Your Last-Minute Guide to Surviving the Holidays… Now with More Star Wars

Star Wars Opening Crawl.png

The holidays are less than a week away, and if you’re anything like me, you don’t want to see your family. You can now crush this holiday discomfort with one swift stroke. Over the last five years I’ve perfected a holiday regimen that saves everyone from the awkwardness of holidays with family. If you have any sway over the structure of your gathering, I have three tips that will save you from an evening of emotional scarring and a trip to the therapist. Continue reading

Don’t Call It a Comeback

It’s been brought to my attention that I haven’t blogged in a year.

whoops

Whoops.

I’ve actually had a few people inform me that they’ve read THE FOURTH CHANNEL more than once, and a surprising number say they read it on a regular basis. They’re blowing my mind a little bit. To all of you who have stuck with me, checking back periodically to see what the status is on the next Kari Hunter book, thank you. I’m stunned. Flabbergasted. Flummoxed. I honestly thought you would have forgotten about me by now. But you’re still here. Emailing me. Messaging me on Twitter. Facebook. Asking me when I show up at the beauty salon. Even the Real Kari Hunter is standing by, patiently waiting for an update on her fictional doppelgänger. Continue reading

I Quit

i_quit_by_lovehurt123-d5go0i8I quit.

I mean that in the past tense, of course. I had quit writing the Kari Hunter book for a few months. I thought about my next steps for a long while, and then told my writing group that the Kari Hunter series was dead. That book and I had tortured each other long enough. The story was wrong in many ways. I felt like every time I tried to fix it I somehow made it worse. I’ve spent more than two years writing it, churning the material over and over in an attempt to complete it, but something about the story was wrong—and I couldn’t put my finger on what. However, I knew that if I continued battling the story in the same way that I had been, I’d burn out completely and stop writing forever. And that thought terrified me. I didn’t want this book—this bizarre comedy that I loved so dearly—to be cause of the birth and death of a hobby that I love.

So, I told my Writing Posse that I was done with Kari Hunter. I was ready to take on a new writing project, starting from scratch on something else. They understood. They encouraged me to forget all about Kari and work on something else. It was decided.

Apparently, a few of you felt differently. Continue reading

The Three-Book Bucket List

I want to write other books. Don’t get me wrong—I love the Kari Hunter series and the world I’ve built. I want to build out this world fully, in more ways than one. At present, I have plans to keep writing Kari books until it’s no longer fun for us all. Then we’ll consider other options. Until then, I have no plans to stop. But that doesn’t mean I don’t dream of writing other books.
In fact, I have a secret “bucket list” of books that I want to write someday.

Hey, it’s a new year—if there’s a better time to share this list, I don’t know when it is!

Someday, I hope to contribute to a major series with an established world.
Continue reading

I’m Still Standing (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!)

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Last week, I read a blog post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, an established writer whose list of works and accolades is as long as my bucket list. Since writing is her full-time occupation, she’s kept herself informed about the comings and goings of the publishing world for self-published authors and traditionally published authors alike.

Apparently, in 2014, authors did more goings than comings.

According to Rusch, authors have been disappearing from the publishing landscape. Some without so much as a farewell. Others with grand public announcements.

Even self-published authors who had boasted great sales.

Even traditionally published authors who had firmly established themselves in the business.

As Rusch put it, 2014 was the “Year of the Quitter.” Exit Stage Right. Adios, muchachos. Continue reading

The Secret to Being Awesome: Non-Zero Days

Awesome-Barney-Stinson
Photo courtesy of Fanpop.

I have discovered the secret to being awesome!

Luckily, it’s about as easy as Barney Stinson makes it out to be.

Last year, I confessed that I’d been struggling to develop a process for writing. Since then, I’ve had ups and downs (more downs than ups), trying things that never really stuck. I was looking for a gimmick. A quick fix. A magic bullet.

Of course, there isn’t one. As it turns out, no one can change until they identify the true problem, and then nothing will get better unless they truly want to change. And so I struggled along, trying to be a “real writer,” beating myself up for not being a real writer, and spiraling into frustration and self-loathing.

One night, after I had sat down to write but was totally not doing it because I was surfing Reddit instead, I found a couple of subreddits for getting disciplined. It led me to a highly rated comment that changed my life. Continue reading

Ridiculous Fan Fiction: Eureka Part Two!

Eureka Main Street

[spouseditor’s note] Muahaha! Jen is away and I’m posting part two early, just for you!

Read part one first!

“I don’t know about this.” Jack bent at the waist, looking at the thin, silver spacesuit he had wrestled on. He thought he looked like a cheesy extra from Planet of the Apes. “Is this going to protect me from space cooties?”

“Yes.”

Jack made a complete turn inside the small, square vestibule and faced Henry, who sat at a console on the other side of a thick pane of protective glass. Continue reading

Ridiculous Fan Fiction: Eureka Part One!

EurekaCast_CafeDiem Ding-a-ling-a-ling!

The door to Cafe Diem swung open, ringing the little silver bell hanging from the doorframe. Everyone paused to glance at the uniformed man strolling through the door. He wandered through the collection of round tables scattered around the storefront and sat down at the counter. A plump, curly haired man in an apron materialized—literally, in a dazzling spectacle of lights and smoke—from behind the espresso machine. With one hand he waved away the smoke pouring from his curly hair and with the other he smoothed his apron. As he turned, he noticed the uniformed man staring at him.

“Oh! Hi, Sheriff.”

“Hey Vincent.”

Vincent hustled over to the counter. “I’m so sorry. Have you been waiting long? I was in my infinite pantry getting some voatsiperifery for today’s special.” Continue reading

Breaking Radio Silence

The plot to the second Kari Hunter book.

The plot to the second Kari Hunter book.

You know how it goes: you tell yourself you can skip a week of blogging, then another week goes by. And then the next, and the next… Before you know it, over three months have passed since the last time you said anything.

The scope of blogging for authors has changed anyway, I reasoned. Probably no one’s reading this blog. The first book came out over a year ago, and everyone’s forgotten about it. Right?

And then, on a whim, I popped over to my Amazon author page and realized I had seven comments of people saying they were checking religiously for a new Kari Hunter book, and when is the next one coming out?

And those were just the comments. Who knows how many others are just popping by to check?
So for those of you who are looking for the next Kari Hunter book, here’s the news. (I’ll make this the abbreviated version. Those of you who are curious about the personal and writerly details can check back later.)

Back in December, I posted an update with a plan for the second Kari Hunter book. I explained that I had never come up with a process for writing, so I was feeling my way through the new book, slowly but surely. I even hinted at a timeline, which I really shouldn’t have done. This new book has taken me through some amazing twists and turns. I reached some personal highs and incredibly low lows. I forgot how to write a book. And then I remembered again. I even figured out my own writing process. So that I don’t forget again, and so I can write books a little faster in the future, I documented my process.
Yes. There really is a document. Because that’s what a big nerd I am. Continue reading

Sci-Fi Pinups: Mr. & Miss January 2014

PinCushionHappy New Year, gang! I’ve returned to trot out a new year of sci-fi and fantasy hotties. If this is your first time joining us, welcome! The Sci-Fi Pinups is the monthly segment where I scar you for life with photos of hot space dudes in metal bikinis, three-breasted Martian hookers, and the Hoff in a Speedo.

Somehow, you guys keep coming back for more eye-searing action. (I’m beginning to worry.)

I hope you’re ready for the new year. We’re going to dive right in with the music edition! This month, we’re featuring the songs you know and wish you could forget love.

Miss January comes to us from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. As soon as you’re in her presence, you won’t be able to help but notice her lips and legs that seem to go for miles. She’s performed for tough audiences on planets everywhere, but currently rocks the house on Tatooine, delighting crime lords, bounty hunters, and scoundrels encased in carbonite.

She is… Continue reading