Haven’t Lost Steam Yet #IWSG

For the past few weeks, Batman and I have been weighing ourselves for, you know, health and fat-shaming reasons. We are both a little on the plumpy side because when you find your person, you fatten each other up so no one will want the other person (it’s a rule somewhere). Also, after years (or months in our case…) we stopped give a crap, and ate what we wanted, and our bodies agreed and expanded due to it. Anyway, we’ve been carrying around a little extra weight these past eleven years and we DO NOT want to be the fatties at our own wedding (*there’s nothing wrong with being large. I have been large my entire life. I just want to feel slim and beautiful when I get married, if only for the pictures.)

So, to keep ourselves honest and to keep from making assumptions/generous guesses to whether the scale is pointing to this line or that line, we opted for a digital device. No lying to ourselves anymore because we’ll have cold, hard numbered facts; I’m only telling you because 1) it’s an adult purchase, and adult purchases should always get a shout-out and 2) if I tell you we’re trying to lose weight, you can hold us accountable to our healthy—fat-losing—lifestyle, so when I walk down the aisle to Batman next year, I’ll feel absolutely beautiful and not like the hypo from Fantasia I envision in the mirror.

Also: I’m still a parent!

Let me clarify. First, yes, Appa is still alive. Thanks for asking. 😊 That dog lives better than most people, so—God forbid—if anything were to happen to him, the post would definitely start with that and not overdue weight loss. But yes, I’m still a plant parent, which means Artemis survived the move!

This may not be a big deal to you, but I cannot keep plants alive. At all. They’re like cars—they come to me to wither away and die. But after a little shopping at Ace Hardware, and too much money spent on her new home, Batman and I *cough* mostly Batman *cough* took Artemis from her mason jar and planted her in her fabulous new pot. I’m a little nervous with winter coming, but it is Florida and that’s not really a thing here. Plus, I can always pull her into the garage. The goal is to keep this avocado tree alive and growing, and if I can do that, then in six years I’ll finally get an avocado. She’ll start shaving a dollar or two off the grocery bill every week. At least I’ve got this huge payout coming 😊

WRITING:

Writing has been good. I’m still going ham on RTD because the saga is never-ending and battle-packed and as much as I love writing adventure, the battles take FOREVER because they’re more difficult to write. But it’s still going in the right direction, and I know after this next scene, the second part will be done. That leaves the third and final section which addresses the main antagonist, as well as solving all the other things that need to be solved, aka: the wrapping everything up level.

It’s been a year, but I’m still writing it. I haven’t lost steam yet, which is good since I’ve been writing this series since 2011. 2011, GUYS!

Anyway, onto the IWSG optional question:

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?

I don’t really have an answer here, mostly because I don’t research my stories. Er—that sounded bad. Let’s try again…

*ahem*

A lot of what I write is made up (think high-fantasy) or contemporary, which needs very little researching. Because of that, I’m very rarely online, unless it’s to check clothing styles or double-check company names. But, I will say, I did spend a very long afternoon watching videos on how to speak with an Australian accent for a character. Not really research, but voice-research. (kinda fits the question?) The accent always sounded cool when I read it in books and I thought it would be fun to have a foreign character. Turns out, it’s way more fun reading it, than writing it.  Ended up changing the character back to American.  Sorry, Walker 😊

What about you? Published or not, what have you googled for researching a story? And how are you as a plant parent? Any weight issues?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

Write the Books and Find the Readers

I missed last week because I spent the majority of it re-reading Rozmarie & Josiah. 😊 I know, rude to ditch on our date, but silly me thought I was going to just submit the book to fresh.ink without even looking it over. Rookie mistake. It dawned on me somewhere a few paragraphs in that it was *probably* a good idea to look over the story, and, well, I did.

All last week. I read every day as soon as I got home, and FINALLY on Sunday, I finished the thing. Because, I didn’t just read. I re-edited it as I went, and apparently, I missed some major typos and errors first go around. Am I going to win the contest? Probably not, but that’s okay. It’s slightly more polished, and I’m not so nervous about turning in a total piece of crap to these would-be-potential readers.

Because that’s my goal: FIND THE READERS

That, and write the books. But I feel both are equally important. Write the books and find the readers. Someone want to make me a banner I can hang above my window? I only have broken Christmas lights and an awesome writing picture my mom got me last year  (thanks, ma! Still love it!). For all the curious/stalkers:

There’s a perfectly good blank space right there. I could put a big plaque: Write the Books and Find the Readers. I feel like that’s all I need in order to break free from cubicle hell to write independently. A product I turn out to customers eagerly awaiting it. Speaking of…I really need to get back to MailChimp and figure out the whole newsletter thing. Where is my team of smart people to do this for me? Urrg. I wish parts of my brain weren’t so dumb, like the kind that deals with technology and understanding things that can’t be explained to a ten-year-old.

In better, simpler, easier news, I have a driver’s-side door handle! Look at it! Look at it in all its glory and magnificent awe:

It’s been very nice these few rainy days not having to run around the car like an idiot. I can go straight to one side and only be half-soaked instead of fully-soaked. Life is good 😊 I really do need to retire Georgie at some point, but until she completely craps out on me, she’s still my girl. And with her latest upgrade, I think she’s earned herself another year or so. That, or until something else vital falls off, or she retires to her days of seizuring which, if I’m being honest, are the most exciting.

Things to do:

  • Research Mailchimp. Again. Don’t get confused and distracted and decide no one cares so it’s not even worth it. And stop playing on your phone.
  • Be more social (stalk more) and keep putting my stuff out there.
  • Probably buy another car
  • Laundry

There’s more to the list, but I’m tired, so this will have to do. Back to writing RTD and reading other people’s books. And guys, I can FINALLY say I feel like I’ve tipped past the halfway point in RTD. I think I said this a while ago, but I mean it for realizes this time. And that means good things are coming. Good things 😊

Have a great week!

Makes Me Wonder

I’m getting a car door handle!

I’m really stoked because this climbing in-thing was old DAY ONE, and my right thumb has been annoyingly hurting from having to push open the door twice a day. Batman says I’m being lazy and to use my other hand, but I tell him to SHUT UP because I have to climb in through the passenger side to open my driver’s side to then climb back out and walk around while he has the luxury of just stepping in. I’m not being lazy. I’m being punished. For being a terrible driver and maybe cutting off people when I shouldn’t have. Or, I angered the car gods, but I did that a long time ago. I should’ve known when the rear-view mirror fell off mid-drive. Why are parts of my cars falling off? Is it because they’ve all been old, or am I a human car-leper virus?

Anyway, I’m excited 😊 Honestly, I need a new car. The only reason I have this 2005 beauty is because I was t-boned in 2009, and she was my replacement. Sure, she’s shut-down on me multiple times and yeah, occasionally…I’ve wondered if she might blow up, but we’re both still here. She just keeps going. Still, I need to get somewhat of a more reliable ride and (I’ve said this before but it merits repeating) until riding unicorns or llamas or ostriches become socially acceptable ways to travel to work, a new vehicle it is.

So, why wait?

Heh.

Well, Georgie is still technically running. (Yes, that’s her name. Shut up). I’ve had her since 2009, so it’s been a decade with the old girl, and we’ve shared a lot of memories. Plus, she’s the first SUV I’ve had, and the fact that she hasn’t given up makes me wonder how much life she’s got left. I could still squeeze out a few more years from her. Also, cars are expensive.

There’s this really big thing happening next November—some are calling it the event of the century—and I kind of need to funnel all my money there, and having a new monthly payment would cut into that. Pretty much reason number two old Georgie isn’t facing the chopping block. But again, NEW DOOR HANDLE GUYS 😊 She’ll be a spring chicken again. That part at least.

In other news, Artemis is still alive, and Batman and I received our save the dates in the mail! A THOUSAND smiley faces!!!

I’d show them – I kind of want to – but the whole privacy thing is kind of a big deal with us. Especially Batman. Hence I refer to him as Batman on this blog (his request) and he doesn’t even like when I put up pictures of him. So, to respect his/our privacy, I will simply leave you with this:

They’re awesome and I love them.

I’m going to keep Artemis alive. Because look, look at that leaf growth! :

She’s thriving my friends, thriving. The next part is planting her, which I have no idea how to do. I’m told it’s simple, but I can over complicate things, and I would *really* hate to be the reason she died during transportation. So I’m going to make Batman do it.

Remember, when you read next week’s post, it will be written by a person with a driver’s side door handle. I will be one of you all again.

Enjoy your week!

Writing For My Readers

I was going to write a prequel short story for the fresh.ink thing I talked about last post. Since I’m working on the last book in my series, I figured a good prequel piece might be a nice segway into the series for new readers. I got a few paragraphs in and decided…nope. Ain’t nothing short story about it.

I always intended to write Sampson as a separate full novel prequel, but it’s going to take time. More time than a month to write, edit, rewrite, reedit and then rewrite and reedit again. Plus, I’m looking to gain fans (not the prize, though that’d be nice) and I don’t want to offer something slapped together. (Boo!) So, after much debate while staring at my cubicle wall, I think I’m going to submit something else. Is it a winning entry? Probably not. But I worked on it for over a year, I like the characters, I like the story, and it speaks to my interests: fantasy, romance, suspense, and high stakes. So, I’m going to submit my fantasy YA romance: Rozmarie & Josiah.

This is the WIP I pitched at the Writers Digest Conference in 2015. Spoiler alert: I did not score an agent or publisher with this book. But that’s okay. As I’ve learned (and have to continue learning) the goal is not to score representation. The goal is get an audience. Find my readers. Find my reading tribe, because that’s the point of an agent/publisher. Distribution. I’m terrible at it which is why I’m terrible at self-publishing, but as long as I remember what I really need to be doing, maybe I won’t feel like I’m banging my head against a wall over and over.

I’m writing for my readers. I’m writing for my readers.

Just need to find them…

In other news, I have an avocado plant! And it’s STILL alive! Everyone, meet Artemis:

Artemis comes to us from Batman’s mom, who has five or six herself. After admiring them, I was offered one (even though I have a famously black thumb) and some four/five weeks later, she’s still growing strong. Because I don’t want the Happening to happen, I talk to Artemis, sing to her a little and compliment her leaf growth. The goal is to keep her alive. And maybe, seven years from now, she’ll gift me with an avocado 😊

Alright, off to go write…or read…or play with Appa…or sing to Artemis…or binge watch Big Mouth on Netflix. Or all of the above. The thrills never stop over here.

Enjoy your week!

See My Dilemma? #IWSG

Here’s my dilemma:

  • Focus on one project (work is done quicker, but reaches fewer people)
  • Focus on multiple projects (takes longer for each piece to finish, but reaches more people)

Focusing on one thing (like, say, writing an epic saga of a book) can still take forever. I should know. I’m still writing the first draft of RTD, and I started late last year. I should be around done with it by now (or at least close to it) but I’m not. Because it’s a monster and there’s sooo much to it. I’m focusing all my creative energy on finishing it, but in doing so, I’m not entering any contests, writing short stories or extra pieces. I’m not getting other work out there. See my dilemma?

Do I stretch myself thin by working on multiple projects so I can reach more people, or keep steady so I can finish the damn book to complete the series? Which makes more sense?

*pulls out hair*

I’m seriously considering doing the NL (newsletter) again. I know. I know. I sort of didn’t follow through with it last time, but I was way overwhelmed, it was confusing to my dumb non-tech brain, and I didn’t see the benefit. What’s changed? Not a bunch, but I think it’s probably pretty necessary at this point. Just being honest. I’m not a big fan of NLs, so having my own is foreign, but as I’ve learned lurking in FB writing groups, it’s a necessity in this business. I have to get one. But it’s okay, because I have stuff I can share. Plus, I like to think my dumb-tech brain has gotten a little smarter (it hasn’t. I just like to pretend).

I’m thinking of doing a quarterly NL—what do you think? Some opt for monthly, or a few times a month. That’s too much. As a writer and reader, too much. A little update four times a year should be plenty, right? Anything more, and we’re on stalking terms, especially since I maintain this lovely blog with fresh content every Wednesday.

In other super-related news, I stumbled upon a writing contest (I get notifications for them constantly, but don’t participate because…read dilemma above). Although there’s a monetary prize, this contest offers something better: targeted audience. Actual BETA READERS in your genre! It’s a new site with a program that connects writers with their intended audience, and potentially permanent beta readers. As a kickoff, they’re launching contests (novels, novellas, short stories) across all genres, and will match readers interested in that genre to judge. HOW COOL IS THAT? It’s called fresh.ink. Check it out! 😊

Please offer dilemma and NL insights—I’m open and welcome to it all.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

Batman’s On Board With This

I’m officially 34.

I made it, guys. I made it. I know a lot of you thought I might’ve walked in front of something or off of something or between two somethings by now but BWHAHAHA in your face! I haven’t. Not yet. It’s coming, but I’m 34 going strong! It feels a lot like 33 and 32 and even 31… NOT 30. At 30, I felt shitty. I felt all the guilt of reaching a milestone-age and not reaching any major milestones (still kinda do). Also, the Firehouse guy gave my sandwich to the wrong person on the big day ☹

Now I’m in my “mid-thirties” and still feel pretty much the same. I have no clue what I’m doing with my life (yay!) but at least Batman and I are making this thing legal, so my non-directional dayjobness will be his problem too. So will my student debt. Haha, sucka! But that’s on him. He asked. I said yes. It’s a done deal. The dress has been purchased, and there’s no going back now, especially since we’ve spent the last twelve years together. We’re here. We’ve made it. We’re doing this thing. Plus, he’s deadest on the honeymoon. Now that he’s knows we’re seeing the USS Arizona and USS Missouri, there’s no way this wedding is *not* happening (we’re honeymooning in Ohau…not some weird ship graveyard…just want that clarified.)

I will say, Batman (like so many of you) has been a champion of mine. Occasionally, when I’m lurking in Facebook writing groups, I come across a rant that someone’s family or partner doesn’t support their writing, or makes them feel like their passion is their hobby. It sucks reading those. It makes me want to jump through their screen and hug them because it IS important and their writing DOES matter. But I never feel like that. Batman has never made me feel low for living the dayjob—writing-night lifestyle, especially since the latter generates zero revenue. But it’s okay. It’s what I want to do with my life. Plus, it’s this or the lottery to get us into our fancy castle-mansion, and we don’t even play. So, maybe if I could get smart with marketing my books and doing this whole indie author thing, I might become a self-made billionaire. It could totally happen, so Batman’s on board with this plan too. We could get to our castle-mansion via my writing. It’s possible.

Just need my big break, guys. 😊

(or a little break. I’ll take what I can get)

But until then, it’s the non-directional dayjobness until I figure something out. Or win the lottery. Or discover a royal relative in Genovia. I’m sure I must be related to someone famous… Come on, I’m 34…they should’ve found me by now. Well, maybe 35 is my lucky year. Guess we’ll see. Either way, Batman is along for the ride, so at least we’ll figure it out together. (Insert sappy music)

Oh, and before I forget…

What does a caped crusader get his blushing 34 year old fiancé for her birthday:

YES. A Giant plush smiling vagina. Compliments of iheartguts. No, this isn’t derogatory or rude or anything like that. This is something we both chuckled over and something I’d said I wanted. This is love. (Insert Sweet music)

I Just Wanted My Free Cupcake, Guys

I didn’t know what to write last week.

I figured no post was better than five paragraphs of ramblings about makeup research or Pintrest fails or the fact that I still have to climb into my car every day. I guess no news is good news, but it’s boring news, and not worth-writing-about-news which isn’t stellar when you want to do that for a living.

*Sigh*

So, in addition to the nothing listed above, one of my bridesmaids and I did attend the Bridal Premier Expo on Sunday. Just so you understand, this is the opposite type of event for introverts who are passive-aggressive and don’t like confrontation. It’s a madhouse. A legit madhouse. And yet, I knowingly entered the lion’s den. Again.

Batman and I went earlier this  year, because, you know, we had to start on recon for the wedding. Everyone was IN MY FACE then, but it was mixed with excitement and fun because it was the first wedding thing we did, we didn’t know what to expect, and we needed the info. Now that all of our vendors are (mostly) booked, it’s not the same. It’s especially not the same since the second I walked in, two Prudential sales people hounded me about what I would do financially if Batman died. THEY HAD ME THINKING ABOUT BATMAN’S UNTIMELY DEATH. First booth in. I’m not supposed to think about that for a few years, when I get sick of his crap and decide to murder him for his money. And here they are, right out of the gate, asking me in front of everyone while I sip my overpriced mimosa. Rude.

I’d like to say it got better after that, but that’s only because miss awesome bridesmaid and I scored free food from a couple of the food vendors. But in order to get to them, we didn’t look anyone in the eye, and even that tactic didn’t work. THEY STILL FLAGGED ME DOWN. I nodded, pretended I was interested, falsely promised to return after we hit the perimeter and kept going—only to be accosted two booths down. I just wanted my free cupcake, guys.

Besides some much-needed girl-time, the only *real* reason we went to the expo was to do double recon on the DJ I hired, since I made a novice move and hired him without a face to face. I know. Stupid me. And when my wedding planner and venue said they never heard of him (and made the face like wtf is he?), I thought, well…shit. I fucked up. But I didn’t! 😊 Not only does he and the company exist, they were playing some kickass music. *Swipes brow* crisis averted.

But this expo…it’s like a car sale on ‘roids—except it’s for things you think you like (flowers and dresses and pretty table settings) but it’s scary and intimidating and makes you wish people would calm down because no, not everyone wants to sign up for a free trip to Sandals or hear their twenty minute spiel about what makes their company so great. We only stayed for a little over an hour, just to validate my DJ (check!) so now I can set my worrisome eyes to something else in the future wedding forecast.

Moral of the post? I’m not sure. Have face-to-face conversations with your vendors and prepare for battle when you enter a bridal expo. It usually helps if you have liquor in hand. For courage, and as a weapon. Trust me.