As the sun rises on 2020, it’s time to set goals

A new year approaches: 2020, the year of the double crit, and it’s time to set some goals and make some plans. 🙂

My primary, short-term goals are more of a “to-do” list than actual goals. I have things piled up from this year that will need to be taken care of before I can take on new things. Here’s my list of “things that are left over from 2019 that I have to finish before the end of February 2020“:

-Write, edit, polish, submit short story to the anthology I’ve joined

-Complete the two Kingdom scrolls I’ve been assigned to do (SCA project)

-Finish my Valkyrie hood so I can fight in it at Estrella (SCA project)

-Full construction and embroidery on a commissioned Viking hood, hopefully before Estrella (SCA project)

-Full construction and embroidery on a Hedeby bag for my husband (SCA project)

-Embroidery commission for some friends (SCA project)

^^ These are things that have to be done. I have set a firm deadline for them, so I’ve gotta follow through.

Then there are some less-deadliney things. These are more the goals/plans that I’m making for the upcoming year:


-Book 2 revisions/marketing/promotion (after back from beta readers–this will have a deadline because, well, publishing lol)

-Two current novellas-in-progress

-Potentially three more novellas (a trilogy)

-Teach more SCA arts classes

-Learn more SCA/medieval arts

-Get back into rapier fighting (now that I’ve lost enough weight that I feel comfortable fighting again–when I’m off restrictions, that is)

-Recertification for work

-Take better care of my mental health (and start asserting myself in those times where I normally back down and give in)

-Read more books

-Continue to build my social media presence as an author and build my brand

-Do more SCA (and mundane) sewing/embroidery/arts for myself and my husband

-Continue with my keto diet and weight loss, adding exercise as tolerated (once I’m off restrictions from my podiatrist)

-Work more with my co-author on our horror novel to get the first draft of that finished and in the editing process

This is by no means a comprehensive list, because, frankly, I haven’t thought about it that much yet. I’ve got so many things in the first list to get finished that I haven’t activated my “2020 vision.” Lol

But wait! 2020 isn’t just the start of a new year–it’s the start of a new decade. So, then, I’ve got 10 years’ worth of goals to devise. Let’s see what I can come up with here:

-Complete the 5-book ABNORMAL series and start on the ABNORMAL LINEAGE spin-off series

-Continue to take advantage of writing opportunities to participate in box sets/anthologies and grow as an author

-Expand body of written works to include more genres/standalones/etc

-Find an effective way to save money for attending conventions/book signings as an author–and then attend more signings and conventions 😉

-Strive to achieve Laurelhood before 2030 (which is, oddly enough, both within my ability to achieve and totally beyond my control haha)

-Work on overcoming (or at least adapting to) my social anxiety to where I can function better at social events, like conventions or SCA events

-Continue building an author network

-Learn more about generating graphics for book covers, book marketing, and other things

-Maintain the weight I’ve lost, get to a healthy weight, and try to find an exercise plan that works for my lifestyle

-Learn how to pattern more complex clothing (Viking I can do, but that’s too easy–I want to learn the concepts behind patterning that get me from measurements to finished garment without necessarily needing a manufactured pattern)

-Accept my grey hairs wholeheartedly

-Find a better balance between work/home/SCA/writing that encompasses all the things I need to do as well as all the things I want to do as well as omitting the things I don’t want to do lol

-Take more vacations

-Make my health a higher priority, in as much as it comes to calling out when I’m sick and not trying to “soldier on,” taking time off when it’s physically or mentally needed, and recognizing when I’m taking on too many projects for my mind and body to handle

It’s a tall order, but these are my goals for the next two months, the next year, and the next ten years. Note that I’m calling them “goals” instead of “resolutions.” I make the distinction because I’m not “resolving” to change things, but rather setting what I hope are realistic goals that will improve my writing career, further my SCA learning/experience, and keep me mentally sound through it all.

2020 is just another year, but at the same time it’s not. As long as I make an effort to do the things I want to do in the coming year/decade, 2020 is whatever I make of it. 🙂

Taking over

Today marks my first time doing an author takeover for a Facebook book-release event. I was a little apprehensive about what kind of content to post to get the attendees revved up about my new friend’s book, but then I started reading a copy and, wouldn’t ya know, she’s got a character named Eli, too! I thought it was so funny that I immediately came up with a game/contest to run during my hour of “screen time”: Who Said It: Eli or Eli?

I’ve still got Abnormal bookmarks left over from Tucson Comic Con, as well as a few copies of Abnormal, so I’ll give away a few bookmarks and a signed copy of the book for those who participate. It was fun searching the two books for quotes that could potentially have come from either Eli. 

My time for the takeover isn’t for a few hours still, but I have my posts scheduled and a lot of stuff to do around the house, so I don’t mind the wait. I will have to set a timer so I can interact and live-post in between scheduled posts…I’m likely to get caught up in laundry or cleaning or sewing and forget! Lol

I have that kind of wound-up, keyed-up, pent-up feeling right now…like I need to do something totally unnecessary. I want to sew something new; I might do that. I kinda need new fingerless gloves for keeping the ol’ hands warm (yet still giving me that all-important phone access). They might come in hand-y at Estrella, too, even though they’re not period. They’ll work when I’m out of garb and still freezing. 😉

Yeah, I think I’ll do that. Or make a bag/purse of some sort. Or…or…or…

Hmm…maybe I’m a tad manic…

What a difference a year makes

A lot can happen in a year. You can move, change jobs, cut your hair, gain weight, lose weight, start a new diet…

…You can sign with a publishing company…

That’s right: it’s been a year since I signed with RhetAskew Publishing! What a whirlwind of a year it’s been, too! Edits and revisions and frustration and a trailer and marketing and promotion and cover concepts and decisions and book launch and signings and Tucson Comic Con–whew! Now my second book is in the hands of the great people at RhetAskew, and I can’t wait for my next round of edits–and my next year of publishing.

The whole thing is still pretty surreal. I mean, I have a published book. In bookstores. Online. At a con. I have a sequel in the works. A series in the works.

I wonder what the next year will bring… The sequel, of course. More cons? Maybe, maybe not. Tucson Comic Con was close to being worth it, financially speaking, but not quite. I still have books in the back of my car that I need to sell. There’s a smaller local con in February that I need to talk to my husband about. It’s much cheaper than TCC, and it’s close to home, but I don’t know if the logistics would work out. 

There’s also the possibility of another TCC. I’ll get an offer of the same table rate as this year because I was already a vendor, but again, it’s a matter of logistics. I want to try to get into TusCon, which is a sci-fi-specific con, but I’m afraid to even check the prices on tables for that. It’s gotta be more expensive than TCC was. Still, it would be a good opportunity. Hmm…

I still gotta work. Still gotta do all the things. Laundry, grocery shopping, bills, etc. Life’s not going to become all sunshine and roses and unicorn farts just because I’m signed with a publisher. It would be nice if things worked that way, but nope. Not quite. Lol

RhetAskew has been great to me this past year. They give great advice, and they listen to their authors. I don’t really feel that I had to really sacrifice anything to get Abnormal published. The book is great. The cover’s great. RhetAskew really does whatever they can for the author. They even give marketing and promotional advice–something I would have been lost on before!

I suppose I should get back to Book 2 before I have to go to work. I’m a little bit stuck, but I’ve made progress in the last week or two. Not as much progress as I’d like to make, but progress is progress. Who knows? Maybe next year I can add “NYT bestseller” to my list of annual accomplishments…Lol


Now that the con is over, I have to focus on Book 2 again. I did some figuring, and overall I made a few hundred bucks at the con selling books. Not quite enough to fully cover what I paid for the books, and definitely not enough to make up for the money I spent on the table reservation for the con itself, but enough that I’m quite happy with it.

Will I go next year? I’d like to. I’d like to go to TusCon, which is a sci-fi-centric con, and I might even like to do a small con at the local community college. That one would be cheaper than Tucson Comic Con was for a table, and I’d hit that sweet college student market. I know some college students, especially the kind who would attend the con, like to read. Voraciously. And a New Adult sci-fi/dystopian novel would hit the college market nicely, I think. We’ll see. I have to discuss with the hubby before I commit to anything on that end.

Phoenix Comicon–er, I mean Phoenix Fan Fusion–is probably not going to happen. Tucson Comic Con just wasn’t profitable enough, and PFF is more expensive and harder to get into. No, it’ll be a few years before I can get in there.

I started back on Book 2 revisions this morning, but it’s an early day at work today, so I didn’t get much done. A few lines, enough to move the story along a bit and get me some momentum for later on, but definitely will need to zero in on that here now.

I’m very excited for Book 2 now that more people are reading Abnormal. Maybe I’ll gain a new fanbase–I certainly had enough middle-aged and older men buying the book this past weekend. And at least one eighty-something grandma. I hope she doesn’t get a heart attack reading the racy bits…I kinda didn’t warn her about them. I mean, I didn’t even think about it until she was walking off with book in hand. Eh, I’m sure it’s nothing she hasn’t read before. I hope.

Speaking of new fanbase…I’ve really got to get back in the habit of reaching out to book bloggers and other influencers every day. I have been slacking on that as of late, and I can’t just leave it to the publisher; they’ve got a lot of new projects on their plate, so I need to pull my considerable weight and get more eyes on Abnormal

That will have to wait until at least tomorrow, though. Today I have to work. Silly day job, paying the bills and all that.

It’s the end of the Con as I know it

Well, the con is over. The end. Finit. And though I didn’t sell out of books, I did pretty well for a first-time con vending author. 

The bookmarks were a bust, but I sold 2/3 of the books I brought. Out of the thirty five I brought, there are twelve left. Not too shabby.

I learned some things. I learned that maybe I should have just gone with the book and not tried making an add-on item to sell. I learned how to talk to potential customers in an engaging manner. And I leaned that when a person says they’ll come back to your table…. they’re not coming back. Lol

Waiting on a friend to meet me and my husband for dinner before we head home. It was a fun weekend overall, but I miss my bed and my kitties. Rory and River will be glad to see us.

Will I do another con in the future? Maybe. If I take what I learned from this con, maybe I can rock the next one.

Maybe next year I can have both Abnormal and the sequel at the table. Sell two books at once.


Con Log: Day 2

So today went much better than yesterday. I sold nine books at the con, which I think is not too bad for an unknown author her first time vending.

Wore the top hat that’s on the book jacket, and people seemed to like it. I got more comfortable with my pitch to customers as the day went on, and I’m hoping tomorrow brings those wait-til-the-last-day-of-con-to-make-purchases shoppers. You know, the ones who asked if I would be there all weekend. The ones who said they’d come back. Those shoppers.

As before, I end the day exhausted, but in better spirits than yesterday. Tomorrow we’ll see how I end the con, and we’ll see what we can learn from how this one went.

Con Log: Day 1

Well, the first day of the con (technically it was only 5 hours of active “selling” time, but still) is over, and I had a…well, I don’t know if it was mediocre or subpar or what, because it’s my first con as a vendor. I sold a few books, but I’m hoping tomorrow (Saturday) is a better day. I was told by some other vendors and some con staff that Saturdays are usually busier at this event.

Here’s a pic of my setup:

I might mess around with it a bit tomorrow and try to make it more appealing. I mean, it looks neat and all, but…I just feel there could be “more.”

If you were an attendee today and you picked up a flyer, Hi! Hope to see you back at the table tomorrow or Sunday (maybe to buy a book?…..) Forgot who I was? Here’s me earlier today:

It took me seven tries to get this to upload upright and stay put. I think that’s a sign it’s bedtime. Goodnight, all, and I hope to see you on the morrow!


The time has almost come! After work today, my husband and I will leave for Tucson, and in the morning we’ll get up bright and early to go over to Tucson Comic Con and set up our table.

The Con Jitters hit me just last night.

I was fine. Honestly, I was. I was excited but prepared. Business licenses procured, books procured, bookmarks made, PayPal reader set up, etc….but as I was printing flyers and what have you last night I started to get that THUMP-THUMP-THUMP-THUMP in my chest that indicated the start of anxiety. I’m not entirely sure why I’m so anxious. I have almost everything I will need. The only thing I’m really missing is cash and change, and that I can have the hubby grab from a bank before the exhibitor hall opens to the public.

Booth setup shouldn’t be too long. I just have books, bookmarks, and some signs. Small, 8.5″ x 11″ signs, that I can either tape or pin to the tablecloth. I’m a little worried that the tape I’m bringing won’t be strong enough, but it’s what I have, and to be honest I could probably just set the signs down on the table and be fine. Still, I’d like to affix them to the tablecloth somehow to get them to stay put. But safety pins are packed. Tape is packed.

I’ve got an apron for keeping my phone, PayPal reader, and markers close at hand. I’ve got receipt books (for whoever might actually want a receipt, though the days of the written receipt are going by the wayside). I’ve got a notebook to jot down any notes that I haven’t already thought of, with my Tucson business license info and the TCC exhibitor packet and some sundry other items in it.

I’ll have my laptop Friday and Sunday, and while my husband has it at an SCA event Saturday I’ll have his tablet. Why the laptop and tablet, you may ask? Well, someone gave me the brilliant idea to have my book trailer playing at the table. To conserve battery I might not have it on a continuous loop, but I can at least pop it on for those who might be interested in the book but are iffy on buying it. 

Books. I have books. I have bookmarks. I have a tablecloth. I’ll have a portable battery for making sure my devices stay charged. I have embroidery to do that I can use to keep myself occupied if things get slow, so I don’t waste battery power on playing with my phone. I have sell sheets and author info flyers. I have my clothes for the weekend packed and ready to go in the car.

I’ve got all this stuff…so why am I not feeling ready? Why am I so anxious over the whole thing?

Anxiety’s a bitch. She gets you all worked up but doesn’t tell you why she’s got you all worked up, and she doesn’t follow the rules of logic. If I’m pretty much ready for the con, why am I anxious? Who knows. Maybe once I clean out the car and pack it I’ll be better off.

Who am I kidding? I’ll be nervous until the con’s well and truly started. Lol

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. 🙂

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!