About A. Elizabeth West

Writer, publisher, nerd of many persuasions

In Which I Go to a Con and Learn Stuff and Amazon Discounts Tunerville

Gah, it’s August already and I’m still stuck here! Just kill me.

A balding man in a jacket and tie looks disgusted. Text below reads "If I was a bird, I'd fly into a ceiling fan."

In late May, a recruiter from a staffing company I’d applied to ages ago emailed me about a temp job in the city subbing for someone who was going on vacation. The pay was decent, so I took it. For two glorious weeks, I got to pretend I had a job.

It was just basic front office work, far below my skill level, but the people were extremely nice. They included me in their weekly breakfasts and other food orders (the company paid). Usually, the temp doesn’t get anything, but they treated me like one of their own. They didn’t have a lot of work for me to do so when I caught up, I just read a new Chuck Wendig book on my phone.

The pay from this small venture allowed me to do something I haven’t done since before I lost my stupid job: go to a fantasy creators convention in mid-June, a new one in my old city called Tremendicon. It was held at a super nice venue I’d never been to when I actually lived there.

Sweet, yeah? Well, I didn’t get to stay here. I had to make do with the crappy
Holiday Inn up the road. Maybe next time.

Image: Oasis Hotel & Convention Center. Please don’t DCMA me; I want people to visit you.

I didn’t take any pictures while I was there, sorry. I was too busy. This convention offered a very strong writer’s track with panels all the way through. I only missed a couple on the first day because I had to check into my hotel and eat after a late start and a very long drive.

I saw some old friends, made some new ones, and learned a LOT. Topics included:

  • Revenue streams
  • Marketing
  • Creativity
  • Worldbuilding (I really wanted this one for Book 3)
  • Adaptation

A note from Day 2:

Hey, I forgot my jacket. I can’t be expected to remember everything.

Saturday night, we were treated to the world premiere of the short horror film Swumpwater, written by new friend Heath Amodio and old friend Cullen Bunn. You can watch it here!

It IS a horror movie, so sorry if it grossed you out. Heh heh.

It was bittersweet to be there again. Some things have changed and others stayed the same. Over nearly twenty years, I made the drive from Springfield to St. Louis for holidays many times, but since I’m trying very hard to get out of Missouri altogether, it felt like the last one ever. If I achieve that goal, I’ll just fly in for Tremendicon or any other visits. I admit, I cried a little on the way out of town. It’s tough to say goodbye to such a significant chunk of your life. However, I’m ready for a big change. SO READY.

Besides having a butt-ton of fun, I came away with twenty-five pages of notes and enough information that I almost feel ready to secure a table at the next Tremendicon, or whatever con is closest to where I find a job, when I have a bit more product. Writer and illustrator Jennifer Stolzer told us she only had a couple of items on her first table—her present setup contained multiple books, merch, and even a display doll she hacked to look like her book character.

And of course, my haul, because you CANNOT attend a con without coming home with a haul!

The Eren Yeager Titan picture is a drawing—I always buy art. The cup, t-shirt, swag bag and dragon book all are from Glenn Parris, an absolutely lovely writer. He waved a merch bag at me and said, “I only have two of these left!” Sucked me right in (that’s marketing, folks!) The other book is by Jennifer Stolzer; I won that one in a drawing.

At the top is a huge bag of pan dulce from a local Mexican supermarket I dearly miss, because HOW COULD I NOT. It was just as delicious as I remember.

Although the trip took nearly all the money I made from temping, it was well worth it. Professional development is an important part of career progression. With writing, the best way to learn is to write and consume content in whatever form works best for you—there’s a lot to learn from movies, TV shows, and comics that applies to books. If you’re considering adaptation or screenwriting, you need to read screenplays and watch lots of movies.

However, some things you can only learn from other creators. I was gratified to see that I knew a lot more than I thought and that I’m basically on the right track. I’ll have to wait until I’m employed again to think about hand sellling at a con or even attending, but I have work I can do right now. (I know, like finishing my trilogy. I know!)

Speaking of which, Amazon has heavily discounted the paperback version of Tunerville. I had no say in this whatsoever. They CLAIM I will still get the same royalty, but I have my doubts. I would like to move my work to a different distributor that will widen its reach, but that will take money I don’t have currently.

Either way, you can get it for less now, so have at it!

F*ck SCOTUS in the Ass with a Cactus

I don’t have anything to say today except to post this, which I saw on Twitter. And to tell you to take time for self-care, whatever that may look like, because we will need strength to fight for our lives.

The tweet:

The text:


On June 24th, 2022 the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

We’re sending love to all of our pregnancy-capable friends, family and loved ones. We are also scared for our LGBTQIA friends whose marriages, healthcare and safety are also called into question by this opinion. It is bad and it is going to get worse.

You may want to know how to help. I am sharing some good information and resources here for those who are interested.

What Will Happen Legally:

Abortion is no longer protected at the federal level. States are able to criminalize abortion care. Abortion will remain legal in many states and clinics will be providing care.

26 states are certain or very likely to completely ban abortion (see map below). This will result in an unprecedented public health crisis, on top of the one we already had going on, along with a rapid expansion of the criminalization of pregnant people.

A map of the United States showing the 26 states certain or likely to ban abortion if Roe is overturned. The ban states are shown in orange. The other states are shown in blue. The source is the Guttmacher Institute.

What Will Happen In Your Communities, to People You Love:

Abortion is a sensitive issue for a lot of people. There are strong feelings about what others should and shouldn’t do, what’s “reasonable” or too far in terms of laws. But we’re not talking about feelings. This is about sending doctors to prison, about the government forcing people to submit to pregnancy and childbirth against their will.

We will not be returning to a pre-Roe scenario with “back-alley” abortions and coat hangers. Many abortion seekers will be able to self-manage their abortions using safe and effective FDA-approved medication abortion pills, even in hostile states. BUT, we also now have a much larger, more sophisticated law enforcement infrastructure that will surveill, prosecute, and punish people for abortions and pregnancy outcomes like miscarriages. In 2022, the risks are largely legal, not medical.

A lot of people will now need to travel out-of-state, often hundreds of miles, to obtain an abortion in a clinic. Because 50 states worth of people will be trying to access care in the remaining half of states who haven’t banned it, people will have to wait weeks or even months for an appointment. Everyone everywhere will now have difficulty accessing timely abortion care and associated care, such as miscarraige management, etc..

Most (75%) of abortion seekers are poor or low-income. Most (59%) are already parents. 1 in 4 pregnancy-capable people will have an abortion in their lifetime. You know and love people who have had abortions. If they haven’t told you, consider whether you seem like a safe person to tell. Take that to heart and care enough to change.

What Can You Do?:

The most impactful thing you can do at the moment is to donate money. I know, I know. If that isn’t an option or if you want to do more, organize other people to donate money. The coolest among you will become monthly donors–even of a smaller amount, because it provides a stable cash flow for organizations which are largely volunteer-run.

Here’s where it can go (bonus points if you do them all):

  • Give to local abortion funds in your state who help abortion seekers pay for procedures, made by the Abortion Link Fairy @helmsinki.
  • Give to practical support organizations, who help abortion seekers with travel, childcare,  and other logistical needs.
  • Give to independent clinics, who are not affiliated with Planned Parenthood, but provide 6 in 10 abortions in the U.S., including all abortion care later in pregnancy. Many clinics are struggling to stay open, to relocate, to support their staff and their patients. In states where abortion has been immediately banned, many are working to help scheduled patients travel, here’s one in Alabama.
  • Share good, accurate information so abortion seekers can obtain care:
  • Ineedana.com helps abortion seekers find a verified abortion provider and resources
  • Abortionfinder.org helps abortion seekers find a verified abortion provider and resources
  • Reprolegaldefensefund.org covers bail and funds strong defenses for people who are unjustly targeted by police or prosecutors for self-managing their abortion outside of a clinical setting
  • Onlineabortionresources.org compiles accurate information to help people access an abortion
  • Plancpills.org has information for accessing and using abortion pills
  • reddit.com/r/abortion the r/abortion Reddit is moderated by folks who share good information about accessing care and finding support
  • all-options.org provides unbiased, judgment-free options counseling
  • Share This: a cool guide @alisonturkos made with more ideas, options and info
  • Offer to Volunteer at a PSO, Fund, or your local clinic: Recently, someone I am close to volunteered to help a stranger from Texas traveling hundreds of miles away for care. They desperately needed someone local to check them in and out of a clinic. They were traveling alone and the clinic required a companion. It amounted to driving across town twice, not a big lift, but it meant that person could get the care they needed–it was potentially life-changing.

You’ll note that none of our recommendations include giving to well-funded orgs like Planned Parenthood, starting your own thing when these networks exist, fighting with people on the internet, or marching. Our informed advice is to prioritize mutual aid through local organizations.

Sure, But Then What?:

You may be wondering what we can do to fix all of this? Surely somebody has a plan!

There’s not much that can be done in the short-term other than helping people get care. There is no immediate political or legal solution due to the composure of the court, the makeup of the Senate, and GOP control of state governments. This will be our reality for a while.

The best we can do is really engage in state-level efforts, where abortion will be regulated (banned or protected): support the election of good state representatives, local prosecutors and judges who don’t want to criminalize abortion care or pregnancy outcomes. Support efforts to protect voting rights, trans rights, and to create alternatives to policing and punishment. Encourage prosecutors not to go after pregnant people.

To be clear, there is something to do in every state and not enough people doing it.

And finally, don’t despair.

Get mad, get engaged, get organized, but focus on constructive actions.

In the words of the PIC abolitionist, Mariame Kaba:

“Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.”

If ever we need to have each other’s backs, it’s now.


The link:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vRqbxh96ynlqdYUInUZB5GWrE2GIcW3FEXdtxO_n2BXMAd2HOkNssn3aP77zSXBN43TIJ3Xab2ih9vE/pub

Comments on this post will be left open (unless y’all misbehave), but I am not inviting a debate here.

RIP My Daddy

John S. Westmoreland
November 25, 1936 – March 17, 2022

July 2014, on his and Mom’s 50th wedding anniversary.

My dad is gone.

A week ago, he had a heart attack, most likely secondary to his ongoing diabetes. He was reluctant to go to the hospital, but my brother saw him while it was ongoing and persuaded him. On Friday, March 11, they took Dad for a scope test and he coded on the way back. They got him back after ten minutes or so, but he didn’t wake up. On St. Patrick’s Day, he slipped away peacefully without a struggle.

I got used to not seeing him much because of physical distance. It’s slowly sinking in that I never will again, until it’s my time to enter the Realm.

I love you, Daddy.


Job hunt is still ongoing. Book 3 is not on hold, but I have no bandwidth for it right now. I extract bits of the conlang and scenes here and there when I can and paste them into my SmartEdit Writer file. If you haven’t read Tunerville or Confluence yet, you can get them at boomkaartbooks.com.

Right now, everything sucks and I feel very unmoored, but don’t worry about me. I will be okay. It’ll be easier when I have a job and a new life to keep me busy. If you have a spare good vibe hanging around, I’d appreciate it if you’d send it to the Job Gods and tell them to get on it.

Tell the people you love that you love them, as often as you can.

A Holiday Sale and a Decision

I probably should have posted this sooner, but if you follow me or Boomkaart Books on social media, you’ll know I’ve been running a sale on the first two books of the Tuner Trilogy. Through December 25, I’ve discounted the digital and paperback editions of Tunerville and Confluence.

Portal fiction! Hole hole hole!

I may continue it through New Year’s Eve; I haven’t decided yet.


BY THE WAYif you read Confluence and liked it, please please please leave a review. It is naked and afraid!


I also knocked the paperback price of The Shiny Folk and other stories down by a dollar, permanently. It’s now $4.99 and will remain so. That book’s not selling — story collections really don’t tend to do well, plus it’s older, so whatever. WordPress won’t let me offer it through my site anymore without ponying up for a Business plan, and I can’t afford that. So the focus has remained on the trilogy for now.

Speaking of which, I was waffling between finishing The Catalyst (working title; I have a real title in reserve) and writing the third and final Tuner book. See, here’s the thing. I wanted to keep trying for traditional publication. Tunerville got close but didn’t quite make it, and because I needed something, ANYTHING, to put on my resume, I decided to formalize the indie publishing that began with The Shiny Folk. Thus, the raw material for Boomkaart Books coalesced into reality. Sort of like the way the tuner materializes a ghost, ha ha.

If you’ve read Confluence, you know I went totally extra and created a conlang. In fact, the book’s dedication page contains a phrase from said language. Here it is, from the glossary in the back of the book:

The language is called Essdran. Pronounce the double ss like the th in them. It’s based loosely on English and Welsh, with a mashup of tweaked Celtic cognates.

I wanted to write the other book and then finish Book 3 while I was querying. But I’m still job hunting, and I’m too stressed to concentrate on it properly. Plus, my head keeps drifting back to the world of Ilarrya, my fictional country in which Essdran is the primary language. Sooooooo . . .

I decided to work very hard on the conlang, which will feature more prominently in Book 3, while pushing equally hard on finding a job. The language really needs to be more developed before I can dive into the story. The harder I work, the faster it will get done.

Not only that, but when Book 3 comes out, I intend to offer a discount when you buy the trilogy as a box set. Amazon will let me do this through Kindle Direct Publishing; as I’ve mentioned before, I’m still hoping to find another distributor because they suck.

I know some folks won’t buy any books in a trilogy or series until it’s finished, due to the fear that the author may not actually finish it. This poses a bigger problem for traditionally published books than indie ones — if the first book in a planned series doesn’t sell, publishers will drop it like a hot lava bomb. So buy that book, y’all.

That’s not really an issue in self-publishing. I can do whatever I want on my own timeline. Because I want you to have the complete story, and I promised I’d finish it, I will finish it first. Those of you who read Confluence and are pissed off at me over the ending (YES I WENT THERE, MWAHAHAHA) should be happy with this.

And if you like Ilarrya and want to immerse yourself in its backstory, let me know. I could probably offer the world compendium as a companion book.

Not promising you could actually lie on it in an enchanted forest, mind you.

Image: Christine Engelhardt from Pixabay

Confluence is Here!

As you can see from the bafflingly large (?! wtf WordPress) thumbnail in the sidebar on my homepage, Confluence is out!

Click on the picture to go straight to its Amazon page or visit boomkaartbooks.com/books. Tunerville is also on sale through Friday, September 17, just in case you haven’t read it yet (ebook only).

It’s just the ebook right now—a paperback is coming but not until I go through a proof copy. The preview looked okay, but you never know.

You can watch the trailer below. I have better software now and I think it turned out pretty good. I’m not happy with this being the thumbnail, but YouTube wouldn’t pull one from the first bit, so poo on them; it’s their fault. Neener neener!

I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. My conlang needs a LOT of work, and I want to write something else. I promised to finish this trilogy (and I will!). NaNoWriMo is coming up, but in my current situation, I don’t think I’m in the best place mentally to do it, unless I find a job and a place before then.

Y’all have no idea how bad this is. Really. The system is so broken. You can’t get a job unless you already have one, because if you don’t have one you’re not a desirable employee? I mean, what is that? Why would I need a job if I already have one?

I just need someone to give me a chance. :'( My creativity has taken a hit. All I can do is my best. I hope you enjoy the new book.

Confluence Cover Reveal!

Behold, the cover for Confluence, Book 2 of the Tuner Trilogy!

If you follow me on Twitter at @DameWritesalot or at @BoomkaartBooks, now you know why I kept tagging it with a hole, haha.

There will be a paperback, a bit later but the e-book is imminent. I need time to order a proof copy of the PB to make sure everything prints properly. I did not do that with The Shiny Folk and was disappointed, but oh well, no one is buying that anyway. Anyway, my beta and hard-copy edits are done. Layout is done. The paperback cover is done—I can’t usually do that until I know how many pages it will be, since I have to use a template.

I am nervous, y’all. Ner. Vous. Even though I’ve done this twice now, I’m always scared I messed something up. But I can fix it. I have that power.

No sword, though. Alas.

Also, I think WordPress has jacked up their editor again. I can’t see headings now. They’re trying to force me to pay to upgrade and that is NOT going to happen. It can’t; I still do not have a day job.

I will make another announcement when the e-book goes live on Amazon. See you then!

Confluence: We’re in the Home Stretch Now

Greetings, programs!

Image: Disney / twincitiesgeek.com

Betas are finished. Feedback is good. I have printed, hole-punched, and bindered my hard copy. The latter involved digging through my storage unit for the office box that contained my hole punch and manuscript binder. You see, I packed them, because I assumed I would be in my own apartment and UN-packed by the time I needed them again, but as we all know, the ‘rona is still borking everything up.

At least I think it’s the ‘rona. It could just be me. :P

LOOKY LOOKY, IT’S MY BOOKY

Photo: Elizabeth West

Don’t pay any attention to the word count; it’s not final.

At any rate, we’re rounding third base and headed toward home now. I recently finished the book trailer for Confluence and I cannot WAIT to show it to you. You’ll get it when the book goes on pre-order. I have better software. It’s so good I can’t stop watching it.

In fact, it’s so much better than the other one that I actually redid and replaced the second Tunerville book trailer. It’s exactly the same; it just plays and looks much smoother overall. Since that video is linked to my portfolio, I decided I’d rather have a better-quality version, instead of the one I made in PowerPoint. Embarrassing!

The next thing you’ll get from me is probably a cover reveal. I will do that before I drop the trailer. Now to make the inside as spiffy as the rest of my materials, haha.

If I can stay off Iceland’s Geldingadalir volcano feeds, that is. I may be slightly obsessed with this thing. But can you blame me?



Book 2 is with Beta Readers and I’m Anxious

It is almost July! Still no job! Fuck everyone and everything! Burn it all!

Now that’s out of my system, it’s not all bad. I’ve had a couple of interviews, including a second one (although that company hasn’t contacted me yet; I plan to follow up on Monday but I suspect they went with someone else). I also actually DID get hired for a contract job in March, helping Alison Green of Ask A Manager get her pages and pages of December updates sorted.

And…

I took the CompTIA test—AND PASSED IT! I’m Project+ certified! I don’t ever have to take that test again!

We do the dance of joy!

Burying the lede; Confluence has been sent to my two beta readers. I still have to do a hard copy edit, but I didn’t want to do that until I received some feedback, in case I have to move or delete anything. I haven’t even looked at it since I sent it. Instead, I had to study for the test.

Since I passed the test and don’t have to study for it anymore, the project activity list in my WBS (jargon, heh) looks like this:

Conlang (depending on how extra I decide to be and how far I decide to take it, it could be just an artlang or a whole-ass separate thing).
– Beta edits.
– Hard copy edit.
– Trailer:
– Video edits.
– Audio edits.
– Assembly.

A note here: I know the first trailer was laughably amateurish, and the second wasn’t much better except for the fabulous voiceover. I’ve been watching a lot of professionally produced videos on Twitter and elsewhere and I noticed I’m seeing shots now instead of just content. Seriously, there’s nowhere to go from here but up!

– Back cover layout (I’ve got the front cover the way I want it). I can’t do this until I know for sure how many pages the paperback will have, because Amazon templates depend on page count.
– Inside layout (easy; I already did it with Tunerville and all three books will be the same).
– Set up pre-orders (if I can figure it out) and submit to KDP.
– Paperback proofread.
– Get a damn job so I can find another distributor because Amazon

I have a world compendium too, but I haven’t decided yet if that’s just for me or if it will be for you too.

Assuming I did a halfway decent job and anyone will care.

Image by Hassan Nawaz from Pixabay

I am so, so tired of job hunting, y’all. Even though working again will mean less hours in the day to write/produce, I think having my own space again will help a lot. The current situation is not good for my mental health, and that does affect my creativity. I’m hoping for a change of scenery far away from here, but we’ll have to see what we get.

I’m very anxious about what my betas will say. The extra outside edit with Tunerville has not happened this time. I just want to finish the story, but I want to give you the best version of it. I was hoping to have Confluence out and Book 3 started by now—between the CompTIA class and the Momergency, it’s just been crazy. (Once again, know the signs of a stroke; when in doubt, call 911 immediately.)

But I’ve begun to move into Book 3 headspace. So the machinery is ramping up again.

Although I’ve tried to make Confluence a self-contained story as much as I can, in the vein of The Empire Strikes Back, it’s still a middle bit. Obligatory plug: If you haven’t read Tunerville yet, get it here.

I’m excited about Book 3. I really am. It’s gonna be FUN.

HEY YOU GUYYYYYS!

Sorry it’s been a while since I posted. Still no job, still no new place.

This week, I finished a rough cut of the trailer for Confluence and the IRS dropped the $600 stimmy into my account (finally), so I sent off the contract to my voice-over actor. The trailer is much smoother than the first one because I used Movie Maker instead of PowerPoint this time. Making these is kinda fun, I must admit.  

I can’t wait to show off my cover! Seriously, I’m really happy with it. Now I’m combing through the manuscript again before I send it to beta readers.

In other news, Mom got Moderna COVID vaccine number one a week or two ago through the county health department. She’s set to get her second shot at the end of this month. She had NO side effects whatsoever, not even a sore arm. I signed up through the health department and a different healthcare system. The latter contacted me first for an appointment.

So, as of yesterday:

You get whatever flavor they have—in my case, it was Pfizer. Side effects so far have included sleepiness (I went to bed at 10:00 pm last night, unheard of for me), a sore arm this morning, and a little dizziness and fatigue, nothing serious. I do have a bit of a headache. But it’s difficult to tell if that’s vaccine-related or because it was very windy yesterday and we’re into allergy season.

My microchip doesn’t seem to be working. I look nothing like the Winter Soldier.

Keep wearing your masks and get your vaccine as soon as possible, folks. I recommend signing up via various platforms and also using a vaccine spotter like this one to snag an appointment when your state opens eligibility. Outside the US, check with your local health authorities. If you’re in Brazil (I have at least one reader who is), please, do your best to stay safe!

Confluence will probably go on pre-order, something I didn’t do last time. I will definitely let you know when that will happen. Meanwhile, if you haven’t yet read Tunerville, grab a copy now—you’ll have a much better reading experience with Book 2 if you read it first.  

The Shiny Folk and other stories has come off expanded distribution, as it’s not selling, the royalty is much lower, and I need every penny I can get. So for now, you can only get the story collection in the U.S. I’m exploring options other than Amazon’s platform but that will have to wait until I find work.

The dream of traditional publishing has not died. As writers continue to practice their craft, they get better. Once I finish Book 3 of the Tuner Trilogy, I have another fantasy waiting in the wings. It’s all outlined and ready for me to start work. I’d hoped Tunerville would be the one, especially since I got so close. Maybe The Catalyst will. Who knows? If not, you’ll get it the indie way, unless I massively f*ck it up.

Always a possibility.

Short post is short since I’m feeling vax-tired. Till next time, keep reading. It’s not like there’s anything else to do in the (hopefully waning) days of a global pandemic.