It’s been too long since my last post. But that’s the thing about blogging lately, I feel like I’ve lost sight of some of my original goals with this blog, while greatly achieving others.
The trials and triumphs of writing, searching for an agent, and getting published. That was what this blog was originally supposed to be about, all the way back in 2014. I was certainly a different person then, and my life was very different.
I never found an agent, though I came close a couple of times. I have, however, been published. I think my decision to become self published was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s given me incredible insights into this industry, made me realize that there’s just so much more to writing than I ever realized.
Having said all of that, there’s one part of my blog’s stated goals that I’ve greatly neglected in recent months. Writing.
Granted, we bought a house recently, and as anyone who’s been through that knows, there’s a lot involved in that (including fixing up everything that was wrong with said-house in the first days after taking ownership.)
And we’re still not fully settled in.
But that’s meant I haven’t written anything in months. At least since early February, if not longer.
Furthermore, sometimes I feel like I’ve spent too much time and effort trying to advertise my published books on this blog, when that wasn’t one of the original goals. Sure, sharing my celebrations and events involved in marketing is part of it, but…well, all in all…I think it’s time I took a break from blogging. Again.
I first started considering this after I read a blog post by Rachelle Gardner. Her words resonated with me, and I realized that I felt like blog writing, right now anyway, felt too much like a chore. The joy I used to feel in blogging was gone.
Thinking even more on it, I realize that is because every time that I’ve spent time writing a blog, I felt like I could have used those precious minutes to write stories. And over the past 2 or 3 years, writing time has been scarce.
Of course, there’s a flip side to that…what do they say about writing? That to be a good writer, you need to write from experience, and that means going out there and experiencing life. And I certainly have done that in the past 3 years! I’ve had more adventures, experienced love like never before, seen and done things I’ve only dreamt of before!
It’s made me a better writer. And now, more than ever, I feel like the time is right to take advantage of that. Now is the time to write stories again.
That’s who I am at heart, a writer. So I need to go back to my roots, and focus on that. Rediscover that part of me.
Does this mean I’m shutting this blog down? Nope. It just means I’m taking an extended break for now.
But I’ll be back. That much I can promise you. My journey is still just starting, and I still want to share it with you all :)
Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks for being awesome! See you next time!
I usually finish up the year with a ‘looking back, looking forward’ post, and this, the last Sunday of the year, is no different…except this time, it is.
Nothing has been the same this year, and it’s been one of the best, and one of the hardest. I think I said something similar at the end of last year…little did I know how aptly that would describe 2018.
It began with loss.
In the beginning of 2018, my mother passed away. We knew it was coming, we had known for a long time, but nothing could have prepared me for how it would hit me, or how it has stayed with me throughout the year.
Even now, with Christmas, my birthday, and New Years, even when I’m not thinking specifically about her, I feel this immense, pervasive emptiness.
And perhaps the most frustrating part about it is that this should be one of the happiest years of my life. This was the year I got married to my Starshine!!
The saying often goes, your wedding is one of the happiest days of your life, and for me, it truly was :) I don’t think I ever actually relayed the full story of our geeky, fun-filled, beautiful wedding. The weather was perfect, the venue was fantastic, our hotel was great, and it was a perfect turnout, a small wedding like we’d hoped.
Then came the honeymoon, which was a mixture of good and bad. We’ve already decided we need a do-over! But despite the bad that happened, I hold a lot of fond memories from that week and a half, and for some reason today especially, I’ve been thinking a lot about our adventures in Orlando :)
By far, Disney World was the best!! It was my first-ever Disney experience, and despite how bad the weather was most of the time we were there, it was a blast! And exhausting, but in a good way :)
This was one of many trips I took in 2018, beginning with the trip to NM for my mother’s funeral, then Orlando for our Honeymoon. Next came a trip to Los Angeles for my best friend’s birthday, and also my second ever Disney experience since we went to Nick’s favorite place, Disneyland!
While I definitely prefer Disney World due to its size and scope, our adventure at Disneyland was just about perfect! The weather was great, there were surprisingly few people despite it being a Friday before a holiday weekend, and we barely waited 15 minutes in any line! Topped by an amazing dinner in a restaurant overlooking the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the food was fantastic and the company even more so :)
And then not long after came my fourth trip, a work-related trip that took me to Huntsville, Alabama. Little did I know how much NASA stuff was out there, and being able to stand beneath a fully-erect Apollo rocket was an awe-inspiring moment!! I only wish my wife could have been there with me for that experience.
To top off this eventful year, I ended things by publishing three novels at once! What started as an attempt to refresh my work turned into a much longer, multi-year effort to rebrand the Sword of Dragons, and while I still am far from my goal of making a living off of writing, I’m happy to say that this venture has brought me a lot closer than I was before!
Now we come to it, the end of a truly roller coaster year (with lots of actual roller coasters!) I look back, and realize why I feel so exhausted, and why my emotions are so crazy right now. So much good, so much hardship. Even my holiday from work for the Christmas and New Years holiday has been tumultuous.
What do I want for 2019? Relaxation. Am I likely to get it? Well…
Looking Ahead to 2019
2019 may very well be another year without me publishing a new novel. I’ve been working on book 3 of the Sword of Dragons series, and as of writing this, I’m 7 chapters in. But Kailar’s story has been fighting me and I’ve basically scrapped my original plan for her in book 3. Which means I’m kind of making it up as I go for her chapters.
I also don’t want to rush it. I have a title and even a cover set to go for it, but I want to write the best story that I can, and I want to make sure it is as polished as possible.
What I AM happy to report is that I’m headed back to the convention scene, at least for one time. My wife and I have officially been accepted as vendors in the 2019 Whimsy Con in Denver! Our favorite Steampunk convention, and a worthy successor to the former Anomaly Con where Beck and I met, this will be our first table together, with me selling my books, and Beck selling her jewelry and her first book.
Yes, you read that right, Beck’s first novel will be available by Whimsy Con! :D Click here to head on over to her blog to find out about her latest adventures with her book, and her planned release no later than March 1st!
Shortly after that, comes perhaps our biggest move yet since we met each other – we’re planning on buying a house! Mostly because we’re tired of dealing with sub-standard apartments in the Denver area. Truly, there are inadequate protections for renters in Denver and property owners get away with a lot of inky moves. We even ended up getting the FCC involved in our dispute regarding exclusivity enforcement by CenturyLink in our current apartment complex, only to discover that our apartment complex had been lying to us about it.
So we’re done with apartments in Denver.
Beyond that? I’m not entirely sure where 2019 will take me. It probably greatly depends on where we land with a house. I don’t anticipate any big trips this year, since we need to conserve money, so probably just hunker down and focus on writing and voice acting.
Did I mention that yet, voice acting? I’ve decided to move forward with recording audio books, and depending on how that goes, I may try my hand at other related ventures. I’m also slated to be the MC for the Whimsy Con costume contest this year :)
So, now it’s just time to take in a deep breath, and plunge into 2019. Here’s hoping for a great year!
Thanks for reading, thanks for staying with me, and thanks for your encouraging words through the hard times. I really appreciate all of you!! (PS: I just noticed, 205 followers!! We passed 200!!!! :D )
Our wedding was wonderfully geeky, and we were very fortunate to have some incredible people participate in it and help us out! It turned out to be a perfect day, with weather better than predicted, and nothing major going wrong.
However, I want to tell the story with pictures, and our photographer is still working to get our photos to us (the preview pictures she has shown us are incredible!) But what I wanted to talk about today crosses from my wedding day to writing, and why you should never give up on yourself…
I Thought I Would Always Be Alone
My best friend (and best man) reminded me of something during the reception: when I was younger, I had a dream of a woman who was perfect for me. My definition of what that might entail evolved over the years as I grew and changed as a person, but I knew what I wanted…
And as time passed, and rejections from women grew in number, I started to despair. I started to believe that I was unlovable. This led me to some pretty bad relationships that only reinforced my belief that I was unworthy.
…but I kept trying anyway. I kept searching, even though I didn’t think anyone would ever think I was worth loving. As the years and years and years passed, no matter how much I was rejected or how many bad dates I went on, even surviving an emotionally abusive relationship, I kept trying.
And then she was there. The one who would one day become my wife. Of course I didn’t know it at the time, and I remember thinking, even when I asked if I could add her to my Facebook, “she won’t ever be interested in me.”
That led to friendship…which 4 months later led to dating, and six months later led to engagement, and a year and 3 months later, marriage.
After more than two decades of searching and dating and trying and failing and being rejected, I finally found what I had searched for. Someone who loved me, who believed I was worth loving. And when I realized this last week, I knew that I had to pass the message on to everyone else…
Keep Going. Never Give Up. Even If You Don’t Believe
The same goes for writing. Hell, the same goes for everything in life, but since this is a writing blog, let’s focus on that.
Writers get rejections, from agents and editors. But does that mean you’re unworthy, that your stories aren’t worthy, and you should stop trying? If JK Rowling had stopped trying after her first couple of rejections, Harry Potter would not be the phenomenon that it is today.
Writers get bad reviews, on Amazon and everywhere else. Does this mean that their novel is really horrible and not worth reading? If you get a few bad reviews, should you take it to heart and stop writing? Everyone gets bad reviews. Every book. Take a look at your favorite book on Amazon, no matter how good it is, and you’ll find one-star reviews. Even Ready Player One, which is now a major motion picture making millions, got one-star reviews.
What if you get published, or are self-published, and your books aren’t selling well? Should you just…stop? No. First, harkening back to a blog I wrote about an author who re-branded his books, his initial publication was getting him few sales. When he learned from his mistakes and re-branded his book, he started selling thousands of copies.
If you don’t believe in yourself, but you’re still passionate, GO FOR IT! Don’t stop!!! Keep doing it, if for no other reason than your love of it, your passion, your desire to make it, your desire to write and get readers.
Because even if it takes decades, one day, whether you believe in yourself or not, someone else might. And then your books will sell. And you’ll write more. And more. And more. And before you know it, you’ve achieved your ultimate goals.
The other option is to give up. But then you’ll be left wondering for the rest of your life, “What if?”
If I gave up…I’d never have met my Starshine. Never would have asked for her hand in marriage. Never cried the happiest tears of my life when I watched her walk down the aisle towards me.
What might you risk never seeing if you give up?
What might you never get to experience if you don’t try?
“What if I fail?” Rubbish question. “What if I succeed?” Now that is a question worth pondering…
Dear friends…I don’t really know how to start this, I don’t really know what to say. This past weekend, my mother passed from this life to the next.
I’ve been trying to figure out what to write…and for the first time in my life, I’m having trouble with it. I’ve been lucky in life to have two supportive and caring parents, and I’ll miss her terribly. I do miss her terribly…
Her name was perfectly chosen. She was an angel… What I wrote in the dedication of my first book holds true, she taught me to be strong, to never give up, no matter how hard life became.
I hope you’ll all understand, it may be another week or so before I return to regular blogging. Thank you for always being supportive, dear readers. I’ll be back, I promise.
7 hours from now (where I live,) 2017 will become a memory, and that memory is full of mixed feelings for me. Some of my greatest joys, some of my hardest sorrows. Today being the last day, I thought I would end things with my annual ‘glancing back, and looking forward’ blog :)
Writing Without Publishing
After two years in a row of publishing, 2017 was the first year where I didn’t publish a single new novel. And for much of the 2nd half of 2017, that meant depression for me…I already had a plan moving forward for my writing career, but I knew nothing would be ready for publication in ’17.
However, a recent article I’ve read by another author has reminded me that there’s something more important than pumping out novel after novel like a factory. Writing is an artisan career, and sustainable writing is more important than mass production. But I want to spend an entire blog writing more on that. For now, let me just pass on the word – you don’t have to write 20 novels a year to be a successful author. That leads to burn out. Just do the best you can, and don’t forget to live a little.
On the bright side, I have made considerable headway this year, especially in the 2nd half, towards the 2nd editions of the Sword of Dragons books 1 and 2, as well as finally getting the Orc War Campaigns anthology ready for print!
I’ve learned a lot about the market, far more than I ever anticipated, and I think I’m a little more prepared to move forward in my writing career in 2018.
One of the greatest highlights of ’17 was the day I proposed to my beautiful Starshine, Beck Stewart! Since that day, we have moved in together and begun living and planning our lives together. After more than a year together, and nearly a year engaged, I am happier than I ever thought possible with my relationship.
Fellow author, artist, geek, and weird like me ;) She has been my rock, my muse, my voice of reason. She’s helped me keep the demons back, helped my writing move forward, and encouraged me every single day. Thank you, Moon of my Life!
2018 – Three Books At Once?!
With everything I have learned about writing, marketing, and cover art, I came to a decision in the last couple months: when I release the 2nd editions of the Sword of Dragons books, I plan to release them together, along with the Orc War Campaigns anthology. That’s right, 3 books at one time!
As crazy as it sounds, it’s actually not a stretch, and in fact gives me the time I need to get everything prepared, and actually make the books look like they belong together, both with their covers and their interiors.
In fact, as of tomorrow, I’ll have finished editing Burning Skies! At least, until I read through the proof copy. I’m sure I’ll find more to fix with that.
But that’s my system – I have a proof of Rise of the Forgotten, and when I finish editing Burning Skies, I’ll order that proof while moving on to The Orc War Campaigns. Once I finish that and order its proof, I’ll go back and read through Rise of the Forgotten’s proof copy, and so on.
When will these three be released? I don’t know yet. But I’m working quickly.
The Year I Get Married!
The first half of 2018 is going to be busy for another reason – my marriage is coming up fast! And that means more and more of my time outside of work will need to be devoted to preparations. I’m hoping I get proof copies of all 3 books before then, but I’m not going to rush.
That’s a difficult lesson 2016 and 2017 have taught me – rushing stories out isn’t the best idea. Working under a deadline is one thing, but as I mentioned before, sustainable writing is more important. I don’t want to burn myself out.
I know this is a writing blog, but I hope you all will understand if I indulge now and again and post news regarding my upcoming wedding :)
Happy New Year!
Thank you to everyone who visited in 2017! Much to my surprise, my blog has received more new followers and views this year than in 2016, and I’m so glad you all have found your way here!
I apologize for the lack of a blog post this weekend. It…has been a difficult weekend. My family had to say goodbye to our elder puppy Kayla, and it has been an emotionally difficult weekend for me.
She’ll live in our hearts forever, and I’ll never forget the day I came home from work and my parents had picked her up from the pound (we love pound puppies.) That was about 14 years ago…
And there are more trying times ahead, so I apologize if posts don’t always come on time. I’ll certainly try. At the very least, I’ll post my usual end-of-year look-back and new year look-forward post.
I apologize for the lack of a post last weekend and this tiny little one this weekend. We’ve just finished moving into a new place, so we’ve been extremely busy! But I promise to have a new blog ready for you next week!
Moving is never fun, and a lot of little things kept going wrong all last week. But thanks to some amazing people, we got all of the big stuff moved into our new place yesterday, and cleaned up/closed out the old place today. There’s still a lot of unpacking to do, but we don’t have a deadline for that, so we can do so at our leisure :)
See you next week!
Trials and triumphs of writing, finding an agent, and publication.