Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Friends and Miracles

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.

Friday, November 14, 2014

November: Memories, Loss, and HLA-B27

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.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Beyond Price Goes Live--Hopefully the First of Many

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.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Confession of an Inktober Quitter

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 "likes" of any Inktober drawing I offered up.

But the further I got into the process, the more I really wanted to sink my teeth in making something finished. And the more I tried to finish pieces in ink, the worse they got.

My awesome writers' group was super encouraging when I posted, for their eyes only, something I considered a failure. None of them reacted with the old "Not everything is a masterpiece," but with "I don't see why you hate this drawing." So at least I know I don't churn out total garbage, even on my worst days. At least not in the eyes of the casual viewer.

But the pleasure in drawing was ebbing and it was becoming a chore. I needed to pick up the pencils again. And so, with a couple weeks of the challenge to go, I put the pens away and got my assortment of Prismacolor pencils back out, ranging from 6H (super hard lead--I don't think I've actually used the pencil. It just makes score marks in my paper) to 4B (creamy-soft lead.) And drawing was a pleasure again.

This Vinyanel and Veranna drawing was the first to sneak back in and remind me of my passion for pencil. From there, I decided to dig into something meatier, which yielded a pretty dynamic piece of interior art for an upcoming short story release.

Speaking of which, another tool set I wandered into during my truancy from Inktober was the world of digital art. I am a complete noob to this area,so my efforts here are fledgling, but I think I'm learning fast. And more importantly for me at this stage of my art journey, working on the digital art never felt like a chore. It was more: "Can I drink another cup of coffee and keep going on this, because I really want to! No, I will hate myself at work in the morning if I do that."

So, I hope you aren't too disappointed in me as an Inktober dropout. But if I'm making art that isn't a commission, I think I owe it to myself to spend my time on images that bring me joy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Artwork in the Pipeline

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 either tend to be genius or failures. This one, though the image has some nice qualities, is landing on the "failure" side of the line and will likely just be filed away with the "stuff I played around with but will never grow beyond that."

What is art if not a learning experience? Sometimes it just a takes a few total strangers to be absolutely straight with you, and that's ok.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Inktober as a Remedy to the Mid-Life Crisis

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 the external motivators I’ve latched onto in an effort to do more drawing is to participate in Inktober. The challenge is simple: do a drawing, in ink, every day, all month.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Beyond Price, conclusion, short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

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 proper travel clothes, now that we have put some distance between ourselves and the caravan.” Veranna’s father bent his knee to his chest and pulled his foot over the horse’s neck, then worked his other boot free of the stirrup and hopped to the ground. He reached up and took her by the waist. When he slid her from the saddle, she eased gently to the ground, and her father showed no sign of the slightest strain in lowering her. His ageless face bore no lines of weariness in the wan glow of the setting moon.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Beyond Price, Part VI short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

Playing catch up on this story? Find all the previous installments here:
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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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

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!”

Saturday, September 20, 2014

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

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 Veranna nearly missed them.
“What? How?”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beyond Price, Part III short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Beyond Price part II; short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

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 this one,” the caravan master continued as he strode heavily toward center stage. He snaked his arm about Veranna’s waist and yanked her against his side. “There is no caravan that brings greater delight. Show her you love her, eh?”
Many in the throng tossed silver—even gold—coins onto the stage, and Veranna gasped. Already Bodini’s pouch bulged with the coin he had collected in admission to the evening’s performances of sword swallowers, jugglers, acrobats, contortionists, and the dance troupe. But coins that hit the stage—those who performed upon it got a share of such earnings. The caravan master beamed while the coins arced past, glowing like shooting stars in the stage lights.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Beyond Price, a short story, part 1 of Many

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, Veranna spun on the ball of her bare foot, her arms poised with flourish and her ornamental coin belt jingling. She swayed within the music’s rhythmic embrace, at once lost deep within herself and soaring on ethereal heights. Expression poured though limbs and motion.
A hazy-edged presage filled her mind, and within it, a svelte maiden leapt toward the night sky. The dancer’s ensemble covered only the barest minimum of her curves. A jeweled bodice that left midriff and shoulders bare glittered with every shift of position; a sheer, slit skirt flared from her waist like beams of light. When the dancer cast a flirtatious glance to the roaring crowd of men that filled the showgrounds beyond the stage lip, Veranna snatched a clear glimpse of the performer’s face. Her breath caught. This was no scantily-clad stranger—she watched herself!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Writer Reboot—The Search for Sales

80% of families in the US did not buy a single book over the past year.


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.

Is it any wonder, with the statistics,
that bookstores are a dying breed?
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 Publisher’s Weekly’s financial reporting is to be trusted.)

Suddenly, I begin to see that my expectation of anything better than meager sales is mostly wishful thinking.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m at a bit of a reboot moment with my writing. The Risen Age Archive is in my lap, waiting for me to figure out when, how, even IF I should get it back out to market. The Windrider Saga is on (I hope temporary) hiatus while I make decisions and corrections on Risen Age. (And then it will be Windrider’s turn for the scalpel. Or the sledgehammer. Not sure.)

Writing the stories isn’t enough for me. Call me pedestrian, but I want to sell books. Enough to make some noticeable difference in my family’s bottom line at the end of the quarter. It has become clear to me that if I want to have much of chance of doing this, it’s time to cast a wider net than the CBA crowd.

What this doesn’t mean for me is that I intend to suddenly “scuff up” my stories for some kind of perceived general market palette. Frankly, while my stories contain a religious system, that system has already proven too loose in its interpretation of real-world Christian theology to get a pass with readers who prefer fiction that exhibits a mirror-image biblical worldview. (Which is fine. To each his own. We live in an age where we can choose what we want to read, and that’s awesome.)

Will my stories smell too much like church to secular readers? I have no idea. They haven’t reached that population yet. This broader audience I’m looking for may chew me up and spit me back out on the doorstep of the CBA, for all I know.

What I do know is that I want to keep writing the stories that are rattling around in my imagination, and I want as many people to enjoy them as possible. And that means taking a chance at putting them in front of people who will mock me for my effort and my convictions.

For the sake of the Realm Makers conference, which I intend to keep administrating as long as people want it to happen, I keep looking for that writer who will serve as my connection to the Christians who are writing for the secular market. It’s occurring to me—maybe I’m not supposed to find him or her. Maybe I’m supposed to BE that author.

Because sometimes there’s no way to know if you belong in a place until you go and try to live there.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Conquering Conference Gut

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 choose reasonably digestible foods—or so I thought—for the trip.

Well, apparently, I chose poorly, because by the time we were schlepping our stuff back to the car, I was having a full blown intestinal spasm. In times like that, I just pray to be able to get to the comfort of my own home before disaster strikes.

On the drive home, in addition to trying very hard not to writhe in pain like Luke Skywalker being Force Lightning-ed by the Emperor, I suddenly broke out in hives. Hives? What the heck? That has never happened to me before. Was it something I ate? My sunscreen? Was it the probiotic powder I took on Saturday having some kind of weird interaction with the sun? It didn’t matter, it was the proverbial straw breaking the camel’s back. The flipper of some kind of ticked-off switch in my psyche.

I’m sick of being sick. I don’t want to plan everything at this weekend’s conference around having a swift exit, in case my gut stages a revolt. I’ve got stuff to do, and my flare-ups are getting in the way.

So, this week, I’m combining a very bland diet/semi fast with the elimination of some things from my diet, to include:
  • Soda: I quit this periodically, and routinely fall off the wagon. There’s no justifiable reason to drink Coke. I can admit this. The quitting is hard, though. I was raised in the late 70’s/80’s. If we weren’t drinking Coke it was Kool-Aid. Plain water is still a struggle for me.
  • Caffeine in general: This is going to be interesting (pronounced: miserable), given my fatigue issues that are also a battle in the health war. I expect my productivity at work may suffer this week. Thankfully, the crush of my very busy season is over. I can make no guarantee about the quality of conversation any of my coworkers will get from me. I will probably be napping during my lunch.
  • Gluten: There are people in my life who have been leaning hard on me to cut out gluten and “just see if it helps” for a long time. I will admit—I love bread. I will be very sad if it turns out eliminating gluten proves to make a huge difference. But I will also be happy to have some control over what my digestive system is doing.

So, I’ll probably be living on vegetables, rice, and water this week, while hunting around for some form of protein that isn’t Frankenfood.

If all goes well, I will have a quieted gut for this coming weekend, and I will be lucid and well-armed for my dastardly plans of:
  •  recruiting accomplices for the next Realm Makers conference,
  •  making a good impression with my art portfolio,
  •  and maybe getting some professional advice on how to reboot my writing endeavors.

Because you can’t do any of that stuff curled in bed, cursing the Alfredo sauce you know you shouldn’t have eaten.

Here’s to better health for me down the road—because ultimately, I want to serve my readers and other writers, and being healthy is a significant piece of that puzzle.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Publishing Independence

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 the gas to take them to the bank! I feel bad my publisher even spent the postage to send them.

But sometimes, you reach a point where it becomes clear that you and your publisher aren’t doing each other any good. The situation is far too complex to be able to point to one party or another to say why a book is struggling. Because the fact is, it’s probably a mixture of successes and failures on everyone’s part. But because it’s my nature, I will assume the full weight of responsibility for my book’s challenges; and therefore, I’m taking the initiative to make something better of the situation.

Now, to be clear, I’m the one who initiated the out-of-print status of Curse Bearer. The more I have looked at the state of my pursuit of writing, the clearer it has become that I have a bit of a reboot on my hands. Mostly due to my naiveté, I have gotten a stutter-start in this race, which leaves me with a story I want to see to its conclusion, but have no hope of seeing succeed though the traditional publishing model. Why can’t it?

Wrong publishing relationship—it’s not you, it’s me . . .
I won’t get into details here, but sometimes you and a publisher just turn out to be a bad fit. I’m an exacting pain, I can admit that. I’ve come to discover that I have too hard an entrepreneurial streak to comfortably leave some things in other hands.

Previously published, not-so-successful property
My understanding, from the publishing professionals I’ve bothered with this, pressing them for answers they kind of didn’t want to give (since who wants to be the bearer of bad news, after all?) is that in terms of traditional publication, The Risen Age Archive was “dead in the water” if I didn’t want to continue the relationship with Curse Bearer’s publisher. What acquisitions editor in his right mind would take on a Book Two of a series where Book One fizzled? If the series is going to gain any momentum, I need to start over, and it’s up to me.

Thankfully, the publishing climate is conducive to authors doing such things. Ten years ago? I would have had
Ironically, it may be doing so AGAIN this fall.
Just not with a Kickstarter attached.
to call this series a “lesson learned” and move on. I consider this an opportunity to see if I can make something bigger of a series that virtually only my friends and family know about. I can correct issues I’m unhappy with in the first book. Edit the whole thing, if I think it will help. It all boils down to elbow grease, and I’m not afraid of that.

So what’s the plan now?
Well, that’s still formulating. I’ve been hard at work on the continuation of the next Risen Age book, which I’m hoping to get out to a handful of test readers in a couple weeks. It’s a big, fat book, pushing 150,000 words at present. Now, lots of people say, “That’s cool, epic story, epic page count.” Artistically, I agree.

However, the reality is, the Print on Demand model drives the price per copy really high when the page count grows, which makes it REALLY hard for an independent author to offer a competitive price on a paperback book. This means the possibility of two books to follow Curse Bearer is (back) on the table. No decision made—I know half the world will cry foul if I release one big book, the rest will frown if I release two. In the next couple weeks, I plan to look at a breaking point between the books and decide if it’s just too unfair to make readers wait a few months between the middle section of the story and the conclusion, and whether that pain is greater than the pinch of a $20 paperback.

What I do know is that I will need to re-release Curse Bearer simultaneously with whatever book I choose to have follow it (middle installment or epic conclusion.) I’m batting around the idea of including my Kickstarter illustrations in the ebook version of the re-release. Plus a million other ideas. If I seem to disappear until late fall, you know it’s because I’m buried in edits.

All in all, I want to thank each of you for journeying with me thus far. Although I am overwhelmed today (let’s be honest), I’m also optimistic.  In the words of Jeff Gerke, now is a great time to be in the publishing business. My prayer is that I prove worthy of the test of stepping out in this daunting-but-burgeoning direction.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Teaser Chapters of the Sequel to Curse Bearer

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 two chapters of the book currently known as The Algondolith Portal. We shall see what ends up on the cover, given the wary response my writer friends have given me about having a "weird" word in the title.

I hope you enjoy! If you do, or if you don't, I'd love it if you'd leave a comment.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

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

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
This is pre-addition of the pasta and dressing,
 but the ingredient colors make me happy.
A Lowbrow Yum Recipe by Becky Minor

  • 3/4 of a box of your favorite pasta, cooked and cooled
  • One envelope Good Seasons Italian dressing, prepared per package instructions, but make sure you use olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Alternately, use whatever bottled balsamic vinaigrette you like, but it's better if you do the "mix you're own" kind. I'm not judging.
  • One bell pepper, color of your choice, diced
  • One can black olives (more if you're like me and eat half of them while you're preparing everything else)
  • One tub of pearl style fresh mozzarella (if you can't get the pearl style, just get a ball of fresh and cube it small. But the pearls are cuter.)
  • 1 1/2-2 cups pepperoni, diced. (Diced pepperoni actually comes pre-done in a bag, if you're pressed for time and you can get it. Slices tend to stick together, which I find annoying)
  • One container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 of a red onion, minced. (This is optional. Especially if you are serving it to Scott Conant on Chopped, since he will berate you for even considering raw red onion as an ingredient. I think he was beaten by red onions as a child.)

Combine all the ingredients. Consume right away, or chill for later. It's best served right around room temperature.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Realm Makers: Reflections from the Director

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. It’s not just another option among other, more professional, bigger conferences. It speaks to a deep need for a community that only exists as a subset of other events. It’s all this positive feedback that gave me the courage to keep opening the PollDaddy results and digesting them. (Imagine receiving like 50 critiques on your manuscript in the space of a week, most of them from folks you scarcely know.)

Realm Makers continues to stretch me in ways I only scarcely imagined it might—in project management, in
Steve Laube and Clay Morgan, embodying the spirit of the
Realm Makers conference. Come as you are. Come as a zombie.
It's all good.
willingness to delegate, in party hosting, in coping with conflict, and I am grateful for each of the challenges the conference presents, because they are truly where the iron sharpens iron.

The challenges going forward are going to be numerous: finding ways to grow the conference, continue to attract excellent faculty, run it smoothly, and still keep the atmosphere of people getting together with a gaggle of new best friends. Size is needed in order to provide the quality of content we want to deliver to Realm Makers attendees. But there’s an intimacy I really don’t want to sacrifice, if there’s any way to avoid that. The shared vision of those in attendance will go a long way in preserving that “among friends” feeling, but careful management of the atmosphere will be central to my decision making down the road.

The main sentiment I want to express here is my gratitude to all of you who have gotten behind this effort to make it so much more than I could have ever designed on my own. Like a friend said to me in an email this week: some conferences are only as good as the team the director has around him or her. I know, that the combination of my small team and the energy of those who attend carry far more responsibility for the conference's success than anything I planned. Because of your great ideas and the momentum you create together, I am fully convinced that Realm Makers is viable as an annual entity. Will it get easier? In some ways. But knowing me, I will change enough from year to year that each conference will be its own, labyrinthine adventure.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Peek at the Process: Part II

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 I won’t stretch that direction, because I think it will make my worldbuilding stronger, but my wiring is innately feminine in the aspect of wanting to focus in on individuals and their personal experience as the outside world messes with their plans and passions. There’s not much about me that’s terribly feminine, but I can recognize this tendency as likely tied to my chromosomes.

How I go about it…writing
My writing process, as much as I would like to say it is consistent, is not. It’s not that I’m drifting around, waiting for the muse to drop in. (Because I personally believe that it a mentality that locks many writers into the “never finished a manuscript” category.) My inconsistency has more to do with having too many pots on the stove at once, and sadly, writing lives on the back burners on a periodic basis. Realm Makers conference coordination has a lot of people wrapped up in it, so you can’t just let that sit off to the side. Writing, on the other hand, only involves me, since I’m in book-by-book contracts. It’s easier to put off the personal projects than to keep others waiting, at least for me.

All that to say, when I start a book, I have a character concept in mind, and I have a general idea what I want the character to accomplish externally. From that, I devise the general concept of what I want the character to experience internally. From there, I write from the seat of my pants, letting one thing lead to another in the plot. Throughout the drafting process, I tend to “plant” a lot of material that I may or may not “pay off” later. If I find a use for the plant, it stays in the book when I start to revise. If there was no satisfying “pay off” that comes in later (and by pay off, I mean a way to tie the element into a game-changing later event) the plant goes to the cutting room floor. I take this concept from my analysis of early PIXAR films. If you watch films like Toy Story or Monsters Inc., you see that every little element, seemingly thrown in as a whim early in the film, comes into play later in a plot-significant way. I love this method of “no waste” storytelling, and I hope I’m getting better at it as I go.

Once the book is done to the best of my perception, it goes through the wringer with my crit partner, then gets anywhere from 2 to 7 passes of more editing, then goes to Beta readers for that final gut check of “Do you like this?” If I run into stuff my crit partner and I didn’t see (because we are getting to know each other well enough that sometimes we make similar story assumptions), I fix that, and then the hunt for a publishing home begins.

Future plans
Originally, I had planned for Curse Reiver to be the second book in a trilogy, whose third book offered only the barest skeleton of what I thought might happen. But as I wrote through CR, I developed some pretty dramatic, high stakes, about midway through the book, tied to a plot element that was only a stop along the way to Danae’s ultimate goal, to free her father. So when I got to her return home, I faced a roadblock. The ending scene of the book was far too “small,” in proportion to the rest of the book’s conflicts.

The solution? Take the central conflict—the only element I had developed for book III—and use it for the climactic event in this book. What I thought was going to be a 90K word novel grew to more like 140k, but you know what? That feels about right to me in terms of story. There’s no rule that says it has to be a trilogy. The duology should be able to tie up most of the loose ends, and now I just have to decide if I should throw an epilogue onto the tale to answer a lingering question or two about Danae’s long-term future.
Eh, I’ll probably write it and let the critiquers tell me if I should drop it. They’re great for judging outcry about what you left out or shouldn’t have put in.

So there you have it, my extended version of the “My Process” blog hop. I hope this gave you some ideas on how you might tackle your own inspiration!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Peek at the Process: Part I

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:
As lovely as this is, I'm glad I can type on a computer...
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 have a way of shifting around right up to the point the cover is finished, so I’m holding this title with a light grip.

Curse Reiver, the second book of The Risen Age Archive continues the story of Danae Baledric and her desperate journey to return to her father in time to cast off a curse that destines him for an agonizing future of magical bondage. It’s a rollicking story that drives Danae and her friends through subterranean caverns populated by mermaids, through gladiatorial battles, behind the walls of a siege, and over land and sea back to Danae’s beleaguered homeland. Friendships struggle to ford the buffeting waters of treachery, and characters face the darkest corners of their souls.

How my work is different:
It’s taken me a while to really pigeonhole where my work fits, and I think that is where it stands out. I write character-oriented, clean, new adult fantasy. Though the world is often at stake, the scope of my stories tends to focus specifically on my protagonists’ individual contributions to the greater whole, and upon their personal transformations as a result of their adventures. Readers generally only see the sweep of world history as it touches my protagonists specifically.

As for audience, my characters fall into the “new adult” range—away from their home and families of origin, but not yet established in the adult world. But unlike much of the new adult fare out there, plot elements that involve sexual exploration are absent.  An occasional kiss, whether well-meaning or ill-advised, yes. Temptation and struggle? Some. While human chemistry is a facet of pretty much all stages of life from adolescence on, I don’t find sexual experience to be the cornerstone of self awareness that so many would paint it to be. Plus, I think it’s most tactful to keep what happens behind closed doors…well, behind closed doors, even in deep-third POV fiction. Observing other people’s (even fictional people’s) intimate encounters is distasteful to me. It’s a personal conviction of mine that many will disagree with, and that’s ok. It’s how I intend to roll no matter what.

So concludes part I of this blog chain. Please join me again on Thursday, and in the meantime, check out Kat Heckenbach’s blog, since she’s the one who prompted me to participate, even though I am not typically a bandwagony person. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chapter Samples: The Sequel to Curse Bearer

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

(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 sacrifice by an Elgadrim Knight, even by an elf, was insulting enough. But by a simple girl? Ba-al Zechmaat roared in wordless indignation.

The fiend high priest of Queldurik disentangled himself from a last loop of chain around his foot. Despite his broken wing’s searing protests, he slammed his talons into the wall and sent chips of obsidian flying in a pelting spray. He hauled his weight, one shuddering arm length at a time, away from the bottom of the sacrifice pit that ringed the altar platform. The flames that roared along the pit’s floor licked over his flesh, familiar, but comfortless. Only the strain of the climb dominated Ba-al Zechmaat’s notice. Plagues upon the weaknesses I endure while I linger on this mortal plane.

A temple guard wearing a steel skull mask peered over the edge of the pit. “Your Eminence, can we assist you?”

Even from a full story below, Ba-al Zechmaat detected the tremor that ran through the guard’s body. “Assist me, you simp? How about this? Find them!”

“With all due respect, my liege…find who?”

Idiot humans and their ceaseless questions. What did the almighty Queldurik see in them?

“Imbecile. The Elgadrim dog and his little decoys,” Zechmaat replied. “Catch the maggot-breathed thieves. Drag them back to me. The strap them to these pitted idols and slow roast them until their flesh falls from their bones.”

A red-robed priest joined the first guard at the pit’s lip. He extended a length of rope and made ready to toss it to Ba-al Zechmaat.

“Don’t bother,” the fiend said. He heaved his way up the final two fathoms of the wall to stand before the human rabble that had begun to assemble in the chamber. Still three more guards scrambled in through the entry, herded toward the cringing assembly at the sacrifice pit’s edge by Zechmaat’s apprentice, Ba-al Hilekar.

With a clawed hand, Zechmaat snatched a handful of the first guard’s robe and lifted the man into the air to address him nose-to-nose. “How is it you did not see, you steaming pile of dung? Was it you who admitted a Knight of the Phoenix to the temple?”

“He…the knight…Your Eminence—he was disguised.” The salty tang of fear emanated from the guard’s flesh.

“And it was your duty to notice such disguises,” Zechmaat snarled. “And even having missed such an obvious intrusion, did not the combat that broke out alert you that something might be amiss?”

The humans licked their lips and let furtive glances flit toward the chamber exit. Hilekar spread his feet and reached for the whip on his belt. The guards stilled and focused on the floor.

“The doors . . .” the ensnared guard said. “We couldn’t open them until just now.”

Zechmaat bristled. “You’re not even worth the fuel it will take to burn you.”

The minor priest stepped forward. “Please, Your Dark Eminence, there is no need for this fury. The infidels did not interrupt any ceremony. Their parlor tricks and pathetic retreat pose no threat to Queldurik’s almighty authority.”

“No need?” Zechmaat flung the guard in a single thrust into the pit behind him.

A thud ended the man’s scream. Those who remained at the lip of the chasm stood wide-eyed as the stench of charring flesh filled the air.

“Are you blind to what’s gone?” the fiend ripped the empty scabbard from his back and dashed it to the floor.

The crowd hemmed between Zechmaat and Hilekar flinched away from the clatter—except the priest. He alone wore an expression of steely skepticism. Zechmaat drew a breath and quieted his rage. He extended his awareness and probed stealthily into the priest’s mind.

The sword you shouldn’t have been wearing in the first place, you swaggering . . . ?

Zechmaat belted the priest with a balled fist before the man had time to blink. He crumpled to the black stone floor with a misshapen cheekbone, a blank stare, and blood flowing from his ear.

“Hilekar!” the fiend bellowed. “If this fool regains consciousness, flay him.” He paced and rubbed his tense brow for a few strides. “Deploy hounds. Perform Incantations of Seeing on the falcons—it won’t be long before we know which way they’ve run.”

“Will you pursue them yourself, O Great One?” Hilekar asked.

“No, I dare not leave the Almighty’s temple un-guarded at such a time as this, since it seems I am flooded with incompetent men,” Zechmaat snapped. “As soon as we have a lead on the thieves’ location, you will lead the group to capture them. Now out!”

Ba-al Zechmaat thrust a clawed forefinger toward the door.

He groaned though his teeth while the temple servants tripped over one another in retreat. If the heady little girl from Radromir thought she had any chance of crossing Queldurik’s lieutenant and still making it back to her precious Papa in time, how bitter she would soon find her delusion.

Chapter 1

Danae Baledric’s glance swept the distant tundra horizon, but to her admittedly untrained eye, it remained empty. The deepening twilight was treacherous. She did not trust it for candor about horsemen that were likely sweeping the barren expanse in search of her. In search of the Sword.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Good Art—Miserable Heart?

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 pursuing something worthy (the molding of my children) with the bulk of my time. There was never a question as to the meaningfulness behind my daily pursuits, even when spit up and diapers and tiny missing socks characterized my waking hours.

Well, now I’m seeing my 40’s loom large on the horizon, and I’ve traded drawing for writing as my primary
means of creative expression, and while I love writing, I’m also pretty sure my neurosis has peaked. (Well barring the stretch of life from about age 14 to 17 where I was certifiably delusional in grieving the loss of my father and trying to navigate the teen years as a co-dependent, witchcraft-dabbling sociopath. My college years improved slightly in that I dropped the witchcraft and the delusions…but that’s another story of broken relationships for another day.) I’m beginning to understand, to empathize, with the tortured personalities of the arts, as much as I wish I wouldn’t.

If I’m being honest, however, there’s a part of me that knows neurosis feeds passion, and passion makes for better stories, and that’s the part of me that’s a little bit afraid to get well. To be too “normal” to make anything compelling.

But there’s a point at which emotional baggage becomes too much to bear. A point where the lows become unfair to the family that has to carry on, even if the sufferer in their midst can’t function. A point where the interior monologue that plays in times of silence becomes frightening.

I’m at that point.

Vacillating between manic periods of crazy-productivity (this is the part I’m loathe to lose) and emotional weight so unmanageable that I literally have trouble moving is no way to live, and so I’m finally doing something about it. I hope.

So it begins with a visit to a new doctor and a round of blood work—something I have been meaning to do for a year and a half, ever since a sleep study came back with no discernible issues to justify my horrible fatigue. If this comes back with no red flags in terms of physiology, that may mean my doctor and I take the road of antidepressants.

Why am I telling you all this? Mostly to give you perspective as to where my mental state may be headed as time presses on, and to give you a sense of the likely internal struggle that will provide the backdrop to what I post here in the next few months. Partially, I hope that my struggles and the road I find out of them will provide some encouragement to others who wrestle with similar issues to mine. It is my sincere hope, that although I may never become a “great” in the fields of drawing or fantasy writing, that if I can shed the weight of lies my fatigue and misery load upon me by the shovelful, that I will become more apt for what my Maker intended me to be, and that my ears will finally be clearer to hear his plans.

I invite you to walk along side me as I navigate the twisting road of creative vs. crazy. I’m increasingly convicted as someone who belongs to God, you don’t have to be one to be the other.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Realm Makers Blog Voyage: Day 2

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 see that God is in this conference every step of the way, I’ve had lots of opportunities to watch him work things out when I knew I was truly inadequate to make the pieces fit.

I knew what my plans were, but true to form, God brought me some wonderful surprises during the first Realm Makers, so here, for my leg of the 2014 blog voyage, I’ll share a few of those excellent discoveries.

1.)    People are more awesome than I thought they ever would be. From the shepherding spirit Jeff Gerke showed me in coming along side of me Thursday night before the conference and helping me have everything in order, to the giving group of volunteers that helped set up the conference bookstore in less than two hours, to the appreciative spirits people maintained (even when the shuttle left people hanging around in front of the dining hall until it inspired snarky cartoons being passed between attendees), the authors who came to Realm Makers were a gracious, enthusiastic crowd. I was humbled and blessed that people were willing to entrust me with their time and their treasure, and from those pioneering attendees, I gained a whole new circle of creative, amazing colleagues and friends.

2.)    Serving people really is its own reward. It’s kind of cliché, but it’s a reality I have lived since I first landed the job of drum major of the marching band in 8th grade, and then again in high school. Not because of any applause or words of congratulations, but because of the relationships serving a tight-knit community fosters. I won’t lie . . . the conference takes all year to organize. It’s exhausting. There are times I wish I could just sit down to a Doctor Who marathon and catch up on all the seasons everyone else has been watching while I’ve been arranging class schedules, answering emails (too slowly) and combing through proposals from possible venues. There are times I question: Why spend all the hours to do something that scarcely breaks even financially? But when I see everything coming together, and I see the conversations the conference and its social media presence fosters, I remember that the sacrifice is worth more than I will ever be able to measure by earthly standards.

3.)    Serving the niche is not a bad thing. I’ve waffled more than a few times about whether we should downplay or remove the “Christian” element of Realm Makers in order to draw in a wider attendance base, and hence more revenue to offer more content. But the more I’ve prayed it through, the more obvious it has become that Realm Makers is unique, and the people who took a chance on it the first year (nearly double the number of people I dared hope would show up, incidentally) did so because they saw something special about this conference as compared to the dozens of others that already exist. In my heart of hearts, I believe it’s better to delve into the core of how speculative fiction and Christian worldview intersect than it is to generalize. We pour our souls into our work—how sad would it be to only talk about that in a superficial way?

Because of the unquantifiable satisfaction of filling a community’s need, I am happy to press on and make Realm Makers: 2014 the best possible conference God can use me to create. I hope you join us this year, and if you do, I look forward to hearing how your experience during that weekend surprises you.

Thanks for dropping in my “port” in the blog voyage. If you didn't get a chance to read yesterday's post, stop by Marcher Lord Press's blog and check it out. And if you want to know who else will be talking about the conference as we near the opening of registration, head over to the Faith and Fantasy Alliance blog.

Below, find the Rafflecopter giveaway, which makes you eligible for an awesome array of prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 17, 2014

Rafflecopter Giveaway for Realm Makers Blog Voyage

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

Friday, January 10, 2014

Geek Girl T-Shirt Design-Your Opinions Requested

 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.