As planned, the Campbells swooped in and descended on the deep south, obliterated a swath of food for the festivities, then scattered to head home back to the routine until next year. I figure a good 12 months or so gives the region time to recover. We had a 50th Anniversary wedding vows renewal, a wet game of kickball, a truck stuck in the mud, and no arrests (that I know of or will admit to). It was a good reunion.
In my return to work travel and general shenanigans, I resumed my usual bouncing on and off the grid. I’m currently on a two week stint in Maryland for work and am enjoying a couple of days off to recoup from a hectic work schedule. Going from night shift to day shift on 3 hours of sleep in between the shift flip causes sluggishness, slurred speech, and drooling during the day. Go figure.
I continue to chip away at the rewrites of the first book, The Monster Within. To answer a few FAQs I get asked when I mention my plans with the first book, here we go:
- No, I’m not changing the story. That all stays the same for characters and plot points and such.
- Yes, I am rearranging chapters, culling out unnecessary exposition, and clarifying certain pieces of the story.
- Yes, I have a bit of OCD.
After my tweaks are done, including a possible new cover, I will release the ebook as a free download. I will let you know when that happens, but don’t get all antsy over thinking the free release is imminent. I still have a few months to go before everything is complete.
Image by sxc.hu
I invented this short phrase to describe myself a couple of months ago when relaying to a friend the new adventures headed my way in regards to stepping up publishing and agent hunts and such. I honestly don’t have a bloody clue what or how to do those things, hence, … gloriously clueless. I’ve always been a big fan of “winging it” so the phrase is quite fitting.
During my grad school time when I was out living in a tent and doing my research on island populations of garter snakes, I drove friends, family, and coworkers mad with my lack of knowledge on some things. These things being like where I planned to sleep for the night. I had my truck, I had my tent, and I didn’t necessarily need to know which campground I’d visit that night or which couch I’d crash on. One night while working in the ED one of the other nurses asked where I was staying that night. I told her I didn’t know yet. It was 9pm, I didn’t get off work till 11pm, so I still had time to figure it out. She was mortified by my answer.
Here’s the thing, there was zero stress on me about figuring out where I was going to sleep at night. There were always campgrounds available all around Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. I knew where the more hidden ones were and never had trouble getting a tent site for one night or a few days before I headed back out to the smaller islands to continue my research. Other people might find that horribly stressful, but I didn’t.
As for what will happen once I launch into the agent/publishing realm, I haven’t a clue, and that is OK. I see it as a coming adventure where I don’t know where I’m going or where I’ll end up or how I will get there. It’s just details at this point. No point in stressing over the unknowns. That crap will make you crazy, and I have enough crazy stored up already.
Image by sxc.hu
This past Saturday I made my trip down to Boston to the New England Book Festival awards ceremony. Burnt Mountain Rhyllia, the 4th in the 5 book series, received an award for winner of the SciFi category of the festival. I am beyond ecstatic!
I had a wonderful time at the festival and met several great authors from around the US. To see the list of all the winners in the 2016 New England festival, click here.
The most notable thing that I learned a few months ago about these awards, and also conveyed to the other winners there on Saturday during my wee acceptance speech, was that these awards, including honorable mentions, are a big deal. We wrote a work that we put into a contest for critique and to be compared to other works. To come out of that process with an award is exactly how an author obtains critical acclaim.
I had never previously considered myself a critically acclaimed author, but that’s exactly what these awards mean. I am thankful for the patient person that pointed this fact out to me and even took the time to explain it to me a second time, and more slowly, to make sure I understood. Once that sank in, I realized how much I’d underestimated my previous honorable mentions. Never said I was smart!
So during my wee speech, I relayed this reality to my fellow winners, most of them first time winners and also those underestimating the festival’s significance. A publisher in attendance thanked me after the ceremony for reiterating what she had been trying to get her client, another award winner that night, to understand. Cool stuff for sure!
Photo above by another winner, Jared C, with my phone, Jan 2017.
The 5th and final book of the series is out on Amazon and I have print books on the way so I can do signed copies…unfortunately not in time for Dec 25 gifts. But they’ll make great early 2017 gifts!
Stay tuned for a January event where I’ll be publishing a guest post on this website from friend and fellow author, Joel D Canfield.
Everyone have a safe and happy holiday season, whatever holidays you choose to celebrate.
I’ve been reading a series of posts by Steven Pressfield, and one from this week talked about the hero of his story and the hero’s muse being a cat. It’s a great read – here. With the muse (or the universe or your higher being or whatever you choose to call it) being the source of creativity, inspiration, etc, I’ve been thinking about the who or what in my life might be a representation of my muse.
Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have any earth-shattering epiphanies about that yet. Perhaps it’s the dog and his excruciatingly high-pitched squeaky tennis ball he is repeatedly crushing with his jaws as he runs around my desk while I write this.
One thing I know it is NOT… social media. This week I deep sixed my personal social media account. To do this meant sacrificing some visibitlity of these posts and info about the books because most of those friends and family on social media weren’t otherwise linked to the books’ website or fb page. Honestly that was the only reason I had the personal page in the first place.
I began noticing over the last few weeks odd things happening on my personal account that I did not appreaciate occuring by means of said social media tapping into my phone contacts and such, so I terminated the account. It’s been a rather freeing experience. I was never one to spend all my time perusing media feeds, but I certainly spent more time wasting on it than I should, especially when the time could be better spent writing.
With that distraction gone, I’m thrilled. I think by eliminating that distraction, I may have opened up another gateway of creativity. This morning a new story idea landed in my head, which is great timing since the final book of the Burnt Mountain series is written and close to being released (I know I keep saying that….sorry! Still waiting for the final book cover files to be sent to me. New cover artist = amazing work but not wicked fast).
So with a new potential story in play for a new hero, new setting, and new bad guys, I have a new project to work on in the additional free time I created by eliminating personal social media.
Image from sxc.hu