Tag Archives: The Conn-Mann Chronicles

Been Awhile…

…with no real excuse, but I have been busy.

Since SoonerCon, I have attended three shows,  released two books, and signed several contracts.

Book Two of The Conn-Mann Chronicles is now available. The Nearly Notorious Nun is on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

I also have a new poetry chapbook, Overheard in Hell, which is also available on Amazon.

October will be a busy month too. I have two major releases the week of the 23rd. Killing It Softly, available now for pre-order, and my second Steampunk anthology for Mocha Memoirs, Ghosts, Gears, and Grimoires will also debut that week. This was fun to put together. It is horror with a Steampunk twist.

Coming up, more Conn-Mann is with the beta-readers, and I will be writing Book Four for NaNoWriMo, as the first three have been. What it will be, is still in question…I thought I knew…but I have been rethinking what I was planning.

I am also working on several other projects, but who knows when they will be finished. 😉

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

So many things spinning in my head. Books to edit, books to write, short stories to finish…I really don’t need anything more on my plate. But there are these pesky bills to pay…and I have been kicking around ideas on how to add an income stream or two.

I’ve been working on this for the last few days: The Conn-Mann Curiosity Shop — and I’ve even made a sale!

I’ve had a few nice writing sales this year as well.

But…my income goal for the year is still not being met. I need to up my game.

So, I want to test the waters on something else…

There are lots of editors out there. I know it is a crowded field, but I am throwing my hat into the ring too.

I have been editing for small presses for several years now, as well as for friends and family. I do things a little differently than some editors I know. I basically do content, polish, and proofing all in one pass. Then I send it back and continue to work with the author until we are both satisfied.

I charge a penny a word based on the word count of the final finished version, no matter how many times we have to go through it.

I try to turn things around in a reasonable time-frame.  I will always be frank about how much time I expect to need for a job. I have a lot of commitments that I can’t neglect because of a freelance commission–but I also hate housework and will put any edit in front of that…

It’s taken me a bit to come to the decision to offer my editing services. Hopefully, it will be worth it. 🙂

If you have something you would like me to work on, drop me an email at riewriter@gmail.com and I will be happy to discuss your project with you.

Ending and Beginning: The State of the Resolution Address

Those of you who read this blog regularly (Thank you!) have been following my saga of submittals for the past year. Some days, we weren’t any of us sure that I could meet my goal–but I did. Over 400 submissions for 2015. At least one a day. Those submissions ranged from haikus to a novel. Some were submitted multiple times before they found a home–I never said it would be a new submission every day–but most of them did eventually find their niche.

Total Stats:

Month Rejected Accepted Subs
Jan 11 7 33
Feb 9 3 29
Mar 20 23 39
Apr 13 11 32
May 17 15 38
Jun 20 13 31
Jul 16 18 38
Aug 20 19 37
Sep 17 9 30
Oct 13 19 34
Nov 11 16 30
Dec 14 3 32
Total 181 156 403


It took some searching to find numbers I had missed posting to the proper columns, but this now works out correctly, with 66 subs still out and not finalized carried over to the 2016 page for follow-ups in the coming week.

I don’t know if you are impressed, but I am…lol.


It was exhausting. And, though i saw an uptick in the income page, not particularly profitable. My greatest income by far came from CD royalties and editing.

This year, my husband has provided me with a new goal–$5,000 income. Steep, but I am now of the opinion that if I try hard enough, i can do anything. 🙂

I will be cutting my submission goal to one a week, so I can concentrate on writing more polished pieces of greater length for markets that stretch me as a writer. (I won’t neglect my favorites, but that is the official goal.)

I will consider taking on more freelance work, and doing more paid editing.

Plus, I am in the process of re-releasing my Conn-Mann Chronicles books, and finalizing guidelines for a new Steampunk anthology with Mocha Memoirs.

The year ahead should be exciting, and busy, but not as terrifying as trying to come up with that sub for the day. 😉

Procrastination Station!

Okay, so we are down to the wire on NaNoWriMo. There are only 5,697 words to go. Jo has behaved herself admirably through most of the draft, and the book has done some things that I really am loving, but…

You knew there was a but coming, right?

BUT, we have gotten to the final exciting climax–and I have no idea what it is going to be. There is no more overt character development to be done in those few pages. The plot has come to a screeching halt before the edge of the cliff, so it can’t be a cliffhanger…

And here I am, procrastinating. I’ve done all my daily chores for the day. I’ve done all my weekly chores for the week (once this is done.) I’ve even done some housecleaning today–and long time readers of this and my occasional blog over at Here’s the Clean know that that means I am really desperate to avoid something.

I have to get going though. It is too close to quit–the end in sight, the word counter filling up, the story compelling me along…

I just need to figure out that last bit. 😉


Here’s a snippet from the Dime Novel for The Incredibly Irritating Irishman, “Practical Polly and the Village of Doom” — to see more, head on over to The Conn-Mann Chronicles page on Facebook, and don’t forget to Like us. 😉 Website on the way…

Day 25’s excerpt:

Polly held her breath as long as she could, swimming with the current downriver. She was a much stronger swimmer than Jack, so hopefully, she would be far away from where he expected her to be when she finally had to come up for air.

She angled her way toward the far bank as well as possible in the dark. Swimming until her lungs were threatening to burst, she finally broke the surface, gasping for air.

Dawn was breaking, the sky tinged with gold as the mist rose from the warming river. It provided a bit more screen. She would take any cover she could get.

Slogging out of the river on the opposite bank from the village, she put her back to a tree and slid down it to huddle in a miserable heap at its base. What was she to do? Jack had been the center of her world from the moment she met him.

Tears rolled down her cheeks as she realized that most of what she knew of him was probably a lie. Had he even been to the places he claimed? Were the artifacts he had donated to the museums stolen treasures he had no right to? She had given him everything—and he had thrown it all away.

Sobbing, she laid her head on her crossed arms and let all her dreams leave her.

But Polly was practical above all else, and she didn’t let her emotions hold sway for long. Jack would be coming. Probably with his new best friend the chieftain and his warriors in tow. She needed to stop feeling sorry for herself and take stock of the situation.

Swiping the tears from her cheeks, she got to her feet. She could see the smoke of the village cook fires in the distance, so she was still too close for comfort.

Checking her pockets, she found the penknife—she had forgotten that Paolo returned it to her…he probably had too. It was a welcome find. She also had her sling, three rocks—but she could gather more—a ten pound note, and a piece of jerky. She’d save that until she got too hungry to bear it.

She wracked her brains for every bit of survival lore that she could remember. Moss grew on the north side of trees…didn’t it?

Damn Jack! He had her compass in his pack last time she had seen it. And that had been before their capture the first time, so she doubted it was anywhere to be found now.

There hadn’t been anything else of use at the camp, had there? A few bits of canvas and maybe a few feet of rope. Not worth the risk of returning there. He’d probably look there first, sure that she would go back to the familiar.

No, she would strike downriver, staying on the bank opposite the village. He’d never give her credit for that much sense.

It’s Friday Already?!

Conn Mann Alt Poster for WEB VIEWThis will probably be a short, sweet post, because I have to be about my 1667 words for today–

Yes, it’s that time of year again. November is upon us, and NaNoWriMo is here.

This year, I am writing the first draft of the third book in The Conn-Mann Chronicles, The Incredibly Irritating Irishman.

I don’t want to spoil it too much, but suffice to say that Josephine Mann may have met her match in her mysterious cousin Seamus O’Leary.

I am really enjoying the dime novel that goes with it this time–Practical Polly and the Village of Doom. Garrett Goldthwaite is back on top of the game. To follow along with Polly’s perilous predicaments, visit the Conn-Mann Facebook page for daily snippets.

Here’s the first sample to give you a taste of it:


Polly Peterson peered out of the thick underbrush,scanning the clearing before her. The village looked quiet in the throes of after-dinner torpor. None of the brown-skinned natives was to be seen. Even the ever-present children were absent. No dogs roamed the fringes, no women sung about their chores. Where was everyone? Was it seriously just time for a siesta, as she had seen with other tribal groups?

She bit her lip. Somewhere in that deceptively quiet landscape was the man she loved-and she wasn’t leaving without him. Despite his orders.

The thatched huts huddled in a rough circle around the central fire-pit were little more than lean-tos. She could probably knock them down with a gentle push…but that wouldn’t free Jack Stanton from the clutches of the cannibals.

She didn’t want to think too hard about that last part. What if Jack had been lunch? She wouldn’t be able to live with herself if he was dead. Especially if he had been eaten because she wanted to make a name for herself as an explorer the world took seriously.

She ducked back into the underbrush, heart pounding, as a lone warrior stumbled out of his hut and relieved himself against a tree. She shuddered. Primitive man…why did she want to research these people again?

She swiped her forearm across her face. It was so damn hot here in the Amazon basin. Her clothes clung to her, soaked with sweat.

Jack had tried to dissuade her from the expedition. She should have listened. He was the more experienced explorer, after all.

She might even admit to him that he was right.

If she ever saw him alive again.

Damn it all. They should have gone to the South Pole!



Feel free to leave comments on what you would like to see next. I’ll talk to Garrett and see what we can do! 😉


Care to Join Me?


Yesterday, I told you about one of the challenges I was working on.  Well, today’s to-do item is to post a Call to Action.

As many of you may know, it’s almost that time again…one of my favorite and most frustrating months of the year. It’s nearly November, and that means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I’ve been a competitor in this challenge for twelve years now. It’s gotten me three published novels, one contracted novel, and one work-in-polishing novel which I worked on two years in a row. I can’t promise you will have similar results, but I can promise that you will have better chances of writing a finished novel if you start one, and that the discipline involved in writing the necessary 1667 words a day to finish on time is a great way to start.

So, my call to action is this — sign up for NaNoWriMo — then come back and tell me what your handle is so that we can form a support group and encourage each other throughout the month!


In case you are interested, Sidhe Moved Through the Faire, The Marvelous Mechanical Man, and The Nearly Notorious Nun all had their genesis in NaNoWriMo, and this year, I will be working on Book Three of the Conn-Mann Chronicles — The Incredibly Irritating Irishman (which has been started on NaNo before and not finished…nobody wins all the time–and that is okay!)

Productivity Feels Good, No?

I am currently revising one published novel and one WIP. I have another published/out-of-print novel waiting in the wings for revision. The Bruce and Roxanne collection–with new stories as well as the old–is in formatting stages. The Nearly Notorious Nun (Book Two in The Conn-Mann Chronicles) is due out at the end of the month.  Speculative Poets of Texas Volume I: S. P. O. T. –where I share the T.O.C.  with Juan Perez and Joe Lansdale, among others–is out… And that is only the book-length stuff I am working on.

Having the goal to push myself to do more has given me a tremendous boost in productivity.

I have had 9 poems, 6 short stories, and 2 flash pieces published so far this year, with many more accepted and in process. That would have been a good number of submissions for me before I started the challenges in 2013. Now, it is about two weeks worth of work.

I like being a productive writer. It’s fun. You should try it. 😉


Very Sweet Music…for Alistair and Jo


My friend Daniel Bernardo, who is a very talented composer, has written two variations on a theme for Alistair and Jo.  They are both simply splendid, and I am in love with both of them. I hope to create a book trailer for the series using one or both–or a third that will be slightly longer and is still in production.

But I really wanted to share them with you.

This is the first one:

and this is the second one:

Leave a comment. Which do you like better and why?

I am having so much fun collecting things Conn-Mann to bring to you!

The Writing Process Blog Hop Wrap-up

It falls to me to wrap up the blog hop on writing process that has been happening this month. I sit in the car with my laptop on battery power, which is not how I intended to be doing this post this morning, but circumstances conspire, don’t they? A little late, but better than not at all. Eden Royce invited me to participate a month ago. She is an awesome writer, and this is her biography for those of you that don’t know her:

Eden Royce is a writer and editor from Charleston, South Carolina whose stories have been published by various presses. She also reviews books for Hellnotes, a website dedicated to horror in fiction, art and movies and is the horror submissions editor for Mocha Memoirs Press. Besides writing, her passions include roller-skating, listening to thunderstorms, and excellent sushi. She lurks around at edenroyce.com and blogs at darkgeisha.wordpress.com.

The point of this blog hop has been to explore the writing process. As you can tell from the opening paragraph above, mine is rather chaotic at times. We are asked to answer four questions about our writing style. Here you go:

1) What am I working on?

Currently, I am still on a short story kick, but I also have some longer things  in the works, and I want to get some new poetry written to read at the Austin International Poetry Festival next month.

I am brainstorming the next book in my Conn-Mann Chronicles tentatively entitled The Nearly Notorious Nun. In the next tale of Josephine Mann’s Steampunk adventures, she will have to help an old acquaintance deal with scandal and scheming. I think it will be a lot of fun.

Those of you who are old fans will be happy to know that I am also polishing the Bruce and Roxanne stories for a brand new perfect-bound edition which will collect both chapbooks and at least three new stories into one volume. I am almost done with that project.

And, finally, I am doing an overhaul of The Lute and the Liar for a brand new expanded edition. It is with Jim Reader right now, for that magic “Jimbifying” touch.


2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

That’s a toughie…I’m not sure most of it does, though I think the Steampunk (The Marvelous Mechanical Man) is light-hearted and fun compared to a lot of the more serious offerings. It has no pretensions to be anything other than a dime-novel style romp, and it was fabulous fun to write.



3) Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I like to read it. I write a little of everything, because I am an eclectic reader. I sometimes write in a new genre to see if I can–to test my skills and grow as a writer. Only mysteries have so far eluded me, but I am not giving up!



4) How does your writing process work?

Generally, I sit in front of the TV with my laptop and write to the television. I know that is not everyone’s process, but it works for me. As long as it isn’t something that requires complete attention (I had to give up on The Returned for now because of the subtitles.) I can work and pay enough attention to follow the plot.

To start, I might go to ralan.com or one of the Facebook Open Call groups and see if there is something that speaks to me–I have become fond of writing for a specific market when it comes to short fiction.

For longer pieces, I play the “What if?” game. I start with a premise and beginning action. From that plot point, I consider what the consequences of that happening might be and build in the next action. Okay, where might that lead? And so on, until the full plot plays out to a logical conclusion. If I find something doesn’t work after all, I backtrack to a previous point and try another branch of the road.

Don’t forget to save those dead-ends. You might be able to use them later by “filing off the serial numbers”–changing names and details–and putting them into another piece. For example, I used to write Fan Fiction (a great way to practice). There was a lovely scene about an underground thieves’ camp in one of my Ladyhawke stories that I pulled out and used in The Lute and the Liar. And, the description of the King of the Thieves’ throne room formed part of the basis for the throne room of the elves in The Luckless Prince. One of my Shadow Chasers fan stories makes a great Bruce and Roxanne story. 🙂


In conclusion, everyone’s writing process is different. Some people can’t work with distractions, some use music as background, some like varieties of stimulation around them.

Writing what you know doesn’t mean that you have to have experienced everything you write about. You can know things you have read or researched about. A writer is always learning new things to write about.

And the most important thing to know and remember about the writing process is to have fun with it!

1/3/2013 It’s going to be a great year!

I have a lot going on this year.

First of all, tonight I will be speaking at the San Gabriel Writers League on motivating oneself to get published this year. I have a lot of stories to share…just hope they prove interesting…lol

I’m also working feverishly to finish the revisions of Skellyman so I can send it out into the world to find a home. At the encouragement of Jim Reader, I am dedicating one day a week to “Day-of-No-Excuses”. On that day, there is no reason not to do what I have set that day aside to do. My day is Sunday, and I have sworn to submit something somewhere on that day, no excuses. I would like Skellyman to go out this Sunday, but it will probably be next week, since the revisions are being slow but thorough.

I started this Day-of-No-Excuses last Sunday by turning in The Conn-Mann Chronicles I: The Marvelous Mechanical Man to Zumaya. It’s a Steampunk romance that I think is one of the most cohesive works I’ve ever written. And I really look forward to all the things we can do relating to it. 🙂 Look for webpages relating to it to go up on the site soon.

I’ve also resolved to participate in a reading challenge this year:


My goal is level Earth — read 5 Science Fiction romances this year.

That doesn’t sound like much, but that’s on top of all the mysteries and other things I’ll read this year…lol.

This is not a genre I read a lot of, so I am hoping to broaden my horizons. Feel free to leave suggestions. 🙂

I will not be neglecting this website as much as I did last year, promise. I have several other irons in the fire that I can’t talk about yet.

2013 will be an AWESOME year!