Tag Archives: editing

So Long 2017!

This year has been a huge mixed bag for me.

January had a trip to Breckenridge with The Beer Guy, then rats (!), then moving in with aforementioned Beer Guy.

You’re welcome for posting this picture and not a different January memory.

February, I turned 40 and published my first book (The Cardinal Gate is currently on sale for $0.99 – get yours today!)

Look at this magnificent cake that my friend Melissa made for me? How could it get any better than this?

Buy Me! Review Me!

In March, we celebrated the Beer Guy’s birthday, and I spent a lot of time with friends.

Please enjoy this dramatic reenactment of the Beer Guy’s birthday karaoke, in which I failed to actually get him in the picture.

In April, Alvie Bean turned five. I can’t even with that information, and that was months ago. I also started a new job!

In May, the Beer Guy and I went to the coast, where I started the outline for what will be the Oracle Bay series (due out Fall 2018).

RIP, that necklace whose pendant is lost.

June was amazing. I got to see NKOTB (and I TOUCHED JOEY JOE MCINTYRE!) and then, at the end of the month, The Waning Moon came out!

That is Joey McIntyre and my hand. TOUCHING!

July…existed? I was hard at work on Ruby Blade, got to know a lot of new, cool author friends better, and my mom came to visit and took the kiddo to the coast.

I love this kid like whoa.

August was busy AF. I did my first (and only!) book reading/signing at a local bookstore, and then, courtesy the Beer Guy, had champagne after with an assortment of my favorite local people!

There was also an eclipse and a kittening.

This is my “what? another motherfucking swear word?” face

Alvie with Rupurrt Giles

In September, my boy started school and had his first ER visit in 4 years!

First day of kindergarten!

In October, Alvie started a new kindergarten (he’d been on the waitlist for the Spanish Immersion kindergarten and we got a place at the last possible moment) and the Beer Guy & I went to Puerto Vallarta with his family. I have zero pictures of us together in Mexico, but I swear we were there! Last, but not least, I released my third (3rd!) book, The Ruby Blade (on the best of all holidays, Halloween.)

First day of kindergarten, take 2

This is the only picture I have of us together. I am in it only by virtue of having taken the photo.

Tiny Captain Picard!

November…was kind of a shit show.  Presumably good things happened. There was Thanksgiving? And a triumphant return to karaoke after a couple months off. And no one got expelled, and I had my first ER visit in 4 years!

I need a scribe. And a chauffeur. And a butler. And a pool boy.

And now – this year is nearly done. The last 2.5 months have been some of the hardest months I’ve endured in ages. The last 2.5 years have been hard. I’m so, so lucky to have so many bright spots.

I have three books published, and plans to publish 4 next year. I have an up-and-coming freelance business and my calendar is almost full for the first half of 2018. I have a dayjob that pays me in money, a healthy kid who is hopefully losing his first tooth right now, and a patient, wonderful partner who has put up with a lot of shit this year and swears he’s sticking around.

GAH! This guy! (Also, are we or are we not cute AF?)

I’m really looking forward to 2018. I’ve got some big goals for next year, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you!

I hope your holiday season has been filled with light, happiness, and the family of your choosing. See you next year!

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

Gotta Have Goals (November 2017)

Yeah, maybe it’s the middle of November almost, but bite me. The last two weeks have been wicked hard. The stress of being mid-divorce and facing unemployment have nothing on the stress of watching your child suffer* and not be able to help.

So, I’m a little behind on a lot of things. I have book reviews to write/publish for Mel Sterling as well as for Lit Buzz and a few others.

I am so fucking far behind on NaNoWriMo, which is unfortunate – not because I particularly care about winning (although this is the first year I didn’t buy my winner’s shirt in advance, and that’s probably why I’m not doing well), but because I do care about finishing Eleanor #4 and getting the beta-reading and editing process moving.

I am, fortunately, not behind on my editing projects.

I am super far behind on sleep, and as such have just been randomly falling asleep lately.

BUT – I have goals for this month (and a brief report on how I did in October).

 

October Goals

  1. I signed up for a thanksgiving 5K. My goal – to finish it without hating myself, whatever that means for me that day. – Ummm – I don’t even know why this was an October goal. Thanksgiving is totally this month.
  2. I need to be mostly done with Eleanor book 4 by the end of the month. – Oops. Not even close. Not even half.
  3. Stay on top of book marketing and don’t back out because of “hard” or “fear.” – Not bad for a newbie!
  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. – This is so in that past. SUCCESS!
  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. – Eating = SUCCESS! Bed time = FAIL! Meditation & Moisturize & Self-Care = FAIL!

So – not that great.

November Goals

  1. Hit 90K words on Eleanor 4
  2. Finish all editing projects on time
  3. Find one new editing client
  4. Move 30 minutes every day
  5. Find a way to be present and let go of stress before I have a nervous breakdown

 

*Bean is okay. We are all okay. But sometimes life is hard, yo.

Three Things Thursday: All About the Hamiltons

Shameless self-promotion

  1. I have been side-gigging as a professional editor for the last year or so, but things have really picked up in the last three months, and I’m actually starting to book out. I have an opening in early January, one in early February, one in late April, and then two in early May. (If you’ve something less than 100K words, I can probably fit you in elsewhere.) I’ve nothing booked after June 4, so if you want to plan ahead
  1. I’m in the early stages of a website redesign. One of the things that will be available once I’m done with said redesign is a store where you can buy autographed paperbacks. I’ve had a few requests for these, so right now I’m handling them on a case-by-case basis. If you’re interested (I’m heading to the Post Office Saturday!), The Cardinal Gate is $12, The Waning Moon is $14, and The Ruby Blade is $14. You can pay through paypal (amyrcissell (at) gmail (dot) com). Just tell me (a) Which books you want, (b) Who you want them inscribed to, and (c) Where you want them mailed.  It’s $2 shipping for the first book, and $1 for each additional book.  At this time, this is only available to US residents. Sorry, but shipping internationally is ridiculous.
  1. Finally – all three books are for sale at a lot of places on the interwebs where ebooks can be purchased. You can also get paperbacks at Barnes & Noble (dot com, not a bricks & mortar store) and at Amazon.

The Cardinal Gate
The Waning Moon
The Ruby Blade

Help keep me in mid-priced champagne

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

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.

****

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

 

SaveSave

Monday Brain Dump

It’s been a ridiculous week. I have a lot of thoughts in my head. I’m not gonna share all of them, but I’ve got some stuff for you.

You all know my kiddo was in the ER for a head injury Wednesday. We went for a followup visit Saturday and he is AOK – just needs to try to take it easy for a few more days. Limited screen time (I think, all told, we’ve had <45 minutes total for the whole Friday-Monday morning time), limited running, zero falling down and whacking his head any more.

Peak bruising was Saturday morning…it’s starting to fade to yellow, although it’s still spreading.

Friday, I took the Beer Guy to the airport for his 2.5 week trip to Belgium. I already miss him like crazy. (As does the Bean who was super disappointed that the Beer Guy didn’t make it home for waffles and bacon Sunday morning…”Mom, he loves waffles and bacon. Why didn’t he come back for breakfast? It’s because you didn’t buy enough bacon for everyone, isn’t it?” Yep…totes my fault on that one, kid.) So when I picked Bean up from kindergarten on Friday, I said I’d take him anywhere he wanted to go for dinner.

AB: “Oooh – Pizza Fino is good!”

Me: “Okay, let’s go there.”

AB: “But Atomic is even better. Can we go there? The Beer Guy will be so jealous because he loves it and we can take a picture and send it to him and he will miss us.”

Me: “Interesting motivation, but sure. Let’s go there.”

As we approach Atomic Pizza, Bean says, “Mom. I don’t really want the Beer Guy to be jealous. Let’s go to Lucky Lab. He won’t be sad that he missed that.”

Truer words, kids…

Lucky Lab dinner date. I don’t really like that place, either, but I’d said he could pick.

Saturday late afternoon/evening we got to have a play date. Well, Bean played with his BFF (and eventual roommate – he’s planning on moving into their basement when he graduates from high school) and I got to hang with my good friends and former neighbors who were gracious enough to have a kid the exact right age for play dates.

Yesterday was a mellow day. Bean was wiped out and needed a break (and I needed to finish up my editing project for a client so that I’d be ready to start edits on The Ruby Blade when it comes back this week). We putzed around the house, did lego projects, messed with the kitten, and had a pretty quiet (activity wise, definitely not volume wise) day.

We kept watching the sky for rain, and it came in fits and starts, but not quite what I was hoping.

I stayed up too late Saturday and Sunday (Friday, I was asleep on the couch by 9, dragged myself to bed about 10, and then woke up at 1:30 am and was awake for 2.5 hours…dammit.) but still don’t feel too exhausted.

I got the final cover for The Ruby Blade and will be doing an exclusive cover reveal preview for all newsletter subscribers in a couple weeks – so if you want to see before everyone else, sign up for the newsletter (check the sidebar).

tiny sneak peek

This week is all about writing and editing and reading (and work, of course) for me. I have a milestone on book 4 I really want to hit. I also want to – now that I’m starting to feel a little better physically – start moving again on the regular.

But mostly, I want to snuggle my Bean up tonight and tomorrow night before he heads back to his dad’s for 5 days.

Rainy Days and Mondays…