Thursday, February 2, 2017

Like the new logo?

You may have noticed yesterday that I revealed a new logo for Stories I Found in the Closet. It was designed by the fabulous Ann McDougall, who ran a cool program through the month of January called "Branduary" where she designed a new logo, by request, every day for 31 days. Not only was I amazed by the speed which she put these up (she never missed a day) but the quality and variety of her designs was quiet exceptional.

Here are a few samples:

All images Copyright Ann McDougall (obviously)

I was lucky enough to get in on Branduary, but anyone else looking for design and creative work should definitely hit Ann up. She now has a Facebook page, so it's easy to get a hold of her. Check her out!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Times They Are A Changin' (#IWSG February 2017)


I'm going to keep it short this month.

I'm undergoing some turmoil in my life that will have some drastic effects on my writing habits. I'm just not sure yet what that's going to look like.

One of two things are going to happen: I'm either going to have a lot more free time for writing, or significantly less.

Sorry for the vagueness. There's just a lot up in the air right now so I don't really want to talk about it.  I don't talk much about personal stuff on this blog anyway, so we'll leave it at that.

Anyway, I'm feeling like an idiot right now so let's jump to that handy question...

February IWSG Question: 
How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

Ugh. It has certainly diminished it, that's for sure. To clarify, writing hasn't diminished the quality of my reading, but it has a huge impact on the quantity.

See, with a wife and two young kids and a full-time job and a long commute, I don't have a ton of free time to begin with. After housework and playing with the kids and getting them dressed and ready for bed and packing lunches and whatnot, there is very little time left at the end of the day. My wife and I are lucky we get 30-60 minutes to flake out, and even that isn't a daily occurrence by any means. Once or twice a week if we're lucky.

The only time I have regularly to myself is on my bus ride to and from work, and during that time I have a choice: read or write, and it's a struggle sometimes to decide which to do. It sounds dumb, but this is a legitimate question I have to ask every day when I get on the bus. Do I pull out my laptop to write a chapter, or pull out a book or e-reader? (There's a lot of shit in my bag, it weighs a ton)

This is basically me on my way to work every morning.

There are SO many books out there I want to read, but on the other hand if I DON'T write regularly I just feel lousy. I'm sure most of you understand this - if you're not writing it feels like something is missing in your life. I've tried splitting the time to mixed results; if I write regularly and consistently, I can get a couple thousands words a day, on the bus. But if I only write every other day or in irregular spurts I have to struggle to get a few hundred, as I spend as much time getting back into the story as I do putting down new words. It's so frustrating to have the ideas and no time to put them down on the page.

I make a point of reading a couple of books between projects to reset my brain - I recognize that you have to read to be even a moderately-competent writer, and you need new stories and new ideas to keep your brain juices flowing. Plus, like I said, there are so many books I want to read and enjoy. But man, sometimes I fear I won't have the time to really put into writing (and reading) until I'm retired. Assuming that I'm ever in a position that I'll be able to retire, which at the rate I'm going doesn't look likely...

Anyway. It's a dumb thing to obsess over, but I've been told I worry about dumb things.


The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group here.
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Friday, January 20, 2017


Today I turn the blog over to Chrys Fey for some breaking news. Take it away...

"This is Chrys Fey reporting for Disaster 5 News. I am in Regina, Saskatchewan where a tsunami hit yesterday morning. I have CD Gallant-King with me, a survivor of the tsunami. CD, can you tell our viewers what happened, and how you survived?"

"Well, I was sitting on my back porch drinking Canadian Club whiskey and watching the coyotes make sweet-coyote love when all I see is this wall of water a hundred feet tall coming out of nowhere. Now I know what you're thinking: Regina is a thousand miles away from the nearest ocean so where the hell does a tsunami come from, but lemme tell you when lusty coyotes start surfing on bitchin' waves taller than the Mosaic Potash Tower, you don't ask questions. You just grab your Canadian Club and hop in your truck and get outta there faster than a preacher peeling out a church parking lot trying make an afternoon hockey game on a Sunday. I beat it out of town faster than you could imagine, with water and trees and stuff flying past me, even that dumb statue of the Queen riding a horse from the Capital grounds; went right past me like a missile. Somehow I managed to outrun the wave, but when I came back a few hours later it was a nightmare. The place was flattened and destroyed, uglier than a house cat tossed in a wheat thresher. I swear, it looked almost as bad as Edmonton."


Title: Tsunami Crimes
Series: Disaster Crimes #3
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Romantic-Suspense
Page Count: 272

BLURB: Beth and Donovan have come a long way from Hurricane Sabrina and the San Francisco earthquake. Now they are approaching their wedding day and anxiously waiting to promise each other a lifetime of love. The journey down the aisle isn’t smooth, though, as they receive threats from the followers of the notorious criminal, Jackson Storm. They think they’ll be safe in Hawaii, but distance can’t stop these killers. Not even a tsunami can.

This monstrous wave is the most devastating disaster Beth has ever faced. It leaves her beaten, frightened. Is she a widow on her honeymoon? As she struggles to hold herself together and find Donovan, she’s kidnapped by Jackson's men.

Fearing her dead, Donovan searches the rubble and shelters with no luck. The thought of her being swept out to sea is almost too much for him to bear, but the reality is much worse. She’s being used as bait to get him to fall into a deadly trap.

If they live through this disaster, they may never be the same again. 



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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Silly Children's Stories (#IWSG January 2017)

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group here.


Here's something that makes me insecure: sharing something absolutely ridiculous that I made.

Yesterday in my 2016 Year-End Review, I mentioned that I wrote a new kids book for my children and my nieces for Christmas. This is actually my second kids book, the first being a cautionary tale I wrote for my son a couple of years ago describing the dangers of consuming dirty water from the bathtub:

Spoiler alert: It turns you into a green-skinned alien.

My nieces (and many of my other relatives) seemed to enjoy it as well, so I whipped up another one this year. I took a different turn this time - because the ages of my kids and nieces range from 1 up to 10, there was no way I could write something that would appeal to all of them. Don't Drink the Bath Water is a picture book, but the older kids are getting into chapter books now, so I decided to go that way with the new one. I figured that the oldest kids would get it now and the younger ones would grow into it.

And now I'm sharing it with you, to embarrass and shame myself:

The story features all of my kids and nieces, as well as magic and goblins and unicorns and off-brand Pokemon. It's only about 3000 words long so I had to use big fonts to make it relatively book-sized (about 60 pages), and it is illustrated with my trademark crappy artwork. The tale is told from my daughter's point-of-view and is loosely based on our family trip this past summer, where we actually had all 9 kids together at one time. Of course, in real life no one got turned into turnips or rode dolphins, so I freely admit to taking some creative license with it.

The kids loved that they were each featured in the story, each with their own special power, and each got at least one illustration of themselves. For example:

Her next cousin was Taylor, an opthlalmage. Her magic revolved around fish. Talking to fish, summoning fish, riding fish, that sort of thing. At the moment she was being followed around by her favourite fish, a dolphin named Flipperius, whom she was teaching to breathe air and walk on his fins. Yes, it’s true that dolphins are not actually fish, but that made it all the easier to teach him to breathe. 
Let me tell you, it's really hard to write a 3000-word story with nine main characters and give them all distinct super powers, as well as something to do with the plot. By the time I got to my youngest niece all I could come up with for her was that she could explode.

Maisie shrugged and closed her eyes. 
She concentrated very hard.
Suddenly there was a loud pop, and then a much louder explosion and a rush of hot air. The entire castle was destroyed instantly, leaving the Cousins and the turnips standing in a big crater in the ground. Well, the cousins were standing, the turnips were just laying there.
“AWESOME!” They all said.
“I can definitely see the use for that,” said Lydia. “But not in this situation.”
The most fun to come out of the story (for me) is arguing with one of my nieces about Pokemon. In the story she's a Pokemon trainer, but I go to purposeful, exaggerated lengths to not actually call them Pokemon or use officially-licenced Pokemon terms. I even Googled "knock-off Pokemon" to find an off-brand one to use as her pet. Unfortunately, I accidentally used a picture of a real Pokemon as a base (there's like 700 of them, I don't have time to cross reference all of them), but just made it like 100-times bigger than it's supposed to be. 

So now she keeps getting mad at me for drawing Dedenne too big and calling it by the wrong name, while I insist that it's not Dedenne or even a Pokemon at all. It's very hard to explain parody and intellectual property to a 9-year old.

So anyway, that's my dirty little, insecure secret I'm sharing today: I write terrible children's books. I may share some more in the future - I've been instructed I now have to write more of them, and have at least 9 kids to answer to if I don't. Wish me luck.


December IWSG Question: 
What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

Anything having to do with f*cking commas. I've heard a million contradictory rules and I still never use them properly. I just keep getting more and more confused. Now I'm stuck between either using Find and Replace to randomly insert them throughout the manuscript, or somehow find a way to write an entire book without using any.


The secret catalogue of books by CD Gallant-King that you can't get on Amazon.
You can get these, though.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My 2016 Year-in-Review


I know most people are already looking forward to 2017, but I'm always late with these things...

2016 was a year, huh?

I don't necessarily subscribe to the narrative that we've had more celebrity deaths this year (I think it's just a case of celebrities being relevant longer thanks to our more connected society), nor do I think the deaths of celebrities are any more valuable than the many, many people regular everyday people who lost their lives for stupid or heartbreaking reasons. That being said, the world really did seem to lose its collective fucking mind in the last twelve months.

But I'm not here to talk about politics or celebrity gossip. I'm just going to stick to my own life, and a few highs and lows of my own year. In no particular order:

1. Kids are awesome. My son, who turns 5 in January, started Junior Kindergarten and continues to astound with his rapidly-advancing skills. He's so sweet and caring and attuned to the emotions and feelings of others (he gets that from his mother, sure as hell not from me). He's also building 500-piece Lego kits with only minimal supervision (I'll take credit for that one). He saw Star Wars for the first time over the holidays and it BLEW HIS MIND. He was making "pew pew" blaster sounds in his sleep that night.

My daughter, who won't turn 2 until March, is amazing. Her vocabulary and motor skills are way ahead of where my son was at that age (she can pick up my wife's iPhone, unlock it, open Netflix and scroll to a specific cartoon). I don't know if it's the difference between girls and boys or what, but she seems like a freakin' genius.

Or I dunno, maybe I'm just easily impressed.

2. In July, I self-published my second novel, Hell Comes to Hogtown. It was a long process that was much longer and more challenging than I was expecting, but I'm quite pleased with the final product. Reception of the book has also not been as strong as I would have hoped, but it's early and I'm looking ahead long-term.

3. Submitted a few stories to magazines and anthologies, getting a head-start on my five year plan I mentioned at the beginning of December. I've gotten one rejection so far but I'm still waiting to hear back from two more, so we'll see how the New Year starts.

4. I actually have several writing projects completed or near-completed that I will be shopping around and/or releasing in the upcoming year. I would love to share some of those with you but after taking like 9 months longer than I planned to release Hell Comes to Hogtown, I'm not counting anything until it hatches anymore. Or talking about it online, whatever. You know what I mean.

5. I wrote another silly kids book for my kids and all my nieces (I have seven altogether) for Christmas. They all loved it because they're in it. That's my daughter on the cover. It features more of my terrible artwork, and I've had several arguments with one of my older nieces about it because of changes I made to her Pokemon in the story. I just keep trying to explain "parody" and "intellectual property" to her but it's hard with an 8-year old.

6. I gained like 20 pounds this year so I had assumed my exercise must have been way off, but after checking my run-keeper app-thingie I realized my routine has been pretty much on the same schedule as it has for the last three years. I guess that just means I've been eating staggering amounts of shit this year. Something to look into in the new year...

7. Life was all over the place otherwise, with two car accidents, my wife starting a new business, ups and downs at work, several illnesses and injuries, and a big trip half-way across the country with the kids and the dog to visit my parents. We're all still here and we're all still breathing so we'll keep plugging along. Life is a series of many steps, some hard, some easy, and there will be trips and falls along the way. There is no ultimate destination though (well, there is, but honestly you're not going to like it) so the best you can do is just enjoy the stops along the way.

Here's to hoping World War III doesn't start in 2017! At least try to hold it off until 2018...

Drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.

Okay, I admit I took David Bowie a bit hard, and I'm still processing Carrie Fisher...

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Five-Year Plan (#IWSG)

After a disappointing October, November started off well as I finished a couple of short stories, neared another to completion and made good progress on my special project. I knew that I wouldn't be able to carry the momentum into the holidays, so I tried to get done as much as I could while the going was good. Sure enough, everything came crashing down at the end of the month as my wife ended up bed ridden for almost two weeks and then everyone in the house started working through a nasty flu.

Now we're hurtling headlong into the holidays and we haven't even started cleaning, decorating and all that fun stuff, so the next few weeks are going to be crazy hectic. I'm not going to put down many words for the rest of the year (I nearly forgot about this post, too) but something about today's IWSG question set off a spark in me. So without further ado...


December IWSG Question: 
In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

I had to think long and hard about this one, because I don't think about my writing as a "career." I've said before I'm not doing this to make money or achieve praise, nor do I ever expect to make it a full-time gig. A small second income would be nice, sure, but it's not a priority.

I've never had a long term goal or plan for my writing. For me it's more of a hobby. Usually I just go project to project, but lately I've thought a bit more about new things I want to try, and what I want to do next. If I had to make a list (and really, that's the point of this exercise) some things I want to accomplish in the next 5 years, it might look something like this:

  • Write 3-5 books. That doesn't mean publish or even get to final polish, just a first draft would be acceptable. I just have to keep working on something and moving forward.
  • Submit at least 3 books to agents/publishers, just for the hell of it. One of them is already mostly done, and the other two are heavily outlined (and will fall under those 3-5 I plan to write above). As I've said in the past I have no particular desire for the validation of a traditional publishing contract, but it's worth a shot just to see what happens. Even if none of them are picked up, that leads me to...
  • Self-publish 2-3 books. This could be stuff that is not picked up traditionally or one or two ideas I have that I know would have to be self-published (including a sequel to one of my previous books). 
  • Write at least 2 short stories per year and submit them to anthologies/magazines. I really like short stories and I've been working lately to get better at writing them. Two a year, even with my other goals above, should be reasonable, and even I will admit it would be cool to get a couple published and see my byline somewhere.
  • Collect at least 100 rejections. Between the three books and 10+ short stories, that should be more than doable. I'm not even sure why I want to do this, as I don't care that much about the ultimate publication, but I feel like this is just supposed to be part of the author experience and I kinda want to say that I've done it.
So yeah, I don't know if this is "where" I see myself so much as a just a bunch of roadposts I want to hit along the way. Where exactly will I be in five years if I follow this plan? I have no idea, but at least I'll feel that I accomplished something along the way.


The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group here.

Read More »

Friday, November 18, 2016

GUEST BLOG: Piper Morgan to the Rescue by Stephanie Faris


Stephanie Faris is a Piper Morganing machine, and I'm here today to tell you all about the latest entry in her continuing series of misadventures. This little girl has already joined the circus and taken over a school through nefarious schemes (or maybe her mom was the principal, I should go back and check), now she's saving dogs from an animal shelter! Make sure you follow her every step of the way (and follow the lovely Ms Faris at the links below)!


Piper helps some four-legged friends find the perfect home in the third book of the brand-new Piper Morgan series.

Piper is super excited to help out at Bark Street, a local animal shelter in town. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by adorable puppies and dogs all day? And when Piper sees Taffy, the cutest dog she has ever seen, Piper is determined to find a way to bring Taffy home. But it won’t be easy—especially when she finds out someone else wants to make Taffy a part of their family, too!


Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the upcoming Piper Morgan series. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 



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