The Fount of Magic Release Day

It’s finally here! The day when I can share the third Songbird River Chronicles book with everyone has arrived. It’s been a long time coming, and launch day is a huge relief.

I am quite proud of this one. I feel like my writing skill level has increased since writing SINGER, and I think it shows here in FOUNT. I’m also giddy over the cover, which I think captures the spirit of the book. Plus, it’s pretty! Don’t you think so?


TFoM Cover eBook copy

Three heroes, three conflicts. The fate of Songbird River City hangs in the balance.

Katherina, the Greatest Fencer in the Realm, faces false charges of murdering Klessia’s Master Magician. Serille, the amateur Magician, struggles for a chance to retaliate against those who attacked the Guild of her heart.

And Singer, beloved leader of Songbird River City, returns to her homeland after defeating a rogue dragon to find her city in smoldering ruins. Her greatest fear has come true: her sword, the energy source for her city, has fallen into the hands of the evil Sorcerers in Chirlinia, and with it, the ability to control her enormous robotic Search-and-Rescue machines.

And as the three friends journey to different corners of the Two Continents, the Sorcerers’ attempts the sow dissonance between them may yet work…


You can pick up your copy over at Amazon or Kobo. Early purchasers will be loved forever, and early reviewers will be cherished like the treasures they are! If you need to catch up on the story so far, check out books 1 and 2 on my Books and Stories page!

And now, back to work on the next novel…

Second verse, same as the first

So in my last post, I told you all about my first short story publication in the 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, and how that was awesome due to a number of factors, including the fact that both me and my dad have stories in it. If you haven’t taken a look at that anthology yet, you really should, especially if you have middle-grade kids who might enjoy reading some science fiction aimed at them.

But today, I have to apologize for what may seem like a repetitive posting.

Two days ago, the Fiction River anthology Pulse Pounders was published. This anthology is really cool, because not only does it mark my second short fiction publication, it also marks the second anthology in which both my father and myself have stories! (Could this be an emerging trend? Is there more Collins take-over to come? Stay tuned, loyal readers!)

Pulse Pounders also features a never-before published original Frank Herbert (Dune) story, so that’s really super cool. Here’s the cover for your enjoyment!

FR Pulse Pounders ebook cover web

Yeah, my dad’s name is on the cover, and that means that half of mine is, too! This is how I know I’ve “made it,” my friends. *self-deprecating laugh*

Another sweet thing about this anthology is that, if you pick up the Kobo special edition, you’ll get some extra stories that aren’t in the print or other e-versions! How cool is that?

This anthology is full of exciting stories, from action to thrillers and lots of stuff in between. My story, “Frostburnt”, is a traditional fantasy, but the stories cover a range of genres. I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be bored reading this collection, so check it out!


It’s official! One of my short stories, “The Sugimori Sisters and the Interplanetary Concept Clash”, has been published! And what’s way cooler is that my dad has a story in the anthology, too.

The 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is available now on Amazon in e-format, and will soon also be available in print. It’s full of science fiction stories aimed at middle-grade kids, and especially focuses on inclusion of girls. There are tons of great stories in here, and I’m honored to include my own beside them. Give it a look!


Also, I will be speaking on a few panels at ConFusion 2015 next weekend. I hope to see lots of people there and talk about lots of fun stuff!

An Article About ME!

I recently went to my hometown of Columbus, IN to visit my family and to attend a local festival. We had a lot of fun, both with the family and the festival, but I also took a little time out to be interviewed by a writer for a local publication that focuses on women in the community. The publication is called SHE Magazine, and features articles about how women from the Columbus area are doing their own special things. My special thing, of course, is that I write and have published two novels!

The article came out earlier this week, and I thought I’d shamelessly share it here with all of you. Because I’m awesome, of course, and everyone deserves to know that!

The article about ME starts on page 26. You should check out the rest of the magazine, too, since it’s pretty cool in general.

Obviously, this means that I have achieved “famous” status. The money should be rolling in by the truckload now, right? I’ve “made it,” now, right? RIGHT?

I’m chugging along on a new short story, having achieved 1,000 words on it so far. The finished product should be no more than 6,000, so this is good progress. I’m really enjoying this story, and I’m excited to figure out the best way to tell it. After all, often times the way we first envision telling a story is not the best way to go about it IT ALL. This results in frustration, of course, (especially in longer pieces) but it’s a good kind of frustration, the kind that lets you tear your hair out for a little while, but then sits you down and makes you work to turn something that’s good into something that’s really great (or, at least, better than what it started out as, right?)

And, even though there is frustration, there is satisfaction, too, once you know what needs to be fixed and have an idea of how to go about it. After the hair has been torn and the head bashed against the wall.

Writing is fun! Remember, I’m famous now. You can trust me.


New release announcement, and reflections on Detcon1

So, my new book is published! The Southern Dragon is available now through Amazon, Kobo, NOOK, Smashwords, and Google Play, both in print and ebook formats! You can find links to it in my Books and Stories page above. The price on Singer has dropped, as well, in celebration! Check it out, and if you like it, please leave a review in your preferred reviewing location. It’d be much appreciated!


As I mentioned, I had some plans for this past weekend’s Detcon1 surrounding my promotion of the book. While my sweepstakes to win free copies of my books didn’t pan out, I did manage to pass out a number of my business cards. I’m hoping to see some results from that at some point, though we will just have to wait and see. The con itself was fun, with lots of interesting and useful panels surrounding aspects of the business. Of course, there were lots of whimsical panels as well, but I kept myself to the business oriented ones. I listened to Neil Clarke (the publisher/editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, to whom I have been furiously attempting to sell my short stories) speak on two panels, one about the state of Science Fiction magazines today, and one about what sorts of things editors and agents are looking for in stories and submissions. I heard another panel talk about the economics of self-publishing, though I can’t say that one was particularly useful to me, since I’ve been doing this for a little while now and have already experienced a number of the things they talked about. I also attended a panel discussing covers, which was interesting from an artistic standpoint.

It’s definitely interesting to listen to other people who are essentially trying to accomplish the same thing as you are talk about how they have been going about it, or what else they plan to try in the future. The debate on whether or not to go full indie publishing or to hold out for a traditional publisher’s notice still rages, with both sides giving good arguments. For now, I think I intend to remain an indie publishing author, but I am trying to keep my mind clear and unbiased as I go forward with this venture.

Anybody else have Detcon experiences to share? I’d love to hear about them!


Today, I finished the first draft of The Fount of Magic.


This one came with a five-week long hiatus, a segment of the “mid-book blues” as some call it. That time was painful, because I felt like I just wasn’t being a good human being. I wasn’t writing, so I felt like a failure in everything else I did, too. Like I was just wasting time.

But I got over it, and got back to the writing. Those first few days back at the keyboard were painful. I had pitiful word counts. I hated everything I wrote. But I did it.

Eventually, the pace picked up, and it became easier, because it was fun again.

And now, I’m finished with the first draft.

While I’m definitely glad to be finished (it means I can move on to all of the other projects I’ve got stacking up in my to-write list! Yay!!!) a part of me is not looking forward to NOT having the novel to come home to after work. It had gotten to the point that I would walk in the door, pet the kitty, and then sit down to say hello to the novel. Sure, there’s still editing to do, and that’s fun, too. But it’s not the same as when you’re sitting there, pushing yourself to just put thirty more words on the page. Only thirty, and you’ll break 3,000 today!

Obviously, since I’ve already stated I’ve got more projects, new novels will come along in the near future.

But now this one is done, and I will miss it.

We had our laughs and our hard times, and in the end we came out with a pretty good draft. But now it’s time to move on.

A New Challenge Approaches?

I’ve come up with an interesting idea for a writing challenge. It’s called the Hourly 500, and it is designed to drive word production and to help writers get their inner editors to shut up for a while. I haven’t tried it out yet, but I certainly intend to as soon as an appropriate day for it comes along.

Here’s how it works:

1. You pick a day that you can devote to writing, perhaps a weekend that you were going to spend sitting around watching TV or something equally unproductive.

2. You choose an hourly word count that is something under your normal writing pace and make that your hourly goal. I normally write about 1,000 words in an hour, so I’m choosing 500 as something sustainable that won’t burn me out over the course of the challenge day.

3. You hit that goal every hour of the day, for 24 hours.


Now for the best part.

Even though I’ve called it the Hourly 500, the challenge is really flexible. You can set your hourly word count to something as small as 10 words an hour if you want, and you can set your time goal to be every other hour, though of course you won’t get as much production benefit if you make your goals that small.  But if you’re in a rut and having trouble putting even a single sentence on the page, sometimes the small, easy goals are what you need to boost your confidence again.

The only rule that is solid, carved in stone, unchangeable, is that each hour (or whatever your chosen unit of time is) is separate from the others. In the noon hour, you must write your word count goal. When the time hits 1:00, you must write a whole new 500 words, and COMPLETELY IGNORE the previous ones. I mean don’t touch them. Don’t edit them, don’t delete them. The point is to end the day with a nice big chunk of wordage.

You can go back and edit it later, if you really must, but this is where the whole 24 hour part comes in. You’ll crash at the end of it, and therefore will have to sleep on your work. Letting your work settle in your brain is an important part of the creative process, after all, and if you immediately jump in and mess with your first draft right after finishing it you lose that important ‘pondering’ period. You might remove something that was really good just because your knee-jerk reaction was that it sucked!

Remember that it’s OKAY if you don’t hit your word goal every single hour. Don’t worry about dinner taking up a large piece of your 6:00 hour, or about the unexpected phone call from your mother. But do STRIVE to hit your goal, and definitely don’t look back on the work from the hours that have already passed. It’s also OKAY if you can’t quite make 24 hours. Not everyone is capable of staying awake that long. The purpose is to push production and to tell your inner editor to take a hike.

If you want to share your challenge with your friends and family, post your hourly word production on facebook, or tweet it with the hashtag #hourly500 or something like that. This is the sort of thing that people will get behind and cheer you on, I know it.

So if you think this sounds like a challenge you’d like to try, do it! Post about it! Just set your date, your unit of time, and your word count goal, and get writing!

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