blogging, writing

Call for Guest Posts and Interviews!

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Hello there! So, remember how I said I need to spend more time branching out on blogging stuff and on writing my fiction projects? Well, who here would like to help me out by being a guest poster or interviewee?

If you’re interested, just shoot me an email! (The address in the heading/sidebar works just fine.) I’ll have a questionaire arranged for interviews, and I’m thinking of putting together a guest series on indie author experiences, writing patterns, etc.

Happy writing, moths!

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blogging, books, writing

The Past, Present, and Future of The Invisible Moth

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My blog is 3 years old this January! Did I remember? Not at all! WordPress sent me a congratulatory notification. At least once I saw it, memory clicked.

In January 2015, I started this blog with little more than a domain name and a lot of nerves. I knew very little about blogging, networking, social media, and really this whole world. After a few months, I started to get the hang of following others, blog-hopping (understanding that term), and not only building community (not “only”, though, it’s important!), but I was also beginning to get a feel for what I really wanted this space — my space — to encompass.

For most of 2015 and 2016, I’d been researching self-publishing options, trying to get a better handle on whether it would be for me, the possible pitfalls, and determine if I should pursue it, or go back to continuing attempts at submissions to literary agents.

Well, if you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that I went with self-publishing, and it’s a good fit. I love being able to share my experiences and thoughts and writing process with you all through blogging and social media connections.

 

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I also get to use author platforms such as Goodreads and connect with my readers (and I have readers!) and obsessively stalk — ahem, I mean, have the chance to check in with reviewers, book stats for my titles, and find out what awesome stuff is going on with other indie authors.

To say that I feel blessed to be part of this community just doesn’t do the sentiment justice.

So, now that I’ve reached another milestone, what awaits for The Invisible Moth in 2018?

Well, other than I’ll certainly still be here with publishing updates, reviews, and probably the occasional giveaway, I have to admit that most likely I won’t be blogging as much this year.

Seems a bit odd after working so hard to reach my current status, huh? This has been a hard decision to make. While I’m definitely not quitting blogging, or even going on a hiatus, there are particular goals I want to focus on this year that will take more time than the universe is willing to give me. Since I, sadly, am not in possession of a Time Turner or a TARDIS, I need to choose how quickly I want to accomplish a, b, and c, and what I may have to set aside temporarily in order to do so.

 

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Hence, I really need to devote more of my waking hours to writing things that are not blog posts.

In the past, I’ve toyed with the notion of cutting back, then felt guilty, tried, failed, given up the concept, become slightly overwhelmed, and come back to it.

So, my new schedule for blogging will probably look like a new post once a week, and I’ll stick to reviews and WIP stuff for a bit. Once I get more of this stuff polished off (closer to summer), chances are I’ll feel like expanding back to in-depth discussions and maybe even trying new topics.

At the moment, though, there are THINGS that my brain needs to devote its energy to.

So that you have amazing stuff to read in the near future.

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Remember, I am still looking for ARC readers for How To Be A Savage — and a cover designer. I’m opening it up to a sort of contest format, like before, and if you’re interested in coming up with a cover for a novel about autistic superheroes/spies, drop me a line! (The contact information under my heading works for everything from inquires about book sales to submitting artwork to asking polite questions about Toby’s well-being.)

Here’s to 2018 being awesome!

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blogging, books, writing

Planning Ahead: Expanding the Platform, Attending Conferences, Confirming Publishing Goals

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Good morning! Hope you’re all staying warm!

Let’s get right to it — plenty to discuss this time.

One: The idea of me starting making video reviews.

Okay, the very thought of joining YouTube and struggling with all of their technical issues (and some of their not-very-nice viewers) makes me start to hyperventilate. White Fang has a YouTube channel, and some of his experiences have been wonderful, others not so much.

Plus, I do not extrovert — things like appearing in front of the camera. (The person who suggested I branch out in this method really needs to double check how well he thinks he know me.)

Anyway, there has been the recommendation that I could remain audio-only and do a few reviews with screen shots or something as background. Hmmm… I might experiment with that notion. I’d probably try out the first video on Twitter or Facebook, though, rather than just throw myself to the wolves of YouTube.

(Professional YouTubers have my undying respect. Seriously.)

Let me know what you think of all this!

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Two: I might try to go to a writers’ conference this year.

I went to one a couple years ago, and while I was only there for one day, and it was a small conference center, and I managed to survive the whole thing largely unscathed, it was still HARD.

Remember, the me no extrovert clause.

Also, I didn’t know anyone there, and I wasn’t yet a published author, and the market for speculative fiction (what I primarily write) just didn’t exist at this particular spot. Quite a shame on that bit…

Anyway, people are already flailing over Realm Makers 2018, and while attempting to attend this would be a WHOLE BIG THING for me (just imagine me running around my house screaming at the very possibility), it would be a lot of fun.

So, what do you reckon, moths? Should I look into this?

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Three: Firming up my publication ambitions for this year.

So, here’s what I would really like to do:

Publish How To Be A Savage before winter’s over.

Release Volume 3 sometime this spring.

Get the field guide out shortly after.

Make sure Volume 4 is ready to go before the end of 2018.

Here’s my back-up plan: Savage, Volume 3, field guide on tap prior to the calendar changing to 2019, Volume 4 coming to fruition early next year.

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Given that, after all of that, White Fang and I will start seriously attacking our collaboration standalone sequel (and of course he’ll be in school until June, which limits his availability for this project in the meantime), I think this is certainly enough to have on my plate at present.

Next question: Who here is interested in an ARC for How To Be A Savage?

Who here wants to design the cover?

Please form an orderly queue, over to your right.

I’ll be accepting comments on everything mentioned above until I get satisfactory answers. (Don’t worry, I don’t bite. Remember, I’m close-contact-phobic.)

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blogging, community

The Sunshine Blogger Award!

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Good morning! Happy last post of the year before we finish the holiday week! What better way to focus on the bright spots than to indulge in the Sunshine Blogger Award, courtesy of The Orangutan Librarian!

WHO IS THE ONE PERSON THAT IS THE SUNSHINE IN YOUR LIFE?

There will be no “one” answers in this post. It is not fair to make me choose.

Definitely my sons. And the cat. (Yes, he’s a person, shush.)

DO YOU PREFER ALL HAPPY MOVIES, OR OCCASIONAL SAD MOVIES?

Definitely happy, but there can be sad moments and I won’t get upset. I do not do the silliness of “everybody dies and everything is terrible, the end.” Nu-uh, sir.

WHAT IS THE ONE FOOD THAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU HAPPY?

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Asian in general, but especially sushi and noodle soup!

WHAT IS THE SUNSHINE ON YOUR BLOG?

Definitely the wonderful people who regularly swing by to show their support and share their thoughts with such kindness!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE  WACKY “FUN” DAY?

Hmmm…probably that rare, mythical day when I don’t have any responsibilities or children to take care of, and I get to just go to the mall by myself and sip chai latte and wander around, oogling over products I can’t afford.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF?

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Hmmm…this is a tall order for a Vulcan… I don’t give up easily. I keep pushing through, even when things get a bit bleak. I hate to be defeated.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU LOVE ABOUT THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY?

Certainly the way you all rally around each other, and are there when things get tough!

WHAT IS THE ONE BOOK THAT MADE YOU SMILE THE MOST?

Again, there is no such thing as “one.” Warriors, basically all of The Prophecies Begin, because of Yellowfang’s saltiness and her big heart, and book 2 in The New Prophecy had so many uplifting moments that just put a big grin on my face. More recently, Finding Audrey and Girl Online gave me lots of laughs. And in Kyle Robert Shultz’s Beaumont and Beasley series, whenever Malcolm Blackfire shows up, I will simply sit there with a massive stupid grin through that scene.

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WHERE IS YOUR CORNER OF SUNSHINE IN YOUR HOME?

When the sun hits at a certain angle (usually mid-afternoon), and it falls just right through the trees, and in late spring through early fall it has that real golden sheen… Yeah, when that’s on my writing desk, I am very content.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR OR COLORS?

Pink, purple, blue, yellow, and silver. (See? Just one is impossible.)

WHAT IS THE ONE MOVIE (OR DRAMA) THAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU HAPPY?

What did I just say… The film version of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (even with its creepy moments), Doctor Who (even with all the tears), and Lord of the Rings (yes, even with all the crying!). And there are scenes in Blade Runner and The Last Unicorn that are just absolutely beautiful storytelling.

All right, I’ll break with the tradition of not nominating anyone! Kyle Robert Shultz, Paper Fury, SM Metzler, Deborah O’Carroll, and Jameson @ Lovely Whatsoevers, you’re up! (And whoever else would like to do this!)

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blogging, reading

One Bookdragon’s New Year’s Resolutions

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2017 was a slightly frustrating year for me as a reader. There were a lot of books that I DNF (when previously I hated doing that), some authors I had been enjoying that I’ve written off (ha, sorry), and I faced the very real problem of hitting a slump.

So, hoping to avoid such travesties in 2018, here are my bookdragon’s new year’s resolutions:

I shall finish what I start. Yes, I am going to force myself if necessary to finish every book I begin reading. This should probably mean a) conducting a lot more research before adding titles to my TBR and b) not letting myself be swayed by hype. Sometimes the hype is well-deserved. But unfortunately, it mostly just increases the weight on my back as I trudge through the snow from the library. (Spoiler: it isn’t worth it.)

ARCs will be few and far between. Unless I or the author make a specific request. I love the concept of ARCs, especially for indie authors. But I, as a reader, don’t have the time, energy, or desire to commit to taking part in the evaluating-advance-copy-for-a-review bit this year.

There will be no pressure to review absolutely everything. Yes, it is very helpful in the community if you explain in particulars what you did or didn’t like about a book. However, not every rating on Goodreads has to be a 4-paragraph, beautifully-detailed mini-literary critique. A couple of sentences highlighting what you feel to be the title’s biggest pros/cons often work just as well.

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I am not going to guilt myself into leaving my comfort zone. Trying to suffer through romances, contemporary YA, or historical fiction anymore is not my idea of fun. If you love these genres, please don’t throw anything. I appreciate really well-told stories of any kind. Though reading all of them ain’t my cup of tea. Some authors’ styles and I don’t mix; sometimes the content makes me twitch (even when the seedier elements are necessary for the plot); and pure fluff just doesn’t float my boat.

So, yes, I’ll be reading a lot of fantasy, historical fantasy, and speculative fiction. And your point is?

Instead of attempting to begin all the new series, I will complete the ones I’ve commenced. I am behind on WarriorsThe Familiars, Apprentice Cat (all of which White Fang is champing at the bit for me to get to), and he’s going to force me to read Obsidio when that’s out. Plus, at the rate Kyle Shultz is hoping to publish his next titles, I better get ready!

More buying, less borrowing this year. It’s because I want to encourage myself to finish everything, and embrace quality over quantity. At the library, I have a greater chance of being impulsive — and all that literal trudging-and-hauling is getting old. Spending money on shiny new novels feels special, and I’m much more likely to limit my purchases to those selections I expect to enjoy and wish to savor.

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My Goodreads challenge goal will remain low. This year, I set my challenge at a very reasonable 20 books, and thought it would probably take me till around October to hit that tally. I reached it in April. It was intensely satisfying to see the numbers keep climbing (“You have read 30…40…60 books out of 20!”), and I did begin pushing myself a little too much, just for that emotional rush. But my back suffered (remember, all that library requesting), as well as my emotional state when I’d raced through hyped new releases that I thought were terrible. Again: not worth it.

Hype and I will have a distant, skeptical relationship. This is how I always used to feel about a title that supposedly the entire world was flailing over. Now I have learned the hard way that this approach is the best for me. It honestly irks me when I spent the time and mental effort to plow through a book that just makes me want to fling kumquats afterwards. Especially when I had a feeling before even opening the cover that I wasn’t going to like it. (Note: Listen to your gut, moth.)

Reading shall be for enjoyment first, for blogging or reviewing or “not missing out” second (or even not at all). I read novels for fun — not as competition, not to be up on something trendy. I’d very nearly forgotten that. When I, as a writer, take in someone else’s wonderful and engaging fiction, it helps me recharge creatively, and pushes me to want to do the same myself. All of this is much more important than a tally on a social media page. 

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blogging, Mental Health, reading

This Bookdragon Says No More…

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So, the other day, I was picking up my holds from the library, and something a little strange happened. As I loaded the titles into my bag, I realized that I only remembered requesting one of them, and why. (It was due to the blogisphere screaming about how good it was. Valid reason in spades for it ending up on my list.)

However, that was only one of five holds I checked out that day. Now, this concerns me.

Sure enough, when I got home, I looked the others over, and not a single hint of recognition came.

I could just read them, anyway. I’m aware of that. But I do not possess a Time Turner, meaning I only get 24 hours in a day, and approximately 16 of that needs to be spent caring for children, the cat, the house, writing, cooking, running errands. And the rest should be taken up by sleep.

So, I need to carefully select my reading material. If I truly don’t care if I read it, it should go back to the library.

Or, ideally, not arrive in my house at all.

Some bookdragons have a VERY big issue with the idea of not reading all of the books, that have ever been published, since, like, the beginning of timeI have no such qualms. If I’m not interested in the plot, it’s longer than 550 pages, falls into a genre I usually don’t like, or belongs to an already long series that I never started, chances are it will never get added to my TBR.

And this makes my life a LOT simpler. Could I be missing out on some really cool stuff? Yeah. But I’m willing to take that risk. In some cases, I’ll just watch the movie. (Shush, this is not heresy.)

Apparently, I recently forgot some of my cardinal TBR rules.

Time to go back to the drawing board and consider where I may have strayed off the path.

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Literally judging a book by its cover can be quite dangerous. In the past 18 or so months (ever since I started scouring other book blogs to see what the flavor of the week was), I’ve brought home many novels with downright lovely covers…and a terrible story. This has resulted in so much frustration — that could’ve been avoided.

The fear of missing out is a real thing — even for autistic bookdragons. When you already feel like the whole world is engaging in something fantastic and you’re over here on the outskirts wearing a face of confusion and despair, life is hard. So you decide to remedy that by reading the books “everybody else” is loving. Well, guess what — just because it’s a bestseller doesn’t mean you will like it. Exhibit A for me: The Hunger Games. And it made me sad, because the rest of the movies were coming out, and people were so excited…

Then, about a year later, I started finding more and more bloggers were being brave and admitting they hated the dystopia craze — particularly The Hunger Games. This made me feel SO much better. And it renewed my drive to apply more self-discipline and less social guilt.

Lots of books combined together in the same tote bag are heavy. And I walk to the library and back. More than once, I’ve nearly given myself a hernia attempting to carry 8 picture books, 5 YA novels, and 3 DVDs the three-fourths of a mile to my house — in all kinds of weather.

The initial rush I received by checking out that big stack was quickly replaced with, “Oh, my God, I cannot do this anymore, how am I going to make it up the hill, what was I thinking, somebody help me PLEASE!”

My health is kind of important…

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Reading one book you really enjoyed is MUCH, MUCH more satisfying than ploughing through 4 books you feel really meh about. Yes, this is actual, certified truth. Despite the fleeting moment of glee that resulted from seeing how high my Goodreads challenge has climbed, the pressure I ended up putting myself under to more than double my original goal was NOT worth it. While this course began accidentally, the stress became real.

When you read primarily for fun, this is not okay.

The road less traveled is quite worth peeking down. Books that will never reach the bestseller lists can still be awesome. I used to read a lot of them, and was generally happy that way. Yes, there are utterly amazing bestselling novels, too. But don’t feel the need to box yourself in.

Being slightly pickier is an advantage. Yes, it is. You could discover your next favorite book by refusing to stick to what came out in the past 12 weeks, and checking out what was super-hot 5 years ago. (Think about it — you’ll be a trend-setter!)

It also means that you won’t have to spend money you don’t have, trying to acquire 17 brand-new releases in approximately 17 minutes before the pre-orders sell out.

See? The beauty of simplicity.

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blogging, community

Please Pardon Me If I Don’t Follow You Back

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This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

There’s this thing called “community.” It used to mean your neighbors, family, friends, and co-workers. Now it includes your contacts on Twitter, Instagram, WordPress.

As we venture forth online and build virtual communities — which then turn into very real communities — there are guidelines that develop regarding stuff like manners. One of these ideas is that when someone is nice enough to follow your site/handle/content, you should do the same for them, or at least pay their pages a few visits.

Now, in a lot of ways, I am one hundred percent behind this. I’ve met some wonderful people by doing so. However, lately, I kind of suck at visiting other people’s sites.

It isn’t intentionally mean-spirited. I’m not jealous if somebody else has 787,923 more subscribers than me. It’s not that I don’t support others’ endeavors.

No, there are very good reasons for me sliding into the woodwork of social media.

Number one: I AM BUSY. Yes, we’re all busy — we all have families/jobs/holidays coming up. But I am extra busy writing and publishing my own novels, doing all the marketing for these titles myself, and making sure my cat doesn’t destroy the world if his food dish is empty.

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Number two: I have autism, and this means that time management and I have an ongoing rivalry. (Spoiler: Time usually wins.) I swear, I sit down at 8 a.m. to craft a blog post, and within 16 seconds, it’s noon, and the universe has had a good laugh at my expense. And there are still two loads of laundry to fold and put away, children to feed, library materials to return, and — worst of all — my tea has gone cold in the intervening period.

This definitely leaves a lot less wiggle room for reading 10 new blogs and scrolling through 35 follow suggestions on Twitter.

Number three: I am TIRED. All of this makes for a potentially hectic schedule as it is, and I am only human (sorry, no, it’s true) and I simply don’t have the capability to stay awake for 18 hours straight. Not even to check out somebody’s truly awesome reviews on Rick Riordan’s new series, or photos of their trip to Ireland.

I need to SLEEP. I need to RELAX. So that I can keep being amazing myself, and continue writing what will undoubtedly be the biggest bestselling fantasy YA series of the 21st century.

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Number four: Now that I have added so much more to my life via self-publishing, something else has to go.

If you used to see me on your blog a lot, and suddenly realize it’s been a while, this is most likely why.

There are still many websites I have bookmarked or return to visit now and then — except my presence may remain anonymous, due to the fact I often have about 12 nanoseconds to do this, and then get back to editing/marketing/updating my own stuff.

If you do visit my sites (and please do, because I live to bring enlightening and enjoyable posts to your inbox/feed) and interact (leave a comment, retweet, etc.), I will make the effort to respond in some fashion.

I completely appreciate what the online world has done for bolstering my sales, my little fan base, and my confidence. So I won’t be one of those totally silent bloggers.

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Number five: I’ve had to make some decisions about what I’ll be focusing on.

This means that my once-ideas of expanding my content to Tumblr or Blogspot, Instagram or Pinterest, are now moot. Dust in the wind. Kaput. They needed to be. If I spread myself too thin, I will quickly transform into a puddle of molten tears and burning hopes. Trust me, it ain’t worth it.

I cannot be everywhere at once, and I am okay with that.

It means I’ll put more effort into maintaining and growing my current platform.

And if our online paths don’t actually cross, though they may come very close, I want you to know that I wholeheartedly support your blogging/writing/taking photos/filming videos. You’re creative, you’re cool, you’re making a difference in somebody’s life.

Keep it up.

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