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MARCH REVIEW

I swear this month went faster than Februrary.

My biggest release was the Alaska Animals Translations (eeeee!), which was the accumulation of three years of work. There was much squeeing. I am contracted for a second book!

I also wrote 31k, mostly on Tropical Lion's Legacy (and associated untitled short story I hope to finish today), but also on Run and on Bearly Tolerable, which has a good start and is outlined to the end.

I survived Spring Break (barely).

I noodled some artwork for Sketch Fest and mocked up one cover and am 80% done with the pencil work for a portrait of Mal that is full of spoilers.

I released a 10-page hunky shifters coloring book download on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/676772560/hunky-male-shifter-coloring-pages-for

I did not get anything done for Fatemakers, which was the only other thing on my to-do list for the month, but it was a rollercoaster month in a lot of ways, so I'm really happy with what I did do.

PLANS FOR APRIL

* 3 pages for the 2nd Alaska Animals book
* Publish Lion's Legacy
* Revise Tropical Tiger Spy and launch changes
* 30k (1k a day) in writing total, spread out over whatever projects, with 20k earmarked for Bearly Tolerable so it's finished in May.
* Some other art progress of any kind.

Sketch Fest is scheduled for Friday!
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I probably won't share ALL of them over here. I'll get them up on my webpage shortly, but I'm releasing them over on Facebook first: https://www.facebook.com/EllenMillionArtistrix/
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I am so, so, so excited to finally be able to share this!

I've been working on this project (not non-stop, but periodically in great bursts) for two and a half years, and it's been in non-disclosure, so I've only been able to share tiny sneak previews and natter about it in a general, non-specific sort of way.



Tanana Chiefs Conference commissioned me to illustrate a coloring book of Alaskan animals as part of a language preservation project! Each animal has a facing page with illustration matching the page and translations of the animal name in 10 Interior Alaskan native languages. I did 18 animals, one two-page spread (with about 12 animals), and 23 border pages, plus a landscape for the opening page. I'll be sharing them in bits and putting them in my portfolio over the next few weeks!



This coloring book is an educational outreach and is going to be distributed throughout the Interior villages and at culture camps. It is not currently for sale, but TCC is looking into making them available -- I will update you when I know anything.

This project was a big challenge for me, and I learned SO much, and I'm really proud and honored to be a part of it.
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I'm a fairly mechanically savvy person. I replaced the alternator in my last Subaru, by myself, at twenty below. I have a degree in mechanical engineering. So not, you know, the average helpless driver.

Last week, I took my car in for A Noise. A crunchy, mechanical, grinding sort of Noise. I was expecting bad news regarding something in the suspension, but it ended up being a very basic fix of swaybar links, which was swiftly done.

This week, however, I noticed More Noises. It was especially bad when I went over bumps.

Hating to be That Customer, I took it back to the shop. "It's making The Noises again," I told them.

I sat down and wrote a few hundred words while they checked it out.

Diagnoses?

MY LICENSE PLATE WAS LOOSE.

...

They tightened down the bolts for me and sent me on my way with no charge but to my ego.
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So, that was a month!

Let's see:

I published two books: Tropical Leopard's Longing and DandeLION Season.
I also deleted massive amounts of DandeLION Season and wrote about 9,000 new words before publication.
I did edits and formatting for both books.
I wrote approximately 10,000 on Tropical Lion's Legacy
I did NINE pieces of artwork for the NDA project that will not die. (SOON IT WILL BE REVEALED!)
I hosted a birthday party for a seven-year-old-to-be. And survived.
I finished another hunky shifter coloring page (Bastian, not yet posted)
I did sketches for Sketch Fest and Muse Fusion, and a few random other sketches. I am rusty.
I started outlining Fatemaker stuff.
I pretty much knocked my goals out of the park.

For March:

Finish Tropical Lion's Legacy. It's at 20k, so probably another 20k of writing. I'm aiming at 1000 a day and we'll see where we get.

Release Bastian's page on Etsy. Or maybe a 10 page collection, now that I have enough!

FINALLY gush about the NDA project.

Outline Bearly Tolerable so I'm ready to hit it hard in April.

Do some art

Outline first Fatemaker book and create character sheets.
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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.
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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!
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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)

April 2019

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