7 Things I Wish I’d Known about Beta-Reading

Earlier I mentioned that I am reviewing others’ books as an attempt to practice better literary citizenship, being a better member of the #WritingCommunity. Reviewing self-published books isn’t the only way I can or should contribute as a literary citizen.

Woman reading off an e-reader. Today’s topics range from unpublished writers to debut to NY Times journalists to bestsellers – I’m sharing with you my thoughts, and their quotes in regards to literary citizenship, critiquing, and beta-reading. [If I mentioned you and for some reason you prefer not to be included, please let me know.]

The 7 points I cover would have helped me provide better critiques and better receive feedback when I was starting to read. Continue reading “7 Things I Wish I’d Known about Beta-Reading”

Lost Magic | Book Review

With Egyptian and Métis/Native American* roots, this sorceress has a long life span, souped up powers, and a big attitude

In a world where witches, wizards, and vampires have all been integrated (though painfully) into modern society, Irelynne – a sorcerer – must hide her unusual magic while investigating a series of murders that only she will be able to solve.

Black cat laughing maniacally.
Source: “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, original, via GIPHY

Ire is funny, relatable, and very competent. Zoro the “cat” is very sassy.

There were fresh takes on common tropes, but with a sense of modernity and respect that can sometimes be lacking in fantasy.

I look forward to the next book (due out in 2020).

Canadian cityscape reflecting on water at night

Continue reading “Lost Magic | Book Review”

26 Magazines Accepting Sci-Fi/Fantasy Submissions

Dear Writers,
If you’re in the quest for publication, like I am, then knowing where to submit your short stories may be daunting.

Steaming coffee cup next to a stack of newspapers. Text : 26 Magazines Accepting Sci-fi/Fantasy Submissions

Many of the periodicals listed by the SFWA are closed to submissions for the foreseeable future, and many of the smaller non-qualifying markets I saw on other guides were also closed (some permanently and others temporarily).

To share my efforts with you, here are 26 magazines accepting submissions as of September 2019 or in the near future, with notes about them – especially response time.

Since so many markets for short fiction don’t allow simultaneous submissions, response time can be important to me for prioritizing whom I should query next.
If you have a different approach for prioritizing, please let me know. I’d love to hear it.

I’ve broken this into three groups:

SFWA Qualifying Markets
Qualifying Rates but Not Approved SFWA Venues
Non-SFWA Markets

Also, I have two post scripts on Yes, I was Rejected and What the ****? Things Beginners Might Want to Know about Magazine Submissions

Continue reading “26 Magazines Accepting Sci-Fi/Fantasy Submissions”

Ghost of the Gaelic Moon | Review

What comes to mind when you think of Ireland? Maybe it’s the Blarney Stone or leprechauns. Maybe it’s St. Patrick or druids.

After reading Ghost of the Gaelic Moon, I think this book will come to mind for me. This was a lighthearted paranormal romp through Dublin and beyond. Ireland is on my travel bucket list, so maybe one day I can experience this magic myself.

Here is my (hopefully) spoiler free review covering the characters, setting, and emotional payoff.

Continue reading “Ghost of the Gaelic Moon | Review”

Elder Sign | The Tabletop Letters

Dear Readers,

The descent into madness can be a short fall for some of us – as easy as the toss of dice.

Enter the world (and Otherworlds) inspired by H. P. Lovecraft in this cooperative dice game. Each player is an investigator with different abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. It’s a race against time to keep one of the ancient elder gods asleep and at bay.

The elder gods of Lovecrafts universe are ancient powerful beings whose very presence causes madness. They are evil agents of chaos bent on consuming existence. Defeating them is so herculean that it’s better to keep them in their slumber. Crazed cultist forces want to watch the world burn, and the investigators in this game work to defeat monsters and gather the elder signs that will save the world.

Continue reading “Elder Sign | The Tabletop Letters”

You & I Are Gonna Live Forever | Weekend Wishes

A while back I had the privilege of listening to author and investigative journalist Cecil Bothwell’s talk called “Mousetrap Earth”.

In it, he spoke of mortality. Something he said made me think of the Oasis song “Live Forever”. Since I’m going to not one but two funerals this week, death has been on my mind.

This will be a selection of prose, poetry, and a song on mortality (or immortality) and my thoughts. For the longer pieces I am including only excerpts and links.

Continue reading “You & I Are Gonna Live Forever | Weekend Wishes”

The King of Ash & Bone Review

Legends sometimes have roots in reality, a grain of salt that’s too much to bear but too chilling to be forgotten. As society crumbles around Mackenzie, she trusts a stranger. The fellow survivor is a means to the end of reuniting with her brother. As tensions run high, she’s plunged into a nightmare beyond her imagining. She has information about the invading species, but can she get it to the army in time?

Continue reading “The King of Ash & Bone Review”

Brevity & Inevitability: “Remember You Will Die”

In The Austere Academy volume of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Latin phrase “Momento Mori” is inscribed over the gates of Prufrock Preparatory School.

The phrase means, “remember you will die”. It seems morbid for a children’s school. I know, it’s a downer especially for a Monday, but it felt important to bring up because of something that happened recently to me. Continue reading “Brevity & Inevitability: “Remember You Will Die””

The Cat Game | The Tabletop Letters

Dear Readers,

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to play a game that I have seen over and over again in stores: The Cat Game.

As a cat person and someone whose drawing ability can only be called “abstract” and “kindergartener-esque”, this game was perfect for me!

Here’s the breakdown of this adorable feline drawing game:

Players: 3+

Play time: 30 minutes

Age: 16+

By: Spin Master

Now I’ll rank it on accessibility, mechanics, and engagement.


Accessibility ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🌑

Like Pictionary, you draw a card with a concept to sketch. Unlike Pictionary there are base images of cats to incorporate in the activity in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, poses, and expressions.

This was “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”.
  • There were a few cards that perhaps not everyone may have been families with the references (for people in particular with a younger group), but each card has three options for Purr-sons & Purr-fessions, Cat-tivities and Cat-egories.
  • There’s very little text and the images are a collage of dry erase around/over cats, so this game probably is comfortable without reading or EnChroma glasses.

    It’s playable with children under the suggested age of x, but there were a few more adult themed options that were ignored.

    Since the cat images are on the small side (think a child’s sticker from the greeting card section), this wouldn’t be as scaleable for larger groups as some other drawing games.

    To accommodate someone with less use of their hands, I suggest taking a photo with a smartphone or tablet of the cat image on the dry erase portion and then drawing on the photo. I don’t think they have this as an app, but it could be a lot of fun. The next best thing (minus cats but hosted by a hilarious personality) is Jackbox’s Drawful.

    Mechanics ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    The Cat Game works very well and is a format that is easy to pick up or familiar for many game players – the artist draws an image and everyone else tries to guess the subject before the timer runs out.

    It also can accommodate large groups well using teams.

    This was “choir”.

    Engagement ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Since no one is kicked out, and everyone is clambering to have the correct guess, this game is engaging. The cat pictures add a unique, adorably hilarious element to this game.

    After we played it was suggested to make it more difficult that the next round through we might remove a cat image from the pool once used. We didn’t try this, but it could be a lot of fun.

    This was “Rapunzel”.

    In Conclusion: This is a fresh take on the old drawing guessing idea. The use of cats eliminates the stick figures of my fellow gamers whose art is also lacking and adds comical moments to the game. With topics supervised, the age can be adjusted.

    I don’t always enjoy drawing games. Drawing is not my forte. This game was a blast, though.

    The Cat Game is available on Amazon. This post is #NotSponsored.

    Click here to see it played by TTPM.