So I was messing around with settings on this site the other day when I noticed something: There’s a freaking way to add Kindle links to the site!!!
Yeah, I’m late to the party, but you can now buy either of my novels on Kindle through this website. Pretty snazzy, eh? While I was doing that, I updated some of the graphics I had on there to make them more eye-catching (and to take off the bit about fencing in my brief bio at the bottom–Until I lose some of this weight, I don’t feel right claiming I fence when I haven’t in months).
Once the webcast gets underway, I’ll add links to the episodes on the Muses and Murderers page on this site. As of right now, my co-host Angelique Jordonna and I have a brief “intro” episode planned to give viewers an idea of what to expect from the show–and to give me a chance to get used to editing and such after we record. Lol Seeing as how I have zero experience with that, I felt it was a necessity.
Basically, keep your eyes peeled, ladies and gents and nonbinaries. I plan on keeping my site as up-to-date as possible, and my hope is that I’ll have a new Kindle link to add by early next year. Speaking of which, I’d better get cracking on those revisions! They’re not going to do themselves. Lol
Neat shades, huh? I got a HUGE discount on them, and all I have to do is pimp the product. How did I get to be a brand ambassador for http://www.noranyc.com? Well, it all started with a simple selfie….
It was a good hair day. Brows on point, skin behaving (for once)…so I posted on Instagram. Later that day, I had a comment on the photo offering to make me a brand ambassador for NoraNYC sunglasses.
I’ll admit, at first I was skeptical. I mean, that stuff doesn’t happen in real life, right? So I checked into it. Read the contract they offered. Screenshotted the contract and showed a friend with a degree in marketing.
Y’all–it’s a thing. A real thing.
Now, while I got a discount on my sunglasses, I didn’t get them for free. This isn’t some something-for-nothing deal. But the shades are nice, they look cool, and they’re great in the Arizona sun. Bonus to the whole thing: I can give my friends, family, and followers a discount, too. (Check out my home page for the coupon code.)
I guess this means I have to order more contacts, huh? Lol I mean, I can’t exactly drive in these shades without contacts, and my glasses underneath the sunglasses would just look silly. 😉 I think I can handle that, though. Contacts aren’t too bad, especially since my dry eyes are more under control. And the optometrist at work tweaked my Rx so I can wear my contacts more often and not need those granny readers as much for up close stuff. Win-win.
So, in closing, NoraNYC sunglasses are pretty awesome. I get to feel like a big-shot celeb in them, and I get to share the wealth by sharing my coupon code.
What’s next? I don’t know. I want to see how well this works out first. Apparently brand ambassadorship is a thing now, what with social media being the “in” thing. But seriously, go to my home page, check out the coupon code on the image, and go to NoraNYC to get some sweet shades!
I love when I get unstuck in a WIP that I’ve been stalled on for months.
Here’s what happened: I was doing a streaming podcast called “Writer Imperfect” (www.twitch.tv/roberstonwrites), and the discussion turned to a subject that kind of jump-started the ol’ brain into motion. Now, I haven’t written anything new yet, but soon I’ll be opening that file and getting down to business.
I knew that Book 3 was falling flat, big-time, and I knew I needed to shake things up somehow while still fitting with the story. Then that conversation got my gears moving, and I know now how to change the story to fit what now is going to happen.
First off, I have to go back and find where to make the shift. Then, I have to rewrite the parts that need it. Then I have to weave those rewritten parts into the existing parts to make it all fit. It’s doable, and I think it’ll make the story richer when it’s done. I just have to, y’know, do the work. Lol
Having a new direction for the story is a great feeling, especially when I was stagnant for so long. I had a major depressive episode that affected pretty much all aspects of my life, and I’m only just now crawling up out of the muck to get situated and reorient myself to being on an even keel. I’m posting on Instagram more, interacting more on Twitter, and trying to get myself balanced before I dive into anything more involved.
I know my publisher is probably ready to strangle me for not marketing/branding like she wants me to. I just…can’t right now. Every time I even look at their marketing plan posts I get anxiety, and that’s no way to live. I’m trying to get myself out of the ditch, not dig myself deeper.
For now, though, I need to rest. Spent the morning cleaning house for a guest who ended up not coming over, so I am a little tired. Also, I can’t remember if I took my pills this morning and don’t want to take too many, so I guess I won’t fight the nap. Lol When I wake up, though–it’s on!
They say to count your blessings, right? I think I kinda forgot that for a bit.
Here’s what the deal is: my publisher is on this marketing/branding/selling kick lately, and with me already working a full-time job plus having other “non-writing life” obligations, it’s stressful how much they’re pushing it. Like, I already try to spend any waking non-work/non-SCA/non-sleeping hours writing, being active on Twitter, making Instagram posts, sharing links, etc., and for them to pushpushpush like they are, it’s getting to me. Can’t get blood from a turnip or something, right?
But I forgot. Sorry.
I mean, yeah, it’s stressful, but I guess in their own way they’re trying to help. My brain just isn’t wired to accept the pushing for the nudging and encouragement it’s meant to be. My whole life, whenever I’ve been pushed I’ve “pushed back” in the form of passive resistance. Basically, you push me, I dig in and shut down. My personality doesn’t dig it.
I know I should be grateful. I should be thanking the Gods that my publisher came to me and said they wanted to publish Abnormal. They saw potential, and I shouldn’t take that for granted.
But damn, I just keep forgetting.
Now, I’m not saying that for them to push in the way they are is okay by my book, but I do need to slow my roll on the bitching and get over the initial knee-jerk reaction that I have to it. They’re trying to teach strategies; my learning style just doesn’t jive with their teaching style, and I think I need to have a (level-headed) talk with one or more of them about how I would best benefit from what they have to teach. I’m sure that we can put our heads together and figure out the method of encouragement that would work best for me.
Yeah. That’s what I need to do. Talk. Not bitch. Count my blessings. Show gratitude, not attitude. (Cheesy, I know, but it is what it is.)
Well, right now, in my mind, the little things apparently matter–in a big way. I’m talking about all the little things that people say that might be well-intended but get skewed in perception.
Here’s the thing: I commented on a post in the writing group I’m part of. Big mistake. Really big mistake.
The OP (original poster) was talking about how if you want to be a best-selling author you need to think like a best-selling author and treat your writing like the job it is. Okay. Fine. But what about the job I have that pays the bills? What about the few real-life friends I have? What about my physical and mental exhaustion? Did the OP have any advice for me on that?
Not really. I was basically told that, since the SCA is not 100% necessary (like the job obviously is) I need to reevaluate my commitments to it (and, of course, the people in it). Okay. I kinda get that, but the OP fails to realize that the SCA is my only source of real-life friends outside of the one or two friends I have at work. So….to succeed I need to give up having friends?
Yeah, that’s how my brain works. But that’s not the best part. It gets better.
The OP also told me to “schedule” writing time and “prioritize” it. Okay. But I kind of already do that. Unless I have an urgent embroidery project (oops! there’s that pesky SCA thing again), my insomniac mornings are spent on writing, editing, and marketing my writing through social media interactions. So, yeah, I schedule writing time in a manner of speaking. I prioritize it by choosing that over trying in vain to go back to sleep. I spend hours on this. Almost every day. Probably cumulatively more time than I spend at work, when I think about it. I can easily be awake for 5-6+ hours in the morning before getting ready for the day job, and I spend a lot of weekend free time on writing as well. Hell, sometimes I sneak a little modern day into the SCA events by using my phone for Twitter interactions and Instagramming and yeah, I even bring my laptop on camping events so I can hotspot my phone and–you guessed it!–work on writing, editing, and marketing.
But my brain’s not done yet. No sirree. My brain had to tell me that the OP was singling me out. He had to have been picking on me. Insulting me. Telling me that I will fail if I don’t do the things the way he says to do them. That’s what my brain got out of that.
So that’s the worst of it, right? I got over it, calmed down, recentered my perception and got out of my own way?
Nope. I went full-on psycho paranoid ultrasensitive bitch.
I worded my response carefully, or so I thought. I didn’t bite back, even though I felt attacked. I kept it calm. Or did I…..?
Guess not, because the next day, the OP wrote another inspirational/motivational/well-intended post, this time about excuses.
Oh, shit. There goes my mind again.
Clearly he’s writing about me. Clearly he’s targeting me in this verbal assault. I’m obviously the sole inspiration for this outrageous insult. When I was asking for advice on how to deal with all that’s going on in my life, I was obviously making excuses and thus the new post was born.
I’m trying to tell myself it’s not personal. Or at least, if it is personal, it’s meant to help not harm. I am trying.
Oh, shit again. There I go. Using “try.” (The OP also posted about taking “try” out of one’s vocabulary today. Yeah. Today was a two-fer.)
I’d say that it’s a neurochemical shitstorm (ooh! I like that phrase–sounds better than “off my rocker”) in my brain right now, what with the medicine that helps me de-stress and not think this way being denied by my insurance, but I don’t even know where mind and matter separate at the moment. I don’t know where the line is. I don’t even know if there’s a line anymore. My mind is twisting everything I read to be an affront against my person, and I don’t know how to stop it.
I was better in my outward reaction today. I bitched to one or two people privately, but I didn’t comment on his posts. I kept my fat mouth shut. What does it matter, anyway? He’ll just twist my words around to make everything that’s wrong with my life my fault and I’ll feel even shittier than I already do. Best to leave it alone.
One of these days–maybe not soonish, but some day–I’ll even out. I’ll stop taking every little thing personally. Until then, though, I’d better retreat. Back into the shell you go, personality. Back in there before you screw something else up.
It’s funny how the little things can get you more anxious than the big things.
I’m talking about short stories versus novels. With my novels, I usually take more time to fine-tune them and make sure they’re publishing-ready. Short stories, though? Most of the time I just type ’em out, give ’em a once-over for typos and flow, then throw ’em up on this blog.
This time, though, I’m going to be submitting to my publisher for a place in their next anthology. The theme (legends) fits with a new set of characters in Escape the Light, so it’s the perfect opportunity to get the world of Abnormal out to a wider audience.
I’ve never submitted a short story for publication before. I’ve never gone through the editing and beta reading process, never spent more than a couple of hours on a short piece. Not that I don’t care how my short stories turn out, but it’s a different feeling when it’s for publication. I feel more pressure to do it “right.”
Am I worried? A little. But I’m taking the necessary steps to make my story as perfect as it can be. I’ve got a few more beta readers’ feedback to go through, and I want to get someone to do a proper edit on it.
I think it’ll do well. I think it’ll get published. But I’m still nervous about it.
It started with a plan. Well, part of a plan. Thirty percent of a plan.
You see, it was early in the morning–pre-dawn early–and I was bored. I didn’t want to work on embroidery and I didn’t want to transcribe what I’d handwritten at Estrella into the computer. So I did the next logical creative thing I could think of: I asked Twitter for a prompt.
I didn’t want just any prompt. I didn’t want to go to Pinterest and pick one, or Google “writing prompts” and see what came up. I didn’t want to pick and choose what I used to spread my creative wings; I wanted something 100% unexpected.
Twitter did not disappoint. Within the hour, I had an interesting prompt that sparked a full flash fiction piece, and the results were amazing. My Twitter impressions went from their usual couple hundred per active hour to over a thousand. I gained a few new followers, and I wrote something that people enjoyed. Win-win.
I got bored again this morning, and once again I asked the Twitterverse for a prompt. Again I received one, and again I wrote a story that was well-received.
I’m going to try it again soon–maybe not tomorrow, maybe not the next day, but soon, and I’ll maybe make it a weekly or semi-weekly thing. I like that I’m totally at the mercy of the #WritingCommunity followers on Twitter, and I have no clue what prompt will come my way. Will it be something that inspires horror? Action? Suspense? Romance? Who knows! That’s the fun!
My Editor-in-Chief slash mentor loves the idea, and she loves that I managed to get some new traction going on my own accord. Now I have to keep that momentum going. But will the third time be a charm, or will it flop?
Only time will tell. I can’t write every genre well. There are going to be times when people say “Meh.” But I can try, and I can do my best. That’s what matters in this test of my writing skills: what I can do with a first draft based off a prompt from a random stranger.
It’s 0432, and I’m at a friend’s house for the night, waiting for my husband to wake up so we can go the rest of the way home. So what’s an insomniac to do but write?
I tried to take a writing break during Estrella War, but my story started speaking to me again, and I couldn’t ignore it. This is after weeks of little to no progress on Book 3, so I’m glad the Muses decided to become chatty. Still, hand writing when you’ve pulled a muscle in your back (on your dominant side) isn’t exactly fun. I’ve already called out from work–well, texted out, I should say–and I foresee a heating pad in my future once I’m home… Possibly a doctor’s appointment. Depends on how much worse it gets. At the moment, I really don’t want to yawn, as I discovered last night that breathing too deep causes pain in the pulled muscle.
My feet hurt, too, as well as my legs, but it’s more of an ache from overuse of muscles that I’m not accustomed to using. You’d be surprised how many new muscle groups you will discover when you have to sludge through half a foot of thick, slippery mud for days on end. It actually got to the point where walking on dry land felt unnatural.
I’ve been tasked by my publisher’s publicist to find and book no less than three (preferably five) podcast appearances by mid March. I’ve had terrible luck getting responses, so that’s another thing I’m going to have to do once my laptop is unburied from the mess that is our car. I’ve enlisted the help of Twitter, whose #writingcommunity hashtag is a wealth of help and knowledge for newer authors like me, but I’m still going to do the “legwork” of searching podcast apps and contacting shows. It’s going to take a lot of my time, but I know it’s for my own good. I need to keep promoting ABNORMAL even though I’m working simultaneously on ESCAPE THE LIGHT and Book 3. An author’s work is never done, I guess.
I’ll be glad to get home. I miss my cats, miss my shower, miss my bed. I miss my house, my comfy couch, and all the things that I couldn’t take with to Estrella.
I wish that I had ventured out from camp more during the War. I was so miserable that I didn’t make enough of an effort to see friends that I rarely get to see or even to meet new friends. To my SCAdian friends, I apologize for not having much of a presence this War. I’d promise to make more events or something, but I’m still not sure what my mental state is following this “break” from work. I feel somewhat refreshed in the sense that, aside from a few frantic texts, I haven’t had to think about work in a week. However, that little twitch in my right lower eyelid is still there, and I still don’t know how I feel about getting back into attending more SCA events. I want to keep active, but I also need to take my mental health into consideration. That being said, I got some of the best hugs this past week, much needed and sorely missed.
I started the end of my royal embroidery project today. Granted, the “end” means two full hems that need to be embroidered, but….eh, details.
On the bright side, due to me being unable to math at 0400 this morning, the horse head designs that I’m stitching will have to be spaced out more to make it even….thus making fewer heads to stitch and saving me time in the long run. That wasn’t my intent, but the hems will still look good once they’re finished. Lucky for me I realized my error quickly, before I got too far into the design to take out what I’d done.
Lesson learned: Measure twice, add/subtract/multiply/divide twice, then place the design on the fabric and put on the hoop.
So, instead of stitching two dozen 3.5″ x 4.5″ knotwork horse heads, I’m stitching 16 of them. Thank the Gods for the Tim Gunn method of design: “Make it work.” (At least I didn’t have to use the Bob Ross method and turn my mistakes into birds. Wrong monarchs.)
I should be packing. Or doing laundry. Or something else. I’m of a one-track mind right now, though, so embroidery it is. Writing and the like will have to wait until later.
Oh! Speaking of writing–I’m being interviewed by my publisher, RhetAskew Publishing, on Twitter this evening. They’ve been doing a series of interviews with their authors, but due to my work schedule this is my first time being able to participate. 8PM PST, on the RhetAskew Twitter feed! (Or follow me @AJMullican–I’ll be tagged of course in the interview.) It’s kind of weird getting interviewed when just a couple years ago I was doing the interviewing of people. Strange how things come full circle.
Next week is Estrella War, the biggest SCA war in this area of the country, and I have a lot to do still before we leave on Wednesday.
I have to repair a couple pieces of garb. I have to keep working on the embroidery for the King and Queen. I have to mentally prepare for the embroidery classes I’m going to teach (the actual physical prep is pretty much done). I have to do laundry. I have to pack my garb and any mundane clothes I want to bring. I have to pick up the Viking coat that my fencing teacher made for me.
I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I can think of right now. So despite the fact that after today I’m off work until the War is over, I’m still going to be quite busy.
I’m hoping to get a good start on the hem embroidery for Their Majesties by the end of the weekend. It should go quicker than the cuffs did, despite the additional details. I’m hoping. Fingers crossed. Lol
Even with War going on, I’ll have the good ol’ laptop handy to tap-tap-tap away whenever I have some free time. I’m not going to let my early a.m. insomnia go to waste just because I’m at an event! No, I’m going to keep busy with writing and editing in the wee hours while there’s not enough light to embroider by. Y’all can’t get rid of me that easily. 😉
I’ve added a subscription option to this page, as well as a newsletter that will be going out on a semi-regular basis. I’ll have tidbits about the projects I’m working on, links to blog posts, and other fun stuff. Keeping up with that should prove interesting, but I think if I set myself reminders on my Google calendar or something I’ll be okay.
Well, off to do war-like stuff now. Or embroidery. Or loading the dishwasher. Whatever my happy little butt decides to do. Lol