A Week in Review

A lot has happened in the week since I last wrote here–and not really much has happened.

I discovered that I’ve lost back the four pounds I gained over Thanksgiving holiday (and then some!), so I’m back on track with the keto diet.

I started on yet another writing project, this time outside the Abnormalverse (and with the potential to create a new universe all its own, if I decide to expand it).

I had a horribly embarrassing experience at work that I won’t even go into here, and it made me want to just curl up and die somewhere.

I revamped the cover for Whispers of Death, and I’m in the process of revising the interior text so it’s fresher.

I had to go to online traffic school for a speeding violation (don’t speed, kids!).

It’s been some good, some bad, some very bad, but I’m making it. I’m not quite sure how I’m making it, but I am.

I’m exhausted. I’m weary beyond words. I can’t wait for next week, when I have three work days off. Of course, I have stuff to do in those three days, but at least I won’t be working.

All I want for Christmas is inspiration–and stuff. Lots of stuff.

I’m not gonna lie. I have an Amazon wishlist full of stuff that I want for Christmas this year. Not that I expect to get all of the stuff I want–but I figured it doesn’t hurt to have a selection of stuff for people to choose from, should they opt to get me a gift.

What I really want, though, can’t be bought and can’t always be given. I want inspiration. I want that writer’s block for Book 3 to just be blown wide open so I can continue and finish the damn first draft. I want those things, but no one can purchase those for me, and no one can really give something that specific, anyway.

It doesn’t feel like the Christmas season. I’ve got the tree up, I’ve signed up for the Baronial Yule event and the work holiday party, I’ve started kinda trying to think up ideas for what to get who…but I just can’t get into the spirit this year. It doesn’t feel like Christmastime. It feels like Just Another Day. And that’s kinda sad.

Now, anyone who really knows me knows that I’m not Christian, but that’s not why Christmas means something to me. I don’t put up the tree for pagan reasons, either, but bear with me. I celebrate the spirit of giving gifts to loved ones to show your appreciation of them. That’s a pretty good reason to celebrate, right? And yeah, it doesn’t have to be on a certain day of year, but since the majority of the people I know are celebrating on this day, then hell, I might as well celebrate with them–even if I’m not celebrating the historically-inaccurate birthday of a Christian holy figure.

I feel like I should maybe try to get in the spirit of things this year. Try to fake it, even if I can’t make it. Or something.

Maybe I’ll write up a sweet Christmas-themed story to post on Christmas day. Or maybe I’ll actually get my butt in gear when it comes to the holiday shopping. Or maybe…maybe I’ll just be a Grinch this year.

I wish I could get more in the spirit of things. Get my head in “the zone.” But wishes don’t always come true, sadly.

This weekend is an “off” weekend, for the most part; maybe I can catch up to the holidays then. Get some gifts purchased and possibly wrapped, that kind of thing. If not, well…

…There’s always next year, I guess.

Branching out

Okay, so I’ve done poetry, flash fiction, short stories, novels, and now novellas–so now what?

Well, I guess I’ll work on photo edits and graphics. Oh, and marketing (still), and content generation, and and and…

There’s a lot more to being a writer than just writing the things. I have to know what to do with the things once I’ve written them, and I guess know how to make the things pretty, and who to show the things to, and so forth and so on.

I am by no means a master. Mistress. Whatever. Point being, I still have a lot to learn, but I am willing to learn and grow and expand my wheelhouse.

Despite my growing repertoire, I’m still–now and forever, it seems–stuck on Book 3. I had been hoping that diverting myself to the two novellas would give my old noggin a rest and let me regroup, but sadly that’s not much the case. I still get stuck, and I still don’t quite know where I’m going with this any more than I did when I set it aside.

There’s some good news to it, though; I have a mockup of a cover design for one of the novellas. Observe what some stock photos and photo editing apps can do:

Will that be the final design? I don’t know, but I like what I have so far, and I’m kind of proud of getting there on my own.

I guess I’ve procrastinated enough, though. Book 3 is still waiting for me to add some words and get the story moving. Onward and upward–in word count, that is.

The Long and Short of It

Now that I’ve got more publications pending than I know what to do with, I need to evaluate my writing style and see how to proceed with future works-in-progress.

I still love writing novels; I love every bit of it, even the bits I hate. Lol I mean, it’s hard, and it’s tiring, and the process is long and arduous, but the end result is amazing. With the ABNORMAL series especially, I get to create a whole new world for people to experience. However….

….Several of my new projects are short stories or novellas. Much shorter works, but still effective. I can even continue or expand the Abnormalverse within these short stories and novellas. And yeah, the process for these is quicker, and I can knock ’em out faster. But is that what I want to focus on?

At this point, I think it’s a wait-and-see type of situation. The main ABNORMAL story needs to take place in novels; it’s too vast, too broad for me to switch to novellas to tell it. But to be honest? I like writing novellas, too. I get to tell a concise, comprehensive story yet still reach a wider base. The problem is, I also get distracted. I mean, Book 3 is still chugging along, but I probably could have gotten a lot more done if I’d kept at it instead of sidetracking myself.

Do I regret the sidetracks? No. They’re all going to further my writing career, short though they may be. I mean, I’ve even reached international bestseller status in a matter of weeks just by participating in a novella box set (with another Abnormalverse story, I might add). I just need to find a good balance between work, SCA life, novel writing, and short story/novella writing. And the marketing for all the writing.

It’s still doable, right? I mean, I’m sure there are plenty of authors in the SCA. And, seeing as how authorship does not often equate to extravagant wealth, I’m sure they have day jobs to tend to as well. So there’s theoretically precedent for this being done.

Yeah. I can do this. Long or short, I can keep writing until I have no stories left in me.

I have made one big decision for the Abnormalverse, though: I’ve decided not to make the spin-off series to the original ABNORMAL series a YA series. I just can’t produce good YA material. Every time I try to get started with outlining and mind mapping the series, I get siderailed by things like….what the hell do teenagers do with their lives??? I’ve blacked out most of my teenage years out of self-preservation. I hated being a “young adult.” I like adulthood, where the filters are off and the censorship is minimal. So yeah, the Abnormal Lineage series will be, like ABNORMAL, a NA/A series. Let’s keep the sexyfuntimes while still having a good, solid story. 😉

Of course, I have to finish writing the primary ABNORMAL series first….

…Back to the writing board!

The More You Know…

I thought I didn’t really have any special writing credentials to my name. I’ve written books, sure, but I had no clue that when Whispers of Death reached #6 in the Paranormal-Occult category during its first time on a free promotion, it meant I was an Amazon bestseller. Like, I’ve technically been a bestselling author for years now and only just realized it yesterday! Lol

Why is this important now? Well, for one thing, my dumb ass could’ve been claiming that title the entire time I was trying to market and sell Abnormal! Another reason it’s important is that thanks to the Wicked Souls anthology, I’m now an international bestseller!

Yep, Wicked Souls reached #5 in two of its Canadian categories, so I have that new milestone and new title to my name. Feels kinda cool.

I’m far from “done” though; I’ve still got to keep trying to snag the elusive USA Today or NYT bestseller tag. THOSE are much harder and will require more work on my part.

Speaking of which, I’m not going to achieve that goal by sitting here yawning. Time to grab some coffee and get writing 😉

Something Wicked Is Here (kinda)

The preorder link for Wicked Souls: A Reverse Harem Romance Collection is LIVE!

What does that mean for you? It means you can reserve your box set for only $0.99 on Kindle NOW. This box set has some big names as well as some up-and-comers–like yours truly!

Why am I so excited for this box set? Well, it’s got a great story from the Abnormalverse in it, for one. For another, it’s a great opportunity to spread the Abnormalverse to other realms. Plus, as a bonus, it’s got tons of heat in the form of spicy reverse harem romances!

What is “reverse harem romance,” you may ask. It’s simple: a harem is a man with a group of women, right? Revere harems turn the tide and have the woman in charge of a sexy menagerie of hot men, ready and willing to please.

Reverse harem romance fits with the Abnormalverse because, as anyone who’s read Abnormal can tell you, polyamory is alive and well in the future where Abnormal takes place. This box set was practically begging for an Abnormalverse story, and I was glad to oblige. Wicked Souls is a new home for some familiar Abnormal characters, as well as some new faces.

Pre-order your copy of Wicked Souls today!

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I can’t give up all the juicy details yet, but starting tomorrow, Monday, Dec 2, 2019, I can finally share the project that I’ve been working with my Editor-in-Chief on! As you can see from the graphic, it’s a reverse harem box set, which means there’s going to be all kinds of wicked heat up in here!

I’ll add more tomorrow, once I’m able to share, and you can bet I’ll be ordering for myself!

Keep your eyes peeled both here and in my newsletter to get all the updates. I’ll also be posting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram–everywhere I can!

I’m super excited about this project, and I’m sure you’ll be super excited once you see what’s in store.

When the sun sets, a new dawn beckons

Isn’t sunset beautiful in Arizona? All the pinks and purples and blues…sometimes brilliant oranges or vibrant reds. They’re different from any sunsets I ever saw in Alabama or Ohio.

It makes me think about the future–about what a sunset might look like in the world of Abnormal.

Abnormal’s skies aren’t pretty. They’re dingy and grey and polluted. But what would that do to their sunsets?

I imagine skies afire. I imagine flamelike skylines as the departing sun lights up the atmosphere. I imagine a strange beauty borne of death and destruction.

These are just some of the things I think about when I’m creating the world of Abnormal. What’s the weather like? The atmosphere? What’s the temperature on a sunny summer day? What about winter?

Yeah, the world of Abnormal is bleak and dying. But is it irreparable? That remains to be seen.

World building is not the easiest of things to accomplish. How does one make a world that is believable and familiar, yet far-off and alien?

I’m not gonna lie; it’s hard.

Sometimes I have to go back and reread my work to see if I’m missing anything, some small detail that will have the die-hard readers grumbling. If you haven’t pissed off a fan, have you really written anything?

I’m rambling, I know. I’ve had a bit to drink tonight (the first of four total Thanksgiving celebrations), and I’m tired and still a bit hungry–seeing as how, with my keto diet, I couldn’t eat my usual Thanksgiving fare.

I’ve got more to write on another Abnormalverse story this weekend. I’m about 1/3 of the way through, but I hope I can finish the draft and get it to my co-author to edit by the time the weekend’s done.

Then, hopefully, it’s back to Book 3 for more progress. Hopefully.

Speaking of the Abnormalverse, I’ve created a Facebook group for fans of the series and its offshoots. If you’re interested, or if you’re just a fan of sci-fi and dystopian fiction in general, click here to join the Abnormal Railroad. I’ll be posting memes, sharing articles, and providing updates on any goings-on in sci-fi/dystopia or the Abnormalverse.

It’s just another place for the Abnormalverse to grow and expand. If you’ve read ABNORMAL and enjoyed the story and the characters, join the Abnormal Railroad and see what’s up!

Shooting for the Stars

I’m a dreamer. Always have been. But I’m not as much of a doer. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve been more proactive in seeing my dreams become realities.

The writing that was once a passing hobby now dominates my free time (y’know, those rare times when I don’t have work or SCA stuff going on), and it’s growing and blossoming in a big way. I’ve gone from fixating on one project at a time to managing multiple projects simultaneously, and I will have works coming out in multiple publications next year.

This all makes me happy, but is it enough? I mean, I still need my day job to pay the bills. I can’t just walk into the office, declare myself independently wealthy from my writing, and tell them where to go. No, I have to keep at it. Keep trucking. Keep surviving day to day.

Survival, though, is not enough. I want to thrive. Live life instead of merely existing. So what’s a girl to do about it?

Looking for other work is a possibility–provided I can find something that pays as much as I currently make (or more…more would be nice). It’ll be tough, though, and no guarantees that I will like a new job any more than the one I’m at.

I’ve started updating my resume, but I’m still uncertain of the direction I want to take. Not the direction I’m going, sure, but where to next then? That’s the million dollar question, I guess. First I have to narrow down what options are available to me, then narrow those down to ones that I qualify for. Find the positions… apply…sit and wait.

It’s going to be tough. I know I won’t likely get the first job I apply for, or even the second or third. I could go months without hearing so much as a peep. Something’s got to change for the sake of my mental health, that much I know.

While I contemplate and work towards a better day job, I’ll keep on writing. Who knows? Maybe something will happen that I don’t expect. Something new, something exciting, something extraordinary.

I won’t know for sure until I get off my ass and shoot for the stars.

Swing shift

Ah, mental health days. They come and they go, and sometimes they hit like a freight train to the gut.

Yesterday evening I had one of those moments. I was riding high on a mania brought on by exciting new writing projects and opportunities, including two contracts signed in one day, and then the realization hit me:

I still have to go to my fucking day job.

Yeah, I’m growing and progressing as an author. I’m getting there, slowly. But I’m nowhere in the zip code of “writing for a living.” Nope. Not even on the same continent. Not gonna happen soon, unless something big happens first.

I’ve been at my day job for almost nine years, but it’s stressful and stagnating. I don’t have really much opportunity for growth and change, and sometimes I don’t even have the opportunity to get the training I need to do some of the positions I have there.

Some of you are probably saying, “Well, get another job.” Sure. In a small town. Where jobs are scarce to begin with. Oh, and I can’t afford to take a pay cut, so if whoever is hiring could just pay me what I’m making currently–which is so not minimum wage–that’d be great.

I find myself trying to think of what skills I may have to market, if I decide to look for a new job. I am semi-bilingual, but only in regards to medical Spanish, really, and mostly in regards to the eyes. Conversational Spanish is hard for me to remember, because it’s been so long since high school/early college. I suck at verb tenses. I am organized, a little OCD even, and I am one of those rare nerds who enjoys filling out paperwork. But what could I do with that? I honestly don’t know.

I need a change. Something to be different. This knowledge that I have to go in there five days a week and do the same shit every time is killing me. I’ve been in this routine for the better part of nine years. Sure, it changes on occasion, but not much and not often. It’s a grind, that’s for sure.

I think that’s what caused the depressive episode to slam into me last night. My time, at least 40-ish hours of it a week, is not my own. I can’t make decisions for my time, because I need this job. I need to keep plugging away, keep grinding at it. I can’t stop.

Resentment at my lack of choice is eating me up as well. I hate that I’m stuck, hate that I can’t escape. I know, I know, looking at it as a kind of prison isn’t helping matters.

One of my friends is trying to encourage me to at least give it a try to find another job, but I’m hesitant. Hell, I’m scared. What if I find something and it’s even worse? What if I can’t find anything that pays what I need to make? What if I find something great and lose it somehow (closures, firings, etc)? What if, what if, what if….

Maybe I’ll start with baby steps. Update my resume. At least browse job sites and want ads. Work my way up to actually applying.

I know the statistics in my area aren’t good. I don’t have any government experience, and that’s about the only type of availability in my “price range” that there is around here, without any experience, that is…

But I guess it couldn’t hurt to look.