I thought for 2023 I’d try a new post series given I have a lot of irons in the fire and stuff and things planned, so welcome to Little Bitty Pretty One, the spiffed up version of the General Updatery post.
It may surprise some of you that titles are not my forte. I know. I’m a writer and titles are my bane. Usually my titles come from a line in the text or something else in the story. In this case, I couldn’t think of a title for this new State-of-the-Union-type series of posts, so I decided that the title of the next song that came up on my Pandora would be what I would call them.
I hear you over there. “Dina, you’re a little Goth girl. Why would the Universe queue up a song from the 1950s on your Pandora?”
Well, because I have a soft spot for 50s music. I’m sure I get it from my Daddy (he passed over 20 years ago this week), who loved listening to the music of his childhood when I was a wee one growing up in the 1980s. (I had the realization the other day that my listening to 80s music at my age is exactly the same as my Daddy listening to 30-year-old music in the 80s. Get off my lawn.)
So, I have a 50s rock ‘n’ roll station on my Pandora. And good as my word to the Universe when trying to think of a title, Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris came up in the rotation.
And here we are.
Harris’ version of Little Bitty Pretty One was featured in the 1983 John Carpenter movie Stephen King’s Christine (honestly that whole soundtrack is fantastic for 50s music; John Carpenter has excellent music in his films and is pretty damned good at music himself) , and it’s one of my favorites of the era. I also adore Dion, The Drifters, The Everly Brothers, Herman’s Hermits, Ritchie Valens, Del Shannon, and so, so many more. Despite several of the songs being problematic these days (sexist, misogynistic, objectifying, downright racist, etc. — looking at you, Ricky Nelson), and the predatory practices of record companies exploiting Motown groups, the late 50s began to expose white audiences to the music of POC such as the Marvelettes, The Temptations, and The Four Tops. (BTW, in case you didn’t know, those guys who did that song from Ghost you like — The Righteous Brothers — were white dudes totally ripping off Motown. I only learned that last year.)
And I have digressed so far off the topic of this post. This is what happens when you fall into a research hole. I’m supposed to be writing an update post about upcoming projects and have gone on for paragraphs about what’s on my Pandora.
ANYWAY! Let’s start again.
Hello, Darklings! Welcome to Little Bitty Pretty One – February 2023
As this is the inaugural post of LBPO, we’ll just go with the bare-bones format I’ve outlined for these posts.
We’ll kick off with my CURRENT PROJECT:
Here’s where I’ll announce what I’m working on at the moment, which for February is the release of DEATH KNELL, the third (and final?) book in the Stranger Things series. It’s out now for sale in various places in all formats. Am*z*n is having a little trouble with the paperback version, but once the technical issues get resolved, it will be available as well. They had no issue with the hardcover, but their quality control bot had a hiccup with the paperback format, so once they approve the tiny little thing they want my amazing formatter to fix, we’ll be golden. (Seriously, it’s a number. They can spot a transposed digit, but not Nazis, apparently. Priorities, I guess.)
So that’s the Current Project. DEATH KNELL is now available (though the “official” release date is February 18, I managed to get it done before the farthest date I could push it back, so you get it now)! You may purchase it wherever you buy your reading material in whatever format pleases you most (except paperback, which again will be available in a couple weeks once the ‘Zon gets their undies untwisted).
Another current happening (not so much a project, just something I’m involved in) is a livestreaming D&D game over on Twitch. It’s called Tal’Dorei South, and you can find it every other Sunday at Border Kingdoms Adventures. While I am a Dungeonmaster myself, in this game I’m a player, and shenanigans are afoot with our all-female game run by AD&D League Dungeonmaster Joe Alfano.
Our first game was on February 5, so if you want to see me mouth off to an evil baddie and pay the price, head over there and check us out. We’re level 1 babies, so get in on the ground floor now so you don’t have to play catch-up later.
Also, if D&D is your thing, here’s a reminder that Skyla Dawn Cameron is offering YOU a seat at MY gaming table (you’re so lucky — they’re invitation only), when she meets her goal of 100 Patrons.
From January’s Newsletter: “When Skyla makes it to 100 Patrons, she’s planning on holding a contest where one lucky winner gets to play in a D&D one shot with her (I’m the Dungeonmaster) at our usual Friday game, so if that’s a thing you’d be interested in, there’s another reason to support her there. Shenanigans may include TNR of an owlbear, the murder of red-headed children (don’t ask), seducing a lich (really, don’t ask), or helping a kitten out of a tree. Or maybe overthrowing a local fascist dictator. Who knows?!”
So, if you’re not already one of her Patrons, remedy that now for as little as $1. If you’re already her Patron, give a signal boost and get people signed up so YOU have a chance at winning that seat.
Okay. That about sums up the current project portion.
Which brings us to–
UPCOMING STUFF AND THINGS:
Next up, I’m revamping an old writing guide I wrote several years ago. Once I get it all shined up and updated (THANK YOU, GLOBAL PANDEMIC, FOR FUCKING UP MY NEATLY ORDERED INFORMATION!), I’ll be sending it off for proofing, formatting, and upload. Here’s a preview of the cover, once again by the amazing Skyla Dawn Cameron at Indigo Chick Designs.
Die Well: A Writer’s Guide to Medical Mayhem — Some of you may know that in another life I was a health care professional, and I often call out TV shows and books for medical shenanigans that Would Not Happen (looking at you, Gray’s Anatomy, with your jewelry-and-makeup-wearing in the OR). Once upon a time I wrote a series of posts over at the now-retired Evil League of Evil Writers talking about certain things one should not do in their fiction if they want their medical situations to not result in people like me throwing the book across the room because you used an animal sedative on a human because it’s the first thing that popped up in your Google search. Those posts have been collected and updated and put into ebook form for a handy reference. Hoping for a Spring release.
Now we come to the “also in the works” portion. Bear with me if you’re a long-time reader, subscriber, or Patron, as this is likely to be repeated information, but we have some new people around, and I cross-post a lot of places.
Also in the works are:
The Silverthorn Protocol — My first foray into sci-fi. Not quite sure what subgenre it is, but I know what it isn’t. It’s not “hard science fiction” or action/adventure, and while there is a romantic subplot involved, it’s not a space romance, nor is it a saga or space opera. I call it “Gray’s Anatomy meets Underworld. In space.” Because of course I have space vampires and space werewolves. I’m also not sure about a release date for this one, but the draft is finished and it’s been through its first round of edits and beta readers, so a Fall release wouldn’t be unreasonable. We’ll see. (Snippet available here!)
The Devil’s Own — This one is near and dear to my heart. This novel is what got me back into writing after a five year hiatus. I’d graduated college, gotten married, moved to Oregon, and one day one of the main characters had me grab a pen and start writing down their tale. I couldn’t get the story down fast enough. I wrote every day, every spare minute (I was in my 20s, okay?), and got that book done in record time. It was then I started thinking about a writing career, and so I wrote my first query letter and sent it off snail mail with a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope for the youngsters amongst us — things were done a lot differently before people really got into the Internet). I got a very nice rejection, but that didn’t deter me. This novel has gone through so many drafts and title changes and has made the rounds “out on submission,” and while it got some attention and some full requests, it never found a home and so I put it away. Until now. It’s going through another round of updates and polishing, and I will release it myself at some point this year. Halloween might be nice, given demons, hellhounds, and a vampire feature heavily. For fans of Kyle, this is his first true appearance.
Midnight Tea Shop — This one is an absolute vanity project. Regular readers/Darklings/newsletter subscribers already know about this, but if you’re new, this was a project that I was cyberbullied into writing by the enablers over at the Alchemy Red After Hours Saturday Write-In. It’s a paranormal cozy mystery that’s basically a contemporary cast of characters and their doings surrounding a tea shop that’s open past midnight. There’s vampires, hellhounds, mimics (okay ONE mimic), and murder. Also asshole ex-boyfriends and a Karen. There’s a lot of swearing. I have no idea if this project will even get done this year, but if it does, you’ll get to read it.
Now we have come to the wrap-up segment of LBPO — the promotional and shout-out part:
Let’s talk about Patreon. If you’re a Darkling of the CHECK FOR TRAPS tier or higher over there, you get to read excerpts when they come out. Otherwise you’ll get to read them a few months later when I make them available to all subscribers. (Everything posted in 2022 is now available to Patrons of all tiers.)
That goes for all the works-in-progress. I post random snippets every so often (I aim for once a month) of things I’m working on here on Patreon, so if you’re interested in those things and don’t already support me here, that might be something to think about.
I don’t really have any shout-outs this month that I haven’t already linked to in the body of the post, but this is the format I’m going for, so here we are.
I’m hoping to do a LBPO post every month, but that might get old, especially if I have nothing new to share, so let’s just play it by ear and take things as they come. If you want more than the occasional public post like this one, such as an Infrequent Newsletter that talks about stuff like my studio renovation and kitten escapades, toss me some pennies and all the shiny things can be yours!