Sunday, December 28, 2014

Traditional vs Independent

As this year draws to a close and we all prepare for the new year I have been looking back over everything that has happened and it has gotten me thinking about my next steps. Like many I know I have been preparing my goals and resolutions lists for the coming year and on those lists there are the typical health and wealth targets as well of course as my professional aspirations. While making my list, which I have found posting them helps keep me accountable, I came across my list from last year.

At this time last year I was just as ambitious in my goal setting as I have been this year. I had all the bills set out that I was going to pay off, I lined up several 5K runs and set a number of bike rides to participate in, I had a list of submissions and drafts of writings I would complete and I was dedicated to getting my candy company up and running.

I love the candy and baking that I do but I found as the year began that my heart really was more devoted to my writing. It came more naturally and I found my passion lay among the pages not wrapped in chocolate. I still bake and make my desserts but it is definitely more of a hobby. I had planned to submit some my children's books but I am still stuck on how exactly to do that so that got pushed back and is now a side project for this year. And the book I had planned to write needs to be heavily researched and therefore I ended up working on a few others instead.

I did however manage to hold my first novel in my hands this year, published through an indie publisher Pure Ice. I never thought I would go the route of indie / self-publishing because I will admit I looked down on it. Anyone can write something and self-publish and that made me think of it as less than quality. I have even now seen numerous works that support that theory and I have not completely gotten past it. There are those however that I have found that take it very seriously.

These authors edit, rewrite, send out for beta readers and then rewrite again before ever considering pushing publish and those artists I have the utmost respect for. I have learned just how difficult it is as an unknown author to get your name out there. I joined the world of twitter, created a few Facebook pages dedicated to my writing work and have made this blog which I am not ashamed to admit I am still in the learning stages of growing.

So as I look forward to 2015 I have asked myself, do I plan to continue in this indie publishing game or do I want to try to follow the traditional publishing route? I have seen arguments for both and I can see each side very clearly. I have decided that I will actually be, at least in a way, attempting both. I have dreamed of doing a traditional contract for most of my life and I feel I do have pieces that would be good enough to be accepted. I also believe that what I have learned about self promotion would help in my ability to gain a contract by demonstrating my dedication to marketing.

I however would never want to leave the indie publishing world I have joined nor the friends that have been so instrumental in helping me see the larger publishing picture that I was too narrow minded to notice before. I have my charity series that will always and forever be through the inspiring Rock & Roll Saved My Soul. I could never walk away from that. My novels and children's books I hope will be a mixture of traditional and indie published works that I can one day promote side by side.

It is my hope that one day my notoriety will be enough that I can help others the way my newly found friends have helped me.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


I have been watching a show called Trip Flip recently where a Travel Channel personality named Burt wanders around convincing people to randomly say yes to adventures of a lifetime. I am beyond envious of the people on the show and it makes me want to go out and create my own adventures. I came up with the idea of starting an interactive adventure blog and youtube show that would capture me doing all kinds of interesting and challenging things around the world.

I wanted to involve the adventure of Trip Flip, the interactiveness of people challenging me like Man vs Food and my own love of travel and writing. I am not sure however if it is a workable idea at the moment seeing as how I have no start up capital to fund the trips and adventures though if I see I have a backing I will work on ways to fund raise and get going. 

I do have the heart of an explorer. I made a list of numerous activities I could do to get started and then would take on challenges from followers as well. Some of the things I have done but would love to do again include skydiving, snorkeling the Whitsunday Islands and Caribbean, surfing, rock climbing rappelling among others. I love to explore and want to experience things all over the world. There is, however, one glaring concern from family and friends in this endeavor.

I am tremendously ambitious but equally clumsy. Case in point is that just a few days ago on Christmas afternoon I went sledding for the first time in years. As I jumped onto the saucer for the first hill I felt the cold of the snow biting at me through my thin knit gloves. The wind dancing through my hair and I could see my breath coming out in puffs of steam. I also realized, much too late, that I could see a dip with an icy ledge at the bottom of the hill.

I attempted the maneuver any child of snow is taught at a young age, roll to the side then retrieve the sled after it stops. I was moving too quickly to make it off though and I hit the ledge on the right side of my body with brutal force. I lost my left shoe, hat and phone in the impact and then lost consciousness for a few seconds as well. I have a severe concussion and so am resting while I write. As I recover I question my desire to take on dangerous activities but they are in my heart and as I am writing one of my current stories it occurs to me that I can use the sensations I experienced from sledding as part of a car crash scene.

Everything in my life as always found a way to inspire another aspect as well. I am looking forward to getting some of my current projects wrapped up so I may take on the next challenge. Who knows maybe that adventure blog is still waiting in the wings.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Rescuers

I have been enjoying the holidays and the creative process of making my holiday treats for the past few weeks. I have spent time with family and friends while of course having to make time for the obligation of my jobs as well. Yet overall I can say it has been a wonderfully relaxing time.

Now I am looking toward the new years as most do when we reach the last week or two of December. I no longer make resolutions though I am always working on a list of goals to accomplish. I posted within the last week of some of the categories I focus on when making these goals such as health and wellness, writing and publishing and as nearly everyone I know financial.

The one I am focusing on right now however is the writing, editing, submitting and publishing category. I have dreamed for years of becoming a successful writer. For me that simply means I can produce quality work that people are interested in reading and it makes enough money to help keep me from having to work a second job.

I am proud of the fact I have completed three full length novels through the November writing challenge known as Nanowrimo. I feel more comfortable creating stories of that length though over the past year I have submitted for a few anthologies and even created a short story based on a character from one of my current works. I would like to do more short stories and collections in the future as well.

The short story Survivor that I wrote however was intensely personal and caused a very dramatic emotional breakdown. It was based strongly on the story of how I first got PTSD. What I went through I did not register at the time but having to relive it was a powerful and terrible experience. The novel involving Jasmine, the character in Survivor is called Sharing Strength and has not been completed yet. It is one of two I am working on simultaneously right now.

I have been in therapy and I have anti-anxiety medications I take when needed but I also have four wonderful secret weapons that help calm me down when I am struggling. Many people have therapy dogs, I have four beautiful therapy cats. They cuddle with me and their warm purring brings me back to earth. They are all rescues and my heart and soul. I will be relying on them deeply as I go into this book with the finish line in sight. They rescued me, who helps you?

Saturday, December 20, 2014


As a writer I can say that everyday has the ability to be a creative day for me. I make up characters, design stories and do my best to take readers on a journey with their heads as well as their hearts. I love that part of my life and push to be more involved with it each and every day. However it is not the only way I create.

When I was young I dreamt of being an artist. I wanted to sculpt, paint, sketch and build but as it turns out I have a dramatic lack of natural talent nor the eye for such innovations. I had a potter's wheel, paints and canvas as well as clay, easels, brushes even legos and an erector set but everything sat staring at me with no communication for inspiration.

I then took to the stage where while my lack of talent was diminished slightly in the realm of acting I did have a shine for dance. I studied ballet for many years while darling in various forms of ballroom, lyrical and jazz. I even had a few misadventures in tap though that one, quite happily for my parents, never truly caught on. Still it was a world I lived in for a long time and was happy to call it home.

While dance satisfied my performance art desires there was still the part of me that wanted to create something tangible. I needed to make something I could show off for my friends and family and that they could enjoy with me. That is when I got more into my family holiday tradition of making chocolate candy. 

I have been creating the basic solids and suckers since I was a very young. As I got older we taught ourselves to make cremes, peanut butter cups, chocolate covered cherries and my personal favorite to make are the caramel turtles. I paint with the different colored chocolate make the shells and fill them then create gift boxes for those that I love. As the years have gone on I have developed even more in my candy skills as well.

In the picture at the top there are two of my favorite creations, a three dimensional tree with each layer filled with a different type of creme or other surprise. The other is also three dimensional and is a sleigh complete with chocolate bows inside to represent presents. The last few years I have also gotten into tempering my chocolate to give it a better luster for presentation sake. 

What do you do to bring out your creative side?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Getting Ready for the New Year

As I have gone through the last few years I have been making goals instead of resolutions. I have made a number of them over the last two and I am proud to say that I have completed the majority of them. There are still a few however that have nagged at me and I am once again preparing my list for the year to come with those same goals.

The first thing I try to focus on as a goal is my health. I have suffered immensely in that respect. Numerous trips to the hospital, medications galore and stress breaking my spirit. One of the biggest things I need to work on is being active. I struggle to go to the gym because I need something to actually train for and not just get on a treadmill or try to just lift some weights without having a sense of direction.

I am a competitive person so I have definitely noticed that the classes are the better route for me to workout. With other people around me pushing themselves to complete the exercises, to add weight or increase speed I cannot help but do my best to prove I can keep up. I have found that picking things like the Spartan Race obstacle course or finishing the seventy five mile Viva Bike Vegas give me the drive to go harder and farther in my training. I am still pushing hard to lose the last of my weight, get toned and improve my overall health through the exercising and hopefully constantly working to eat healthier as well.

The other goal that I am adding once again is my financial one. I have chosen a number of bills that need to be paid off in order to secure financial freedom as well as be able to invest further in my writing. In order to make this happen I took on a second job over two years ago. I have mapped it out now though and I am deeply focused on making 2015 the year I achieve this dream and can finally get some time to work on my other goals.

The last and, for me, the most important one is getting more of my books published and getting more projects written. I have learned more than I could have expected from being an Indie author this year but I have always dreamed of having a traditional contract with a large publishing house and I am going to be making a drive to make it a reality this coming year. Rescue Me becoming a better known charity series is another check on the list.

What are some of your goals for the upcoming year?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Internal Control

Yesterday I wrote about my struggles to focus on my writing when I am constantly being distracted by other hobbies and obligations. I deal with this A.D.D. everyday and it can make my desire to become a successful writer extremely difficult. I do want to become a success and I am trying as hard as I can to make connections as well as set up events in order to make that happen.

While I have my obligations such as day jobs and my distractions like the hobbies I discussed yesterday I find that as I am staring into the tragedy that is my office I have even more concerns holding me back. I hope I am not alone in some of these as I may seek a writer support group after I am done.

Concern number one is simple, I am exceptionally unorganized. I will create a system that works temporarily but because I love to write in various locations at at differing times of day having the office set up a certain way becomes unnecessary and in many ways hindering to me. I enjoy a sort of organized chaos but it is difficult to manage and therefore evolves into a constant state of updating and I dedicate time to the files and organization of the office instead of my writing.

The second worry is promotion. I am still in the very early stages of learning how to best promote myself and my work and while I of course can craft words to convey a message, I am working as a writer after all, I am far better in person when it comes to making a connection. I have always enjoyed shaking hands, putting on presentations and even public speaking. I am a performer at heart and I can find common bonds well when speaking to people making them not only comrades in business but usually friends on a more personal level as well.

The last and greatest concern I face is the writing itself. Once I get past the time needed for promotion and I have my office in a working state for the time being I find myself lost in a sea of half crafted ideas and vocal characters all screaming from different stories to be heard simultaneously. I feel torn as I try to give each of them time and I write out the outlines and create project lists on my whiteboard. I read and research and when I sit down to work on one piece of another finally I find that inevitably that will be the set of characters that have gone quiet.

I am learning and I am working very hard to manage this but I wonder, do any other authors experience these issues as well?

Sunday, December 14, 2014


I have been gone for quite some time and so I am feeling a little lost coming back to my blog. I have wanted so much to write inspirational pieces and start dialogues with those that read my work but as I am still unknown I have only a limited reach. I managed to get through nanowrimo which is one of my favorite things I participate in every year. I successfully completed the forty six mile honor ride bicycle tour for injured veterans. I even managed to make all of my holiday candy.

It was as I was boxing up the candy and writing out my christmas cards that I had a small realization. I go through Facebook and see all of the writers I am friends with and they are sharing all of the writing and reading they are doing each and every day. I admire them for that. They are focused and dedicated to their craft in a way I feel I have not been. I post about seeing shows, doing rides and training for obstacle courses. I am always trying something new or talking to someone I have never met. I spend a lot of time on my hobbies and exploring new ones. I put priority on updating my house as well as completing random projects. And of course lets not forget that I spend a large amount of time dealing cards at two different casinos.

It is exhausting and makes me feel as though I am not cut out for the craft I love so much. I refuse to give up my training because being in shape and doing the courses is an accomplishment I hold dear to my heart. I need to jobs to pay bills and get ahead a little so quitting isn't an option at this point. I love my hobbies because they give me writing material but I have made the decision to limit the time spent on them so that I can push forward with my writing more. I am looking at conferences and conventions, more live events and any networking opportunities that may arise. I would love input from anyone that has attended such events as to what I should expect and the best approach I can use.

This picture is from a few years ago before I started working out. I was unhealthy and relatively unhappy. As scary as it is to look at for me I have to acknowledge that I am the one on the left. I hid away from the world as often as possible. I ate to kill my feelings and it took several hospital visits to make me realize the severity of what I was doing to myself. That picture was taken in Australia during a volunteer trip and a life changing event for me.

It was the first time I stepped out of my comfort zone in years and when I began to lose the weight and gain a little confidence is when I went back to writing. I had shelved a project for almost a decade convinced it wasn't good enough. It has now been published and was released earlier this year. It gave me an additional boost to keep going.

I train to stay in shape and maintain the confidence it brings me every time I cross a finish line. I write because it fills my heart. My goal is to be able to make it down to one dealing job and focus more time and energy into my writing so I can ear my additional income that way. It isn't about the money it is about fulfilling my passion but I need to pay bills of course haha.

I ask any of my friends that may read this to continue to share my work as well as my blog and start conversations that I may learn from and be able to grow as a writer. I want to create the works that you can't wait to read and I can only get better so please help me to learn. Thank you.