NaNoPrepMo: Or, Updates on Why Alexandra is a Crazy Person.

With the Book Tour in full swing, October in the air, and Halloween on the way… we all know what comes next. NaNoWrimo season is approaching fast. This year I’ll be reworking an idea from middle school that is far too good to let go of (portal fantasy that turns post-apocalyptic).

I’m also taking the GRE on December 1st.

Because apparently I’m insane, my friends.

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Alex Penland
Call For Locations: Book Tour

I live in the Midwest, which means winter is awful. Snow plummets to the ground like wet concrete, the temperatures dive below zero, the wind (which has been lazy through the heat of summer) decides now is the perfect time to pick up. 

So naturally, I've decided this is a great time for a book tour.

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Alex Penland
Release Day: The Third Quarto

If you're unaware, the Third Quarto made its debut yesterday at the I.O.W.A signing!

It was an excellent event--we were located in the (extremely nice and wonderful) Cedar Rapids Knights of Columbus hall, which was a beautiful and comfortable location that offered a certain palpable irony to my reading of some very gay meet-cute scenes. Our local author scene here in Iowa is top-notch, and I had a blast.

But I've gotta say, I was nervous about this release

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Alex Penland
Release Day: The Human Codex

Writing this installment was like chewing rocks for some reason.

Listen, I love this story.  I love the characters, I love the plot, I love the messages and themes and world. Aleph and Alexander are an adorable couple. Herschel is every validation I needed as a kid. Esp is the parent I hope to be one day. They're my absolute darlings.

But writing a book is sort of like having a kid. You love them when they're being wonderful and sweet and you just know they'll change the world one day.  But sometimes they start dragging their feet in a grocery store or screaming their little hearts out in the middle of the library or getting overwhelmed with feelings right when you need them to just go DO something damn it. And you still love them. You do. But you don't LIKE them very much.

That was this chapter. 

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Reflecting On the School Crisis, Part One

I'm lucky enough to say I love my day job.

When I'm not writing, I'm a substitute teacher. I work mostly in elementary schools, with some days in middle and high schools. It's hard work. I find myself facing everything from snot zombies to impromptu Lovecraftian cults to that one kid who brings raw eggs to class. That's the job, though. Sometimes the teacher doesn't leave lesson plans, sometimes one of your first graders decides to get a little stabby with a pencil, sometimes three different kindergartners have emotional crises at once and you're trying to get them to the bus on time.

Sometimes the principal comes on the PA and tells the teachers to lock their doors.

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Release Day: The Second Quarto

...Or rather, day-after-release day, since yesterday was a little crazy.

I've been hyping up the Second Quarto for months now: I am still very much in the honeymoon phase. It's beautiful and amazing and an absolute work of art, it's going to win awards and make me millions, and five months from now I won't be able to read it without going into months of existential angst. So I won't bore you guys again with that roller coaster.

Instead I'm gonna talk about the actual process of releasing something. Or at least, the process I undergo while releasing a Quarto, which probably differs from the ideal in a couple key ways.

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Alex Penland
Release Day: The Counterfeit Alphabet

The Letter Mage #8: The Counterfeit Alphabet is now out and available for Patrons to read! If you're not a Patron yet, it's not too late--new Patrons have access to all previously-published installments.

I am so, so excited about this one!  The past seven installments have been setup--introducing characters, inciting conflict, raising questions. Now Aleph's starting to take charge of things. His personality gets to shine a little brighter--kid's snarky when he lets himself be.

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Alex Penland
Release Day: The Chain Of Life

The Letter Mage #7: The Chain of Life is now out and available for Patrons to read! If you're not a Patron yet, it's not too late--new Patrons have access to all previously-published installments.

This was a tough one to write. Not because the story itself is particularly complicated (this is actually a shorter installment in preparation for the March 1st release, which is going to be longer than usual), but because I was utterly inspired by the wonderful Wendy Delsol this weekend at an Iowa Writers' House workshop. Which meant I spent an inordinate amount of time re-drafting the upcoming plot, untangling a few plotlines I hadn't quite figured out, etc.  As of this writing, there are eight Quartos and 32 installments planned.

We're just getting started.

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Alex Penland
New Year's 2018

I've already done my "looking back on the year" post: 2017 was a great one, at least for The Letter Mage.  So now, on the first of January, it's time to look forward.

There's so much going on.

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Alex Penland
December Giveaway Update

We have reached a TON of goals over the past few weeks, so it's high time to start rewarding you for it. 

First, we FLEW by the sales goal I set for the First Quarto last month--I almost blinked and missed it.  You're freaking amazing.  

So as a thank you, I set up my biggest giveaway yet: two e-books, a signed paperback First Quarto, and a T-shirt will go out to four lucky winners! Patrons, anyone who ups their pledge, and signs up as a new Patron will get extra entries, and anyone who leaves a review on any medium will get TWO extra entries. The giveaway drawing will be on New Year's Day, and anyone who likes me on Facebook will be eligible.

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Alex Penland

Well, it's November 29th, and after a month of hard work, tons of research, and furious writing...

I totally bombed NaNoWriMo. Tapped out at 20k, although my wordcount on the site is even less than that.

I've actually only ever won once, in 2014, because it was the worst year of my life. I wrote a wandering, fun, easy story about a bookstore that gets abducted by aliens (one which I'm still editing) and juuust slipped in under the deadline...

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Alex Penland
Reflecting October

October is sort of a hard month for me.

Mostly this is due to anniversaries.  October 13th has been dubbed "International Anti-Bitch Day" by myself and my girlfriend because it's my anniversary with not one but two weird exes, one of whom was a legitimately abusive woman.  Later in the month is the anniversary of my grandfather's death: he went out in a room filled with laughter and love, so it's not a bad memory. But it's a hard one. 

And that same week is the anniversary of the day my nuclear family disintegrated.

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October Updates and November Plans

Well, this has been one hell of a month.

I kicked off October with ICON42, my second ICON and first convention as an actual author.  I sold most of my paperbacks--I have more on order for the signing on November 3rd, don't worry--and spoke on a truly alarming number of panels.  Also my dad came to visit and help out, which was absolutely wonderful. He lives across the country and I hadn't seen him in months. 

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In Which Alexandra Procrastinates

I have a question for all the language nerds out there: did any of you, while studying Latin in middle school, read through the Cambridge books? Where you start out with these cute little readings about a banker and his family and his dog, and you learn about festivals and slaves and artists and stuff...

...And then Mt. Vesuvius erupts and literally EVERYONE dies? 

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Poetry Update

...One of the poems I'd planned to include, "The Great", was under consideration for the Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition (rhyming poetry division). I'd submitted it a little while ago and didn't want to jeopardize any printing possibilities, however slim the chance of winning.

This week I got an email.

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Website Launch

And we're off!

Official launch. Official blog. Officially awesome.  

In the future, I'll be publishing updates on writing, future events, and general news on my stories.  While updates will still be going out on Tumblr and Patreon, all blog posts will also be posted up here. There may also be posts tagged "personal" that have to do with my day-to-day life.  

For those of you who followed the old blog over on Wordpress, welcome! You have an idea of how it'll go around here.

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