Category Archives: Career

To Ravencon, and BEYOND!

So, here we are. It’s a Monday, and I don’t know about where you are, but here, it is extremely dreary, rainy, mucky, and depressing. Doesn’t help the Monday Blues much, does it? (Correction: it’s a Wednesday now. Typed that part on Monday… :/ )

At least I have something to look forward to later this week.

Ravencon 2017 happens this Friday through Sunday, last weekend in April, as per usual. This will be my eighth year attending, and second year as a panelist. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Ravencon is a sci-fi/fantasy/horror/mystery/fandom convention, mainly for writers, artists, and die-hard fans of pop culture and/or literature. The Dealer’s room is like a candy shop for avid readers, and the costume parade is amazing to watch. I have a handful of friends that attend regularly in cosplay, so it’s always fun to catch up and admire their hard work.

I’ve posted my schedule in [this post], but I’ll add it below as well, because I know my reading time.

That’s right.

I have a reading.

A READING.

*flailsexcitedly*

Have yet to figure out what to read, but *maybe* I’ll read from my secret project. Just *Maybe*.

Speaking of, no real updates or news on the #secretproject front, other than still awaiting my professional edits. Still cannot say anything else at this time.

HOWEVER! You may have seen this cover across my social media over the last week or so::

The_Vikan_Quartetv1

That is the cover for “The Vikan Quartet”, a collection of all 4 of my Tales of Terrara Vikos short stories, and includes a sneak peek into THE PROTEKTOR’S REALITY as well. It is now available for preorder as an eBook on most eBook platforms, and the links to it (and anything ToTV) can be found [here], on my Terrara Vikos page. Official Release Date for “The Vikan Quartet” is slated for May 15th, 2017 (Monday, 5/15/2017).

AAAAAAANNND…

*whispers* It’s gonna be in print.

*Louder* IT’S GONNA BE IN PRINT!!!

LOOKLOOKLOOKLOOKLOOKLOOK::

TheVikanQuartetProofs

DON’T THEY LOOK JUST AMAZING?!

*ahem*

Sorry, but I’m currently bouncing off the walls over this.

Unfortunately, Print book won’t have preorders, but, if you’d like a reminder, I’m getting my email newsletter thingy set up again, and this release will probably be one of the first I send.

[Newsletter Link]

Also, this e-newsletter will include TONS of updates and news as it pertains to my life as an author. So, if you’d like reminders and exciting news sent straight to your inbox, sign up with the link above.

Here’s my Ravencon Schedule::

Friday

4 pm (Panel) Why I Write Short Stories

7 pm (Opening Ceremony) Large Auditorium

 

Saturday

10 am (Panel) How to Revise

1 pm (Panel) Writer With A Day Job

***3 pm (Panel) Self-Publishing 101 (Added 4/27)

7 – 7:25 pm (Reading) Room 4

 

Sunday

11 am (Panel) The Adult In Young Adult

 

Hope to see some of you there! Also, hunt me down at Ravencon if you’re going, because I have a special deal for Ravencon attendees only pertaining to eBooks of mine…

*couchcough*FreeCodes*coughcough*

 

Keep Faith, everybody. ❤

Updates and Projects and Conventions, Oh My!

So, this is a bit of an update post, with a bit of details on what the coming months hold for me and, by association, all of my readers.

If you follow my blog, hopefully you saw my most recent post, which hints at brief details on a secret project I’ve been working on. This #secretproject is currently in the post-production/pre-publishing phases. Can you guess what that means?

THIS ONE WILL BE PUBLISHED.

I know I said it in the last post, but it bears repeating::
WILL. BE. PUBLISHED.
DEFINITELY.
WITHOUT A DOUBT.

This project has meant the world to me, and just today I sent my baby off to an editor. She said no later than the beginning of May would I get the notes and edits back. I’m terrified at what this editor will have to say, mainly because I’m terrified of editors. Ever since grade school, actually. As a young writer, getting an essay marked up in red pen terrified me. While this project is more in tune with my skills and expertise (YA/New Adult fantasy), the terror still remains. I know they are meant to help the story in the long run, this project is more than just any other manuscript. It’s been a coping mechanism for me, and I’m hoping once published, it might be one for others too.

Okay, that’s a tease, but more news soon, I promise. But that’s all I can say now on that.

Moving on to THE CHAOS ACCOUNTS series:

Account_of_Friendshipv3FINAL

After almost two months since #2, Story #3 is hitting the virtual shelves! Titled “Account of Friendship”, it follows Luz, the transgender techie who struggles with keeping his friendship with Blaine afloat in the midst of this secret, magical war with ChaosBlaze. When Blaine demands to go topside for a promised performance, Luz won’t let him go alone. As the events of the night play out, Luz starts to wonder if the only thing ChaosBlaze desires is Blaine…

That story is slated to be released April 15th (4/15/2017) (This coming Saturday), and details and links are available [here]. Also on that page are the covers, links, and summaries for Story #1 (“Account of Anxiety”) and Story #2 (“Account of Unrest”) are there as well. Also, news for the next one:: It’ll be titled “Account of Secrets”, and it is currently in progress. ?

Final topic of interest: RAVENCON.

Yes, I will be returning to Ravencon this year, for my second time as a panelist, and eighth time as a participant. Ravencon has always been my home away from home, and I am waiting in impatient anticipation for the event date to come faster. I will be on four panels (which I will list below for anyone who might be coming), and they are setting up a reading for me.

A. Reading.

Yep, that just happened.

However, this Ravencon will be rough for me. My original +1 for this year was the one I had last year. But, if you’ve been keeping up with me lately, you’ll have heard that she passed away on January 29th. This will be the first Ravencon in four years that JV will not be accompanying me. Luckily, my amazing Boyfriend will be accompanying me instead, for support and curiosity, and I will also have JV Jr attached to my side the entire time (Prepare to be bombarded with photos of stuffed Haruhi Fujioka). Note to Ravencon guests: take it easy around Boyfriend PLEASE. This will be his first glimpse into my writing career and the crazy people that fill that world, and I’d like to not freak the poor guy out. xD

Ravencon is April 28-30th, 2017 in Williamsburg, VA. [website]

RavenConBanner

As I did last year, I will be posting live check-ins on my Facebook Author page. I will try to do those more than I did last year, I promise. Like my Facebook page to keep up with my writing merriment and shenanigans.

Ravencon panels:
Friday, 4 PM – Why I Write Short Stories
Saturday, 10 AM – How to Revise {Ironic, I know}
Saturday, 1 PM – Writer With a Day Job
Sunday, 11 AM – The Adult in Young Adult
Reading (TBD)

Well, that’s my most recent update. Keep up with me at the sites/links [here], especially if you want to stay up-to-date on my upcoming projects.
Keep Faith, Vikans. 😉

RELEASE DAY!! The Chaos Accounts #1

Today is the Release Day for the first story in my Chaos Accounts saga. To say I’m excited…

… Is an understatement!

This story is my first one I’ve published since The Protektor’s Reality in November 2014. So, big deal.

Also, I’m running a donation campaign for each download and review I receive between today and February 14th, 2017. I’ll donate a little bit of money for each to Freedom From Fear, a national non-profit focused on mental-health awareness and support. I picked them because my main character in Account of Anxiety (Blaine) suffers from high Anxiety and ADHD. I felt this charity suited the story and character well. The break-down on what type of download gets what amount of money, see my last blog post HERE. The hashtag to share for this is #FearlessChaos .

These stories are made possible due to my Patrons on Patreon. If you like this story and want more, consider donating to this adventure with Division 3. My Patrons also get frequent updates and news before the general public does.

I have partially updated the “My Works” page here to reflect this story’s release. The links to Amazon, Smashwords, and (hopefully soon) Barnes & Noble will be there, as well as below::

ACCOUNT OF ANXIETY” links::
Amazon
Smashwords
B&N (link coming soon)

Soooooo, here we go! Enjoy the ride!

And, as always, Keep Faith!

Free and for a Cause

Hi there, everyone!

If you follow me on social media, then you already know that I have a new story releasing this week. If you’re not following me on social media, then you need to click [here] and follow my antics on your choice of social media platforms.

This story was created with the inspiration of starting my own Patreon page. The funds my Patrons give me will keep me inspired to write this series. My Patrons also get updates that aren’t anywhere else, as well as access to public updates before anyone else. There are also different rewards depending on a Patron’s pledge amount. If you might want to become my Patron for this series, click [here].

Anyway, you’re here to hear about the actual content of the saga, aren’t you?

Let’s begin:

My elevator pitch: Agents of SHIELD mixed with Divergent, if the teens had superpowers.

The Chaos Accounts is a saga that follows Division 3 of the MRC, an organization dedicated to keeping peace between humans and Metas, humans with incredible gifts. They also try and counter any destruction or injury caused by ChaosBlaze, and I’m sure you can infer their intentions based on their name.

acct_of_anxiety-cover_edited-1

 

 

The first story, “Account of Anxiety”, follows Blaine, a teen musician and impressionist, as he gets thrown headlong into the world of the Metas when his family is kidnapped by ChaosBlaze. This is essentially a brief introduction to the series and main characters, as seen by a confused, anxiety-ridden outsider.

I’ve got many others planned, and as long as I have people who want to read this journey of painful pasts, confusing and conflicted present, and uncertain futures, I will continue to write it.

 

 

Now, here’s a “catch”. At least for me.

The story goes live on 1/18/2017 (this Wednesday night). Between then and February 14th, here’s what I am going to do:

-For every free download of the story (it will be free everywhere but Amazon, cuz Amazon won’t allow it), I will donate $0.25 to Freedom From Fear, a national, mental-health advocacy based in Staten Island, NYC. (Details below)

-For every PAID download (aka-Amazon Kindle), I will donate $0.50 to Freedom From Fear.

-AND for EVERY REVIEW on B&N, Amazon, or Smashwords, I will donate $0.50 to Freedom From Fear.

So, essentially, this is money from my pocket that will be going to a good cause, and one that relates to Blaine’s anxiety issues, as well as making the world even slightly less scary for those of us with mental/emotional conditions.

To read more about Freedom From Fear, click [here] for more. The hashtag to share for this donation campaign by yours truly is #FearlessChaos

So, spread the word, because I will only be tallying downloads and reviews until February 14th!

Can’t wait for you all to jump on this crazy train with Division 3 and me!

And, as always, Keep Faith, guys. 🙂

Who Wants To Be My Patron?

*GASP*

OVER FOUR MONTHS!!

I’VE BEEN A BAD CHRISTINE.

You’ll have to forgive my overlooking of a COMMITMENT! Things have been crazy.

Here’s a quick little summary, because too much to go into too much detail::

-Ravencon: Was the most amazing experience in my life. Hoping to be invited back. Got my book (THE PROTEKTOR’S REALITY, in case you’re knew to my side of the Internet) into the hands of about 15 people. Met some reeeeeeally cool people, and got to talk writing and publishing stuff. Whether I come back as a guest or a participant, I will be going next year, and will have copies of my book to sign. Visit ravencon.com for details.

Vacation: Boyfriend and I went on a 9 day excursion to Las Vegas and Arizona. We got front row tickets to see KA at the MGM Grand, slots and roulette at a few different casinos, and kept a chip from every casino. Actually, our last day there, we literally went to a bunch of casinos, just to trade a dollar for a $1 chip for a little collection. Between Vegas and Arizona, I think we have about 16 poker chips. We also got to go to the Grand Canyon, and if you ever get a chance to visit, DO IT. It is an indescribable beauty and unbelievable until you go from up to the edge and scan the horizon and you realize, “This isn’t a dream. This was created by nature. Nature’s amazing.”

Mono: Yeah, you read that intro right. I got sick with Mono in the middle of June. No, I have not been cheating on Boyfriend. I’m certain I probably just got it from sharing a drink with a friend, or maybe a water fountain in Vegas. *shrug* who knows. Six weeks without exercise had me gain back a bit of those 40 pounds I lost, but I’ve lost it since beginning of August.

Day job: Day job is chaotic. No details, because, obviously, this is the internet, but things be going CRAY at work, and I’m overwhelmed beyond all reason. I’m getting through it okay, and actually being more productive there, but, when I come home, I crash because there wasn’t anything to do.

That’s about to change.

Writing has always been my best antidepressant for me. I just haven’t had any motivation to write anymore. In order to get motivated again, I’m taking this BIG, RISKY step, and I hope some of you reading this will assist in this venture. It’ll keep me writing, and keep Depression from eating me alive like it has been lately.

I’ve joined Patreon, a community of content creators who rely on Patrons (you guys who join) to pledge a certain amount in support, and, in return, Patrons get cool stuff, like exclusive content, Google Hangouts, Live chats, and even some physical goodies. It varies depending on the Creator. There were two options for frequency of pledge. Patreon advised that if you are putting out 4+ pieces a month, go for a monthly rate. For the time being, I’m only planning on 1-2 per month, so I have it set per creation.

I owe it to Peter Hollens for using the site and being an inspiration to me. His music and videos got me through a bunch of hard times, and, now, I’m taking that same big step forward by joining him in the Patreon community. Here’s his Patreon page [link], and also a link to his equally-as-awesome wife Evynne’s [link]. I’ll also link two of my friends from my Smoky’s retreat I take every year: Hugh [link] and Bryan [link]. Both of them are pretty awesome dudes, and are creating pretty cool stuff, so check them out too. 🙂

My creation is serialized fantasy stories. These are stories I barely started that I need motivation to write up. These stories are also perfect fodder for serialized fiction, because the ones I’m choosing… Never decided on an ending. So, these are indefinite stories (or “Human” stories, as I refer to them on my Patreon page), and I’m hoping I can get a good deal written on them. But I need motivation.

And I need you.

Yes, you, reading this right now.

I’d really appreciate the support from ANYONE. When you go to my Patreon page, at the very bottom of my description, I have a link to the first chapter of my first serial, titled “Truths of the Triangle”. It’s essentially a twist to the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, involving magic, multiple worlds, and a race to save what’s left of the protagonist’s sanity. Right now, that first chapter is on my Google Drive account, but looking for ways to get it available for download. Just so you know though, downloadable versions will only be available on my Patron-only stream. All you need to do is pledge $1/chapter to get that access.

But… I think I’ll at least give ya’ll a lil’ snippet from that first chapter.

A little teaser, if you will::::

 

“They’re just so naïve, peaceful, no cares in the world. As if life’s all rainbows and sunshine.”

“You’re sounding like a demotivational poster right now. Should I call a doctor?”

A quick breath of a chuckle came from him. “You know what I mean.”

Kelli cocked her head. “I’m not sure I do. Everybody has bad things in their lives that bug them: drugs, alcohol, abuse, death. They just pretend everything’s fine to not bum out everyone else around them. In fact, the only thing bad that isn’t currently happening is World War Three.” She’d said it in jest, but the expression on his face said he hadn’t taken it as such.

The music continued to blast, but she heard his quiet, gentle words clear as day in her mind:

“That’s what you think.”

Kelli wanted to open her mouth to refute his annoying, avoiding response when he planted a long, forceful kiss right on her lips. It surprised her for a second or two, but she eventually fell victim to it, wrapping her arms around his neck and returning the gift. It just felt so right.

A loud boom from the front yard that shook the building broke them apart. They both looked at each other with wide-eyed, “What-The-Heck” glances. Then they heard the screaming, followed by huge plumes of smoke.

When a gunshot rang out, Kelli’s legs buckled. She hated that sound. Even in movie theaters, she always winced when someone shot a gun on screen. In real life, however, it was so much worse.

Help a girl out, please? 🙂 It would mean so much to me, plus keeps me out of the darkness that is Depression. Always a plus. And I’ve got some pretty cool rewards levels for Patrons. 🙂

Here’s the [LINK]. Adding it to my Contact Me tab here as well, if you want to find me everywhere else as well.

Have a good day, guys, and remember to KEEP FAITH! I know I will be. 😀

Mental Preparation

As I’m typing this, I am sitting in a desk chair, mind racing. I leave in less than three-an-a-half hours to leaving Richmond for the first big moment of my writing career. Being an author guest at Ravencon is such a HUGE honor, but, at the same time, kinda scary. I’ve got fears of public speaking and constantly worry about others opinions of me. It rarely shows on the surface, so when I tell people I have anxiety, they kind of laugh, “No you don’t! You can’t possibly! … Wait, really?”

What gave it away? The constant worry about everything? Or the fact that I don’t talk much in a strange environment?

Precisely why I’ve been nervous about Ravencon all week. However, as it’s gotten closer, I’ve been mulling it over. Sure, it’s a strange, new situation, but it’s the same con. The same atmosphere, the same types of people, all in one space for the same reason: A love for fantastically creative art of all kinds. Writers, artists, scientists, gamers: all under one roof. Seems kind of counter-intuitive to worry about a place that I’ve felt comfortable at for the past six events. Why should Year 7 be any different?

Answer: it shouldn’t.

Am I still nervous out of my mind? Yeah, of course I am. Most people in my situation would be. BUT, at least this first step forward is somewhere I feel comfortable, somewhere I feel like family.

So, come on up and talk to me. My wardrobe will be consisting of plaid flannel of various colors, jeans, and sneakers, rolling around a black and yellow box-that-is-not-a-toolbox and toting a tiny black backpack on my back. Don’t be afraid to come up and say Hi to me. Because, not only will I be able to (hopefully) make friends, maybe, just maybe, you can help me to fight my anxiety and remind me why I’m here.

A love of fantasy and writing.

Ravencon, I’m coming home.

 

(Oh, and the book will only cost $9 for con-goers. I’ve also got a guessing game for people who buy my book, which includes a plot-based ‘choice’ of snacks. No worries, you don’t have to have read the stories yet. I’ve got all the basic information you’ll need. 🙂 )

 

(Keep up with what I’m doing by Liking my Facebook author page, where I will be Facebook Live-ing REALLY frequently, and watch this blog for updates on my speaking panels, other panels I’m going to, meeting with and making friends, and other wacky-doings with my best friend Jessi. I will be posting on both VERY often.)

A Special Treat for Everyone Everywhere

With Ravencon just two days away, I decided to take the appearance and run with it. Meaning you guys all win.

First off, a favor to ask of everyone reading this, a fantasy fan or not. If you had already checked out the links on the “My Works” tab above, you would know that my Tales of Terrara Vikos short story saga short stories are free everywhere but Amazon. If all of you could take a link of those free short stories (off sites like Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Inktera, iBookstore), go to their equivalent Amazon page, and paste the link into the box that appears when you click the “Tell Us About A Lower Price” link. Hopefully, with enough people reporting this to them, we can get them to change the price to free there as well.

For the special surprise? In honor of every professional everywhere who had to face fears in their careers, I have created a coupon FOR SMASHWORDS ONLY that you can use to get THE PROTEKTOR’S REALITY for free!

WHAAAAAA???

 

This is a limited time only offer, so jump on it while you can! Smashwords ebooks come in many different formats, for practically any device that can hold ebooks. The coupon can only work on their site, but you can download the correct format to, say, your Kindle, Android, iPhone-or-similar-iProduct after buying it.

As I mentioned above, the four short stories are already free, and will remain free for a while, but they precede the novel. My recommendation? Download all five at once and read in order to get the best experience. You can read the novel without reading the stories first, but, c’mon, you gonna pass up five free stories that recount the major events of my Lucian’s life? Please, that would not be recommended.

The coupon code is MB29A, and it will only work until May 6th, 2016. Head over to the pages of the stories on Smashwords (which I will link with the titles at the bottom), download, and enjoy the ride! For those of you still loyal to your other ebook sources, you can still get the short stories for free on all ebook platforms (except Amazon. Yet.), and THE PROTEKTOR’S REALITY is only $2.99, a steal considering the paperback price. The links are on the “My Works” tab, and I will be adding the other missing sites shortly.

If you prefer a physical book, Amazon sells it for list price of $11, but frequently discounts it about a dollar or so sometimes. If you are someone attending Ravencon this weekend in Williamburg, VA, I will have PLENTY of physical copies, along with business cards, series overview postcards, snacks with a twist, temporary tattoos of the Trimaleït , and a special little surprise for anyone buying a copy. Oh, and did I mention I’m only charging $9/book during the convention? Just look for the young, bespectacled, ball of nerves rolling around a black monstrosity that says “Realm Documents – DO NOT TOUCH” and that has tiny Avengers stickers all over it. Yes, I’m that kind of dork.

This is a big first for me, and I’m super excited! My panel schedule is [here], and I will be around for a majority of the weekend. Don’t be afraid to come say Hi! I may seem timid and shy, but the fact we are both there, at my first home-away-from-home, where I found my mentors and now, hopefully, where I’ll find fans and friends, I’ll be more than happy to talk to a kindred spirit.

Keep Faith everybody, and Happy Reading!!

 

Smashwords links::

Tales:
#1- Cross of Faith
#2- Trees in the Storm
#3- Blood on a Broken Hand
#4- Warped Destinies

Novel:
THE PROTEKTOR’S REALITY: A Trials of Terrara Vikos prequel

Catching Up // Before Ravencon 2016

Howdy do there!

Yeah, I know, I know, I’ve been quiet for a while. Life grabbed me and shook me and threw my world into dizzying, spinning spirals. This post will outline everything that’s happened, and update you for my plans in the future.

For starters, I’ve been on an exercise/eating regimen. It started with me dropping my soda habit at the end of Feburary, and, within 7 weeks, dropped 18.5 pounds and gone down almost two pants sizes. Talk about an image change, huh?

About those Affirmations… Working on supplying those in an alternative way. That’s all I can say now. But, you will be getting a lot of them. A VERY BIG lot of them.

At the end of March, I returned for the annual Smoky Mountain Writer’s retreat, a small, week-long getaway with about 20 author friends filled with intensive writing sessions every day, reading segments afterward, and alcohol. Lots and lots of it. No worries though, no alcohol for me. Or, at least other than a small milliliter of pineapple moonshine in a mouthwash cup. Which, for alcohol, was really good.

I pushed myself so hard I was almost in a deep breathing fetal position by the end. But, I ended up writing 36,000 words on a brand new WIP within six days. The view was gorgeous as well, overlooking a chasm deep in the Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I also went for a 3 mile hike up and down steep inclines on my free day (so hot and out of breath by the end).  My mentors (yes, Tee and Pip were there also. They were the ones that forced me to go last year. I regret nothing at this point) went with two other Smokies (Katie Bryski and Hugh O’Donnell) to the Titanic museum, which apparently was a blast!

We all had an amazing time, and the first day we were all home and back to reality and day jobs, Alex White (amazing cover photographer/designer, check him out if you want a personally photographed cover), who is the organizer, coordinator, and resident leading bad@ss, had already picked tentative dates for next year’s retreat. At the same cabin. That had a hot tub AND a giant Jacuzzi. Yeah, it’s that cool.

Anyway, got to hang with tons of old friends and make lasting new ones. And, to me, they’re not just friends anymore. They’re family.

I’ve booked plane tickets for me and my boyfriend to go to Las Vegas and Arizona next month to see his mother, who he hasn’t seen in over two years. I’ve got a surprise in store for him, which he’s knows I have one in store, but doesn’t know all of it. I’m excited to do this, and he won’t know until we get on our plane in Chicago. Can’t wait for his reaction.

In other news, I know I’ve mentioned this briefly in other posts, but I am going to be an author guest at this year’s Ravencon, a fantasy, sci-fi, and horror convention. This year is the first year being located in Williamsburg, Virginia, at the newer Doubletree. I’ve got my panel listings, though I looked it up on my own at the con’s website, which is www.ravencon.com, in case you want to explore the other stuff happening::

Friday, April 29th

10:00 PM – How to Self-Publish on a Budget // Moderator: Alex Matsuo

 

Saturday, April 30th

10:00 AM – Self-Publishing Doesn’t Mean Solo Publishing // Moderator: ME; Other panelists: Doc Coleman, GB MacRae, Alex Matsuo

3:00 PM – Writing a Strong Teen Protagonist // Moderator: Bill Blume; Other panelists: Charity Ayres, Darin Kennedy

6:00 PM – “Kill Your Darlings” // Moderator: ME; Other panelists: Bill Blume, Will McIntosh, D. Alexander Ward

 

Yes, you’re seeing correctly. The first-time author guest and fairly-new-to-publishing-world author with social anxiety has to moderate TWO panels.

 

*Deep breaths*

Just have to keep telling myself I can do this.

 

I can do this.

… I can do this, right?

I sure hope so.

Anyway, I hope to be updating this blog with posts about each of the panels I’m on, as well as some of the panels I will be sitting in the audience at. If you’d rather see it live or recorded as video, like my author page on Facebook (link). I am planning to Facebook Live parts of the convention, so you guys can keep up with the action.

Did I forget anything? No, don’t think so. Wait… Right, right. There will be big news hitting the blog soon, hopefully by the beginning of June. Stay tuned, and, if you want to have advanced preparation, go to the “My Works” tab here on Terrara Vikos, and download/purchase the stories and/or prequel. For future reference, the stories go in time order (#1-4), ending (so far) with The Protektor’s Reality prequel novel.

Wish me luck, guys! I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Keep Faith, everybody!

New Years – A Reflection on Life

New Year, new start, right? At the start of every year, all of us look forward to another year where nothing is impossible. Lose that twenty pounds, get that promotion, write that book you’ve been putting off for years, or go on that cross-country trip you’ve always dreamed of. There are a bunch of people I know (me included) that had a big change in their life in 2015. Babies entered some friends’ lives. Some people married their soulmates. Others started new jobs (example, me), big moves, new houses, new cars (example, me [again]), etc, etc.

No matter what did or didn’t happen in 2015, the biggest thing you can say is: I survived 2015. Lots of people can’t say that. Death got personal for me last year, with one of my grandfathers passing away from cancer (as I’ve heard my mentor say a bunch of times, “F–k Cancer”).  He was an amazing guy, and he went out the way he would have wanted, and that’s all that matters to me.

I guarantee lots of you lost loved ones this past year. My heart goes out to all of you, as I have felt that pang a few times in my life, and each time brought me to tears for months to years. It’s hard, looking to the new year without those wonderful people in our lives. Every passing moment stabs our hearts, and it literally hurts.

Here’s a little secret though. Come closer.

Closer…

*whispers* It gets better.

Yep, it does. Does that mean it will get to a point where you will feel nothing? No, unfortunately, the human race has not developed the technology to put your memory into an unfeeling, superhuman automaton with wifi in the head and a feeling suppressor where your heart should be. Sorry, I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. Or, ever, if we’re lucky.

Feeling sadness or depression can be seen as a bad thing, and, to be honest, it is. As someone who’s suffered depression in the past, it’s hard. You shrink away from people, trying to hide the sadness and anxiety in your heart. Wanting someone to listen but not willing to talk about it. Biting back tears when looking at your bank account, your sick sibling/parent, or even just a simple picture.

But, the fact of the matter is, YOU’RE FEELING. Being able to feel is an amazing gift. It allows you to express what you like/don’t like about a situation, and to let others know what you think about something. Feeling is just feeling; there’s no other way to describe it, really. But, it’s amazing when you think about it. It’s something we take for granted.

For instance, I’m worried about an upcoming project of mine (more news in the distant future). That alerts me to plan things out, and have a backup plan should things not turn out right. It also tells me to keep going, so I can prove to myself that I was worried about nothing.

I’m scared of change. This informs me that when change happens, I need to fight back against the fear and take every hit, because, usually, it’ll be worth it in the end.

I’m happy I have a loving family, and a caring, awesome group of close friends. Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten this far in my work career, my writing career, or life in general. Feeling that happiness makes me feel warm and fuzzy and lets me know that not everything sucks.

And I’m upset about death. However, it’s a fact of life. We all will die in the end. If you need advice on how to handle death and your impending demise, consult the Adam Ruins Everything finale. Just a warning, the end is depressing (if you couldn’t guess that already by the topic).

But that doesn’t mean that everything about death is horrible. You have to look at it a different way. Sure, the physical body of the person you love is buried in the ground, but now you have a guardian angel looking out for you. Sure, they can’t affect anything on this plane of being anymore, but the things they did do in our existence left a mark on the lives of so many other people on this Earth. They can’t verbally speak to you anymore, but they live on inside you, in your memories, in your words, in your actions. We choose to focus on their death, because it’s seems easiest to do. But, that hurts you in the end. Don’t focus on their death; focus on their LIFE. The bonds they created that even death cannot break. The changes they made in their own life that affected others in a positive way. The lives they altered, simply by existing and interacting with the world. Their childhood, their schooling, their careers, their family, their friends. At some point in our lives, we made a mark on someone else’s existence, and that’s what we should focus on.

To tell the truth, I would not be on this blog, writing this post right now, if someone in my life hadn’t died. In fact, I wouldn’t be a writer at all. My uncle, while only an active part of my childhood for a year of my elementary school journey, passed away. I was eleven. He was forty.

He was supposed to die at eighteen.197952_1002567381076_3062_n

He was blind, but a genius. He worked as an engineer as an adult, even without being able to see. He had a loving family, who he chose to spend the last year of his life with. He didn’t let his illness or incapacities stop him from achieving his dreams. When he died, I took on that mantra. The night of his death, I wrote my first poem that wasn’t a school assignment. My mother read it – all three pages – and told me I should be a writer.

Almost twelve years later, I have published a novel – dedicated to him, as you’ll see if you picked it up on Amazon -, finished almost ten manuscripts, graduated college a semester early, got an amazing job three months after graduating, and have big plans for the next several years in the career that his death inspired me to take on. I learned to look at the life he had on this earth, not the fact he was gone. Because, I guess, he’s living on inside of me, pushing me to keep going when things get tough.

So, to 2016, I am going to keep pushing forward. No matter what you might throw at me, I will look at my book, my manuscripts, or that poem I wrote twelve years ago – which my mother has made hundreds of copies of throughout the years – and remember why I’m doing this.

Twenty-sixteen:

Bring.

It.

On.

Journey of Legends: The 2015 MoPO Kickstarts

WOW! What a month it’s been!

Wait…. You say I haven’t posted in over a month? How long? About six months? Yikes. Sorry about that, readers. I have no other excuse for that other than big plans for the future have taken up most of my time. That, and the day job, and having to take on the responsibilities of an adult. (Why must I adult? Can I not adult today? No? Okay then.)

Those big plans will have an announcement of their own in the near future, once details have been finalized. But, I guarantee you, they are BIG. At least for me. 🙂 I’m planning on writing on here more frequently, but don’t hold me to it. I may have a sprained wrist from all the typing I’ll be doing soon.

The AMAZING journalists

Anyway, this post isn’t about me. It’s about two writers, with a hope, a dream, and a Kickstarter. These two writers are Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine. They are not only my friends and mentors, but also my role models and idols. (Lucky me, huh?) They initiated a Kickstarter in the hopes of self-publishing book 5 in their popular Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, titled The Ghost Rebellion. While I have loved their writing pre-Ministry, the MoPO series has always had a close place in my heart. I love the characters (the main characters are my favorites. Wellington, because I think he’s cute when he’s nervous. and Eliza, because she’s a fiery loose cannon who doesn’t care what others think [a trait I wish I had]. Just my opinion though), I love the intricate plots, and I love the firepower (explosions, gun fights, advanced cars that certain characters underestimate at first *coughcough*Eliza*coughcough*). The storylines are so well written and had me hooked during that first scene in Phoenix Rising, with my chills mirroring the ones the characters were having in that cold tundra.

Their Kickstarter was mainly made with the just the 5th book as their main goal. They had stretch goals that included special models for covers, publishing the SIXTH book, AND a deviously inappropriate novella entitled Countless Hues of Crimson, which has connections to the main series, but I am sworn to secrecy as to the details (Not really; I only know how it connects, and pretty much anyone connected to MoPO knows that). I told them from Day One: “You will make it to that last goal. I don’t doubt it for a second.”

They said: “We’ll see.”

Anyway, the Kickstarter started out strong. They had bursts here and there, with some weekends gaining upwards of a couple grand between Fridays to Sundays. They actually reached their initial $6000 goal, which ensured the publication of The Ghost Rebellion.

I said: “See? You got that far that quick! I am positive you’ll reach that last goal!”

Them: “We’re going to be cautiously excited. You can be overly excited for us.”

As the Kickstarter progressed, they reached their first Stretch goal, to get specific cover models for TGR, very soon after.

Me: “I KNOW for a FACT you will get that ultimate end goal.”

Them: “We might, but we’re not going to get too excited. I looks like it may be a possibility though.”

Last Sunday, they reached their next stretch goal, which, my friends, was to be able to publish the SIXTH and FINAL book in the MoPO series, OPERATION: ENDGAME!!! It wasn’t until then that the Ministry ‘journalists’ started getting excited. Via Periscope, they uncorked champagne, made a fire pit, and lamented the lack of marshmallows. They started talking about Countless Hues of Crimson, with vague, interest-peaking details coming to light. That goal would become reality at $20,000, a full 5 Grand from their Operation: Endgame goal.

Me: “You still have a week for that last goal. I know you’ll get there. 100% positive!!”

Them: “Operation: Endgame is a definite. We don’t know if we’ll get to CHoC, but at least we have that. It’s definitely a nail-biter though.”

……

Can you imagine my eyeroll of disbelief? I have told them for YEARS how big the Ministry was. You’d think they’d know by now, but they still doubted their abilities to write an unbelievable story full of twists, turns, and the adventures of two unlikely agents. Remember, I told them from DAY ONE that they had enough support that they could do this and THEY STILL DOUBTED!!

Guess what?

Yesterday afternoon, I get a chat message from Tee:

“And $20k.”

“And 5 hours to go.”

“You told me so.”

Followed by an appropriate GIF.

I have not let him forget it in the last 24 hours. It’s actually kinda fun, and though I know it annoys him, I do it for a reason. I want him to remember this amazing, unbelievable victory whenever he doubts his writing. I want him to remember earning over 21k in 30 days using nothing but the power of the MoPO fans and the epicness that is the internet and social media.

As Lucian would tell him, “Keep Faith.” All he has to do is keep faith and know that what he does has made a difference in not only his life, but has made an impact in the lives of many others, as seen by the results of this journey.

It’s been a wild ride, and it’s only going to get wilder.

To Eliza and Wellington, I can’t wait to see the end of this adventure.

To Tee and Pip, congrats on such a sweet-tasting victory.

Oh, and  I told you so. 😉

MoPO 2015 Kickstarter Victory v3