5 Year Anniversary!

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Hey all!

So, it’s my five-year anniversary for signing a contract with Less Than Three Press this month! It’s also Pride Month! Woohoo!

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Five years ago this month, I signed a contract for Across Borders, which is one of the novellas which is no longer in print. I’m going to do some major revisions on it and resubmit it! I’m very excited about this project.

Also, I want to hold a giveaway to celebrate my 5 year anniversary!

So, here are the details!

On June 10th, I will hold a draw for my book All the King’s Men. I will pick 3 people to receive a print copy, shipping included, to anywhere in the world.

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On June 17th, I will hold a draw for the anthology A Loose Screw vol 2 or Damsels in Distress vol 2 (out of print). I will pick 3 people to receive a print copy and you can choose whether you want A Loose Screw volume 2 or Damsels in Distress volume 2. 

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On June 24th, I will hold a draw for a $30 gift card and a $15 gift card to the Less Than Three Press book market. I will pick 2 people, the first person will be the winner of the $30 gift card and the second person will be the winner of the $15 gift card.

So, how do you do get into the draw?

All you have to do is comment below, and your name will be added to the draw. I will be using a hat to draw the names the old fashioned way. I will be using the same group of names for all the draws, so you don’t have to comment again to be entered again. Also, I will also be counting only one comment per person, so even if you do comment again, you will only be entered once.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you share this post and link me to proof that you have done so in the comments, I will send you a FREE EBOOK COPY of Rangers over Regulus, which is no longer in print.

If you have any questions about the draw, please ask in the comments or email me at aa.powell.author@gmail.com

Good Luck!

Fall Projects 2016

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Hello all,

It’s been a while since I updated you all on the projects I’m working on. Sadly, it’s been a bit slow going because of grad school. It will probably continue to be a bit slow going as time progresses.

With that in mind, I have to say that I probably won’t do NaNoWriMo this year. Sadly, I will be mired in schoolwork during November, which will make it pretty much impossible to complete NaNoWriMo this year.

But on to other things.

I have several projects that I’m working on!

First, I submitted one of my short stories, 15 000 words, to Less Than Three Press for their anthology call Hearts of Steel. I wrote about knights on an alien planet trying to save someone from the death jungle that covers the entire planet. It was fun to write, less fun to edit, and nerve-wracking to submit. I haven’t yet received a response, but I have to wait a few weeks to hear back from them.

I wrote another short for a charity anthology that I was invited to be part of. I’m not sure how secret it is, so I’ll stay hushed about it for now. But it’s 7 000 words long, just a teensy one, so it was finished quite quickly.

I have a few different stories on the go right now. I foolishly started an enemy-to-lover story in which the main characters are forced to marry against their will. I think it will be fun to write, but I’ve only got about 8 000 words in. I’ll tell you all how that one goes. 

I’m also working on doing research for a greenpunk story set in an alternate Victorian London in which green technology became important rather than industry. That’s just the backdrop though, the real story is about a trans woman detective who is trying to catch a serial killer who is murdering prostitutes. This one is a lot more developed than the other one, mostly because I spend a lot of time thinking about it. Murder mysteries are hard to plot out though. This is a hard one to write on, because it’s so complex.

I’m working on the sequel to my ace aro dragon story still. It’s also slow going because I seem to have hit a wall, which is probably why I’m working on the other two more than this one. The first book is great, it’s all contained, it sets up everything, but now I’m floundering in the middle. I hope I’ll be able to fix it soon.

That’s it for now, I’m deeply mired in numerous projects as well as grad school. Hopefully I’ll get some time to write in between assignments.

Anyone working on anything interesting right now? Feel free to comment!

All the King’s Men Cover Reveal!

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Hello everyone!

I have a couple of announcements to make.

The first is, I just received my cover for All the King’s Men, and I am super excited about it! Check it out! All the King’s Men will be released July 27th, 2016 from Less Than Three Press.

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As usual, Less Than Three Press has done an excellent job, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. All the King’s Men is long enough to have print copies, so I will be getting four amazing author copies in the mail in the future with this amazing cover. I love having physical copies of my work.

The other announcement is that my story that I wrote for the Gay Romance Northwest Magic and Mayhem charity anthology has been accepted! I don’t have a title yet, so I’ll have to brainstorm one up. I’m also very excited that my short story was accepted, because that means I will be an Attending Author for GRNW 2016.

Other than that, I’m still working on the sequel to Far Patrol. I haven’t gotten my editing mitts on for Far Patrol yet, but I’ll probably be working on it over the next few months. I really need to plan out the series arc for this, which I’m finding challenging. I haven’t written a series before, so it’s certainly an interesting learning curve.

I accidentally started writing on a story that’s been kicking around in my head which is about a trans lesbian detective named Louisa and a bisexual prostitute named Maggie who are trying to solve the murder of Maggie’s best friend Beth. I say “accidentally” because I haven’t started world-building or planning out the story arc yet. It just couldn’t be contained. Oh well, now I have to go print out a map of Victorian London. I’m going to make the world greenpunk, which means that this world’s Britain started using sustainable green energy instead of steam and coal power.

Anyway, that is what I’m doing right now. I hope you’re all doing well on your current projects, whatever they may be.

Read and Write with Pride 2015

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So I want to tell you all about the Read and Write with Pride event that just happened, because I’m so excited about my first reading event. I’ve read things aloud in the past, and I have no issues with public speaking. But I’ve never read my own work to an audience before!

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It wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be.

This all started two weeks ago when my friend Heidi Belleau, a very well-known author who writes for Riptide Publishing invited me to this event. Of course, I accepted the invitation immediately.

This week was Pride week in Edmonton, hence the Pride reading event. We had quite the array of authors reading, which was great fun.

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Danielle, our lovely host from Audrey’s Books introduced us all. Audrey’s is an awesome little local bookstore, and it has an entire LGBT section! I was really happy to see that.

First up was Rob Browatske, a local author who opened us up with a trip down the rabbit hole with the first chapter of his book Wonderland. This excerpt took us deep into the psychedelic gay club scene.

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I was up next. I read an excerpt from Sky Knights, which is my lesbian fighter pilot novel. I read a fight sequence, which are always my favourite to write, and I have a feeling also my favourite to read.

Next was Marc Colbourne, who read from the memoirs of gay Iranian activist Arsham Parsi in Exiled for Love. We were given a real look at how a gay man in Iran comes to terms with his sexuality.

We inter-spaced our prose with some poetry. Marina Reid Hale performed some slam poetry for us. My personal favourite was one that didn’t have a title, but was about bisexuality.

Next up was Sheldon L’Henaff, who read from his gay fiction piece Joy (Maybe this Christmas), which is a Christmas story that involves drinking, dancing drag queens, and a very naughty Santa.

Heidi Belleau, our event organizer, went second to last. She read from Wallflower, which features a genderqueer protagonist! The section that she read from that made me laugh, and most of the audience as well!

Lastly, Laurie MacFayden, well-known local poet read us some poetry from her books White Shirt and Kissing Keeps us Afloat. She has some fun, quirky poetry about romance, but I particularly loved the poem “White Shirt,” about picking someone up at a bar.

I think our event was a great success, and I’d love to do another reading like this anytime!

Plot Bunny Hell

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You know that feeling you get when you realize that your head is overflowing with ideas, and you already have three or four projects you need to get finished?

Of course you do. Plot bunny hell is an affliction that all writers have.

Because the pull is there, to starts a whole new adventure from scratch, because there’s a really awesome idea bubbling just below the surface. And you just know that you won’t be able to start it, because not only have you got enough on your plate, but if you DO start it, then it will collapse in on itself eventually because you haven’t done any research or outlining or even any plotting.

But it’s maddeningly there, sitting in the back of your head, eager to get out.

Curse you, plot bunnies.

Sometimes, it’s easy enough to jot down a note somewhere for later, so that you don’t forget what it was. But then, when you go back and look at the words you wrote on the page, it just doesn’t sound as amazing now that you’re reading it. Or, you don’t remember the exact context, and you’re wondering what you meant when you wrote “hawk coat.” Seriously. Where did this thought come from, and how did it coalesce into these two words that no longer make sense out of context?

I’m sorry for all of you that I’ve now made imagine all the weird things that those two words together could possibly mean. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t miniature coats for hawks OR coats made of hawks. Pretty sure.

Usually, I have some sort of advice for a solution to problems I discuss on my blog. But in this case, there are no solutions I can think of.

Really, it’s only a nuisance because you can’t bend the plot bunnies to your will and make them do as you like, which is help you write a story. But really, what a plot bunny is, in effect, is the side-effect of having a creative mind that just won’t bloody shut the hell up. Ever.

And really, you don’t have to worry, because these stray thoughts escaping are just a fraction of the creativity inside your head. Sort of like an iceberg, I suppose. Or the Lock Ness Monster.

So what I’m trying to say is, that plot bunnies are like pests that are hard to catch or kill. Maybe “plot cockroaches” is a more apt saying.

And so comes to an end this rambling post in which I pose a problem, offer absolutely no solution, and then cause you to muse on the properties of plot bunnies.

You’re welcome.

Finding time for writing

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I’ve recently been having a hard time finding time to write, as the rest of my life intervenes. I’ve been going crazy over this issue for weeks, but have started calming down, because it’s not just my problem. Lots of people in this day and age want to just write for a living, but for most, that’s not a reality.

school1I mean, for me, there’s school and trying to find a job in my field, which is a struggle for a lot of people these days. University is very demanding, especially for people who are trying to keep their GPA high enough to go on to grad school. Some people work full time jobs, or have kids to look after. It’s tough to find time to write in between all these other things we have to do. Not to mention, if you’re too stressed out or anxious, you can throw that good writing vibe out the window.

There’s nothing I’d like more than to have no other job but writing, but for an indie author, that’s not feasible. Even authors with publications with big companies can’t really make a living on their writing.

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This is me on the floor with a stuffed sheep on top of me.

 

So if you’re stressed out because you haven’t been writing as much as you want to be, try not to get too worked up about it. It’s a problem that a lot of writers go through.

As to how to fix the problem, everyone’s different, and some ways just won’t work for certain people. I can suggest a few, though.

thewritera) Fit writing in around all those other things when you’re in one of those in-between spaces, like when you’re waiting in a boring line-up or riding on the bus. I carry around a notebook in my bag in case some idea hits me so that I can write it down. Other options are writing it down on a tablet, or even a smartphone. Once, I was sitting in a pub waiting for my lunch to arrive and I banged out a few lines on my phone and emailed them to myself. I know, it’s nice to have all your story in one place, but writing is a messy business. Sometimes you’ve got to adapt.

b) Start a writing group with some friends. I don’t know about you, but sometimes you need someone else to talk to and bounce ideas off of. You don’t have to meet often, even once every one to two weeks. Also, if you need a little motivation or support, your friends are there for you.

c) If meeting your friends in person isn’t feasible, use the digital world to help you connect. Find a time when you’re all free and agree to write at that time. You can text by phone, Skype, IM or anything you like. What use is all this tech we’ve got if we don’t use it?

writeclubd) Going off of the last one, you can join an online group on social media. I myself follow Friday Night Writes (#WriteClub), which is a group on Twitter that helps motivate people to write, because everyone writes at the same time. The mod tweets start and stop times, alternating writing times with break times. You can even tweet them how many words you’ve written.

There are probably lots of other ways to try and fit writing in around your busy life, these are just a few. The main thing is, don’t get discouraged if you’re behind on your writing projects. It isn’t a race!

Nothing Like Author Copies

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I just received my author copies for the Damsels in Distress collection!

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This is always one of the most exciting parts of getting published, at least for me. I just like having the physical manifestation of my work. There are lots of things one can do with author copies, especially since the writer usually receives at least two copies.

I don’t know what I will do with the extra copy I received. I have a shelf dedicated to my author copies, although there are only six so far. Those ones are mine, and I sort of collect them in a dragon-esque way, like a hoard.

The fun thing about writing for a collection is that you get a physical copy of your work, and OTHER people’s work as well. I’m already anticipating reading everyone else’s stories.

I have received five different anthologies of work so far. I find a different thing to do with all of them.

Three of them are in a library of queer books in Vancouver, because I donated them. If you live in Vancouver, QMUNITY has them.

One of them is at a friend’s house, because they wanted to read all the trans and genderqueer stories in the Geek Out collection.

To be honest, that’s probably what will happen to the second one too. That’s the fun thing about being a queer author of queer books with queer friends: everyone wants to read your stuff.

Anyway, that was just me gloating over my author copies. Sorry about that, but it’s the one thing I don’t mind showing off.