Category Archives: The Collective updates

Studiolog: Week of January 1st

It’s 2018! Yay, another human-dictated increment of time-passing has occurred!  Well, OK, the Earth’s regular rotation isn’t a bad measurement. Fine.

No matter the reason for the new season, it’s a good time to launch new projects, make announcements of intentions, and reflect and set goals. At least, I like to do that — gives me fewer excuses to stop doing something if I’ve promised to do it “just for one year,” and if that year is easy to measure (like, January 1st to December 31st).

So what have the Shames been up to? It’s been a weird short week, due to the holidays, so the studio has not been hyperactive the past few days. However… I’m very excited to announce The Accidental Magic Project! Jill and I have dreamed up numerous projects in the past together (such as The Scribblers’ Club, an unfinished novel called “Return to Elgin,” and our original 50 Unexplainable Stories (and its year-long sequel, the unnamed challenge), and this might just be my favorite.

The gist of The Accidental Magic Project is this: every Friday, one of us (myself, Jill, or Janice) or our guests will post a story. The theme of that story will be “accidental magic” — meaning magic that, intentionally or unintentionally, brings about unintended consequences. I cannot wait to see what kinds of stories our writers come up with on this theme. I’ll be posting the very first one tomorrow!

I’m so excited, too, because I’ve gotten some brand new writers on board, along with writers I’ve collaborated with in the past and am ecstatic to work with again. One of our guests’ 11- and 9-year-old daughters will even be sharing their stories with us! That’s my very favorite thing about creative projects that get artists working together: watching those who’ve never tried something like this before understanding the power of seeing it through, of having finished a story. It’s simply magical.

This week, I also launched Promptly on Twitter, a daily series of writing prompts I’ve created to get folks interested in my current project: a book of writing prompts with “Promptly” in the title. I’m saving my best ones for the book, of course, but here’s an example of the daily prompts I quite enjoyed writing.

The Shames have been prepping for the art-heavy year ahead, acquiring some a new hard drive for capturing footage, as well as a LOT of art reference books for publishing projects and promotional materials. (Like, a LOT. We cleaned out an entire section of Half Price Books.)

If you’re someone who writes collaboratively and regularly, and you’re interested in being a part of an author collective, please contact me! I’d love to talk.

Studiolog: Week of December 25th

This week has flown by, being Christmas week and all — and as such, it wasn’t the most productive week at the Damn Shames Studio. PSH. Who am I kidding? I finished a book!

That was the most significant moment this week: I finished my first draft of “Portent” right around midnight last night. It clocks in around 65k words, which is about 5k less than I thought I’d hit by the time I finished Draft #1. (That said, it seems to be in better shape than I thought it would be!) My plan is to kickstart something else this week, with the momentum I’ve built up the last couple of months (thanks, NaNoWriMo!), and then get “Portent” revised by mid-February.

Meanwhile, I listed out my projects at three different stages: Planning, Writing, and Revision. I then ordered them by value — which will give me the most bang for my buck when it comes to reader funnels. This led to the above decision about revising “Portent” first, and I hope this will give me a good sense of prioritization as I enter the new year.

Some exciting news: I’ll be announcing a new project with Jill Corddry (and a few others) in the next installment of Studiolog! We’ve been dreaming this up for a few months now, and thanks to our web designer Patrick, we’re about to have an amazing website ready to share with the world. And then…content!

Our graphics man, Josh (hire him, he’s great), made some progress on assets for “Haulin’ Ass with Half_Pint” — a streaming show about Star Citizen, mostly starring Amy (who doesn’t have a web presence yet — yes, I’m calling you out, Ames!). We’ll be launching “Haulin’ Ass” in 2018. (Interested in assets for a streaming show? We provide those services at reasonable rates, so please contact us!)

We continue to practice Grand Theft Auto V missions, and we’ve brought in Patrick and our pals Zach and Iron to help. Between the seven of us, we’re going to make some content about GTAV: cinematic story-driven play, and blooper reels.

Finally, we brainstormed some recipes for our various cookbook projects. I hope to publish at least one of those in 2018!

If you’re someone who writes collaboratively and regularly, and you’re interested in being a part of an author collective, please contact me! I’d love to talk.

Studiolog: Week of December 18th

This was a good week in the Damn Shames Studio! As this is the first installment of Studiolog, I’ll cover a little bit of last week’s Shamesian activities too, since they were quite relevant to this week.

First, we worked with Nicole of Mischief & Mouse (who I talked a bit about last week) to create a parody of the children’s book that launched several series: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Ours is a work of fan-fiction set in the world of Star Citizen, and it’s called “If You Give a Mouse a Merlin” (a Merlin being the least-expensive ship in the game). We launched it on Sunday night, and all throughout Monday and even into Tuesday, Star Citizen fans on Reddit and Twitter gave us lots of positive feedback.

We also delivered some pre-stream and post-stream graphics, along with text branding, for one of our Twitch streamer friends, JJ2078. (These are services we provide at reasonable rates, if you or one of your friends are interested in building an online presence!)

As a group, we’ve been practicing some intense combat sequences in Grand Theft Auto V together. That’s because the Star Citizen first-person (but cooperative) narrative game will likely have a launch date soon, and we plan on doing a playthrough as a squad when it’s out — so we need to be good (in video games) at coordinated combat!

I got some updated graphics from our kick-ass web (and all-around) designer Patrick to promote this month’s 99c sale of Daugment. Those can be found on my Twitter account and my Facebook page. (Incidentally, Patrick did the cover for Daugment as well!)

Personally, I’ve been reading Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant‘s “Write. Publish. Repeat.” to get myself ready for my 2018 goals (which include publishing at least 3 books, which is 3x more books than I published in 2017!). I’ve taken lots of good notes, and think I’ve got some good strategies going into the new year (and what is always, cliché or not, a fresh start of sorts for me) — the most important of which is, just write. And secondarily, just publish.

If you’re someone who writes collaboratively and regularly, and you’re interested in being a part of an author collective, please contact me! I’d love to talk.

View from the office

Moving sucks. Especially when you get caught in an inch of snow for three hours, five minutes away from each of your two homes (former apartment, future home).

But, this place was totally worth it.

This is the view from my desk, or something like it, when we eventually get the combination library-office set up. (!!!!!)

No complaints here.

The whole studio team is here, too, all under one roof. The Shames have, as they say, arrived. Now to get the whiteboards up…

The adventures of the Damn Shames

I’m one of those creepy writertypes who doesn’t really disguise the fact that she rips her characters straight from the pages of her friends’ proverbial books. Luckily for me, I’ve got pretty cool friends who then help me develop some of those characters until they’re just plain awesome to write about. That’s how the Damn Shames came about – I started with the idea of writing about my friends as a bunch of space pirates, and they graciously gave me a bunch of ideas for how to go about doing that. (It’s also the brand we use for our studio collective.)

We’ve chosen to set the Shames in the Star Citizen universe for the time being, because it’s an inviting one for us as content creators. We’re allowed to use a lot of material freely to tell our own stories; it’s a little like being invited to make fan videos and write fan-fiction for the Star Wars universe, thirty years ago. The game thrives when its community is engaged and making content, so we’re indulging. Our space pirates will have plenty to do when Star Citizen launches — but for now, you can read all about their adventures at PiratesIn.Space.

I’m writing an ongoing serial novel called “A Mutiny of Pirates,” which I’m posting chapter by chapter so readers can follow along. The story is very loosely based on “Treasure Island,” but mostly based on the true-to-life misadventures my squad would have if we somehow became spacefaring chaotic neutrals, all at the same time. Even if you aren’t familiar with the Star Citizen universe, I try to provide enough context that you won’t be lost (my mother-in-law reads it, and she doesn’t play Star Citizen).

PiratesIn.Space is the easiest way to keep up with my writing in between my novels — speaking of which, stay tuned, because “Daugment” launches today!