Snuffled by an Elephant

This past weekend I went up to our local Renaissance Festival. I LOVE RenFest. I could go there probably every day, all day long, and be a totally happy person.

At our local RenFest, they have camel and elephant rides. There are usually 3 camels, but they only have one elephant. She’s often a very busy elephant, but always seems super laid back and chill. The only thing they have separating this massive animal from the rest of the crowds and the festival grounds is a knee-high fence of rope. ONE ROPE. One single strand of rope that’s strung through wooden fence posts at knee level. And every time I walk by that area, I get visions of pissed-off elephants trampling people, and I say a silent thank-you that this elephant seems so very calm and non-pissed-off, since she would plow through that rope fence and not even feel it.

Well. This weekend, for some reason, she was not so busy. I walked by that area this time and she was standing right next to the rope fence, just hanging out. In fact she was kind of leaning against it with her legs, making it bow outward a little bit. Her handler was there standing next to her, of course, but she wasn’t really paying attention to him. She was too busy socializing with the crowd that had gathered next to her on the outside of the fence.

I thought, “Oh my gosh, she’s so close! I could touch her!”

I have ridden an elephant about twice in my life, both as a young child, and both in similar such rides where you lumber around in a small circle. It’s cool, don’t get me wrong, but you don’t actually get to really EXPERIENCE an elephant that way, ya know?

I have certainly never, ever TOUCHED an elephant. (I was always in the middle during those rides!)

So I went up to her, sidled through a hole in the crowd, ignored the visions of pissed-off elephants that danced in my head and the fact that one of her legs was as big as my entire body, and reached out my hand.

She immediately noticed me as a newcomer and REACHED OUT HER TRUNK TO ME. SHE SNUFFLED ME. SHE STUCK HER WET TRUNK NOSTRILS TO MY PALM AND SNUFFLED. THEN SHE SNUFFLED MY TUMMY.

And that was our hello. Then I petted her trunk a bit, right between her stubby tusks, AND IT WAS AMAZING.

I nearly cried.

Later, we got to feed her apples right out of our hands. And we learned her name was Paige. She is a very sweet elephant. She dripped some snot on the kid while snuffling him and he kept shouting, “BABY WIPE! BABY WIPE!!!” as he did not like elephant snot on his legs, but I thought it was an incredible experience, elephant snot and all.

So that was it. The day I really met an elephant up close and personal for the first time. I loved it. 🙂 Don’t even have any pictures! I was too busy being enthralled!

 

Project List for September 2015

You know, every month I think, “Well this month is crazy, but next month will be better.”

No. That’s never true. NEVER.

Every “next month” ends up being just as crazy and hectic as the one before. So I should really give up on that thought process!

Anyway, let’s get on with it! Thinking about the rest of the month exhausts me already, considering our annual Chief’s kickoff party bash is right around the corner (zomgthehouseisn’tevenremotelycleanihavetocleanthewholehouseandtheyardandeventhebasementbecausetherewillbemassesofpeopleatmyhouseallweekendaskdjfalsdjfasdaksjdk), I’m dying to get to our local Ren Fest, my writing group has a NaNoWriMo Workshop to head up on the 23rd, and the kiddo has soccer practice one night a week and a soccer game every Saturday. (I don’t foresee a super ton of extracurricular activities in his future…)

SO.

By the end September of 2015, I will be THRILLED if I manage to accomplish the following:

  • Complete edits to Primus.
  • Complete most edits for my author friend’s first 10 chapters.
  • Manage Wordwraith’s tweets for the month.
  • Compile all workshop materials in packets for attendees and organize, as well as rehearse my explanation for each worksheet so I do not ramble and put everyone to sleep.
  • Survive KOP #15.
  • Stay sane.

And you know, that’s it. That’s all I’m putting on my plate for this month! Just that should keep me PLENTY busy!

Here we go!

 

 

 

 

Bait, Fish, and Reel Report for July 2015

It recently came to my attention that I had neglected to post a run-down of what I managed to accomplish during the very terrible month of July 2015! Since it’s quite a miracle that I accomplished anything at all, considering (you can read all about that here), I wanted to be sure I documented what I DID get done. (And you can compare this to the monthly goals here.)

So, in July 2015, I accomplished the following:

– Started work on TWTF extra last chapter (~300 words)
– Completed anthology story (5600 words)
– Printed  The Hound of God postcards for giveaway at family reunion
– Scheduled Wordwraiths tweets for the month
– Wrote 3 posts for Doctor Who Watch (missed one week due to a series of unfortunate events)
– Wrote Wordwraith blog post (linked above – the tale of my terrible July)
– Ended up getting half my wordcount goal for Camp (nearly 8000 words, WAY MORE than I had expected, considering!)
– Sent first 2500 words of Hound of God to Ozarks Romance Authors Weta Nichols contest
– Finished last LOTR fanfic chapter based on beta reader feedback (~2000 words)
– Posted an excerpt of my Wordwraiths anthology story “Dreamers” to Patreon for my paying patrons
– Received a rejection from A Murder of Storyteller’s Broken World anthology for “Gray”, although it was kept for a second read. Which is the second time that story has made it to a second round of reading. Alas, it is still homeless.

And that’s about it! Which is, I think, more than I accomplished in August. So, ah, that’s kinda crazy. Hrmmm.

Anyway, I need to get another short story out there! I’m feeling antsy about submissions lately … having something out in the world to wait on rejection always makes me feel better! 😉

Onward and upward, folks!

Project List and Bait, Fish, and Reel Report for August 2015

Project List for August 2015 was:

Make submission to Anthology of Quitters
– Finish COTSS short story and submit to DSF
Publish TWTF 21 on fanfiction dot net
– Complete TWTF 22
– Work on The Hound of God
– Resume edits on Primus
Give quote for editing friend author’s 5th novel
Read the outlines for  his first 4 novels
– Continue reading novel for fellow Wordwraith and giving feedback

Bait, Fish, and Reel Report for August 2015:

Completed all items crossed through on the list above, plus read and edited another fellow Wordwraith’s anthology story and returned comments to her.

I also made SOME PROGRESS on the following:

– Work on The Hound of God (~700 words)
– Continue reading fellow Wordwraith’s novel and giving him feedback (chapters 5-7)
– Resume edits on Primus (chapters 1-3 revised, brainstormed, rewritten and revised again)
– Edit author friend’s 5th novel

A “Books” Page Has Finally Been Added!

Well! That was probably harder than it should have been.

Maybe I shouldn’t be trying to add pages to my website so late at night, as instead of creating a new page, I first created a new post! But that’s all right, because I wanted to announce the new page, anyway!

If you will direct your eyes to the top navigation bar of this site, you will see that I have FINALLY gotten around to adding a page for my actual books.

Of course … it helps to actually have a book now to list there! 😉 Regardless, I will also be putting the blurbs and covers for my soon-coming books there, so you can have a bit of a sneak peek at what’s coming up around the corner!

If you would like more information on upcoming works, exclusive excerpts, chances at receiving an Advanced Reader’s Copy, and even some free fiction for your trouble, keep watching this space for my Newsletter announcement, which should *crosses fingers* be up and running before too long!

In the meantime, if you’d like to feast your eyes upon the brand-spanking-new Books page, you may find it here!

Thanks for stopping by and … good night! ❤

The “Finished Story” Feeling

Apparently there is a magic story length that exists and when I write a story of that magic length, I get a fabulous “finished story” feeling afterward.

I do not get this feeling with shorter short stories. But I do get it after writing longer/longish short stories or very long novels. Not sure that 3000 words really cuts it, but 5000 and up does, for some reason.

July 2015 was a terrible month for me, for various reasons. I have chronicled the difficulties of the month and how I still managed to crawl out on the other side with nearly 8000 words of stories in a blog post for The Wordwraiths, so I will spare you the details here. All you have to know for right now is that I was about to give up multiple times throughout July … and not just on the current story I was trying to finish with a self-set deadline of July 31st, 2015, but on writing altogether as a whole.

However, I did not give up. On either. Although many times I was tempted to at least allow myself a bit more leniency due to the extenuating circumstances, I just kept thinking of something that was said in the book Write. Publish. Repeat. And that was that you should set deadlines for yourself, which I do. But it also said that the deadlines you set for yourself should not be as firm as wet tissue paper.

Meaning, take them seriously. Don’t just blow through them because YOU set them for YOURSELF. Treat them like real, outside deadlines, and don’t blow them off.

So I didn’t. I took my own deadline seriously, which I’m usually very, very bad at. It was a little easier this time because I had my whole writing group on the same deadline with me, and I saw a lot of them struggling against the looming date as well. And they were doing it. So I determined to do it, too.

And I did it. I finished the short story at 5600-ish words on July 31st 2015. And I was very happy about it. It made me feel, once again, like, “Hey, I can do this thing, no matter what happens in the rest of life.”

And then I got that “finished story” feeling. I LOVE this feeling.  I don’t get it often, because it either takes me a VERY long time to finish novels, or because the stories I finish in between the novels are too short to illicit any kind of emotional response. But, when it happens, I try to relish it, and just enjoy it for a few days.

Since I want to write as a career, I am never finished writing. There is always always always always something else waiting to be written. But a story has an end, and on the rare occasions when I devote a significant chunk of time and effort toward writing one, and it’s finally complete, a very serene contentedness comes over me. Even if the story itself isn’t very good. Even though it always needs extensive edits and a lot more work before it’s shown to the world. But none of that matters right after I write THE END.

All that matters is that the first draft, the hardest part (for me) is done. I have something COMPLETE. I have PROOF of HAVING WRITTEN. It is extremely satisfying. It generates a kind of happiness I don’t quite get in doing any other type of work. It’s as if, for a glorious few days, I can see the world so much more clearly. I can be in my life in the moment, in the now, because all the story-stuff leaves me alone for just a little bit.

I can do house chores without feeling guilty that I’m not writing instead. I can play with my son without fretting in the back of my mind about how I’m also going to fit in my daily word count. I can do my day job without the constant nagging anxiety of “I’d rather be writing”. It’s such a nice break. Such a relief. I usually allow myself a few days off at this point, to fully enjoy this reprieve.

Today is the third day of this break, and I can feel it now beginning to turn into motivation and inspiration for resuming work on the other two projects-currently-in-progress. I will likely pick back up into actively writing again either later today or tomorrow at the latest. Yep, vacation’s over. Time to get back to work.

But while I had a head unmuddled by story and deadlines and word counts, I thought I’d take a second to come document this feeling of clarity and calm.

I can’t wait to experience it again …

Project List for July 2015

Yeah yeah yeah, so July is basically half over. But so what! I’m still going to make this post, for posterity! 😉

In July of 2015 (it’s Camp NaNoWriMo!), I hope to accomplish the following:

– Move website hosting
– Transfer content from current domain to new hosted domain
– Set up email list on website
– Finish last LOTR fanfic chapter based on beta reader feedback and complete the epilogue
– Complete Wordwraith’s anthology story “Dreamers” during Camp NaNoWriMo
– Continue work on Hound of God once other stories are complete
Print postcards with Hound cover, blurb, and links for family reunion to give along with teas and tea infuser
Manage Wordwraith Twitter account for the month
– Write 1 post each week for Doctor Who Watch
– Write Wordwraith blog post
– Continue reading fellow Wordwraith’s novel and sending feedback
– Continue reading craft books
– Post something special to Patreon for my paying patrons
Send first 2500 words of Hound of God to Ozarks Romance Authors Weta Nichols contest (sent 7.15.15 … on the last day for entries! Whew!)

Thus far, the writing is going abysmally terribly this month (aka, I have about 1200 words written of my 15,000 word monthly goal). It has not been a great two weeks all around, not just in the writing arena. There have been several times where I was tempted to throw up my hands and quit this writing thing altogether, because that seems to be what my brain thinks is the answer to all my life problems. However, while writing does suck up almost all of my very limited free time, and causes me to basically have no social life, and bestows loads and loads of guilt and anxiety upon all aspects of my life … the thought of not doing it at all is terrifying.

Probably because I wouldn’t know how to entertain myself. I wouldn’t know how to have a life after all of these years.

So I guess I’m stuck with it.

We’ll see how well I do for the remainder of the month. It’s been a tough one! Whew!

Bait, Fish, and Reel Report for June 2015!

As per usual, I feel like I didn’t accomplish much last month. But upon reflection, I realize it wasn’t as bad as it feels, really.

Here is what I accomplished in June:

  • Completed the second chapter of Hound of God  (2601 words) and started the third, plus wrote a 700 ish word segment for Hound during our retreat SIAB.
  • Wrote about 2000 words toward the LOTR fanfic.
  • Listened/read the entire 350ish page book Write.Publish.Repeat.
  • Set up and paid for a mailbox for Wordwraith Books use.
  • Bought my own domain name.
  • Read more of fellow Wordwraith’s novel and sent feedback on chapters 2-4.
  • Attended the 1st Wordwraiths writing retreat!
  • Uploaded retreat Story In a Bag to Patreon for my paying patrons.
  • Wrote 3 posts for Doctor Who Watch.
  • Wrote 1 blog post for myself.
  • Submitted “Gray” to A Murder of Storytellers “Broken Worlds” anthology, received email saying they were keeping it for a second read.
  • Further researched self-publishing and launch strategies etc, bought lots of craft books, joined a few important mailing lists, chatted with other indie authors.

And that’s about it …

Giving Myself Permission to JUST. WRITE.

You may have noticed I am blogging significantly less than I used to. At the very least, I used to be pretty good about my Writing Prompt Wednesday posts. But not so these days. These days I can scarce keep up with my monthly goal posts and monthly what-in-the-crap-did-I-actually-do-this-month posts.

Part of this is due to me now writing on a weekly basis for Doctor Who Watch (thus, less time for my own blogging). Part of this is due to the fact that blogging takes up a great deal of energy for me. And it always has. Those of you who’ve been around here for awhile probably picked up on the fact that if I blog, it’s usually about some realization about myself or my writing I’ve recently had, or about some lesson that’s finally clicked into place in my head.

I express myself better through writing, and always have. I like to write self-revelations down so that I remember them. When something unfolds in my head and I finally GET IT, I want to jot it down as best I can, for Future Me. That’s what I’m doing even right this very moment, with this post.

But this means that my posts are not often light and short and quick. They are long and involved and generally heavier. Thus the high energy and high time commitment to writing them. Thus my not writing as many lately. I’ve been concentrating on other things, things I put a higher priority on than keeping up with this blog. Sometimes … a lot of times … I would think of this blog, sitting here gathering dust, and feel guilty for not making myself post more often (which would, essentially, also require me to change what this blog really is for me).

And then, just last month, I started listening to the audiobook of “Write. Publish. Repeat.” (I have since finished it.) There are a few moments in my life as relate to my writing career that crystalize everything into a wonderful moment of clarity. Usually these moments get blog posts. If I were to look back in my timeline of my writing career, these moments are the pillars. The lynchpins. The spring boards. The moments I can clearly see as being vital to my advancement as a writer. (And luckily most of them are preserved here, lol.)

Listening to “Write. Publish. Repeat.” was one of those moments. I can already say that hearing that book has changed my life. Not only because it set forth a sound self-publishing strategy among a sea — a roiling, unruly SEA — of varying self-publishing advice, but because it did so in such a simple, straight forward, inspirational and motivational way.

I am nearing the moment when I will self-publish my very own book for the first time. And realizing this, I panicked. I knew nothing. (Like, less than Jon Snow.) Researching in an attempt to find help made things worse. Even asking other indie authors was a challenge. Everyone has a different strategy that works for them. I felt like I might be losing my mind.

Then, desperate, I bought a handful of self-publishing How To books recommended by Jane Friedman. “Write. Publish. Repeat.” was the one I read first, and solely because it was offered on audio book. I am SO GLAD I did this.

I am calm now. I have a plan. And yes, I will still adapt the suggested strategy to best fit my own needs, but at least I have a solid FOUNDATION that is PROVEN. The authors make a full-time living (all three of them) at self-publishing. It CAN be done. I don’t want or need millions, I would just like a living, someday, eventually, please.

It’s not easy, but I never asked for easy. I just wanted some advice. Some pointers. The tiniest of visible trails in the mad JUNGLE that is indie publishing.

“Write. Publish. Repeat.” did that in the best way possible. It was EXACTLY what I needed at this point in my writing life. And it reiterated what I’ve heard several authors state before: Just write your books.

But pffft, when you hear that from a big name, it’s easy to sluff off. Sure, THEY can just worry about writing, but my situation is different because I’m publishing myself, and I need a website, and I need social media, and I need a blog, and I need a badass cover, and I literally have to do all of this and I mean everything all by myself …

But no. That’s not true at all. All I really need to do is the same thing every other author really needs to do.

JUST. WRITE.

Just write the books. That’s it.

*breathes massive sigh of relief*

For some reason, hearing this stated over and over again from Johnny and Sean (and Dave) made it finally sink in. Throughout the course of their book, they made me like them, and trust them, and that’s probably also a big reason why it finally stuck. They weren’t someone unreachable I’ve never met, so to say. They were “real” people. And if it worked for them, it could work for me.

Just write.

So now, when everything else starts crowding around in my brain, everything I feel like needs attention related to my writing career, I simply take a breath and remind myself to just write the story, and don’t worry about anything else right now.

Blogging is not what I want to do in life. It is helpful to me, for sure, and I hope helpful to any other writers out there, and I also hope it’s interesting for any readers (you never knew we writers were so neurotic, did you?), but it’s not my *thing*. My THING is WRITING BOOKS, damnit, and that’s what I’m going to do!

Don’t be surprised if you don’t see me around here too often, aside from the monthly updates and random EUREKA posts. I will be adding a mailing list to this site shortly, which will be much more fun for me to send out regularly, and which will include updates and excerpts from my in-progress projects, as well as possibly a special small serial fiction just for my subscribers. So if you’d like to keep hearing from me regularly and stay apprised of progress, that would be the way to go!

Otherwise I’ll pop in every now and again to chronicle my discoveries and goals. But I’m not going to feel guilty about not consistently throwing up content anymore, because I’ll be too busy WRITING MY BOOKS.

Remember, my dear fellow authors …

JUST. WRITE.

My First Official Publication! (and a few other BIG announcements!)

All right, *technically* it’s not my first official publication. I *did* have those scientific research papers that had my name on them, published in peer-reviewed journals. And I *did* have a blog post as a Friday Feature article in the online Woven Tale Press magazine.

But I count *this one* as my first official publication because, after plugging away at this original fiction writing thing since October 2012, I will finally have something of mine put in a book that is available to the general public to buy and read for entertainment!

*pauses to do another happy dance*

WHEEEEE!!!

Okay, so … yes, on to the official announcement. Ahem.

My 300 word flash fiction story (you remember that one, yes?), entitled “The Bloodrose Venture”, was accepted for publication in the Queer Sci Fi’s 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Anthology “Discovery”, available for pre-order RIGHT NOW, and due for official release on July 10th, 2015!

fb-banner-discovery

My story is on page 138, to be precise. But you won’t be disappointed by the other stories in this anthology, either. They are all great reads, and the brilliance of some of them gives me goosebumps. There’s something about flash fiction I just love, especially when the author can really leave you with a punch right at the very end, and a lot of these stories do that.

They end, and you’re like … *blink*blink* …. “DAMN!”

Great stuff all around. But that’s not all! Oh no.

My second announcement is that, if you will so kindly glance up there to your address bar, you will see that I now officially (and finally) have a real domain name! It took long enough, right? Well, that’s just the first of some major changes that will be going on around here. Over the course of the next several weeks, I’ll be whipping this website into professional shape. Bear with me as this happens. It might get messy! But in the long run it will be worth it and so much better.

And last, but most certainly not least, my third announcement is the unveiling of the new and improved website of The Wordwraiths, my writing-group-turned-so-much-more. We now comprise an independent publishing group: Wordwraith Books. You can learn more about us over on our website, as well as view the biographies for each of us. You will hear from one of us every week over on the Wordwraiths blog as we talk about all sorts of writing and reading related subjects, so follow along to be included in the fun! We will also be releasing a series of short stories beginning a little later this year, with an anthology available at the end of this year. If you are an author and are interested in contributing a guest post to our blog, or would like to schedule a blog tour stop, drop me an email from here or leave an email from the Wordwraiths site and we can talk opportunities!

Lots of stuff happening around here, folks! The ball is really starting to roll, and I’m going to hang on for the ride!

Stay tuned for more!