Dream Big, Right? IWSG

Well, my car is squeaking now. Or squealing. Or screaming. Noise. It’s making a loud screechy noise that even Freddy Mercury can’t tune out.  I discovered it the other day, after hearing the annoying sound and feeling sorry for whoever was driving the crappy car. Turns out it was me. I’m the crappy car girl (which has been obvious for a while) but I don’t need a shame bell announcing it everywhere I go. No one needs to see that Georgie has missed a few washes or that her paint is about fourteen years faded. It’s fine, except now she’s got a target on her back, which means I should stop breaking the law and slow down. Brakes also sound a little off. I should really think about getting a new car.

*sigh*

So, someone at work called me a “cog” the other day. He was introducing a new employee and referred to me as a “cog in the machine” which immediately made me think of Into the Badlands (ever watch it? You should!) and how the Widow started out a cog before working her way up to a Barron, which I started explaining, but they walked off and I was left mumbling to myself. I only mention it because I can’t get the phrase out of my head. “Cog in the machine.” I’m not sure if I’m offended or angered or what. He didn’t say it with any malintent or to be rude or bitter. There was absolutely nothing negative in his description, which was what it was: a basic description of my role in the company: a cog. A fucking cog. That’s what I am in every cubicle.

It may have hit home because I thought I would’ve graduated from cog by now, but, apparently not. It’s okay. Because once I make it big, I’m going to write an autobiography and call it, “Who’s the Fucking Cog Now” and send him a copy. Just so he knows I’m okay.

This segways perfectly into IWSG’s December (optional) question:

How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. But who doesn’t fantasize about the future? This is what I’ve got so far:

Batman would come on my book tours with me since we’re travel bugs, and so he can coach and support me on public speaking, since it’s right up there with my love of spiders and small spaces. That would be the tough part. The talking to a group of people and not fainting, but I would get through it. (Xanax may be required)

Other than that, I would have an amazingly loyal fan-base to support the books I want to write. And there might even be a movie deal in the works. Why not? Dream big, right? Honestly, the dream is to be able to write fulltime. Wake up, coffee, write. Walk the neighborhood, write, lunch. Write, laundry, dinner, write. The rest are just details.

What about you? What does it look like when you make it big? Ever been called a cog before? And is your car on its way to hospice like mine?

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.

Good Times and Pinched Skin

Raise your hand if you’re dumb.

*raises hand*

If you’ve read this blog for even the last few weeks, you’ll know my level of intelligence rests somewhere around not knowing which knob to turn for AC in the car and nearly passing out because of it. It’s also the same intelligence that’s led me into establishments with my clothes on inside-out and mispronouncing *longitude my entire life until Batman looked at me like I had to be joking. But I wasn’t. Because, yeah…I can be dumb.

But this particularly unintelligent moment occurred on Sunday morning after checking the closet for Christmas presents. These were ones I bought, and I wanted to remind myself of the awesome gifts I’ll be giving because yes, I’m that person. Maybe since I was congratulating myself on a job well done, the universe took a moment to slap some humility into me because when I closed the closet door—because I’m dumb—I closed it on my arm.

And it PINCHED THE EVERY-LOVING SHIT OUT OF ME.

It’s one of those closet-bending-doors and my skin got caught at just the right time. I don’t even think I screamed. I gasped, threw my good hand over whatever mutilated stump I had left and held on. Like, I’m either really pain intolerant (despite having four tiny tattoos…) or I’ve just discovered a new physical fear, so, watch out characters! Guess what I’m throwing at you next. You thought tiny spaces, whips and deep-water exploration were bad! Muahaha! But seriously, ouch ☹

Writing:

I’ve been writing the same night in my WIP for a couple of weeks. Mind you, it started at a pre-evening (4-5) timeframe, and is currently pushing past midnight. And my main characters are being invaded, so this battle is taking a while, but I’ve just about reached the part that’s going to ignite the climax and then, the second part of the book will be done!

*wipes brow*

Then the third and final section will remain, and that one will be a beast. I can’t even think about it right now. I’m too focused on my key players and the rough outline in my head of what’s supposed to happen in this second section. I’ve jotted down some notes (as in wrote a brief paragraph at the end of the same work document) and refer to that from time to time. But, it’s how I write all my books, and the process hasn’t let me down yet.

Once I’m finished with the third section (next March/May-ish?) I’ll breathe a brief sigh of relief… and then I’ll have to plunge back into the thing from the start. Round two – in my opinion- is always worse than round one.  But that’s all then. And we’re still here, in the present, and I’m almost finished with section two! Woop! Good times and pinched skin: it’s all I’ve got for you this post.

Until our next Wednesday date 😊

*I’ve been pronouncing it long-di-tude. I kid you not. It’s what I was taught in seventh grade geography and I’ve never questioned it. And yes, I’m from Florida. Not that that has to do with anything.

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!

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)