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


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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Encouragement, The Invisible Moth

Year-End Wrap-Up (WHAT. Just, WHAT.)

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I could just as easily call this post, “Welcome To Your Weekly Dose of Cute,” as adorable animal pictures seem to soften the blow of just about anything. Including the stunning, harsh, cold realization that yet another year is coming to a close — and you have no idea where most of it went.

A while back, I announced that I was officially dispatching agents to discover who had stolen approximately 37% of 2018 — because I swear calendar pages never turn that fast by themselves. I’m guessing that those I sent out fell victim to this same curse or villain, as I have yet to hear back from them. Shame.

However, despite losing accumulated days and not being very happy about it, I did accomplish and learn things in 2018.

Important tidbit to remember:

I lost a fair amount of free time to being very unwell, especially in the winter and spring. After suffering with stomach and back pain for most of 2017, I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis, which is a difficult and not-well-understood condition. So I can’t blame my lack of productivity in certain areas on anything other than legit being ill.

The only good thing about getting a diagnosis is that I can at least receive some sort of treatment, although I haven’t yet found a lot that concretely works. Predicting a flare-up is about impossible, so preventing one is a crapshoot, at best. So I can’t beat myself up for having times when I simply did not feel up to doing anything.

Major lesson worth sharing:

Comparing oneself to others, whether it’s in numbers of reviews, sales, publications, blog traffic, or anything else, is a sure, slow descent into madness. There is nothing wrong with the fact I only released one new title this year, or that I hit writer’s block on a couple of my planned WIPs, that I opted out of NaNoWriMo, or that I still cannot figure out how to stop Toby jumping up where he’s not supposed to. None of this means I am not successful or well-liked or appreciated.

Is it tough regardless that I didn’t meet some of my goals for this year? Yeah, it is. But I have also learned I am not the sum of my goals.

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Truths I had no idea even existed:

There are little things you can do online to make a bit of desperately needed cash. Such as taking surveys on advertising campaigns. Yup, it sounds hokey, but corporations will pay to hear your opinion. Not much (I gave this a whirl this fall, and in more than 2 months, I made less than $100). But is this a good (non-scam) option to know about when you’re broke? Sure.

There are also organizations that will give artists money to exhibit their work, teach a seminar, or share an artistic discipline with the community. You can enter contests, apply for grants, and sign up as an independent contractor with local non-profits that support the arts. Again, it isn’t guaranteed income, but it is absolutely worth going after.

Knowing when to let go:

One of the most difficult and most vital decisions I made to my author platform and my personal life this year was removing myself as a reviewer from Goodreads. My published titles — and all the reviews readers have kindly written of them — remain on that website, but I am no longer an active participant.

And it has revolutionized how I feel about reading — how quickly I finish new books, whether or not I review them, in fact whether I pick them up at all. Yesterday I checked two books out of the library that I’ve never heard of, that I may or may not return unread, and I don’t even careThe possibility of discovery, of not getting invested in liking a certain title that’s been hyped by social media, is more motivating than the fear of missing out, or even the excitement of stumbling on a new author. The joy of not giving a dang feels invaluable.

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It’s about who you’re with:

This year, I was not feeling the gear-up to the holiday season, anyway; then my Thanksgiving got thrown for a massive loop, and the short version is: it was terrible. Now I honestly have no requirements for Christmas, except that somebody remembers to buy Muffin toys (that’s already in the works), and that my family is all together. (And, thank God, that one should be taken care of as well.)

Hold on to the impossible dream:

Not being able to go to Realm Makers this summer was a real downer for me. I so wanted to be there to meet all these lovely people I’m in contact with through the year, whose support and encouragement of me as an author, a blogger, a person have been so constant and precious. But too many things made it not happen. Money, needing childcare, being nervous about flying, not being sure how my health would be in July. And I was sad.

But I should not, ever give up on trying to attend next year. Or the year after, or the year after that. A no once doesn’t automatically translate to a never.

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Know your limits and stick to them:

Setting unrealistic goals or even to-do lists don’t really make you feel better about yourself. Having 3 things to check off, and getting 2 checked, is pretty freaking amazing, let me tell you. No matter how much you think you need the status/prestige/money/whatever, before you take on that new project or possibility, take a few serious moments to evaluate your priorities, how they’d be affected, and if the outcome is really what lines up with your long-term plans.

And don’t let someone guilt-trip you into taking on too much. You will be a much more effective — and happy! — parent/employee/friend/family member by refusing to tackle it all.

So, that’s about it for me right now! I’ll be around on social media, but between now and New Year’s, I’m not sure if another formal post shall be forthcoming. My coveted spare time is being divided between family, the holidays, and writing. See you on the dark side of the moon, 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 (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, The Invisible Moth

Do You Have to Have a Theme for Blogging?

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I’ve touched on this in the past, but I’m thinking more and more about it lately. On the whole, I struggle with sticking to a layout that’s pretty rigid and too predictable; this may sound surprising to those of you who know I’m on the autism spectrum. But I, as an individual, get bored easily, and if things always stay exactly the same, never providing the opportunity for growth, then that rankles me.

To a point, it helps your reader base if they can more or less know what to expect when they return to your site. Humans are creatures of habit — even neurotypical ones — and they do like routine and not having their socks knocked off at every turn. And while I generally stick to the same bunch of topics, I know that setting those boundaries too strictly will eventually do me in.

Some pros of having a theme for your blog:

  • Readers who like to view recurring content and discussions won’t be disappointed.
  • There are memes, tags, and challenges to follow for many different categories and subjects, so you can find a lot of source material when you’re not sure what to post about.

Some cons:

  • It’s too easy to run out of ideas, tags, challenges, memes, or get bored with all of the above.
  • You can feel too fenced in or limited, and may purposefully avoid bringing up an important topic because it doesn’t fit in with your “typical fare”.
  • Posting to a tight schedule can become time-consuming and stressful.
  • All of this creates disenchantment with blogging itself, and you wonder why you started this in the first place.

Okay, I’m being a little dramatic.

Or, am I?

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I’ve only been blogging for 3 years, and in that short time, I’ve seen a lot of people come and go, take a hiatus only to never return, or their posts grow more and more infrequent, and they’ll claim it’s just life, but the fact is, they’re enjoying the break from the unnecessary stress that can come from trying to develop and maintain a popular site.

Those who started blogging just for fun don’t really feel they’re missing out on much by quitting (especially when it isn’t fun anymore). But some of us are aiming to create a brand — like yours truly, since being a self-published author means doing all the marketing oneself — and keeping up this platform becomes important.

At least in some capacity. A lot of indie authors reach a point where we need to devote more time to actually writing, editing, formatting and designing, rather than the meme of the week. Though readers — who are bombarded with literally millions of options of titles/series/authors — will often respond more favorably to an indie author who has a medium where they share some personal details, offering a connection to the person behind the work, rather than the email address that endlessly spams you, “Buy my new book!”

Hence why I try to keep this space a combination of discussion, updates, and random thoughts, not simply newsletter-ish content.

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Especially when I don’t have anything significant to announce. Or, when it would all amount to, “I’m still struggling with the same WIP I complained about 6 weeks ago.” People get bogged down by that.

Plus, there’s more to me than being a writer. Yes, I hope to earn at least part of my living from book sales, and be known around the internet as an author first, blogger or Twitter persona or stay-at-home mom later. However, I do have a life away from my manuscripts — and that life helps fuel my inspirations, plots and characters, so it can still hold interest for my readers.

And not all of these things are books. Which is a major reason I’ve always been reluctant to classify myself as solely a “book blogger.”

When I first came to WordPress, I was really unsure what I wanted my niche to be, or if I even wanted to declare one. After several months, I realized that nailing down a few particular subjects to commonly converse about with others would aid my focus, and in building a base. (A base is a big deal if you’re undertaking a more expansive endeavor, like launching your author brand.)

So I turned to my reading habits and writing plans — and it did help. But now, it’s become complicated.

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As I mentioned above, posting about my writing, as opposed to seriously sitting down and writing, can begin to feel like a stall tactic. And that is not how I spend the majority of my life (even when I wish I could), because there are so many other aspects to my day.

Also, as I said, I tend to get bored easily. When something starts to seem stale, I itch to go after new stuff. This doesn’t mean I’ll suddenly abandon my plans for the rest of my fantasy series (don’t worry), but I will give up sticking to a schedule for reviews or announcements.

So, I guess from here on out, I’m declaring my blog a non-niche or theme-less one. Maybe it’ll be a little more difficult to explain what my blog’s “about”…or, will it be easier? I won’t have to worry that it doesn’t fit into a particular category or group. Realistically, I’ll reach more people by diversifying, not less. And I won’t start to become discouraged by what is, after all, my own platform.

Shaking it up can be good.

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The Invisible Moth

Four Out of Nine Lives

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So, a general fact about me is that I do not math. And I do not like to admit that I am getting older. Somewhere around 16 months ago, I declared that I am not even keeping track of my own age anymore; I knew I was somewhere around 38, and I was leaving it at that.

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So imagine how horrifying it was to realize…I am going to be 40.

Yes, as you read this, I will be mere hours away from turning (or maybe even just have turned) 40.


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Why is it so scary, though? Realistically, it’s because I am officially older than I want to be, or can be and still remain cool. (According to popular theory.)

I, quite frankly, want to prove that I can be a nearly-middle aged mother of two and stay cool.

(Hush, White Fang, yes, I am already cool.)

I also don’t want to believe that my best years are behind me.

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Has my life gone exactly the way I wanted it to? No. But whose does? A lot of things have gone just fine. I could have many more regrets than I do. That ain’t half bad.

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It’s only been since I lived out my 30s that I finished a college degree, revitalized my dancing career, published a book, and had my second child.

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If I can get all that done in a decade when most people are finding themselves settling into boring, humdrum jobs and routines, then imagine what I can accomplish in the next 10?

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The Invisible Moth

Half Year Wrap-up (HOW Did This Happen?! I’m Announcing a Bounty for Thieves of Time)

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And, yes, I am aware that even this post is late, since we were actually halfway through the year about a month ago. *Cue soft endless screaming in the background*

I have concretely determined that there is something nefarious at work, with regards to the way time seems to vanish in the blink of an eye anymore. As Empress of the Universe (remember, Kyle Robert Shultz appointed me somewhere about June; I have the Tweets to prove it), I formally declare that anyone who knows who the thieves of time are, you may go forth and hunt them down and take back the hours and days they robbed. I am positive that, after my issuing this decree, we shall all see approximately a week and a half added to our calendars.

So, attempting to keep the whinging to a minimum, here we go with a recap of what has happened so far this year, and what hopefully will come soon.

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Due to some health issues in January and February, I was not able to do as much writing as I had hoped. However, I was finally successful in completing and publishing Volume 3: Healers and Warriors. It is absolutely on sale at Barnes & Noble’s website, along with all of my other works (search me up on Goodreads for all the specs). (Sorry, folks, this is as close as I come to shameless self-promotion.)

In reading, I surpassed my challenge some point betwixt April and not-yet-spring. And since I didn’t stop reading then, the numbers are continuing to climb. (My goal was 50 books finished before December. I am now currently at 70 read. Not to brag. Seriously. Just sharing.)

In family life, Muffin is now 4, White Fang will be starting 10th grade far too soon (does anyone hear some wailing?), and I do not feel at all ready for fall.

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So, as we prepare to enter the last quarter of 2018 (aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), I am making some important decisions.

Don’t worry, I’m not swanning off to herd goats in Albania. (Apologies for confusing my animal metaphors.) However, I shall be sticking to my “new” plan of blogging less often, and diversifying what I post about, to keep the ideas plentiful, and the time limits less strict. Probably I’ll be on Twitter less, and if you tag me for something and I never get around to it, this has nothing to do with your lovely self; it’s all about me not over-committing.

I also do not have goals for continuing on Wattpad at this point. I never really gave Wattpad a fair chance (early on I was experiencing technical difficulties with it, and this really turned me off the notion of using it more frequently). But it all comes down to time. To those of you who have supported me on that site, thank you, thank you, thank you, truly. And I am working on putting together the full novelization of How To Be A Savage, which is in the next bit of news.

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My hopes for 2018 were to release at least 3 books. Hahahahahahahahahaha… BUT, it is only August, not Thanksgiving. Hence, I still sincerely plan to publish How To Be A Savage before 2019 is looming, and maybe even the Order of the Twelve Tribes prequel. (Yes, there will be a prequel. Go ahead, flail; I’ll wait.)

The other major thing I’m already deciding not to do is NaNo in November. In theory, it could help an author’s who behind catch up; but in reality, it will only serve to stress me out. Therefore, I am not declaring a novel, a title, or a word count goal for that month. I will simply do what I can whenever I can, and not feel guilty. (My sense of guilt around NaNo mostly fled last year, when I realized we have to pay for our prizes.)

Otherwise, I am proud of myself for having made it through the publication process again, even in spite of major health difficulties, and I intend to keep pushing on until actual time runs out on this year.

(By the way, all illegal Time Turners found can be turned in to the Doctor. The TARDIS makes regular appearances at conventions in California and on streetcorners in London.)

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blogging, The Invisible Moth

Life, the Universe, and Everything


(Or, a Brief History of Time. Or, maybe, A Short History of Nearly Everything. Yes, I am mercilessly robbing titles and subtitles from Douglas Adams, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Bryson. If any of you don’t get these references, come see me in the comments, so that we can properly educate you.)

Anyway, here’s what I’m gearing up to discussing: Those of you who have been around this blog a while may remember that I haven’t always focused on conversing about and promoting books (either what I’ve read or what I’ve written). Over the course of months and months, I debated whether to make the theme of my blog family life with autism, or just reading, just writing, or reading and writing, or… Too many combinations began to wrestle each other for supremacy in my brain. So, after debating, “Do I even need to stick to a theme?!?!”, I opted for concentrating on promoting my work, and encouraging other indie authors and readers of indie publications.

Well, I’ve done that. (Hopefully with a fair amount of success?? She looks down to the comments section to provide clarity on that front.) And I am immensely grateful to those of you who have shoved my blog links in the faces of faceless internet folks (hmm, does that make sense?), and insisted that everybody in the world read my posts, my published titles, my random quips on Twitter, and even my grocery list. (Sorry, guys, but my grocery lists are pretty functional and not exactly amusing or insightful.)

However, now we reach the crux of the biscuit: There is so much more I want to discuss. So many topics I want to cover. I’m really tired of theme-sticking (I feel sticky enough, dang it), of wracking my brain to come up with a subject within said theme that I haven’t already posted on, of feeling boxed in by said theme-continuing-method of blogging.

When I was about White Fang’s age, I decided that when I “grew up,” I wanted to be Erma Bombeck. She was a woman who made us laugh, yes, but she also made us think. She wanted her readers to take something away from her weekly columns — whether it be a much-needed chuckle, tears, or the inspiration to behave kindly and lovingly towards each other. I read her column every Sunday for years, until she passed away, and then I read her books. Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry formed my earliest notions of attempting to write about serious things presented in a humorous manner.

They convinced me that it worked.


While I’ve chosen to try to make my career as an author, I am not just a writer. I’m also a mother, a dancer, an autist, a person of the 21st century. My inspiration that goes into my published titles has come from a variety of life experiences, from places I’ve been to, people I’ve known, books and films I’ve loved, cats I’ve treasured, music that made my heart sing and my body dance.

I’ve traveled (a little), I’ve stood in line for the latest Harry Potter release, gone horseback riding, watched a winter storm roll in to the beach in the dark of night. (Admittedly that last one was not the wisest idea, considering we were standing literally on the sand with the wind and waves ramping up, and the roads off the island were going to be closed any minute… But it was cool.)

There’s so much to this rich tapestry of life. And while I can’t ever hope to cover absolutely every single thing I may want to discuss on this platform (I’ll have forgotten 2 or 3 minor ideas by the time I post this, for the love of Pete), I’m sure going to try.

I’d never describe myself as fickle, but when something loses my interest, I have no qualms about leaving it in the dust. I don’t mean abandoning anything serious, like family, or flossing; but in the last several months, I feel as if I’ve talked about tropes, genre norms, character cliches, whether all the installments of a series should be the same size, and just what the heck headcanoning is until I’m blue in the face. I still totally love reading, and will be writing more of my own novels, and keeping up with my fellow bloggers, even if they tend to focus on these topics.

Though, when it comes to my own online spaces, I’m ready to diversify.


When I’d only been blogging for a little while, all the advice I came across said the same thing: Decide what you’re going to post on, and keep to those subjects. The public doesn’t care for blogs that are all over the place.

Well, who cares? Who decided these people were the “experts” on blogging, and what the public does and doesn’t want? (Probably the same folks who are running corporations into the ground by continually rolling out ill-advised products many consumers then refuse to buy.)


So, looking ahead for this blog: I’ll be posting probably once a week or so throughout the summer, about whatever strikes my fancy at that point. There will still be relevant and timely updates regarding my publishing empire, but otherwise…this shall be the start of a journey.