Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Thursday, June 29, 2017

In Your Write Mind 2017 - Highlights

In Your Write Mind (which going forward will be referred to as IYWM) 2017 was a blast! It had been four years since I'd been able to attend - far too long.

Now, I know I should be going to things like this with the sole intent of propelling my writing career forward, but I have to be honest, I mainly attend IYWM to reconnect with a great group of writer friends. Many of us consider fellow Writing Popular Fiction students and alumni our tribe. Though most of us are introverts and uncomfortable in social situations in general, when we're at IYWM we feel like we belong. Seton Hill is our home away from home.

And of course it's sad when the few days we have to spend together fly by too fast! We can still reminisce and remember the fun times, though - the social aspect as well as anything learned and taken away regarding our writing careers. So, here goes. Shoving many memories into one blog post!

I took the train out, and though it was mostly overnight, I did manage to get a few words down (and even some on the way back... but we won't talk about the last few days after I got home - heh). Thursday was the official start of IYWM, and I took advantage of the Write In. Progress on Hell On Wheels (Devil made Me, 2)!

As a matter of fact, even a couple of the classes I attended helped me with the novelette. Friday, the true classes started, and the first I went to was Back-Cover Copy. And we had a chance to draft a blurb and get some feedback! Yup, the Hell On Wheels blurb is at least now partially done. Plus I attended the Food and Writing class, which was awesome (not only because we got some tasty food), but because I wrote about how Moira missed food. And then I realized I was right at the point in the first draft that if adjusted, the snippet would fit perfectly! Got to love when things work out like that.

Of course the highlight of Friday was the book signing. Unfortunately, with flooding and tornado warnings in the area, the signing didn't attract as many people as it could have. I was also insanely nervous, but I calmed down a bit as the night wore on - I actually couldn't believe how quickly the time flew! I sold a handful of copies of both Mind Behind the Mind and Dreams in Shadow (and did a couple swaps as well with some of my fellow authors). Lots of compliments on the Mind cover, too. Think I'll be less nervous the next time I attend a signing? Probably not - lol. The pic below is of me at my table.

Onto Saturday, I attended the guest author's class as well as the author luncheon. Diana Rowland was the guest author this year, and she was great. Though I am a self-proclaimed zombie disliker, I ordered a copy of the first novel in the White Trash zombie series once I got home. OK, maybe I only hate the "Braaaiiinnns," kind of zombies. Ones who think and have personality are more up my alley. I mean, I do enjoy watching iZombie. Oh, and she showed us a few gruesome morgue pictures - I'm always up to learn about and see new things!

The costume ball was on Saturday as well. This year's theme was International Persons of Mystery. Spies! I didn't plan a costume to fit the theme, but I did get myself a new dress with little skulls all over it. And alicorn hair clips. I went with the whole the hair clips are mini daggers thing as an explanation. ;) Do you want a picture? I can do that. Here's a great one of me with a few of my fellow crazy writers.

Finally, Sunday was a bit of a blur (probably because I had like three hours of sleep), and far too short. We celebrated the new graduates of the Writing Popular Fiction program at a luncheon to cap the day off.

Here's hoping I can make it again next year. It will all depend on money and if the hubbie has any conferences for work around that time. I'd also love to drag the family along, especially since the costume ball theme will be Storybookland! I'll be thinking about my costume for that one over the next few months. Any suggestions are welcome!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Art, Or Where My Brain Is Before A Trip

I'd intended to write up a post about Wonder Woman, really I did. But my brain doesn't want to form anything coherent right now. (Hopefully I'll write up some comments for a later post, unless I get too distant from when I watched the movie).

It could be anxiety because it's been 4 years since I've ventured away from the family on my own for a long stretch of time (I've dealt with different levels of anxiety all my life, especially social anxiety, and no I haven't been diagnosed, but it does run in my family). Or it could be all the things on my to do list freezing up my molecules, especially my neurons. Probably a combination of both. I'll push through to at least get the necessary stuff done. But a thoughtful blog post? Hahahaha. Not right now.

Sooooo... pretty pictures! I poked around Pixabay for some neat ones simply using the search term "fantasy". Art definitely makes me smile and helps me shove down some of that anxiety, even if for only a brief moment.

First up is this haunted looking train. Definitely neat. I'm sure I've seen it other places around the internet. But I picked this one because I'll be hopping on a train tomorrow! Let's hope it's not a ghost train, shall we?

I also found this neat idyllic scene. I love the face in the tree and the blue butterflies make it pop. What do you think the woman in the picture is thinking? She looks deep in thought. I wonder if her hair hides pointed ears. This might be a good one to do a free write based on and see where it takes me (maybe while I'm on the train)!

And I love this one. Unicorns are my thing. I have a black unicorn tattoo. One of my friends also made me a Unicorno addict (those little figures are so expensive - lol). I love how the edits are done in this picture, though. Makes it all look more realistic. Oh, and I'm also seeking many, many unicorns right now: balance, writing career success, convincing my 3-year-old to not be so stubborn and willful...

Have any pretty art that you've found recently and love?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

In Your Write Mind Book Signing

My apologies, this post has been delayed! I kind of fell into a black hole last week - I'd intended to take a week off from writing and revising, but not the rest of my writing to do list. Oops. At least my brain feels a bit less crispy after playing some Diablo III.

So, I'm back at ticking things off that list, including starting the rough draft of Hell On Wheels, the second story in the Devil Made Me series and the sequel to Hell Hath No Fury.

Which brings me to this blog post. Nope, not about the Devil Made Me series...

In Your Write Mind! (Also known as IYWM going forward in this post.) IYWM is the writing workshop run by many awesome alumni of Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction MFA program. I haven't been able to attend for a couple years due to kids and money. But I'm going this year!

IYWM is next week already. And not only will I be going to the whole 4-day workshop, I'll have books for sale (and signing) at the book signing.

Friday, June 23, 7:30pm-9pm at Seton Hill University's Performing Arts Center in Greensburg, PA.

I will have limited copies of Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, 1) and Dreams in Shadow (Fortunes of Fate, 1) for sale. If you want to be sure you have a copy for me to sign, you may want to order paperbacks before coming, since I'm taking the train in and number of copies will purely depend on my condensed packing abilities. ;) Links to purchase paperbacks are below.

Oh, and I will have bookmarks! I made some for Mind Behind the Mind and the Fractured Fairies series. Plus postcards for the Fortunes of Fate series - I loved making these, and I think they turned out beautifully.

So please come visit me, and I'll do my best to not hide in my shell (because social situations scare the crap out of me sometimes). Plus there will be so many other awesome authors there. You're bound to find other books you'd love to read!

Places to Purchase Paperbacks

Mind Behind the Mind

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Createspace

Dreams in Shadow

Amazon
Createspace

Friday, June 02, 2017

Crispy Writer Brain

I'm DONE with the first draft of Thorns Entwine the Blade!

The initial reaction was much rejoicing, and I rode the writing high. Of course, you have to come plummeting down from the heights at some point. For me, it didn't take too long.

Mainly, this is due to the last two weeks of massive writing binges. I know many writers who can write 3000-5000 (or more) daily. Yay for them! (Not a sarcastic yay. I'm happy for them, and a little envious.) And in most cases, they worked up to that -- one rarely starts at such amounts.

I'm used to about 1000-1500 words a day, and usually about 3 days per week (let's not have a discussion on increasing my writing productivity -- for now, that's my usual, and my "day job" includes a three-year-old who's particularly bull-headed, and reminded me just how much with an hour long fit this morning). Over the last two weeks, I've written over 19,000 words. That's 9,500 average per week. More than twice as much as my usual writing output.

And what compounds it, is that two of the days were 4000-word days, 1 day a 3000-word day, and then my final day of 2600 words (and several 1000-1500-word days).

My brain is fried.

Yes, writer burn out does exist. I'm not saying that these kinds of numbers will never be my norm. But right now it was like a massively long sprint. My side is aching and I can barely breathe. (Side note: I'm not a runner, so a long sprint for me is like a block - lol. XD)

And I am feeling the flames. Crispy writer brain. I can't keep this up without a break.

I need time to recover physically and mentally. Heck, I'm finding it harder than usual to write a sensical (this is not a real word -- my brain can't think of how to word this right now, though... please don't make it) blog post with the usual toddler interruptions.

Of course, I can't take a break yet. I have to go through the draft and fix a few things that I already know need fixing (I need to do this by Sunday, so more sprinting is likely). Then I can send it off to my beta readers.

Then, yes, I can take a break. A short one. Do you think a week will be enough to recharge the writing/revising batteries?

Oh, and this doesn't mean I get a week off. Aside from the toddler who never lets me have a minute off, I also have other writing tasks to tackle (my developmental editing plan for Haunted Unicorn Publishing, cover art for Hell On Wheels, tweaking the cover and back matter for Hell Hath No Fury, critiques, another blog post... among other things). I should also consider cleaning the house.

But right now I really just need some "no actual writing" time. I love writing to no end, but burn out is a real thing, honest.

Let's hope my brain doesn't get much crispier before I finish on Sunday, or my hubbie might need to pull out the fire extinguisher. =P