Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Skydiving at 49, and More Thoughts on Kindle Vella


Imagine your first ride in a small airplane is at two months of age. Countless more follow, so that your earliest memory of flying is with your dad and your mom in a two-seater Ercoupe flying to a "fly-in" - also known as an "air show" for spectators, although fly-ins don't have to include much for spectators since they are/were a way for pilots to gather together to celebrate their planes, their experiences, and to have a community gathering including potluck meals and dances with live bands held in hangars at smaller air fields. 

Flying is a part of your life. You can't imagine not flying with your dad, and you get exceedingly grumpy when your mom makes you drive to a few fly-ins after she got scared during a flight with exceptionally rough turbulence (which you thought was fun). At every fly-in, pilots take to the skies to show off their planes. At the bigger fly-ins, you get to see big spectacles with fighter pilots, trick pilots, and skydivers. 

You love all of it. You plan to do all of it someday, including those beautiful skydiving formations with those gorgeous parachutes spiraling through the sky.

But, life happens (this could be a long story if I detailed all of it), and your planned "someday" of going skydiving doesn't happen.

Until your own nineteen-year-old daughter tells you she plans on going skydiving. She's done some research. You help her and ask her if you can go with her. She says yes. You set a date. It feels a little surreal. You don't tell anyone outside of your immediate family because you don't anyone to talk you out of it. You're 49, not in the best shape, but you know if you wait for "someday" it isn't going to come.

You wait. The day of the skydive, you read the guidelines at least four times, you can't eat much, you know you are already in fear mode, but you keep telling yourself it is going to be awesome.

You suit up. You realize you might not be as confident as you thought after the training video and training on the ground when your legs shake while you're stepping into the harness and your tandem instructor is cinching it onto you, giving you a pep talk the entire time.

It's time to get on the plane. You realize you are terrified, but you are trying to smile and laugh your way through it. 

Your instructor asks you, "are you sure?" 

You shout, "Yes. I'm doing this!" while grinning and hysterically laughing.

The plane goes up. You can see Mt. Rainier, Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood, the San Juan Islands, the North Cascades, Seattle, and it's just as glorious to fly in a small aircraft as you remember. 

Four solo jumpers climb out and cling to the aircraft in preparation for a formation jump. Your brain feels stuck in awe mode. They jump.

 Your instructor and your daughter's instructor scoots you forward. She goes. 

(The white chute slows tandem jumpers from 180mph to 120mph)

The panic is in your throat again, but you scoot to the edge of the plane, tuck your feet under and lean your head back onto your instructor's shoulder, and you're out of the plane before you have a chance to second guess anything. The air is loud, in your face, you aren't even sure which way is up for ten seconds. You take the arch position you've been taught, and the instructor tries to give you all the hand signals to do cool things for the camera, but you're pretty well stuck shouting "woohoo" through an open mouth, although they taught you to exhale and inhale through your teeth, with an emphasis on remembering to exhale so you remember to breathe in afterward. You remember the exhale. The teeth part not so much. 

The sixty second free fall you signed up for feels like ten minutes. You're terrified, elated, amazed, terrified, joyful, terrified, thankful the instructor has over 22,000 jumps under his belt, repeat...

The instructor opens the chute, and while most people describe this part as glorious, you realize just how much farther you have to go until you get to the ground. Sure, you've slowed from 120 to 20 mph, but the fall looks never-ending to you. It's beautiful, sure. The instructor is trying to help you smile and laugh, but the terror is still strong. You fight it. Keep shouting "woohoo." 

The instructor brings you closer to your daughter and you see how full of joy she is. It fills you with gladness, and you attempt to be super brave. 

As you near the ground, fear hits again, but you lift your feet, and suddenly, you're down, on the ground. Relief. 

And, although you want to go sit somewhere until your legs start shaking, you hug your kid, and thank your instructor. You think about signing up again - next time, you hope you can kick fear to the curb.

And that's how you skydive at 49.


The book I decided to use and why:


Dark Blade: Forged is the first book in an unorthodox trilogy about the life of Dan Torren aka Dantor from The Champion Trilogy

I chose it because:
1. Serials with tie-ins to other, already published series work better for authors because they might already have a readership, and they can bring readers to the already published series. 

2. This book has been in my files for a long while. It isn't finished completely, but it's close. I'm not giving readers the option to vote on the ending as some writers are with their KV titles.

3. The book is part of an unorthodox trilogy that time jumps through the life of Dan Torren, from his late teens/early twenties through his fifties. (Before, during, and after The Champion Trilogy.)

4. Other Champion Trilogy characters in the Dark Blade Trilogy will include (but are not limited to): Farrald, Alexandros, Perren, Kalidess, and more...

5. I finally understand the token system for Kindle Vella and I think it might work. The number of tokens it takes to unlock each episode is based on word count. It's still not pro-pay, but it is similar to how much an author is paid per book in the Kindle store. If you normally make $2.00+ per book, that's about how much you'll make if readers unlock every chapter of a Kindle Vella title.

It is still taking a risk, but since I have a bunch of novels, novel starts, and stories in my files, I decided to try it with one I feel pretty confident about. Plus, by releasing two episodes a month, planning for 40+ episodes, I have plenty of time to revise and finish the rest of the episodes. Plus, at any time, I can unpublish the whole thing, take it back, and re-release it in another format. 
Episodes will start releasing in June, but I am not sure when Kindle Vella will truly go live. It's in the beta phase now.

Originally, I planned to expand on my "Story Addict" universe, but that was looking like way too much new-writing work when I have other projects I'm already in a long-term work relationship with, including Resonance: The Rayatana, Book 3.  

Monday, May 17, 2021

Celebrating A Quick Spell, a new book release by Patricia Josephine!


We are bewitched by what we can't see.

Conjure delight with a fantastical collection of tales. Each story is told in exactly 200 words and designed to delight your imagination no matter how busy your day is.

Will you believe? 

Excerpt: Real Vampires Don’t Wear Capes

A SHADOW FELL over me and a chill ran down my spine. My breath fogged the air despite it being midsummer and sunlight filling the living room. I fell still then slowly turned.

“I vant to suck your blood!” Draco threw his hands over his head and jumped. Two large fangs hung crookedly in his mouth. He waved his arms, hissing.

I pursed my lips, biting back a sigh. “Very funny.” I turned my back to him and focused back on the TV.

Draco danced around me and in front of the TV. “Blah! Blah, blah!” he declared.

“Knock it off.” I leaned to see around him, but he moved to block me. I scowled at him. “Seriously, stop it.”

Draco plucked the fake fangs out of his mouth. “You’re no fun, you know that?”

“I’m practical. Real vampires do not act like that and we definitely don’t wear capes.”

“Well, we should.” Draco grabbed the edge of his cape and half covered his face. He waggled his eyebrows.

I groaned.

Draco straightened up. He shook his head. “You’ll never enjoy immortality if you can’t joke about yourself.” He pulled the cape back up and glided out of the room.

Author Interview

When did your writing journey start?
A: Unlike many writing friends, I didn’t get into writing until my late twenties. BUT, I’ve always been a day dreamer, so I’ve always had story ideas in my head. Usually, they were set in worlds that weren’t my own. X-men. Star Wars. Whatever book, TV, or movie I had consumed recently that I enjoyed. I guess I day dreamed fan fiction and it was only a matter of time until I started putting words on paper.

What made you decide to write short fiction?
A: It started with Twitter. Jocelyn Rish created a hashtag called #15tt (15 Minute Tweet Tales.) You were to use 140 characters to tell a story. You had 15 minutes to write it. I had been doing the A to Z Blogging Challenge every April and I wanted a theme, but 140 characters seemed too short for it, so I used Jocelyn’s prompts to write 100 word flash fiction for the challenge. When it was over, I kept doing them because they were great writing exercises. It wasn’t until later, when I saw a collection of 100 word flash fiction at MIParaCon that I got the idea to expand those stories to 200 words and put them into a collection. By then I had a ton of them so it was easy to pick out 45 and expand them.

Why 45 stories? Why not 50?
A: There is a reason, but I can’t for the life of me remember what that is. The answer will probably come after this is posted.

How do you come up with different names for 45 different stories?
A: It’s a pretty straightforward process. I write down all the names from each story and note when I have duplicates. Then I go to a baby name site or ask for suggestions. Thankfully, it’s not actually 45 stories that I have to do that for. Some stories are told in first person and you never learn their name.

Who do you look up to as a writer?
A: I can’t really say there’s any single writer I look up to, but one writer that always comes to mind as someone I enjoy reading myself and will definitely call a favorite is Kerrelyn Sparks. She writes paranormal romance. She also adds a touch of humor here and there that always makes me laugh. When I need comfort and a happily ever after, I turn to her.

About the Author

Patricia Josephine is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance books. She actually never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college. Her dreams were of becoming an artist like Picasso. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head for fun. That was the start of her writing journey, and she hasn't regretted a moment. When she's not writing, she's watching Doctor Who or reading about serial killers. She's an avid knitter. One can never have too much yarn. She writes Young Adult Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Fantasy under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. 

Social Media Links: 
Website: - https://www.patriciajosephine.com
Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/pjlauthor
Twitter - https://twitter.com/pjlauthor
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pjlauthor
Newsletter - https://www.patriciajosephine.com/newsletter.html
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13460894.Patricia_Josephine
Amazon Author Page - https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00UH7GAK0
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/patriciajosephine
Draft 2 Digital - https://books2read.com/ap/xoOZX9/Patricia-Josephine

 Tyrean's Tiny Review:

A Quick Spell is a fun collection of short stories by a talented author. Strong characterization and just the right amount of description makes each tiny story vivid and memorable. Whether the story is happy or haunting, it's vivid and interesting.

This is a great book for anyone who wants to sit down and read for A Quick Spell.


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

IWSG May, Surprised by Positives, Kindle Vella, and Dark Matter: An Anthology

 This post became a bit long, so it's broken into three sections: IWSG, Burning Question about Kindle Vella, and Dark Matter.

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

Many thanks to founder Alex J. Cavanaugh and all of the awesome co-hosts for May's blog hop!
The awesome co-hosts for the May 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Pat Garcia, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!

Optional May Question: Have any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? If so, did it surprise you?

I think I've written about this before, about some surprising negative reactions I've had, but today, I am going to focus on some surprising positives.

1. Having a reader so invested in a character that he was worried for her from book 2 to book 3 in The Champion Trilogy. It was awesome to hear that particular character came alive for him.

2. My father-in-law telling me he's amazed by my imagination after he reads each of my books. :) It's kind of ironic that he's read everything I've written when my husband hasn't, but I'm thankful he likes what I write, even my latest science fiction novella Liftoff which was originally meant for YA readers. 83-year-olds can be young at heart, too. 

As I hinted at above, I have overly focused on the negative stuff far too often, and I'm determined to focus on the positive. With that in mind, I have been following a blog entitled: Writing and Wellness. I recommend it. Some posts I liked recently: 5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Mind, and How to Rephrase Your Self Talk to Boost Your Writer's Confidence.

A great example is:

Instead of stating "I received a rejection letter," say: I received a redirect letter.

It's a pretty simple change, but I have been trying it and I think it makes a difference. 

Burning Question

In the industry: Are you considering Kindle Vella as a reader or an author? I wrote a post about it last week on Facebook and on my blog which stirred some interesting conversations and sent me down a rabbit trail of consideration. I even sent off a question to the Kindle Vella team at KDP about using a short story I had previously published as a base for a Kindle Vella series.

If you're interested in finding out more, go to last week's blog post and Kindle Vella's main page. A number of industry experts have created posts about the subject, including ALLi. Thanks to Christine Rains, I found Understanding Kindle Vella by Annalise Clark and Going Exclusive with Fiction Serialization by Medium author Monica Leonelle. Both of these articles were extremely helpful to my understanding of the serialization process and the other platforms already doing it.

And, after much consideration, I've decided to try it. It's not my main project at the moment, but I'm working on it in the wings (basically when projects A and B are both driving me nuts and I need something different). It will be based on this short story, which is old (2015) but has a new cover that I may use as a basis of a new cover for the series - still making some decisions about it. The title will also change slightly to show the difference between the short story and the serial.

Lane has readers to appease and stories to write, but she misses her family. Can she step away from the keyboard long enough to reconnect or is it too late? "Story Addict" is a short science fiction tale. 

It's 99 cents at Smashwords currently. It used to be free, and if you sign up for my newsletter, you'll find 100% off coupon for this story through May 15th only applicable on the Smashwords website.

Coming soon! 
May 15th Writing Class on Zoom.
Via Creative Colloquy!

Dark Matter: Artificial, an IWSG Anthology is here!

Dark Matter: Artificial

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology


Discover dark matter’s secrets…


What is an AI’s true role? Will bumbling siblings find their way home from deep space? Dark matter is judging us—are we worthy of existence? Would you step through a portal into another reality? Can the discoverer of dark matter uncover its secrets?


Ten authors explore dark matter, unraveling its secrets and revealing its mysterious nature. Featuring the talents of Stephanie Espinoza Villamor, C.D. Gallant-King, Tara Tyler, Mark Alpert, Olga Livshin, Steph Wolmarans, Charles Kowalski, Kim Mannix, Elizabeth Mueller, and Deniz Bevan.


Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a journey across time and space. Prepare for ignition!



Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter.


Release date: May 4, 2021

Print ISBN 9781939844828 $14.95

EBook ISBN 9781939844835 $4.99

Science Fiction: Collections & Anthologies (FIC028040) / Space Exploration (FIC028130) / Genetic Engineering (FIC028110)



Artificial - Stephanie Espinoza Villamor

Space Folds and Broomsticks - C.D. C.D.

Rift – Kim Mannix

The Utten Mission – Steph Wolmarans

Sentient – Tara Tyler

One to Another – Deniz Bevan

Resident Alien - Charles Kowalski

Nano Pursuit – Olga Livshin

Resurgence – Elizabeth Mueller

Vera’s Last Voyage – Mark Alpert



Artificial - Stephanie Espinoza Villamor https://stephanieespinoza.com/

Space Folds and Broomsticks - C.D. Gallant-King  http://www.cdgallantking.ca/

Rift – Kim Mannix  https://makesmesodigress.com/

The Utten Mission – Steph Wolmarans  https://www.teasighcreate.com/

Sentient – Tara Tyler  https://taratylertalks.blogspot.com/

One to Another – Deniz Bevan http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/

Resident Alien - Charles Kowalski  https://charleskowalski.com/

Nano Pursuit – Olga Livshin  https://olgagodim.wordpress.com

Resurgence – Elizabeth Mueller  http://www.elizabethmueller.com/

Vera’s Last Voyage – Mark Alpert  http://www.markalpert.com/

Congratulations to all of the Dark Matter authors! Well done! 

Are you picking up a copy of Dark Matter? Signed up for my newsletter yet? Going to try Kindle Vella? Have a surprising reaction to your writing?