Coming Soon: A Second Helping of Shorts

Once upon a time, a certain author received notice that – because publishing is a weird, uncertain animal – all of her short stories released through various Xchyler Publishing anthologies were on the verge of going out of print, and all the rights reverted to her.

As it happened, only half of the prophecy came true. A few days of negotiations among the anthology contributors prevented the removal of the endangered titles from Amazon. Even so (because, like I said: Weird, uncertain animal), her stories’ rights were our author heroine’s, to do with as she wished.

Xchyler Antho Lineup 3

And that author – *solemn nods* – was me.

And what I wish is to reprint all four of my short stories first published with Xcyhler – urban legend-esque “Two Spoons” (“Legends and Lore”), fantastically bromantic “Reality As We Know It”  (“The Toll of Another Bell”), eccentric fairy tale “A Mind Prone to Wander” (“Steel & Bone”), and deadly “Date Due” (“Beyond the Wail”) – in a brand new, exclusively Danielle E. Shipley-authored collection.

So that’s what’s gonna happen!

As I type, I have an artist working on the cover I’ve envisioned – no other than the talent behind the faces of “Outlaws of Avalon” 1.5 and 2.5, the charming Hannah Vale. I dug my stories’ files out of the crowded archive that is my authorial past, and have begun organizing them for their new format. And wow, actually looking back at the stuff I wrote up to 4 years ago is weird.

Specifically, it’s weird when the old work’s a short story. With novels and novellas, I have clear memories of writing them. I’ll come to a passage and recall, oh yeah, I was sitting in that spot when I typed it … or I’d been working that job when I scribbled down that plot idea … or that character put up a fuss when I almost said [blah-blah-blah] instead of [yadda-yadda]… The fact that those works were longer made them, by necessity, more of a journey; a struggle; an author-and-muses collaboration. Whereas my Xchyler short stories all pretty much happened like this:

Xchyler anthology contest: “Here, have a general writing prompt.”

Me: “I don’t know if I—”

Me a few minutes/hours/days later: “Never mind, I know. From first line to end, I know.”

Me, over the course of 3 to 10 days: *copies down the fully formed tale onto the laptop*

It’s all over so surreally quick, I barely feel like I’m part of the process. So maybe putting these stories out a second time, all by myself, will be a good bonding experience. Maybe by the end of the project, my heart will better know these four fun-size word babies as my own.

If nothing else, it’ll be something to help tide us all over while we wait for the debut of “So Super Dead” in the fall!

So, stay tuned for the reveal of the collection’s title, cover, and blurb. In the meantime, if YOUR brains have managed better than my defective model to hold onto any interesting memories of short stories, written and/or read by you, feel free to chat about ‘em in the comments!

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Camp Q&A, Part 1: We Are So Super Doing This

This past month – *waves back at April* – was the year’s first Camp NaNoWriMo. (There’s another camp session happening in July, in case anyone’s interested in signing up. ^o^) And somewhere in there, I came across a character questionnaire—

“Did someone say ‘character questionnaire’?!”

Yes, Annabelle Iole Gray of the “Inspired” novels, I did indeed say that.

“Fun and a half! Where’d you find the questions?”

Fittingly enough, on the NaNoWriMo blog.

“Can I be the one to A the Qs? Ooh, or one of my characters?”

Actually, I was thinking I’d bring in the main trio from my camp project.

“Which was…?”

The refining of my Fall 2018 novel.

“Ah. Okay. I guess that’s… allowed. Just keep us in mind for next time, will ya?”

I shall strive so to do. Now, let’s see what kind of answers we can pry out of Brenna Walsh, Thackeray Kyle, and Nicky Ellenbogen-Jones – the big three of “So Super Dead”!

  1. What does your character do when they think no one’s looking?

Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter: “Kill people.”

(Annabelle, in the background: *spit take*)

  1. What’s the one thing your character would save in a fire (beyond the necessities)?

The ghost of Brenna Walsh: “Would’ve been nice if I could’ve saved my parents.”

(Annabelle: “Well, dang.”)

  1. Who’s on speed dial?

Nicky, aka superhero Xtra-Medium: “Dead people, mostly.”

(Annabelle: “Okay. I’m getting it. This book’s got a theme.”

Brenna: “<_< Did you not read the title?”)

  1. Your character gets turned down for their dream job. What’s their second choice?

Nicky: “If I can’t make a career out of talking to ghosts, there’s always… um… real estate agency? I dunno why that’s the first thing that came to mind, but I mean, I could do worse.”

  1. What would they tell their ten-year-old self?

Thackeray: “ ‘Find a non-vampire-related hobby. Just… trust me on this.’ ”

  1. Where would they want to go on a first date?

Brenna: “First, ew. Second, 24-Hour Pancakes. Third, no.”

  1. What’s the best advice they’ve ever received?

Thackeray: “ ‘Find a non-vampire-related hobby.’ Sorry, Dad. Maybe if you’d been me from the future, I’d have listened.”

  1. What’s the worst advice they’ve ever received?

Brenna: “I’ve lost track. Grownups are always giving crap advice. It’s like they think I care.”

  1. What’s one physical detail they’d change about themselves?

Nicky: “I, ah, well… if I could maybe have, um, one or another kind of standard reproduction system, that would be… special.”

  1. When was the last time they were held? By who?

Nicky: “Oh, my best friend hugs me all the time. He’s demonstrative, like that.”

  1. What’s their favorite thing about their favorite season?

Thackeray: “Winter is quiet. Muted colors. Muffled sound. Nature half in hibernation. I find it restful in a way the rest of the year can’t match. Figures the novel takes place in summer.”

  1. Their wallet gets stolen. What do they do?

Brenna: “Before or after my life got stolen from me?”

Author Danielle E. Shipley: …Before?

Brenna: “In that case, I hate humanity.”

(Annabelle: “My money says that’s her ‘after’ answer, too.”)

  1. Prioritize: Love, money, power, knowledge?

Thackeray: “Knowledge.”

Nicky: “The power of love!”

Brenna: “Waffles.”

  1. What’s something nobody knows about them?

Nicky: “Who my birth parents are, and why they abandoned me and my phone as an infant. Like, the book doesn’t look into it, but low key, you know I’ve got questions.”

  1. What’s in their fridge?

Thackeray: “Whatever my camera crew wants. They’re the ones with opinions on the matter.”

  1. What (creature, object, substance) are they most disgusted by?

Brenna: “Thackeray Kyle.”

(Thackeray: “Way to steal my answer.”)

  1. What’s their second worst habit?

Nicky:Second worst? Um, well, if the first is my tendency to chatter too much, I guess the second would be negative self-talk.”

Brenna: “So… both of your worst habits are talking.”

Nicky: “I’m consistent?”

  1. What are the victory conditions for their life?

Brenna: “There is no winning at life. We’ll see how the rules change once you’re dead.”

  1. In the end, your character fails to save the day. Assuming they survive, what do they do?

Nicky: “See Worst Habit #2. I’ll also probably get ice cream.”

  1. Your character is charged with a crime they didn’t commit. What do they do?

Brenna: “Canonically? Get murdered.”

  1. Your character is charged with a crime they did commit. What was the crime?

Thackeray: “Well, shoot. Sounds like someone found out what I do when no one’s looking.”

And on that full circular note, we’ll pause so as to prevent this post from going on for twice as long. Thanks for what cooperation you had to give, “So Super Dead” peeps! We’ll continue with the questionnaire another day. ‘Til then, let’s remind our audience (of however many plus Annabelle) of the novel’s summary:

So Super Dead cover, remix 02.3, gallery

The ghost: Sure, seventeen-year-old Brenna hadn’t thought much of her life, but she’s not about to take her murder lying down. With one death to live and nothing left to lose, Brenna’s out for vengeance. Trouble is, her murderer’s already dead.

The killer: The reality of TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter, is not the kind one lives to tell about. He’ll do whatever it takes – and take out whomever he must – to keep his secret safe. If only he could get his dead conscience to quit haunting him…

The talker: Agender mutant teen Nicky finally has himmer’s superpower, and s/he’s ready to save the world. …Or, y’know, talk to dead people, since that’s really all s/he can do. But now, caught between a responsibility to Brenna, a debt to a closeted monster, and the inevitability of a super-villainous terrorist attack, Nicky’s scrambling for the right words to bring two lifeless friends peace and prove himmerself a hero. Because if s/he doesn’t, the world’s dead will number far more than one ghost-whisperer can handle.

So Super Dead” – coming this fall!

The rest of the Camp NaNo character Q&A – coming in some future blog post!

Lightbulb Moments: Our Story Drew Its Own Lines

Item One (A Quick Reminder) = Still super excited about my upcoming author appearance at the Independent Bookstore Day meet-‘n’-greet/signing at Petunia’s Place in Fresno! Tell your friends! Like and share! And if you can make it out, I look forward to seeing you there!

Petunia's Place FB Cover

Item Two (Our Regularly Scheduled Blog Post) = As you may by now have heard (since, y’know, it’s all I’ve been blogging about for the last few weeks), I’ve crossed a dream off my bucket list and designed a journal, inspired by (appropriately enough) “Inspired”, and its sequel, “Out of My Head” – all three lately released to the world!

Covers 1, 2, and Journal

(Ordered your copies, yet?? You can find them here:

Book 1 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Book 2 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble

Journal = Amazon, paperback)

Because, c’mon. “Inspired” co-protagonist Annabelle lives for her scribble-filled notebooks. And gosh knows she came by that honestly, because I too am a sucker for a gorgeous journal, as “Lightbulb Moments” most definitely is – filled with quotes from both “Inspired” novels, done up so fancy-like that you better believe I’m using some of them as designs in the Ever On Word shop on Society6. For example, a page taken from this little snippet of “Out of My Head”:

“I’m magic!” Mach howls happily. “And that’s what had Luc in a bother. The man’s allergic to wonder and whimsy. He wants art kept neat and tidy between the lines.”

The dog’s furry brows wiggle at me. “Our story drew its own lines.

S6_Drew Its Own Lines, metal mug

As of now, the above design is available for purchase on tote bags and travel mugs, stickers and greeting cards… even its very own notebook. ;D

Society6 tryptich_Drew Its Own Lines

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, today I’m giving one lucky somebody a free copy – my way of saying an extra-big ‘THANK YOU’ for reading and reviewing my work. And that lucky somebody is…

…Actually two lucky somebodies.

Congrats to Miranda McNeff AND Chelsea de la Cruz!

(Will Scarlet: “I.e. the only two people who managed to get their ‘Out of My Head’ reviews up on Amazon before the giveaway deadline?”

Yup, that’s them.

Will: “They’re so loyal.”

Aren’t they just?

Will: “LOVE YOU, ladies!!!”)

A big round of applause for our winners (be sure to confirm the address to which you’d like your prize shipped!), and kudos to everyone who stuck around the blog during these last several weeks of nonstop “Inspired” promo. I’ll be back next time with something entirely unrelated – you have my word as a wordsmith. ;D ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing

Lightbulb Moments: Just Magic

Petunia's Place.png

Independent Bookstore Day 2018.jpgItem One (News of the Most Excellent Kind) = I am VERY excited to announce that I will be one of the authors featured at the Independent Bookstore Day meet-‘n’-greet/signing at Petunia’s Place in Fresno! Tell your friends! Like and share! And if you can make it out, I look forward to seeing you there!

Inspired Journal Cover 12, front

Item Two (Our Regularly Scheduled Blog Post) = As you may by now have heard (since, y’know, it’s all I’ve been blogging about for the last few weeks), I’ve crossed a dream off my bucket list and designed a journal, inspired by (appropriately enough) “Inspired”, and its sequel, “Out of My Head” – all three lately released to the world!

(Ordered your copies, yet?? You can find them here:

Book 1 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Book 2 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Journal = Amazon, paperback)

Because, c’mon. “Inspired” co-protagonist Annabelle lives for her scribble-filled notebooks. And gosh knows she came by that honestly, because I too am a sucker for a gorgeous journal, as “Lightbulb Moments” most definitely is – filled with quotes from both “Inspired” novels, done up so fancy-like that you better believe I’m using some of them as designs in the Ever On Word shop on Society6. For example, a page taken from this little snippet of “Out of My Head”:

“I’m magic!” Mach howls happily. “And that’s what had Luc in a bother. […]

Some people can’t handle anything outside their little box. But that’s okay! ‘Cause why? ‘Cause art doesn’t need a box to be fantastic!”

He shakes as if to dry himself after a wetting, scattered water droplets replaced with shards of rainbow, as if seen through a prism. “Sometimes,” he says, with a tongue-lolling grin, “magic is just magic, no explanation needed.

S6_Just Magic, travel mug.jpg

As of now, the above design is available for purchase on tote bags and travel mugs, stickers and greeting cards… even its very own notebook. ;D

Society6 tryptich_Just Magic.png

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, I’ll be giving one lucky somebody a free copy on April 17th. (Just one week from today!) Why then? One, it’s a good friend’s birthday, so I’ve got better odds of remembering the date. Two, it’s a good month after the release of “Inspired” and “Out of My Head”, meaning it’ll give everybody a decent chunk of time to read and review one or both of the books on Amazon, which is – you guessed it! – exactly how you get an entry in the giveaway. Just link me to your review before the April deadline (review both books for double your chances of winning! Copy the review on the Barnes & Noble site for even more points), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

Stick around throughout the giveaway’s run, because more peeks into the journal / new Ever On Word shop designs will be coming your way. ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing

Lightbulb Moments: The Sane One

Inspired Journal Cover 12, frontAs you may by now have heard, I’ve crossed a dream off my bucket list and designed a journal, inspired by (appropriately enough) “Inspired”, and its sequel, “Out of My Head” – all three lately released to the world!

(Ordered your copies, yet?? You can find them here:

Book 1 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Book 2 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Journal = Amazon, paperback )

Because, c’mon. “Inspired” co-protagonist Annabelle lives for her scribble-filled notebooks. And gosh knows she came by that honestly, because I too am a sucker for a gorgeous journal, as “Lightbulb Moments” most definitely is – filled with quotes from both “Inspired” novels, done up so fancy-like that you better believe I’m using some of them as designs in the Ever On Word shop on Society6. For example, a page taken from this little snippet of “Inspired”:

Shan never got snow in his world, so he had a great time romping with me in it, chasing my footprints, pouncing me to the ground with my willing cooperation, and having tumble races down the hill, which Wilbur always won. We built a snow knight and snow cat, and threw ourselves to our backs to make snow angels. I would have been all for a snowball fight, too, but that wouldn’t exactly fly, unless I started throwing snowballs at myself. I was already getting some interesting faces made at me through the patio doors.

“Like you’ve never indulged your inner child!” I said.

“Your mom!” Dee and Callie shouted back. The next few times I glanced back, they held up quickly manufactured signs expressing sentiments such as, “Hey, U a Foo-oo-oo-ool” and “My Name is Rodrigo! Ha-ha-ha, woof!”

Sometimes I wonder if I may actually be the sane one.

S6_The Sane One, metal mug.png

As of now, the above design is available for purchase on tote bags and travel mugs, stickers and greeting cards… even its very own notebook. ;D

Society6 tryptich_The Sane One.png

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, I’ll be giving one lucky somebody a free copy on April 17th. Why then? One, it’s a good friend’s birthday, so I’ve got better odds of remembering the date. Two, it’s a good month after the release of “Inspired” and “Out of My Head”, meaning it’ll give everybody a decent chunk of time to read and review one or both of the books on Amazon, which is – you guessed it! – exactly how you get an entry in the giveaway. Just link me to your review before the April deadline (review both books for double your chances of winning! Copy the review on the Barnes & Noble site for even more points), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

Stick around throughout the giveaway’s run, because more peeks into the journal / new Ever On Word shop designs will be coming your way. ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing

Lightbulb Moments: Space Enough to Contain a Universe

Inspired Journal Cover 12, frontAs you may by now have heard, I’ve crossed a dream off my bucket list and designed a journal, inspired by (appropriately enough) “Inspired”, and its sequel, “Out of My Head” – all three released to the world, two weeks ago!

(Ordered your copies, yet?? You can find them here:

Book 1 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Book 2 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Journal = Amazon, paperback)

Because, c’mon. “Inspired” co-protagonist Annabelle lives for her scribble-filled notebooks. And gosh knows she came by that honestly, because I too am a sucker for a gorgeous journal, as “Lightbulb Moments” most definitely is – filled with quotes from both “Inspired” novels, done up so fancy-like that you better believe I’m using some of them as designs in the Ever On Word shop on Society6. For example, a page taken from this little snippet of “Inspired”:

“For heaven’s sake,” Luc said, his voice an almost Abishan-like growl. “Is she planning to write her first novel on the family history of a notebook?”

Wilbur smiled absently, attention captured by his and Luc’s singularly strange position: Sitting unobserved behind another’s eyes, staring out through the soul’s windows to the world as seen by Annabelle Gray.

An almost incomprehensible thing, to think of it as being inside her head; there was little enough room for two men within the confines of a young woman’s skull. “But we’re not in her head,” Luc had said when first they’d come. “We’re in her mind. And a mind has space enough to contain a universe.” His eyes glimmered with laughter. “Even you and I are not so vast as that.”

S6_Contain a Universe, travel mug

As of now, the above design is available for purchase on tote bags and travel mugs, stickers and greeting cards… even its very own notebook. ;D

Society6 tryptich_Contain a Universe

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, I’ll be giving one lucky somebody a free copy on April 17th. Why then? One, it’s a good friend’s birthday, so I’ve got better odds of remembering the date. Two, it’s a good month after the release of “Inspired” and “Out of My Head”, meaning it’ll give everybody a decent chunk of time to read and review one or both of the books on Amazon, which is – you guessed it! – exactly how you get an entry in the giveaway. Just link me to your review before the April deadline (review both books for double your chances of winning! Copy the review on the Barnes & Noble site for even more points), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

Stick around throughout the giveaway’s run, because more peeks into the journal / new Ever On Word shop designs will be coming your way. ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing

Lightbulb Moments: I Plead the Wordsmith’s Prerogative

Inspired Journal Cover 12, frontAs you may by now have heard, I’ve crossed a dream off my bucket list and designed a journal, inspired by (appropriately enough) “Inspired”, and its sequel, “Out of My Head” – all three released to the world just last week!

(Ordered your copies, yet?? You can find them here:

Book 1 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Book 2 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Journal = Amazon, paperback )

Because, c’mon. “Inspired” co-protagonist Annabelle lives for her scribble-filled notebooks. And gosh knows she came by that honestly, because I too am a sucker for a gorgeous journal, as “Lightbulb Moments” most definitely is – filled with quotes from both “Inspired” novels, done up so fancy-like that you better believe I’m using some of them as designs in the Ever On Word shop on Society6. For example, a page taken from this little snippet of “Out of My Head”:

“Thinking of spending more time with the abishan’s backstory, are you?”

Annabelle pursed her lips. “I was actually hoping I could find a way to work her into his frontstory.”

Luc’s brows drew down. “But Annabelle…”

“I know, I know, ‘frontstory’s not a word. I plead the wordsmith’s prerogative, as precedented by Shakespeare, Seuss, ‘n’ such. Pretend ‘precedented’ is likewise a word.”

S6_Wordsmith's Prerogative, travel mug

As of now, the above design is available for purchase on tote bags and travel mugs, stickers and greeting cards… even its very own notebook. ;D

Society6 tryptich_Wordsmith's Prerogative

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, I’ll be giving one lucky somebody a free copy on April 17th. Why then? One, it’s a good friend’s birthday, so I’ve got better odds of remembering the date. Two, it’s a good month after the release of “Inspired” and “Out of My Head”, meaning it’ll give everybody a decent chunk of time to read and review one or both of the books on Amazon, which is – you guessed it! – exactly how you get an entry in the giveaway. Just link me to your review before the April deadline (review both books for double your chances of winning! Copy the review on the Barnes & Noble site for even more points), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

Stick around throughout the giveaway’s run, because more peeks into the journal / new Ever On Word shop designs will be coming your way. ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing