared there would be nothing under the tree on the morning of December 25th, but this year was particularly precarious, given unforeseen increases in our expenses that outstripped our two modest incomes—even with a generous raise that should be taking effect for me soon. In the early weeks of December, we had not even thought about Christmas shopping, because the core of my being will not allow for pleasantries when the bills aren’t paid.

November: Memories, Loss, and HLA-B27

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Life is messy for all of us, to one degree or another, whether on the surface, or carefully hidden. Today's blog post is mostly about allowing some of the mess to be on the surface, because sometimes grappling with it is therapeutic--if not for you, for me.

The closer we get to Thanksgiving, the harder November always gets for me, especially on those grey, dreary days we often have in Pennsylvania, where the trees are mostly bare and the air is a little raw. It makes me think of the day, 15 years ago, when my sisters discovered the body of my mother, who had died of a massive heart attack some time in the wee hours of the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Though the date was November 23rd, I always remember it as the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Beyond Price Goes Live--Hopefully the First of Many

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Today marks a nerve-wracking moment in my author journey. To many, releasing one little short story on Kindle Direct Publishing probably sounds like a bit of an “And…?” milestone, but it marks something of a turning point for me, at least in my thinking.
For months now (really, ever since the rights to Curse Bearer reverted to me) I have been in a writer funk. A quagmire of doubt about the future of my writing.
I am mid-series with everything I am writing at the moment, and I don’t have anything brewing in the back of my mind that is independent of The Risen Age Archive or The Windrider Saga. This puts me in a very bad position in terms of growing my author platform through traditional publishing.

Confession of an Inktober Quitter

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I made it a little over half way through Inktober. And then I quit.

It wasn't one of those "petering out" events, where I just got tired of the activity and didn't make time to do it. In fact, I actually drew more during the second half of Inktober than I did in the beginning.

Just not in ink.

And why? Because I discovered, via the Inktober challenge to draw something in ink every day, that I am not very good at making finished pieces in ink. I really only like it for the sake of hashing out a thumbnail idea. It's actually great for that, because something about sketching quickly in ink prevents me from noodling unnecessary details into the concept stage. But when it comes to finished pieces that I really feel good about, pencil is my medium of choice. It just is. It's my first love.

 Now, it's not that people didn't appreciate the ink drawings I was doing, even while I was struggling to do them. In fact, the Asian-inspired villain I drew got the most &q…

Artwork in the Pipeline

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Inktober continues here in my world, and it's been a fun and therapeutic exercise to "take requests" in making artwork. No real musing today, just a sampling of the projects that have come out of the process.
From the start, multiple people chimed in with dragon requests, so I found a day where I could put more than 10 minutes into the drawing before I did one. Granted, a drawing like this, you could noodle for hours and hours--but hours are something in short supply right now, so this 25 minute drawing is where it landed.
This octopus is part of an ongoing collaborative project that I hope to get some traction on soon. Yes, an octopus composer is a pretty ridiculous premise--but I bet it's not one that's overdone, right?
This final image, which is not part of the Inktober challenge, but has been in process during this time, has been the subject of much consternation for me. I took a leap into a minimalist, stylistic experiment. As with all experiments, they eith…

Inktober as a Remedy to the Mid-Life Crisis

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I think it’s pretty safe to say that I am having a legitimate mid-life crisis. It feels so cliché, so true to form, I have an immediate knee-jerk reaction to the notion. But really—given life expectancy in this day and age, I am indeed facing the count of my years to come likely being fewer than those I have lived, and it’s a sobering prospect. I’ve been doing a lot of self-examination about where I am in life, what I’ve done with the time I’ve already passed (and sometimes squandered, especially the 10 years I got to stay home with my kids) and what I’m going to do with those that remain.
One of the main conclusions I’ve come to is that I am going to spend more time going forward drawing. Since I left the animation industry in February of 2000, I have mostly neglected this skill area. I have a long list of excuses I could trot out if I wanted, but at the end of the day, excuses only keep you in the place you’re apologizing for being, so I’m not giving that list any air time.

One of …

Beyond Price, conclusion, short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

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Part I Part II Part III
Part IV Part V
Part VI
The wee hours of the morning wore on, and Veranna’s cheek bounced against her father’s back, since the strength to hold her head up another moment had left her long ago. The horse they rode grew slower and slower, tripping more often. They splashed through a shallow brook at a plodding trot, and the water spattered Veranna’s face with cold spray. She flinched but did not lift her head. How odd to be clutching a virtual stranger so closely, and yet at the same time, to feel more at home than she could ever remember. If only the fierce tingle harassing her skin would abate, she could almost be comfortable. Drift to sleep, even. Her father reined the horse to a stop once they had put the stream behind them. “Veranna,” he whispered. “Yes.” Veranna grimaced. In the time her swollen lips had gone unused, they had stiffened. Were any of her teeth loose? In all the commotion, she had failed to check. “Let us see to your hurts and put you in some prope…

Beyond Price, Part VI short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

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Playing catch up on this story? Find all the previous installments here: Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V Veranna hopped down from the edge of the stage and stalked for the showground exit. What choice do I have? The weasel. But he’s wrong—how could I ever love someone like him? At least I’ll still have many years to live once he’s in his grave . . . Something slammed into Veranna’s side and bowled her over. Fingers groped through her hair and wrenched her head back. A fist drove into her teeth, and stars burst across her vision. She kicked and clawed from her attacker’s grasp. “Oh no you don’t!” a female voice shrieked. The attacker caught hold of the rear panel of Veranna’s skirt. Seams strained and threatened to tear. Veranna wheeled. Merina. She spat a mouthful of blood. “Two nights now we’ve made no money on your account, you shameless tramp,” Merina said. “We all know why he keeps you.” She pulled a knife from her belt.

Beyond Price, Part V, short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

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Please Note: this story steps solidly into PG-13 territory for occasional frankness of content from this point forward

Veranna knelt on one knee, her arms opened wide, her face to the stars, her chest rising and falling with hungry draughts of air. A trickle of perspiration ran down her bare back, and the night air chilled the trail it left. But she had finished the dance, the most technically challenging she had ever performed. Magnificently, even to her own critical appraisal. The crowd of men beyond the stage lights whooped and whistled. “I give you, the enchantress Veranna!” Bodini boomed from stage left. “Faerie princess of all delights!” “Dance it again!” a man yelled through cupped hands. “Yeah, again,” others echoed. “Dance, princess!” A tall, ruddy-haired man in a smartly-tailored waistcoat, knickers, and a short cape lined in gold satin shouted over them all, “But without the skirt!”

Beyond Price, Part IV, short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

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Part I
Part II Part III
A shiver ran through Veranna’s body, and she sank to her knees, burying her face in her hands. After a moment of shock too great for tears, a familiar softness enrobed her shoulders. She lifted her face to find Mamá draping an angora blanket over her. For a moment she was childlike again, and her mother possessed tenderness for her, not just wearied exasperation. A black and blue knot rising on Mamá’s cheek shattered the memory. “What was he talking about, Mamá?” Veranna asked. “What’s his . . . what we deserve?” Mamá avoided her glance. “I don’t want to talk—” “No!” Veranna clutched the blanket closer. “What is this ‘arrangement?’ Is there some way to keep me from having to dance in this? It’s beautiful in some ways, but . . .” “It’s alluring, not beautiful,” Mamá said. “There’s a difference.” “Why is Master Bodini acting like he can sell me?” Mamá’s resident look of pain resurfaced and contorted her face. “Because he can.” The words came out so quietly that Ver…

Beyond Price, Part III short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

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Catch up on Part I and Part II Veranna tightened the last rope around the peg at the front corner of her mother’s tent, then tested the peg with her foot. It stayed put, but with the sandiness of the soil, Veranna wondered if perhaps they might find themselves in a collapsing mound of canvas in the middle of the night. She sniffed the tang of salt in the air and brushed wayward curls the constant breeze pushed across her face. However secure it was, it would have to do. The sky was already burning pink and gold from the setting sun, and the crowds would soon filter into the showgrounds. Veranna gathered her skirts and ran for the ring of wagons. If the patrons here at the seacoast were anything like Mamá remembered, tonight would be a big night for building up her deed. Why Mamá seemed so melancholy about it, Veranna could only guess.

Beyond Price part II; short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

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Missed part I? Read it here.

The torches blazed bright even as they burned low, all in a ring around the crowd of cheering revelers that filled the center of the gypsy camp. Veranna squinted against the glare reflecting from the metal bowls at the stage’s edge, where lamps guttered and cast their glow on the line of dancers. She curtsied for the twentieth time that night, and the five dancers to both her left and right followed suit, though they all rose slowly. Though none of the troupe was as new to a full night of performances as was Veranna, they all looked just as drained as she felt, their gestures sluggish and eyelids heavy. The musky aroma of flowers past their peak mingled with smoke and spilt cider. Veranna wrinkled her nose during the final bow.
“Are they not vision from paradise?” Bodini yelled from the corner of the stage. He swung a substantial, hairy arm toward the troupe, then took a long pull from a flask in his opposite hand. The crowd roared its agreement. “And th…

Beyond Price, a short story, part 1 of Many

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Authors who blog well--you have my unabashed envy. Those of you who can craft life's little observations into poignant and reflective articles, you truly have a gift I do not. I update this blog out of a personal obligation: I created it, and it deserves to have some sort of continuing life because of that. But I suck at articles. And so, today, I bring you a bit of an experiment--the first part of a short story. The whole thing is about 50 pages in all, so if I maintain a steady installment size, this will take between 8 and 10 posts to offer you the whole thing. If people want it, sure, I'll keep posting it. If not, we'll chalk it up as a placeholder until I figure out how to write decent articles or con someone else into doing them for me.

For now, I hope you enjoy Beyond Price, the tale of a half-elven adolescent gypsy and her search for freedom. Beyond Price, part 1 The singing tone of viol and lyre swelled with a driving tremor of tambourine, and at their command, V…

A Writer Reboot—The Search for Sales

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80% of families in the US did not buy a single book over the past year.
80%.
If you look up the proliferating infographics available on the internet today, the picture of reading as a pastime isn’t encouraging for authors. Let alone authors of genre fiction. Christian authors of genre fiction? It’s no wonder so many of us are looking at our quarterly royalty checks and laughing in a way that makes the people around us a little uncomfortable.
It’s all just a matter of numbers. Of the 20% of Americans who bought ANY kind of book last year, how many bought fiction? Not the majority. Of those who bought fiction, how many bought fantasy? Of those who bought fantasy, how many tried something that wasn’t a George R R Martin book? Of that group, how many of them were looking for fantasy, specifically, from a Christian worldview? (Here’s a hint: the overall religious market—fiction and non-fiction—only represents about $2 billion of the $30 billion book sales industry, if my interpretation of…

Conquering Conference Gut

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I have struggled with the momentum-killing effects of ulcerative colitis for 25 years, but never is it so bothersome as when I’m trying to attend writer’s events. I’ve not-so-affectionately renamed my flare-ups “Conference Gut,” because of the four conferences I’ve attended and the two I’ve run, I have never been able to attend a single one of these without the painful, exhausting, and stressful symptoms of my ailing gut rearing their heads. As I prepare to attend this year’s Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’sconference (a last minute decision, because those are always supportive of digestive health!) my symptoms are getting a solid head start.
Frankly, I’ve had enough.
We went out to enjoy some sunshine at the lake on Sunday afternoon, as I’ve been feeling extremely sunshine-deprived this summer, due to my work schedule and my self-imposed butt-in-chair time as I press toward finishing The Risen Age Archive. My stomach has been up and down for the past few days, so I tried to c…

Publishing Independence

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When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for an author to dissolve the contractual bands which have connected them with a traditional publisher . . .
As of last night, I’ve reached another milestone in this journey people call “being an author,” though I can’t really say this is one that I’m ready to break out the balloons and confetti over. What milestone?
My first book has been taken out of print.
Many of you have walked beside me on the journey of working on the book that was once called The Sword of the Patron. You saw me through the book’s involvement in Marcher Lord Select, through edits, and angst, and the excitement of interest from four separate publishers/agents (in 2011). Many of you supported the Kickstarter for the book’s release. You read and left reviews. You shared a sympathetic laugh with me as I received royalty checks over a few quarters. (At least the book earned out, right?) Thank goodness for mobile deposit, because some checks are hardly worth t…

Teaser Chapters of the Sequel to Curse Bearer

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Technology has not been my friend today.

We had power outages around my area last night due to gusty thunderstorms, and it's pretty amazing how much havoc a power outage can wreak, even after it's been resolved. All things digital I have touched today have been in a collective snit.

My goal had been to create a new page on this blog as a home for some teaser chapters for my upcoming book, the sequel to Curse Bearer. However, since that page doesn't seem to want to create a working tab on my blog homepage, I'm going to share these chapters with a work-around. We shall see if Google Drive is conspiring with the rest of my web and data sources to derail yet another attempt at this.

So, if you're interested to see how I think Danae Baledric is going to manage after having nabbed a supernatural sword from the evil fiend who had it, follow this link:
The Risen Age Archive, Book II: First Three Teaser

If the planets align, that should take you to the prologue and first tw…

A Recipe? What? I thought this was a writing blog...

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Because I'm in the process of trying to make better use of a couple of my social media outlets (namely, Pinterest and Twitter) I'm going a little off the usual grid here and posting something completely unrelated to writing or fantasy or geekdom or faith. A recipe for pasta salad.

I suppose you could relate it to writing because, hey, writers eat too. And they probably want to eat things that are easy and tasty so that we can get back to the keyboard full and happy. Because when we're not, we do awful things to characters. Wait--we do that anyway. Theory busted.

Well, devoid of any connecting theory, here's the recipe some friends have been asking about. If I'm lucky, I can also figure out how to "pin" it over at the very mysterious hub of distraction.

Pizza Pasta Salad
A Lowbrow Yum Recipe by Becky Minor


3/4 of a box of your favorite pasta, cooked and cooledOne envelope Good Seasons Italian dressing, prepared per package instructions, but make sure you use…

Realm Makers: Reflections from the Director

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Yes, it’s taken this introvert a week and a half to even begin sorting my thoughts on Realm Makers: 2014. Mental fatigue is a formidable foe for me. On any project, I tend to idle for a long time, or else just tootle around through the early stages at the task at hand, and then, once lateness is a real risk, I go full throttle until the end. This makes for a long cooling period after any creative sprint, but thankfully, this pattern hasn’t burnt me out yet.
A lot of that avoidance of burnout has to do with the steady flow of encouragement that has been coming through a long list of blogs and emails and facebook posts that have been cropping up over the past week-plus. (And if you’ve emailed me to say thank you or contribute ideas, please know I am not ignoring you. I just can’t write checks and dig out my office and answer emails all in the short space of my evenings yet.) Those who have reflected publicly on their Realm Makers experience have shared a refrain: Realm Makers is unique…

A Peek at the Process: Part II

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Thanks for coming back! Of course, if you’re not “back,” but just joining me, here’s what you missed. On Tuesday, I decided to post the first part of a blog chain that gives a little insight to what us emerging authors are working on, how we work on it, and where we’re headed. Without further preface, here’s the continuation of that post.
Why fantasy—and where’s the “epic?” My obsession with castles and creatures is an inescapable passion woven into the fiber of my being from as long as I can remember. Some will argue that medieval-style fantasy is warmed-over, but I disagree. I truly believe that it is a niche that resonates with enough lovers of the genre to justify writing it.
I tend to write “tight” to my characters in terms of plot because I don’t have a highly political mind. In order to write with the breadth of my current favorite author, (Brandon Sanderson) I think you need to have a greater grasp of and passion for political intrigue, and that’s just not who I am. Not that …

A Peek at the Process: Part I

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For as many writers as you’ll find in within shouting distance, you’ll find just as many creative processes. It’s amazing to me, how although we’re all striving for the same end (a tightly-crafted story) that we all attack that behemoth task on different fronts. So, as suggested by Kat Heckenbach, I thought I’d jump into the stream of authors who are lately discussing their current projects and a little about how they are tackling them. Be sure to check out Kat’s post on the subject and leave a comment there..since after all, we writers live for feedback, even if it also scares us to death.
Since, true to form, this post grew to mammoth proportions, I am going to post this in two parts. Look for the second half on Thursday, in which I will tag the next author’s blog who will be tackling this project.
What I’m working on: Currently, I have a novel that will serve as the sequel to Curse Bearer in the works. The working title for this project is Curse Reiver, but as we all know, titles h…

Chapter Samples: The Sequel to Curse Bearer

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In a few days, I will be diving back into the final few-thousand words that will wrap up the second book in The Risen Age archive. I admit, this book has been too long in coming, but due to a 6 week stint in set design for my husband's/kids' school, I took a little sabbatical from writing, which has kept this draft from being truly finished. (Oh, and I had to get the Realm Makers conference registration live, which wasn't a tiny task.) I hope to amend the book's unfinished nature by mid April. 
In the meantime, I think I'll post a couple of sample chapters for your perusal. I heartily invite your comments. After all, this is the stage of the game where I can make things right if you think they're off to a bad start!
Curse Reiver (working title) Book II of The Risen Age Archive
Prologue (Yes, there's a prologue. The POV character and location are separate from the main action of the story, so I stand stalwartly by its necessity.)
To be cast into his own fires of…

Good Art—Miserable Heart?

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Maybe you’ve noticed…the “greats” of just about any art form, be it music, or literature, or painting, or sculpture, just to list a few, tend to be tortured souls. We authors sometimes joke about how the copious consumption of alcohol or other addictive beverages is a given within the writing community, but beneath the laughter there’s an unease that the shades of truth bring.
While I’m no “great” in either writing or art, the older I get, the more I find the compulsion to make things an inextricable part of who I am. In my 20’s, I had a job in the animation field, and so I drew 8+ hours a day, which left me comfortably managing the less-creative facets of life in my off hours. Then I moved into a phase of life that was a blur of pregnancy and toddler-chasing, punctuated by a yearly stint in decorating the entirety of a church campus for Vacation Bible School. During these years, the creative beast made few demands…went into hibernation, so to speak, probably because I knew I was pur…

Realm Makers Blog Voyage: Day 2

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When people ask me the question, ‘Where did you get the idea to put the Realm Makers conference together?” I can’t help but chuckle a little. You see, as much as I was part of the conversations about how Christian speculative fiction enthusiasts needed a place where they could enjoy their genre without being confronted with either near-nudity, aggressive atheism, or wide-eyed, “Well isn’t that . . . interesting? What’s a nice girl like you doing writing about zombie . . . what was it? Assassins?” I definitely never saw myself as the person to create that place. After all, I’m an introvert to the point where answering the phone is a struggle if I don’t know who’s calling. I have young children, a full time job, and novels of my own to write. Why would I take on something as terrifyingly behemoth as a writers conference?
The answer is, I didn’t “get the idea,” so much as it marched up to me, grabbed me by the shirt, and said, “You’re doing this.” Thankfully, because I have been able to…

Rafflecopter Giveaway for Realm Makers Blog Voyage

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Since Rafflecopter isn't compatible with certain blogs, I'm throwing this post right here so that you can pile up entries for the awesome Writer's Tardis Basket we're giving away to folks who spread the word about Realm Makers: 2014. For all the particulars about the conference, visit...

The Realm Makers website
And the Conference Blog

And finally, here's the Rafflecopter. Have a blast!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Geek Girl T-Shirt Design-Your Opinions Requested

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I've been batting this idea around for over a year, now, and I think I've finally got it worked out. Of course, this being my idea, I think it's cool, but as with my books, my opinion doesn't matter much. What I want to know is if people would buy this design if I offered it for sale.
 I think I will probably load the text designs to Zazzle, just to give them a place to live until conference time. But come Realm Makers: 2014, I am going to have to print a batch to sell, and that means picking a color or two.

That's where you come in!

In the comments below, I'd love to hear what color you'd buy, if any. And if you wouldn't spend any amount of money on something like this, I want to hear that too.
So please, comment away! I'd love your feedback, even if it's just to tell me I'm crazy.

If you love these and want your own shirt, visit my Zazzle store at http://www.zazzle.com/faithandfantasy and see what colors I've loaded for sale there.