The Pixelvania Proclamation o’ Progress, August 2020

The Pixelvania Proclamation o’ Progress is a semiannual post detailing what’s going on around here, and what might show up in the future. It also includes reviews of shows, books, games, products, etc. you may also like. It’s only posted twice a year so as not to clog up your valuable, beautiful brain space.

Cute kitty photo at the end.

Recap

Here’s what’s been published since the last post:

Cover for HELLO, WIZARD. Eerie glowing text pops off a wrinkled piece of paper against a stone background. Cover for THE CAPRAMANCER NEXT DOOR: A laughing woman wields a glowing shepherd's crook while a goat leaps through a portal overhead Cover for MIDWINTER MAGIC: A stylized glowing reindeer leaps against the blue Northern LightsCover for THE GIRLFRIEND WHO WASN'T FROM DELAWARE - A giant hand made of blue static reaches down to pluck an apartment out of a building like a Jenga block

It was fun working on Midwinter Magic and Girlfriend back-to-back, because those stories are POLAR OPPOSITES in terms of tone, one being a mythic fairy tale and the other a gruff guy’s modern horror nightmare.

I also added most my books to Book Cave’s content ratings site, in case you’re trying to decide if a book’s content (violence, swears, etc.) is appropriate for yourself or a youngster.

Currently in Production

I was already an author working from home when the pandemic struck. Routine is priceless in a work-from-home life, and I was fortunate that I’d been building one since the past year. So on the one hand, my day-to-day life didn’t change much. Writing and writing-related projects got done.

On the other hand, I’ve definitely been absorbing the extra stress around me…and the malaise weighing down the air was something I’ve also had to do battle with (as I’m sure you did/are doing!). So…sometimes not a lot of writing got done. But some did happen!

Steel City, Veiled Kingdom (SCVK) – Print Books

Still in production! They’ve been revised twice now (basically spellchecks) and are set for another round of look-overs. They’re gonna be beautiful.

The Purrfect Christmas – Illustrated Paperback

Just getting spun up on this project; right now I’m planning the illustrations. Doing a chapter book with spot illustrations isn’t something I’ve done before, but I think the resulting product will be a really fun Christmas book for families to read together.

Chrystine’s Sleep Solution

This midlength horror story is still making the rounds at the magazines. Let’s hope it finds a nice home out there!

Nosferatu Novel (previously The Horror of Hriana)

A Worlds of Everlush novel/novel sequence. This SCVK spinoff is currently on hiatus for reasons you’ll see below. I’m thinking it’ll get split into three books with awesome titles, which I’m very excited about…If that’s the case, The Horror of Hriana will probably be dropped as a series title, so that it’s a little more obvious the stories are about a vampire. Lately I’ve been itching to get back to this one.

Post-SCVK novel (working title: The Bad Host)

A Worlds of Everlush story (already at short novel length), a low-key sequel to Steel City, Veiled Kingdom. Just felt like it was time to start it.

Writing it, I feel like this:

Cat using a cat-sized computer with the caption "I have no idea what I'm doing."

Another short horror story with a cat

Currently titleless. Wrote it as a quick break from The Bad Host; need to type it and start sending it to magazines.

Future Plans (AKA Plotting and Scheming)

Love Potion Commotion! (Magic Fashion Frenchies #1) – paperback formatting AND cover refresh

This will complete my backlist titles that need to be in paperback. But I wanna do it right, so I’m not gonna start it until Purrfect is in paperback. I also have to rethink the cover so it not only fits this novel, but the second book in the series, AKA…

Salute a Pooch! (Magic Fashion Frenchies #2)

I’ve got a few chapters written, but it’s been on hiatus for some time now. I think getting Love Potion Commotion! off my plate will revitalize this one.

Crazy Rich Dragons stories

Still wanna write these!

The Gardeners of Palomar

This was actually the first novel I started writing after finishing SCVK back in 2016. I dropped it because someone said I really ought to do a sequel to SCVK (that impulse turned into Nosferatu Novel)…Anyway, I’m starting to miss it, it was a real weird one, hee!

Finish Ancient Unfinished Shorts

…including a post-apocalyptic banjo fantasy, a cybernetic take on Sleeping Beauty, and I can’t even remember what else.

A thriller novel starring Ternerr from SCVK (previously The [Something Something] Conspiracy )

This will be a Worlds of Everlush novel, spun off from SCVK. Wanna clear the deck summore (and finish my course on writing thrillers) before I take a crack at this nut!

Start a Pixelvania merch shop

Thinking it’d be fun to put some of my book covers on shirts. And maybe some cat jokes! Could be fun!

Recommended Reads, Watches, Plays, and Products

Book cover: The Twisted OnesThe Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

Kingfisher (AKA writer-artist-comic superstar Ursula Vernon) writes in a lot of different genres, but this book is her first horror novel—folk horror, if you force me to get specific. A woman discovers a dark secret cleaning out her deceased hoarder grandmother’s house out in the sticks. You’ll love the main character’s down-to-earth voice and there’s some deliciously creepy stuff in the middle (the HILL man, the HILL!!). I was considerably less enamored of the ending, but the first parts are so strong, I still want people to read it.

3.5/5 Pixel Snackies

TV Series Image: Samurai CatSamurai Cat

This is a live-action TV show from Japan about a samurai learning life lessons from an adorable white kitty that he was originally supposed to assassinate. 5/5 Pixel Snackies.

Oh, you need more info before you watch? Well, it’s formatted weird on Amazon (with big gaps of dead air in the first season, as though the commercials had been cut out, but the time for those commercials left in), they’re missing the movies that go in-between each season, and none of the show’s translators can seem to agree if the kitty is a girl or a boy (my vote is girl).

Despite these goofs, Samurai Cat is ENTIRELY worth watching, 110%. It’s heartwarming, it’s hilarious, it’s family-friendly, and it proves there’s nothing unmanly about being a cat guy. (If you’ve ever searched for cat-themed gifts for a man, you understand my pain.)

I saw it on Amazon Prime Video. If you’re having trouble finding out extra info about it online, search for Neko Zamurai. 5/5 Pixel Snackies.

Video Cover image: Duke Bluebeard's CastleDuke Bluebeard’s Castle (1988)

One of the YouTube comments for this reads: “…if Hitchcock had written an opera.” So naturally I had to click. I LOVED IT. It’s suspenseful, only an hour long, and, if you’re so inclined, very fun to yell comments at (“She discovered his model train room!”). And this Bluebeard smolders.

Béla Bartók’s music is mostly eerie…but in some parts it shimmers like the best parts of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier. Wonderful. I saw it here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9Aq2WWds8k

When you realize it is awesome you can buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Bartok-Bluebeards-Castle-Robert-Lloyd/dp/B002NY7YVY/

5/5 Pixel Snackies.

Game Image: Toki Tori 2+Toki Tori 2+ (PC and other consoles)

This little-known gem deserves to be right up there with legendary environmental puzzle games Braid and Portal. You start the game with two moves: a stomp and a whistle. With these two moves, you can reach anywhere on the map, as soon as the game starts! The catch: to do this, you have to first know how those two moves interact with the other little critters in your environment…

No tutorials. It’s Inductive Reasoning: the game. I discovered it from this GMTK video. Definitely worth the buy—I spent 32 hours total runnin’ my little chicken around, and it was grade-A jumbo puzzle platforming at its best. Check out the little explanation of the map first, that’s helpful.

5/5 Pixel Snackies.

Game Image: A Short HikeA Short Hike (PC)

A friend gifted me this. It is SO relaxing, so charming, and so much fun to move around in. I wish I could climb and glide like this in real life. Alack!! I can only do it in this game—but I’m grateful I can.

This game will take your blues away.

5/5 Relaxing Pixel Snackies

Product Image: T-Gel ShampooNeutrogena T/Gel Shampoo

Come winter, my scalp always goes flaky—dry air + indoor heating = the itchies. Last year, I told my hairstylist and she recommended this shampoo. “You don’t use it every time. In fact, it’ll probably live under your sink,” she told me.

Now, because this is life, there’s an upside and a downside to nearly everything. The upside of this shampoo is that IT WORKS. I used it once every 2-3 weeks during the cold months and my flakes disappeared. Wonderful.

The downside of this shampoo is that it leaves your head smelling like the smoker’s lounge of a museum basement from the 1970s.

Is it pure, unfiltered tobacco gel I’m rubbing into my scalp these days? I’m not sure. Is smelling like an ashtray worth a flakeless ‘do? I think it is.

4/5 Pixel Snackies.

Our mascot, Pixel J. Cat

Our mascot, Pixel J. Cat, lounging in a camping chair

We moved “our” camping chairs to our patio earlier in the year.

Now they’re not our camping chairs anymore.

New Fantasy Adventure release: THE CAPRAMANCER NEXT DOOR

There goats the neighborhood!

Cover for THE CAPRAMANCER NEXT DOOR: A laughing woman wields a glowing shepherd's crook while a goat leaps through a portal overhead

Down-to-earth mage Will Schafer has her hands full moving into a new house while keeping her mischievous herd of magical goats in line. Meeting handsome gardener Rickert Nash takes the sting out of moving…until his shadowy past comes roaring back to bite him in the butt.

Now Will and the herd must step in to save their neighbor from getting mulched—but can a girl and her goats defeat a formidable hunter…or are they all about to buy the farm?

Called “a wonderful read!” by GoatsLive.com, The Capramancer Next Door is an upbeat fantasy adventure sure to leave you smiling.

Read an excerpt here at Pixelvania Publishing.


I got to thinking about how hard it is to keep goats out of places they wanted to be, and came up with this portal-generating herd.

New Short Story Release: HELLO, WIZARD

Hello, wizard.

You know what I need to hear.

I’m listening.

Cover for HELLO, WIZARD. Eerie glowing text pops off a wrinkled piece of paper against a stone background.

Deep in a sunless dungeon, a father struggles to hold onto hope.

Then the glowing notes arrive. They offer freedom—for a very simple price.

But some things should never be for sale, even in the darkest places…

HELLO, WIZARD is a tense dark fantasy of integrity and temptation.

Read an excerpt here at Pixelvania Publishing.


This story may be short, but it packs quite a punch!

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. Read More …

New release! DEBUTS AND DRAGONS, a scaly fantasy romcom

Cover for DEBUTS AND DRAGONS, featuring a green dragon wearing sunglasses, earrings, and a necklace

Though she’s not much to look at, dragon Sellafield Terrormouth never worried about snagging a mate for herself. But now that her little sister is about to debut in dragon society, Sella’s got one night to go from drab to fab. If she fails, she’ll lose her entire dowry—and quite possibly doom herself to eternal spinsterhood!

Can this plain dragon get herself a date, or is her future about to go up in flames?

Contemporary fantasy fans won’t want to miss this lighthearted look at love, friendship, and inner beauty.


Prepare yourself for crazy awesome dragon names. This sunny comedy makes a great stocking stuffer for anyone stuck in the snow and cold this time of year!

State of the Pixelvania, August 2019

Introduction

Like a lot of entertainment, much of story writing is an invisible process to the end audience. While I’m hard at work on projects, y’all see nothing but a silent website. I want to change that.

At the same time, I don’t want to post for the sake of posting—that would just add to the tsunami of digital clutter that’s already got us addicted to checking our devices (read: miniature slot machines). With that in mind, I’ve decide to start a semiannual post, tentatively titled “The State of the Pixelvania” where you can get a picture of what’s going on around here and what might be showing up in the future.

This semiannual post was inspired by a recent video by Christopher Barnatt at ExplainingComputers.

What I’ve Been Working On: New Stories

Last year I realized I had a fair amount of stories under Horror and Humor but not even a scant handful in Wonder. Yet here I am on a purple website, calling myself a scifi/fantasy author! So I set out this year to fill out the Wonder section of my works, starting with a one-story-a-week challenge in Feburary! It…didn’t go so well.

This was also the first year I’ve tried submitting to the magazines. It’s been a good experience, though I haven’t had any stories accepted yet! Let’s look at this year’s crop o’ stories so far. Read More …

Valentine’s eBook Sale

Winking French BulldogDid you know I wrote a feel-good Valentine’s Day book? Don’t worry, it’s not too mushy. It’s called LOVE POTION COMMOTION and it’s got talking French Bulldogs. If you’re still jonesin’ for Hallmark movies, you’ll probably get a kick out of this. It’s normally $4.99 but it’s on discount for $1.99 ’til the 19th. Get it at: http://books2read.com/frenchies1

Sale price is active at Amazon right now, but the other stores are soon to follow!

The perfect last-minute (digital) stocking stuffer – MIDWINTER MAGIC

Cover for MIDWINTER MAGIC: A stylized glowing reindeer leaps against the blue Northern Lights

Once upon a time, magic left the world for a night. It sighed back in through the scullery door in the morning with the cat, but by then, the Queen of the Northern Elves had fallen into a deep sleep, and, greatly diminished, the returned magic could not wake her.

From the author who brought you The Purrfect Christmas and A Gingersnap Cat Christmas comes an enchanting collection of three original yuletide fairy tales, written in the tradition of Jane Yolen and Ursula Vernon.


A little Christmas present from me to you. If you like reindeer, Santa Claus, elves, and mythic origin stories, you’re probably gonna dig this.

Buy from your favorite eBook retailer here (includes Amazon)

More info and excerpt here on MIDWINTER MAGIC’s Pixelvania Publishing page.

New horror novella for your Halloween reading pleasure

Cover for THE GIRLFRIEND WHO WASN'T FROM DELAWARE - A giant hand made of blue static reaches down to pluck an apartment out of a building like a Jenga block

Apartment walls are thin.

Reality may be thinner.

Ray Belga lives in the ugliest apartment building in town—but at least it’s quiet. Until a mystery neighbor’s fridge starts acting up.

At least…Ray thinks it’s a fridge. But he’ll soon learn you can’t trust everything you hear through apartment walls…


I hope you enjoy this (slightly twisted?) story about a guy with noisy neighbors.

Buy from your favorite eBook retailer here (includes Amazon)

More info and excerpt here on THE GIRLFRIEND’s Pixelvania Publishing page.