Sabbatical

You guys get the update before YouTube subscribers this time. I tried to do a video about this, about goals and taking advice and deciding what really makes you happy rather than just thinking you want what everyone else thinks will make them happy… and it just didn’t work out.

I can’t talk about it coherently yet.

But I did manage to post about it in my Facebook group this morning, and it seemed like a post that was worth sharing here (with slight modifications).

For quite a while I’ve been putting pressure on myself to do everything quickly. To follow the rules that say “publish or perish.” To have less than a year between book releases in a massive trilogy, to hold myself to deadlines that are supposed to be helpful, and to do it all with a smile while achieving my absolute best work.

It’s insane. It really is. For some people all of this works. Tight schedules. Multiple series. Cranking out books, drawing from the creative fountain without needing a break. But I’m learning that for me, it’s wrong. Everyone is unique, and has unique needs, gifts, and challenges. I have a family that doesn’t get the best of me when I’m buried under stress. I have physical pain that cuts me off from work, family, and life, and that’s made worse by tension and stress. I have depression and anxiety, and thanks to the pressure I put on myself to finish the Bound trilogy on time, my writing has become a real trigger for that.

I used to write to heal myself. Now I sit at the computer and feel like crying because I’m scared of not living up to my own expectations, because the words won’t come, because my brain wants to focus on ANYTHING but that blank screen.
And that’s wrong. This is not what stories should be for me. I shouldn’t feel like I need to hide from a part of my spirit.

So I’m taking a bit of a sabbatical.

I’m cancelling edits I had scheduled for a book that’s been suffering under my inability to let my imagination loose. I’m clearing the decks. And for a while—maybe a few weeks, maybe a few months—I’m not going to be “a writer.”

I’ll still be here.

I’m still going to write. I’ll post more on my blog. Maybe I’ll pick at that long-suffering book or my B project, but only if I feel drawn to them. Maybe I’ll take on flash fiction challenges that have no chance of making money, so they can be purely creative enterprises to share. I’ll read about writing craft and take time to apply the lessons. I’ll research whatever topics float my boat on any given day, and try to learn a new language. Hell, maybe I’ll try poetry. You never know.

Maybe I’ll learn to love reading again when there’s no reason to be competitive or to compare my work to anyone else’s. Maybe I can learn to lose myself in other people’s worlds.

Basically, I’m taking time to get healthy. To turn writing back into a playground rather than an assembly line. When I get back to “for real” writing, my hope is that the books I create for you will be filled with more magic, more surprises, more love, and more generous stories than I can even imagine right now.

It’s scary. Deadlines and publishing schedules feel so essential when writing puts food on the table. But my work deserves me at my best, and so do my readers. So here we go. A fresh, unexpected adventure.

This blog will be more active as I try to recover my creative spark and my will to write, as I get my headaches and brain fog and ongoing attention issues under control (or learn how to live and work with them. Sometimes you have to embrace what you can’t change, right?). I’ll post any new fiction stuff here, let you know how things are going.

For readers, this won’t make a huge difference in terms of when the next book comes out. Waiting for me to get better and do my best work shouldn’t work out to a longer delay than a miserable me forcing out junk and having to repair it. And the end product will be so much better.

The stories are there. I just have to get myself ready to welcome them into the world.

Hold on tight. It’s going to be a crazy ride.


Go Indie Now Book Box (July Unboxing)

I’ve never been really into subscription boxes. I mean, they look great, but they tend to be expensive, and I’d rather spend the money just buying what I want. Cheap make-up sample bags were nice for a while, but even that got old and too expensive to be a regular thing.

BUT.

Once in a while I like to treat myself and try something new, and when I saw the Go Indie Now book box on Instagram, it looked like a good option. Indie books, handmade stuff, and a multi-sensory reading experience? Definitely worth a second look. So I went ahead and ordered when a box theme came up that I really liked the look of.

So yeah, I skipped the Historical genre box and waited for fairy tales.

Here’s the unboxing video. I was really happy with this box. Based on this one experience, I’d recommend it for people who love indie/handmade stuff and getting creative care packages in the mail. If you like polished and mass-produced, this may not be the box for you; while there are professional-looking materials in here and the products and books are great quality, the box definitely has a personal feel with hand-written notes in cute, quick handwriting from the person who puts the box together. I’d say this one overall looks more professional than the pictures I saw of earlier boxes, but it still has that personal feel.

Getting two books/bibliotherapy sessions was a really nice treat, especially since I got one in a preferred genre and one that’s a bit of a stretch for me. And the fact that they’re carefully curated makes me feel confident that I’ll get a good reading experience.

Check out the video, and if you’d like to take a closer look at the box, visit http://www.goindienow.cratejoy.com

Note: Yes, I paid for my own box and shipping. No, I did not receive anything in exchange for this unboxing/review, and my books are not scheduled to appear in the box. I just like indie books and authors and want to share.🙂


Yep, I’m Still Alive

Is the blog dead because I don’t post, or do I not post because the blog is dead?

Hmmm…

Honestly, I don’t have a lot to post about right now. I’m hard at work on a challenging project that’s kicking my ass, eking out writing time in the mornings when I’m still half-asleep but the house is quiet. I’m struggling though a reading slump and a lot of anxiety and a surprising bout of depression (it sneaks up on you!), and trying to plan our first vacation in three years. For anyone keeping track, this means our first family vacation since I started publishing books, and the first time I’ve taken two weeks away from my writing since well before I got edits back on Bound and morphed into the stressed-out “holy crap I have a job now” writer I am today.*

So this should be interesting. I hope it means I’ll be able to let some ideas flow and take a new approach to problems (and maybe get some brainstorming done on the next part of the story that started with the Bound trilogy), unwind, and enjoy life away from work… but I feel like I’ve forgotten how to do two of those things. So we’ll see.🙂

In the meantime, I did a short vlog post last week, as it’s hard to do long ones with the kids at home. This one has nothing to do with writing, but does offer my favourite cure for hiccups. Hope it’s helpful to someone.🙂

*For the record, no, I would not trade it for any other job. I just need to learn how to deal with certain stressors and accept my limitations a bit better. It’ll come.


Cover Reveal & A Birthday!

So excited to be able to share the first cover in the Invisible Entente series! I’ve read the prequel and have some idea of what’s coming after, and it’s going to be AMAZING!

The Raven's Quill

I’m 30 today – and it’s pretty great. Mostly because I love round numbers. Because I’m a dork. Proudly.

I was going to write up some thoughts on entering another decade, but then I realised all I really want to do is celebrate by sharing the beautiful artwork I have for my next project.

I’ve mentioned The Invisible Entente before, but now it’s official. This 7-book urban fantasy series, which plays with mythology, fairy tales, and all kinds of trouble, will kick off NEXT MONTH with the prequel novella, followed by the first novel in September.

The covers are being done by the ever-so-magical Ravven, and I’m amazed by how well she’d bringing my characters to life. Covers like this beauty right here:

entente_promo

Want to know what the prequel is about? You can either read the blurb:

“If you’re reading this note, I’m already dead.  I find even more pleasure in the idea…

View original post 133 more words


First Draft Hell

It’s Camp NaNoWriMo time, and oodles of writers all over the world are in a special kind of first draft hell. As we approach the midpoints of our stories, plotters and pantsers alike might be feeling tempted to throw in the towel.

So that’s what this week’s video is about. A look at the things I tend to struggle with as I fight my way through first drafts (and it usually is a fight–none of this comes easy to me) and how I try to change my perspective so I’ll keep fighting.

Enjoy!


The Skeleton Key Series

Hey, guys! Check this out. I know many of you have enjoyed Into Elurien (huge thanks to those who have left reviews and recommended it to friends! It really helps). Are you curious about the rest of this fantastic multi-author series? Want to see where else the Skeleton Key might lead you?

Read on…

LOGO WITH EFFECTS

Skeleton Key Book Series

One Skeleton Key. Endless Adventures.

https://skeletonkeybookseries.com

One magical key.

The turn of a lock.

An adventure of a lifetime.

The Skeleton Key finds those who are brave enough. Curious enough. Crazy enough. It only needs an unsuspecting hand and inconspicuous door. Magic uncoils and where the door leads, no one knows. The one way to discover the truth is to step through into a world of the exotic and untold.

If you dare to dream the impossible…

Prepare yourself.

Unlock the Skeleton Key adventures.


SD(1)

GAME MASTER by Scarlett Dawn

“Forbidden love will change the rules.”

Amazon


warrior queen

WARRIOR QUEEN by Shona Husk

To break the siege, he’ll break a law.

Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo


EBOOK

SHADOW WINGS by JC Andrijeski

In a time of great darkness, can Ilana help an angel regain his wings?

Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo


ROYAL ENCHANTMENT(1)

ROYAL ENCHANTMENT by Lia Davis

“A skeleton key unlocks a passage to a world of fae, mythical creatures, and a dark elfin King who will do anything to claim his bride.”

Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo


MC EBOOK(1)

MECHANICAL HEARTS by Nicole Blanchard

“Life and love are on the line and time is running out. Tick tock.”

Amazon


ELFH

ELFHAME by Anthea Sharp

“A prince, a prophecy, and the young woman who holds the fate of a world in her hands.”

Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo


EBOOK UPDATED

PRINCESS OF THE DAMNED by Wendy Knight

“What do you do when the face in the mirror isn’t yours?”

Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo



Eunica BOOK

EUNICA by J. Rose Alexander

“Her destiny was not in the shadow of death, but in the light of another life.”

Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo


Sleeping Dragons_Cristina Rayne

WHERE SLEEPING DRAGONS LIE by Cristina Rayne

“Some doors can only be unlocked by the right hand…”

Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo


EBOOK(1)

CURSE OF THE UNDEAD DRAGON KING by Konstanz Silverbow

A curse so powerful, not even true love’s kiss can break it.

Amazon


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FATE OF ELEMENTS by M. Stratton

She was the key to uniting their world.”

Amazon


ebook

THE ASSASSIN’S MARK by Sarah Mäkelä and Tavin Soren

An assassin becomes a protector as he enters a magical world…all for the woman in his dreams.

Amazon


EBOOK(3)

SPELL SLINGER by K.N. Lee

“An immortal dictator will soon meet his match, in a time-traveling sorceress with revenge in her soul.”

Amazon


EBOOK

DARK FAE by Lillian Cartier

“The most breathtaking love she’s ever found may also bring her ultimate ruin and death.”

Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo


EBOOK(1)

HIS IMMORTAL KISS by Liliana Rhodes

“He’s waited centuries for her.”

Amazon


EBOOK(2)

WITCHMATE by Renee George

“When thief Emma Watson stumbles into an alternative world full of warring witches and werewolves, it sets her on a dangerous path that may lose her the only man she’s ever wanted to love.”

Amazon


EBOOK(3)

INTO ELURIEN by Kate Sparkes

“Sometimes you need to step into a fairy tale to find something real.”

Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo


EBOOK(4)

MATE OF A DRAGON VILLAIN by Mandy Rosko

“She wasn’t supposed to fall for the bad guy…”

Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo



EBOOK(6)

MAGICAL ACTS by Michele Bardsley

“Otherworldly to-do list: 1. Save mage. 2. Fall in love. 3. Avoid certain death.”

Amazon


unnamed

THE DEATH SEER by Tanis Kaige

“Caught between life and death, her salvation can only be found in the boy who went missing twenty years ago.”

Amazon


EBOOK(7)

THIEF OF SANGUARDIA by Cherie Marks

One twist of the key will lead to her destiny.

Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo


EBOOK

LOVE IN FANTASY by Elle Christensen

“Twelve nights, twelve fantasies, twelve stories of true love. Or…is it only eleven?”

Amazon


AotWC ebook

ARMY OF THE WINTER COURT by Ali Winters

“The heart and blood of life will give rise to the final army.”

Amazon


EBOOK

ETERNAL NIGHT by Marian Tee

“Will you come away with the Prince of Darkness if he asks you to?”

Amazon


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UNLOCKING ADELINE by J.D. Hollyfield

“She dreams of her happily ever after. He plans to destroy it.”

Amazon


unnamed

THE HAUNTED SULTAN by Gillian Zane

“One night in New Orleans, a ghost tour, a handsome stranger, and the spirit of a Sultan long dead.”

Amazon 


Writing on Summer Vacation: Day One

7:00 AM – Okay. I said I wanted to start writing at 7:30. But I need a shower… I can do this.

7:05 – I know I said no social media before work, but just a quick check won’t hurt. Huh. A reviewer needs a Kindle copy of Into Elurien. Guess that’s important, since she’s booked a date on the series blog tour. *sniffs self* Shower first.

7:30 – Definitely need to let my hair air-dry today.  Better to look like a frizzy purple buffalo than to spend another 20 minutes doing that (and overheating myself in the process). Speaking of heat, I know I had shorts here somewhere…

7:45 – Excellent. Everyone’s still asleep. *stomach grumbles* Dammit. Okay, invisaligns out, make a shake with greek yogurt to keep me full a bit longer (I hope), drink that and an iced coffee. I miss being able to sit and sip while I work. Brush teeth, invisaligns back in. Snap self in face with tiny elastic. Perfect.

8:05 – Okay. Writing. Annnnnnd the dogs want out. Might as well check Facebook quickly while they OH MY GOODNESS THERE’S A RUNNING APP WHERE YOU PRETEND YOU’RE IN A FANTASY SETTING AND GET TO GO ON QUESTS?!* I must investigate this immediately.

8:15 – Oops, forgot to put the laundry in. Better do that now if it’s going to line-dry today.

8:20 – Guess I should send that email.

8:30 – Annnd one kid is up. He’s pretty self-sufficient. They both are. My brain is a far greater obstacle than my boys are. It still doesn’t want to settle in and get this chapter fixed so I can move on to fresh drafting. Maybe I’ll warm up with a blog post, see if other kid wakes up. Then I can start after breakfast…

8:45 – (Now) This is my brain on trying to work. If you’ve read “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, you know about resistance. I get it bad every time I try to start working. My brain is scattered, no matter what I do. Pomodoro sprints, meditation, visualization to get myself excited about writing a scene, planning, not planning…they help, but not much. On days like today, when my brain is fogged up and I’m recovering from Sunday’s migraine and the world seems to be moving around me at confusing speeds, it’s hard to start. I have zero focus. I’m scattered. My head feels like it’s physically stuffed with cotton. Possibly cotton candy.

The pink kind.

So what am I going to do about it?

I’m going to go make breakfast for Thing 2, I’m going to try to forget how much I wish I had a huge cup of coffee at my desk, and I’m going to publish this post, get my ass back here, put some music on, and work.

Maybe I won’t get the two hours in that I wanted today. Maybe I won’t get this scene revised (quite doubtful, actually, given the speed my brain is working at this morning). But I’m going to try. I’m going to prove to myself, to my muse, to my family, and anyone else who’s watching that I’m committed. I am doing this.

And step by tiny, painful step, I’m going to get through this draft.

Wish me luck.

 

 


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