Hello again, remember us?

I know you haven’t heard from us in going on 17 months, but it doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy.  There’s a long tradition on the blogsphere to let the entries grow sparse until there’s only radio silence, but we’re not going to do that! To catch you up, we decided to split our personalities even more in order to answer these pressing questions.

“You’ve still been writing…right?”

Olive:  In this period of postlessness, I had my short story (Christmas in July) published in an anthology called Texas Shorts (Amazon link, SO COOL!). I was also a finalist in the Writer’s League of Texas’s 2017 Manuscript Contest for my manuscript, The Left Behind, a YA scifi.

I started reading professionally for NetGalley too. I might repost my reviews on this site, but I will for sure put them on GoodReads.

Finally, I welcomed three friends, three Afghan refugees, into my home. You can read about one of them online.

Aristen: Yes! But not just in the traditional sense. I conducted interviews and reviewed albums for a DIY non-profit magazine called Razorcake. Sadly, I didn’t get enough good review material to want to continue the gig. I started querying for my alt-history post-civilization adventure, Sing Pray Kill! and slipstream sci-fi novella Beautiful, Useless Things. I’m working on more novels and short stories. Soon I’ll join Olive in becoming  bonafide, published author!

“I’m so relieved to hear that. What else is new?”

Olive: Not a lot, but I’m feeling refreshed lately. Maybe it’s because it’s spring and my garden is laid out and planned.

Oh, and I did get divorced. That debacle sucked hard, but my wasband was not supportive of my writing endeavors (or educational or…shit), and it’s probably better that the relationship ended sooner than later. He liked the awards and recognition I got, but when it came to actually doing the work, well, he might have just said, “when are you going to be done with what you love so I can get you to do something that I love.”

As they say, it is what it is and that’s what it was. Only can go forward from here.

Aristen: Good riddance to he who shall not be named! I quit my cushy 9-5 job in November in order to work full time on becoming an author. I’m doing freelance video work on the side to pay bills, but…the significant pay cut takes some getting used to. As a result, I got really into cooking, and am having a lot of fun learning new recipes. I also started a Patreon to validate myself as a real, professional artist. (Olive: I donated! <3)

During one of my more manic moments, I adopted a cat from a rescue. Meet Bigface!

tzarinabigface.PNGOlive: I can attest, Tsarina BigFace is a SUPER sweet kitty and great companion. Aristen was long overdue to get a kitty.

“So what’s the plan?”

Aristen: Work, work and more work, every day and every night! I’m tracking all my writing projects with day to day task lists and committed to getting published within the year. I’m doubling down on our joint projects, as well as my individual efforts. Right now, Olive and I are in the process of refining and redefining the opening chapters to Azura’s Chosen. And we have more exciting projects we’re working on together as well. Blogpost on that soon, and I promise it won’t be in 2020!

Olive: We also had another betareader read the first in the series. She called it “thrilling.” We were, as you can imagine, thrilled. We’re updating a bit and making some changes to have the beginning of the manuscript to make the beginning move quickly. The first 50 pages are said to be some of the most important, so we’re editing with that in mind.

And now you’re pretty much caught up.


Current Reading, Part II – Olive

Previously, I blogged about what I’m reading that fit in certain categories, inspired by this post by Jodi Meadows. Jodi offers four categories: Popular, Award Winning, Out-of-Comfort Zone, and Books you love. Coincidentally, I’ve currently got one in each of these categories between my nightstand and kindle. But I’d also add one more category to her four: non-fiction.

I mentioned the books I’m reading in the Popular, or Pop Lit, category and the Award-Winning category my last post. I’ll continue with Out-of-Comfort Zone in this entry. Continue reading “Current Reading, Part II – Olive”

Current Reading, Part I – Olive

I recently read a post by Jodi Meadows on the blog “Pub Crawl” (what a great name, right?!) about a common question authors are asked: what are you reading? Figured I’d jump in as I’m reading some unique stuff that’s been unexpectedly inspiring…

I generally, as Jodi recommends, read books in a few different genres at the same time. Jodi offers four categories on her blog: Popular, Award Winning, Out-of-Comfort Zone, and Books you love. Coincidentally, I’ve currently got one book in each of these categories between my nightstand and kindle. But I’d also add one more category to her four: non-fiction.

Continue reading “Current Reading, Part I – Olive”

Attending DFWcon in Dallas, Texas – Olive


DFWCon, AKA DFW Writers Conference, is a program created by the DFW Writer’s Workshop, an organization founded in 1977 to help writers produce and promote professionally published work. Not only are their classes and events worthwhile, but they’re awesome people too.

It’s been a week since I attended my first writer’s conference—an intense two days full of classes, agents, editors, and a few new friends. It was also the first time I pitched our story, THE CITY OF GOLD AND FIRE, to a real live agent.

And that was kind of awful.

Continue reading “Attending DFWcon in Dallas, Texas – Olive”

Comps: “What book is your book like?” – Olive


We recently started the querying process and have come across a minor dilemma: some agents ask point blank for comparable titles, aka “comps.” We’re still not really sure how to figure out what our comps are, but here’s what we’ve come up with…

Now, we weren’t completely unprepared for this question—we’d thought about it. After our beta readers had finished reading our story, we’d asked them what books they’d read that reminded them of ours. Continue reading “Comps: “What book is your book like?” – Olive”

On [ Fantasy ] Titles – Olive

Of all the things we have to do as writers to become authors, there are few things that are as dreaded as coming up with the proper title. As if pitching, querying and writing synopses wasn’t bad enough, how you do you boil down  127,000 words to less than a sentence? One word? Three words? Six?


(In my book club, The Nerdery Book Club, We Need to Talk About Kevin was mentioned, and that’s the longest title I’ve seen in a while, but here’s a list of some other long ones.) (Also, we’re talking about fiction, so don’t jump on me about self-help books and the like; I know they have long titles.) (Sorry, I’m an attorney—I love caveats!)

It’s not hard to understand why a great title is important—we’re superficial creatures and judge things by appearance and quick glances. And when it comes to examples of good titles, I keep seeing the same ones over and over again: The Witness, Gone With the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, Brave New World, Pride and Prejudice, Daughter of Smoke and Bone,  Game of Thrones, Feast for Crows, etc.

Poking around on the Internet will get you very similar results on how to chose a title for your book that I won’t rehash. As the internet does, it often comes up with lists like:

And there’s even this rather vague list on She’s Novel. I’m so glad they told me I might find inspiration in the shower—clearly, these people don’t know me. I find constant inspiration in my shower thoughts. Doesn’t everybody?

Continue reading “On [ Fantasy ] Titles – Olive”