I Went To California And All I Saw Was This Lousy Medical Mystery

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When we went to California in September last year, I snuck in a field trip to the Rosecrucian Egyptian Museum. Partly as research for one of the books I’m writing; partly because of my obsession with all things Ancient Egyptian.

We’ve been putting together our photos into a coffee table book – a great way to revisit our trip – and this one of the mummy Usermontu is one of my favorites – and as it turns out, a bit of a marvel, and I didn’t even know it at the time!

First off, researchers discovered that the mummy contained in the sarcophagus they’d acquired isn’t actually Usermontu. The identity of the mummy is still unknown to this day, but is still referred to by the original owner of the sarcophagus.

Secondly, and most surprisingly, it was discovered via x-rays in the mid ’90’s that Usermontu had a 9-inch metal pin in its left knee.

Initial thoughts were that the pin was placed there in modern times to keep the mummy’s leg in place, but further research found ancient organic resins as well as traces of ancient fats and textiles, which proved that the procedure was done 2,600 years ago, not in modern times.

So, I was pretty impressed by the mummy to begin with. Now that I know how much more remarkable it was under its ancient wrappings, it makes my trip to the Egyptian Museum that much more fascinating.

Breathe & Reboot

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I finally have a tiny breather between writing books & book edits for clients so I can squeeze in some work on my own stories.

Camp-Participant-2015-Twitter-ProfileI haven’t touched any of my own writing since January!! I’ve been pining away for my old stories so I figured taking part in the July installment of Camp NaNoWriMo would be the perfect motivation.

So, I’m back to working on Reaper Book 1. I’m working on the final quarter of the book but it has taken me some time to get back in the mode. I feel like I know my characters but after being away from them for so long, they are kind of acquaintances rather than being of my own creation so it has taken some work (and re-reading the book so far) to hear their voices again.

One way I’m getting back into the groove is with Spotify playlists. They really helped me get into the sci-fi/urban fantasy mindset on one of the last client projects I was working on so I have one set up for the Reaper book too.

Lots of Christian Death, Laibach, Ministry, Rammstein, Laibach, KMFDM, NIN, Ohgr, Download etc. You get the vibe…

It feels fantastic to be back in my own world for a while. I just hope the words come when I want them to!

Getting Patched

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I’ve wanted a ‘signature’ look for my website for some time now. Something creepy and cool. Something that would illustrate my love of writing and all things dark and delectable.

I have no artistic skills whatsoever so I knew there was no way I was going to accomplish this on my own. So after a bit of internet sleuthing, I found an amazing artist named Krysten Newby with an impressive portfolio including some killer examples of logos she’d done for various clients.

After discussing my ideas (and Krysten working with my budget, which was so fantastic of her!), she got to work and in under 2 weeks, she sent me back a couple of proofs to choose from.

BEHOLD! MY NEW BADASS LOGO!

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I feel like I need to wear this on the back of leather jacket. Or get it as a tattoo (sorry, Mom). I’m totally going to get it made into a rubber stamp or stickers or stationery…SOMETHING to show off this amazing artwork!

Anyway, I’ll be doing a mini redesign of my website so I can show it off and when I get some swag ordered, I’ll be sure to keep you updated in case you want to snag some.

In the meantime, be sure to check out Krysten’s website for any of your graphic design or illustration needs.

P.S. Krysten also does BEAUTIFUL taxidermy work!

In The Salt Mines

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So here we are, 5 months into 2015 and things sure haven’t gone the way I’d expected, writing-wise.

Remember back in January when I promised I’d write more, share more and and finish things? I’ve kind of stayed on track in that regard, but not in the way you think.

In January, I was flooded with a bunch of freelance projects all at once. 4 to be exact. Since work comes and goes so fleetingly when living the freelance life, I accepted every project and rearranged my personal writing schedule to accommodate them.

Let’s just say it only took me a few days to realize my own work was not just firmly pushed to the back burner, but totally thrown by the wayside.

It pains me, dude. PAINS ME not to be able to work on my own stories but right now, I have firm deadlines for paying clients and I just had to put on my Big Girl pants and deal with it.

I’ve learned a few things along the way, though…

1. I CAN ROCK IT!
In order to meet all these deadlines, I’ve had to up my daily writing game. No way around it. With some installments due on the same day, some in the same week, every other week, constantly for the past 5 months, I’ve been typing up a storm, guzzling coffee like nobody’s business and generally living the hermetic life. But little by little, I’ve seen my daily word count grow (sometimes almost hitting the 10K mark) and when I’m really in the zone, my productivity is killer.

2. IT’S ALL GOOD
So yeah, I may be devoting all these hours (and days…and weeks…) to someone else’s work, but it’s still practice for me. It can only make my own writing that much stronger.

3. ABSENCE AND THE HEART
It really DOES grow fonder! I’m DYING to work on my own books. I admit it…I was a bit stuck in my own work (finishing 1 novel, preparing to edit another, overwhelmed by both), but in this time away, little snippets come to me. Half-scenes, pieces of conversation, & cool twists I’ve been jotting down so when I finally have time for my work, I’m ready to hit the ground running.

I’ve had some of my highest word counts these past few months and I’m pretty proud of the work I’ve done. Not just the stories I’m writing, but the amount of work I’m getting done.

The lesson to be learned here? To keep up the same dedication to my own work as I’ve had for these other projects.

I am so not wanting for ideas. I have buckets of ideas just waiting for me to pay them a little attention. The only problem when I do finally have time to work on my own writing? Choosing which one to do first.

There are worse problems to have, so I’m not complaining. Just pining…

WHAT TO EXPECT

So, here are the projects I’m working on or that I hope to have out in the next few months

  • Lockwood novel: I need to finish writing the 2nd half
  • Reaper novel (Book 1 of 2): needs editing!
  • ebook Bundle: 3-ebook short story bundle, hoping to release it this summer
  • Secret Project: this one probably won’t be out for a while, but it’s going to be AMAZING! More details as they’re available

And that doesn’t include the serial, or the other novel, or…or…

Disappointments & Drive

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I’ll be the first to admit it’s taken me some time to get back into the swing of writing after the holidays.

Truth be told, after NaNoWriMo, I was spent, and didn’t even look at my book until January. I KNOW! How dare I?! But, after the dizzying madness of trying to get at least a good chunk of it written, I needed to step away from the computer for a while.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about writing. Trust me, I’m never not thinking about my books, stories and ideas.

Case in point, here are some of my plans for 2015.

WRITE MORE!
It’d be safe to say that’s a goal I have every day of the year but it doesn’t hurt to say it out loud.

And really, it’s a win-win situation, since I’ll have more stories for my readers while also improving my writing as I go. Score!

First on the list is to finish the book I started in November (another Lockwood story!).  About half of it is written and after spending the last week going over my original outline, fleshing out the plot a bit more, and reorganizing scenes, I’m ready to write the 2nd half. I’m getting into the meat of the book now too, so hopefully it will flow well and I can knock it out in a month or so.

SHARE MORE
Some things I just don’t share (like bacon…), but this year, I want to make a concerted effort to get my writing in front of as many new people as possible.

One of the ways I intend to do that is through serials!

I’ve been playing with a few serial ideas for some time now but I’m hoping things will come together soon (i.e. after brainstorming on the 3 different ideas, seeing which one grabs me the most) so I can get started writing episodes and hopefully have things ready for public eyes in the Spring.

I’m still debating how I’ll get those episodes out as well, so stay tuned for more info (or feel free to join my Newsletter for the announcement!).

FINISH THINGS
Okay, so I admit it – I get easily distracted by Bright Shiny New Ideas so this year, my goal is to get some of these novels finished edited and ultimately…published!

Seeing my fellow authors sending their autographed books out to Christmas shoppers made me realize I want to do that! So, with a lot of hard work, I hope to have a book out by the end of 2015!

NEVER GIVE UP
So, I know I never really talked about it publicly, but toward the end of the year, I decided to put my Patreon campaign on hold.

I hated to do it. I felt a little like a failure having to do it. But it had to be done.

I was stressing myself out trying to write all this extra content and also getting 1 new ebook out every month (which included book formatting, cover design, promotion, etc.) and always wondering if anyone was even seeing my work.

Since most of the extra content was for patrons, and I only had a grand total of 2, I knew that all this cool stuff was just hidden from inquiring minds.

I loved writing the little extras, though. The behind-the-scenes content, the inspirations, the mini videos. The coolest thing was getting feedback directly from my contest winners and getting their help choosing covers for the ebooks.

And if it wasn’t for trying Patreon, I may not have finally dipped my toes into self-publishing. I think that’s the biggest regret – I’ve fallen out of the routine of having that new ebook out every month.

So, although I’ve had to retreat & regroup, I still intend to resurrect that idea of the patron rewards in 2015.

I’m still pondering the details but the gist of it is I’ll probably be doing it all via my own website, and some of the perks (like Altered Words, to name but 1), I’ll probably be bringing back to my blog (which was how it started in the first place).

I don’t want to put barriers up between myself & readers. And I certainly don’t want to give up just because 1 avenue didn’t pan out for me. I just need to look at things and find a way to do them better

SO THERE!
So, yeah…those are some of my writing plans for 2015. Much of my work this year will be editing, but don’t worry – I’ll have new words, new stories, and new tales to tell as well. You can’t get rid of me that easy!