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I finished a book yesterday. Well, revisions on a book. But I cut more than 10,000 words out of the old book and wrote 12,000 more, so it's BASICALLY a new book.

I also have a (different) book coming out on Wednesday, Shifting Sands book 8. (What?! Eight already?! How crazy is that. And I'm already a quarter of the way through book 9...)

I am also on the final stretch of an art project I've been working on for THREE years. SOON! Soon it will be out of non-disclosure! I am SO excited! I may cry when I have a copy in my hands.

There's a Muse Fusion this week: https://www.tornworld.net/musefusion.php

Come leave Torn World prompts, questions, and inspiration. I'm looking forward to doing some little things for it, since I finished my book and I because I know that launch week generally leaves me too scattered to focus on bigger things.

For now, Monsters, Inc. with the daughter, and hot tamales while I lie on the couch avoiding doing taxes.
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I picked up this book as a matter of research while I was writing Tropical Leopard's Longing, because a major secondary was asexual, and I was curious to see how other people handled that topic.

Reader, I loved this book.

I did not expect to, and it's more than I usually pay for an ebook. (I am cheap.) But the sample hooked me, and once I started, I absolutely adored the characters, from the damaged gay POV character, to the Vespa-biker possibly-lesbian senior gang. I teared up in a few places, and I laughed out loud in more. It made my three-hour fog delay in Mexico City entirely bearable. (And that is saying something, with an exhausted six-year-old cry-sleeping in my lap, and my husband passed out on our luggage following a dreadful red-eye flight.)

If you're looking for something different, utterly human, wonderfully frank, pick up a copy. There are plenty of swears, casual pot use, and lots of honest discussion of sex, but nothing on-screen.

https://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Normal-Person-Klune-ebook/dp/B015VOHR0K/
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Last year was a roller-coaster. Definitely a roller-coaster.

It was the year I finally realized I could call myself a writer. I published six books, and I wrote five books, plus four short stories. And some of them made me money, astonishingly.

I printed a new solo coloring book. It also made me a little money.

I lost my beloved cat, Velcro. That did not make me money.

We had septic problems that make me appreciate my flush toilet greatly. That cost a lot of money.

I actually did a fair amount of artwork, too! I finished 9 sexy shifter coloring pages, plus Gizelle, two full color pieces: The Gathering and Seven of Cups for 78 Tarot Mythical. I did 30 unicorns for #junicorn. I painted a whole lot of ornaments for #inktober. (Plus an illustration that I still need to scan and submit to an anthology and two complete pages and two sketches for an NDA project.)

So what are my goals for 2019?

I have NDA artwork to finish, and I am hopeful that the project will be completed and released in March. I want to do some artwork in color. I want to do #junicorn again, and #inktober, and #NaNoWriMo. I want to write 5 books. I want to publish 5 books and a collection of short stories. I want to put Shifting Sands out in hardcopy. I have amorphous ideas about a unicorn oracle deck collected from my #junicorns.

I want to blog more.

I want to be healthier and more fit.

I want to be brave and honest and kind and creative.

Look out, world.
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Oh, man, I feel run over by a truck.

(And as an aside, no, I was not at all affected by the earthquake here in Alaska - I live 300 miles north and was driving at the time, so I noticed nothing. Nothing in the house seems to have fallen over.)

Husband gave me his illness last weekend, and I battled it back pretty well until last night, when it bloomed into conjunctivitis. Horrah. I saw the doctor today, and was warned that it could be a virus, given the timeline, but if I'm not feeling better in a day or two, I have a prescription of antibiotics already filled. I'm on eyedrops and have laundered everything in the house. I'm still pretty miserable.

It's the last day of NaNoWriMo, and sadly, I have failed. It's still a good writing month - I have a good solid start of a book, at 35k, and I really like the way it's coming together.

In nail-biting news, I have a Bookbub featured promotion tomorrow, and I have no idea what this will mean, but every time they send me a reminder email, my brain-lizard insists they've just figured out that they made a mistake selecting me and are canceling the promotion. Stop it, brain. Just STOP.

The promotion is for the first box set of Shifting Sands, which is free today through Tuesday: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079NRNTH2

(Grab it! Enjoy it! Review it!)

Must go fetch daughter from school and try not to sneeze on anyone.
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Way back in 2010, I sat down and analyzed all the many parts of my business "empire," deciding which were financially viable or otherwise rewarding, prioritizing my time, and taking a good hard look at what still brought me joy, and what had run its course.

I am doing this again now for many of the same reasons I did it in 2010: I am spread too thin. I am suffering a mental exhaustion wrapped up with the business that has resulted in an art block the likes of which I have never faced before - I have skipped three Sketch Fests in a row! And I find it important to be practical about financial and emotion drain, and to reevaluate frequently.

These are hard to do, because... well, it's been twenty-five years. Twenty-five years of incredibly hard work, big disappointment, rewards, and dreams. I've spent a long, long time working my ass off, thinking that the next thing would be my big break, that now, at last, I'd be solvent, that the hard work would pay off, that I'd finally have something that matched my vision. There's a lot of emotion and feelings of worth tied up in a business like this.

My lizard-brain wants to insist that it was all a waste of time, that I've failed spectacularly when you compare the effort to the monetary reward. Engineering was far, far easier... shouldn't I have given these dreams up sooner? Why did I bother?

For the most part, I recognize that lizard-brain for the liar that it is. I have plenty to be proud of, and every failure I've earned has been a stepping stone to something better. I am utterly unstoppable.

But I'm also sensible enough to realize when it's time to shed some of the dead weight that I've been dragging along with me sentimentally. So, today, we evaluate!

I'm doing a more limited chopping block look than I did last time. If you'd like to see the full one from last time, boggle at this: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1109188.html

But this still got lengthy, so have a cut! )

And there we have it, chopping block done. And I've got a book to go write, because this doesn't count towards my NaNoWriMo count (1886 words, darnit!)!
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Goodness, when did I last post? I won #inktober, but only by virtue of counting the ornaments I painted. (They were paint pens. Close enough.)

I put out a new book, Tropical Christmas Stag: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KDTW6P2

It is probably my favorite book that I've ever written, and arguably my best. It's not doing nearly as brilliantly as Tiger Next Door, but the reviews make me mist up happily, and I utterly loved writing it.

I have the sequel to Tiger Next Door drafted, but it still needs a pretty heavy round of revisions before I pass it on to first readers, and for NaNoWriMo, I'm working on the next Shifting Sands book, Breck's tale. I'm at 28,000, which is not up to speed to win NaNo, but I had to stop and work out several plot kinks (huh huh, kinks...) and I'm really liking how it comes together. It's a pretty bold premise for the romance genre, with a bisexual hero and a major asexual side character. (Plus magic and destiny and doomed duels, oh my!)

And in really exciting news, I got a Bookbub feature for the first box set of Shifting Sands scheduled for Dec 1 and I am trying not to think about it too hard. (Shut up, lizard-brain. I do so deserve this.)

I am taking a few moments off from building my wordcount to do a 2018 Chopping Block. It's long overdue, and has been weighing pretty heavily on me mentally. Look for that... soon, because I think it's going to feel like a pile of bricks off my brain.
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I'm re-watching Stargate SG-1... only 3 episodes so far squeezed into the bits of time I can spare, and wow. So much nostalgia, and these first episodes are SO rough. I had forgotten how much Carter still felt she had to prove.

And yes, all planets look like Vancouver.
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This flu kicked my butt.

But I kick back, and my ears are mostly equalizing again, the coughs aren't enough to keep me up, and my energy is gradually returning.

The Girl Nest Tiger Next Door is only $0.99 for a few more days - the price will be going up this weekend, so grab it now!

I'm also pleased to announce that Two Mates for the Dragon includes my short story THE NEIGHBORS MIGHT TALK, written as Elva Birch. This is a charity anthology, with benefits going to OutRight Action International. It is MMF, aka a threesome, and it contains explicit content, just so there are no surprises.

I've gotten VERY little writing done this month so far, but I still have ambitions to finish Dandelion Spring before October. Cross fingers for me. It's at 14k now, and I anticipate adding about 20k.

Still not much to report for art, but I've done a little sketching, and have some ideas. This is better than where I was a month ago!
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I was fairly lax with my August goals, because I've been face-down in burnout and barely smart enough to recognize that I needed a little time off. I also traveled for a week to see my folks (GREAT visit), and school started for Guppy.

And I did okay with those goals! Girl Nest Door only didn't come out this month because of technical difficulties out of my control, and anyway, it's scheduled for this weekend so I'm counting it as a checkmark for August.

X Release Girl Nest Door - queued for Sept 2 release
X Release Shifting Sands Box Set 2
X 1 Torn World short story
X 1 shifter coloring page (finished and scanned, but not yet released)
o Finish NDA art stuff (caribou and 2 translation pages) - caribou is about 3/4 done
o 15000 words on Dandelion Spring - 12k
o 1 print volume of something
X Get Scarlet and the Christmas Kittens in for revisions
X Get #junicorn out

I'm wibbling about the print volume. I'm thinking maybe Rails, but it would be pretty much for vanity only - I wouldn't expect to make a lot on them. Maybe that's a good enough reason? I don't think I'll do anything fancy or include illustrations.

Goals for September to follow. It will include finishing Dandelion Spring. And the NDA art stuff. And some legwork for the 25th anniversary of EMG in October. Look for more on that topic soon!
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https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1069289.html

The 25th anniversary of the accident was last week.

I will still never run. But good luck stopping me.
ellenmillion: (Default)
July did its level best to crush me, but here we are in August, and I'm still standing, ready to kick ass and take names. I'll do a month-in-review thingy soon.

For now, August plans.

o Release Girl Nest Door - ready for Sept 1 release
X Release Shifting Sands Box Set 2
X 1 Torn World short story
o 1 shifter coloring page
o Finish NDA art stuff (caribou and 2 translation pages)
o 15000 words on Dandelion Spring (working title)
o 1 print volume of something
X Get Scarlet and the Christmas Kittens in for revisions
X Get #junicorn out

Is that all? I think that's enough.
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Bai knows better than to dream about his gorgeous Head of Files, Ressa. Fraternization at the Licensing Office is strictly forbidden, by his own ironclad decree. He should be content with their close friendship, and has almost convinced himself that he is.

Ressa knows there’s something missing in her life. Her work, which has always been enough, leaves her feeling unsatisfied… even her secondary job with the prestigious Carnal Guild. She takes a lover, but swiftly realizes that what she thought were choices were clever orchestrations. Someone is playing her, and License Master Bai, in some larger, unknown plot.

Lives quickly unraveling, the only people that Bai and Ressa can trust are each other, and the bond of their friendship is sorely tested by secrets, betrayal, and the attraction for each other that they don’t want to admit.

RAILS is a dark, tangled story full of murder, sex, unrequited love, drugs, prostitution, blackmail, and betrayal. There are no fairy tale happy endings… but there is hope that love can prevail.

Set in the shared world of Torn World, RAILS was released at tornworld.net in installments between 2010 and 2014. It has flavors of steampunk, fantasy, and light science fiction, moving between the glamorous high society of the Empire to the gritty criminal underworld.

Find it at your favorite retailer here: https://www.books2read.com/rails
$0.99 for a limited time - it will go up to $2.99 next month!
ellenmillion: (Default)
You don't really want to read this... )

Brownie points if you can read this post without immediately taking a shower.
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SENSELESS, the Torn World short story included in the In the End anthology earlier this year, is now available independently!



Reqem is thrilled to be out on his first journey as an adult, and is dismayed to find that the barrier he came to see has vanished. Disappointment turns to excitement when he realizes that the fall of the barrier has revealed new land, unseen by any person since the Upheaval broke the world into parts.

Torn World is a share world sandbox, the setting of hundreds of short stories and playground to a dozen artists and authors. Senseless is a short story of about 6000 words, a stand-alone set about 50 years prior to our current stories.

Read now on Amazon for 99 pennies! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FPY856L
You can also read it as a subscriber at Torn World: http://www.tornworld.net/storypageview.php?id=627
And remember that patrons at the $10+ level on Patreon get EVERYTHING I write and publish, including novels: https://www.patreon.com/ellenmillion

I am always deeply grateful for reviews on Amazon or on the Torn World site.

...

I'm not expecting great things of this one in particular, but it's a stand-alone that is fully reserved for supporters, and seems like a good place to start in terms of making more of my work available in ebook format. I'm hauling myself up the formatting curve, but will be working on some more complicated collections shortly!
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So, I've spent all of July without a laptop, until just yesterday, when I got a shiny new installation of Windows and my precious, precious machine back with all its data. I've been reinstalling ALL THE THINGS. (And I keep adding more to my list of things I regularly use. Good grief.)

Not having a laptop has made for an insanely productive writing schedule, though. Using my iPad, I was able to write 22,000 words in the first ten days of the month. I finished Fire Control, wrote 10,000 words on a short story called Better Half in three days, got Scarlet and the Christmas Kittens nearly finished, and even added a dribble to Girl Nest Door, which I think I finally unblocked on and hope to finish next week.



I'm getting a late start on the month, but here are my goals.

o 10 portraits. (I had originally hoped for 15, but... things.) 1/10
o Finish GND
o Logo revisions (ASAP)
o Shifting Sands Box set 2
o 1 print book for proofs
o Finish Scarlet and the Christmas Kittens (it's really close!)
o fulfill #junicorn - and drum up more sales if possible
o Sketch Fest #100
o Patreon rewards (asap)
o TNMT edits (Deadline: July 25)
o Finish 1 shifter coloring page
o 1 thing for Torn World (not picky what it is)
ellenmillion: (Default)
With the 25th anniversary of my business galloping down on me, it may be time for a round of projects on the chopping block: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/tag/chopping+block

Can you believe it's been 8 years since I last did one?!

In other related things, I'm looking at my #junicorn progress (25 done!) and it is REMARKABLE how much they have improved since the first year I did them. This, and a bit of a recent ego shakeup, is making me ask hard questions about what I want to improve on, skills wise, and how, exactly, I'm actively working to do that. I am not anywhere CLOSE to where I want to be in several areas, and there are a lot of places I feel like I'm completely stagnating.

If you know me at all, you know how satisfied I am with that state of affairs. (Spoilers: NOT VERY.)

I will probably finish the hunky shifter series as part of my self-education, because I've historically slacked off on drawing men, and I feel like it is really good practice to make myself finish 20 of these. I feel like I've already expanded my repertoire nicely with just seven of them, but I've got more to learn. (Also, use the discount code BEEFCAKE33 for 33% off at Etsy.)

And next month, instead of doing #Zooly (rhymes with July), I think I will do a 30 portraits/30 days challenge, and request photos and references from my audience. Anything I don't sell can go up on PA because I'm Not Happy with my current offerings. (I'm seeing a theme.)

Girl Nest Door has topped 17500 and I'm having a heap of 'this sucks and the plot doesn't work and I am so laaaaame' feelings but I am still plugging away at just over 1000 words/day and if I get that and a LITTLE extra writing time in the next few days, it is possible (POSSIBLE) that I will finish this sucker this month. (Which is not bad, considering I STARTED it this month.)


Here, have some new artwork behind this cut:
Hunky shifters this way... )
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X Finish EB short story and submit by June 15 - done and submitted! I don't hate it.
X 15k on Girl Nest Door - 15740/15000
X Patreon rewards before 10th - well, the 14th is close.
o Junicorn - 24/30
o Finish Caribou page, scan Wolverine, 2 Translation pages - 1 scanned, 1 sketched, waiting on approvals
o Finish 2 shifter coloring pages - 1/2
o One Torn World ebook
o 5k on Torn World novel
o Shifting Sands box set 2
o Print versions of Shifting Sands 1-3
o LD logo adjustments - well underway
o Finish and implement EMG email funnel - outlined and about 1/3 drafted.
o Warranties: printer, Gortex, pants - printer done, pants going out in today's mail.
x Estimated taxes
o Improve mobile browsing of 1 site

6 days left - CAN SHE DO IT?
ellenmillion: (Default)
Junicorn is one of my very favorite parts of summer. For the past two years, I have joined this challenge to produce 30 pieces of unicorn art, and like the last few years, I am making my focus colored pencil pieces on tinted paperstock.

Original cards, prints, bookmarks, and magnets are available!
Any single original is $15, 2 for $20, 3 for $25, or 4 for $30.
Signed prints are $5 each, 8 for $20, or 30 for $40.
Get #junicorns of your choice as magnets. $5 each or 5/$15.
Shipping is included (Even International!)

You can mix-and-match from prior years designs as well:

2017: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1604777.html
2016: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1538566.html

You can wait for the end of the month to make choices - but claims are first come first served, so if there's an original you have your eye on, comment, email, or message me (on any platform) to snag it.

Claimed originals: 09, 14, 18, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27



You are welcome to make prompt suggestions in the comments, ask questions, or claim originals!
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New publication!

I am delighted to have my illustration "The Folded City" and also my story "Senseless" included in a new anthology, IN THE END. You can buy it on Amazon in print here: https://www.amazon.com/End-Charity-Anthology-Cliches-Cause/dp/1983796565 or in ebook here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CXKGBYS - note that it is in matchbook program, so you get the ebook free if you buy the hardcopy!



Senseless is a Torn World story, about the finding of Lichenwold; it takes place about 50 years prior to our current timeline. Have an excerpt:

“You used to be able to see where the barrier reached the ground from here,” Lenar told them, as they came at last to the ridge and looked out. He pointed, and the place was obvious. The forest had thinned to scrubby brush, and then gave way to ground that looked completely barren creeping up the foothills on the opposite side of the valley. By contrast, alpine foothills to the east were showing mottled red and deep green ground cover.

They camped that night at the edge of the forest, the big, shaggy snowies browsing eagerly at the brush after their long, steady day. Reqem barely slept, and rose eagerly with all of the others well before the sun had broken the ragged horizon.

“There won't be any everberries,” Tivikai observed, when they broke past the last brush to the open land beyond.

It wasn't as barren as it had appeared from further away. Tiny new life was struggling to take hold in the silty soil, and there were several swaths of grass, already turned to dull fall colors. But nothing grew that hadn't blown there and taken root that summer – the only berries they identified were fruitless sprouts.

When it grew too steep for the heavy snowies, they stopped. Before anyone could suggest otherwise, Reqem scrambled down his saddle ladder and continued to explore on foot. Imain joined him, and after only a moment more, Tivikai came after them, nearly plowing into Reqem's back when he abruptly came to a halt around an outcropping of rock.

“Here, now, give a woman a warning when you're going to stop like that,” she scolded them, then looked up and saw the same sight.

Her shrill whistled call to the others broke Reqem from his slack-mouthed gaze.

Before them, past a pile of rock and mountain granite, was a road. It sheared into fractured plates and finally to rubble to their left, and to their right, it plunged into the mountain.

Knowing that the ancients had been capable of building miraculous things was quite different than witnessing one of those things. The opening yawned like a mouth, but perfectly square, and the surface of the road, though aged and cracked, was unnaturally flat and smooth.

The three rangers scrambled over the rock and stood in wonder, staring into the darkness that stretched impossibly away.

“Where does it go?” Imain asked in awe.

“It could go anywhere,” Tivikai said, sounding equally impressed.

“Let's find out,” Reqem said at once.

(The Great Northern Gate illustration is only attached for fun - the anthology edition is illustrated by Samuel Hazen!)

ellenmillion: (Default)
I've missed doing these - the last one I did was for October. I'll go in and fill in the gaps if I have a chance, but I like doing them when they're fresh in my memory. They are especially nice to do when I'm feeling like I'm spinning my wheels or not getting much done. Because it usually turns out that, yeah, I have gotten a few things accomplished!

Artwork

I started a sketch for a hunky shifters coloring page during Sketch Fest

I released five new pages that were included in Splendrix and the color cover, The Gathering. The Kickstarter, paired with Mitzi's Gardens and Goddesses Volume 3, was very exciting, and we closed it up at 3x the goal, with lots of great stretch goals. 

Unicorn and fairies in forest



A gazelle shapeshifter in the jungle

See the rest here: http://ellenmillion.com/

I also got a lot of progress made on some other coloring pages, and finished inking Chase. (Not inked or scanned yet.) 



Writing

I released Tropical Panther's Penance on the 15th.

I wrote 16,300 words, mostly on Tropical Christmas Stag. 


Other Things

Frozen septic field. Yay.

Six year old growing pains. 

Ridiculously late snow. 



 

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