Titans and Mummies of Literature

Forgive me if I’m a bit garbled and parenthetical. Tonight I almost flunked Writing 102 (and I may yet!)

Okay, I wasn’t going to flunk tonight. I was going to drop it. Tonight. With two weeks left in the semester. And I’m a bit embarrassed about it. I can give you all the excuses, but the simple fact is that I thought I had a week longer than I do, so I didn’t work fast enough. Because I was avoiding it.

But why would I, a writer, avoid writing? Especially when it’s a self-paced, show-up-when-you-want class and I don’t have to deal with any obnoxious classmates?

Let me tell you. But if you’re worried about spoilers from literature, you should probably not read any farther.

All right. If you’re still here, then you can’t complain when I tell you the ending of some stories.

Here‘s the first story we read for the course. If you don’t want to read it (I don’t blame you) it’s about some boys playing around in a dangerous place, and someone takes disapproving action, possibly just to scare the boys into making smarter choices, but instead one of the children falls to his death.

Yeah. Dead kid, no warning. Thank you so VERY much. I had to walk away from my homework to rant at my poor unsuspecting roommate.

Well, it happens. People write about death. It’s natural. With some people, it’s really popular. I point to the current show-that-must-be-watched, How to Get Away …

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The Pantser is Plotting, Yikes!

So, plotting.

I am currently plotting out an idea I had a few weeks ago for a horror novel. Now, I am a pantser — that is, I make sh#$ up on the fly while I write. I’ve done this for most of the time I’ve been writing, with a few exceptions.

If you remember, I talked about Monica Leonelle. She uses a method for plotting that is very detailed. More detailed than anything I’ve ever plotted, with the exception of Survivor, which was plotted using the Snowflake Method.

But I have to wonder. Would Survivor be the awesome book it is today if I hadn’t thrown stuff in on the fly? I have whole characters and situations I’ve added that were never part of the planning. If I’d stayed the course, what would Survivor be like? What about that cool ending I dreamed up, that wasn’t the ending I’d plotted? Would it be the same? Would I have gotten there somehow anyway? (It’s like writer-fate. Would the story still insist upon being told the way it was fated to be told, or not?).

Take Fey Touched, my debut novel. I purposely did NOT write a single thing down plot-wise. I just followed it along a vague path that was in my head only. In fact, I’d gotten superstitious about writing anything down until the last 10% or so when I got stuck for the first time and devised that cool plot twist where [redacted] does [redacted] and …

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City of Hope and Ruin Coming on May 11!

In case you missed our teaser (and the April Fools precursor), you know we’ve got a book coming out next month! And by we, I mean specifically me and Siri, beside Turtleduck Press as a whole.

Ah, yes, the Sekrit Project isn’t so secret anymore.

So here’s the formal announcement. City of Hope and Ruin, the first book in what will be a TDP-wide shared world project, will be out on May 11.

Now, some of you will no doubt take note that we typically put books out on the first of our release months, and might wonder why we’ve chosen the 11th instead.

It’s simple, really. And it comes completely down to logistics.

You see, for this book we decided we wanted to try out preorders. From our preliminary research, it seemed like all you needed was to set the book up with the distributors. Easy peasy!

However, when we actually got on it, we discovered that you need to have the completed book ready for actual distribution considerably before the release date. Ten days early, in fact. Funny that.

So, because this is a new thing we’re trying, and because we would have given some of our contractors different deadlines had we known certain things, we’ve slid the deadline a bit. Just to make sure we have enough time to get everything done and perfect, and to make sure you guys get the best reading experience.

So, go! Read the excerpt! And when you’re done with …

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Adventures Come in All Sizes

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Have you heard this saying? (Interestingly, although it’s often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, the true author is Mary Schmich.) That’s a bit of a stretch for most people, myself definitely included. But regularly doing things out of my comfort zone? That I can handle. If I remember. Ruts are easy; adventures take work.

My most recent adventure: a dramatic haircut. I had my hair all sorts of lengths when I was younger, but it’s been in long layers, between chin length and shoulder length, for many years. But I’ve been thinking for a while about long pixie cuts, and short bobs (and doing enough research to know what to call the haircuts I’m interested in!). I just haven’t dared to do it.

This weekend I finally took the plunge.

Now I have a very short straight-across bob with bangs — think 1920s flapper hair. It’s cute as all get-out, and very different. I like it. But even more, I’m excited to play with different cuts now that I’ve realized that going short isn’t so scary after all.

Other scary and/or new things I’ve done so far this year:

  • Wrote a back-of-the book description with Kit for City of Hope and Ruin (it took a lot of drafts, let me tell you)…not to mention going through all the stages of getting this novel ready for publication
  • Gradually slid into helping to run the social dance series I’ve been attending for …

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Introducing City of Hope and Ruin by Kit Campbell and Siri Paulson

Our apologies for yesterday. We saw the date and couldn’t resist. Here’s the real teaser excerpt, but first, a little intro…

Every night the monsters hunt.

A city that is the whole world: Theosophy and her companions in the City militia do their best to protect the civilians from the monsters, but they keep crawling from the Rift and there’s nowhere to run. Theosophy knows she’ll die fighting. It’s the best kind of death she’s seen, and at least she can save lives in the meantime.

They say the Scarred carve you up while you’re still alive.

A village in the shadow of a forest: Refugees from the border whisper about the oncoming Scarred, but Briony can’t convince her brother to relocate his children to safety. Briony will do anything to protect them. She owes them that much, even if it means turning to forbidden magic.

When Theosophy and Briony accidentally make contact across the boundaries of their worlds, they realize that solutions might finally be within reach. A world beyond the City would give Theosophy’s people an escape, and the City’s warriors could help Briony protect her family from the Scarred. Each woman sees in the other a strength she lacks—and maybe something more.

All they need to do is find a way across the dimensions to each other before their enemies close in.


Briony paused mid-step, realizing the forest was too quiet. Her heart jumped into her throat and she turned, expecting to …

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Sneak Peek of City of Hope and Ruin

Here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for…the unveiling of our next novel, City of Hope and Ruin by Kit Campbell and Siri Paulson! It’s a very serious novel and we’ve worked hard on it, so we hope you like this teaser. Enjoy.


Hello, traveler. My name is Edvarda, and I once saved this village using only a broom. You might not believe it, but it’s true.

Evidence? Hah. It was just a common household broom, well used over the years and long gone now. My hands were burned in the doing, but they have mostly healed long ago. I live a quiet life, tucked away in this little village by the fjord, grandmother to all. But what I do have are stories. Talking is thirsty work, though….

Why, thank you, kind master. A cup of mead is most appreciated by an old lady such as myself, and loosens the tongue most wonderfully. Settle in, settle in. I hope you have nowhere to be, for a tale will not be rushed.

I had a husband then, but he was off at war, like our half-grown son and all the other men of the village. So I spent my days fishing in the fjord, tending the garden, and trying not to think about the fighting. It almost worked, too – until the day I have in mind.

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