Category Archives: The Collective updates

Studiolog: Week of September 2

It’s been a month… or three… since the last one of these. So of course the Shames have been up to some ish!

…like what?

Acquiring new vehicles, for starters! Jake and I got ourselves a fantastic Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, while Josh acquired himself a Toyota Corolla hatchback in blue. Really blue.

A black Toyota Tacoma from the front.
The truck in the wild!

This means, of course, that we have to start making media content based on our new babies. Jake and I grabbed some footage while on vacation last week and I’m going to compose some music for Josh to edit to. I’ll share what we come up with as it gets finished!

Oh, did I mentioned I’m publishing another book?!

Patrick created an AMAZING cover, as per usual. This took him approximately three hours.

Yes indeed! It’s the long-overdue “Promptly: Write Fast, Write Now!” You can order your copy now and you’ll receive it on publication day, which is September 16th. The basic premise is: I have always wanted a prompt book that not only gave me the random inspiration of prompts, but a structured way to use that random inspiration. That’s what I’ve striven to do with “Promptly” and I can’t wait to hear from my readers if I managed to do so.

We’ve continued making progress on our albums – the Not Bad EP in the key of E minor, and my own personal album, which also doesn’t have a title yet… nor a theme, for that matter. I kinda figured this would take longer than I was hoping it would, but I’ve been learning so much from JUNO in the meantime that it just doesn’t matter if it’s stretched out a while… the results are going to be awesome.

Jake and Josh continue their work on the guitars, and now they’re even staining bodies for the shop where Jake works part-time. This is kind of a huge milestone, and I am going to brag the heck out of it as soon as we get official pics…

Julie and I have brainstormed ourselves a new project: a crime-thriller-scifi-horror podcast called //Reload. We want to fully voice it and write weird-ass stories about mysterious happenings, kinda like Bedtime Stories on YouTube but fictional. We have two concepts so far and are looking for people to help us fully voice our scripts!

Though we’ve slowed our roll a bit, Amy and I still published two episodes of The Writers in the Room: Breaking the bad habit, about cutting ourselves off from our writer-slackin’, and our spoilerful review of Good Omens, Part I.

Though I haven’t published any finished fiction recently, I (and everyone else) have continued to participate in Bloodcraft, and I’ve made progress on my sci-fi epic sequel… I’ve taken the number of brackets down to around 200! I also published a novella under a pen name last month, which was a triumph!

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 June 24

This week marked something that the Shames, Jake in particular, have been working towards for six years now: the successful wiring up of the studio. It all functions! There’s a recording studio in our living room! IT JUST WORKS!

We got a big buddy mixing desk that makes it so we can plug in mics and instruments and get right down to jamming. Plug and play, seriously! It’s a dream!

I couldn’t be more proud of Jake and his endurance and perseverance through this seemingly impossible multi-year quest. It’s the coolest thing we’ve ever built together and it’s all off his blood, sweat, and tears.


Now. Ahem. What else have the Shames been up to?

That new show I mentioned last time? It’s called The Music Show, and we’ve broadcast two episodes of it already! You can check out the archived episodes on Mixer for now; we’re working on getting the social media ready – the cabling had to come first.

Amy and I have continued The Writers in the Room, putting out three more episodes since last studiolog:

  • Naming – we ramble about how we choose names for characters, projects, and stories.
  • Our favorite childhood stories – an incredibly short episode where we read some beloved picture books aloud.
  • Know your audience – this is a topic all of the Shames could go on and on about, but instead it’s just August and Amy going on and on about it. This one features a wide array of pop culture references.

JUNO continues to teach us in her incredible way! Just this Saturday, I learned the number system for the key of G, which unlocks basically every pop song possible with a capo and the first five frets of dear ol’ Miley (that’s my white and gold acoustic).

We put up a couple more videos for Not Bad. They’re still just musical sketches, but it’s been cool to chart our progress.

It was finally time to pick up my manuscript from last year’s NaNoWriMo and start editing in earnest. I’ve taken the number of curly braces in the Word document down from the 600 range to somewhere in the 350 range. Progress!

All of my earring inventory for Corvid Charms is posted and available on Etsy. If you see something you kind of like, and want to see it in other colors or a different shape, hit me up! I love commissions.

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 April 29

W O W has it been a long time since the last one of these! Sorry about that, life ran us in circles and it was much more important to spend the time building relationships, our skills, and the studio than it was stopping to write it down.

That said… what have the Shames been up to?!

Jake hard at work on a seeeecret project.

In a word: MUSIC. Ahhhh! Something happened, and every one of us is suddenly excited about music: MIDI, analog synths (that’s mine!), guitars, basses, ukuleles… Each of us has our own interests and angles, but we’re going to bring it all together for an EP in the near future (🤞). Stay tuned, and so will we. 🤖

How did we get there, though?! First and foremost: JUNO. She’s amazing. Jake and I take Skype lessons from her – he takes guitar, and I take songwriting. Talking with her has totally changed how we each approach music and has inspired us beyond belief. We are so pumped to keep working with JUNO!

We’ve been focused on getting the studio up and running for music, which means new gear. My personal new favorite is my KORG synth “Korgi,” while Jake is really loving his Les Paul “Grimace” and Amy enjoys a Breedlove ukulele. We’re able to practically plug in and play any time now (thanks for all the constant wiring, Jake!!)… Jamming has started to sound pretty darn good.

Speaking of gear: There’s a new show on the horizon! Taking their guitar shop show to the next level (and, let’s be real, translating our podcast format to streaming), Josh and Jake will be streaming about all things music gear. They’re going to start with a show about pedals thanks to our good friend Jalop!

And, the old show goes on. Though life has tried its darndest to get in the way, Amy and I have managed to publish six more episodes of The Writers in the Room:

Thanks to our newest studio participant Julie, the gang is all participating in a writing project together! She has organized a turn-based narrative RPG called “Bloodcraft” based on World of Warcraft, and it’s gotten not only myself and Amy to write, but Jake and Josh too. Soon enough I imagine you’ll be able to follow along, but the website we’re using is currently private.

And of course, a few more items of note:

  • I dropped another short story for The Accidental Magic Project called “The Instinct.” I haven’t dabbled in fanfiction outside of my personal experience in a while, but it was very fun getting to know this particular world for a while.
  • I’ve continued modest growth of my jewelry business, Corvid Charms: I sold my first pair of earrings to a dear friend at work, and Amy commissioned me to create a pair for one of her colleagues. I’ve also expanded to designing necklaces.
  • We’ve been watching a lot of Masterclass – Neil Gaiman, Timbaland, Deadmau5, Penn and Teller… Highly recommended viewing instead of another trash TV show.
  • We’ve got a tentative name for the studio/business, but we’re going to wait to debut it until branding is a bit more baked in.
  • Julie set up a very cool photoshoot in which I got to be a forest witch.
Photo credit to Josh, concept credit to Julie.

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 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!
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…

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.