Tag Archives: writing

Gotta Have Goals (October 2017)

At the beginning of September, I set 19 goals for myself, and I thought it’d do more towards accountability if I actually shared how that went. (Plus, then, NEW GOALS!)

September Report

  1. Pick my son up from his very last day of preschool ever. Take a picture. Don’t cry. (9/1) – SUCCESS! I didn’t even cry
  2. Finish all my last pre-editor edits on The Ruby Blade and get that sucker to my editor. (9/2) – SUCCESS! I totally cried here, though
  3. Drink champagne. (9/2) – SUCCESS! (No tears)
  4. Make an apple pie with the Bean, because he wants to make one for the beer guy’s parents who are visiting. (9/3) – SUCCESS! Kinda, we made a crisp instead
  5. Drop my boy off at his first day of Kindergarten. Take pictures. Don’t cry. (9/5) – SUCCESS! More or less. I maybe got some dust in my eyes. It was really smoky from the fires.
  6. Edit a book for a new client (early Sept) – SUCCESS! (And it is SO GOOD!)
  7. Get my skin checked to make sure there’s no suspicious activity (9/11) – SUCCESS! All is well with my soul skin
  8. Meet with new personal trainer and get new workout schedule set up (9/12) – half SUCCESS! I met with the trainer, but have not yet gotten the schedule set up. 
  9. Write 45K words on Eleanor #4 (sekrit goal is 60K – which is 15K/week and my current average, but see all busy-ness) – big ol’ fail…I’m waaaay behind on my ambitious goal, not to mention the sekrit goal, but still on track to finish by 11/30.
  10. Write 2 chapters on my Raj novella – oops. Totally did not do this. 
  11. Survive the beer guy’s 2.5 week trip to Belgium (I mean, obviously, I’ll survive, but, you know…) – SUCCESS! I ate and slept and only broke the house a tiny bit! 
  12. Keep on top of my day job stuff – SUCCESS!
  13. Write outlines for the first three books in my new series coming out about this time next year and conspire with my cover artist – SUCCESS! I have a long synopsis for the first book and shorter ones for books 2 & 3, have started conspiring with my cover artist, and am working on a marketing plan.
  14. Turn around my article edits SUPAH FAST – SUCCESS! 
  15. Write 4 chapters on SUPER SEKRIT PROJECT – oops. Totally forgot about this.
  16. Actually sleep? I guess? – SUCCESS! I averaged more than 6.5 hours/night in September. 
  17. Start meditating in the mornings again, which means – oops. nope.
  18. Start getting up at 5:30 am again, which means – hahaha. nope. (I am getting up regularly at 6 now, though)
  19. In bed & asleep by 10:45 on school nights – SUCCESS! 
  20. I really want a 20th goal, but couldn’t think of one…

Honestly not bad at all. So much successing. The places where I didn’t completely succeed, though, were all things for which I had not external motivator. Writing my own words with no editor deadline (see sekrit project, Eleanor #4, Raj’s chapters), meditation, getting up earlier, getting the workout schedule down with the new trainer (although, to be fair, I’m waiting for her to get back to me at this point).

I’m not going to set 20 goals in October, but I have five big ones. I’m not going to include things that I know I’ll get done, like finishing up the book I’m currently editing or “have a good time in Mexico.” Instead, these are actual things that I have to work at.

  1. I signed up for a thanksgiving 5K. My goal – to finish it without hating myself, whatever that means for me that day.
  2. I need to be mostly done with Eleanor book 4 by the end of the month.
  3. Stay on top of book marketing and don’t back out because of “hard” or “fear.”
  4. Find a way to forgive everyone who made me angry cry today due to the colossal fuck-up that happened with my Bean’s after-school care situation. Note: this might be the hardest. Note 2: I think everything’s figured out. It was only two hours of Wednesday panic on my part.
  5. Continue to eat 3x/day and get to bed by 11 on work nights. Work on popping out of bed a little faster in the morning. Meditate (with the bean). Moisturize. Self-care.

 

 

Three Things Thursday: Ruby Blade

  1. In case you missed it, The Ruby Blade cover reveal and preorder announcement went up last night! You can pop over to Goodreads and mark it as “to read” and then head to Amazon to preorder your copy!
  2. The book is currently with editor extraordinaire getting once last look-see, and then I’ll be sending out ARCs, having it proofread, and then sending it to my formatter to work her magic.

    There’s probably a wand involved somewhere, too.

     

  3. If you read The Cardinal Gate or The Waning Moon, I’d be beyond delighted if you could head over to Amazon to leave a review for either or both of them. Getting to 50 reviews lets the books get picked up by Amazon’s algorithms, which results in more people seeing my book, and presumably buying my book, which makes it easier for me to keep writing books. (This is also presumably some kind of eldritch magic.)

    Amazon employees at work

Cover Reveal! The Ruby Blade

I am so excited to share this with you guys. I love my cover artist and what she’s been doing for the series, and really think this captures Eleanor and where she’s at with The Ruby Blade.

As much as doing the cover art is one of the most fun parts of the gig, writing the accompanying blurb is my least favorite part.

I mean, I have one, but I think the real winner is the version I came up with Monday evening as I was workshopping this in my author group chat (for the 1 millionth time):

Just buy it. It’s not that bad.

NAKED HOTTUB SCENE!

GOOD FIGHTING!

/and scene

The Blurb

Raj swore he’d pay any price to recover the blade he’d wielded a thousand years ago, but what if that price is Eleanor’s trust?

Eleanor is beset on all sides by supernatural enemies determined to halt her quest to reopen otherworldly traffic between Earth and the Fae Plane. Double-dealing shifters, black magic, and treacherous elves challenge the skills and cohesion of the group.

The chill that threatens to send her dragon half into hibernation does nothing to bank the fires of her desire for Raj—but Florence’s cryptic warning prevents her from succumbing to his charms. Raj is not what he seems and he is hiding something far darker than Eleanor ever imagined.

Will she be able to forgive him or will the truth kill her?

And, without further ado, the cover!

 

Didn’t Skyla do an amazing job?

I’m super excited for you guys to read this book! ARCs will be headed out the end of next week (maybe earlier) and the release is set for 10/31/17.

You can add it to your Goodreads queue The Ruby Blade (Eleanor Morgan #3)  and even preorder it on Amazon (Kindle version only at this point).


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Writerly Wednesday – Nuts & Bolts Edition

I drafted most of this last week before I found out my kiddo was on his way to the ER. Obviously, I didn’t get to the publishing part of it then.

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You may or may not know that as an indie-published author, I am not raking in the dough.

I’ve published two books this year (with a third coming out in…checks the countdown clock in the sidebar…less than 48 41 days *cue panic*). In order to publish a decent book, there are a lot of things one must do in addition to being a decent writer.

One must hire a professional editor. This is not cheap. Nor should it be! You want quality! One must have a proofreader. Preferably someone who is not also your editor. Because the more eyes, the better. One must, if they are not graphically inclined, have a cover designer.

Seriously – if I was in charge of my covers, they would look like this (real sketch I shared with my cover designer):

I still have the original if you want a signed copy of this. hahahaha. My kindergartener can draw better than I can. (Full Ruby Blade Pinterest board if you click!)

You can see why I pay cash money for a cover designer, right? There are other expenses, as well. ISBN numbers, formatting (I’m fortunate that my formatter takes Amazon gift cards), copyright filing fees, and the biggie…advertising.

Advertising is something that I’ve not quite figured out the magical formula for, but I can tell you right now, that’s the second largest expense I have (after my editor).

I am not making the big bucks. I’m new, I’m unknown, and I don’t have the backing of a publishing powerhouse for promotion. (There have been two days this month where my daily GROSS was less than $1. I am not even kidding a little bit.)

All of this isn’t to complain – not in the least. I knew, more or less, what I was getting in to. I expect that as I keep publishing, I’ll get a little more traction, attract a few more readers, and get more reviews (I’ve heard that 50 is the magic number on Amazon, and I’m almost half-way there with The Cardinal Gate).

Maybe there will be a day in the future when I’m not squeezing in my writing and editing time around my dayjob. That is my ultimate goal, but for now – only two (almost three!) books in, that’s impossible. Where you run into an interesting problem is when you think about how often it’s recommended indie authors publish to stay in the readers’ minds. I’m publishing three books in a calendar year this year. Three books that average 100,000 words each. It takes me roughly 2-3 months to write a draft of that length when I’m working full time and editing on the side. Then, another 3 weeks for a second draft. Off to the beta readers, a few days to incorporate their feedback, a couple rounds of editing (that’s 4-6 weeks of work for me) and proofing (another week), final changes and readthroughs. Formatting. Uploading and reuploading and swearing. My writing calendar looks like this:

The Ruby Blade is Red (of course), book 4 is Orange, Editing is purple, blogging is yellow, novella/sekrit project stuff is green, and that’s just the writing calendar. I currently have five active calendars. FIVE.

As you can probably imagine, that’s a lot of juggling – especially since I do occasionally enjoy having a social life and because I do have a kiddo 1/2 time (which is just not enough…sigh).

**this is where I left off; talking about my 1/2 time kiddo who is awesome, but accident prone**

I’m starting to book a fair amount of editing clients, and I really love it. I love writing. I hate editing my own stuff, but it’s part of the process.

My dream – my ultimate goal, and the thing I’m working towards – is financial freedom. I don’t know how realistic that is. I know people a few years ahead of me who make enough money writing that they can also do a fair amount of travel (yes!) and others who have more books published, but are still reliant on secondary sources of income (such as a day job or a partner with a good day job or some combination thereof).

If you asked me where I wanted to be in five years, I’d tell you it’d be 100% debt free (thanks marriage, divorce, and master’s degree!) and making enough $$ writing and editing that – at the very least – I’m able to cut down to half time. (I kinda like my sweet, sweet health insurance, and if the ACA goes away, there’s no way I’d be able to afford insurance on the open market. Mental illness is a horribly expensive pre-existing condition and is the reason I’ve gone without insurance the few times I didn’t have a job that offered it.)

Ultimate dream? Doing the writing/editing and living in a country where you just get health insurance because it’s a fundamental right and not a privilege of the wealthy! (I’m not harboring any illusions that this country will be the US, of course. For a country that has such a vocal contingent declaring it a “Christian Nation” we’re sure awfully stingy about taking care of the poor and sick (Matthew 25:41-46).)

For now, though, it’s a slog. I work at my day job where, for the first time since I was 22, I’m an hourly employee which means if I take off an hour to pick up a sick kid, I don’t get paid. I spend my evenings after Bean goes to bed with my editing clients (not actually with them; I do not provide that level of service) or writing. I try to hang out with friends and Beer Guys regularly. And I’m still not making a profit. Yet.

I’m confident I’ll get there, but this is hard, hard work. It’s the best hard work I’ve ever done, but I’m not rolling around in my piles of money, laughing maniacally yet. (YET!)

 

As soon as I make it big, I promise to take a video of me making a money angel.

pinky swear

 

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Book Review: Shameless Begging

Hey readers…quick request. If you read either The Cardinal Gate or The Waning Moon, can you pretty, pretty please go post a review for them? I don’t care if you didn’t love them. (If your last name is Cissell, though, you can’t leave a review.)

It doesn’t have to be much. Just pick a title (This book was aces!) or (I liked it alright) or (Meh), a star-ranking, and a couple sentences that make it sound like you actually read the book. (If you didn’t read it, don’t review it. That’s weird.)

You can set up an anonymous name and I’ll never know who you are. I promise you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t like it. I’ve heard a lot of negative things about my books (and more than enough positive things to balance it), but reviews are really awesome to help indie authors like me gain traction.

I really appreciate everyone who’s supported me by buying, downloading, and reading…and I’d appreciate you so extra hard if you’d review.

(Pssstttt…I’m gonna be doing a HYUGENORMOUS giveaway involving three signed paperbacks and a few other fun goodies as soon as The Cardinal Gate gets to 50 reviews…we’ve a ways to go, though, so don’t hold your breath.)

In the meantime, I’m trucking along with writing and editing and eating regularly and sleeping and watching too many murder shows late at night when it’s windy and the branches scrape the house and things get blown into the doors. Still working on getting to my ideal state, but I’m feeling a little better about it today.

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