Category Archives: Career

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

New Starts

HAPPY HUMP DAY!!!!!!

So, this is the first place I am officially announcing this news: I GOT A JOB! A REAL FULL TIME JOB!!

*insert squealing girl here*

*clears throat*

Anyway. This company was the only one to even ask for an interview since my December 2014 graduation. I’d gotten PLENTY of rejections (not unlike my publishing attempts), but they asked me for not one, but TWO interviews, and two days later, I received a job offer, making MUCH more than I’d expected and will great benefits.

By the time of the follow-up interview, I was recovering from a Smoky Mountain Writer’s hangover and in the middle of a Book 3 mini-coma. Once that retreat had ended, I had a L.O.I. (Loss of Inspiration – see previous post), and felt absolutely drained. And don’t go thinking that the retreat was terrible for me if I got these aftereffects. That retreat was AWESOME, so no one can criticize it. I got a lot of wordsmithing, brainstorming, and networking done in those short seven days. If you EVER get a chance to go on a writer’s retreat or even a literary convention, GO!G&G 60th 149

Anyway, I was readjusting to normal, routine life, which consisted of an hour of staring at a blank computer screen, unbelievable amounts of time on Facebook, and having deep conversations with my dogs because I had no one else to talk to. Don’t look at me like that. It’s not weird. What is weird is having a majority of days filled with silence after seven days of having 18 other people to talk to.

The job offer made me so excited. I was bouncing off the walls for days! Yeah, I crashed once, and started freaking out about what I might screw up, or how I might come off to fellow employees, or how people’s first impressions of me would be (positive, negative, creative – the worries were unending). Then, I realized that I can only do the best I can. They had to know I would be a good fit for the job; otherwise, they wouldn’t have offered me the job. I may doubt myself during my employment, but I had to be worth something to end up there.

In writing news, I still am stuck on my SMW WIP. However, I took a detour, and decided to venture into the past of the characters in that series, much like I did with my ToTV series and The Protektor’s Reality [Still available for purchase on Amazon, along with the ebook short story saga 😉 ]. One of these prequels is a roleplay that I’m doing with a friend, coincidentally the one who gave me the idea for this series to begin with. It’s pretty much just a GoogleDoc that both of us can edit, and we each post a paragraph or so focused on a single character’s actions, and then we put some sort of separator (for instance ” *** “), and the next author/character can post their bit. The second is one I’m doing on my own, but has helped me to create the background and behind the scenes of my current WIP series. And BOY, is it fun!

Until next time, interwebz, Keep Faith. Like I’ll have to, in order to not go insane balancing my work life and writing life. :p

#NLC2014

Hiya, everybody!

I’m still cruisin’ on a hyper high from last week. I apologize for not posting last week, but I’m about to explain why.

Last week, I attended FBLA/PBL (Future Business Leaders of America/ Phi Beta Lambda) National Leadership Conference, held at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center in beautiful Nashville, TN.

First in States
First in States

My reason for going was to compete in the Project Management national finals. The top 2 (or 3, not entirely sure…) contenders in each state are invited to compete for a place at NLC. I got First Place in my state, so I was excited to at least be among others who share my love of business topics.

There were quite a number of workshops that took place during the conference’s four days. I attended one about money, and the workshop leader was hilarious! He really made the workshop fun, and I enjoyed it, as well as appreciated the knowledge I gained from it as well.

My competition was late Wednesday morning. I was planning on waking up early and studying before going over to the convention center, but I unfortunately overslept. When I got there, I immediately prayed that things would end up well. The main reason for this was because in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doubting whether my goal of being a Project Manager was too impossible for me. I knew for a fact that my social skills were incredibly lacking, and a good manager has to be good at talking to people, as that’s a big part of the job. I at least wanted to know that I had the knowledge and expertise already, so I could focus on the social aspect for the rest of college.

And you know what? I did. Know how I know that?

I got Fourth Place in the Nation!

I can’t even tell you how happy and nervous I was inside when my name was called in the random top 10. When we (the top 10 in Project Management) were called up on stage, I instantly forgot what I was going to have to do when they called my name. I had to keep repeating to myself, “Shake with right hand, take trophy with left!” As they started counting down from 10, every time I though they were going to call my name. The closer to 1st Place they got, the bigger my smile got and the bigger my anxiety grew. However, when they called me for 4th Place, I was so nervous that I think I rushed.

When I got back to my seat after a group pic, all my fellow LU-PBL-ers were squealing and cheering for me. In fact, they had been practically the whole time. I know now that my worries about people not caring are mostly unfounded, because this small group of classmates, that I barely knew before this conference, supported me. I guess I need a little more faith in myself, and other people as well.

#NLC2014 was the hashtag for the event on Twitter and Facebook, so if you’d like to see some highlights from other NLC-ers, go ahead and look that up.

It was a blast to attend, and such an honor to recieve Fourth Place. Now I know that my path I’ve set in life is possible. All I needed was a little faith.

View from Convention Center at Gaylord Opryland