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[sticky post] 2016 Writing and Publishing Goals

2016 is right around the corner, it's practically here, and I won't be awake tomorrow night to make any resolutions at midnight. Haha. (Hey, I work on Friday, guys! It's a big deal! I love my job! Interesting I've never been a fan of pancakes and my first serving job ever is for an IHOP. Life can be deliciously twisted at times.)

So here is what I plan on for the year 2016 for writing and life in general

Author website
More ISBNs
Get into a place of my own
Promote published stories
Publish the following: Ravensrealm (Arc of Fantasy #3), Snow in Olympus (Twilight of the Gods #1), New Atlantis (Arc of Fantasy #4), Dragon's Rain, Frost Giants, and, if things go well, The Intergalactic Chase (Arc of Fantasy #5) and Book #2 of The Twilight of the Gods (currently titled Heat in Asgard - could very well change, depending on how the story goes).
Cover pictures for all facebook pages
Tablet to show cover art for people I meet
Convention/book "tour" in place

And that's just to start.

2016 is going to be an amazing, awesome year! Yes, I expect it to be filled with ups and downs. That's just how life is meant to go, but at least I can give myself things to work towards and look forward to now that I'm getting myself back on track.

I welcome 2016 with open arms and much excitement!

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For those of you who don't get the reference, My Next Thirty Years is a song performed by Tim McGraw. I'm not sure who the songwriting credits belong to; I also honestly don't care. There's something about that song that's kind of resonating within me at this moment.

I'm not quite forty years old. Not yet. Not for another year. My birthday, as most people already know by now, is October 1, this upcoming Saturday. I will be at work for this. The joys and disadvantages of being one of the strongest workers your boss has - you get to work weekends, the busiest times of the week, even when it's your birthday.

As I said, I'm not quite forty years old yet. I have another year for that. My age doesn't bother me. Most people are surprised to hear that I'm in my late thirties. They tend to put me in my mid to late twenties. Part of this is I have some really good genetics going on from my mom's side of the family, I don't drink excessively, I don't smoke, and I've never abused other substances, be it prescription drugs or illegal substances. I'm almost thirty-nine years old, and I've never smoked pot.

It also helps, I guess, in that I act like myself, and I don't feel old. Not truly. Yes, sometimes I move around like a seventy-year-old with bad arthritis thanks to pain and muscle stiffness in my knees and ankles, but otherwise . . . I don't feel old. I don't feel any different at thirty-nine than what I did at twenty-five. Yeah, a few years ago, I had like a mini mid-life crisis because I hadn't done anything I'd wanted (writing career, start a family, and all that). I still panic a little about when I'll have my children - I'm not getting any younger - but all is well in my life. I feel a confidence in me as I draw near to my thirty-ninth birthday that I haven't felt in a very, very long time. I don't care about people knowing my age. I don't care if people think I'm odd or a weirdo or even a little insane (that would be the writer trait).

I never once expected to be homeless when that minor freak out happened for me.

I never expected to decide on self-publishing.

I never expected to actually fulfill my dream of becoming a server. I know. It probably sounds strange to some people, to have that type of a dream, but it's true. And being a server has afforded me ways to budget and save my money in the ways that I knew it would.

It doesn't truly take anything drastici to make a positive change in life.

I'm still learning to take baby steps. I have a tendency to be all or nothing, but I'm beginning to temper it. My writing career is only getting started and needs to be nurtured, much like how an infant needs to be nurtured and cared for in order to grow into childhood.

I'm definitely a lot stronger now for the people I've met, for the ones I've added to my life and for the ones I've cut out of my life. I love who I'm becoming because who I'm becoming is the beautiful, kind, generous person I was always meant to be.

And this has all been in the first third of my next thirty years.
Magic is a wondrous, wondrous thing. Many writers employ magic in one way or another. I don't care what the genre is, magic is an essential aspect to the story-crafting process. What we writers do could very well be considered magic. In this context, magic is simply the act of creation, weavnig a tale so fascinating and enticing, the reader cannot put it down.

Also, in this context, since the spell components are words and the right combinations must be found in order to ensnare the intrepid reader, magic takes time. Magic comes at a cost. There are plenty of other things we writers can be doing with our time than sitting at a desk with some writing implement in hand and crafting these stories. Yet it's something we choose to do. We balance our great magical acts with the mundane - caring for children or disabled loved ones, the laundry, cooking, keeping the house maintained, work, and so on.

Magic, at some point, will demand release. That's where we authors decide on the next course of action. Do we query an agent? Not all publishing houses accept unagented manuscripts. Do we forgo finding an agent and submit directly to a publishing house? Some publishing houses do accept unagented authors. Do we forgo both of those steps and self-publish? Amazon has certainly made that easy.

Whatever the decision, know that the results will not be instantaneous. Even self-publishing doesn't yield overnight success. In fact, many times, taking the risk will lead to so-so sales and rejection.

It happens.

But you won't know what will happen if you don't take the risk, if you don't even bother to weave that spell of writing, to improve it, to nurture it, to . . . let it take form and fly. You won't know. If it scares you to even take that risk, to either send out that query letter or to self-publish, then I have to say this.

Congratulations. You've just found something worth trying because it scares you. If it doesn't scare you, the magic isn't worth doing.

Don't let your writing, your magic become something comfortable and complacent. Don't tuck it away in a corner, and don't let anyone kill your desire to do something you love, like writing or even drawing. That's your magic. Don't let anyone steal it.

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First up, the information on Sigyn's Flowers. On NOOK, it will be available for free download within the next 24 hours. Gotta wait for the changes to go into effect. With NOOK and Amazon, they're not always immediate. The same is going to be said of Smashwords and Draft2Digital. I've set the price to zero. Once the price change is in effect at least through NOOK, I'll be reporting the price change to Amazon via find this cheaper somewhere else link they have. (That's how I got the story knocked down from $2.99 to $1.29 after publication.)

It's something kind of spur of the moment for me, but it's also something I'm very excited to do.

In other news, well, I recently purchased a new car. It's not "new" new, but she's new to me. She's a 2003 Ford Escape, a particular vehicle I've been wanting for a few years now. Thanks to some really hard work and some saving, plus the need for a vehicle before the month of August ended, I was able to make this particular dream a reality. I've had her for a month now, and I've named her Sigyn, after the Norse Goddess of Fidelity and Devotion (also the third wife of Loki). She was named during the test drive. I knew I wanted to keep her.

Initially, I wasn't going to purchase a car, at least not this soon. However, timing and knowing I was going to be helping my best friend move pushed that decision forward. Every day, because of the route my mom and stepdad would take to get me to my job at Ihop, we went by several car dealerships, and I do mean several! Memorial Drive here in Tulsa is like car dealership heaven! (Or nightmare, depending on your perspective.)

Normally, we'd go by, and I wouldn't think a thing of it. No money and all that but that one Saturday had gotten me to thinking because I'd told my best friend I'd get the rental car to help her move. Well, the thinking got to be that was going to be a nightmare. Deposit and initial cost already known, it didn't necessarily account for insurance and mileage overages since she lived in Flagstaff at the time and was moving to North Carolina. Two weeks out before this move needed to happen, and I took the plunge on buying a car. I wasn't expecting to be financed so I'd kept another option open. I stopped at the one dealership after work, looked at two Rangers (I love Ford Rangers) and two Escapes, a 2006 and the one I currently drive.

I asked about no other car. I happened to choose the cheapest car on the lot along with the one with the lowest mileage (she's under 100,000 miles at this point). The universe aligned things just perfectly for me on this. I do wish I'd had more money saved up for the down payment and to cover the insurance (which I haven't had since, you know, I haven't had a car in a few years), but I'm forging ahead.

And, as I mentioned, I helped my best friend move from Arizona to North Carolina. That was a lot of fun. Yeah, some minor bad things happened, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. It was our first time hanging out together, and it was on the road, in a very cramped and confined space. We both survived it.

Some days are harder than others. Some days I'm just so exhausted I don't want to do anything, not even write. It's a daily struggle anymore, but the only one who can pull me out of it is me. So that's what I'm doing. I had hoped to have Ravensrealm ready for publication by now, but I don't. And that's okay with me at this moment since I want my storeis to be the best that they can be. I don't care if it's fanfiction or original. I know the path I'm taking.

And that alone is enough to make me happy.

That's what's happened with me. Hope everyone has been doing well, been writing and simply enjoying life.

Until the next time!

No posts for the rest of the week

My last living grandparent passed away last night. It isn't that it's so much of a shock - when a person gets to be her age and gets the diagnosis she did and makes the decisions that she did - as it hurts. I've rationalized a lot of it, I'm okay with her death - it's hard to begrudge someone who lived a happy life - but it still hurts. And, due to when the funeral is, I will not be able to attend it. Most of my family resides in Northern Michigan, and I'm here in Oklahoma.

I will be continuing to work on the Arc of Fantasy series, but I need to decompress and allow everything to process.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

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I have some new ebooks to add to my ever expansive reading list. Two are David Farland stories, and the others I picked up during a free fantasy novel shoecase. I have like five or six titles here that I'll get around to reading. Eventually.

Oh, and I also have The Age of Aztec by James. We're getting there, I promise!

In the meantime, to finally get to The Age of Shiva by James Lovegrove.

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By far, of the three books I've read in the Pantheon series, this is the best one. Each has an amazing plot twist. I definitely recommend this story.

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