July update

I’m going to try to start doing progress updates every month, on or around the first (yes, I know I missed by a mile this month). As well as getting me in the habit of blogging more regularly, this will also challenge me to actually HAVE new things to report!

First of all, my story “Timethieves” will appear in Less Than Three Press’s Project Fierce Chicago anthology, available now for preorder and out on July 17. All proceeds from this anthology benefit Project Fierce Chicago, which provides support services to homeless LGBTQ youth.

I currently have the first-round edits for my novel Held For Ransom, out in November or December. I’ve also finished the rough draft of a steampunk novel based on the world and characters of my steampunk short story “Untouchable” in last October’s Steamed Up anthology.

I’m also plotting out more novels and short stories in Heatherfield County, the setting of Held For Ransom — which in turn was based off my short story “Waiting For the Light” in DSP’s Snow on the Roof anthology about older men. (DJ Lanning, the main lead of HFR, is the son of one of the characters in that story.) It’s not really a series, per se, but I have a vague idea of several stand-alone novels that wind in and out of each other, with characters from one making minor appearances in the other. Because I love that sort of thing. Stay tuned. :D

Turning to the personal front, it’s full summer here in Alaska. My garden is growing well, although I was late to put it in; I didn’t get most of it planted (or transplanted) until mid-June, but I’m already harvesting baby lettuce and tonight’s dinner featured the first of the chard. My tomatoes are putting on blossoms, my squash are flowering as well (all female blossoms so far, feck) and my string beans need to be staked.

There is a small creek which flows through our property behind the house, and the unusually rainy weather in June led to an AMAZING flood, unprecedented in the 10 years we’ve lived here. Normally the creek is about 10 feet wide and a foot or so deep. During the height of the flood we figure it was probably 6-8 feet and up to 50 feet wide. Un-frikking-believable. It washed away our footbridge and absolutely DESTROYED an old mining road near our house:

My husband inspects what was a road until just recently. There were two enormous culverts buried under the road. One is now sideways, as you can see; the other is about 50 feet downstream in a massive tangle of brush and trees that slid off the bluff to halfway block the creek.

He’s already built a new footbridge to replace the old one; isn’t it cute?

It’s sturdier than the old one and has handrails. The old bridge was just slapped together from old plywood the first year we lived here, and had been getting unstable and dangerous. The flood might have been a blessing in disguise, since I was starting to worry that one of us was going to fall through it eventually.

I think the new bridge would look very smart painted red and white. Although we might want to wait until the flood is definitely over, just in case we lose this one too.

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Posted in Alaska, Photos, Project Update

*taps mic* Is this thing on?

Hello, little WordPress blog! I’m so sorry I’ve neglected you!

I’ve actually been spending most of my social media time on Tumblr lately — I’m laylainalaska over there, if you want to follow me. Most of what you’ll find over there right now is related to Marvel comics and their recent crop of superhero movies; I’m a longtime comics fan currently getting my fan on in a big way because of the new Captain America movie. :D Other shiny stuff (pretty pictures, cute animal gifs, and that sort of thing) is thrown in as it catches my eye.

On the writing front, there is not really much to report that’s different from my last progress post. I have a novel, Held for Ransom, coming out this fall — contemporary M/M romance — but I’m still pretty far out from edits on that. (I’ll talk more about it when I have more to talk about!) I made another short story sale to an anthology — can’t talk about it yet because the lineup hasn’t been announced officially, but I’ll let you know when I can. :) And I have a story in LessThanThreePress’s Project Fierce anthology, which will be out in July. I’m STILL working on that stupid steampunk novel … I have two novellas I need to do edits on, and another one I want to finish … and that’s pretty much where I am. :)

I’m also thinking about how to best use this blog, because right now I’m not really doing much of anything with it (and haven’t done anything at all with my Layla M. Wier facebook page yet). Still kicking around ideas … I’m thinking about some combination of the following:

  • Guest bloggers
  • Weekly or monthly flashfic prompts
  • Pictures of Alaska (hey, I live in a scenic state, might as well take advantage of it)
  • Snippets of my works in progress
  • Posts on books, movies, or other pop culture topics
  • Posts on writing

That’s all I can come up with right now. One of my big “to do” things in the next few weeks is to sit down and figure out how to MAKE MY SOCIAL MEDIA WORK FOR ME …. ahahaha, like it’ll actually be that analytical; it’s really more a matter of figuring out where I most enjoy spending time online, what kind of content I would have the most fun providing for my blog, and so forth.

I am a firm believer in the theory that there is very little point in spending time on social media you don’t enjoy being on, just because you feel like you ought to for professional reasons; the possible marketing advantages are outweighed by the fact that you’re obviously only there for the marketing, and I think people subconsciously react to that. Which is why I don’t really do much with Twitter — I have one, and I use it sometimes, but it isn’t really enjoyable for me. Whereas I find both Tumblr and WordPress-style blogging very fun, so that’s where I want to concentrate my energy. For me, it’s really more about building up an online social circle and making friends than “marketing” per se — I mean, yes, getting my name and brand out there is certainly part of that, but it’s not the only thing I’m here for, and IMHO doing it just for the marketing isn’t the best way to market yourself anyway.

(“Market yourself.” Now I feel like a basket of apples.)

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Posted in Uncategorized

Facebook page

I now have a Facebook business page for my romance writing: Layla M. Wier on Facebook. Feel free to “like” it and keep up to date! I think I’m going to try a Facebook launch party for my next book – we’ll see how that goes. :D

 

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New book coming out this winter!

I signed a contract with Dreamspinner Press yesterday for my first full-length novel with them, Held for Ransom, a contemporary M/M romance set in rural Illinois. It will be out in November or December. I don’t have an official blurb to share yet, but here’s my pitch:

Two weeks before Christmas, the small town of Osmar, Illinois is gearing up for its annual winter carnival. But this year the carnival is skirting disaster because its long-time organizer Vivian Lanning died last spring. Everyone has turned to Vivian’s son DJ to save the carnival, but DJ can’t even get himself together, let alone the carnival. He’s spinning his wheels in Osmar — working part time at the gas station/service garage, living in his parents’ house, and trying to figure out what to do with his life. DJ is caught in a large, loving web of well-meaning family and friends, but the one thing they can’t do is straighten out his life for him.

Into this mess comes Ransom, a handsome mystery man on a motorcycle. Ransom is traveling around the country doing “good deeds” to make up for his past sins — everything from picking up trash along the roadside to rescuing a small-town carnival that’s sinking for lack of funding and organization. He and DJ have a one-night stand that neither can forget, but that’s just the start, because Ransom has a plan for saving the carnival, and DJ has a plan for saving Ransom … and possibly himself.

This takes place in the same setting as my short story “Waiting for the Light” in last year’s Snow on the Roof anthology, although you don’t need to read the short story to understand the novel. Heatherfield County, Illinois, and its small towns are entirely fictional, but it’s roughly based upon the vicinity of Champaign-Urbana, where I lived for several years in the early 2000s while my husband went to grad school there.

I have other stories I want to tell in the Heatherfield area, so hopefully Held for Ransom will be the first of a number of Heatherfield books to come.

In the meantime, I’m working on a steampunk/historical murder mystery novel using the characters and setting from my short story “Untouchable” in the Steamed Up anthology from last fall. I’m at about 45K of a projected 60-70K, and hoping to finish the rough draft before the end of April. This one is the first in a projected series. (Because apparently I am incapable of writing a short story that doesn’t instantly spawn 6 books’ worth of ideas.)

Also, there is a lovely review of Homespun at Gay List Book Reviews that I completely forgot to link to. Mea culpa!

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Posted in Announcements, Books - Mine, Heatherfield

Monday in Alaska – March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I feel as if I should share something suitably Irish, especially since my surname is Irish (it’s my husband’s, actually; he’s of largely Irish and German extraction) but instead I have pictures of snow and cats.

The cat thought he wanted to go for a walk with me and the dog, but changed his mind by the time we got to the first big bend in the driveway.

He seems more baffled than anything. This is clearly not summer.

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Posted in Alaska, Photos

Links of the writing-related variety

List of lesbian historical fiction – relevant to my interests!

For SF/fantasy-writing people, Lightspeed Magazine’s submissions close TODAY at 11:59 EST. However, they will be open from tomorrow ’til the end of the month for submissions to Women Destroy Fantasy (special issue w/female-identified authors).

On the romance side, Storm Moon Press has a couple of anthology calls closing this month – Bygone Beasts (non-werewolf shifter M/M) and Gunslingers (lesbians in the wild west). I actually have a story that would be perfect for Bygone Beasts except it’s under consideration to a different market right now. Here’s hoping that I’ll hear back one way or the other before the end of the month … *crosses fingers*

Has anyone written anything for Riptide Publishing? The one thing I submitted to their open call last year got rejected, but they have a number of interesting submission calls this year; I’m particularly intrigued by the “Rainbow Family” one. I’m curious what they’re like to work with, and what kind of a return you get on your investment.

Dreamspinner, as always, has a few interesting submission calls. I am particularly interested in the writing-themed anthology (I’ve worked for newspapers most of my adult life, so I have a bit of background …). I had intended to write a holiday story to submit to them this year, but the theme this year is stories set outside the U.S., so a fair bit of research would be involved.

Okay, back to the word mines …

Posted in Open Calls

Yay sale!

I sold a story to LessThanThree Press’s benefit anthology for Project Fierce Chicago! This is a good cause and I’m proud to be part of it. The theme of the anthology is homelessness, or finding home, and my story “Timethieves” is a time-travel story about a pair of lovers living their lives out of order, trying to find the right time and place to be together.

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Layla’s Writing
Newest release!
Homespun cover

Available from Dreamspinner Press - click for info!

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