Category Archives: The Collective updates

Studiolog: Week of February 11

The Shames officially survived the snow. What else have they been up to?

First off, huge congrats to Jake, who has two guitars up for sale at Thunder Road Guitars. It’s a huge step for someone who only started refinishing guitars a year ago! 👏

I published “Read-Write,” my February story for The Accidental Magic Project. Alex drew a stunning illustration for my tale of one fairy’s organic computer and its astonishing powers.

Today I revamped the description on our Patreon page, which really needed a facelift since we’ve lessened our focus on Star Citizen content for a bit. Next I need to edit the goals and the branding, but that’s for another weekend…

Unfortunately, the last few episodes of The Writers in the Room had… surprise surprise… terrible sound. So bad, I refused to subject an audience to it. That means no episode this week! We think we have a solution, though, so stay tuned for more on Soundcloud.

Jake had a great week – he and his team Arts & Crafts won another Star Citizen spaceship commercial contest!

I have officially opened up Corvid Charms on Etsy. Please reach out if you have a special request!

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

Studiolog: Week of February 4

The Shames are snowed in!

https://www.instagram.com/p/Btp1aH9FBIH/
Gizmo is the happiest of all of us…

What else have the Shames been up to?

I’m SUPER pleased to announce that I finished my NaNoWriMo 2018 manuscript! Draft 1 is finally complete! This means it’s time to put it in a drawer for at least a few months, and pick up something else, so I’m back to working on Portent.

We’re getting back on the streaming game – the boys are on their second shop stream of the week as I write this, and Amy and I will be streaming live tonight for the first time in several weeks.

Jill posted her second story of the year for The Accidental Magic Project, “When It Rains.” I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I will, and I encourage you to do the same because Jill’s short stories are always a nice twenty minutes of your day.

As you’ve probably started to expect, a new episode of The Writers in the Room is up. In this one, Amy and I chat about long-distance writer relationships (something we’re thankfully on the other side of now).

We also… made a promo video. Sort of. Anyone who knows me knows I’m willing to make a fool out of myself, even on the internet. Here is further proof:

One last note: I’ve created a Corvid Charms Instagram page. That’s what I’m calling my earring “line” for now. How long will this last? WHO KNOWS. Nonetheless, if anything you see on there interests you and you’d like to possess it for your very own, get in touch.

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

Studiolog: Week of January 28

February 1st is Jake’s birthday! Happy birthday, Jake!

Hub is the cutest. End of story.

What else have the Shames been up to in the final week of January?

As usual, there’s a new posted episode of The Writers in the Room, about setting ambitious goals but having realistic expectations. This was the first week where we actually skipped recording a new episode, due to Amy’s absence. Don’t worry, we’re back on it this weekend, jet-lag be damned!

As I’m about a chapter and a half away from writing “THE END” on my NaNoWriMo manuscript, I plan to finish it up this weekend (before jumping right into my next short story for The Accidental Magic Project). This will be a momentous occasion and mean that I need to buckle the heck down and edit something, given that’ll leave me with four manuscripts waiting for a rewrite…

There’s a brand new Not Bad sketch up. I feel like we’re swirling closer and closer to something resembling a song…

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtUE2wSD-yw/

I believe I made about 15 pairs of earrings this week?! I’m reaching the point that my brand new earring tree, which boasted of holding 50 pairs, is already looking full. Guess it’s time to start selling off inventory! I’m toying with “Corvid Charms” as a brand name, and I mocked up some branding and packaging for them. It’s very relaxing and satisfying to make these little one-off items. Watch for an Etsy shop in the near future!

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

Studiolog: Week of January 21

Welcome to yet another studio update. What have the Shames (minus Amy) been up to?

First and foremost: we have bacon again. Jake worked his magic and it is a delicious batch.

Fueled by bacon, Jake and Josh and I have been playing a lot of collaborative music. More and more, we’re incorporating our stringed instruments into the improv sessions, and it’s sounding, well, Not Bad so far.

Today Zach and Josh and I took Gizmo to the woods and fetched some rather spectacular pictures of the puppo. The light was so magical!

It’s official: The Accidental Magic Project is off to the races for 2019! Jill posted her first story this week, called “Honey & Vinegar.” It’s a wonderfully unique angle on a pretty funny pseudo-holiday.

I’m making a ridiculous amount of jewelry these days – mostly earrings, but a few necklaces as well. I find it to be a Zen activity in between all of the chaos that has been work lately (mostly in a good way, to be honest), so I’m going to keep going… then give them away as gifts and maybe even start an Etsy shop casually on the side.

I posted another episode of The Writers in the Room, because I’m missing Amy and you can tell by the fact that I’m still posting our backlog of episodes even though we haven’t been able to make a new one this week… Anyway, this one is about the stories that shaped us from our childhoods, both in book and film form.

Speaking of childhood stories, Robo finished my early 2000s cat characters! Oh man. OH MAN. You have no idea how much joy this brings me. (Or maybe you do, but you can never know.) Here are all six of ’em…

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

Studiolog: Week of January 14

Howdy, faithful readers. What have the Shames been up to this week?

It’s been another quiet week, mostly because Amy is off travelling the world! (For work.) The rest of the Shames will miss her dearly, and I expect things will remain a little slow under the studio roof until her return.

Thankfully, you don’t have to wait for two weeks to hear our voices. We’re still dropping new episodes of The Writers in the Room, like the one released this week about writing what we want to in 2019 (instead of torturing ourselves to write what we “should”). Amy and I did a quick ‘cast today with her at the airport and me at home, and we plan to do the same twice in the coming weeks, should the internet speeds overseas allow it!

The Shames are also working with a really cool artist called Juno. She’s been Jake’s guitar teacher these last few weeks (which, by the way, is an amazing situation; she’s taught him so much!) and now we’re all hoping to capitalize on the fact that our brands are so compatible – bright colors, fun, emphasis on positivity, doing things our own way. More to come on this partnership!

There’s been a lot of music practice lately – both analog and digital – but it’s been offline. We’ll capture some for Instagram very soon.

At work, there’s a rotating party-planning committee, and I was tasked with throwing the January party. Since there weren’t any convenient holidays, I decided to make it a “murder mystery” party, only it’s going to be a heist. Gotta write that material myself, so that’s my Saturday task, along with making progress on my February short story for The Accidental Magic Project.

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

Studiolog: Week of January 7

Howdy, world! Has it truly been just one week since I last wrote one of these? Dang. Long week. I spent three of the weekdays at an offsite for work, and am now completely peopled out.

So the Shames haven’t been up to too much in the meantime.

I kicked off the year for The Accidental Magic Project with a short story called “Son of Rock.” Surprise, surprise, it’s guitar-themed. Bear with me, though, I tried to make it accessible for non-experts! There’s a famous tree… if that entices you…

I also finally passed the 75k word mark on my NaNo novel! Probably around 15k left to go… which really isn’t long now. I’m hoping this weekend I’ll make some good progress.

There’s another The Writers in the Room episode, and this time Amy‘s laying down some wisdom about children’s books based on what worked and didn’t work while she was a nanny. Good stuff!

Also, I got a bass. A little blue piece of crap that was begging to be rescued from the Guitar Center shelf. It came home and Jake fixed it up and I immediately sticker-bombed it. Very satisfying.

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

Studiolog: Week of December 31

Howdy folks! It is 2019 and the Shames are feeling good about the year here at the studio. So what have we been up to this week?

Ohhhh, we’ve been planning. It’s felt a little like voluntary homework, but in the best possible way! (Yeah, yeah, don’t forget, I was homeschooled. All schoolwork was homework.) I created a sheet to help us focus our vision for our studio overall as well as for each project, and it’s turned out to be very focusing and inspiring, as well as allowing me to drop a few things here and there without feeling guilty about it.

I’m also going to make a fancy version of the worksheet and make it available to anyone who signs up for my mailing list! (Old link, old graphic, sorry! I’ll update it as soon as the worksheet is ready to go.)

Jill and I have done our plotting and planning and are excited to announce we will be doing a second round of The Accidental Magic Project in 2019! Our theme remains “accidental magic,” but this year with a twist – we’re incorporating weird, random holidays, and we’ll be posting the stories on the dates of the holidays. Should be entertaining! Patrick is going to refresh the website, so we’ll have a new look soon.

A few weeks ago, Amy and I recorded what I think is our best episode of The Writers in the Room so far – A Writer is Only as Good as Her Network. Though the first ten minutes aren’t our strongest, once we got going, it was a good conversation about the kind of people you need around you to have a successful creative lifestyle.

Speaking of creative lifestyles, I was recently reminded of how long I’ve been living the #creativelife when I found a few artists doing Warrior Cats fanart, which I used to absolutely adore back in 2003-2004. I had a lot of cat characters back then too, when I was a hardcore Warrior Cats fangirl, and I dug them up and am getting commissions of six of them so I can use them in a future project. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right?

More photographic material: Josh and Jake have made some ballsy design moves on Josh’s Explorer kit, and it’s looking pretty amazing. (Pardon the language, we’re excited.)

Oh, and… THE PINKIE PIE GUITAR SOLD! We are so proud. ;’)

Finally, a few extra notes:

  • How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II was awesome and I gained so much from it, specifically the concept of laying out a premise for your story before you begin. While Frey (HA!) was specifically talking about novels, the practice is perfect for short stories as well.
  • Josh continues making progress on the show graphics we’re doing for our Big Deal Internet Friend. Soon™!
  • During the Smashwords end-of-the-year sale, six people picked up free copies of Daugment. YES.

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

Studiolog: Week of December 24

It probably looks to those watching like the Shames spent a quiet holiday at home. Well, that’s more or less true… it was a very busy time in the studio as the Shamesian elves slaved over their projects with oodles of joy.

So what were the elves up to?

Me? I’ve been writing. A lot. It was a slow first half of December as far as getting back into the swing of making progress on my NaNo book, but I’m now 72k words in and still chugging, not too far from the end now. When I finish, that’ll leave me with… welp. Four novels in first-draft phase. What the heck am I thinking? Oh, right, I’m thinking it’s high time to write notes for the next one(s). Sheesh.

Amy and I split the cost of the Smarter Artist package deal, which we got because we’re members of their mailing list, and I am super duper excited to go through their Indie Author Bootcamp material (as well as explore their Fiction Unboxed stuff, which Amy is more excited about than I am because, well, I read the book). If nothing else, I hope to be inspired to put together a plan for Halftree Press for 2019.

Jake and I revived our “teach yourself how to cook” project and intend to make progress in early 2019, with the hope of publishing by summer or fall of the same year. Optimistic? Probably! Who cares, we have a nice camera and want to take food pics now!

In that lovely land between music and writing, where songwriting lives, Amy and I have been contemplating challenging ourselves to something like Inktober, but for songs. We’d alternate days between writing original songs and churning out the parodies we’re both (in)famous for. If we make enough of a plan in advance, I may share some challenge prompts out during whatever month we decide to do it… stay tuned, I guess?

Now to the shop. We gave my dad his guitar and he went absolutely batshit. It was awesome. I have photographic evidence but it’s on the camera so for now you’ll just have to imagine a person who looks like an older male version of me pulling a Dreamworks face.

Aaaand, there are two new guitars up for sale! I’m particularly fond of the pink Pacifica, even though I’m an avid not-lover of pink in general. I just love its rich color and the sexy laser-engraved Darkmoon humbucker.

The bass is pretty slick too – oh, and I now have a custom-stained cajon as a “you did the NaNo thing!” present from Jake. 😍 Since I got an acoustic guitar for my birthday from Jake and Amy, I’ve also been trying to get my chord-changing dexterity back. I would say I’m… Not Bad.

Couple more things:

  • I’m reading two books right now: The Lives of Tao, about an alien visitor in an unlikely human host, and How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II, which is exactly what it sounds like (and yes, it’s a sequel). The latter has had some really great pointers on going above and beyond the basic practices of writing a novel. I’m finding it really useful right now because I’m in shape and have practiced novel-writing lately, so its ideas directly apply.
  • Habitica has been working quite well for me! It has only been about a week, but it’s satisfying to turn behaviors I want to be doing anyway into an excuse to level up a character.

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

Studiolog: Week of December 17

It’s officially the December holidays – no one is around, stores are either closed or packed, and I can feel my end-of-the-year itches coming on strong. Yet there seems to be no time for anything…

So what have the Shames been up to?

I broke out our new camera to refresh some of my blog post illustrations. You can see the results on this post, or on some future ones I imagine I will create! Bonus: here’s my favorite visual story that’s not spoken for yet by a specific post.

“Everything’s fine! It’s fine. All good. Nothing to see here.”

Amy cranked out a recording + video for her Star Citizen parody of “Santa Baby” last night, and it’s doing very well for the modest amount of promotion we’ve given it (see: none). I’m sure I’ve mentioned this previously, but I am way proud of Ames for deciding to learn how to edit videos and then just effin’ doin’ it.

We’ve uploaded yet another episode of The Writers in the Room, and this one’s all about personal branding for writers. Give it a listen and let me know if you’d like more info on anything we touch on during the podcast!

Tiny Habits didn’t work as well for me as I’d hoped, though it has stimulated my appetite for habit-making, so Amy and I are now giving Habitica a try. I’ve attempted to use it before, but never with the mindset of tiny goals, which Tiny Habits did give me. Again, I’ll report back on how it works for me! I’m currently trying to get into the habit of at least one 10-minute word sprint and some aerobic movement every day.

I have seen some sketched comic pages with my own two eyes! I continue to be unable to share, because this thing has gotta stay on the DL until Alex is further along, BUT. Patrick has made us a fabulous landing page website as a placeholder until we have more content, and once I’ve seen a lot more storyboard pages, I will have him take that live and share it here.

Jake finished my dad’s guitar, and at the risk of him somehow seeing this blog post, I’m going to post a picture of it anyway. Because it is gorgeous and full of magic.

It’s a blue-green Strat.

If you’d like a hand-crafted guitar for your very own, please reach out and I will put you in contact with Jake. He is ready and eager to take on commission projects. Or check out all of his instruments currently up for sale.

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

Studiolog: Week of December 10

This was my “birthday week,” which is not to say that I celebrate my birthday all week but rather shorthand to inform my coworkers that I won’t be around for their end-of-the-year “hurry up and wait” BS and will be enjoying some quiet, restful time at home.

So that’s what I’ve been doing.

And meanwhile, the Shames have been up to a few things…

The new guitars are finally up and ready for their new homes. These are two of my favorites Jake has made so far – both purple, both transformed from their original forms, each boasting its own sound. There’s the Washburn, which has a great underdog/comeback story, and the LTD, pictured here.

It is smooth as butter.

If you’re interested, please feel free to purchase them through Reverb, or contact me directly.

I wrote the first draft of the children’s book based on my cousin Lisa’s really adorable new baby, about a little girl and her elephant best friend and their adventures together. I almost made myself cry? Shhh. I’ve shared it with Nicole and I’ll preview any progress as it comes!

There are two new episodes of The Writers in the Room up on Soundcloud – one mostly about NaNoWriMo, and the other about padding your word count productively (and a lot about food, for some reason).

Jake took me to Half Price Books yesterday and I got a serious fiction haul that includes “Who Fears Death” by Nnedi Okorafor (a read I’ve been anticipating for some time now), “Viscera” by Gabriel Squailia, and “The Lives of Tao” by Wesley Chu. I’m looking forward to some winter evening reading!

I’ll leave you with this lovely holiday-themed original ukulele song by Amy.

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