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Free? I’ll buy that!

In honor of the three-year anniversary of the release of Whispers of Death (and Abnormal’s first appearance at a con), I’m making the Kindle version of Whispers of Death free for five days!

That’s right, starting tomorrow, you can get Whispers of Death here for free on your Kindle app or Kindle device.

I’ve been giving so much love and hype to Abnormal that I feel like Whispers of Death should get some love, too. Besides, as my first finished novel, Whispers of Death deserves a good amount of respect. A lot of time, energy, and tears went into that book.

If you dig supernatural thrillers and are looking for a fresh read, check out Whispers of Death, free from October 31, 2018 to November 4, 2018. 🙂

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Clare Speaks

Now that I’m mostly free of this cruddy cold that’s had my brain all muddled the past few days, it’s time to update y’all with some news. 🙂

First off, both Arizona and Tucson business licenses have been procured! Yep, I can officially sell my book and bookmarks at Tucson Comic-Con. Now I just need those pesky books to arrive and I’ll be all set.

Secondly, TCC exclusive Abnormal bookmarks have been made! They feature the neuron image from the cover design. 🙂 I’ll have a limited supply, so if you’re planning on stopping by at Tucson Comic-Con, make sure to make Table AA147 one of your first stops. I’ll be near the escalator on the right if you’re facing the concession stand across from the escalators. Here’s a pic:

Thirdly, the character interview of Clare with The Protagonist Speaks went live last week, but because I was in a cough-syrup-induced haze I forgot to post the link! I’m super excited to have Clare’s voice out there in a new place, and I need to get onto all the social media and post it. I mean, I’ve retweeted and stuff, but I gotta post the actual linkage and stuff.

Preparations for Tucson Comic-Con are still underway, but it’s mostly little things. I know I have a receipt book somewhere, just need to find it, and also make sure I have plenty of hand sanitizer and other such things ready to go.

Five more days. Four and a half, really. This is gonna be fun!

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Mass production

As Tucson Comic-Con grows ever closer, I am scrambling to get more bookmarks made to sell at the con. I suppose I wouldn’t be scrambling as much if I hadn’t sold 5 or 6 of them last Friday and Saturday, but hey, money is money. If that’s any indication, though, I will need to step up my production game if I’m going to have enough to last me through TCC.

As it is, I’ve got, like, 12 done, with another 4 or 5 completely cut out (interfacing and all) and another I-don’t-know-how-many of just the fabric cut out. I’m running out of geeky fabric, but I’ll have other prints to work with as well. Just gotta figure out the logistics of the fastest way to get things done.

Right now, it seems that cutting-sorting-ironing-sewing-turning-ironing-sewing is the best method. I just have to bust butt on the ironing, because the iron-on interfacing takes a specific amount of time, and I have limited space on my ironing board. I can get a handful of bookmarks ironed at a time, but then I have to move them off the board, grab the next handful, lay them out, and iron again. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

I’ll get it figured out, but it’s a learning process for sure. I’ve never produced at this level before. One or two or a handful of items, but not dozens. I’ll be glad when it’s done, but I’ll be more glad to see happy to purchase them at the con.

Ten days left.

I’d better get cracking…once I get home from work, that is.

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#books #design #dystopian #nerd #publishing Abnormal Art Art for sale Celebrity Convention Crafting Fandom fencing Geek Health Novel Promotion SCA Sci-fi Sewing Stress swordfighting Time Work Writing

Let the madness begin (again)

Though I kinda already knew they would, I’m ecstatic that RhetAskew Publishing has requested the full manuscript of Escaping the Light. 🙂 I sent it in this morning, and though I–and they–know it needs a lot of work, I’m excited to get started on the next step in my publishing journey.

Books for Tucson Comic-Con have been ordered and one of the two business licenses I will need has been requested (still need to find an envelope to mail in the second one). Going to be selling the books and of course the bookmarks I’m making. I even found a cool new fabric at Wal-Mart of all places to make a bunch of sugar skull bookmarks. Yeah, the con is a couple days after Halloween, but hey, sugar skull sells. That’s a fact. I’m out of town this weekend, though, so there won’t be any production of bookmarks until I get home. I’ve got roughly 17-18 made (that aren’t set aside for gifts and the like), so I’ll really have to get hopping if I’m going to have enough for the whole weekend.

One bad thing about the con being only 13 days away? I started getting a cold sore on my upper lip yesterday. FML. I guess it’s the stress starting to get to me. Almost couldn’t have come at a worse time–because it can take 10 days or more for a cold sore to go away. I bought some OTC stuff to put on it a few times a day, so I’m hoping that helps shorten the healing time. I don’t want to be selling books in front of hundreds or thousands of people with a big-ass scab on my lip. (Okay, I don’t want to be working up patients with said scab on my lip, either.)

Today will be mostly spent at an SCA event, where I’ll get to do some rapier fighting in my chain mail shirt for the first time since I got it a couple of months ago. Time and my busy schedule haven’t allowed me to use it yet. The one day when I did have it on and ready to go it started storming right as practice was about to begin, and they’re real sticklers for not waving around long metal rods while there’s lightning nearby.

Also, it’s lightning, NOT “lightening.” One means bolts of electricity from the sky, one means to make lighter in color or tone. One is a noun, one is a verb. This has been a PSA.

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Marked for success?

I thought about it, and I decided on making bookmarks for Tucson Comic-Con to sell alongside my books.

As you can see, the bookmark slides onto the corner of a page, and it’s nice and graphic–with a whole slew of them on-hand, I’ll have something cool and geeky to display next to the book to draw in congoer attention and potentially get them to check out (and hopefully buy) the book. I have made several using different printed fabrics, so I’ll have a selection. I only have roughly ten ready for sale at the moment (not counting ones I’ve set aside for gifts and special requests), but I still need to make more. 

It takes roughly ten minutes start to finish for one bookmark, but with a little mass production-style work I can cut out materials for over a dozen and then work in five-bookmark increments to iron, pin, sew, iron, and sew, which takes roughly half hour to 45 minutes. I’m getting faster, though.

Credit to Crafty Staci at www.craftystaci.com for the vendor apron pattern and the bookmark tutorial. Her tutorials are super straightforward and easy to follow. Excellent work, Staci!

I’m not sure how many I’ll be able to make prior to TCC, but I’ll try to get a good stock on-hand. Right now I’m using scrap fabric I have lying around that wasn’t being used, but if I run out I know I can count on JoAnn’s to have some cool stuff to grab like a quarter yard of or something. Maybe some cool-looking fat quarters. Those are cheap. 😉

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A little bit anxious, a little bit freaking out

So the con is 16 days away.

Sixteen days to order books, order a PayPal chip reader, get the things I need to buy for the table, and get something together to sell besides just books.

FML.

I don’t know how this snuck up on me. I mean, I have a widget for my phone that tells me exactly how many days are left. I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s almost here.

I think I’m either going to print photos of some of the Instagram graphics I’ve made from Abnormal quotes (see below) or make up some fabric bookmarks. Handmade geeky stuff is good for cons, right? Either way, it’ll be something nice and quick that I can churn out before the con.

I think photos of images like the one above might be fun to print out, and I can sign them as well. A buck or two for those wouldn’t be too bad, right? If that fails, though, I can make bookmarks out of the fabric I already have and just have some geeky bookmarks on hand to sell for a buck or two, and those would go with the books nicely because hey, books and bookmarks go together like peas and carrots.

Either way, it means more work before con. I can do it (provided the rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t get too painful), but I’ll have to bust butt to get it all done.

Better get busting.

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Finding my balance

Work. Home. SCA. Books. I have many different facets to my life, and I’m having a bit of trouble finding the right balance between them all.

I forgot something at work last week–something major, in relation to my new position. That was embarrassing. At home, my sleep schedule is still very off despite the new dosage of meds. I’m pulling back from the SCA to try to manage the other parts, and I’m slacking on the book promotion.

I will have to force extra time between patients for the new position. I don’t know what I’m going to do about the sleep, aside from making offerings to Morpheus or something. I’m slowly finding the balance of SCA–I need to take at least one weekend a month off from it, it seems, to be able to keep sane. And as far as book promotion goes, I’m back at it this morning–between embroidery and catnaps, that is.

*Sigh.* How do busy people do it? I’ve been mostly a couch potato my whole life, and now I have work life, social life, home life, and author life. It’s a little overwhelming.

I’m going to have to apologize to my potential future Laurel for my absence from the SCA and for my complaining in this blog about wanting to take a break from the arting. From what my husband tells me (he went to an SCA event this past weekend while I stayed home), she thought I meant I wanted to take a break from working with her on arts. Not so. I just needed a break from period art in general, and I think my “weekend off” might have given me a chance to recharge and regroup.

This week, I’ll do better. I’ll work harder. Sleep more (maybe?). Craft more. Promote more.

There are people out there with fuller schedules than mine. Surely I can juggle these few things and still allot myself enough time for each.

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Coordination before con

Tucson Comic-Con is just 20 days away, and I’ve got my vendor stuff all ready.

Well, the stuff I can make myself, that is….

I made a vendor apron a week ago, and today I made a composition book cover and a little cell phone pouch. Observe:

Aside from about ten bucks for the zipper, buttons, thread, and solid print fabric to coordinate, all of the above were made with materials I had on hand. Fabric that I already had (gotta love the exploding TARDIS!), binding that I already had on hand, Elastic that I already had on hand, a little chain clip that I already had on hand (though I don’t remember why I had it on hand), interfacing, batting–all stuff I had. For ten bucks, that’s not a bad deal. The cell phone pouch fits my phone snugly, and I’m hoping the PayPal chip reader that I plan on ordering will fit in the button pocket.

I kinda want to make more stuff, but I think I’m just manic and I need to take a break from making stuff. What I need to do is brainstorm some more on these lists of things I need to get ready before TCC. I’ve got to buy some stuff, print some other stuff, and send in some applications for business licenses. Fun, fun, fun.

I know where on the map my table is. I know when my target setup time is. I know (I think) what-all I need to bring. The key is surviving the next twenty days. Twenty days where I still have work, still have normal life stuff to do, etc.

Twenty days.

Tick, tock.

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Seeking a swift kick in the ‘nads to get my ass moving

Yeah, I know. I’m a slacker. If I don’t have constant pushing or motivation, I tend to drift away from the stuff I need to do in favor of stuff I want to do.

Take the book marketing/promotion, for example: I’ve seriously let that slide in the past couple of weeks, and from what my publisher tells me it’s shown in my sales. I’m really frustrated with myself for that, because I want the book to do well. I just am not good at pushing myself.

I’m hoping to take my promotion back on the road in the next few days to get more people interested in/hearing about Abnormal. I need to set goals and meet them, though, if I’m going to be successful at this. I can’t just keep tweeting excerpts from the sequel-in-progress or what have you. I have to remind myself that publishing and marketing a book takes hard work, and I have to treat it like the job it is. Set times each day for researching and contacting influencers, set a number of influencers per day to contact, etc.

Tucson Comic Con should help sales pick up a bit, but I have to promote that appearance, too. Gotta get word out that I’ll be there, and I have to think up something other than just books to have at my table. I’ve got some ideas (one excellent one in particular thanks to my Editor in Chief), but it’s going to take some–you guessed it–work to get them done.

Too bad “author” isn’t a job where you can clock in for your hours worked and rake in the dough that way. That would be awesome.

Of course, if it was like that, G.R.R. Martin wins the game. Straight up trolling his fans by letting the TV show surpass the books in story and just, as far as anyone can tell, not finishing the series. Not cool, man, not cool.

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Nervous energy

Maybe it’s because my confidence has always been low. Maybe it’s because the process is still new to me, even though I’ve been through it before. Maybe it’s just those just-submitted-my-manuscript jitters.

Regardless of the cause, I’m abuzz with a ton of energy–too much for the amount of sleep I haven’t gotten yet.

I thought there’d be a rush of relief, a release of pent-up adrenaline, something, but nope. All that excess energy is still swimming around inside my head, and it’s frustrating. I want to sleep. I want to rest. I don’t really want to be up right now, yet here I am. Sure, I could have stayed in bed, but as I’ve discovered lately, unless I’m woken by my bladder and my bladder alone, when I’m awake I’m awake for at least a good hour or two, and the longer I spend in bed lamenting my lack of sleep the harder it is to doze back off. At least out in the living room I can get stuff done.

Yesterday I finished revisions on the draft of Book 2 and started the tedious process of writing an outline, synopsis, and query letter. Yep, those nasty little necessities that make being an author actual work. I bet if I logged the actual hours I spent working on writing, editing, revising, marketing, and promoting, I’d be in OT. Like, every week.

I know my husband isn’t at all happy with my predawn antics. He wants me in bed, resting. But it’s not like I’m getting up early on purpose–I just…wake up. A lot.

Tomorrow morning I see the ol’ psychiatrist. Guess it might be time to change up the sleeping meds…again. The last med he gave me works well enough at full dose, except I can’t wake up properly in the morning. I get extremely groggy, and I’ve had some close calls on the commute to work when I take the full dose. The doctor said that if that happens I can half it, so I half it. But fat lot of good it does at half.

Sometimes I wonder if this insomnia is bipolar-related, but when I think back on it this has been going on a very, very long time, too long for it to be a manic episode. I think I’d be proper crazy if I was in a sustained manic state for this long. As it is, I’m only semi-crazy, so I guess it doesn’t stem from the bipolar. Is that a good thing? I have no clue.

The psychiatrist should be pleased that Abnormal has been published, along with a book signing and a library appearance, but he’ll be disappointed that I haven’t been on Oprah’s show yet. I guess that’s his gauge of success for an author: appearing on Oprah.

I somehow doubt Oprah would be interested in my writing style, but who knows? Maybe I should add her to my list of influencers to contact. Lol