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Pre-Smoky Jitters

Greetings, Vikans!

So, Story #2 of The Chaos Accounts, titled “Account of Unrest”, released on February 16th (two Thursdays ago). Compared to its predecessor (“Account of Anxiety”), sales reactions responded weakly. “Account of Anxiety got 81 downloads in less than a month. My biggest download days were the first three days after release. With “Account of Unrest” having been out for over a week, I’ve only gottne three downloads.

THREE.

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However, I will NOT be deterred! In fact, I’ve come close to finishing up Story #3, and the only hint as to what happens that I’ll give at this time is that it’s from Luz’s POV.

Now, for the topic mentioned in the title: SMOKY!

Every year, a bunch of crazy, incredibly talented authors and their equally as amazing chefs, rent out a cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee for a week. During this week in the majestic mountains, writing is our full-time job. Eight hours a day with lunch in the middle, for seven days. We get a “Free” day to explore the surrounding arear too, but I usually just get another day of wordsmithing in.

So, why does my title use the word “jitters”? If this is Year 3 for me, why so nervous?

Well… for a few reasons…

  1. My anxiety has been manically wild for over a month now, so I’m jittery enough at home in day-to-day life.
  2. This retreat is my safe haven. A place where I’m among people who are accepting and caring (and crazy, but we already mentioned that). The jitters will come from being away from home for a week after all the previously mentioned anxiety that’s cropped up recently. I know my fellow Smokies will be there to hold me up, but I don’t like the idea of burdening my friends with my problems.
  3. WILL I BE PREPARED?! Last year, I cranked out 36,000 words in 5/6 days. With everything worrisome in my brain space, will I be able to focus enough to crank out even a fraction of last years total word count?

To wrap up this worry-fest, I’ve been counting the weeks until Smoky for months. Now, with only days until we arrive in our “Valhalla” of a cabin, I’m starting to feel nervous. But, while I may have worries, Smoky is my safe haven, and all the people in that cabin are my writing family. They’ll be there to help guide me through all of this.

I’m so grateful I have them to get me through this. 🙂

TWO DAYS! Smoky, here I come!

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Revelation Through Tragedy

So, for those of you out there that follow my Facebook or watch my Youtube channel, you would already know what inspired this blog post.

“You never know what you got ’til it’s gone.” A phrase heard, but never understood until it happens in your life. My best friend, coauthor, partner-in-crime, beta reader, and best friend, JV, died this past Tuesday. When I got the news, I was hysterical. Screaming, shouting, sobbing, screeching. I think I’ve scarred the dogs for life. I am so grateful for all the prayers and support that have been emotionally sent her family’s way. I did a video a few days after this tragedy, which outlined a point I wanted everyone to know::

JV had an amazing husband, who brightened her life the second he entered it. The two were expecting their first child in August. JV was also planning to go back to school, something she hinted at during our daily phone calls but never outright told me. I talked to her almost every day. Weeknights, I’d receive a message, always the same thing: “Heading home now”. I haven’t received those in a few days, and it’s still hard to believe she’s gone.

However, I knew her well enough to know what she’d want to me do: continue with my life. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But, JV was a pure, unique soul, truly one that you might meet only once in a lifetime. She loved my writing, and has read almost everything I’ve written since Fall 2011. And, after only five and a half years of friendship, I feel like a part of me is missing. But, when things got sour in my life, she’d always tell me, “Keep pushing through, because everything WILL be fine. You WILL get through this.” Never “maybe”, never “hope”; always “WILL”. So, in her memory, I will continue doing what she’d want me to do: keep writing.

So, to honor of one of the brightest, most amazing individuals that has ever popped into my life, all of THE CHAOS ACCOUNTS stories will be dedicated to JV, with a unique dedication at the front of every story, because she deserves more than a copy/pasted dedication. I will be finishing our books eventually, and, even though she didn’t get to write for the last two books, all four we’ve planned with have her name accompanying mine on the covers. I’m still going to do my Youtube Channel, as a few other friends (Supporting me through this hard time, and being amazing by being there for me) have offered to pick up JV’s mantle on my vlogs.

And, in remembrance of her life, Story #2 in THE CHAOS ACCOUNTS, titled “Account of Unrest” will be released on her birthday, just twelve days from now. I am working with her best friend of 18 years, Ne, to develop ways we can keep JV’s memory alive. Because, though we can’t see her, we know she’s still with us, in our hearts, minds, and memories. And she’s a soul worth remembering.

Rest in Peace, Jess. I’ll miss you, girlie, and I promise I’ll make you proud. ❤

***ALSO: Keep in mind my #FearlessChaos campaign is still running for another 10 days. Downloads have dwindled off, but we’ve accumulated about $19.00 just in downloads. So, share this campaign with your friends and family please, and leave a review on Amazon if you’ve read it already, as reviews add to the charity pool as well. Also, I’ve just updated a newer version, that includes JV’s dedication.***

Affirmation #3: Perfection Depends

(#3 in an 11 part series of posts about change, perseverance, and being a better you. Though personal to help myself, I’m posting these here in hopes I can help others who are struggling and wanting to make a change)

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Ever heard that being you should try to be normal? Or, on the other side, that you’re special (In an attempt to console you, probably by a parent or guardian or other adult in your life)? That perfection is impossible?

Did you believe it?

There’s a little bit wrong in these statements, in my opinion. To me, people have been interpreting these sayings wrong for a long time now.

Normal? There is no such thing. Normal doesn’t exist, unless you’re talking about the taste of your salmon. If your fish doesn’t taste ‘normal’, call the waiter, because you will get sick if you eat anymore. However, when it comes to the state of human existence, normal isn’t just overrated; it’s nonexistent.

Think about it for a few seconds. Have you ever seen two people who act exactly the same? Have you even seen two people who were perfectly identical in every aspect of physical appearance? Even twins have some feature that differs from the other. But, that’s the excitement of life. No two people are alike, like snowflakes. That means every person you meet is unique, distinctive, special. In reality, being special is actually the normality of the human world. The one thing that stays static in life is its vast variety and unpredictability.

So, you might be asking, “What about that third one? If normal doesn’t exist, how do you know when perfection is or isn’t reached?”

Simple.

A popular phrase will help to explain: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

So is perfection.

Perfect depends on the person. If you think perfection is a pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms, that that’s perfect for you. However, someone looking on might hate mushrooms, so your pizza is less than perfect to them. But that shouldn’t matter. If that pizza is perfect for you, THAT’S all that matters: what YOU think.

Same can apply for things other than pizza. It could be books, games, clothes, even other people. You ever heard of people looking for the perfect guy/girl? I had been at one point. Back in 2011, before I even found my boyfriend, I wrote a note on Facebook. An A to Z list of things I’d learned since I’d been alive. “P” was perfect, as in perfect guy.

Here’s a sample of that short paragraph:

“The PERFECT guy isn’t going to come along just because you want him to. He will come into your life when you need him most.”

And, when he/she does, they should be perfect by YOUR standards, and not anybody else’s. Don’t judge them by their appearance though. I had crushes in school that laughed at me because I didn’t LOOK like their ideal soul mate. I was slightly overweight, pizza face, depressed, and not many people’s ideal ‘mate’. To me, the laughing or outright ignoring of me hurt. I mean, it’s not like I was flirting with them. I wanted to be friends first, and wouldn’t jeopardize that. But, they saw someone who liked them, and thought it was hilarious.

Crazy, right?

Despite all the ignorance, I finally found my perfect guy, by my standards. I’m attracted to him as a person. He’s a sweetheart, with a sharp wit and a gentle touch. I don’t hold him to the world’s idea of perfect, because, as mentioned above, PERFECTION is in the eye of the beholder.

So, recap:

  1. Normal does not exist.
  2. Everybody is unique, and that’s what makes the world an awesome place.
  3. Perfection Depends.

Any questions?

IT’S HERE!!!!

So, if you can’t tell by the title, I’m EXTREMELY hyper!! My paperback book was officially released on November 25th, with the eBook versions out five days later. This dream was ten years in the making, and when that book was in my hands, I started tearing up. I may not be as far as my final goal, but this is the first step toward it.

This book was one of my favorites writing. It is a prequel to a trilogy I had completed TheProtektorsReality_400x640_115dpibefore starting to write this one. My goal is to get that trilogy traditionally published, hopefully sometime in the near future. This whole saga – which includes 4 short stories, 1 novella, the prequel, and the trilogy – is a project I started about four years ago. In fact, two of the four total books in this saga were NaNoWriMo wins, one in the traditional November NaNo, and the other during Camp NaNoWriMo.

Those of you that have a dream, don’t stop reaching for it! Though you may lose faith along the way, if you continue to pursue your dreams, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Check out the tab for my works to find the synopsis and links for The Protektor’s Reality. I’d really appreciate any support I can get, including buying or reviewing! It is available as a print book on Amazon, Kindle eBook, and also on Smashwords in all eBook formats, online reading, and also PDF file.

And don’t think this means I’m done. My journey is just beginning.

Lessons For the Panicked Ones

You wake up in the morning to find out you overslept by 30 minutes. You have class/work in less than an hour. You throw on the first outfit of school/work appropriate clothing you see, grab an oatmeal bar, and dash out the door. Upon arriving at class/work, you sit down and get bombarded by work of all kinds, whether it be paperwork, worksheets, lectures, lab time, racing all around the building(s) to make sure things run smoothly, etc. By the time you’re done with work and heading home, you realize all you ate for lunch was a banana and a strong caramel macchiato, which you grabbed in the cafeteria during a run to another classroom/office. So, you stop, grab fast food, and get home. Day’s not done yet though, because you have chores to do: dishes, laundry, sweeping, organizing all the papers that are all over your desk. On top of that, you have brought work/homework back with you. You get to the breaking point, and are just about to go to sleep (probably around midnight), and a writing idea pops into your head. You didn’t write at all that day, so you feel obligated to at least jot the idea down somewhere and get some rest. Next thing you know, it’s Two in the morning, and you’ve outlined three-quarters of this new idea, that somehow turned into a potential 100k novel.

 

 

Ever have a day like that? Everything piling on, more and more until you feel your about to break? The best part? YOU GET TO DO IT ALL AGAIN THE NEXT DAY! Fun stuff, right? :p

If your days are like this, you need to try and find a balance. This is extremely difficult, especially for those of us who aren’t stay-at-home writers. Trying to balance work, family, responsibility, and your writing is a daunting task, but it can be done. Here’s a few bits of advice to get you started.

 

1) Wake up with your alarm. I know I have problems with that, and the snooze button and I have a cordial friendship between us, but you have to say, “I’m not hitting that button. I’m going to stand up, get dressed, and get to work.” It would also help if you set the alarm earlier than it is now for two reasons. First, it helps if you do succumb to the devilish snooze button, because you make sure you aren’t late, even if you sleep longer than the alarm. The second reason is if you do wake up at that earlier time, you can get ready sooner, and have a few spare minutes at your computer to start a chapter or continuing that outline that you didn’t get to finish.

2) Carry a notebook. Any one will do, no matter the size. Just stick it in your briefcase or backpack whenever you leave the house. That way, if you do suddenly find some free time during the day, you can take it out and write away. It’s useful in that it is lightweight, portable, and casual enough that people who look at you assume you’re still doing work. Just make sure you don’t do this WHILE you’re supposed to be working for school/job. We want to be balanced, not distracted.

3) ALWAYS find time to write. This is one of the hardest things to do, but one of the most rewarding. Whether you have a ten minute span of time free, or a full hour or two, you need to pull out that spiral notebook or laptop and write away. The word count and layout doesn’t matter. You could go to the conference room fifteen minutes early and write a couple hundred right before a meeting begins. You can grab lunch in a cafeteria and work on your layout during your lunch hour while eating a pizza or salad. You could make your emails more succinct and brief, and have an extra twenty minutes to burn, which you could then work on a character profile for your novel.

 

See? There are always way to balance what you love to do, and what you have to do. There are plenty of other sites out there that can give you advice as well. A Google Search of “Balance writing with life,” will bring up plenty of options by wiser, more experienced people than me.

Just remember this: Even if you are a night person, you still need sleep to function. Limit your time on weekdays to a bedtime of no later than midnight or 1AM. You’ll get some well-deserved rest, and probably be happier for it too. While writing until your heart’s content seems like a relaxer, doing an all-nighter the night before that big presentation you’ve been working on for two months is not the wisest of options.

“Keep Faith!”

PARTY! PARTY!- The Aftereffects of a Night with Creatives

So, as I am typing this, I am recovering from a hangover. A Facebook Hangover. What’s that you may ask? It is the result of taking part in a ‘party’ on FB, waking up the next morning, and finding yourself exhausted and laughing for no reason on occasion.

For those who are not aware, FB Parties are starting to become popular. It’s pretty much an event set up on FB, and when the scheduled time arrives, everyone starts posting to the event page.

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Last Night was the Dawn’s Early Light FB Party. DEL is the third book in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris (Those books are OSM [awesome], so you should check them out). There were a total of 130 expected guests, and the party went on for three hours. Felt like three minutes, to be honest.

All of the guests on there were the best people ever to spend my depressing Wednesday with. I’ve had a rough semester, with planning difficult events at school, to bad grades, family issues, and writing difficulties. After those three, laugh-filled, have-to-catch-your-breath, fun hours, I felt relaxed, and happier than I’d felt in a while. The topics ranged from the Ministry itself (Such as dream casting should the series become movies), to guest authors, to somehow talking about being loopy on stuff and having an Ministry of Peculiar Pajamas party at Balticon (I’ve heard that’s a fun event, but it’s looking like I’ll have to wait another year to experience it).

The night was so much fun, and I was very grateful I was invited. While I may still be loopy from my Hangover from the party (induced by laughter, exhaustion, and raspberry lemonade), it was an event that I would have been very upset had I missed out. I thank all of the guests for making that party a night to remember.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to eat something other than candy.