Monday, December 30, 2013

12/30/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! Can you believe that 2013 is almost over? How ridiculous is that? It seems like the year just blew by and while I haven't decided exactly how much I'm looking forward to 2014, I don't really have a choice in its arrival so I suppose I'll just have to deal with the fact that Wednesday's going to happen whether I want it to or not.

I hope everyone saw the link I posted on Friday. I really don't know what's wrong with my ability to manage time in the morning lately. Luckily I was able to at least get that out there for everyone to see. Right now I'm just trying to make it through the morning with the hope that the afternoon will be better than right now. I feel like I'm dragging my everything behind me. It's sucks. It's one of those days where I wish I could use the fact my cat really doesn't like the idea of me getting out of bed as a viable excuse not to go into work.

I keep wondering if I'm going to do a resolution for the new year, I usually don't, mostly because they are really difficult to keep. I know that sounds incredibly lazy, but so many things could potentially happen to screw them up that I haven't figured out what would be a realistic one. Sure I'd love to lose weight, but wouldn't all of us? I'd also like to get at least two books completely finished and published, but I really don't know if that's realistic or not. It's just really up in the air and part of it will end up depending on how my family does. We'll see!

What are everyone's plans or goals for the new year? Even if you don't do the resolution things, it's never a bad thing to at least try and do some goal setting. Do you plan on finishing that story or starting a new one? I'd love to hear all about it!

For now though, I'm going to get ready for that work thing they decided that I needed to do. I'll hopefully be back on Friday unless I forget how to manage my time again in the morning. If not I'll at least get another link between my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Wednesday I will (hopefully) be sleeping in, at least that's the goal and also hopefully be feeling a bit better. For now I hope you have a great start to you week and also a fantastic start to the new year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

12/23/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. We are closing in on Christmas which means it's time for the last minute panic that people generally go through when trying to figure out if they got everything done, or if they have everything they need to get those last-minute pieces completed. That's where I'll be today after work as I do some baking and get my present wrapping done while I don't need to be hoovering over everything in my kitchen. Hooray for December, right?

Also, I'm sorry there wasn't an actual post, but hopefully everyone saw the link to the author's book that I posted everywhere. I had time to find and read the story, just not enough time to actually write up the review for it. I'm sure I've mentioned before how crunched for time I am sometimes on Fridays, and I had spent part of my morning trying to get some fudge to solidify a bit more. Sadly that part ended up not working as much as I had hoped, and even after putting it in the freezer it was still not a solid mass. White chocolate is weird. At least the flavor was good.

I am taking a look back at 2013 and deciding that it was a fairly good year overall. There was a bit of stress at times, but in general I'd say it was a pretty good year. The end of it is appearing to be a bit rocky, but we're getting there, and things'll be just fine in the end, but for the most part it was a good year. I have some big plans for 2014, so hopefully things will go my way to help me accomplish them. January will mark the start of the last round of edits of 'Rending the Seal' and then it'll also (I really don't see that part taking the full month) mark the beginning of 'Through the Broken Mirror' starting that process. I sense good things coming, and I am really excited about it.

 I'm sure I don't need to let anyone know there won't be a post on Wednesday, but just in case I'll still mention it. I will be getting up at some ridiculous early hour and starting my celebration with family and friends. I like Christmas, I really do, I don't like that everything has to start earlier than my normal shift at work does and I am most certainly not a morning person. It's only one day a year though and I am willing to make that sacrifice!

Thanks for stopping by today, I will be back on Friday. Have a great week and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and that it's full of warmth and all of the fun times you could ever ask for.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12/18/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the week is being nice to all of you so far. I am still in my calming down stages, which is very nice to have even if I am still at work during them. Things went well so now it's just a matter of getting things fixed (like the washer) and then everything will be back to 100%. We are also literally a week away from Christmas, so I know a lot of you have also just realized that and have started your own form of panicking. Don't worry, you'll make it!

I've talked about a lot of things here in regards to writing and various topics, which is why sometimes I repeat myself. That is sometimes on purpose, because things are important and should be repeated, but other times I will forget what's already been covered. So if we've already talked about this recently I will apologize and someone can yell at me about it later.

Right now my current mission in life is to find things for a good cover image for 'Rending the Seal' now there are several ways to go about it, and my first method is to go to the internet for images that don't have some kind of watermark or have a copyright on them. There are several royalty free image sites around, and I have used them in the past. They are quite helpful. However my search for part of what I'm looking for appears to be in vain and that is incredibly frustrating. I didn't know there was a plant called the Seal or Key of Solomon or just the Solomon Flower or whatever, it comes up whenever I search for Seal of Solomon so that tiny little flower is incredibly frustrating.

I'm sure that I'm not alone in this, not that there are a bunch of other people looking for images of the Seal of Solomon...which there might be? No, more than they can't find the one thing they're looking for that would be absolutely perfect for their cover. There are a few ways to handle this. One would be to use a design software, a reference picture and hope for the best to make your own. Another would be to pay someone you know in some kind of food to do that, especially when you know they are a lot better at it than you are, and have the tools (and computer, and software) to do it without worrying about hardware melting. Another option, and I understand that not everyone has this one, is that through Smashwords, they have a list of people who do cover art and they have access to their own stock images and such. You will need to pay them in real cash money (not food, though I think it should be a viable payment system) but you will get a good cover out of it. Now I also don't know how much creative control you have over it when you work with someone from the Smashwords list, but I'm sure it is different for each person, and the last time I glanced at it the list was some 50-people long, so you do have options there.

Remember your cover is one of the last things you do before officially publishing your work. It is the single cause of both the least and the most stress among a lot of authors. Mostly because they don't think about it until the very end, and then suddenly they need a cover and they hit this blank wall of crazy and can't do anything about it. Then they think about how important good cover art is, and things get overwhelming and the stress piles on from there. I'm sure that isn't doing a whole lot to help. The point is though that in your downtime when you're taking a break or between edits, or whatever you're doing, try to at least get an idea for what you want your cover to look like. That way when the time does come to start working on it, you have a general thing to work with, and you have considerably less stress going into it. You, your brain, and whoever you're potentially working with will thank you.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today! Remember, 'The Light Rises' is still on sale for the holidays and until the end of the year. so please stop by Smashwords and use the coupon UM87K to get the discount! I'll see you all Friday though, so I hope you have a great rest of your week!

Monday, December 16, 2013

12/16/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I'd like to start things off by apologizing for Friday. There was a substantial lack of notice and information, except on twitter, and even then it was misspelled about why there wasn't a post. It really wasn't planned. See on top of my pretty much god awful stressful week, I woke up on Friday with a bloody nose, and while I'm sure you all love the visual early in the morning, I will just say this wasn't one you could stuff some paper up there and pinch the bridge of your nose and be done with it. I sat down at the computer to try and get some work done, but by the time I did that I saw the time and realized that wasn't going to happen, and just as I put up the twitter message, things went from slowing down back to 'yeah it's just pretty much worse again' so I had to run to try and get things taken care of. Luckily I somehow managed to not be late for work, but I really wasn't able to do anything else productive that morning. I am really sorry, I haven't had one of those like that in over ten years, and of course that is how my Friday had to start.

I got 'Rending the Seal' back from my beta-reader/mother this weekend, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that most of the things I need to fix aren't, in her opinion, plot points that made no sense. There are some spelling issues and grammar things, which I expected, and realistically I couldn't see those anymore, which was the whole reason I needed someone to look at it. There were some contextual things, just some sentences don't seem to work or need to be structured a little differently, but overall not a whole lot needs to be changed. Even the parts I was worried about she said were fine, and considering previous conversation haven't gone nearly as well I was a little shocked. I am enjoying my break though, so I figure once January starts I'll jump right into it and get to work. I actually don't think it should take me too terribly long either.

Which leads me to trying, desperately, to find images for my cover. I want to put the Seal of Solomon on it, but apparently finding a good picture of it doesn't exist! That is so frustrating! Admittedly it is also a much simpler design than I remembered, but that doesn't change the fact that finding a high-resolution image shouldn't be impossible. So if anyone knows where I can find one, because it does not exist on the royalty free site I am registered at, that would be awesome!

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I'm hoping really hard that today goes well. I hope your week starts out nicely and that you all have a lot of fun. Remember, 'The Light Rises' is on sale until the end of the year using coupon UM87K at Smashwords, so please check it out and tell everyone you know!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

12/11/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope the week has been nice to you so far. Mine has been a whirlwind of everything that I am SUPER done with and yet it's only Wednesday so that isn't an option for me. I am going back to work today though (basically took Monday and yesterday off) even though my stomach is still a twisted ball of stress pain with the hopes that having time to not think about everything will be a good time. For now though, I'll get to something that I'm sure you all care about significantly more.

We are roughly halfway through December, which is always a fun time I suppose, though I'm sure there are a lot of you out there trying to balance writing and the holiday season. Never fear, for this is a joyous time and just like with NaNoWriMo, pacing and scheduling will be your friend. There's no reason that you need to stress over one thing or another, unless you have some kind of deadline that's coming up, then by all means, carry on and don't let me stop you. Just also remember that we're all human and by that logic hopefully also reasonable and understanding individuals.

Now admittedly any deadline that I have given myself I can do so because I don't work at the mercy of an agent or a contract telling me what I have to do and when. I know there are people out there that don't have that option. This is where that scheduling thing I mentioned before comes in handy. Work out your day so that you have a designated time to do your writing, and to do whatever else it is you do. This will help lower you stress levels significantly and you will find it comforting too, mostly because of that little routine thing your brain likes so much. Also, just like with NaNoWriMo, talk to your family and loved ones about what you're doing, they will seriously understand what you're doing and why it seems like you're going crazy and tearing your hair out.

This time of year is hard on all of us, whether you're taking a break after NaNoWriMo so that your hands don't seriously decide to sever themselves from your body and wander off to live a painless life, or you've jumped right back into things and are editing the crap out of stuff or are writing a whole new story. You have to work that around holiday planning, shopping, people, working, and all bunches of other stuff. It's hard, so don't take it out yourself. Make sure to make time to rest because come a couple weeks from now you are really going to need it.

Thanks a bunch for stopping by today. Hopefully I'll be back on Friday if things don't continually implode. I hope this week is nice to all of you. Have a great rest of it!

Monday, December 9, 2013

12/09/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope your weekend was nice and that you were able to at least stay a little warm. Here where I live we are still in the middle of this god-awful cold snap, but they are saying it's going to get better soon. Now better means moisture is going to be coming through the area, so that only means a couple potential things will happen, but then they're saying it'll get too warm for snow afterward so I'll take that happily. For right now's still too freakin' cold...

I happened to get a glance at where my beta-reader is for 'Rending the Seal' and was pleasantly surprised to see  they are about to the last 4th of the story. Hopefully that means come January I can dive right back into everything. I'm also hoping that anything I need to adjust (spelling errors and what-not) will be easy to find and won't necessarily require me to search through every single page. It'll also be interesting to see what happened to a specific area that I was worried about being a little crowded/unnecessary.

Currently I would just like things to work the way they are supposed to. Our washer is still broken and the maintenance people are "researching" how to go about fixing it and yesterday the property laundry room broken down entirely so I wasn't able to do laundry at all. Luckily I have things to wear, but that did put a huge wrench into everything. We've now been without a washer since before Thanksgiving, which admittedly we didn't expect it to get fixed until after that holiday anyway, but still, being told they have to vaguely 'research' it and then having not heard any real update until that guy I live with directly asked the management about it is a little frustrating. I understand they are trying to determine if they'll have to replace the whole unit, and since we're on the 3rd floor and I really have no idea how they got the thing up here in the first place, I get that part, but at least keep us updated.

In other news you actually care about, 'The Light Rises' is still on sale until the end of the year. Just head over to Smashwords and use coupon UM87K to get it 75% off. Tell everyone you know since there might be someone they can get it for as a present on their reading device!

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I'll be back on Wednesday so if there's a specific topic you'd like for me to look at just let me know. For now try to stay warm and have a great start to your week!

Friday, December 6, 2013

12/6/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I did everything I could through the bitter cold this morning to find something to post and I did it. I don't have a lot of time though so I will apologize for the post being short, but I'll get right to it! I bring you 'The Christmas Ornament' by J.E. Bolton and it tells the story of Marcus who had become very bitter about the holidays until one moment when he hit rock bottom and had a conversation he didn't think was possible. He learned not the 'true meaning of Christmas' thing but more of what it means to keep going in the face of darkness and how to turn a bad situation into a good one.

Things hadn't always been had around the holidays for Marcus and his family, when he was younger he loved it, but as time went one and the older generation started going away he started becoming jaded. Then the ornament that had been in the family for generations broke and the rest of his faith with it. Now he also learned the secret that his grandfather had kept from them for years and with it questions about all of the good he'd experienced in the past started coming up. Seeing really no other way out Marcus goes to the cemetery trying to find answers in his darkest hour.

'The Christmas Ornament' is available on Smashwords for free, so please go check it out and tell everyone about it. I'm sure the author would appreciate the holiday boost for them. The story does have a feel good end to it, so don't worry, I'm not going to promote a super depressing holiday story for everyone to read.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I'm sorry it was short, but I'm a little short on time, I'll be back on Monday though. So I hope you all have a fun weekend and that you all manage to stay as warm as you possible can!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

12/4/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! It was the coldest night of the year up here apparently and I am feeling it. Well I feel all of the cold, but I am especially feeling it now in that I am convinced I will never, ever be warm again. Almost all of my shopping is done with just a few stray things floating about that I still need to get. I'm rather satisfied with myself with how quickly that happened, though I suppose nothing's arrived yet so it's really only half done.

Now that it's December I'm sure you're all wondering what you're supposed to do now. Your brain is winding down wondering what just happened, since you built up a habit, got it all happy, then tore it down suddenly. There are a few options, and what you do is really up to you and depends on where you are in the grand scheme of things. Are you writing a series, is the thing you were working on for NaNoWriMo done, was it something you were going to publish, and do you want to do more for it? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before taking whatever next step you want to take.

Also, did you want to take a break? The standard for December is that it is a month spent editing and driving yourself absolutely crazy. For me it is spent pretending stuff doesn't exist anymore. Not because I didn't like it or don't appreciate it, but because after spending a month focusing on something like that, immediately going back to the beginning isn't going to help me look at anything objectively for the purposes of editing. If you are going to take a break of any kind you need to schedule it for a specific length, so make sure to put an end-date on there if you do. None of this 'I'll just play video games until I decide to do something else' business, if you're taking December off, you take December off, then on January 2nd (because the 1st is a holiday, let's be realistic) you grab your stuff and get back to work. Right now that is my plan, mostly because I think my health will benefit. My hope was that 'Rending the Seal' would be ready for the world around that time, but I wasn't able to factor in my beta-reader's sudden travel time and also their reading speed, so it'll likely be the end of January that it'll be ready (unless there's something massive that needs to be done, which is entirely possible) then it might be later. However, I have other stuff to work on, so even if she doesn't get it to me by then I'll still be working.

If you do want to work on the stuff you wrote for NaNoWriMo you need to think about what it is you want to do with it. 50,000 words is roughly 75-ish pages (if you're using 12-point, Times New Roman, single-spacing font) which is a good short story length. If you want to expand on it you can always edit and put in more detail, or you can keep the length, do some edits and show the world what you did. Or maybe you don't particularly like that story, but you do like the world, you can always do somethings completely different. There are so many options it's ridiculous, even the series word I mentioned up there. Either way remember to have fun with it, because if you don't enjoy it there's really no point.

Thanks so much for stopping by. As a reminder, 'The Light Rises' is available for 75% until the end of the year using coupon UM87K, so please tell everyone in order to help with their holiday shopping. I'll be back on Friday, and if you have anything to tell me just let me know!

Monday, December 2, 2013

12/2/2013 Magnificent Monday

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope your weekend was long and served you all well with lots of food at parts. With having a day off, then working, then a day off, then working, mine messed with my internal schedule something fierce, but I'm sure I'll be good after today. I also hope that the end of NaNoWriMo was great for all of you and that everyone reached the 50,000 words without issue and that you all wrote fun stories. That is the point of that month after all, I mean ideally the stories are interesting too, but if you don't have fun with it, then there' really no point!

Right now I'm still waiting for 'Rending the Seal' to get back from my beta-reader/mother, so that will give me more time to continue resting my hand. As much as I really do want to jump right back into things I know it will be better to keep resting rather than push it more than I need to. I know that right now it's in the delicate stages of being better/can go back to being worse at anytime so I need to be careful. I just feel anxious and want to get back to work so badly! Oh well, I suppose it just means more Pokemon X for me.

The shopping season is now among us, and that means more spending and more stress, which is just nuts. I hope to do most of mine online, but we'll see how that ends up going. I'm sure there's going to be at least something I'll be forced to get in store. I just hope to do that somewhere in the middle when the crowds aren't too ridiculous. I wish you all luck in your similar endeavors as well.

I also hope that with December will get me back onto my normal posting schedule. I do appreciate all of the patience and understanding about how things went in November. Each year I can feel my wrists getting closer and closer to where they will need to get worked on, and I want to try and delay that as much as possible, especially since the books aren't done yet. So I really do need to work out the writing time as much as I can during November, so I do appreciate the understanding if there were days that I couldn't do a rush post like Friday's generally are. Things should be better this month though.

Thanks again every for stopping by today. As a reminder, you can pick up 'The Light Rises' for 75% off for the rest of the year using coupon UM87K through Smashwords, so please tell everyone you know and love about it! I'll be back on Wednesday! See you all then!