Crazy Busy = Upcoming MIA Blog Posts

(in best speaksey voice, complete with wiggly eyebrows) Regarding those upcoming blog posts, yeah? Wells, here’s the scoop.

I have this great day job with a local provider of higher education and this is the time of year when multiple graduations devour students and their time. As one of those administrative persons who assist said students, it is also that time of the year when my time is gobbled up by panicked students facing various final projects. As I am there to help talk them off the ledge, my next couple of weeks will be dedicated to their graduation success, therefore blog posts and personal writing time will be set aside.

This is not all bad. In fact, next week will see Chapter 4 of Conjuring Misery, the joint endeavor of myself, Camille Douglass, and Dave Benneman. So be sure to tune in next Thursday for that delicious indulgence of magical fantasy.

And then there are the following exciting upcoming events

  • The highly anticipated release of TOUCHED BY FATE, the second PSY-IV Teams book on 5/24/16 (go forth, pre-order your copy!).
  • Hang on because I’ve finally gone for it—jamigray.com will be getting a make-over. Yes, indeedy, we are sprucing up the place and adding a little polish. I’ll try to give you a date when I get one. This time, it’s not me behind the changes, but the talented staff of Hot Damn Designs and their fearless leader, Kim Killion, who are coming to my rescue.
  • I’ve joined forces with Goodreads and set up a giveaway of 3 autographed print copies of HUNTED BY THE PAST, to celebrate TOUCHED’s release! Go forth and throw your name in the hat!

So while I may miss a post here and there to the everyday chaos, I do promise things are happening!

Advertisements

Herding Cats #planning #writergoals

Did you enjoy Conjuring Misery? Don’t miss out on Chapter 2 when in rides into town on a weary steed next week. Until then, time for an update and reasons why I’ve been quiet and shall continue to be quiet this year. Let’s be honest, juggling the writing, family and work things takes concentration.

herding-cats

I’m still scribbling away on the newest project in a mad attempt to be ready to offer my humble writings to agents and editors in summer.

The cover art request is off to the cover artist for Touched by Fate, the second installment of PSY-IV Teams. I promise to share once it’s done. Hopefully this means a release date is imminent as well.

The next item on my To-Do list is revamp my website. I’m excited about this, but I don’t have a set month when this will happen because, well, life seems to eschew schedules lately.

I’ll be roaming the halls of the Romance Writers of America’s convention in San Diego in July. I hope to see some of you there!

Continual installments every two weeks of Conjuring Misery, as the trio of contributors have committed to keeping to the timeline on threat of painful torture involving peanut butter and a wild pack of Labrador Retrievers. (Don’t let the big puppy eyes fool you, they are vicious lick monsters!)

Once I return home I’ll begin the next writing project, which will be… (drum roll, please!) the fifth Kyn book tentatively titled, Shadow’s Dreams. Remember, tentatively means I get to change my mind any time prior to publication. For those curious minds, I will confirm that this is Cheveyo’s story. He’s gotten quite impatient with me, so before he turns me into a gila monster, I must acquiesce to his demands. This gives those of you who may be behind in reading the series a chance to catch up. I’m aiming for an early 2017 release date, but that all depends on a whole metric ton of other factors, as we found out with the delay of Touched’s release.

So stay tuned for Touched by Fate’s cover and hopefully release date. I’m thinking of doing a Goodreads giveaway of the print version on Hunted by the Past to help spread the word once Touched by Fate is ready to go. If the writing fates smile upon us, we may yet get PSY-IV Teams third title, Marked by Obsession, out by end of year as well. Fingers crossed!

Hope everyone is gearing up for the summer and has reloaded their To Be Read (TBR) lists!

When Plans Go Awry… #writing #planning

My Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor is a wise man. Most of the time. One of the reasons he and I are who we are together is because we share opposite personality traits. I am a planner. He rides the waves. He’s very good at it. Right now, I wish I could emulate him and his ability to go with the flow, so I wouldn’t be clawing my way out of a hole of frustration.

An off-road traffic sign post over a clear blue sky showing an alternative direction - a clipping path is included to separate sign from sky.

Here’s the deal–I have…err…had a plan for my writing, one that is currently not happening the way I anticipated. This plan has nothing to do with sales or name recognition. This was a simple plan of production. I would get two books out per year. I’m not sure that will happen this year. In fact, my frustration with my plan veering off course has left me questioning some decisions. But that is not the true point of this post.

The actual point is: it doesn’t matter how good your plans are because the only thing you can do is your part, the rest isn’t up to you.

Are you clutching your stomach or hair right now? Yep, so am I.

I managed to get the second and third PSY-IV Team books in to my lovely publisher by my self-imposed deadline to ensure I maintained a 2 book per year release schedule. However, due to things outside of my control and ever chaotic world of publishing, that’s not happening. It’s heartbreaking and stressful, to the extent there’s been this little gray cloud hovering over me for months, and dammit, I’m tired of carrying an umbrella. So I’ve come to the painful decision to step back and let things happen as they will. It isn’t easy for me, because as I mentioned earlier, I HAVE A PLAN DAMMIT. Unfortunately my plan is obviously not what Someone Else has in store for me.

Instead I have chosen to focus on the newest project and keep moving forward. This includes the upcoming serial venture with my fellow word warriors, Camille Douglass and Dave Bennemen, for CONJURING MISERY in April, completing the newest book so it may go forth into the wild world of agents and editors, and then it will be on to Cheveyo’s story for the fifth installment of the Kyn, which is still penciled in for a 2017 release. The two PSY-IV Teams will be coming, just not as soon as I had hoped. However, I will keep you posted on release dates as they are determined.

If you’re struggling with plans gone awry, I feel your pain, but unlike my Knight who can glide through the rough waters with ease, I can only offer my deepest empathy and this: you can only do what you can do, the rest will come as it will. Have faith!

What Do You See in the Ruins? #writerinspiration #photography #ruins

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a very visual person. So much so, in fact, that my previous writing group, lovingly pointed out that I tended to ignore the other senses available to my characters. To this day, it’s something that lingers in the back of my mind as I’m furiously writing my scenes.

Every writer goes about inspiration differently, but I have two major art forms that I use–music and images. Don’t believe me? Check out my Pinterest stuff. I’ve got images and music for almost every major player in my series. Both form resonate with me, always have and probably always will. I could offer a bunch of reasons (I grew up playing five different instruments, my first college degree was in photo-journalism and hiding behind a lens means you don’t have to adult and talk to people) but what it boils down to is that either form will bring my imagination to life.

Music is the easier one for me to fine most times. Granted the music doubles as a muffler while the males in my household dominate the electronic gaming arenas, but it also serves as a soundtrack to over-riding emotions of whatever scene I’m in.  Fight scenes get fast tempos, heavy base, and sharp notes. Emotional scenes rely on melodic chords of strings. And the sex scenes–well depending on what’s happening you can get anything from driving club music to intense orchestral soundtrack type montages, if you dare to sneak a peek. My writing play lists can go from light and happy to disturbingly dark, much like my writing.

But images, those are harder. When I write I tend to visualize an entire scene and replay it, frame by frame. When something causes my fingers to stumble, I’ll rewind, adjust, and hit replay. Again and again until it’s right–in my head and on the page. But it’s when I delve into research that images really come in to play.

Ancient ruins

Let’s take the current book I’m working on. It’s set after the world has gone to hell and humanity is barely hanging on, civilization as we currently know it, is a glorious history. Besides the in-depth research on economic impacts on society, climate changes wreaking havoc on the familiar, how fast viral diseases can sweep through a dense population leaving devastation in its wake, the emotional impact of surviving to live, what happens when the lifeblood behind our electronics is severely limited, I found myself on the hunt for what the world would look like. The buildings, the cities, the outlying areas, everything we take for granted now.

During this exploration I ran across a stunning collection of 24-year old photographer from Ohio, Johnny Joo (pronounced ‘Yo’ per his website). I spent a few years behind a lens, not anywhere near what a true photo-journalist or photographer has dedicated to the art, but enough to appreciate the talent these individuals have. Johnny specializes in what’s called urban exploration–basically he’s the Indiana Jones for urban decay. You can read all about him at his awesome blog at Architectural Afterlife.

The reason I mention Johnny is because I’ve been on the hunt for images that will breath life into my setting, and in his photos I’ve found it. When I stumbled across his blog, I spent hours (literally) going through his galleries, taking in the juxtaposition of clinging vines twisting through the remains of hospital, or the eerie living room that looks as if its owner stepped out for groceries in 1970 and just hasn’t come back. While his architectural photos were just what my writer’s mind needed, his nature portfolio was just as stunning. Not only is his talent obvious, but there is a heart there too. If you love sunflowers, you need to check out his Nature gallery under Summer, and if you decide to take some sunflowers home, know that he donates the proceeds to a beautiful cause that he details in his gallery.

I would love to share his pictures here, but I think it’s better experienced on his blog, so go there: Architectural Afterlife.

By the way, I found out this fascination with abandoned places is called Ruin Porn. The term made me giggle, but it’s fairly accurate. There is something compelling about these images of the familiar left abandoned. It’s as you can see the history and the future in one perfect moment. All the intents of the initial creation are there in the original bones, yet the truth of what lies ahead holds you in morbid fascination, leaving you unable to look away or not wonder on the what ifs. Ruin porn is a good way to describe it.

Johnny’s not the only one who documents such sites, there’s also Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre who have a fabulous series on Detroit and abandoned theaters. Well worth checking out.

A Life Truly Lived #teacher #writer #friend

I’m veering into the personal with today’s post. Earlier this week I found out that a dear friend passed away unexpectedly, and while my heart breaks for his family, I’m still reeling from the news. Death is not a stranger, I wish I could say it was, but it has dropped by with uncomfortable regularity in the last few years. This time, when it departed, it took with it a life well lived.

Bob

Bob Hamm had two unending passions: his wife and three girls, and education.

If you knew him, you were left in no doubt of his love for his wife of 37 years and his three beautiful girls. He was a beaming poppa every time his girls conquered another challenge or captured a goal. He was an unending well of optimism and quick to share a laugh. He was someone I could talk endlessly with about story structure and English grammar, and not ever worry that his attention would wander. I did have to keep my use of exclamation marks in check, and was always careful to double, and triple, check comma placement or verify the correct verb tense usage.

The man was the epitome of a teacher. Not just because he taught high school English in such a way that it left lasting impressions (we’re talking years and years later impressions) on the minds under his tutelage, but because he believed in forever being a student of the world we live in. He traveled the globe, he picked up pieces of art that spoke to him and lovingly collected maps that told our history in lines and wiggles (at least to my untrained eye). He recently shared that love in his book, “Becoming Oregon”. In his downtime he played in the earth, intent on nurturing Mother Nature’s leafy children, was an avid environmentalist, and remained an untiring champion of education.

While Bob and I met through work, it wasn’t long before I counted him as a friend. Even though my heart breaks at his departure, I treasure the example he unknowingly set of living a life well lived, and loving every minute of it. While it is always difficult to say good-bye to those who leave such lasting impressions, it is our responsibility to share their legacy.

Our loss is heaven’s gain.

Until the next journey, Bob.

–Jami

Cutting the Cord #budgeting #writerslife #tv

I can remember the joy of watching a TV that weighed as much as a Mini-Cooper with a screen the size of a normal Amazon box while chowing down on my fried chicken TV dinner nestled in a foil tray (because microwaves didn’t exist in every kitchen). Changing the channel required leaving your cross-legged stance on the floor, walking five or six steps, clicking the actual channel knob (no remotes!), until everyone agreed to a show, then resuming your spot. At home stereo sound wasn’t even an option unless one of your parents figured out how to jerry-rig their hi-fi speakers from the turntable. Hi-def pictures wasn’t even a sparkle in someone’s eye (I think), and 3-D was only available if you were lucky enough to be part of Star Trek and their holo-deck.

Yeah, I’m that old peeps.

tv

So, when in the process of stream-lining our familial budget, we began to pinpoint areas where we could cut back, imagine our surprise when we realized that one of our higher bills was our DirectTV.  There was a time, years removed from the TV dinners and rabbit ears, when I considered a cell phone an exorbitant luxury, because I had to pay my rent (which included basic cable) and landline phone bills. Oh have the times changed, because I no longer have a landline, my cell bill is arrogantly sitting in the number one spot on our “to-be-budgeted” list, and right under it, wearing a gleeful smile, is our cable bill.  Both of those little buggers are about to have a come to Jami moment.

Always work from the bottom up, and when Knight and I began to re-evaluate our expenditures, we noticed something new. We don’t watch live TV any more, not really. Granted, I’m a news junkie so yeah, in the mornings before I brave the Mad Max freeways, I’ll get my hit on the morning news reports, but other than that, nope, we were watching shows we recorded earlier. Not only were we watching recorded show that are easily accessed via such helpful things like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Fire, which we already have, our teenagers were consistently enthralled with their phones. In fact, they tend to watch those inanimate objects as if they’ll disappear the minute they looked away. When asked what has them so captivated, it was no shocker to hear “videos of our shows”.

Right then, so why shell out money if no one in the house is paying any damn attention?  Our DirectTV is a silent leech attached to our house, chuckling to itself at our expense. It makes decision to cut the cord much easier. So, we’re in the process of replacing the mini-satellite dish with a good, old-fashion over the air antenna (yep, they still exist).

Granted, I won’t be able to watch the latest episodes of the shows I love, but really, I wasn’t doing that already. Besides anticipation does a body good, right? There’s also the side benefit here that by removing the temptation to veg out in front of the idiot tube perhaps other things will happen, say more writing getting done, or perhaps we might regularly interact as a family, complete with actual conversations and everything!  Oh, imagine!

(Tossing away the cut cable cord and dusting off my hands) Now that I can cross that one off our list, what’s next? (Gives evil grin to cell carrier) Oh yes, this shall be fun….

When Your Imagination Kicks Into Overdrive #family #writerslife #parenting

I ran across this little article some time in the last week that took a brief ride through a mom’s mind as she tried to sleep one night from one of my favorite blogs, Scary Mommy. While it was completely relatable if you’re a mom, if you are a mom AND a writer, that trek turns into a journey of epic proportions.

Brain

I did my best to find a meme that captures this whole concept, but I kept getting swept into the torrent of memes. It’s a madhouse out there. If anyone finds it, holler at me. It’s the one that shows an unlocked door with the caption: What a normal person sees….gee, I left the door unlocked.  What I see…oh my god, did a serial killer sneak in while I was parking the car?

I’m not sure how many other parents who double as writers go through this, but my imagination can be a twisted, unhelpful demon of panic if I’m not careful. Let’s take an example from a few months ago.

Prankster Duo #1 ends up staying after school to complete whatever project/paper/assignment he has missed due to teenage brain fart, over-scheduled activity interference, or whatever that week’s excuse was.

Okay, not a problem, however since the parental units have command performances at other, distant locations with individuals who supply the funds necessary for keeping the bill collectors at bay, Prankster Duo #1’s ride options are limited to a specific timeframe.

What is a teenage boy to do with the free two hours this gives him when he has no access to a motorized vehicle? That’s the beauty of having a public library attached to the high school. Go forth to the hallowed book-lined halls and do that pesky thing called homework or (gasp) read something.

So I take my bow and exit day-job stage left, and begin my journey to gather up Prankster Duo #1. In preparation, I send a text. “I’m heading your way, should be there in 45 minutes. Love you, mom.”

I’m cruising (okay, doing the stop-n-go that’s the norm for any freeway around here) my way down to my son. My phone stays strangely silent. Not even a “K” comes back. The paranoid writer-mama mind begins to perk up. I beat it back while playing frogger on the freeway.

As I pull into the school parking lot, the familiar messy mop of hair complete with headphones is no where to be found. Panic knocks on the door.

Now, I know that a white panel van doesn’t cruise around the block near the high school. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly certain our neighborhood is fairly safe, which is why we moved there. But even though the logical half of my brain reminds me of all the reasons why we choose this area, there is another part that dwells in the wicked world of what-ifs and it isn’t playing nice.

As a matter of fact, as the minutes tick by and pile on to one another and my texts go unanswered, it’s getting down right mean. Scenarios of all the things that could happen to my precious teenager start to play in my mind, totally ignoring my attempts to shut it down. In the meantime, I’ve reached out to his younger brother to make sure he didn’t end up going home. Nope, Prankster Duo #2 is home doing homework, his only company the Fur Minxes. I check with my Knight in case of possible updates. Nada.

Locking down my trusty motorized steed, I began to hike into the library, and as I step up to the doors, the familiar tangle of curls and headphones appear, and the tauntingly cruel grip of “what-ifs” disappears. The explanation: the cell battery is dead, sorry! Once my heart resumes normal speed, we’re back to our regular programming sans commercial interuptions. Yet, that nasty bugger Panic sticks around, making sure to leave an impression before completely abandoning the scene.

This is what it’s like for me. Maybe because I have the dual whammy of being a parent who writes in darker genres, but man alive, sometimes it’s a real stress inducer having an over-active imagination.

Still, I figure if I can survive the teenage years, the remaining won’t be quite so bad.

Right?

Getting Out of My Own Way–Sabotaging Your Creativity #writing #creating

Sabatoge

A couple weeks back as I began to really work on my newest book project, I found myself struggling to get the story on the page. It’s not a new challenge, hell, it’s not even unexpected. Every time I start a new book, I spend the first few weeks stumbling around, bouncing off of weak character motivations, lame plot devices, boring world setting, or any number of things. It’s gotten to a point I expect a rough start to any book. The problem this time? I honestly thought I’d bypass all this gut-wrenching, stress-inducing madness since I actually plotted the series and the world. (See previous post at end of January)

But nope, all that planning was great. For the series arc. For the actual first book? Not so much. In the end, do you know what I realized? While the series has a fascinating, comprehensive plot arc, filled with all my twisty turny things I like to do, the first book was lacking a….

PLOT.

*hanging head* I know, I know. How on earth does this happen, you ask? My answer: I was too focused on the big picture to realize the first book was too general, more of a hastily sketched picture versus a detailed collection of lines. And this realization didn’t hit me until after I spent days struggling with the following:

  • My Hero had no reason to give a damn about anything happening around him. There was nothing for him to be vested in.
  • My Heroine needed a reason to be in the picture at the same time as our Hero, so they can do what they do best and takes us for a heart-pounding journey.
  • My world was leaning too far into the weeds of details. Details readers don’t really want, but as the author I needed, just not in my actual pages going before readers.
  • My world details were so precise they were becoming bigger than the story, which meant I was getting frustrated because I could barely get my characters across a scene without wanting to scream.

Frustrated, heart-broken, and worried I’d made a huge mistake taking this story idea on, I whined to sought out my fellow writer and bestie for help. In fact, I was so inside my head, I came up with a completely different story idea and got all excited about it, claiming it would be my next project.

And like the true friend and writer she is, after kicking my ass around, she (with all the love in her heart) told me, “This new idea? Yeah, no, change the names, change the setting, and it’s just like your other series. Stop being a scaredy-cat and get back to your project.”

Oh the agony, and the resulting shame because she was spot on. Seems when I’m cornered creatively I revert back to what I consider “safe”, and that’s a big no-no for me. With every book, every series I create, I try to stretch my skills, try things that scare the ever-living crap out of me. This new series is no different. There is no paranormal or magic to fall back on and the world is harsh and brutal, but exactly what the story must have to be.

I swallowed back a couple of whimpers, then pulled up my big girl panties and went back to work. Strangely, as if her reality slap had knocked my creative problem solving out of the rut and I got out of my own way, the first book’s plot came together and my initial excitement for the series returned with it.

So my lesson for the week: When fear and self-doubts start to shove you around, step back and out of your own way. Don’t worry about trying something new and failing, because that tumble will show what not to do next time. Get back up, knock the dust and mud off, and look around. You might discover a new path or two to take. You never know what’s waiting down the road.

 

Me, My Husband, and His Invisible Friends–A Writer’s Domestic Life with a Gamer #writerlife #gaming #humor

Today’s post has nothing to do with writing. Correction–it flutters around the edges of my writing life, but the star of this post is my Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor and his Invisible Gang of Game Domination.  As I write this, I have my headphones on and music pouring in, but it still does nothing to drown out the harsh battle cries behind me.

Invisible man

Those who’ve trailed along my blog for any length of time, understand that I am outnumbered in my humble abode. To the point I had to bring in the Fur Minxes to even the gender scales. With my beautiful, female labs at my side, we manage to hold off the tide of testosterone. For the most part.

Except for the Digital Arena of Epic Battles.

My Prankster Duo has graduated from the dignified world of architectural design known as MineCraft, and have joined my Knight on the bloodied sands of battlefields that stretch from fantastic worlds where cries of “Gank him! I’m going mid! Where the hell are you?” ring through the air, and more modern urban settings where abrupt calls of “He’s got a mini-gun, RUN!” echo off bullet-ridden structures.

This has become the soundtrack to what writing time I manage to carve out during the week after returning from the trenches of my day-job. Most of the time, I can drown them out. Then there are those times when I’m trying to gain the attention of one of the three males in my home, only to realize I’d have an easier time trapping a leprechaun at the end of the damn rainbow and mugging him for his pot of gold.

Those times are when Knight’s Invisible Gang of Game Domination get the most fun of eavesdropping into my life.

For years, I’ve teased my Knight that he has invisible friends, and he has no idea if the voices he’s conversing with really belong to a group over the age of eighteen. According to my Knight and the tinny cries coming from his headphones, they hold paying jobs, are above the age of twenty-five, and at least three (could be four) of the five have significant others. (I maintain the right to my skepticism until I see a real flesh and blood bodies attached to said tinny voices.) Which means, that the conversations they are getting the privilege of listening too, should not be a big surprise, right? Right. Because I can’t be the only frustrated significant other out there.

The Invisible Gang have played audience to such fascinating conversations as:

Me-Knight? *crickets, which requires I up my volume of delivery* KNIGHT?

Knight-I’m in the middle of this.

Me-Are you going to die? Because if death isn’t imminent, I want an answer.

Knight-*fiercely focused on dual screens, while a bunch of small figures rush around on something straight out of Lord of the Rings*

Me–*waving hand two millimeters in front of his face, as he dodges to continue chasing unicorns or whatever* Seriously? Do you want to sleep on the couch tonight, because I could strip and dance naked in front of you and it wouldn’t matter would it?

Knight- *quick glance to me with cheeky ass grin, then right back to chasing evil, demon infested unicorns, or maybe they’re apes riding unicorns? Who the hell knows.* You do know the mic’s open and they’re all listening in?

Me-*sighing heavily, because I’m well aware after years of this that there is an entire invisible horde in my house* Hey guys, hurry the hell up, I need Knight to empty the garbage.

Or our most current scenario regarding the importance of logging receipts.

Me-*growling in frustration as another undocumented charge appears not to have been logged in our financial tally sheet* Knight, where the hell is the receipt for your mid-day meal consumption?

Knight-*holding back an invading horde of trolls in dresses* What?

Me-*trying hard not to wrap my hands around his neck and shake him* Where…is…the…f*&^ing receipt for (insert local eatery name here)?

Knight-*swears under his breath, then curses at the screens before finally saying–* I don’t know.

Me-*knowing the Invisible Gang is listening* Perhaps you might want to WRITE DOWN what you spend, dear? *add in heavily edged sarcasm*

Fast-foward to later that day as Knight and I are getting ready to head out to dinner with friends.

Knight-*taking leave of Invisible Gang* I’m heading out guys! * a pause, followed by a guilty look my way* Um, yeah, I will.

As we head to our chose transportation, I ask, “You will, what?”

Knight *muttering* “The guys told me I’d better make sure I get the f*&^%ing receipt.”

My response–a very satisfied smile. Lesson learned achievement-UNLOCKED. Next step-Mastering.

Those are a few of the milder versions of conversations. There have been heated exchanges between Knight and I while the Invisible Gang adds their two cents. Most of the time their two cents comes along with teasing digs and sly humor. It’s one of the reasons they’re still breathing (if they are alive). A quick, sharp wit is appreciated in my household, whether you’re on this side of the headphones and mic, or the other. And because I have yet to figure out how to reach through the internet and strangle those on the other end.

There’s one particular Gang member who loves to taunt the writer about reading her books. Yes, I see by the horror on your face you understand the depth of his crime. He’s yet to learn it’s a dangerous to tempt someone who could put you in a book and inflict more dps than anything he’s faced on screen. (Dps=damage per second, not Dept. of Public Services, I know, I know.)  Or maybe our author’ll bypass the book and go straight for the weekly blog! I did warn you!

All in all, as much grief as I give the Knight and his crew, I’ve seen the memes and texts they exchange, and must admit there has to be something more than AI on the other end, and they’re pretty frickin’ hilarious most times. If there were closer than say the other side of the country, we might even get together in a  real world environment (gasp)! As a writer who can live in an entire universe in my head, I really have no room to toss pebbles at the glowing computer monitors, but it’s fun to do. Of course, they don’t even notice because they’re too busy chasing unicorn riding apes, dominating dress-wearing trolls and speaking in tongues to notice the house burning to ash around them. At least until it interferes with their internet connection, then the world shall truly end.

 

 

Setting it in Stone #plans #goals

As I am wont to do each new year, I sat down to figure out just what will I be doing during this year of 2016.  Granted, I’ve discussed (ad nauseam) my book plans–work on new project through April and probably into May, break for a month, start on the fifth Kyn novel, then fourth PSY-IV Team installment. Yet, outside of writing, what happens next?

For those who follow along, you were there for my Summer of Marketing experiment in 2015. It was a blast and worked really well for hooking new readers on the Kyn series. However, for all that went into it, bottom line, the return on investment (outside of new readers) was minimal. With that lesson under my belt, the old adage of “if you want to succeed as a writer, write” gained even more weight.

Marketing is necessary, but it’s a pain in the ass. However, at least now I have solid plans when it comes to releases. And yes, I’m still waiting on release dates for the next two books in the PSY-IV Teams for 2016. I promise to share once I have them.

While buckling down and writing is the key goal this year, I do have a couple of appearances I’ll be making:

  • Another GoodReads giveaway once HUNTED BY THE PAST is available in print (which should be soon)
  • The Tempe Book Festival in April
  • Attending RWA in SanDiego in July

Other plans include:

  • Revamping my website about mid year, which may mean a few less blog posts up to that point.
  • Kicking off a unique story with my compadres in the writing trenches featured solely on our three blogs (more info to come when the details have been fought over hammered out).
  • Writing
  • More writing
  • Stalking Acquiring an agent
  • My monthly stop in at the Writers Fun Zone with posts of varying natures

Now that I’ve set my plans down in written form, I am bound to complete it.

Just so I know I’m not alone out here, share the one big thing you want to accomplish this year. That way, you’ve put it in stone, too, and have eliminated any possible escape routes.