blogging, Fantasy fiction

To Dream the Blackbane Blog Tour

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Hello, everyone! Today I’m helping out Shannon at Reads & Reels with her blog tour for To Dream the Blackbane by Richard J O’Brien. First of all, big thanks to Shannon for providing the materials and coordinating all of this and many other blogging events!

To Dream the Blackbane

Publication Date: December 29th, 2018

Genre: Fantasy/ Urban Fantasy

A cosmic event in 2015 fused Earth with the faerie realm. Scientists referred to the event as The Anomaly. A byproduct of The Anomaly was the advent of hybrid beings—people who became mixed with whatever animal or object was closest to them the moment the event occurred. Humans, or pedigrees, soon relegated fairy refugees and hybrids into ghetto zones in large cities.

Seventy years later, Wolfgang Rex, a second-generation hybrid—part human, part Rhodesian Ridgeback—is a retired police detective who runs a private investigation business in Chicago’s Southside. It’s a one-hybrid show; though Rex couldn’t survive without his assistant, the faerie Sally Sandweb.

One night, two vampires visit Rex and offer him a substantial reward for the recovery of a stolen scroll. Later that same evening, Charlotte Sweeney-Jarhadill, a pedigree woman from Louisiana, visits Rex and hires him to exorcize the headless ghost of a Confederate soldier from her home.

To complicate matters, the private detective ends up falling for Charlotte. Meanwhile, the vampires demand results in the search for the missing scroll. When Rex’s assistant Sally goes missing, he must stay alive long enough to find her. Charlotte and the vampires, however, have other plans for Rex.

MY THOUGHTS:

Well, this was quite interesting. A genre mashup of noir-film-inspired private detective fiction and popular paranormal lit, this ebook doesn’t hold back on the tongue-in-cheek sexual humor, criminal-and-crime-action sort of tropes that are often featured in the first genre, as well as a rich mythological background from the second. The cast includes everything — faeries, orcs, ogres, animal-human hybrids, gargoyles, vampires, ghosts, nasty evil spirits from other dimensions. The author packs in a ton of well-laid-out backstory and worldbuilding that draws on a number of real-world legends and lore.

The characters are a little cliche, but mostly likable, and Wolfgang is a protagonist you can cheer on (and hope the vampires, or ghosts, or orcs, or anything else, don’t do him in). The blending of legendary creatures into a near-future urban-environment Earth was well-done.

Parts of the narrative included rather foul language and overt sexual references (just a note for more conservative readers), but it wasn’t consistent throughout. The paranormal/paranormal crime scenes (which was a lot of the story) did get a little graphic; not to a level that I couldn’t stand, however. My only major issue with this text is my usual — it carried on several pages longer than I felt was completely warranted.

To Dream the Blackbane is, overall, a fun and intriguing ride, and I do truly hope that for those whose cup of tea is such a unique tale, they’ll give it a try.

(There’s a giveaway for the ebook happening, too!)

About the Author:

Richard J. O’Brien is a graduate of the Fairleigh Dickinson University MFA in Creative Writing Program. Richard’s novels include Under the Bronze Moon, Infestation, and The Garden of Fragile Things. His short stories have appeared in The Del Sol Review, Duende, Pulp Literature, The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, Weirdbook, and other magazines. Richard lives in New Jersey, where he teaches at Rowan College at Gloucester County and Stockton University.

Giveaway!

For your chance to win a copy of To Dream the Blackbane, click on the link below! (Sorry, North America only!)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f55/

 

 

blogging, The Invisible Moth

2018 vs. 2019: Plans, Aspirations, and Realistic Expectations

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2018 was the year of setting the bar high, and continuing to jump. But a lot of the time, I didn’t hit the mark, or I got close and then slid down the wall. Yeah, I hit the wall by late summer, and I began to realize that changing priorities was probably in order.

2019 will, therefore, be the year of setting the bar low, and then being pleasantly surprised if I go further than my planned achievements.

In Writing:

2018: Release 3 books, build my own creative writing consulting business, get the rest of my outlines ready to draft

2019: Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Ha. 

Let’s get one book completed, polished, beautified, and out into the wild. I’ve already selected which WIP it shall be. And I’m devoting myself to it utterly until the writing is finished. And then I’m sending it to an editor, because I’m in a super-critical mind frame when it comes to my own work these days, and a fresh set of non-overly-judgey eyes will do wonders for it.

I’m also not yet equipped to deal with the U.S. tax code or all the rules of having one’s own official business. Being a freelancer serves my current purposes much better. So I’m taking on the random consulting venture as I find it here and there, and I’m happy when I can help somebody.

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In Reading:

2018: Read at least 50 books (all new, no re-reads), review at least 80% of that, and only read authors/titles recommended by bloggers

2019: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. HA!

This is not to say (not at all!) that bloggers’ opinions or recommendations don’t count or aren’t useful. They totally are. But here’s what happened to me too many times to keep track of: I tried a book based *solely* on the above criteria, and it flopped for me — HARD. I just didn’t like the style, or the content, or the cliches — or all of these things. For traditional publishing, especially in YA and fantasy, 2018 appeared to be the year of tropes and genres done to death — there was just so very little that truly excited or engaged me. And while I wanted to support my fellow indie authors more, I simply didn’t have the funds to do so.

But the frustration I faced slogging through recycled plots, unlikable characters, overblown, unnecessary melodrama, and inaccurate “historical” fiction overrode whatever my reasons were for making these selections.

So, in the next 12 months, I will be concentrating a lot more on re-reads I’ve been meaning to get to, new-to-me indie authors, and tried-and-true genres. This means I probably will “miss” a fair number of new releases that could, honestly, be very good. But I am beyond happy with this decision. The alternative is just not worth my agony.

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In Blogging:

2018: Blog about less topics, have a consistent posting schedule

2019: Blog about whatever the heck I want, whenever I have the time

Yes, this space is a major part of my author platform, and, yes, I need to be here at least somewhat regularly to maintain readership and keep up with my tribe. However, something I’ve discovered about your online tribe — they will be there, even when you haven’t been around lately. It’s just plain polite to let people know, if you can, that you won’t be posting as much as usual; but the people who are always supporting you continue to do so regardless of what’s going on in your life.

Also, there are too many topics I want to explore and discuss to limit myself, and bringing new subjects to your readers actually increases one’s reach, not the opposite. So expect a wide variety of discussions and thoughts here in the near future!

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blogging, books

Bookdragon New Year’s Resolutions (Guaranteed Not to Fail!)

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As long as you follow these instructions.

Don’t blame me if you stray from the path.

Common Resolution 1: Tackling that TBR.

Step 1: Don’t add anything new to your TBR until December 2019.

Step 2: Spend the next 11 months reading books you already own, have requested from the library, or as ARCs.

See how easy that was? Your wallet, your shelves, and your family will thank you.

Acceptable rule-breakers: You find out about a 2019 new release from a favorite author that you didn’t know existed; a friend lends you a book you’d feel guilty holding onto for an entire year; the book club you’re in features a title you don’t currently have or had even intended to go near.

Common Resolution 2: Review books in a polite amount of time.

Step 1: Set a deadline for when you need to have certain titles read by.

Step 2: Read said titles.

Step 3: Write said reviews and post them or schedule posting in advance.

Hints on how to make this stick: Don’t request more than one ARC a month; don’t tell more than one person a month you’ll write a review; don’t commit to reviewing *every* *single* *book* you finish. And always, ALWAYS, refer back to the Ultimate Rule on how to control your TBR.

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Common Resolution 3: Complete your WIP and get it on Wattpad/sent to an agent/self-published

Step 1: Type these words into your 62,845K word total manuscript: THE END.

Step 2: Find beta readers you trust to give tactful but beneficial feedback.

Step 3: Engage an editor or Critique Partner (CP) you trust to put said feedback into action.

Step 4: Do the dang editing. Don’t procrastinate. DON’T STRAY FROM THE PATH, YOUNG PADAWAN.

Step 5: Post on Wattpad. Send to agents. Or upload to a self-publishing website and press Enter.

Okay, this one I’m oversimplfying, I know. But, seriously, all you aspiring writers out there, GO FOR IT! The worst that will happen is that you determine this venture didn’t pan out. But publishing or becoming published is the ultimate Shroedinger’s Cat: You will absolutely never know what would have been if you don’t try.

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Less common resolutions include: Spending less time on social media, reading less hyped books, trying more new authors, and branching out into other genres.

My suggestions for all of these are so simple you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself: Do them.

In all seriousness, though, I really hate to see what the competitive nature of book blogging has done to bookworms who just love to read. Not that I think we should do away with book blogging or anything that extreme — I owe SO much to my beta readers and reviewers and social media followers. But I truly believe that our biggest, and most acted on, resolution this year should be to go back to a love of the written word as the primary reason for doing all of this. It literally DOESN’T MATTER how many books we read in one year, how many ARCs we got approved for, how many reviews we posted, or how all of that compares to other bloggers. We’d do quite well to realize that.

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blogging, community

Drawing the Line: Internet Life and Real Life

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Has anybody else noticed this sort of odd thing about online life, where we don’t actually spend in-person time with all these other screen names, that are in fact also real people…and yet, we feel that some of them know us better than the humans we see face to face every day?

On the other side of the coin, we’re in this interesting paradox of wanting to share most of the parts of our “real” lives with our online friends…and sometimes we can’t.

For example, the week of Thanksgiving my family experienced a very surprising and unpleasant twist, and while it was (thankfully) resolved quickly, at the time it was going on, I was dying inside, and really wanted to be able to get stuff off my chest — but because there are now legal issues involved in it, I wasn’t sure just how much I could or should say.

And what makes such a situation even more frustrating is the fact that often I rely on the people I know either only online or that I know in person but live far away from me for support and advice.

Not that I don’t trust the people in my everyday life. But my relationship with them, or their sphere of influence, can be limited when it comes to certain circumstances. You wouldn’t go to the local librarian with your legal concerns. Or reveal details that directly affect someone else’s privacy. (Well, some folks would, but definitely not me.) So, if it means putting some slightly delicate matter on private pages in social media, to get some much-needed suggestions from people that I know have the information or resources I’m after — and also that I trust not to overly share with the random population — then I will do just that.

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But again, it’s tough, because while we feel close to specific individuals we’ve had consistent contact with through various online platforms, we do have to face the reality: How well do we actually know someone we’ve never met in the flesh?

And when the situation involves a loved one who may not want all of their deepest darkest secrets splashed across our own Facebook or Twitter, we really should respect that.

But when we need help, and we aren’t getting anywhere in our in-person lives, being able to turn on a computer or a phone, type in a few lines, and within possibly minutes get potentially a multitude of replies that tell us exactly what to do next, this can be invaluable.

If we get the desired outcome, does it really matter which route we take?

All the naysayers of the early 21st century who claimed that the internet would drive people farther apart really don’t have it right in this regard.

With a few keystrokes, I can be making direct contact with people half a country or half the globe away. And it makes our lives richer. I can increase my knowledge of different places and occupations and lifestyles without needing to spend a bunch of money I don’t have to travel long distances.

I can find a community of like-minded individuals who share my taste in books, movies, TV, and music, and become part of something bigger than myself. It can be isolating when you’re one of about 6 total geeks in your small town. But after half an hour online, discussing who’s your favorite Doctor and whether you’d choose to fight Daleks or Cybermen, I don’t feel alone.

And sometimes, that matters more than the deep, dark stuff.

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So, I decided where to draw the line based on the feelings of other people involved in a complex event, but I don’t regret for a minute revealing what I did to get the help and support I needed. And honestly, I don’t know if I would’ve gotten through without all the people online praying for us and encouraging me forward — no prying, no judging.

In the near future, I’m really hoping I can share more overtly regarding this particular matter, since I think it would be beneficial to other families to explain some of what I learned by being put in a situation I never thought I would. There are still some issues to review and see what occurs next. But I know that whenever I choose to open up, about whatever, there will be plenty of other screen names who I’ve never been in the same room with that totally have my back.

And that, blessedly, crosses every line.

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blogging, reading

Biggest Reads of 2018: Likes, Dislikes, Whys and Why Nots

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Good morning! So, since closing my Goodreads account, the major comment I received is that my reviews would be missed. In response, I promised more reviews on the blog. Let’s start out with a bang, shall we?: My biggest reads of this year, whether it was because of hype, personal anticipation, or something I learned about myself as a reader.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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This was a diversity title that I picked up purely because I’d seen it advertised on Goodreads. Normally, the hype alone meant I wouldn’t even consider it; hyped books and I do not have the best of relationships.

But, yes, I caved. Children of Blood and Bone held the promise of being distinct. Its focus is an African empire, a fantasy realm based on tribal history, and there were no overt modern political soapboxes. Did it deliver? In that regard, yes.

There is plenty of action and excitement and plot. The characters don’t feel like cardboard cut-outs (even though they are all archetypes), most of their decisions and motivations ring true, and the world-building is intense.

Now, here’s where it fell flat: IT IS TOO DANG LONG. What is the trend with making YA novels 550 pages?!?! While holding up this tome of a book, I was afraid my wrists would snap. I had to read the majority of it sitting with it propped next to me on the armchair or at the kitchen table. And it started getting into too many subplots that felt like they were there mostly to increase page numbers, and the overall story wouldn’t have suffered without them.

This further affirmed to me that I am not ready to give up on diversity titles…but I also am not changing my mind about really long books anytime soon.

My rating: 3 out of 5 shiny moths

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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I first heard about this book, and considered it a vital part of the cultural conversation, but I would skip it.

What changed? Peer pressure. It was everywhere, and there were weeks when you couldn’t even log onto Goodreads or Twitter without seeing something about it. Now, after having tried it, I can concretely say: No.

My opinion has nothing one whit to do with race. This is a book that did come along at a time when we need to be discussing things like police discrimination against minorities, based solely on preconceptions and stereotypes instead of cold, hard facts.

Here’s where my frustration lies with The Hate U Give: Its entire premise is faulty. Starr is the most unreliable witness ever, as she did not see what happened. She cannot confirm nor dispute the police officer’s account. That makes the whole plot absolutely nothing but an extremely biased social commentary, and in my view, that makes for a lousy piece of fiction.

My rating: No numbers, but the moths are drooping and sad

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

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This was also a selection due to social pressure — but kind of the opposite, as people have been saying it’s so awful, I sort of wanted to prove them wrong. Did it?

Well, yes, and no. This novel was actually the one Harper Lee originally submitted to her publisher, not the beloved classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Go Set a Watchman is about an adult Scout — just Jean Louise, in this case — and most of the material that became Mockingbird is definitely in its infancy. Watchman could easily be considered a sequel (and I think the publisher was guaranteeing sales based on that theory), though that’s rather unfair to Ms Lee, who never intended to write a sequel, and in fact thought this manuscript had been long forgotten or even lost.

The story is very 1960s American South, and it captures a pivotal moment in that culture that we’d do well not to ignore or pass over. Lee’s talent for storytelling is evident, but her particular flourish really wasn’t yet crafted. So Mockingbird remains the classic we all should promote, and Watchman should be a cautionary tale about the dangers of signing away all your rights to a big city publisher.

My rating: 2 quietly perching on a magnolia tree moths

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

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I picked this up on a whim with a birthday gift card. It was pretty good, but I don’t know that I’d read anything else by this author. The premise was a combination of a poor guy on Long Island whose house is literally falling into the sea, and flashbacks of a traveling circus that eventually connected with the narrator in the present day. This sort of style doesn’t quite work for me, and sure enough, I found myself skimming or even skipping the majority of the flashbacks. It took me too long to figure out how they connected to the narrator, and those chapters were too lengthy for in-between parts. Also, I’ve never had much interest in circuses, so that made me squirm with impatience to move on.

My rating: 3 crystal ball gazing moths

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

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This book and the next taught me more about myself as a reader in recent history than any of the others. In the spring, I joined an adult-book book club at my local library, which I normally wouldn’t do — and this selection just nailed it home to me why. A Piece of the World begins as a love letter to the Andrew Wyeth painting Christina’s World, then devolves into unbased assumption, and then full-out fabrication on the lives of what were real people. The surviving descendants of the Olsen family should sue the living daylights out of this author.

And yet, this was a book club favorite. The other members seemed to have absolutely no realization that this wasn’t just a portrait of a certain moment in history, it was slander and libel. I was among the few who saw this un-novel for what it really was.

My rating: 1 very agitated moth

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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Again, usually I don’t read thrillers or unreliable narrators — and now The Woman in Cabin 10 has secured my never trying furthermore.

It was also a book club selection, and I got very disenchanted after the first 100 pages. The building action sharply dropped off, the secondary characters who had been developing literally vanished from the page for several consecutive chapters, and the ending was rather anti-climatic, bordering on nonsensical. But here’s what got my goat the most:  The narrator wasn’t actually unreliable, she had depression and anxiety. When an author takes an unstable woman and puts her in a situation where murder may or may not have been committed, then makes it out to be she’s “unreliable” because of pre-existing mental illness, that is NOT COOL.

And once more, most of the book club thought this was a great story. To me, it was just painful, and pointless, to read.

My rating: 1 beating its wings against a brick wall moth

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

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Color me disappointed. You mix a well-liked author with alternate history, fantasy, and Bonfire Night (one of my favorite holidays), and how could that not be a win?

Well, maybe the story is too busy, but trying to weave political and religious overtones into a novel that threw in a bit of a vague magic system, and plenty of family and personal drama, all together, made me merely struggle to get engaged. And the alternate history kept tripping me up (for example, there’s nothing on record of Guy Fawkes even having a son who participated in the Gunpowder Plot). Maybe this type of genre just isn’t for me.

No numbers: The moths were too confused to even be present 

The Lost Rainforest: Mez’s Magic by Eliot Schrefer

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This middle-grade fantasy is wonderful. The plot moves right along, the characters are lovable (or hateable where necessary), the emotions are real, and the whole story just draws you in from the start. I can’t recommend this enough to fans of animal fantasy. Normally I don’t commit to reading an entire series before the next book is even announced, but I will be keeping my eyes peeled for whatever comes after Mez’s Magic, 110%! (Finally, a winner!)

My rating: 4 exuberant and dancing moths

The Word Collector by Peter H Reynolds

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How can a picture book make you cry? This one totally does, and will. This author is a new favorite of mine. Check out all his other titles as well; you’ll cry over every single one, and thank Mr Reynolds for turning you into a puddle of disconsolate mess. The prose and messages are spot-on and incredibly beautiful.

My rating: 5 collapsed, joyously weeping moths

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blogging, The Invisible Moth

#AmCurrently: November Madness, Life Updates, and Other Announcements

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Well, hello! Yes, it’s been a bit since I graced this space, and I’ve been less present online in general lately. The reason is quite simple: I am busy, and the non-internet world is demanding my attention. And sometimes even when it is, I decline. Why? Well, it’s hardly that I don’t want to keep up with all of you on how things are for you and what’s going on in this realm. But, there are a lot of other things happening for me, which leads to my explanations. So, without further ado…

AmCurrently: Life

I am sticking to my guns not to participate in NaNo this year. Although I greatly miss the excitement and fervor building up to it and its start, and the spirit of comraderie that inevitably occurs as we all gather together to share our joys and struggles, I have to bow out this time. I am definitely cheering on everybody who’s going for it, and while I’m not there on the NaNo site, I see your updates and support them with a mighty bookdragon roar. But I will admit, it was a very tough decision to make.

So, why nail it down? My kids aren’t keeping me any more busy than usual, but I am trying to start a new branch of The Invisible Moth — a creative writing consulting business. This includes freelancing, and this means putting out a LOT of feelers, finding out who in self-publishing, trad pub, editing, and all sorts of writing might be hiring or consider hiring such an individual. This takes TIME and ENERGY, and I am secretly dead on the inside right now. Things are beginning to happen, but it’s so far a small and slow gestation, so I’d greatly appreciate any prayers you have to offer up on this venture!

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The other “real” life things coming after my spare time: A friend of mine ended up teaching dance classes that weren’t originally in her schedule this fall, and she needs help getting ready for the pre-Christmas performance.

Also, I’m joining another book club, started by my local library director, but run outside of the library, so that she can bring the love of reading more into the community, and she spotlights local authors as well — and she’s more than happy to spotlight me, so that’s a big plus in my favor.

And yesterday I attempted to bake November cakes! It turned out pretty well (I don’t bake, so please keep that in mind when I share the photos White Fang took on social media). It wasn’t a complete failure, so I count that as a total win!

AmCurrently: Reading

Due to needing a bulk of my days to be devoted to other tasks, I’m not planning on starting any new books until, most likely, after the holidays. This will be the season of the re-read. There are a few of my favorites (old and new) that I haven’t had a chance to re-read either yet or lately, so this is a perfect chance. Considering that my brainpower is focusing so strongly on stuff that isn’t absorbing brand new information from books or authors I’ve never encountered previously.

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AmCurrently: Fiction Writing

Two words: Paaaaaaaaaaaaainfully slow, and I apologize to anyone who’s really eager to get their hands on my forthcoming releases. 2019 has a lot in the pipeline, and it will all be thrilling and make your hearts explode and buy stock in Kleenex. You’re welcome.

In lieu of NaNo, my goal for November is to write as much as possible on the prequel and the Super Secret Project (more on that soon!). And I will be returning to How To Be A Savage (my hardworking beta readers are on that much needed critique as we speak!).

Volume 4 and 5 are a ways down the priority list. There’s plenty to keep you going in the meantime, I promise.

AmCurrently: Marketing

Remember, Volumes 1-3 (Masters and Beginners, Rulers and Mages, Healers and Warriors) and the short story/flash fiction collection (Dreamings and Muses) are all available via Barnes and Noble.com. (And I’m looking into getting e-books ready early next year!) These beautiful paperbacks (thanks again, Kyle!) make the perfect Christmas present for fans of my blog, Tweets, and Goodreads reviews. (Yes, that means you!)

And remember, I still have some autographed first edition copies of Masters and Beginners on sale for only $8! (That includes shipping! Can’t get a better deal than that!)

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Before I go, I wanted to make sure to let all of you who tirelessly visit my pages, like and promote and share, know that I am forever, ever grateful and thankful for your time, effort, and support. This venture of mine is hardly famous or well-funded or intensely popular, so requires a great deal of blood, sweat and tears on my part, and there are moments when I feel like throwing in the towel. Your praise and backing and ongoing encouragement remind me it is all worth it.

Have a great day, everyone. I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

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blogging, writing

Turning Over A New Leaf

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See what I did there? Yes, it was intentional. (Sorry.)

Every once in a while, you find yourself at a crossroads that you know just can’t be avoided or detoured away from. It might be a change you actually hoped for, or something you knew was coming, so you’ve prepared yourself. But when it’s something that you really could’ve done without, or weren’t expecting, then it can put a lot of things into a different perspective.

Recently, I was very upset when I didn’t receive a job offer I was certain I would. In my head, I’d made plans for the changes to my schedule this position would require, and got excited about the prospects of going back to a field I love. When it didn’t happen, I was pretty devastated.

Then after a few days, I dusted myself off, and vowed to begin again. I refocused my energy on getting the boys ready for school; then I went back to the drawing board, checking local job listings, and learning more about opportunities for regional artists.

And I refused to be too hard on myself. No, I don’t have a contract with a literary agency, nor a confirmed salary, or a bibliography that more than a few hundred people have heard of. It doesn’t matter. No, it really doesn’t. Because I am on Goodreads, on Barnes & Noble, my books are being read and enjoyed by people, and 2 years ago, none of this was happening. So, I have plenty to be proud of.

Am I continuing to rethink some aspects of my life as it presently is, though? Oh, yes.

For one thing, I’m staying firm in my resolve not to participate in NaNo this year. The extra pressure isn’t what I really need right now. Plus, considering that you don’t actually get anything for free, except bragging rights, if you win, does not make me (who is on the strictest of budgets) want to set aside the time and brainpower. It doesn’t feel worth it.

For another, I’ve decided not to set any concrete release dates for 2019. There are several projects I hope to publish next year, but I cannot at this moment make any promises — so I’m not going to. When I have a better idea on when specific things are about to occur, I’ll let everyone know. In the meantime, everybody’ll have to be patient.

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I’m also not going to worry about how much I read, or what I read. The other day, I was going over my Goodreads account, and realizing that there are a lot of low ratings on my reviews, and it made me sad. So I tried to determine why — and I found that probably 80% of the books I’ve read in the last 2 years have been because of hype, and for no other reason. And this is generally why a lot of them fell below my standards. I’m a pretty picky reader, and I admit it. So, in the interest of creating more positive headspace, and being able to post more happy reviews, I am officially no longer going to add titles to my TBR based solely on others’ recommendations.

I know that might sound kind of odd — especially for a writer — but this will be for the best. And it doesn’t mean — not at all — that I won’t keep reading others’ reviews and staying aware of what’s new in the moment and hyped right now. But I won’t immediately run to my TBR and add dozens of books I will realistically end up not reading, or not liking if I do.

The reduced social media presence will most likely continue, too. While I’m aware that’s not necessarily the greatest move for my “brand,” I know I need to spend more time and energy on other endeavors now — partly so that I’ll have updates to eventually post on social media! Due to a number of factors making this summer difficult, I haven’t had the chance to make nearly as much headway on my WIPs as I’d like — and it gets tiresome for all of you when the only news I have is, “I remain behind — please don’t leave me.” Again, in the interest of emphasizing the positive, let’s come up with cool stuff worthy of sharing.

So, there are my resolutions for fall. What are yours in this new season?

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