Category Archives: News

A Secret. A Confession. And A Reveal.

I have a confession. I’ve been wanting to do a series. Short novels that are just written for fun—taking all the things I love about writing SF/F and adding a few pinches of romance, a dash of humor, and a smidge or two of mystery. I have no intention of sending them around to publishers. I’m going to produce them myself.

It all started over last summer (2014). I wrote a short story for an anthology and it was in the anthology then it was out of the anthology. Just one little quirk about the business nobody talks about. Three professional NAME writers turned in stories waayyy over the word limit for the anthology guidelines and they needed to take one story out. That was my story. The editors were very nice and in a difficult position themselves. They explained how much they loved the story and wouldn’t be surprised if it found another home right away.

It did. Another editor offered to buy it right away after hearing about it becoming available, but I said “No.” Why?? Why would I say no?

Well this story very nearly broke me. I used every trick I had to make it a great story, an awesome story. But it doesn’t have any literary appeal. It’s simply a fun mystery story, but it was also Urban Fantasy. It’s really difficult to break into the Urban Fantasy market (at least at the time it was, I hear editors are starting to consider it again). Short story markets are few and far between that will take Urban Fantasy, as most specify in the guidelines “NO URBAN FANTASY.” It makes me feel dirty for loving a genre that offers just about everything in a modern package.

So, I put my all into the story and found out that it was not going to get used in the anthology where it was supposed to go and a few days after I found out my parents house burned down and my best friend was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. I didn’t want to ever look at that story again.

The secret is that a year later over the summer (2015) I decided that I didn’t want that story to end. I didn’t want this to be the story I’d lock away just because it came along at the wrong time in my life. I kept thinking of the characters and the cool ideas I had for more mysteries set in that world. In the middle of writing a third novel to send around on submission I emailed my agent to tell her my idea. She said to go for it. I’d been looking for something to self publish and do on my own and this was the perfect project for something like that.

Now I have two books completed and that abandoned story has become the beginning of book three. And I have an editor lined up and a cover:

HOLY FREAKIN' -- I'M GOING TO PUBLISH THIS. *strokes the beautiful cover*

HOLY FREAKIN’ — I’M GOING TO PUBLISH THIS. *strokes the beautiful cover*

(Cover art by Christian Bentulan of Covers by Christian)

And huge thanks to Stewart Baker who meshed together a few ideas I had for a front cover blurb to come up with something even more perfect.

This is the book description:

There are three kinds of lies.

Lies the fates spin as half truths.

Lies of destined love.

And statistics.

As a fateless, Kate Hale is immune to the first two, but the third kind of lie is her profession. After spending years as an actuary for the Traffic Department, Kate is promoted to Accidental Death Predictions. It’s all she’s worked toward, and her career is finally on track. But when an oracle delivers an impossible death prediction and insists on her help to solve the case, she might lose any chance of impressing the brass.

Her only hope comes in the form of the police liaison assigned to her department, latent werewolf Ian Becker. Becker can grant her the clearance to find answers, but he’s a wild card with a shady past who doesn’t play well with others.

Every prediction has a loophole, but if Kate can’t solve the case before the crime is fated to occur she won’t just lose her job–she’ll have the blood of an oracle on her hands.

Welp—that makes it real. I’ve put a lot of time in between other projects to make these the best books they can be. It’s going to happen, uh, soonish. I don’t have a firm date, but things are happening around here. Just thought you should know what I’ve been up to 😉

In Which I Bombard You With All Sorts of Cool News

It seems every year I vow to update my blog more regularly, but such is the curse of most fiction writers–when I have a spare moment there’s always some other story demanding my immediate attention.

First bit of cool news:

My minion…er…I mean husband took it upon himself to create me an official–we’re talkin’ fancy-schmancy professional looking author page. It’s good he’s talented in these sorts of things.  I’m pretty worthless around a computer except to poke my way around Word or Scrivener like a toddler swinging a stick at a piñata.  Anyway, it’s gorgeous and wonderful and you can view it here:

Then he also insisted I have a separate Facebook page, too. What? It’s not good enough to hang my name on a cyber door–I have to engage in social media too? I’m beginning to think this is how he will drag me into the modern era (kicking, screaming, and begging for my candle lamp and washboard back, so I can get some chores done. And while you’re at it my ink well is dry!) Anyway, if you have Facebook and you want to be updated on my writing news and publications you can ‘like’ me here:

And the last bit of cool news is that the results for the Daphne du Maurier Awards are in annnnnnddddd….

I won first place!!!!

~throws confetti~

Okay, so the required story on the win follows:

I didn’t attend the National Romance Writers of America Conference, because it was in Atlanta GA and I’ve been saving my money to go to WorldCon this year (my first writing conference ever… I’ve done workshops, but so far no cons). I knew the results were being announced at the Death by Chocolate Ceremony thrown by the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA. The ceremony was at 8pm Eastern time and I knew by 9pm Pacific time the ceremony must have been done and winners announced. Thinking, huh, I never got an email nor could I find any announcements anywhere that I must not have placed, but I was curious who won. I emailed the contest coordinator with a short note that I wanted to know when the results would be posted. She emailed me back a few minutes later wanting my phone number. Turns out she also was not at the national conference and on Pacific time. I sent off my number and went back to the short story I’d been working on all day. Ten minutes later my phone rang.

She played around with me a bit. “So you entered the Paranormal category, huh? Tough category.” I could hear pages flipping in the background, she was most likely searching for my name thinking, ‘did I file that under Tina, Smith, or Gower…why does this girl have so many names? Jeeze, pick a name already.’

“You sent in the chapters from your novel Identity?” she asked.


“We had some rearrangements with editor judges and some of the judges were different than the ones advertised.” Long dramatic pause. “Nothing wrong with your category though. Everything was in order.”

“Oh good.” She was talking business now, letting me down easy.

“So you’ve not heard any of the results? Not any?”


“Well, Tina, then I guess I get to tell you…” Her voice lifted and my heart sped up, because I could tell by her tone she had something good. Maybe I placed? “You placed.” Holy Cow! “Not only did you place first in your category, but the editor who served as your judge wants the full copy of the novel for publishing consideration.”


I’d been told at my first RWA chapter meeting that sometimes an editor will request a copy of a full manuscript from a contest, but I’d heard it was never a guarantee. And since I’d spent years banished in dyslexia hell, teachers shaking their heads at my scribbles, friends giggling at my misspellings–I always assume I’ll get nothing more than a pat on the head for most of my writing attempts. But I like this turn around in my career. I’m starting to really like it!

Plus, I’m really excited for a chance to work with this particular editor, if the publishing house does like my story.

So that’s where I’m at now. Again, it’s just a request to see the rest of the novel, and it’s not a guarantee for a sale, but I’ll take it. This will be the first editor to see my novel and I’ve not sent it out to any agents, so if it’s a ‘no’ I still have a lot of other options. I’ve been busy rewriting some of my novella for the Stellar Guild project and now I’m going to do a few more re-reads and polishing of my novel before I get the packet with the information on how I’ll submit to the editor.

Okay, that’s all! You can take off those flack jackets now. I promise I’m done bombarding… for now 😉