Will wonders never cease

Hmm….I wonder what happened to my blog posts when I imported from my old WordPress site?

Yep, I’ve lost pretty much all of 2018…and I think a bit of December 2017.

I’m not going to panic yet, though. I think maybe one of the two exported files didn’t import right, so I probably just have to try, try again. I’d hate to lose 8 months’ worth of posts, but it’s nothing that’s going to make me cry or hurt me in any way. Yeah, it sucks, but I think it’s still fixable.

In other news, (and since the news that I posted on that site this morning hasn’t imported properly yet), nine more days until Abnormal‘s release date!! That’s right, I’m in the single digits now. Nine days. A little over a week. Whew! That’s starting to get nerve-wracking.

Tomorrow’s a full work day, then this weekend is Crown Tournament. I’ve been so busy with Abnormal that I haven’t had time to get excited over who our next King and Queen might be. Having spent the last year serving on the Queen’s guard, however, I’ve decided to take a break from guarding and just enjoy my next six months of play. Not that guarding isn’t fun and rewarding, but sometimes it makes an event a little less fun. I mean, you’ve got usually at least one shift of 2-3 hours where you’re following the Queen around. You have to plan your event around your shift(s), so that you’re not late. You have to keep track of where the Queen’s supposed to be when, so you can find her when your shift starts. It’s not bad, but I’d like to have a series of events where I can just glide through and do whatever I want.

I’ve got some embroidery that needs to be finished before Crown, and then some that needs to be finished before Great Western War in October (probably long before, because it will need to be attached to the garments–and this embroidery needs to be pushed up to the top of the priority pile, because it’s for Their Majesties’ garb), then some that has no *set* date but still needs to be done soonish–before October. Then there’s the research paper for Kingdom A&S that I need to fix. My novice entry was very….novice. Must edit/revise according to the notes/advice I received from judges and Laurels.

Let’s see, there’s the book release, Mace and Greatsword the next weekend, my book signing at the local bookstore the next weekend, the household camping trip for our SCA household the next weekend, then…Hang on. Oh yeah. Rincon (a Tucson annual gaming convention). Then technically a weekend “off,” but it’s a local arts mini-festival thing that our SCA barony usually participates in. Not sure about the following weekend, then the weekend after that it’s my husband’s birthday weekend, so visiting family in Phoenix, then the weekend after that it’s his birthday party, then the weekend after that is Tucson Comic Con (where I’ve got a table reserved in Artist’s Alley) and the deadline for submitting the sequel to Abnormal, then TusCon (a Tucson sci-fi convention–no table for me, but it’s a good idea to at least attend and network), then another weekend “off” so far, then Thanksgiving weekend, then…..Yeah. I’m busy lately.

It’s a good kind of busy, though. I’ll be going going going, but I’ll be going to do fun stuff. Now I’m off to see if I can get the second half of December 2017 and all of 2018 migrated.

Edit: December 2017 and January-April 2018 have been migrated. May-August 2018 I guess are lost to the ether?….

Edit to the edit: I did it! Most of the posts are now here! I have to migrate still the media I think and then I’ll be golden. 🙂


Taking big steps lately to becoming, like, a real adult. More than just working and paying bills. Sure, there’s work involved–and paying bills–but it’s both exciting and a little unreal. I mean, I don’t think I ever imagined being at this point in my life. Suddenly, things are happening. Okay, starting to happen. Like, they won’t happen for a while, but plans are being made and things are going from theory to discussion to hopefully reality.

Cosplay, on the other hand, has suffered due to my increasing obsession with Pokémon Go and the exercise I’ve been getting. I haven’t been spending as much time in the craft room, and now that I’m only a month out from when we leave for Dragon Con I’m feeling the Crunch. I have to step things up on the sewing, but tomorrow is reserved for prop-building with some new friends. They’re much more experienced than we are, so we’re hoping they can give us more pointers than the panels we attended at Phoenix Comicon. We’re still a little in over our heads, but we’re willing to learn and we’ve gotten most of the supplies and (we think) all of the materials we’ll need. Basically the only thing left to buy is the corset boning, and I have to get off my Poké-ass and get to sewing so I know what lengths of boning I’ll need.

Writing is pretty much at a standstill…again. I keep getting new ideas on how my society will play out, trying to imagine what life will be like a couple hundred years from now. Will space travel be a common thing, or will it have been a passing fad? What kind of tech will be available? What about society itself? Will things improve from today’s media-fed nightmare, or will it all go to shit? Well, it’s a dystopian setting I’m aiming for so I’m guessing things will go to shit, but to what extreme?

But this new thing–this adulting thing–this is a vision of the future that is tangible, that I can actually see and envision with clarity. Change, in this case, is something that I think is a good thing.

Intimate Revelation

So I think I know my problem with my novel not really selling (besides poor marketing efforts on my part)…I’ve had it listed in the wrong genre.

Urban fantasy still fits, but I listed the second category as occult/supernatural because I was afraid of being pigeonholed as an author of what it really is: erotica. Why, do you ask? Well, I guess it’s the whole notion that erotica is “dirty” or something. But let’s face it; I wasn’t exactly stingy with details. So erotica it is.

What brought about this revelation? Well, it seems in the first two attempts at writing a new novel since publishing my first one, both times the writing has leaned back towards, you guessed it, sex. I can’t for the life of me get away from it, even when I’m trying to write in another genre.

So I might as well embrace it. Let myself become an erotica author. Screw the fear of being typecast, so to speak. For some reason, this is where my muse is taking me, so I’m just going to go along for the ride. Er, pun not intended.



Now that I’ve gotten copious notes written about my new WIP, I think I’m ready to at least get started on rewrites.

I don’t plan on rewriting the entire bit that I’ve gotten so far, but I need a stronger beginning for sure. And middle. And I have to write an ending. So….okay. Almost the entire bit. There are a few scenes that I want to keep (with minute changes for continuity with the new material), but most of what I have needs to be scrapped. It needs to be stronger and to make more sense. (Because even though it’s fiction, there has to be some sense of…sense to it.)

Rewriting is going to suck, but it’s a necessary evil. I know, I know, you’re supposed to just get the story out & go from there–but my story’s changed so much during these months of brainstorming that it really isn’t the same story anymore. Oh sure, the core is the same, but the details have changed enough to where the outlying threads are pretty much unraveled.

I know what you’re saying. “But AJ, what about the cosplays?” Oh, they’ll get done. I’m determined, but today wasn’t a sewing kind of day. At least not so far. Maybe after work?

Anywho, off I go to recreate my creation!

Playing God

As I work on my next novel, a sci-fi/dystopian piece, I’m in awe of authors who can create whole worlds from scratch.

With my novel, I’m skipping ahead a century or two, but I’m sticking to good ol’ Earth as my locale. I figure it’s easier to try to envision how today’s events may unfold into tomorrow’s reality than to build an entire world (or universe) from my imagination. Can I look at today’s tech and society and draw lines from now to then? Well, I sure hope so. But trying to create technology that has never existed (and may never exist) all the while weaving the threads of a society that evolved and developed such technology…it’s mind-blowing.

Creators of fantasy/high fantasy/epic fantasy also amaze me. Forget science…we’re going to make a whole new world where physics is thrown out the window and metaphysics takes over, where there are creatures never before seen and people capable of unreal feats. It baffles me.

I’ve tried worldbuilding as a teen, and even a bit as an adult. I just can’t do it. I can’t get the details, the nuances, the little bits that make it all come together.

With my current WIP, I originally tried pantsing it, but it just wasn’t working. The world wasn’t rich enough, wasn’t deep enough. As I brainstorm and make notes, it’s slowly evolving into something much thicker. Meatier. Juicier. Plots are forming, technology is springing up, and the people living in the society that created this technology are starting to go about their daily lives. They’re coming to life.

I may not be able to create an entire world or universe out of thin air…but I’m slowly becoming the god of my vision of the future.

Double Trouble

Ah, this weekend was so nice. Relaxing.

And too damn short.

I’ve been awake for an hour & a half, but I can barely keep my eyes open. They keep crossing and closing, trying to force me back into slumber. They almost succeeded–almost.

Today it’s back to work, followed by (hopefully) more cosplay progress. I got a decent amount done yesterday, but my back started getting sore (and my hubby needed the power strip from the craft room for some of his cosplay work, so there’s that too). Yeah, yeah, I could’ve taken the strip back when he was done & gotten back to it, but damn I was tired. I think I was asleep before 7:30.

The jacket I started working on yesterday has the front two panels sewn and the back is almost done (not counting lining and such–that comes soon).

Damnit, eyes! I can’t be going back to sleep now!

Anywho, I also got a lot of character development done for the dystopian/sci-fi novel I’ve been working on for ages. This book will definitely be slower going than Whispers of Death, mostly because I’m having a more complicated plot…not to mention the research. I have to figure out what kind of tech we’ll have in a few hundred years…or at least speculate to within a reasonable accuracy. For instance, flying cars? Eh, maybe, maybe not. Bionic implants? That I can see happening. Genetic engineering? Yep, can see that too. And as far as current events unfolding in the ages to come, well….I don’t want to give away too much. 😉

Well, it’s time to make my husband’s coffee and see what the rest of the world is up to this early in the morning. Enjoy your work day!

Finally free

I could be talking about Independence Day today…but I’m not. I’m not overly patriotic. I’m not political. I’m not a historian. I’m just an average Joe (Jill?), and I’m not that into the revolutionary aspect of the holiday. No, I’m talking about a free day off work. After working 12 days in a row, then going on a day trip, then doing laundry all day, I finally have a day off where I can do whatever.

The start of my free day? Fixing my cosplay booboo from yesterday. I got that done and all of the twill fabric pieces cut out; now comes cutting out the interfacing & lining, after which I’ll start putting the pieces together. It should prove interesting since I’m altering the pattern. I keep doing that…and so far, aside from yesterday’s disaster, it’s been turning out well. Guess I have a knack for it…or I’ve been lucky.

Now I’m taking a break from all that pinning and cutting and I’m just chilling on the computer for a while. I might take a nap. I might make some food. Or maybe I’ll just stare at this screen and do nothing.

Sometimes it’s good to take time for yourself. Burnout sucks. Sure, if I spent all day nonstop working on the coat I could probably get it finished…but is that really what I want to do with my free day? Spend the whole thing cutting and sewing until I’m sore and worn out?

Also, I’ve been having some good ideas about my dystopian/sci-fi novel. Yeah, you know the one–the one that’s been stalled since the cosplay stuff went into overdrive? Well, it’s still stalled (narrative-wise), but some new details about the world and the characters have come into my head that I think will give it some depth and diversity. It’s outside of my comfort zone, but isn’t that the point of writing sometimes? Going new places, trying new things…creating new worlds (or destroying them).

Maybe I’ll work on brainstorming today in between cosplay sessions. That sounds like a good idea.

Freedom to do what you want–gotta love it.

(Not so) well read

So Kindle has this thing where if your book is enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited deal, you can see how many pages a person has read if they have downloaded your book through Kindle Unlimited.

Somebody has been reading my book! But they’re not very far in…eleven pages one day, three the next, then nothing for a few days, then twenty-five pages yesterday. (And there’s no way to tell if it’s all the same person or different people, so I don’t know if the first two days were people who got bored partway through or if all three days read are the same person.) Still, even if they’re all from different people, at least one person got a good couple of chapters in yesterday. I’ll keep checking it to see if any more pages get read. I’d love to be able to watch as someone reads all the way through.

Still no reviews after my free promotional period, but I’m not surprised. A lot of people download books while they’re free then take their time reading them. I’m sure plenty of those nearly 600 people have lists of books that they want to read, so I’ll try to be patient.

Haven’t written anything new in the WIP, but I’m planning on possibly rewriting the beginning once I have a better idea of what my world is like. And now, more pre-surgery-shift Internet laziness!

Experiment’s End

The final tallies are in, and I have mixed feelings on my free promotion experiment for my novel.

Overall, I “sold” 596 free units of the book. Yes, 596 is an amazing number considering I’m an unknown author who just posted on Twitter and Instagram about the deal. But considering they were all free, there’s no royalties in it for me. So now I have to rely on my lame “marketing” until I learn proper marketing.

I know, I know, I should read some articles or take a class or something. I just don’t have the energy for all that. In the mornings it takes me a couple of hours to wake up enough to be able to comprehend the ins and outs of marketing techniques, and when I get home I just want to spend time with my husband.

Another side effect of the free promotional thing is that in order to be able to do a free promotional period I had to sign up for a Kindle program that allows for people with Kindle Unlimited to read the book for free as well. Soooo….that will cut into potential royalties.

Then again, if no one wants to pay for the book, the royalties will be zip.

I’m going to give this a month or so before I make a final decision on whether or not this was a success. Give the people who purchased the free copy time to read it, wait to see if reviews come in, etc. Then I’ll decide if I want to do a weekend promotion next time, or maybe a promotion where it goes down in price then increases by $1 increments each week until it’s back at regular price. I might even do another free promotion during my birthday weekend. Why not? If I’m not selling paid copies anyway, might as well give myself an ego boost by watching the numbers go up as people grab a free copy for themselves.

Experiment, Day 4

Well, this is somewhat interesting. My day 4 numbers as far as free book downloads were more than double the day 3 numbers. Could it be that people are trying to get the book while it’s still free?

Today will be the final day of the free book promo for my novel and my two anthologies (my poetry anthology and my short story/flash fiction anthology). The horror short anthology has been doing relatively well, considering I haven’t really advertised it specifically on social media. Not nearly as well as the novel, but decent numbers for not having been talked about.

This experiment has been interesting, given that I haven’t done anything different besides putting my novel on a temporary free promotion. Does this mean that people aren’t willing to pay the price I’ve set for my novel? If so, does it mean that the price is too high, that the blurb isn’t catchy enough for them to want to pay for it, or does it just mean that people like free stuff?

Since I’m not a scientific person by nature, I’ll probably never know the answer. Still, this has been a new experience that I will probably experiment with more later on.