Roundup: October and November

Someday someone besides me will read these posts, I’m sure. Actually, I’m not. Like, at all. But I’m going to write them anyway, just in case.

Book News:

Roots: I have all my stories edited and translated and together in one document that was SUPPOSED to be, like, easy peasy copy and paste and voila it’s a book. That’s not what happened though it was a template of lies. I will figure it out eventually—this one I am actually sure of—but in the meantime it’s a big fat pain in my ass.

Thorns: Did I mention in my last post that there’s actually going to be not one but TWO short story collections? No? Maybe? Who cares. I wanted to do an English only collection to widen my audience. This one includes all the stories in Roots but another five or six on top of that. The title (as planned) is The Fruit Of Our Thorns, and the theme is strong girls and women who aren’t out there swinging a sword. It’s a bit more YA overall, I think, and it’s got a wider range of content. I’m pretty excited about it, but I’m still plugging away at revisions…and one story yet to write that I’v been fighting with for weeks. That too will get done.

Me News: Not much to report here. Rocking the whole back to school thing but oh my god am I ready for the semester to be over.

Roundup: September

Once again I’m late. I had exciting news to share, but I was greedy and hoping for even more exciting news, so I waited. Alas, what I hoped did not come to pass, but I’m still left with my original exciting news!

1) Under The Willow Root was shortlisted for a Watty Award over on Wattpad. I didn’t win, but it’s still pretty cool to be on the shortlist and in the top .07% of stories on Wattpad.

2) AKA ** The Really Exciting News ** In the new year, I will be releasing a bilingual collection of short stories inspired by Greek mythology, folklore, and history. Release date is set tentatively for January 1st, but we’ll see how things progress. The stories that haven’t already been published are with the editor, and then they’re off to my fabulous translator, Nikos Karellis.

Drumroll please…

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Roundup: May through August 2018

So I know I'm posting this in August but it's been a busy few months. Let's get started, shall we? 

May

May was pretty quiet aside from getting super excited about our trip to Greece. I got SO CLOSE to a completed first draft of In The Dark Of The Moon, but realized that too much needed to change that was going to affect how the story ended, so I went back to the drawing board and started working on a BEAST of an outline. 

I also decided to look into Occupational Therapy as well as Diagnostic Sonography for my future school and career plans, mostly as a contingency, but then decided it was at least of equal interest. 

June

Oh, June! Our trip to Greece was AMAZING. Amazeballsuperfantasticawesomeness. We ate delicious food, climbed mountains, rode horses, lounged on the beach, walked the River Acheron, visited family...sigh. Just thinking about it makes me ache to go back. 

It was also incredibly valuable from a writing standpoint, as I'd been a little iffy on where exactly in Greece the story was going to take place. I was originally thinking the setting would be the Acherontas region, but when we got there I realized that the landscape just wasn't going to work for Chrysa's story. Then we arrived in Zagori and...man. It was PERFECT. Deep, green, lush ravines, caves, cliffs, bare and grassy alpine regions, rolling mists. Excellently mystical. Observe, if you will:

 

July

In July I started my first class, an accelerated Anatomy and Physiology course. I'm SO glad I didn't know what I was getting into. I might not have had the guts to do it, otherwise. I knew it was going to be hard, but I've never experienced anything like this. The amount of information we had to memorize in such a short amount of time was ridiculous. I prevailed, however, and was able to spend something like 20 hours a week studying thanks to my flexible work schedule and super supportive partner. And, as intense as it was, I still really enjoyed it. It felt really good to be a student again and feel that sense of accomplishment that comes with kicking some academic butt. 

August

I came out of A & P with the highest grade in the class (an A-), exhausted but jubilant, both at my accomplishment and the prospect of getting a puppy. The adoption process was...interesting. (And by that I mean super stressful and often infuriating). I'm sure it would have been a lot more relaxed if I had been adopting an adult dog, but I wanted a puppy pretty badly. So I had to put up with a TON of applications and interviews with people whose job seemed to be to give applicants a hard time about wanting to adopt a puppy. Which is probably a good thing, since many people really don't know what they're getting into with a puppy, but my Anxiety Goblins had a field day with it all ("You've considered all this already and made a decision, we know--but are you SURE you're ready for this? Maybe they're right--maybe you can't handle it--better NOT SLEEP FOR THREE DAYS.") But finally we met Skye and fell in love, and, luckily for us, she's a complete joy. We've only had her about a week and she's already learning to sit, lie down, stay, and come. I have no doubt that she's going to keep us on our toes for the next several months--read that years--but we're so, so happy to have her in our family!

On the writing front, progress has been slow but mostly steady. I got some professional feedback on my outline for In The Dark Of The Moon as well as feedback from my wonderful CP, Jessica Bywater, and finally got it to the point that I couldn't procrastinate any longer. I just finished writing the first scene--and, frankly, I hate it. But, as we all know, THE FIRST DRAFT DOESN'T HAVE TO SOUND GOOD. Right? Right. I will save the obsessing for revisions and editing. 

In the meantime, I submitted A Garden Of Light and Shadows to Pitch Wars one more time. We'll see if we get any bites this year! 

Roundup: March and April

Me News:

So remember how I said I was studying for the CLEP exam and that I needed to relearn things like matrices and logarithmic equations? Well...I didn't. Or I did, but only kind of, and not very diligently. I learned one or two things that actually did really come in handy, but the vast majority of items on my to-learn list kind of fell by the wayside. But it all worked out. After maybe a week of furious googling and YouTube-ing math videos, then about three weeks of 'ugh I still need to math today,' I basically went "Meh, whatever, it'll be fine" and took the exam a month earlier than I'd planned. And guess what?? I passed with mostly-flying colors! I think. I'm actually not sure what grade equates to a score of 70, but 50 is passing so it must be pretty ok, right? Take that, matrices!

I'm getting super excited for my upcoming research trip to Greece, though the projected budget is making me sweat a little, especially as the invoices for the summer and fall semester classes are coming in as well. And BOOKS. Egads, I forgot how expensive textbooks are! It's gonna be great, though. 

Publication News:

"True Love Scars" was published in Seven Deadly Sins, A YA Anthology: Avarice which you can purchase here

Patreon News:

I've decided to put the Patreon campaign on hold for a while. As I continue to work through my draft of In The Dark Of The Moon, the readability of what I come up with has declined drastically. The more I write, the more I realize needs to change, and so I've been skipping things and using placeholders as well as writing as if certain changes have already been made. It's going to get pretty confusing, and I don't think people should be paying for my drafting gibberish. Maybe I'll restart it someday when I have an actual readership. Fingers crossed!

Roundup: February 2018

So obviously this post is super late as it's now halfway through March, but I'm pretty sure no one reads these anyway so no harm no foul, right?? Anyway.

Me News:

I've been studying for the College Algebra CLEP exam so I can skip paying for a class that's mostly stuff I teach on a daily basis. There are a few things that I don't know and haven't thought about since 11th grade (like matrices--eek!) but on the whole I think I should be okay. I just have to bite the bullet and take the exam. It's pass/fail, so there's no sense in delaying and studying too long, but I do want to make sure I pass. Which I should, even if I took it right now, but...anxiety. 

I also registered for Anatomy and Physiology this summer, and thankfully I found a class that starts after I come back from Greece! I thought for a couple minutes there that I was going to have to do an online class and have homework to do during my trip (GAG). But I figured it out, and all is right with the world.

Publication News: 

"The Spider And The Honey Bee" was published on Feb 2 at Fterota Logia. You can read it here .

"True Love Scars" will be published in Seven Deadly Sins, A YA Anthology: Avarice on April 1. 

Patreon News:

I teamed up with Sofi Michael Events to put a literary spin on her lovely Galentine's Day brunch and wrote "Blind Ambition," a retelling of the muses' punishment of a mortal who dared challenge them to a contest. He lost (obviously) and was blinded by the muses as punishment. Sofi and I both had a lot of fun with this story, and I think many of us can relate to having our area of expertise mansplained to us by some cocky douchenozzle. You can check out the story on my Patreon page by clicking the link below:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/blind-ambition-16977788

Roundup: January 2018

Me News:

The new year brought a few new things, all good. First was a new apartment. This one was a surprise because our apartment complex had told us that there was nothing available until March, but suddenly when we called to bug them about it on January 2nd (we were desperate to escape the hot Jumanji mess that was our upstairs neighbor situation) there was a beautiful loft available to move in "like, tomorrow, if you want." So, my SO being the proactive sort, that's what we did. We went from comfortably settled, not a thing packed, on Tuesday to living in a new apartment on Friday. And we did it without killing each other.

My writing routine has flipped a bit with the SO's new schedule working nights like me. I think I like writing at night better, though it's hard to say. But I definitely do like our joint resolution to go back to the gym. I was getting by with mostly-daily Pilates, but I think the absence of real weight lifting and my fear of becoming the Asshole Upstairs Neighbor myself was weakening key muscle groups, as evidenced by my perpetually aching knee and the trip to urgent care for horrendous muscle spasms in my back. 

The biggest new thing, though, is my very-nearly-firm decision to go back to school in the fall. As much as I love tutoring, it doesn't pay quite enough to get ahead and becoming a published author with actual revenue could take years. I've looked around periodically for another job, but everything that pays more than what I make now (which, honestly is pretty decent, considering) requires another degree. So it's back to school for me. I'm not going to get into what I'm going to school for, at least not yet. Maybe next month it'll be real enough and definitely a thing that's happening. I'm pretty excited though.

Publication news:

"Muddy" was published at Flash Fiction Magazine. You can read it here.

My spin on the legend of Tam Lin, "True Love Scars," will be published in Seven Deadly Sins: A YA Anthology (Avarice) sometime in April (probably). More info on this soon. 

"The Spider And The Honey Bee" is scheduled to go live at Fterota Logia sometime next week.

Patreon News: 

Grammar Bites: The Comma Splice

Roundup: December 2017

Not a ton happened this month. I've been slowly--so slowly--plugging away at Dark and brushing up some old material for submission. The holidays ate up a lot of time I thought I'd have to write. But I did get in a good binge read of The Knowing, which I've actually had for months but was afraid to read because its companion book, The Forgetting,  emotionally wrecked me. I would highly recommend both, but The Knowing is definitely the less stressful/suspenseful read. Take that as you will. 

In the spirit of positive thinking, some good things that happened this month: 

-My man and I bought the tickets for our summer vacation/research trip to Greece this summer. Apparently we got them just in time, because the prices nearly doubled like two weeks later. 

-I got replacement sets for my Song of the Lioness and The Immortals quartets for Christmas. I'd had my old copies since I was maybe twelve and read them literally to pieces. 

-I had a couple of writer dates with a friend I made at a writing workshop. 

-I received a request for my full manuscript from an agent that I'd completely forgotten submitting to in the first place. 

So, yeah, kind of a slow month but a good month nonetheless. I can't wait to see what 2018 brings! 

Roundup: November 2017

It's been a pretty successful month in this here corner of the Interwebs! I got my Patreon campaign up and running and even got FOUR WHOLE PATRONS (one of whom isn't related to me!). Seriously, though, I think it's a good start and I'm hopeful I can grow that number in the coming months. Anyway, here are some highlights from November:

Upcoming Publications:

"Muddy" will be featured at Flash Fiction Magazine on January 7, 2018

"The Spider And The Honeybee" will be featured at Fterota Logia, date TBD

Free "Grammar Bites" 

Learn about subject verb agreement and misplaced modifiers on my Patreon Page! These mini grammar tutorials will be posted every month and will always be free to the public. 

Free Sample Chapters

Chapters of my works in progress are Patron-only, but I have one teaser chapter each for A Garden of Light and Shadows and In The Dark Of The Moon to get you started. Have a look and see which story grabs you! 

Garden, Chapter One

Dark, Chapter One

Wrapping Up "12 Weeks To First Draft" Course From Writer's Digest

I'm in week 12 of my first ever online writing class, and I have some mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's definitely useful to have a firm weekly deadline. On the other, I'm not sure how much I got out of it. I envisioned something a bit more interactive and at least video lectures like the previous workshop I signed up for with Writer's Digest. But the "lectures" were text and had been recycled many times and used by several different teachers so that sometimes the assignments as written didn't quite mesh with the teacher's intentions. The other problem was that, with twelve weeks and 2,500 word assignments, you're getting less than halfway through your first draft unless you skip around. 

The main benefit of this course is the opportunity to receive feedback on your writing. For me, it was a little frustrating because what I really need is guidance regarding the overall plot, pacing, etc. What I got was a small amount of big picture advice and a lot of "you repeated this word" and "don't use the word 'it' so much" and other cleanup type stuff that, frankly, I'm not that worried about in the Very First Draft. Why polish something that's probably going to end up looking very different, anyway? I'm sure it will be somewhat useful down the road, but I was a little disappointed with the ratio of big picture advice to copy-editing level advice. In the future, I think I'm going to take my money right to an editor so that I can specify what kind of feedback I'm looking for. 

But onward and upward! I've gotten through Act One of Dark and hopefully I'll be able to crank out a lot of material during the Christmas dearth of students (no one wants to do exam prep over the holidays--shocking, I know). 

Hello World!

I'm Kassandra, and I'm so happy to re-introduce myself as, well, myself! When I first started writing "for real" (read that, when I got my first story published), I thought I needed a pen name. It wasn't that I thought a pen name would make me look cooler or more author-y; it was more that, at over twenty letters long, my real name is not exactly publish-friendly. In addition, the name Kassandra and its variants (Cassandra, Kass, Cass, etc.) are very popular pen names these days. 

The irony of needing a pen name because my real name sounds like a pen name did not escape me, but honestly I was excited about taking on a nom de plume. So I picked my middle name, Tamara, and the English translation of my last name's root word: Linden. Tamara Linden. Sounds great, right? Right! There was just one problem (actually there were several, but this is the biggest): I hate being called Tamara. Somehow it didn't occur to me until I started using Twitter that people would actually be addressing me by my pen name. I don't hate the name Tamara, obviously, but I did hate the microsecond of disorientation I felt whenever someone called me by that name. I also really didn't enjoy the awkward exchange I'd have every time I made a new friend/crit partner, wherein I would have to explain why they'd be getting an email not from Tamara Linden but from someone named Kassandra with a really, really long last name. 

So, with great relief, I've decided to abandon...not all, but most pretenses and return to my given name. I guess technically it's still a pen name, but Kassandra Flamouri is as close as you can reasonably get to the real thing. I have to tell you, it's sooooo much better. Everything I put out into the online world feels so much more authentic: I'm not acting a part or crafting a brand...I'm just me! Obviously some filtering still needs to take place (I don't think potential agents or publishers need to see my ugly selfies, for instance, however hilarious I find them) but so far, everything feels so much more natural.  

I'm getting really close to launching this new website and my Patreon....and this post! Just one or two more kinks to work out and then we'll be off and running. See you soon!