So, yeah, missed a #summarySunday AND ran late on writing my Obligatory New Year’s post, but better late than never, right?
So, 2019, huh? What’s happened there? Lots of laughs and smiles and hugs and togetherness. But also lots of tears and pain and loss and senseless violence.
Then again, that’s every year nowadays, right?
So, I’m reflecting on my personal 2019, with my outlook now that we’re back in the “Roaring 20s” era. Here’s some key parts of my life from 2019, as I reflect on the previous year:
Smoky Writers Retreat – February-March 2019
I accomplished so many words this year. The biggest goal I achieved both broke me and gave me most of the closure I needed. I FINISHED KINETICS. At least, the first drafts. Obviously, Books One (“KINETIC REBIRTH”) and Two (“KINETIC MEMORY”) are already out in the world. And Book Three… Well, let’s just say there will be a blog post tomorrow or Sunday giving some exciting news about that one. But, the full main series was a total of 5 novels. I finished Book Five’s first draft on March 1st, 2019. My uncle – the man who inspired me to follow my dreams and who helped give me that push toward writing – died March 1st, 2004, exactly fifteen years after his death. I’ve joked about the timing as Jessi and my Uncle Dave plotting the timing of this finale from the beginning. The best part was that I told my husband (fiance at the time) that it would be so cool to finish Book Five at Smoky, because this series started at the 2017 Smoky retreat. Ironic it actually happened that way, and I’m so glad it happened then! My fellow Smokies were there to comfort me, give plenty of hugs, encourage me to still join in on the fun activities of the retreat, and talk to me through my panic attacks and depression crashes as closure attempted to settle down in my body. Couldn’t ask for a better writer’s family.
Ravencon 14 – April 2019
I was so blessed and lucky that I was selected as an Author Guest panelist again for Ravencon 14 out in Williamsburg, Virginia. I’ve been attending since 2009, so this one marked 10 years of attendance. Ravencon is like a home away from home, where I can be with my like-minded creatives.
I met some really cool people, made professional contacts by networking over similar interests, and gave the best advice I could muster to help out the other authors in the audience of each of my panels. As usual, JV Jr accompanied me and kept wanting food. That doll has the “nom noms” to the max, even when she was actually a living person on this earth.
Engagement Photo Shoot – April 2019
If going to Williamsburg for Ravencon 14 wasn’t enough, I invited one of my close friends, Allison, to provide her with lodgings for the whole weekend for free, so she could attend Ravencon the whole weekend: something she hadn’t been able to do in a long time. In return, she spent our last day in Williamburg by taking me and my husband’s engagement photos. The photo shoot landed EXACTLY one year from the day B-Roc (my husband) proposed. Here’s a sampling::
Wedding Day – September 2019
This day was magical. I was marrying my soulmate, my rock, my perfect match. I can’t even come up with the words to describe how amazing that day was, aside from one event that occurred before the actual ceremony. The Bride-to-be and father of the Bride get a horse and carriage ride down to the ceremony location at the base of a waterfall. While passing regular visitors to the park, most of the kids were in awe of the horses. But, there was this one little girl, maybe 2-3 years old, whose Dad had picked her up and moved aside for my carriage to get by. The girl’s eyes widened, and she said excitedly to her dad, “Daddy, look, look! A princess!” Then, she looked at me and waved frantically and yells, “HI, PRINCESS!”
One of the most memorable moments of my life.
Conclusion and Looking Ahead
By the end of 2019, I’d had so many memorable moments, most of them once in a lifetime. However, my life has not slowed down since my wedding. Maybe even before that, thanks to the planning and prepping chaos that happens for every bride when getting ready to devote their life to their perfect match. But, I’ve had family in and out of hospitals, getting surgeries, getting sicker quicker. My baby sister moved out of town before I even returned from my and B-Roc’s honeymoon (Vegas, baby!). My debt is a key issue that I’ve struggled with for years now (shopping addictions suck, man…), and planning how to pay it off and stop spending covered the latter quarter on my year. And, just within the last week, me and B-Roc have started our search for our perfect house to start a new chapter of our joint life together.
I’m going to be entirely honest here, a decade ago, if you told me everything I’ve accomplished, the high school me would’ve scoffed, rolled her eyes, and dismissed it. I wouldn’t have ever believed all the milestones, all the love of two families, all the moments I’d never forget, all the hospital trips. Going to college. Graduating a semester early, get a salaried job three months out of college, still at same job five years later. My first and only boyfriend, an engagement, a wedding, and the loss of an amazing, genuine best friend… I never could’ve imagined it.
But, you know what?
And I’ve had a good feeling for the last two months that life was going to be great in 2020. I have this gut feeling that our lives will change in more ways than one. Good and bad, likely, but the anticipation of that gut feeling keeps me motivated, eager to see what changes and news and events are awaiting down this yellow brick road of 2020.
Bring it on.
This is gonna be a fun year!
Keep your eyes on this blog, Vikans. Big news this weekend, as well as (hopefully) some helpful things I may have for y’all!
Keep Faith, everyone.
And, as said in KINETICS – a phrase perfectly aimed at the anticipation for the new year of 2020:: “Assume Nothing.”
So, I can’t believe I’ve spaced out so much lately. I thought about this blog this week, loaded it, and gasped when I saw my most recent post on here was from New Years this year.
I know I said I’d do better, so I’m going to be more diligent when it comes to anything author-related.
That being said, first step was getting into writing again because, unfortunately, haven’t written much since Smoky Writers back in February/March. During which, by the way, I finished the draft to Kinetics #5, the fifth and final book in my KINETICS saga. For the entire story behind my KINETICS saga from start to present day, check out this separate blog post [PENDING POST] for the whole history of it. It’s a long, emotional roller-coaster of a journey, so it deserves its own post.
Needless to say, when I was deciding which project to pick up again, I did what I always do, and review my spreadsheet. For those of you that are unaware, or just didn’t pick up on it, I am a very organized, task-oriented person. My messy room would have you fooled, but when it comes to computers and digital content, I am more OCD than out in the real world. I also work in IT for my day job, and I’ve even had managers in my career that say I am the most task-oriented person they’ve met, and applaud me for it, saying they could never have the persistence to record and organize my tasks and projects so detailed, so creative, and so flawlessly quick.
As example, I will go back to the original point: my writing spreadsheet.
Here’s a few photos of the many tabs that make up this spreadsheet::
Didn’t think I’d be that digital OCD, did you?
I warned you.
Oh, and it gets WAY worse. Just keep going! (*insert laughing with tears emoji here*)
The un-colored tabs are for my productivity records, which I’ll cover in a bit. The highlighted tab colors signify their use/status. I’ll list them in order, skipping the purple one to cover later (and trust me, your brain will explode at what’s in that tab).
Here’s the color guide::
Light green = Current WIP (works in progress, for those of you unfamiliar with that term). These are projects I am currently working on. These could also be projects I’ve just started a bit, presently writing a few words here or there, while getting deep into nitty-gritty research and profiling and mental plotting for the story as a series and as a whole.(Spoiler alert: I can’t do one-off/single books. I’ve always been a series/serial kinda gal.)
Yellow = Projects I’ve started recently that are my backups for if I get writer’s block / LOI for my Light Green projects. (To learn the term LOI that I created, see [this blog post] to see if you agree with the differences). These ones are projects and/or series I’ve gotten a decent amount into, and can still feel a flame of inspiration in my heart; barely there, but waiting for that fuel to truly flame.
Red (both shades) = These are projects and/or series I’ve put on hold for now. Ones that have caused my lack of writing in recent months, or ones that tormented me months or even years back that I still want to attempt someday. Light red projects are hopeful ones to pick up; the dark red tab is the one currently in question on what format to output, due to reasons I will NOT be getting into.
Blue (both shades) = The blues are ones barely started, not touched in ages, and can’t be considered for the Red “Hold” highlight due to the length of time they’ve been on hold. I might revisit them someday, but those can wait a good amount longer without breaking my inner college writer. The darker blue one already has stories published, but there’s 1 or 2 more stories I want to write for it. However, those 1 to 2 stories haven’t been worked on since 2014, and still not urgent to feed my inner imagination and inspiration as an author.
Dark Green = These ones are series in which every book/story is completed. Could be all first drafts, could be all edited drafts, could be partially published works, or a combination of the three.
Now, to really make your heads spin.
This is what is on the purple tab, labelled “Overall Index”. Don’t hurt your eyes trying to read. (Again, *insert laughing with tears emoji here*)
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This tab lists every project I’ve worked on since Spring of 2011. As you can probably tell, there seems to be more projects than what the number of tabs suggest (Just kidding, your brains are already mush by this point; no one assumes that). But, if you are sane enough at this point to think that, you’d be correct. I do have projects on the Overall Index that do not have their own tabs. Yet, at least. Planning on adding them eventually, then hiding them until I might want to pick them up a few years from now. You know three years… five years… twenty years…. something like that.
Now, to cover the painful proof of my LOI (again, here’s my [blog post] for LOI comparison).
Here’s my current Word Counts for the year 2019 thus far, broken up by project and month:
I know, I know, 64k in less than six months is nothing to sneeze at. However, I made a goal for myself at the beginning of the New Year: a goal instead of a resolution, something to try your best to achieve and not give up when you mess up once. My goal was to write every day, no matter whether it was 5 words, 500 words, or 5,000 words. Wouldn’t matter, as long as I got something written down, some progress, however small, is still progress.
These next two photos show why I’m slightly disappointed in myself.
Here’s a screenshot of a table I made which shows my productivity by week, making an average that compares the number of days each week that I wrote (the “Y” column) verses the days I didn’t write anything at all (the “N” column)::
(This is as of today (6/9/2019), and I wrote today, which is why Week 24 shows 100% “Y”, because Sundays are the start of my week counting)
As you can see, some weeks are 100%, meaning I wrote something each day of that week. Some also have partial percentages, meaning only wrote a few times that week, less than 7 days, but at least 1 day of that week.
Then look at the 0.00% rows.
Nine weeks of 23 (still ignoring Week 24), I didn’t write ANYTHING at all.
And, here’s the comparison between “Y” days and “N” days for the full year::
Not good enough.
Not gonna cut it.
So, after looking into all my older projects, I decided to pick up a series I’ve been working on since early 2017; a story saga which released its first 3 stories in 2017, 2 more in 2018, and the first collection of those 5 stories releasing March of this year (2019).
A series I hadn’t touched since mid-2018, when I finished the first draft of the fifth story.
A series I haven’t written new words for since this past April.
A series with an entire TWO more story arcs.
Figure it out yet?
Yes, Vikans, I have picked up THE CHAOS ACCOUNTS short story serial once more! [This Page Link] will take you to the links to all the published stories thus far in this hidden war between the MRC and ChaosBlaze.
The fifth story left off at a slight hangover, with Division 3 promising each other they would regain the friend they lost: a friend who gives himself up for the rest of the team’s lives.
Not spoiling any more than that, but trust me on this::
The story is just beginning.
I’ll be publishing my post on my KINETICS journey sometime soon, and once I do, I’ll link it in the appropriate locations on this post.
What happened? 2018, gone just like that? Where’d the year go?
When I realized what that meant, I felt like I’d barely accomplished anything of value in my life. Had I written stuff? Yes, I had.
However, the kicker for me was this…
I hadn’t published much of anything.
Granted, three works got published, but without really any noticeable success, either reader-wise or sales-wise. “Account of Secrets” and “KINETIC MEMORY” both were released in January 2018, with the 5th CHAOS ACCOUNTS story (“Account of Risks“) released in July 2018. Yes, these are published works, but my mind believes that even with those releases, there is a lack of accomplishment or fulfillment. Especially because the last two months, as 2018 started coming to a close, my inspiration and motivation to write weakened, due to anxiety of holidays, day job, and prepping for my wedding in Fall 2019. (Getting engaged was one of few high points in 2018, let me tell you.)
I feel a bit weird about all of that in general. Think about it for a second. 2017, after I lost JV, was my most productive and active year of my writing career thus far. I wrote the first 4 CHAOS ACCOUNTS stories and published 3 of them. I also published a prequel ebook (“KINETIC TRAGEDY“; only available on Instafreebie) and the first KINETICS book (“KINETIC REBIRTH“), as well as written that whole first book, its sequel, and the fifth CHAOS story, rounding out that series’s first Arc.
Move onto 2018. I wrote as much as I could, but the inspiration and motivation started to wane and weaken. I ended up transferring to a merger company that my day job joined with, a company that started business early 2018. Since I had to learn a completely new system and way of doing day-to-day activities, plus having to interact with people of lots of different personalities and work ethics. That was a HUGE learning curve, and I think that stress and elevated anxiety was probably a root cause for lack of activity.
Now, like I said above, I got a LOT of writing done in 2018, at least in the first half or so. Highlights:
— Finished writing AND personally editing first drafts to the third AND fourth KINETICS books, as well as written 1/3 of the fifth and final installment
— Wrote a couple thousand words for CHAOS ACCOUNTS #6, as well as began formatting for the first CHAOS ACCOUNTS collection, for Accounts #1-5 (Aiming for physical copies of this as well)
— Worked on editing old WIP projects
— Started writing new WIPs – one that I’m presently working on in hopes of traditional publishing (hopefully)
However, still hardly any publishing credits for most of 2018. I have a good amount of finished projects, as well as dozens of WIPs. You want proof?
Yeah, looking at that makes my head spin too.
The above and below screenshots are a spreadsheet that catalogs progress on any projects I’ve written for as far back as New Year’s 2011. That means today marks eight years of consistent writing, and hopefully useful words and maybe eventually books / ebooks. I created this Spreadsheet around 2014/2015-ish, and any projects I’ve made progress on since then actually keeps track of my word count each day for whatever project I wrote for. I’m OCD to the max, I already know this. 😉 But, the above is almost all my projects, either WIPs, completed novels, or spin-offs/sequels to earlier projects in the first two categories. Any project since 2011. ANY.
Now, the top right of this spreadsheet made me feel at least slightly accomplished when I did my end of the year WC check:
Yes, you are seeing correctly. Eight years of monitoring my word counts, and in the year 2018, I reached over 1.1 million words written, either in completed works or the word counts in my present WIPs, since 2011.
Then, looking through my project tabs, I mentally remembered plot lines to the WIPs I hadn’t touched in years, smiled slightly. Those 1.1 million words created so many great ideas and so many happy memories. Hopefully one day, I’ll be able to share them with you.
I replacement of a New Year’s resolution (as no one keeps those anyway), I will be even more meticulous when it comes to my writing schedule. I’ve added tabs to that massive spreadsheet, where I will also record each day’s word counts. I’ve added a reference tab as well, where I outline the minimum word count I’d like to achieve each month, and even broke that minimum to how many words per day I’d need to reach the monthly goal. I chose different minimums for each month, varying depending on what activities I know will be going on that month, outside of author-dom existence. Hopefully I can stick to this OCD recording better than I have my blog in recent years.
I will also attempt to save money to eventually roll out KINETICS #3 and #4 in the coming years (as self-pubbing costs money, and I really don’t have a huge fanbase. Actually, to be honest, might only have a handful of them. Wish I was more visible…).
And, as always, I will write. I write for my readers. I write for myself. And, I write for my future, as well as the futures of anyone that cares to grab digital and / or print copies of my books and stories. As an author, the best part about getting your stories out there is to have people take a leap of faith and join your characters on their journeys. And, even with the minimal readers I have now, I will always write stories. Because, maybe one day, I’ll look back and be happy that I took a leap of faith too, hoping people might enjoy my stories. And, hopefully, that dream might become a reality.
So, another Smoky retreat come and gone. A total of 37,000 words over 7 days filled with food, fun, and family. My week I spend with my writerly family out in Tennessee every February is my safe place, my home away from home, where I’m supported, encouraged, and motivated to get those words done. I laughed more this retreat than any other time in my life, and I am so grateful to have them in my life. Thanks for another great Smoky, guys. Is it 2019 yet? 😉
As far as productivity is concerned, I not only completed the first draft of KINETICS #3, but am almost halfway done with Book #4. Hoping to have Book 4 AND Book 5 done by year’s end. However, something hit me hard as I was traveling for countless hours back home
I. Am. In. Debt.
To be honest, I have known for years that I have a spending problem, and now that’s coming to bite me in the butt. I barely have enough to buy my proof copies of updated books, much less author copies, and especially not editing, covers, and all the amazing stuff that makes my published book PERFECT!! I wouldn’t give up my freelancers for the world, but as it stands right now, I may not be able to publish KINETICS #3 in the year 2018 at all. And that goes for a lot of the projects I’d hoped to get into the hands of y’all: my readers. Don’t get me wrong, CHAOS ACCOUNTS #5 will come out this Spring, along with the Accounts 1-5 box set in eBook AND Print, but that’s mainly because it won’t cost much money for those as of right now.
Plus, I’m nearing my Post-Smoky slump, so words are harder to find.
As a result, I have revamped my Patreon page!
I have tweaked reward tiers and my goals for pledge levels. I have added in something special for ALL my Patrons, starting at only $1 a month: I’m going to send snippets or chunks of books I hope to publish full-length someday. ALL my Patrons will get to read these chunks YEARS in advance! AWESOME, RIGHT?
If you want to check it out, [here] is the link to my Patreon Page. Browse around, because the larger reward tiers have some amazing perks on top of the years-ahead serials. 🙂
Maybe if I can get a few more Patrons, it’ll motivate me to keep going. To keep writing and doing what you love, even when back in the monotony of regular adulting. -_-
Hopefully I’ll see some of y’all get added to my Patron list. That’d be pretty sweet. J
So, we’re about a day or so away from the end of 2017. Looking back at the events the rest of the world dealt with, from losing friends over politics, shootings, some people scared to even cross the street. We lost pop culture icons, some very tragically. So, in the public eye, 2017, in general, sucked.
I look back on my 2017, my personal 2017, and, on the surface and at first, seemed just as sucky and tragic. My regular day job is going through major changes that might have me out of work some time this year. My books, stories, and Patreon supporters had drastically, exponentially less impact on the reading community than I had hoped for. And, biggest hit of all, I lost JV on January 31st. There’s rarely been a day since she passed that I haven’t cried or at least gotten choked up. She was my coauthor, my co-conspirator, my Youtube vlogging partner, my best friend, and, post-mortem, my biggest source of inspiration.
Which leads into the next, and more important, part of this post. I have very strong GAD and depression, which means trying to find things to be happy about is very VERY difficult. However, at the end of every year, I organize my thoughts, reflecting on the year as a whole, both good things and bad. Here’s a bit of happy things I am grateful for:
Went to Smoky retreat again. It was only 3 weeks after JV’s passing, so I was in a dark spot. My fellow Somkies supported me lie I’ve rarely had before, and I cranked out 30+k on my first KINETICS novel.
I finished my Smoky project within a month (End of Feb to end of March), and sent it out for professional editing a week or two later.
I got to kick two bands off my bucket lists of concerts I wanted to see live before I die. AND got to take my sister. Sister bonding time rocks. 🙂
I wrote three short stories that became my CHAOS ACCOUNTS serial saga. Fourth one, “Account of Secrets” is due at the stroke of New Year 2018.
I wrote and completed both KINETICS #1 and #2, titled “Kinetic Rebirth” and “Kinetic Memory” respectively. First one went live in September/October 2017, and the second coming late Winter 2018
I started two new novel projects. One was KINETICS #3, title TDB. Second is the first in my CASTERS series, which essentially is recycling characters from my first series I wrote in high school and creating a story so drastically different than their original one.
I rebranded my short stories, that now all have bad-ass covers. 🙂
I linked all my series into a connected, interlocking universe (KNU), where each one relates to another, so my readers can find Easter eggs and connections and freak out as much as I was when making those very links.
And that’s just the major stuff. This year was my most productive writing year since I started my writing journey in 2007. … Wow, ten years? Hard to believe. But, that’ll be a reflection I tackle in my blog at a later date.
I’ve finished two full-length novel manuscripts, started 2 others, and cranked out 4 short stories. And that’s just the writing bit. I’ve come so far in my day job career, learned so many new things. Plus, the year has rounded out with rebranding both of my short story saga’s. I’ll provide links to everything I’ve published to date, including the New Year’s preorder link to “Account of Secrets“, my 4th CHAOS ACCOUNTS story.
Looking toward 2018, I’m determined to be just as productive as I was in 2017, maybe more so. In addition to CHAOS ACCOUNTS #4 on New Year’s Day, KINETIC MEMORY is due out in a month or so (still working on last minute proof checking), CHAOS ACCOUNTS #5 is slated to release in Spring/Summer 2018, and I’ve got a plan to hopefully have another book released in Summer/Fall 2018 as well, but depends on editing and cover delays. This book will take us back to where my publishing journey started. Hint: it’s a world that I’ve already written stories for. It’s also the namesake for this website. 😉
Now, here’s the covers and links to all of my writing that I’ve published. Some are free permanently, some free only until the New Year (on Smashwords only), and some that cost a little bit.
So, a LOT has happened lately for me, both in terms of personal and professional plotlines. In addition, my eyes opened wide about three weeks ago, almost as if struck by lightning, in an instant, I had my entire writing and publishing career figured out. Well, in basic, general terms and only in my head, at least. Here’s how this happened, and what it means for my readers and me.
Three weeks ago, I was 25,000 words into KINETICS 3, 13k of them written during the previous 8 days of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those that don’t know that acronym). I had decided to recycle characters from manuscripts that ended up in my “Manuscript Graveyard”, essentially, stories and novels that I didn’t think would ever see the light of day. By doing that, I make this ode to my best friend JV fully encompass my writing career from its very roots.
Two characters that will show up in Book 3 are named Chrissy and Ryan. They were the Hero and Antagonist from my first ever finished manuscript in high school. Over the course of middle and high school, I’d finished 2 full novel-length manuscripts, and started on the next three. Back then, I bounced between books in a single series, as it was a bit easier for my ADHD minded imagination at the time. Toward the latter half of high school senior year, I ditched this series for Terrara Vikos-related writing (aka-first book in that trilogy).
However, I dug it out again mid-college. Read through it. At the end, all I could think of is, “This is a piece of crap!” So, I decided to try a complete rewrite back in 2012. In fact, my first two short stories for my Creative Writing class critique in college were written with characters from my Chrissy and Ryan series, at the time named THE ENCOUNTER. I had hoped those stories would give me the boost to get that first book rewritten as similarly to the original as possible, just with better writing. And, hopefully, a domino effect would occur.
I stopped five chapters in.
And those five chapters went back into the Manuscript Graveyard.
Here we are in Fall of 2017, and Chrissy and Ryan decide to become a part of my KINETICS universe. When trying to figure out their back stories, my min wandered back to my original, action-packed story, with lies, secret identities, a heroine like Kim Possible, and magic that vaguely resembled Avatar: The Last Airbender.
I was a seventh grader coming up with this story. Get over it.
Anyway, I was trying to figure out their past that led up to their appearance in KINETICS 3. What would need to change? What would be different? That’s when I had a major, stray thought:
“What if I didn’t need to change a thing? What if, somehow, their story happened in some kind of relation to my KINETICS storyline?”
“What if ALL my series were interconnected like that? They’re basically the same type of magic system and abilities, after all…”
One thing led to another, and, one-by-one, connecting lines criss-crossed, and I had most of my major projects from the last decade of writing interlocked with each other. My adrenaline pumping again, I finally realized that this new universe would probably take my entire writing career to finish. Granted, a have a good chunk of those interlocked series either completely written or partially written, but I’d still need money for covers and editing and such, so I’ll have to space them out.
This universe I’ve created looks like a cork board with strings that a stalker or serial killer might have, just in my mind. I am tentatively named this universe the KNU, or “Kinetic Noveletic Universe”. Once I’ve got two more books or so out, I will put “(KNU)” at the end of each series title, making it easier on Amazon for my readers trying to find every story within this interlocked collection of worlds. Also, this might be fun for my readers, because there will be Easter eggs in each series that mirror or relate to something happening in a connected series. It’ll be fun, right?!
A few days after this revelation, I started working on Chrissy and Ryan’s story again from scratch. Remember when I said above that their backstory didn’t have to change?
Well it did.
OKAY, A LOT! GEEZ!
The story is completely different from the one I started with. The opening scene was salvaged from my 2013 rewrite, but the reasons and motivations were completely different. In fact, one of my main adult heroes becomes an antagonist, whereas my antagonist became my anti-hero, and the romance that was slow-paced and spanned three novels originally starts in Chapter Two.
Not digging any deeper than that, sorry. You’ll have to wait for it.
Oh, and next week’s blog post should have long-awaited details on KINETIC 2, as well as a few details on my above mentioned series with Chrissy and Ryan, tentative series title is “CASTERS”.
I am currently panicking. With KINETIC REBIRTH releasing digitally next Tuesday (September 19th), my day job taking a sharp turn on a rocky mountain side, and my creativity monster giving me flack, my mind never shuts off. I have woken up slightly late every day this week thus far, luckily only arriving a few minutes late to day job. My brain has been going a hundred miles an hour as I prep for release day, which makes my body exhausted. If that wasn’t bad enough, I’ve been getting crippling chest pain, which doctor’s tell me is due to anxiety.
No. Frickin. Way. NEVER would have guessed THAT. (Catch the sarcasm?)
Anyway, long story short, lots of stuff going on. KINETICS #2 (Title TBD) reached 40,000 words a few weeks ago, with a total goal of minimum 60-65k. ACCOUNT OF SECRETS, my Chaos Accounts Story #4, is only two or three scenes away from its cliffhanger ending, so close I can taste it.
I haven’t touched either in a week.
My creativity and inspiration has been floating back to the series I was writing with JV. If you want an idea of how we decided to coauthor a book together, that story starts as far back as when we first met in October 2011. Check out the videos JV and I did for my Youtube Channel: [Part 1 here] and [Part 2 here]. Part 1 talks about our friendship, while Part 2 talks writing a book series together. Also, if you want a good grasp of JV’s character and personality (and mine as well), check out [this video] (also below) of us acting like goofballs::
This has happened once before, back in April, where my inspiration for writing always crept back to Lite & Darke (Our series title). It’s a struggle, because, currently, I do not have access to her notebooks. Legal stuff I’m not going to get into. The point is, I coped with it by finishing a few unfinished chapters I’d written, and updated our outline/word count spreadsheet. That gave me enough satisfaction to finally move back to projects I might actually have a chance of finishing, aka, Chaos Accounts and Kinetics.
Well, it came creeping back into my brain lately, probably because of the nearby release date, and the fact that JV would have had her baby around the seven month marker since her death.
Not an hour has gone by every day since January 31st that I don’t think of her. She was my closest friend, practically a sister. I made a promise to her while during the funeral home viewing and at the church ceremony, as well as promised each of her family members and close friends, that I would finish Lite & Darke for her, and her name would be on the covers right next to mine. While KINETICS is my ultimate dedication to her life and personality, Lite & Darke is my way of showing how we helped each other to grow as writers, how we had a chemistry with creative juices and thought processes. In fact, one of us would have an idea for a scene, and when telling the other over the phone, the other would cut the original plotter’s description, but say the exact same thing the originator was going to say. I swear the two of us had some kind of psychic bond between us, which is probably why her being gone is so painful.
Anyway, to conclude, I went into my Lite & Darke folder on my computer and opened my merged file with all of our completed or partially completed chapters, as well as the Book 1 Outline we only partially finished filling out. Don’t think even for a second that was all we’d planned together. No, we outlined the whole series in our heads and words, and I remember every single idea, even without written/typed documentation.
I did some minor editing, finished up a partial chapter, and updated the Outline with the total Word Count so far.
Yup, you read that right: Thirty Thou, baby!
This doesn’t include all the scenes that JV handwrote during her breaks at work. Like I mentioned before, those are locked up until May 2018 at the latest. However, I found a loop hole. In our Outline, we designated chapters to each of us, labeling each chapters as “C”, “J”, or “Toss Up”. While I can’t work on the “J” ones just yet, and I remain wary of the “Toss Up” ones as well, I can still writing the scenes I was assigned, at least until my creativity monster is satisfied with the progress and lets me go back to Chaos Accounts and/or Kinetics.
Oh, and just FYI, KINETIC REBIRTH is currently doing preorders for the Kindle version, which, as mentioned above, released on September 19th, 2017 (Next Tuesday // SIX DAYS!!). I’ve been a bit disappointed at the lack of preorders I’ve gotten, so if you’ve got a Kindle or a Kindle app, PLEASE preorder a copy! Preorders count once release day hits, and every one matters to me. To preorder the Kindle copy, PLEASE click [here]! It would mean THE WORLD TO ME!
If you’re a print-book type of person, [subscribe] to my email list. You will receive an email closer to print release date, which is October 19th, the six year anniversary of when JV and I became friends. You will also receive an email the day of digital release next Tuesday morning, as well as a reminder on Print release date as well. Print might not be perfectly timed for a recorded release of October 19th, as I’ll have to approve it prior to October 19th to ensure it is live and available for purchase by the 19th, but I will send the print reminder as soon as the book goes live.
Also, if you have a Kindle, you can get a taste of my KINETICS series on Instafreebie, where you can download KINETIC TRAGEDY, a short prequel story available only to Instafreebie subscribers currently. You can get that story [here]. Also, by downloading that story on Instafreebie, you are automatically added to the above aforementioned subscribing e-Newsletter list. So, not only will you get an email alert when my books/stories release, but you get a free story out of it too! 😀
Maybe a snippet of the first chapter of KINETIC REBIRTH might give you an idea of whether or not you want to join Jaden, Lukas, Kiran, and Jessica on their journey home.
As a final word before the sneak peek…
Keyboard keys tap-tapped all around Jaden Walker. She ripped her gaze from her computer screen to gaze around the competition room. Her spot sat in the second row from the back, with about ten rows of students and computers in front of her. Supervisors scattered around the rows, keeping an eye out for cheaters. Jaden didn’t see the point in that, as every competitor’s test had been randomized out of a pool of questions. In order to cheat, you’d either need a camera and earpiece or be an idiot. That first option screamed “Idiot” to her too, to be entirely honest. After a quick sweep of the testing room, Jaden locked gazes with one of the Supervisors. His burning amber hair stuck out like a sore thumb as he smiled crookedly at her, as if he knew something she didn’t. That look pointed out the obvious, as he – being a Supervisor – already functioned in an aspect of the business world and obviously would know more than college freshman Jaden Walker. Rolling her eyes, she directed her attention back to her test. Despite the beaming talent surrounding her, she knew she would wipe the floor with them. About twenty minutes later, she closed down the testing browser, grabbed her coat, and scooched her way down the narrow walkway to get out of the square of competitors. Right as she reached the edge, she ran right into somebody. “I’m sorry-” “Shhhh…” the man whispered, “Others are still testing.” Jaden nodded. “Sorry.” She kept her voice hushed as well. When she looked up at the Supervisor, she recognized him as the red-headed man who’d made her feel annoyed earlier. “May I ask your name?” Scoffing, she replied lightly, “Like you need to know.” The smallest of smiles crept onto the man’s face, his green eyes gazing down at her as if analyzing her every move. “I’m sure I’ll know it soon enough.” “Riiiiiiight…” A chill shot down her back, which she shrugged off. As she turned around to leave, she felt his eyes on her the whole walk to the back exit. As the door shut behind her, she relaxed, releasing a heavy sigh. “Sooooooo, how’d you do?” Jaden spotted Lukas, her closest friend, leaning against the wall with one foot flat against the tan wallpaper. “I hope you’re not leaving a shoe print on that wall. The convention center staff might not take too kindly to that.” Removing his foot, he smiled. “Avoiding the question, I see?” Shoulders dropping from exasperation, she snapped lightly, “How should I know? I won’t know until the awards ceremony tomorrow night.” “Jeesh, just asked a question. No need to be harsh.” Rolling her eyes with a small smile, Jaden walked down the testing hallway. Her eyes skimmed the walls, all plastered with promotional “BS” related to this Phi Beta Lambda national conference. She won first place in two state competitions and second in a third, which gave her admittance to the national level of testing. Even placing in the top ten would be amazing. Plus, it looked impressive on a resume when she would graduate in a few years. She’d just finished her final test, so all that was left of her agenda involved networking with business professionals (in her wording, schmoozing the big wigs) and tomorrow night’s award ceremony at Six PM. Lukas suddenly appeared at her side, matching her step by step, completely in sync with her pace and speed. “So, no weird people in there?” “Well there was one guy, but I think other people saw him, so not a figment.” The term “figment” referred to the hallucinations she’d had since she was a child. At first, her parents blamed it on an over-active, childish imagination. Once she’d reached high school and still saw people and animals who weren’t there, her parents worried deeply for their daughter. They employed the help of a shrink, who, for each session, she’d humored with breathing exercises and repetitive mantras and meds until she bolted out to go home and read a book. Rather quickly, she masked her diagnosed schizophrenia from the world, instead diving deep into her studies and avoiding as many social situations whenever possible. “You trust your sight yet?” Heaving a heavy sigh, Jaden responded, “Not entirely. You’re still here.” “Hey!” After whacking him lightly on the back of his head, she finally cracked a smile. Lukas had been her friend since third grade and stuck like glue to her side. In fact, he went everywhere with her. Weirdly enough, he’d frequently show up out of the blue during personal trips and vacations, insisting he wanted to surprise her. At first, his surprises did shock and elate her, but after a couple years of it, it became pretty predictable. His parents tended to be lenient toward him and his antics, and they somehow had the money for him to follow her pretty much anywhere. Part of her thanked God that he wasn’t another one of her figments. People saw him, talked to him, and played with him, so he existed. Since he’d been by her side for so long, she confided her mental handicap to him early on, and only him. Outside of him and her family, no one knew, and she wanted it to stay that way. She’d thought it was strange with how accepting he was with it. He didn’t freak out or get depressed or feel worrisome. He’d pretty much shrugged it off, like seeing imaginary people everywhere was as normal as pizza on a Friday night. Lukas rubbed where she whacked him. “Um, ow!” Her smiled widened slightly as she shoved him with her shoulder. “That didn’t hurt and you know it.” She knew it too, because he possessed a “high pain tolerance”, as he’d reminded her on countless occasions. With a light chuckle, he shoved her with his shoulder like she had to him. “Good, you remembered.” Then, he froze, stopping in his tracks. His icy blue eyes locked on something ahead. “Uh, oh…” Her eyes followed his line of sight and easily spotted two teenagers making a beeline for them. Or, rather her, because she went to address Lukas to discover he’d vanished. Again. He’d done this frequently in her life, and it always annoyed her. He didn’t up and poof away in a puff of smoke, but he always picked the perfect moment to disappear on her, usually moments he didn’t want to deal with. “Freaking kidding me, Wolfe!” The two kids stopped about three feet from her. The girl waved and greeted, “Hi!” Her personality bubbled with childish excitement, like a kid stuck in a sixteen-year-old’s rather bulky body. Jaden stared at her for a moment before weakly raising a hand as well. “Hi?” The boy with her rolled his eyes. “Jess, you’re freaking her out.” The girl’s eyes widened slightly. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to startle you.” “Not startled,” Jaden replied slowly, “Just weirded out. What can I do for you two?” The girl and boy looked at each other briefly before turning attention back to her. “My name’s Jessica, but most people call me Jessi. My twin brother here, Kiran, usually calls me Jess or JV, just randomly picking between four different variations of my name. It’s a good thing I’m used to being addressed with all four throughout my life.” Kiran’s head rolled back as he sighed, “Jess, diarrhea of the mouth again. I honestly don’t think she cares about your millions of nicknames.” Shaking a hand at him, Jaden said, “It’s fine. I don’t mind. My sister’s the same way sometimes. So, Jessi, Kiran… Can I help you with something?” The two teens exchanged looks again before looking back at her. Jessi told her, “We think someone might be looking for you.” Raising an eyebrow, Jaden responded, “Probably my parents. They’ve been wandering around this Gaylord center every time I have mandatory events. I’ll find them eventually, I promise. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” She walked around them, but only made it two steps before the two kids stepped into her path. Holding up a hand, a “STOP” gesture, Jessi told her, “No, not your parents. Someone else. Someone bad.” In her mind, Jaden could only call them crazy kids with overactive imaginations. Right when that thought crossed her mind, she recalled that being her parents’ initial reaction to her seeing the figments. These two probably have been dealing with the same stuff she had her whole life, and she felt a pang of empathy for them. “Look, I’m sure security around here will be able to pick him up like a sore thumb.” Jessi shook her head, her sandy brown hair flying around at the rapid, overly-excited speed she swung it. Jaden caught scattered blonde highlights in the strands of her bob-like haircut. “No, they can’t, because no one can see him. Nobody but you.” Jaden’s heart started pounding in her chest, her skin chilled with goosebumps. Did these two kids, strangers at that, really know that she was a schizo? Shaking her head slightly to snap out of her worrisome, panicked thoughts, she replied, “I have no idea what you mean by that. Plus, I’ve got a seminar at four that I can’t be late for.” This time, Kiran spoke up, “Which seminar?” She hesitated. Clearly these two needed help, or at least needed to stick with their guardian or chaperone. But, she really didn’t see the harm in sharing. “‘Budgeting for Needs and Wants’. Since I’ll be coming out of college debt-free, thanks to my dad’s military benefits, I need to figure out how to budget once I don’t have my parents to help. I graduate in about three years, so it’s better to be prepared, you know?” Kiran’s eyes lit up, his irises a blue-green that reflected the color of the ocean. “Oh, cool! That sounds like fun! Mind if we tag along?” As much as Jaden wanted to get as far away from these unhinged children as fast as she could, she bit back her stress and told them nonchalantly, “Yeah, sure, that’s seems okay with me. You can join me. Make sure you have a notebook handy. I’ve heard the speaker is amazing and gives tons of good advice.” Kiran’s mouth widened into a huge smile. “That’s sounds awesome! Sold! C’mon, Jess, let’s go learn about finances.” Jessi stared at her brother for a few seconds before sighing heavily. “Alright, Mr. Studious Crazy, I’ll come too. Take notes for both of us though. I don’t want to zone out and not have the amazing knowledge this strange businessman has to offer.” Jaden recognized the slight sarcasm in the girl’s words, but Kiran’s excitement blocked him from identifying it himself. “Great! Lead the way…” He faded off, biting his lip. He glanced at her and then at his sister. Mentally rolling her eyes, Jaden filled in the missing blank: “Jaden. Jaden Walker.” With a smile, Jessi responded, “Nice to meet you, Jaden. I hope we won’t slow you down much.” As she held back a laugh, remembering a ton of times that Lukas had said that to her in jest, she told her, “Trust me, I’ve dealt with worse. Okay, I believe that seminar is in room 2B.” “Excellent!” Kiran rubbed his hands together, during which Jaden thought she saw sparks flying out. Trying to snap herself out of those thoughts didn’t work at first. First figments, and now I’m imagining electricity popping out of a kid’s hands. Don’t tell me my problem is branching out more… “Let’s go!” Kiran’s shout of excitement shocked her out of it. Her head snapped up from where it had been angled at the floor to find the two teens halfway across the atrium. Kiran waved at her excitedly. “C’mon, slowpoke! Thought this was your panel choice.” Her face cracked a small smile at his eagerness. As she walked to catch up with them, a question ran through her head that worried her. Did they know? Followed by a second one: How?
This week is only halfway over, but my heart aches. The thoughts of disbelief still swirl in my head, but the unfortunate truth is that she’s gone, and I can’t fix that.
If this is your first venture into my slice of the internet called Terrara Vikos, go through some of my previous posts to catch up, like [this one] or maybe [this one]. The long story short: my best friend, my co-author, and my co-Youtube vlogger JV died unexpectedly in a car crash on January 31,2017. She was my age, low 20s, and she and her husband of just over a year were expecting a child.
A child that was due tomorrow.
August 31st, 2017.
Exactly seven months after her death.
You know, the last seven months without her have been extremely difficult. I received the same message every weekday night, “Heading Home Now”, which was my cue to call her and talk with her during her 45-50 minute drive home. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that it’s been seven months since I got one of those messages. I can still hear her voice, her laugh, her hyperactive shouts of joy. She had a bright future ahead of her, one that was destroyed in a second because someone ran a red light and T-boned her.
You know, I’d been telling her for years that someday she’d make a great mother. She just had that personality and temperament that would have raised an amazingly kind child.
If you have been reading my blog posts and are up-to-date, you would know that I’m releasing my first book in my KINETICS series, titled KINETIC REBIRTH. If you didn’t know that, check out my cover reveal post [here]. If you did, and you read on a Kindle, click [here] to preorder your eBook copy. The eBook releases September 19th, a full month before the Print version goes live on October 19th.
This series is special to me, as every character was one that JV and I came up with to roleplay together since 2011. Except one, which is JV herself. I have written her as accurate to the real JV as I could. She is also in my prequel short for the series, available on Instafreebie only [here]. This series is my ultimate dedication to her, and the friendship with her I so cherished.
If you are a print reader, and want a reminder closer to the release date and/or on the release date, sign up for my newsletter [here].
Yep, working on Account #4 right now, alongside working on KINETICS #2 as well. If you haven’t read my CHAOS ACCOUNTS series, click [here] to be taken to my page with links to the first three stories, which will be updated with each subsequent release.
Here you guys go; today as promised! Here’s the cover to KINETIC REBIRTH::
AWESOME, RIGHT! I owe this beautifully perfect cover, and the matching one for the KINETIC TRAGEDY prequel eBook short, to Designed By Starla. She is always a joy to work with, and it’s almost like she can read your mind sometimes!
Alright, so, I know I promised a surprise along with this cover reveal. Here it is::
Yep, you read the hyperlinked-text correctly! KINETIC REBIRTH is now available as an eBook preorder on Amazon! And, if you venture over to that page, you’ll notice the release date says “September 19th, 2017”. No, that’s not a typo. Yes, I am serious. The Kindle version of this, the first book in my KINETICS series, will release a month before the print. Print copies still won’t be available until October 19th, as I have advertised before, as that day is so important for my life and my friendship with JV.
Speaking of which, a few hours ago, my wonderful Boyfriend drove me 30 minutes to the cemetery to visit JV. This will have been the first time I’d been to see her since the day she was buried there. We bought some yellow flowers, as they are the symbol of life-long friendship. As it rained last night, we brought a trash bag to lay under my towel, so I could sit and talk to her, like old times. Boyfriend even just wandered around the cemetery to give me and JV some alone time. I played some new Peter Hollens music for her, showed her my new re-branded covers, and introduced her to JV Jr. I told her that I would give up anything, even my skill and ability to write stories – my passion and life – if it meant I could bring her back. I kinda felt her wanting to slap me for that, because she knows how important my writing is to me, and would never want me to give that up. Lots of tears were shed, but I felt her right there with me. When I headed to the car, Boyfriend (he told me this later) went to her resting place, put a hand on the stone, and said to her, “I know I’m not as great a listener as you are, but I promise I’ll take care of Christine for you. She’ll be looked after, I promise.” Then, he followed me to the car, hugged me, and I proceeded to sob like a baby. I had never felt so close to JV before, but it finally hit me that she wasn’t coming back.
This new series, this new universe of KINETICS and magic, has made me feel so much closer to JV. I’ve gotten a handful of compliments from my select ARC readers, some of them who knew JV, and said she was the best character, and the ones that knew her said my portrayal of her was spot on and perfect. Every compliment I get on JV’s character brings me closer to tears of happiness. Every. Single. Time.
If you are even remotely interested in how special JV was to me and everyone she interacted with, go preorder a digital copy of KINETIC REBIRTH, and, in the meantime, head on over to Instafreebie for the short eBook prequel story (KINETIC TRAGEDY) to tide you over until the Kindle release in September.
If you are a physical copy kind of person, follow me on Twitter, or Like my Author Page on FB, so you can see my posts and be reminded when the print book comes out. Trust me, I know a lot can happen in two months, and I wouldn’t want you to forget about this ultimate dedication to my best friend.
I know she’s still near. I can feel her.
And, the only thing I can say to her, is summed up perfectly in my last words at her grave site today:
“Jessi, you were my best friend, my coauthor, pretty much a sister to me. You made me a better friend, a better writer, a better person. I am so lucky you were a part of my life, no matter how few years our friendship was. I am so grateful God put you in my life, and I will make sure your energy, your personality, your passion, and your life will remain immortal within the pages of my books. And, for everything you’ve done for me, I cannot explain in few enough words. So, simply put, Thank you, Jess. For everything.”
Keep Faith, everyone. And keep love in your hearts, because that is the sole thing that beats despair. Love will always win.
*insert excited squealing here*
Okay, I am calm. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Time has flown by this year. After losing JV in late January, I felt broken and lost. A part of my heart had been ripped out and torn into millions of pieces. She was my closest friend. I could tell her everything and anything, and she wouldn’t judge or criticize. She was the purest, kindest, most supportive friend I could’ve asked for, and was one of those people that you’re lucky if you meet one in your entire life. A diamond, a gem, an angel on earth that had to return to Heaven WAY too soon, life cut short in the blink of an eye.
The only grateful thought I have is that she went almost instantaneously, no pain whatsoever. That is at least a blessing. But, it’s still not coping, and it’s still not closure.
But, KINETICS is both.
I went on my Smoky retreat, only a mere three weeks or so after losing JV. My Smoky companions were supportive and gentle, which helped knowing what weight I’d put on my shoulders by starting KINETICS. If you want more details on this adventure, read my previous posts from this year. I should be updating my Index tab this weekend as well, just FYI. But, in a nutshell, almost every character in this KINETICS series is one that they two of us came up with while roleplaying online together. All but one. The only character we didn’t create together is JV herself. I have inserted her as one of the heroes of the series. I had hoped that I could write her as accurate and true to JV in real life, but wasn’t quite sure if I’d captured it. I got this from my editor when I got the edits back:
… And my happiness shot through the roof. Still, as my editor had never actually met JV, I knew I’d written JV’s character well to be liked, but there still wasn’t substantial proof that I wrote her accurately. However, I sent the short story prequel, “KINETIC TRAGEDY”, to three of JV’s closest friends, as well as JV’s husband/widower. All four loved it, and told me, “Yup, that was perfectly Jess.”
Side note real quick. “KINETIC TRAGEDY”, as of this AM, had just reached 100 downloads! This free short is now more successful than “THE PROTEKTOR’S REALITY”, which has been out since November 2014! I am so excited about the response to this story, so download the e-story and share the link like crazy!!
Okay, Back on topic.
However, it wasn’t until last weekend that I felt almost certain JV had been written exactly realistic and true to JV in real life. I talked to JV’s mother, who told me JV’s grandmother had read one of the ARCs I gave the family, loved it, said JV was so realistic and honestly her, and also that she guessed I was the main character. To which, I joked with JV’s mom, “Trust me, I wish I was half as cool as Jaden.”
As of hearing that, I knew I’d succeeded on preserving JV in print for all eternity. And I can’t wait to share her awesome bubbly-ness with the world.
If you want to see the cover reveal when it happens, go like my Facebook page, or follow my Twitter, where the news will drop early on Saturday, August 19th (THIS SATURDAY!). I WILL ALSO BE EMAILING MY Instafreebie subscribers, so if you download KINETIC TRAGEDY off there, you’ll get word that way too.
I am so excited to share this adventure with you. I can see JV smiling down on me, patting me on the back, telling me, “You got this.”
Keep Faith, everyone, and STAY TUNED!
THREE DAYS TO COVER REVEAL, BABY!
(Oh, and there’s a surprise announcement that will come out that day too. Hint: has something to do with “digital” books. 😉 lol)