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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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Happy Halloween!! And NaNoWriMo

I have to leave in about an hour for work - I volunteered since the place I work for offers a free Scary Face pancake for kids twelve and under - so I'm squeezing this in real quick.  I still need some coffee, too.

Happy Halloween to all of my writer friends and to my readers! I know who you are.

Free ebook copies of Sigyn's Flowers are still going out. Thanks to everyone who is getting a copy. It truly is all very much appreciated.

For some reason, NaNoWriMo is really calling out to me this year. I'm currently poking around the site some as well.

I "retired" from NaNo a few years ago because I'd gotten really good at starting novels but not finishing them. And I wasn't using the prizes at all, either, because I wasn't finishing my novels.

I'm up for a challenge. I'm working. I have a few novels I need to finish. It isn't so much about getting started anymore, it's about finishing.

So I'm participating. Ravensrealm is my novel for this year.

I will post more tomorrow or later this evening.

Happy Halloween, my friends!

Future Conventions

I so want to go to YoumaCon this year. Unfortunately, due to finances, I will not be able to go.

It's also not due to just finances. It's wanting to have things on hand (business cards, postcards, bookmarks, ink pens, etc . . .) on hand when finding people to talk to about my published works. Two conventions this year, and I'm writing my information out by hand. Don't get me wrong, I love writing by hand. It helps to slow the brain down some when actually cranking out a novel but to write by hand after working? The brain just doesn't want to function! I did better at Tokyo in Tulsa for writing by hand than I did at Comic Con!

But! I still had fun. There were a few panels I wish I could have attended - they're hosted by Genese Davis, a very kind, compassionate, and kindred soul; she's written The Holder's Dominion, which I purchased (and she signed for me), and she was telling another person who stopped by her booth that they're talking about turning her novel into a movie - but my costs were still offset by the fact that I did what I'd set out to do by attending the convention in the first place. Promoting myself and connecting with others. I hung out in the Exhibition Hall for the time I was there, but that was quite all right. I got to wave to Kimberly J. Brown (Halloweentown fame, Rose Red) and saw Lou Farrigno (from a small distance - all in the autograph, no unauthorized photos area). I got some new books to read, all autographed personally to me, and more ideas on how to do this whole promotion thing.

It was also another learning experience . . . well, more like reminder. There is more to do and experience at a convention, and my next convention I want to truly experience. I don't want to be rushed, and I would be rushed for YoumaCon. I know I would because it would also be the trip I make to retrieve the rest of my belongings from my dad's place, and I'd have to rush back in order to be back to work so I don't fall behind on my car payment or my rent. It's frustrating for me in that I also want to have my cosplay ready for the next convention I attend, and the ideas are rolling in for that as well.

So a Youmacon visit is off the table at this point. Given it's just a wee bit under two weeks away, trying to save up the money I need for all of my bills and expenses would stress me out further than what I need to be. I'll still be making my trip to Michigan at some point, hopefully before the snow gets too bad or even arrives there (with Michigan, it's always hard to say), but, for the sake of my sanity and lower stress levels, I'm just taking Youma off the table. There will be another time for it.

I'm not taking conventions off of the table completely. More like, I'm now planning them with a bit more care and precision, like I used to do back in the day.

That said, I'm announcing I will be attending Anime St. Louis this upcoming May. I've applied for a booth in their artist alley, and, due to their process, I won't know until the end of next month. Either way, once I know, I'll be gearing up for it. I'm also aiming for ShutoCon and a few others.

Beyond that, I'm working on Arc of Fantasy. I really need to get the next three books written so I know how to proceed on the final installation. I don't even have a title for that yet!

Until the next time!

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Recently, a fellow writer and friend of mine read a book that left her completely unsatisfied as a reader. The writer in her couldn't suspend the disbelief of the plot of the story nor could she understand why the reviews were so favorable.

Now, I normally don't read reviews of other books. I really don't, and it's basically because what one person loves, I tend to not love. Or what one person tends to dislike, I tend to love. Case in point, the reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise. Many people disliked it, including my boss, whereas I actually loved it, and I was one of the ones who grew up with the originals.As such, when it comes to favorite pasttimes such as reading, listening to music, and watching movies, I prefer to go in blind.

Reading my fellow writer's review is actually making me glad I read her review of the story because, not only was it humorous (the memes absolutely made my day), but she raised valid points about the plot. I read her review, both through her blog and on Goodreads, and then I read the other reviews, which baffled her as much as the extremely shaky plot points did.

Four and five star reviews of nothing but praise for the relationship. Mainly. And my fellow writer and friend has wondered why.

This morning, I told her what it was.

It's the relationship angle. Yeah, it might be a story about survival in a YA, sci-fi, dystopia, the plot points might be irreverently weak, but a good portion of the readers will not care because they have a relationship to focus upon. It's something I've noticed as a fanfiction writer playing in some of the biggest sandboxes out there and reading some of the writer responses to reader reviews.

It's all about the relationship. It's about Character A being with Character B (established) or Character C (not established and extremely unlikely due to Factors H, J, or even P). It doesn't matter if Character C or even Character D or B is guilty of raping Character A in a graphic sexual assault scene, all that matters is that somehow the two beloved Characters have made it to the sack and eventually the relationship forms.

Now I'm one for going against the grain, the mainstream whenever and wherever I can, but even I have my boundaries on what I would consider hot and sexy, and I do not consider rape scenes to be sexy. I can explain the line between rape and dubious consent because I know what those boundaries, for me, are.

All of this can go against what the writer is actually trying to do, and it can actually mortify the writer when someone starts praising what amounts to be a rape scene or some form of psychological, emotional, or physical abuse scene. From what I read in this review, the FMC is quite abusive and selfish to the MMC in a survival situation, and the MMC takes it. If I had been the writers of this story, to see such reviews praising a "loving" relationship in a survival situation would, in fact, alarm me. It amounts to "just because we're writing about it doesn't make it okay". However, the relationship trap has been sprung at this point. For better and for worse, a good portion of readers are going to be about the relationship.

It happens to every author. From what I've observed in conversations about The Hunger Games and Twilight, it's about the relationships. Even fanfiction based on The Lord of Rings can be quite pairing-oriented. It doesn't necessarily become about overcoming obstacles anymore, or facing an extreme conflict. It becomes about kissing and sex because we've been denied that. And I have noticed that it's primarily women who focus on the relationship aspect. Reading is an outlet. Writing is an outlet, and, once we're being denied something in our real lives, we tend to try and make up for it in what we watch, what we read, and, for those who take up the cause, what we write. It's the Bella effect, or, even, the Juliet effect. Must . . . have . . . happy ending . . . must have . . . sex! Or something to that effect.

As a writer, it's frustrating. I don't want to spend chapter after chapter focusing on whether or not Fen Willows is going to find a new boyfriend and get laid. That isn't part of his journey. That isn't even a remote part of his journey. He's 19 and insecure about himself, his life, and needs to undergo some serious changes. For himself and no one else. The same thing goes for Daniel and Wolfgang Evans, Alethea Light, Jordan Taylor, and any other character I happen to create or, in the case of fanfiction, choose to focus on as a subject. For me, there is more to writing, and to life, than being focused solely on relationships and sex.

But that's just my personal take as an author who got caught in the whole relationship trap in her fanfiction heydays. And I learned after it was all said and done, it's not a good way to build a writing career, that there are other things to focus on as well. Does that mean to say my characters won't find love? Love is inevitable. But they need to know how strong, and weak, they are first.

Like I said, I'm all for breaking the norms when it comes to my writing.

Reminder, Tulsa Comic Con is this weekend! Huzzah!!!

Comic Con this weekend!

I'm excited, and I'm anxious about this. I'm just reminding myself at this point to keep chugging forward, be positive and optimistic and all will work out.

My cosplay will not be 100% complete. I will have the necessary blue hair. This particular Fayt Leingod cosplay is . . . is going to be very special to me, not only because it's Fayt Leingod, one of my favorite heroes from a video game, but because I can turn Fayt Leingod into Fen Willows with this particular costume, should I choose to do so. It's going to be an ongoing project for at least another few months as I solidify the types of weapons Fayt will be using in the fanfiction I'm working on where he becomes the Captain of the Dragon Brigade and the types of weapons Fen will have access to as his journey in New Atlantis progresses and in the final book of my Arc of Fantasy series. (I seriously need to come up with a title for that novel at some point.) So, at this point, my Fayt Leingod, Captain of the Dragon Brigade cosplay will be interchangeable with my own character, Fen Willows.

That's . . . rather exciting for me.

So, I hope to see people at Comic Con. Should something come up that keeps me from attending (I will be paying at the door), I will announce it, but, like I said, I'm maintaining a positive attitude about the whole week. Look for a short, blue-haired person wearing a green coat and black pants!

The Tulsa Comic Con runs from October 21-23. While in attendance, I will be more than happy to answer questions regarding my books, my characters, what I'm currently working on, and what I've read.

YoumaCon is also a potential stop for me next month. Again, this is all going to be financed based and me paying at the door. Other conventions will be announced, along with writers conferences, book shows (getting ideas from others now), and other events, and will be confirmed upon pre-registration for the event. Currently, Comic Con and YoumaCon are the only conventions I have my sights set upon for the rest of 2016. I will be hosting a coffee and book exchange for one day the week before Thanksgiving. I will announce the date and venue at a later time.

That's it for the moment! Hope to see people at Comic Con!

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I am woman, brave and courageous

In my twenties, I used to go to the movies.

By myself.

I used to go to sit down restaurants and eat.

By myself.

It stopped, mostly because I couldn't afford it. I still can't always afford it, and I don't always like to go by myself anymore. There's something to be said for having someone to talk to while you wait for your food and while you're enjoying your food. It doesn't need to be a boyfriend for me, just a really good friend.

I used to be fearless and not care that I was eating alone or enjoying a movie alone.

Yeah, I'm not going to stop doing things by myself. I'm used to doing things on my own. Schedules with friends and family either don't mesh with mine or, well, they live further away than what I can drive in a day.

That's okay.

I don't mind eating alone because I'm not really alone. If anything, I consider it a treat for myself, to myself to go to Olive Garden or Outback Steakhouse and have a nice meal. I'm not being stood up, I'm not feeling sad or pathetic. If I'm feeling anything, it's hunger. I want to eat something, and such places are what I'm wanting to eat.

And movies? I go to the ones I want to see, it doesn't have to be a compromise with someone who has different interests than me - though I will admit, I've yet to go to a movie I haven't wanted to watch with anyone just yet. Most of my friends happen to be into the same things that I am when it comes to movies.

For that, I'm extremely grateful.

If I have to say anything to any man or woman out there, it would be this.

Don't be afraid to treat yourself to something more than McDonald's for a meal. Do tip your waiter/waitress generously, but don't be afraid to treat yourself to a nice meal. Don't be afraid to walk into the movie theater by yourself.

Most of all, don't be afraid to take chances on yourself. If there is anyone in your corner when it comes to learning how to be you, it's me.

You are loved. I may never see your faces or even know your names, but you are loved by me.

Peace. <3

Just Keep Writing!

just keep writing dory

It's a bit of a gloomy day here in Tulsa, or at least my part of Tulsa. I even hear some thunder as I write this, even though I'm in the basement. I've made myself a cup of coffee, will be lighting up some incense here shortly - debating on one of the Wildberry sticks - and some candles, snagging some cards ouf some decks for inspiration and motivation, along with some runes, and I'll be on my way.

I'll be getting my cosplay underway this Friday. I want tracing paper so I'm not cutting up the patterns. I know that's what they're for, but that's still not what I want to do. Plus, I need interfacing for the shirt and pants as well as the material for the pants, and I don't work again until Friday.

I'm excited to do this. I haven't gotten to cosplay as Fayt Leingod yet, despite an ill-fated, ill-timed attempt for Otakon 2013. I'm being quite optismistic here. I don't think it'll take me that long to knock the majority of the cosplay out. And I say the majority of the cosplay because the rest needs to be purchased. I'm not a shoemaker. And the shoes/boots I want will take me some saving to get but only because I'll be going through a company that does custom-made boots and shoes. Since I'll be the one dropping the money on shoes, they're going to be the way that I want them, and they're going to be built to last.

With all of that said, I'm immersing myself into my writing. And as often as I can. I'm too excited about my future to not do so.

Like Dory is singing, "just keep writing, just keep writing!"

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