Posted in book news, Marketing, The Currents, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized, Writing & Publishing

January Recap & February Goals…

From the writer’s desk.

I always said that I wanted this blog to be a window into my corner of the world. So, this year, I’m trying something a bit different with the blog. Along with various articles, I’m going to share some of my process in creative living. I’m big on motivation and inspiration here, but I admit that there is also another side to this way of living and that includes setting realistic goals and getting the work done.

January was a month of resets for me. It didn’t quite feel like the fresh start it normally does. This is perhaps because there were still some big things looming over the newness of it all. There was, for many, still a great deal of anxiety and unclear direction with how to deal with life. The world has changed and it seems that there will never be a sense of normal again. It has me questioning what will be normal as I figure out my own next steps. I didn’t hit all my goals for January. However, I did make some hefty progress and get a sense of direction that I desperately needed.

Work on the new series is coming along nicely. I’m about to the stage where I can start developing the cover art and deciding when to release it to the public. Before I do that, I’m going to make some changes in my process and try to use feedback from pre-release readers to make it better. More on that later though.

In the meantime, I’ve started a sale over on Amazon for the ebooks of the Slauson Cove Series. You can find it here on my Amazon Author Page. And be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Mewe if you would like to get the play by play on promotions. Ebooks are on sale for $4.99 right now through February 14, 2021 at Midnight.

I’m still learning how to navigate all the promotion parts that Amazon has. But, hiring a PA to handle that side of the business isn’t in the budget. So, I’ll flounder about until it is an option and figure it out as I go.

February feels a bit different for me. I’m full of ideas, optimism, and looking into virtual options to interact more with readers and other writers. The idea of a YouTube channel hasn’t left my brain yet. I am just not that comfortable on camera and I am too critical of myself when I edit. So, I think that if I do it (at all) it will be more of a vlog and livestream option to involve myself in building a virtual community to talk about creative things, life, and maybe review some products. Thinking in terms of write-a-longs, maybe a virtual writer’s retreat could be an option. We’ll just see. I’m brainstorming that still.

Also on the list for February is:

  • get some merch together for Slauson Cove to offer online
  • get stock in for signed copies you can order through my website
  • I also need to get a PO Box or mailbox somewhere so that I can send and receive packages easier.
  • Book more in-person events for the year to promote books
  • Get new signage and business cards in for those events
  • And of course, sell some books, get some new reviews, and do some promotion for the work out there.
  • Finish my 2nd draft for the new series and create some promo & teasers for that.
  • Also start outlining for a personal development book that I’ve had an idea for.

Yep, it’s a busy and short month to get it all done in. I also still have course work to finish. We’ll see if I can tick those boxes off this month. Right now I’m motivated. It is keeping that momentum going that gets tricky.

Do you have any tips and tricks for helping to stay motivated?

Posted in Lessons Learned, Reviews, The Currents, The Writer's Life

Planning for change…

In an effort to be transparent, I might have a slight addiction to stationery and planners. They are my most-purchased items when I go to the store. I have wishlists on my Amazon dedicated to pens, notebooks, planners, stickers, journals, and the like. I’m a girl who is more excited by a gift card to Staples, Office Depot, or Hobby Lobby than I am jewelery. I know, many will find this strange and unusual. I also know that I’m not the only one out there.

I’ve spent the last week sitting down with some of my tried and true planning products to consider goals for this year and how to reach them. I want to write about my goals as a matter of keeping a record, but I also want to give my fellow planner addicts and those who are looking to get more organized my recommendations for tools based on what works for me. I’ve tried so many over the years that I know I can give you some great feedback on these. I’ll likely also do a video review at some point in the future as I pursue another goal. Right now, I’m not an affiliate for any of these products. They are simply honest recommendations based on my personal experience.

There are two major considerations for me when I choose a planner now; functionality and cost. As a student I need something that is affordable and will also allow me to track all the things that I need to for my schooling, business, and life in general. I need a planner that serves as a place to document life and creative efforts while also being easy to use and take with me. I personally prefer a pen and paper planner to a digital one. I love my iPad and I have experimented with a digital planner but, when all is said and done, I keep going back to the paper versions.

For the creative focused with plenty of time on their hands, nothing beats a BUJO. Bullet Journaling is the epitome of cusomized planning systems. There are no hard and fast rules for it. It is also probably the most affordable at the minimalist level to get started. I adored the versatility of this and honestly, if I weren’t so busy, I would keep doing my own because it is a hybrid of journal and planner that you create with a simple notebook and pens. Sure you can embellish with washi tape, stickers, and stencils. There are some awesome artistic examples out there. And if you search on YouTube there are loads of tutorials. Some of the best notebooks I’ve used for this have been the EXCEED brand that I’ve found at Walmart for about $7-$9. But you can also adapt any notebook you choose for this purpose. The biggest con for me was the amount of time it took to set it up and actually do the planning every day. I decided to find something that already had a basic usable structure for my use.

Another affordable option that is highly effective in terms of goal setting and task management is maybe a surprising one. Momentum Planners by Productive Flourishing (found here) was a surprising find for me. The price point of $18 gets you a digital, full-featured, printable planner that will help you stay motivated to reach those goals by tracking progress on tasks. They are minimalist in design focusing more on function making them great for people who like a less artistic approach. This one works well for business needs, academics, and even for writers. This allows you to get a year overview of your goals, break it down by quarters, then monthly, weekly, and finally daily. The pros to this system are a big list really. What I would take away is that you have the ability to make changes as needed without all the erasing, white-out, and correction tape. Simply print out a new blank page. The form-fillable PDF also allows you to keep things neat despite character limitations in most fields. They do offer a printed and bound version of this in limited supply at the end of the year prior. For my money, I like the PDF and being able to print what I want. I use this one as a worksheet to get the goals down, actionable, and generally keep a relevant copy of the yearly, quarterly, and monthly printed and with my other planners.

I’ve used the Erin Condren Life Planner for years. However, recent experiences with their customer service and delivery have really ruined a great product for me. So, while I find it useful and stylish, I think this will be my last year investing the $60 in this planner. It has served as a way for me to do a bit of goal setting, planning, calendar keeping, and memory keeping. But I am looking at other options for 2022. I’ll post about those later. The Life Planner is great because of the customization. There are different layouts to choose from and custom covers that are personalized. I have a number of these and I admit that I will be sad when I’m not using them anymore. Space for reflection and goals was a plus for this year’s edition. But that $60 price point is a little steep in my opinion.

As a daily planner, I’ve been using the Daily Passion Planner. I have to say that I think this is a great option for someone who likes the BUJO but needs something that already has a structure to embellish if they’re up to it. The compact sizing is great for on the go in a purse or backpack but also gives ample writing space by putting a great layout for schedule, goals, tracking space for mood and emerging ideas, and still giving the opposite page in a dot grid for journaling or lists as you need them. I feel like this will end up being a go-to for me. It has a yearly and monthly calendar along with a prompted check-in and goal worksheet. While it hasn’t replaced my usual journal, I do feel like this gives me a more focused idea of where my time goes and thoughts on various projects and ideas for changes based on how the days go. The only drawback I’ve found is that the book is designed to last 3 months, not a full year. However, they offer a buying discount if you get more than 3 at a time. So, that helps. Plus Passion Planner in general has free printable downloads so you can try the format first. They also give a planner away for every one that is sold. So, it’s a win-win in my opinion. I know plenty of start-ups, artists, and students who can use that help. Monochrome makes it easy to print off a version of your own if purchase isn’t an options. You can find them here at Passion Planner. They do have a larger format Annual version that may become a go-to for me in replacement for the Erin Condren product though. Definitely check them out.

I admit that, being new to the iPad, I’m not familiar with digital planners and I’m open to options if you have suggestions for me to try. Given some of the changes in plan for me, I might find them useful. So, I’d love suggestions for those that you use and love. I’m juggling multiple goals this year including writing new books, writing the blog, and a full-time course load with school. So it is important for me to keep myself on track. What planning methods do you use to keep yourself accountable and on track for your own goals?

Posted in Reviews, The Currents, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized

The Writer’s Wishlist

The same question comes up every year about this time. “What do you want for Christmas?” For those who get excited about the gifting part of the holiday, it is a good question to know the answer to. And if you’re one of those people who has an aspiring author in your life, it can be hard to get them to give you an answer to that.

Personally, there aren’t many people that I exchange gifts with every year. I typically stick to the family for budget reasons. I also know that I am likely a hard person to buy for aside from the typical notebooks, pens, and fun drinkware that are common. Part of the reason I’m hard to buy for is that I usually get what I want for myself. If there is something I really want it is just too expensive to expect (and in many cases accept) as a gift. It’s not like I’m 13 and asking Santa for that new Macbook. I’ll get it one day, but it’s likely going to be a Christmas to myself sort of purchase.

What I want to do is give you a few items that will be useful to the writer or even the students in your life.

TECH RELATED IDEAS

We all know how technology-focused our society has become. We rely on our phones, tablets, and laptops daily. Even when we unplug for the day from social media, the phone is nearby, an e-reader is commonplace, and maybe a gaming system comes into play. So here’s a top pick for tech gifting for writers that won’t break the bank. It will, however, require you to know a bit about their preferences.

A good pair of headphones. Sounds simple, right? I have my eye on some airpods or the pro version. There are budget friendly options that I use all the time though. I have a cheap pair of earbuds that I got at our local Walmart. I have odd shaped ears so I get the kind that have the ear loops attached so I don’t lose them. They’re less conspicuous when I’m out and about. However, I also have a wonderful pair of noise-cancelling over ear headphones as well. They’re by a brand called mPow Tech and they actually have great sound. These are Bluetooth and so wireless when I’m going back and forth with things but there is also the option of a 3.5mm audio jack to connect directly to your devices. The pair I have I bought about 4 years ago and I spent about $40.00 USD for them through Amazon. They’ve gotten a little beat up over the years using them so much. So, I would love to replace them soon. That being said I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase the updated version of them. Which can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Mpow-Cancelling-Headphones-Bluetooth-Playtime/dp/B082D6WV5B/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1YSJ3MVPB912N&dchild=1&keywords=mpow%2Bbluetooth%2Bheadphones%2Bnoise%2Bcancelling&qid=1606600066&sprefix=mpow%2Bnoise%2Bbluetooth%2Bheadphones%2Caps%2C269&sr=8-4&th=1

Another tech option would be a new keyboard. Writers are usually going to wear these out on a regular basis anyway. On a whim I purchased an 87 key mechanical that is wired for myself. It was a bit of a novelty in that the keys looked more vintage, like an old typewriter. I call it my clicky-key keyboard. I love this one. My only regret is that I got the one that was just the QWERTY and I didn’t get the standard layout with the ten-key instead. I use that keypad more than I realize.

I realize that I might be the odd duck, but when I am stuck for productivity and inspiration, I cycle through keyboards. I have an ergonomic split key and a quiet touch flat one. I also have a magic keyboard in the Bluetooth. Now, I’m waxing nostalgic and wishing I could find an old keyboard like I had back in high school; the old IBM ones in the computer lab at school. And I’ve had my eye on a new mechanical keyboard that is backlit. I think I would like the backlit ones since I get so much eye strain in the evenings. Just being able to put the lights low and have that glow would be a good thing when I’m composing.

PLANNERS & GOAL SETTING TOOLS

Let’s talk about planners. I’m an analog girl in this digital world when it comes to my planners. I prefer paper, pens, and highlighters to my iPad or phone any day. There is just something about writing it all down that helps to solidify the plan of action in my mind. Over the years I’ve used many different planners. My first was a daytimer back in high school. There are certainly more options today. From a $9.99 to nearly $100.00 for the year, you can take your pick of styles, customization options, or even DIY approaches. While I enjoyed the idea and practice of a bullet journal, I found it to be too time consuming and prefer something that has already got the form and function I need.

As much as I like, and have used, Erin Condren Life Planners over the last 10 years; I think I’ve spent my last money with that company for personal reasons. So, I’m looking into alternatives for 2022. I’ve used it in conjunction with another planner system to help keep myself on task for my personal goals. So I may just invest in a good binder next year instead and switch entirely to the Momentum Planner by Productive Flourishing. For $18 you get a fillable PDF Printable that is a full year of guided planning that really helps to break things down. While not as aesthetically appealing as the more feminine-branded Life Planner, it really makes up for it by being super functional and customizable.

Alternatives that I would also consider is Passion Planners. They have a great design for people who need to track time as well as goals. And I would also consider the Dreambook & Planner by Dragontree again. Their holistic approach is really a game changer and gets you to dig deep to find purpose and passion in your life while also walking you through the goal setting process to be successful.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

DESK & SPECIALTY STATIONERY ITEMS

I’m working on a long term personal project that will help me bring some personality to my workspaces. I wish I had room for a corner desk with more worktop space for notes. But, I’m working on being organized in the spack and desk that I do have access to while also being a bit more aesthetic as well. I’m sure many other authors can relate. Decorative tastes change over time. For me, they’ve gone from being dark and broody to being much more light and feminine. So, I’m looking for things in rose gold, creams, teal, and aqua to complete my space so I can use my own pictures in the future. Not to mention this new obsession with flamingos. (I have no idea why.)

So think about things that can brighten their space. Desk organizers are a great start. Pen cups, post-it holders, novelty paper clips, and binder clips. Think about new artwork as well. Paint them something yourself or find something from a local artist. Consider gifting a new cover for their favorite chair, file storage boxes, or novelty file folders. I’d also say to consider a large magnetic dry erase or corkboard as well. These can help tremendously as storyboards that are reusable. And I have my eye on a simple one that is a monthly calendar with corkboard space at the bottom as well.

PERSONAL & WEARABLE

There is a common problem for writers and office workers everywhere. We spend more time at a desk, usually in a chair, staring at a screen, and doing repetitive movements all day. Many of us deal with eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and back issues over time. A good desk chair is an expense that most writers will put off because it is expensive. I’ve found several inexpensive things that have helped me over the years.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

A good seat cushion. Something with support where you need it. As a bigger person, these wear out fast for me. So, it is always a struggle to find one that will really support with comfort and still hold up over time. I personally look for something with sciatica in mind. Forgiving on the tailbone and yet providing some padding on the hips and legs. I tend to sit and lean forward in my chair, so something for support in the back is a good idea for me as well. I’m sure I’m not the only one with those issues. It’s a gift that adds comfort to an already long process.

Finally, two wearable items that have alloed me to be more productive and avoid the pain of headaches due to eye strain and alleviate the pain from carpal tunnel.

I found the first item at my local pharmacy. Compression gloves that were infused with copper were in that unique section where they put all the “as seen on TV” items. Now, I don’t know that the copper necessarily has anything to do with the effectiveness. All I know is that, I purchased them when I was having issues and they helped tremendously. These are a sized item, so you want them to be snug on your hands. Mine aren’t fingerless, but the tips are gone allowing for ease in typing or using my touchscreen devices. Not every writer will need the compression and a nice pair of fingerless gloves will be a welcome addition to their writing sessions. There are some lovely literary themed options through a company called Storiarts.com. They even make throws and totes that have printings of classic books. So they are worth checking out for the booknerds in your life.

The last item I will suggest is a good pair of blue-light blocking glasses. I’ll admit to dropping a pretty penny for a pair of these. While those glasses were a great product, the company that makes and distributes them was a nightmare in terms of customer service and the delivery process. So, I hesitate to recommend them. There are other companies out there though, other brands that are just as good. I found a three pair pack on Amazon for about $23.00 and even those have been a lifesaver on my eyesight.

So, there you have it. My gift guide for the wordsmiths in your life. I provided a link to the headphones above. However, I don’t use an affiliate link for those. I honestly have those and recommend that particular brand. They’re a heck of an alternative to the brands that are a couple hundred bucks. Maybe next year I’ll do an affiliate program for specific brands. But this year, I’m keeping it fairly general.

Whoever you’re gifting for this holiday season, I hope that you have fun and create some wonderful memories with the people you love this season. I know, I plan to.

Posted in My Process, The Currents, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized

Getting Back To The Basics

When I started my writing journey back in the 1990s I had no idea where it would lead me. All I knew, for certain, was that I enjoyed the process of creating a world that I, and others, could escape into. My life was turbulent in the best of times in those years. Writing became a way of coping with bad situations that I couldn’t control. It was a plus that people I allowed to read these early stories found them entertaining and full of promise. They enjoyed them and were encouraging in my efforts.

It has been a journey. I’m going to show my age for a moment.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The early days were simple. I wasn’t from a wealthy family who could afford early PCs for me to word process on. It started with notebooks and mechanical pencils or pens. My love affair with stationery started early and persists to this day. My other love was music. So when most kids were headed for the toy section or the new video games, I was found in school supplies and the music section. I had plenty of mixed cassettes from hours of listening to the local FM radio station waiting for favorite songs. I had a fair amount of studio-recorded albums too. But my favorites were the mixes that I got from friends and family who would put them together. My uncle bought me a walkman when I was about 12 and from then on, it became one of my favorite things. I could shut my bedroom door, put on my headphones, plug in a mixtape, and pick up a notebook and pen/pencil and I was set for hours. The real world went away for a while.

My grandparents eventually gave me a word processor. It looked like an electric typewriter only there was a small screen where you could watch your typing go across. It had a 3.5 floppy disk drive to store your work and then you could feed paper into the rollers and it would type it out automatically. It eliminated the bulk of the need for correction tape. And I would spend as many weekends as I could at their house happily typing away on it.

I migrated to a CD player when I started college in 1997. A small boom box that was enough to sit on my desk to help with drowning out noisy roommates in the dorm and portable enough to take home with me to use on the weekends I was off-campus. And eventually, my grandparents gave me a laptop. That first one must have been 3 inches thick and weighed in the neighborhood of 10 pounds, but I was ecstatic with it. Finally, I had access to Windows 95 and WORD. So began my preoccupation with writing software and computers.

Now, there are dual monitors for my PC, a laptop, and an iPad that I use for writing and schooling. My walkman and boombox are long gone, replaced by an iPhone and Amazon music. The headphones remain a steadfast necessity though. There are times I still need to drown the world out to get things done. I’ve held firm to my love of stationery though. Anyone will tell you that my biggest collection revolves around pens, highlighters, notebooks, journals and other desk paraphernalia. I write with Scrivener. Format with Word. And I’m longing to make the switch from PC to Mac lately. But, the process all begins with a notebook, my pens, and an idea.

The world is a crazy place. With lockdowns, virus panic, political turmoil, and all the rest, I’ve returned to the basics of getting lost in a world that, for me at least, is more hospitable and makes sense. I’m sure eventually these stories will find their way to others who would like to be lost in the place I’ve created.

Today, my Amazon music is set to a retro 80’s mix. Currently listening to New Sensation by INXS. I’ve got my writing buddy in his bed by my feet. I’m working on character sketches and outlines for a new paranormal series. It is time to embark on something fresh and new. That’s meant putting together a new “series bible” for reference and shifting gears in what I’m focusing on. Paranormal enthusiasts should like this series though. Yes, it will be fiction and somewhat sensationalized but it is also fun pulling from personal experiences working in the paranormal investigation field for so many years. And it’s also fun creating my own secret society.

Enough spoilers though. Time to get to work on it.

I do hope that you’re all doing well and making the most of this crazy season in life for everyone.

I want to do more posting here in the coming months. I would appreciate if readers would share the blog with others and comment if you have questions for me. Questions don’t have to be writing-related. Knowing what you’re all curious about helps me to know what to post about. If you want the scoop on the writing and publishing process, I can post more on that. But if you’re curious about hobbies or related product reviews, the paranormal experiences, or whatever, I’d be happy to do posts on those things as well. So, leave me a comment about what you’d like to see in this blog.

More soon! Stay sane and stay safe everyone!

Posted in The Currents, The Writer's Life

Welcome to 2019!

In every story, there is a point where the protagonist has an epiphany and things begin to take shape into something we are hoping for them. In romances, this is usually the part where the guy makes the turn around to go and be with the heroine so they can seek out their little slice of happily ever after. In mysteries, this is when a key clue comes into play and suddenly things start to become clear. You get the idea. The point is, I feel like I have crossed one of those thresholds in this book I call life.

Turning 40, entering a new decade of life, gives you pause to consider where your life is taking you. I know that I enjoyed seeing my family over the holidays. I also enjoyed seeing my best friend and being able to help her plan her upcoming wedding. There will be more of that via Skype this year as we get closer to her big day. My nieces are growing up way too fast on me. And all around me are constant reminders of a dream I once had of having a family and home of my own one day. However, it would appear that God had other plans for me. So, I’m looking at how to shape my life and accept that won’t be part of it.

Writing is, for me at least, a solitary life. I have my pup and I spend time with family but, I need to spend some time this year putting down some roots, branching out socially, and networking more. It occurs to me that to keep from becoming a total hermit in life, it is time for me to start living and doing more outside of the usual home and studio comfort zones. While 2018 was a good and productive year, it wasn’t until the last few months that I got out and really started mingling with people. That’s something that I want to change in the coming year.

It is time for me to start doing more to pay it forward. And I’ll be branching out into new creative endeavors. I’ve taken stock enough to realize that I have a lot more skills to use than just in writing. I think I’ll take on a few coaching clients and help others make their dream of writing and publishing a reality. I also want to put my performance skills to use and help put audiobooks together for indie authors as well. Let’s not forget the need for book trailer videos as well.

This means some changes here on the blog. I really want to have more fun this year and share that with all of you. So maybe you’ll see more about the little trips I take, fun times out as I make new friends and take part in local events. What I want to bring here is more happiness, motivation, and inspiration. That may mean I review more books, movies, or even post music that moves me when I hear it.

In that vein, let me just say that I’m really digging this new track I heard on the trip back from Kentucky. Maybe you’ll like it too.

Posted in The Currents

Welcome December…

My Nanowrimo effort fell off the radar early on in November. The truth is things became so busy that I didn’t have much time to write at all. However, the month was hugely productive nonetheless. It turned out that the bakery business part of my creative endeavors had an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. Our local town had its first annual Yulefest on the 1st of December. Festivities included vendors of arts and crafts, a breakfast with Santa for the kids, photo ops, a parade, the Christmas tree lighting, and a movie on the square downtown.

It was a perfect opportunity for us to get out there, meet the public, and let them get a taste of what we offer while also giving out brochures and letting them know; “Hey! We’re here!”

We had a ton of product. In fact, we made enough for a two-day event. Buckeye candy, fudge, 3 varieties of cookies, reindeer chow, and our Christmas popcorn were all on display. The gingerbread didn’t last long. In fact, we sold out of the mini gingerbread men and only had 6 of the larger cookies pictured at the end of the day.  Our Reindeer Chow was also a big hit with the crowd. People were coming back to buy seconds throughout the day. So, I’ll count that a win.

Now that we are past that event, my mind is back to writing projects. Preparations are happening for the next Armageddon Rising book. That’s my fallen angel series. You can grab the first installment here: The Fallen . I’m really excited about continuing this one and I have people who are waiting to see what Lou and Mistrael are really up to. I’m ready to explore this story arc again and I am already making outlines, adding new details about characters who have yet to make appearances. So there is a lot going on with that now that I can settle in and spend time focusing on it.

However, there isn’t much time between our little bakery extravaganza and the holiday trip we have planned.

This will be the first time in four years that I’ve been home with my family for Christmas. Now, family here includes my grandparents, my little brother, his girls, his wife, and momma. It’s overdue for me to be there. And it looks more and more like we’ll have a white Christmas given the weather reports. Mom and I are actually debating on what day we need to leave since we’re making the 16-hour drive through Arkansas, Tennessee, and across the state of Kentucky to our destination at the homestead. But I know that we’re both looking forward to all the hugs, laughs, and holiday traditions.

I’m taking my notes with me to continue working. I’m also taking my gaming materials so that I can run a D & D session or two with friends and family while I’m there. My brother is a gamer and always has been. I’m just getting into it really. But the kids will have fun since I’ll run something kid-friendly for them to participate an learn. My best friend and her girls are supposed to be making time to come and play as well so we can spend some time together.

Yes, good times are ahead of me. And I’m ready for some R&R while I’m there.

But there is also something about taking some time while I’m there to write in a place where it all started for me. In fact, my old school desk where I learned to write is in my room there. I’m amazed they still have it honestly. Not that I can sit in it anymore. My nieces sit at it now sometimes. And it’s good to see. But, the nostalgia of being at my grampa’s desk and writing in a notebook is definitely going to get those creative juices going again.

I’m also taking my pencils and sketchbook so that I can enjoy some art projects with my older niece. That reminds me, I need to finish this piece on the easel before I leave. I have a few gifts I’ve picked up to wrap up. And I know I need to take my new bujo to set up while I’m there.

I am definitely thinking of changes in the new year.  Turning 40 is definitely giving me a bit of a pause. I’m thinking this is a topic for another post but, I’m definitely thinking about life up to now and how I want things to change for me going forward. That means embracing spinsterhood and getting more focused on balancing day jobs, writing, social, and spiritual life. It’s trickier than I ever thought it could be.

More on that later though…

Posted in book news, Marketing, The Currents, Writing & Publishing

At Last!

I’ve been more MIA than I intended to be in the past month. Why? Well, it was all to bring us to the announcement I have to make today. Whoever said writing a book wasn’t a hard job was lying. When you are an independent author, you wear too many hats to count. But now all the formatting, editing, and scrutinizing is done, and we can move on to the next fun part of the process; letting all of you read it!

That’s right!

Beyond The Storm is ready and available for purchase on Amazon.com!

Readers of The Secret of the Storm are all saying, “It’s about time!!”

Elora Castain is back, and her life is more complicated than when she first came to Slauson Cove.

From the back of the book: Returning to Slauson Cove changed Elora Castain’s life in more ways than she could have imagined. Just when she thought things were settling into something reasonable, her life was turned upside down a second time. Walsingham Manor was built for families even if the locals thought it to be the source of trouble in town. Now, on the cusp of settling into motherhood and bringing her own family to continue the legacy, a new and powerful storm is brewing. Elora, once again, finds herself in the middle of an investigation into the murders that are piling up on Detective John Erickson. What begins as a consultation turns into an interrogation as strange symbols and her name come up on the victim’s bodies. Can she stop another killer? Did Eric Aldred inflict an unbreakable curse on her before she was even born? Can she, or what family remains, survive what is brewing in Slauson Cove? Find out in Beyond the Storm; new fiction from Anne Belle. Don’t miss this long-anticipated sequel to her debut novel; The Secret of the Storm.

 

Now, I could say happy reading and leave you to it. However, I could use a little help in getting the word out there. So there are three things I would like to ask of all of you:

  1. Tell me about your favorite avenue for finding new books. Do you follow a book review blog? Is it through friends-only recommendations? Or do you find them on social media? I would love to get in touch with some blogs and other internet avenues to guest post or otherwise solicit reviews.
  2. Once you purchase and read it, leave an honest review on Amazon. Those reviews, searching for our books, sharing the links… these are simple things that can help indie authors like myself reach more readers who would enjoy our book babies. If you haven’t followed me on other social media like Facebook or Twitter, please do and help me out by sharing the good news.
  3. If you are part of a book club or associated with a library, feel free to get in touch with me by email. I’m happy to offer and/or coordinate group sales of all my books. Also, I’m keen to get involved in Q & A about them if your group would like. This can be accomplished with video chat or conference calling that I can arrange easily from my studio here in Texas.

All that being said, I am going to be posting a bit more about this but, I’m also gearing up for other projects as well. The next book is being researched, and I’m planning to relaunch Ether Realms Media in mid-November. So be looking for news about that soon!

We’re also closing in fast on the East Texas Booktacular event in Henderson, TX. Tickets are free but limited. You can find all the information here: Booktacular Event.

I hope to see you there! Stop by my table near the entrance and say hello. I am waiting anxiously for the arrival of paperback copies at this point, but I plan to have limited quantities available for purchase there.  Just in time for a good Halloween read! Who doesn’t love a good ghost story this time of year?

Posted in Marketing, The Currents, The Writer's Life, Writing & Publishing

Ready? Set? …………Go!

We’re finally here! The week where everything starts for me.

It is surreal to me that so many things have begun to fall into place after years of working toward it. Yet, that is exactly what is happening. I could not be more excited about this or the fact that I get to share it with all of you.

So Saturday April 21st I am going to be in Conference Room 2 at 12:15pm CST to do a presentation called “Writing The Paranormal”. 

I am really excited to be attending my first convention. That it is close to home is a plus but, I see many more of these types of appearances in the future.

I have always loved having the opportunity to meet readers and fellow writers. Being able to talk about the books and upcoming releases is a highlight for anyone in the creative industry. We love to hear when you’re excited about something. It will be a fantastic event with a lot of really amazing opportunities. I hope that if you are in the area you’ll get your tickets and come see me at my booth.

So Click Here for all the details on the conference.

By the way…. SamBee’s will be supplying me with free cake pops so, you should come by and have one when you get your copy of The Secret of the Storm.

Don’t for get to go HERE and sign up for my newsletter to get your entry into the giveaway for the Collectible Print Edition of Exorcising The Past . I will also have tickets to fill out at the convention for an extra entry. Our first announcement of winners will be in my first newsletter on April 27th.

I am honestly thrilled and humbled by the opportunities coming up for me. This conference is a launch point for me. And there may just be some news about the next Slauson Cove installment so don’t miss the fun! I’ll be happy to sign a copy and take a picture with you if you come by.

 

Posted in The Currents, The Writer's Life

The Currents April 2018 & Goals

Welcome to April folks! The start of a new adventure and some really exciting things coming up for me. Conventions and speaking engagements abound in the next two months and I am loving every minute of this. I won’t lie. This feels right to me and I know that I am beating a dead horse with friends and family but, I need more of this. More time to focus on what I truly love and meeting the people who make it possible.

So I have decided to give you all a little look into my world in a series of posts on Monday to tell you what I’m currently reading, listening to, and what my free time is spent on. This seems to be what people want to know about authors after all. So, who am I to keep that info secret?

What I am reading?

Well, I’m finishing up Dan Brown’s Origin on my Audible at the moment. So far so good. I’ve been a fan of the Robert Langdon stories since I first heard of The Davinci Code. I understand readers desire for series work. It had been a long time since I’d read any of his work and picking this one up was like revisiting an old friend. I’ll have to review it when I finish it.

On my Kindle is a copy of a rather interesting little memoir piece by Peter Hockley called Four Nights With The Devil.  I’m fascinated by the stories of how people change spiritually and convert over to Christianity. It usually reaffirms my own faith in God and the belief that He speaks to everyone individually. Being met on our level and the spiritual path ahead of us unfolding in a way that we understand it, well, that’s an epic and life-changing experience. Again, I will have to review it when I finish. This one could spark a bit of a reflection for me though.

Musically speaking I have been leaning toward more instrumentals these days. Lindsey Sterling features heavily in my playlists for when I am writing. The addition of the mellow sounds of Josh Groban and Michael Buble interspersed with a bit of Norah Jones and Florence and the Machine.  My tastes are pretty eclectic. I’m sure that the preference may change with the week depending on what happens throughout the week.

Curious about anything else? Drop it in the comments and I’ll respond.

So moving on to goals.

I’ve decided to do Bi-Monthly Goals this time. Quarterly was just too much time to track these. So I’m shortening the scope of the list in an effort to actually be successul at it.

  1. Get my revised drafts out to my Beta Readers of the next release. (Yes we are almost there folks.)
  2. Post a minimum of 8 videos on the Youtube channel. Youtube is a challenge thanks to subpar internet upload speeds living in the country. I’m not the only one using our service so, I can’t be selfish with it. One a week may be all I can manage for now. I’ll go with it.
  3. Blogging 3 days a week. Yes, that means more check ins and more rambling for all of you to see.
  4. Book my first 5 video clients.  After making my book trailer video (You can see it here) I had a lot of people asking who I had create it. So, I’ve decided that I would like to start offering it as a service that people can get affordably for their own book or project. In fact, I am working on a couple to build my portfolio now so that I can show a variety of styles. If you are interested in having one done, see my website for more details.
  5. Complete the outline for Armageddon Rising Book Two. Yep, that’s the next big project. I still have plenty of research to conduct though.
  6. Tyler Paranormal Convention : Complete my presentation and make a sales goal I’m setting privately
  7. Geekend : First Author’s Panel and of course a private sales goal.
  8. Have 25 Youtube subscribers by May 31st.
  9. Get over 200 newsletter subscribers by May 31st.
  10. And Finally… Write another novella work for my Investigators from Exorcising The Past. I think I want to make this a regular thing for serial fiction.

There you have it folks! My 10 goals! Don’t miss the recap on Youtube to see if I met them. Yes, I’ll go on camera for that. Seems a good way to hold myself accountable.

 

Posted in Marketing, The Currents, The Writer's Life, Writing & Publishing

Excitement from the #authorlife front…

Where do I begin?

Maybe with Happy Easter!

To those of you who celebrate the holiday, like myself, may you find peace with the season and remember the reason for it. This year is a bit odd for me as it feels like I am personally going through a bit of a period of rebirth and transformation. I couldn’t be happier about this though. There is a real deepening of my sense of purpose, my confidence, and my optimism for what my future holds. I’m writing more, promoting more, and it feels like many things are finally coming together in my pursuit of the “Author’s Life” I’ve always wanted to live. So I’m celebrating all sorts of aspects and themes with this one. And I sincerely hope that all of you are as well.

Last night I was chatting with my best friend Deedra Mosely via Skype while I was checking messages and emails to make sure that all is confirmed for the events I have lined up for April and May. I was expecting the usual confirmation emails of my booth and so forth. That wasn’t to be the case. Instead of the “shout out” about the promo spot on their facebook which I got. I was also asked to do a presentation on “Writing The Paranormal” as part of the convention. The next thing I know, I’m on the schedule and just a teensy bit over-excited. Not good when I really need to sleep and go to the day job the next morning. I must have seen 1:30 or 2:00 AM because I was so wound up and brainstorming what to talk about.

I would love input and suggestions. What are questions that you’d want to ask your favorite paranormal and horror authors?

I get to bring a unique spin to this because I have actually worked with investigations and reseach for years. I’ve made presentations on the subject before. I started out back in the 90s and even founded a local group here before life got in the way of investigating. Not to mention my own priorities changed. I still consult for my former investigators when they need help and reach out but, things have been fairly quiet on that front for years now.  I can’t say that I don’t put experiences into my fiction work. But, you’ll have to read and see if you can pick out those elements for yourself.

Exorcising The Past is firmly planted in the horror genre. In fact, it is sort of a cross genre, if you will. I can’t take it out of the paranormal genre but I am certain that many readers will classify it as horror. I’ll let you judge for yourself though. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is available right now on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. If you do read it (and I hope you will) do a girl a favor and leave a review. You have no idea how much you can help authors like myself by leaving a review of whether you liked the work or not.

That being said, this presentation is much different. Before I focused on dispelling the myths about the field and actually giving information to train investigators in terminology and understanding phenomena. That’s a much different sort of talk. There will be plenty of presenters from active investigators and groups. I get to focus on how it influences the creative process and what inspirations it conjures up. I have a ton to consider before I take that stage and plenty of notes to make to take along.

If you have suggestions feel free to leave a comment or email me. You can find information in the contacts.

Oh and yes, I got my limited edition print copies in today and they look amazing! I’ll get pictures this weekend for another post. There is nothing quite like holding a book baby for the first time. I don’t think I will ever get used to that feeling.  You can get your hands on one of these numbered and autographed books soon. I’ll be giving away a total of 6 copies in the next 6-8 weeks.

How can you enter the give away? It’s easy. Just sign up for my newsletter. You should have seen a pop up box when you came to this article. If, by chance you already put your name and email in those boxes, you’re already entered. If not, you can sign up via my website as well www.annebelleauthor.com and under the News & Events tab you’ll see a drop down for the newsletter that will take you to a sign up form.

Additionally, if you come and see me at the table. I will have some additional sign up slips that will put you in a drawing as well. Follow me on social media for additional ways to enter. I’ll do two rounds of announcements and will require your email to contact you if you win.

Good Luck!

What else to tell you about?

Lots of content coming up in April both here and on my Vlog/Podcast. I have a whole calendar set up with topics and when to post what. So I’ll be busy this weekend creating content and getting it ready to go.

If you are in the area and coming to Tyler for the conference I would love to meet you. So stop by my booth to pick up a copy of my novels. I’ll be more than happy to sign and take a picture if you like.  Don’t miss my presentation at 12:15PM on April 21st. Comments here are a way to help me choose questions to address in the talk. Q & A time at the event will be limited because there are so many presenters lined up for this one.

Stay tuned for announcements about other events as well. This is keeping me hopping and I absolutely love it!

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.