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. ūüôā

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:

-FINISH FIRST DRAFT ON BOOK 3

-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 ūüėČ

-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. ūüôā

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!

Coming soon to audiobook: Abnormal!

Good news, everyone! ABNORMAL is coming to audiobook–soon! Missed out on this fast-paced sci-fi/dystopian novel because you just don’t have time to read a physical or digital copy? No sweat. You’ll be able to listen to the story soon. ūüôā

Even better: I need reviewers! Send a message/email (here or on one of my social media pages), and I can put you on our reviewer list. What does that mean? It means as soon as I know the release date, you’ll know…and possibly some other fun stuff ūüėČ

ABNORMAL’s journey has been incredible, and I can’t wait for more people to have access to this story of action, survival, love, and loss.

In what has been described as Push meets Blade Runner, Abnormal takes place in a future where genetic Gifts are treasured and revered–unless you’re poor. For the lower classes, any genetic “abnormalities” discovered before birth are terminated by government mandate. Clare, an Abnormal whose mother managed to evade the genescans, must keep a low profile or risk being sent to an internment camp.¬†When two Gifted men stalk and assault her, she kills them in self defense. Too bad their parents are on the Council. Now Clare is on the run and must keep one step ahead of the Squads.

I’m still hard at work on the third installment of the series, and the sequel is with the publisher. This new milestone in ABNORMAL’s life is exciting, and I can’t wait to hear it for myself.

Piloting without a manual

Remember that webcast/podcast idea I talked about a few months back? No? Well, I don’t blame you. I haven’t really been talking about it, because the logistics were a nightmare, but now…

…Now we have our pilot episode recorded and aired! That’s right, Muses and Murderers podcast (the webcast/video portion is on hold until I get a better setup) is officially started. It had some hiccups, it had some bumps, it had some awkward silences, but it’s live and ready to listen to!

I learned quite a bit in the process as we winged it today with a three-way call, a voice recording app, and a slew of other apps to make the recording work for sharing to a podcast app. Apps. Have I said “apps” enough? After today’s session, I know a few steps I can use to shorten the time and process from recording to publication, so that’s good. Because three hours to get a less-than-hour-long episode aired is a bit much. Lol

One thing that I’m grateful for as I went through the interview today was my experiences with Talk Nerdy With Us. Those phone interviews when I was with them made me more comfortable with the interview process today. I’ve listened through the whole podcast, and it sounds pretty good for a first time thing. I mean, I’ve interviewed people over the phone on behalf of Talk Nerdy and I’ve been on podcasts and webcasts, but this was my first time “running the show,” so it was an interesting experience.

First interview down, many, many still to set up and record. I’m hoping to get some done next weekend, now that I know how it will go and how to get it done. I’ll get some emails out in the coming days, set up some taping times….but I’m feeling much better about it.

We’re gonna do this thing.

We’re gonna do awesome things with this thing.

Very shortly

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.

Special Delivery

It’s official: Book 2, a.k.a. ESCAPE THE LIGHT, has a signed contract with RhetAskew Publishing!

Okay, so I knew it was coming. It actually technically should have come a few weeks ago, but due to email issues I wasn’t getting it. Now, though, the balls are rolling and things are in the works. It’s happening–really happening. Er, again. Lol I wonder if the excitement will ever wear off…y’know, like one day I’ll open the email and be like, oh, yeah, another one. I hope not. I’d like to think I won’t become so full of myself as to just automatically assume I’ll get a contract for whatever I write. As for right now, I feel like..

Yep–I feel like I just scored an imaginary touchdown in a mental institution. Lol It’s okay though. This mental institution is a pretty cool place to be. I’m in good company. And look! The other patients are celebrating with me!

Seriously though, it’s a thrill to sign and know that the next book will be in my hands, er, eventually. It’s still got to go through Creative Development edits, revisions, line edits, revisions, more edits and revisions, et cetera. But it’s coming, and it’s mine, and it’ll be awesome.

Harp, the Herald Angels Sing

Harper Williams had survived a lot: Abuse at the hands of her favorite uncle, rape and torture inside the camp at Kensington, the loss of her eyesight, and, most important of all, the loss of her lover Clare.

Born Harper Lee Revenant, Harper grew up in the heart of Heaven’s Light. She got her Sniper eyesight from both her parents, but her olive skin, turquoise eyes, and raven hair came from various gene donors, hand-picked at her mother’s insistence. These qualities enticed her pedophile uncle when she was a young girl, and the resulting psychological trauma left her with a hunger that couldn’t be sated. This hunger caused a rift between Harper and her boyfriend Eli, a rift that turned into a painful chasm–until Clare came into their lives.

For Harper, Clare was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant situation. Exiled from Heaven’s Light as a teenager, Harper found refuge with the roaming camps of Abnormals known as the Dead Cities. There she met Eli, but her nymphomania eventually pushed him away. Clare, a bipoly Abnormal that Eli had rescued from Heaven’s Light after two Gifted assailants nearly killed her, was everything Harper needed: strong and fierce, intelligent and intuitive, bold yet timid, all rolled into one tight, tiny package of sex and love. Through their mutual love of Clare, Harper and Eli’s rift was mended, and the three of them became inseparable.

Inseparable, that is, until they were ripped away from each other at Kensington.

The torture at Kensington was unbearable. The red-hot pokers that took her eyes, the broken bones, the gang rape that seemed unending–Harper wished for death more than anything then. Clare, with that brilliant, powerful mind of hers, found Harper and talked her back from the edge of the abyss. She joined their minds with Eli’s and drifted Harper off into a coma, a blissful nothingness that ended her suffering while Clare figured out a way to escape.

Or so she said.

While Harper slept, Clare–unbeknownst to Eli–struck a bargain with the Devil incarnate, Ezekiel Howard, the head of the Council. She made a dead for Harper and Eli to be healed and released, on one condition: Clare would go with Ezekiel back to Heaven’s Light.

Clare woke Harper from the coma with a kiss, and for a moment Harper thought everything would be okay. She was healed, save for the ocular implants that needed to be calibrated to her body, and Clare was with her.

Then Clare left.

She left. She left Harper alone and frightened, and she left of her own accord.

Harper and Eli were released once their injuries had been repaired, and Eli hurried them back to the Dead City before Ezekiel changed his mind. Eli was distant during this time, his easy-going personality replaced with a hardened, broken man. He stayed with Harper throughout her recovery and helped her adjust to her new way of seeing.

Harper wished he had left her alone. Without Clare, she didn’t much want to go on. She trudged through the days and nights in a haze, daydreaming about her lost love and hoping that she’d return. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, and after two months with no word from Clare, Harper gave in to her demons.

Eli found her and took her to a medic, and to Harper’s dismay she woke up very much not dead. She’d been hoping to an end to the pain, but instead she wound up with deep scarring on her wrists that even the medics couldn’t fully repair.

Her dark life was brightened, however, when the medics gave her the happiest news of her life: Harper was pregnant.

Harper didn’t believe in any God; she didn’t believe in angels and Heaven. But one thing she was certain of: this was a miracle.

No longer feeling so alone, Harper threw herself into the pregnancy with a joy that was unsurpassed by anything else in her life–with the exception of Clare. She longed to share the news with Clare, to tell her that she was going to be a stepmother, to let Clare help name the baby girl. Instead, she busied herself with preparing the home she shared with Eli for the new arrival, fixing up the nursery and painting the walls the best she could with her artificial eyesight.

Eli’s mood brightened as well with the news, and he proposed to Harper on her birthday. Harper squealed with joy and threw her arms around Eli’s strong neck as she accepted.

Finally, she thought, I get to have a family.

There were still nights where Harper stayed up well past the time Eli retired, where she gazed out the window of the abandoned suburban home where they’d taken up residence and wondered what life would have been like if Clare hadn’t left.

One day, she told herself.

One¬†day,¬†Clare,¬†I’ll¬†find¬†you¬†again.¬†I’ll¬†take¬†you¬†away¬†from¬†there,¬†away¬†from¬†the¬†Light¬†and¬†back¬†into¬†my¬†arms,¬†where¬†you¬†belong.

‘Tis the Season for Last-Minute Purchases

It’s the 18th of December. Even for Amazon purchases, time is ticking down to buy those last-minute gifts for your friends and loved ones.

Have no fear, though!¬†Abnormal¬†is still available for pre-Christmas shipping (for Prime members)! Don’t believe me? Check it out…

What’s that? It’s also¬†on sale?!?! Well, can’t beat that. And with December 20th delivery, it give you a few days to dig that wrapping paper out of the back of your closet/garage/attic, dust off the Scotch tape, and get to wrapping. Hell, if you’re speedy about it, you might get it wrapped, boxed, and shipped in time. Oh, unless you want to use Amazon’s gift wrapping service and have it shipped, wrapped all nice and pretty, directly to your book-loving recipient. That’s available too.

Am I being a little pushy? Maybe–but an author’s gotta do what an author’s gotta do. Besides, searching my own name on Amazon gives me something to do when I can’t sleep at night. In the morning. Whatever.

Think it over, though. You’ve got a couple of days, but time’s only ticking down. At least as far as I know, from a subjective viewpoint time is rather linear. I think we all know what time is from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint.

A big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. ūüėČ

Merry Christmas to you all! I’ll be popping in of course, on a semi-daily basis, but I wanted to let you know that¬†you’ve still got time¬†to buy¬†Abnormal¬†for that special someone. ūüôā

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. ūüėČ

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…

Revisions revisited

I just¬†can’t¬†right now. I can’t look at Book 2 again. Not right now.

It’s not that it’s bad. It’s not. But I’ve read and reread and re-reread¬†ad nauseum¬†at this point, and I just don’t think I can read it yet again.

My biggest problem is that the word count is suffering, and I need to bump it up–but I’ve looked at it in such detail for so long that I can’t see the bigger picture. I can’t see “here’s some telling that I can expand by showing instead” or “this dialogue can be beefed up” or “kill that adverb and make the sentence more descriptive in other ways, with stronger verbs and adjectives” etc. I’ve stared at the doc until my eyes damn near bled.

Perhaps I’ll give myself a few days “off” from revisions. Relax. Do some embroidery or whatever.

I made a cute little card holder today. That’s a thing I did to procrastinate.

See? It matches¬†Abnormal. I had fabric left over from the bookmarks I made, so I used it to make a little mini-wallet for myself. Yeah, I got the top stitching too far in and had to seam rip, and yeah, you can see a bit where I zig-zagged sew-in interfacing instead of waiting until I could get stiffer fusible interfacing…it’s just for me, so it’s not like I’m trying to sell the thing. ūüėČ

Yeah, I think a few days off from revisions are in order. Maybe with some “fresh” eyes I can see what needs to be done where.

I might actually outline Book 3 before I start. Well, re-start. I kinda had a chapter or two going, but I think I need to scrap that and start over. I don’t like where I began the story as far as timeline goes. Need to back it up a bit and not just skip ahead months and months to make it easier.

Now, it may sound like I’m putting the proverbial cart before the trilogy, but hear me out. Publishing is a process; it takes time. I can’t just wait for Book 2 to be released before I start on Book 3. I have to keep ’em rolling so long as there’s story to be told. My Facebook memories are reminding me that I had Book 2’s first draft started before I even had¬†Abnormal submitted to the publisher, and I have to keep that going. Get Book 2 ready, but start Book 3 while Book 2 is in edits.

Book 4? It’s going to have to wait a while. I have a tentative title, but I need to have Book 3’s first draft finished before I am 100% certain where it’s going. Even though I might try planning Book 3 more than pantsing, the characters still take over from time to time and tell me I’m wrong.

They’re living the story, so I guess they know better than I do…..