The Pixelvania Proclamation o’ Progress, February 2020

The State of the Pixelvania Pixelvania Proclamation o’ Progress is a semiannual post detailing what’s going on around here, and what might show up in the future. It’s only posted twice a year so as not to clog up your valuable, beautiful brain space.

The Recap

Since the last post, I’m happy to announce the publishing of:

(As you know, that last one’s been a long, long time coming!)

Additionally, I upgraded Pixelvania Publishing’s site theme and tinkered with the organization some. Hopefully, it’s easier to find any story to match the mood you’re in. If there’s an organizational category you’d like to see added, please drop me a line.

Currently in Production

Steel City, Veiled Kingdom (SCVK) – Print Books

Funny story—up ‘til December 2019, both me and my lovely print formatter, Colleen, thought we’d be publishing this behemoth as a one-volume paperback. One book. But after she received the final manuscript, she realized this CHONK of a novel was too big for Amazon’s Print-on-Demand to handle. She notified me of the hiccup and advised me to do the paperback in five separate chunks, to go with the five different sections of the story.

I agreed.

I spent all of December scrambling to get 6 ebooks—each of which needed slightly different cover designs to differentiate between parts—out by January 11th.

But none of the ebook OR print work could go forward until I created five new book descriptions, one for each of the now-separate parts. Keep in mind the original book description (currently in use for the Complete Edition) took me over a year to develop.

Luckily, I had two secret weapons…Prayer, and my friend (and fellow author) Sally Johnson. I couldn’t have made the new descriptions for the individual parts as good as they are now (or as quickly) without her help as a sounding board and blurb ninja. She was kind enough to help despite these stories being WAY out of her genre. I’m incredibly happy with how the descriptions turned out, and much of it is thanks to her.

Once those descriptions were done, I could release the ebooks on Amazon. Now that those are out, I’m free to focus solely on the print editions.

Now I’m working on final-final-FINAL proofreads of the paperbacks, catching what little goofs I can. I hope to have these gorgeous paperbacks up by first quarter 2020! They’ll be announced here and in the newsletter when they’re available.

Hello, Wizard

When The Great SCVK Panic of 2019 came roaring up, I was in the middle of wrangling a cover for this dark fantasy short story. Once a cover’s devised and the ebook formatted, it’ll be released! Watch this space!

It’s been a tricky cover to illustrate—here’s a rejected design I decided was both blah, hard to comprehend, and too futuristic-looking.

Cover concept art: a man cowers before a giant screen with HELLO, WIZARD blazing from the screen. The shadows are stark.

The Capramancer Next Door

This goat-tastic fantasy adventure has been reviewed for accuracy by GoatsLive, proofread, and is now being submitted to the few fantasy magazines who are willing to consider publishing a short novel. Since not many magazines take short novels, it might be clopping into ebook stores sooner than you think.

Chrystine’s Sleep Solution

I’m really excited for this horror story. I’d been thinking about the concept since either mid-2018 or early 2019 but didn’t start writing it ‘til around October 2019. It’s a part of my typing backlog (again, on hold due to SCVK print proofing), but I think it’ll be out to magazines soon. It’s a real creeper, I’m jazzed to get it further into production. I’ve even come up with a small cover concept:

Book cover concept sketch: A shadowy figure peers down through an eye-shaped hole in the ceiling at a woman sleeping in bed.

The first strand-type horror story?

 

The Horror of Hriana (aka the Nosferatu Novel)

Figure I’d better put some more time in on this one (given that it’s a Steel City spinoff prequel). Looks like it’s gonna be another long one, which means I’ve got no idea when it’ll be finished. Oh well!

Plotting and Scheming

Backlist Paperbacks

This plate stopped dead when the SCVK print drama appeared…but I hope to pick it back up in 2020!

Magic Fashion Frenchies 2

Now that the WONDER section’s been tended to, the HUMOR section’s looking a little bare. This might be the year of the Frenchie!

Frenchies 1 (Love Potion Commotion!) Cover Refresh

Since I plan on a 3-4 book Frenchies series, this will go paw-in-paw with the future release of Frenchies 2. Too bad I have no idea what to put on the cover this time around! D’oh!

Crazy Rich Dragons stories

Yup. I oughta write some.

Finish Ancient Unfinished Shorts

Also a good idea! Except I get the sinking feeling some of them will blow up looong past short length!

The [Something Something] Conspiracy

Boy oh boy I wanna start this…A spinoff sequel to Steel City, Veiled Kingdom, but I feel like The Horror of Hriana and a few of these other things ought to get finished first.

More Entertainment to Enjoy in the Meantime

Before I return to my cave to finish these Steel City paperbacks, I again leave you with some cool media recommendations:

The Watchers, by Dean Koontz

This is the first fiction book I’ve read by Koontz—though years ago I thoroughly enjoyed Big Little Life, Koontz’s nonfiction memoir about his golden retriever, Trixie Koontz.

The Watchers is a thriller about folks trying to track down a very special golden retriever. But while it’s full of suspense and mystery and even has a few touches of horror, it’s really a sweet story full of heart that restores your faith in humanity.

This combination of light and dark makes for an arresting read; I couldn’t put it down…and when I had to, I couldn’t wait to pick it back up again. 4/5 Pixel Snackies (he made me take one off because it stars a dog).

Memoirs of an Invisible Man, directed by John Carpenter

When my husband selected this movie from the streaming queue, I inwardly made the :\ face. All I could see was the title and Chevy Chase, whom I only knew through a few passing viewings of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I’d never found him particularly likeable.

Then the credits rolled and I saw it was a John Carpenter film. I dug his movie Big Trouble in Little China, so I put down my sketchbook and took notice. Boy, was I glad I did! Terrific practical effects (note: I am a practical special effects aficionada) plus a good mix of manhunt-suspense multiplied by Sam Neill plus a touch of romance made this sci-fi yarn a home run for me. 5/5 Pixel Snackies.

To Be or Not To Be (1983), starring Mel Brooks

This isn’t related to sci-fi or fantasy at all. It’s about a little theater group keeping one step ahead of Nazis at the onset of World War II. But it’s a superb comedy-suspense movie with Mel Brooks, so don’t worry about it, just go find it and prepare to gasp and grin for the rest of your evening. 5/5 Pixel Snackies.

The Ghostwriter, by Alessandra Torre

Also contains no fantasy elements, but this was one humdinger of a read! A famous author’s final novel is a confession about a dark secret she’s been harboring for years. Like The Watchers, there’s a lot of warmth there…but it also gets intense. By the end of the book, I felt completely wrung out. I experienced every single emotion under the sun. It kind of felt like this:

4/5 Pixel Snackies.

Game Makers Tool Kit, by Mark Brown

(Or GMTK, as the cool kids call it.) I’m not a video game developer (though I wanted to be when I was a little girl), but when I discovered this channel in 2019, I had to each every single one of these uplifting, thoughtful essays on video game design. Now I watch each new episode as soon as it releases. Even if you’re not into games, Mark Brown is a prince among YouTubers and you owe it to yourself to watch at least one of his vids. I recommend What Makes a Good Detective Game or The Music of Breath of the Wild, and I adore the ones about Hitman 2016, especially The Making of Hitman 2’s Miami Level. But they’re all good. Really. Seriously. 10/5 Pixel Snackies.

Bonus Recipe: Easy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Will you look at that. Five ingredients, some mixing, some baking and…BAM! You got cookies. Cookies you can feel good about ‘cuz they’ve got oatmeal in them. Watch out, they’re crumbly! (Smooth peanut butter works just as well.)

Thanks for reading!

Here’s a picture of the company’s namesake, Pixel J. Cat. I did a lot of filtering on this flip-phone photo in the hopes that you’ll think it’s pretty. 🙂

Photo of an orange cat in the sunshine looking up at us from a weirdly-shaped piece of carpet.

Pixel J. Cat, benevolently ruling over a carpet square cut in the shape of Nevada.

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