Multi-passionate writer, author and solo-preneur

Month: March 2013 Page 1 of 2

Easter Sunday

Well, this last week kind of went off the rails after we took Sasha to the vet on Wednesday, where we were told that it would take nothing short of a miracle to save her and that she’s probably only got about two months left. That’ll definitely put a damper on your day, to put it lightly. So the focus now is on trying to help her feel better and keep her quality of life up for as long as possible. Of course, we’re still praying for that miracle, because you never know.

At any rate, for the last few days I’ve only been as productive as I had to be, and Matt and I have both been spending most of our free time pampering and loving on our kitty. We’ve been taking her outside to enjoy the lovely weather, which I suppose to an indoor kitty is tantamount to going to Disney Land.

Yesterday was actually a great day, in spite of everything — I jotted down some scene prompts on note cards in preparation for Camp Nano, then after a Walmart run (the only unpleasant part of the day) we swung by the deli at Harp’s and picked up some fried chicken and catfish and had an impromptu early Easter dinner. On the way out of Harp’s, we met a lovely gentleman who had injured his leg in Viet Nam and wanted to share some prosthesis advice with Matt, which turned into an interesting conversation in the middle of the parking lot, as these things do.

After stuffing ourselves full of chicken and catfish (and fried potato wedges and coleslaw and dinner rolls), we spent the afternoon hanging out in the back yard with Sasha, Pete, and Matilda the turtle (Niblet and Boudica were both content to stay inside and snooze), soaking up the warm weather and semi-fresh air. After we came back in, I made a pair of earrings for a friend’s birthday, and then we got in bed and watched a couple episodes of Justified while I finished up this belt that I’ve been working on for about a month.

Today, we’ve had church, and some Easter candy, and I’m waiting for some boiled eggs to cool so I can devil them and we can have protein munchies along with more Easter candy, to balance out all that sugar. And then I will make some more jewelry, since all my tools are already out, while I catch up on my shows. We might take Sasha outside again at some point, and later on we will surely watch Doctor Who and more Justified (we were planning to watch The Ten Commandments, but apparently this is the year that they finally decided to stop showing it every Easter, for some reason). We could have gone to my mom’s today for a big family Easter to do, but I’m at a place right now (and I believe Matt is, too) where it’s just too hard to be the odd childless couple out on kid-centered holidays. It’s all just too much of an in-your-face reminder of what we’re lacking. But we’ve been enjoying our low-key, child-free holidays surrounded by our fur-babies and the freedom to act like big kids ourselves.

Tomorrow: Camp Nanowrimo kick-off, client stuff, and Sasha goes back to the vet.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Indie Author Spotlight: Nichelle Rae

Author Nichelle RaeToday the Indie Spotlight falls on fantasy author Nichelle Rae!

Nichelle Rae, fantasy’s newest author, was born and raised in Massachusetts. Her love for writing began when she was 14 years old and she wrote short stories about meeting her favorite music group at that age. She received so much praise and complements on her writing ability that it quickly became a passion of hers. Throughout the years she has gotten much praise from peers, professors, and professional author’s she’s had a chance to work with about her writing and her ability to put emotions into text.

The White Warrior Series is her debut fantasy series she’s publishing as an independent author which will consist of seven books total. Nichelle already has begun three more fantasy series that she hopes to publish in the future after The White Warrior Series.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

This is a slightly complicated question. I always enjoyed writing from the day I realized people loved my work. But writing was always just something I enjoyed doing, nothing I really considered as career option. It’s taken years of praise and complements from a variety of people, peers and professionals, on my writing abilities to think it might be something worth pursuing more seriously. The moment I really made the decision to be a published author, was right after I sent out a sample of The White Warrior series to some close friends of mine. I was just looking for some critiques but the resulting excitement, and overwhelming praise really lit the fire for me to go after this; even if only to get my book out to these close friends of mine who suddenly wanted it so badly.

I guess there wasn’t really a defining moment of when I decided I wanted to be a writer, it’s just something I’ve always done and enjoyed.

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?

The easiest thing about writing, for me, is my characters. They come to me so easily it’s sort of frightening. I understand them immediately when I start a new story. I know how they will respond to situations and progress the story along with their reactions. This might sound super weird but I sort of build a relationship with them while I write. I come to care about them as people. I worry about them when they enter a situation that seems to be too much for them, and I’m relieved when they come out the other side of said situations. I legitimately fall in love with every character I create. I cry if they die and rejoice when something good happens.

The hardest thing about writing is marketing your work. It’s difficult to get the word out and have people listen. Fellow authors are usually concerned with getting their own writing out that they can’t pay much attention to other authors. On the same token, the general public isn’t going to listen to a nobody debut novelist. It’s hard to be heard.

Talk a little about your debut novel “Only a Glow”.

Only A Glow Cover“Only A Glow” starts the journey of Azrel, Rabryn, and Ortheldo across their land in hopes to save it from another age of the evil Shadow God’s rule. Azrel’s journey however, isn’t just across the land she lives in, but it’s a journey of healing and self-discovery that she needs to take.

It’s a journey of accepting who she is and to do something great with it. The end of the book isn’t just about whether she wins or loses the battle to save her world (though that’s still a huge part,) but also to see if she can overcome her own self-hatred and become everything she was born to be. Or to see if she will fail and destroy herself, thus the world becomes destroyed with her. It’s also interesting to see how she overcomes some obstacles and how she often fails at overcoming others.

How would you describe the success of your book so far?

Surprising! I’ve gotten some really stellar reviews in my email, in Facebook messages, on Amazon and Smashwords! I average about 3 – 5 downloads every day on Smashwords. It’s slow going but I was prepared for that. I understand that it takes a while for an unknown author to get on the radar, if I’m meant to be on the radar at all. If not, well, I love writing and I’m going to keep doing it because life doesn’t make sense if I’m not writing. Being successful at what I love to do would just be a bonus. I’m not doing it for the success; I’m doing it because it’s what I love. I will get all 7 of my books in this series out whether the world wants them or not, because I want them.

Can you give some tips for other Indie Authors regarding the writing and self-publishing process?

First, and the most important advice I can give from my limited experience as an indie author is this: While you’re writing your book and getting it ready to publish, find as many bloggers in your genre (even some that are not in your genre) as you can and become fast friends with them. Bloggers ARE the marketing tool for independent authors! You cannot get the word out about your book without them. Blog shop and blog shop a lot.

Second, when self-publishing a book you have got to read up on what is needed and required. Do your homework. That is the best advice I can give. Don’t jump into this blind. You could save yourself a lot of time and hiccups/issues. When I started going full force with getting this book out, I did it in 5 months, which is pretty good timing I think considering everything that needed to get done…which was a lot!

Finally, do your book your way! Get advice and ideas from people and successful authors but ultimately do your book how you want it done. Your uniqueness will make your book stand out and it will truly be your own. Make sure you are happy with it, not that anyone else is happy with it, because it’s your book, no one else’s. You have to live with it and look at it forever, so make sure you love what you’re seeing.

How can readers connect with you?

I am a huge Twitter nerd and I’m ashamed to admit it. I’m on every single day. Follow me Twitter and we can chat. You can also contact me via my website or you can just email me at Nichelle_Rae@yahoo.com. Thank you so much!

~~~

Thanks, Nichelle, and best of luck with your newest book!

If you are an indie author and you’d like to the Indie Author Spotlight to shine on you, click here to read the submission guidelines!

Going Camping

Project: Radium Town, the Steampunk Weird West adventure set in my hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma at the dawn of statehood and starring Will Rogers.

Writing stage: Research, world building and plotting.

What got done: Yesterday, nada, which was why I didn’t post an update. Matt and I spent the bulk of the day touring Woodward Park and the Tulsa Garden Center so he could get in some photography practice and build his portfolio (you can check out some of the highlights on my Instagram feed — those were taken by me with my crappy phone camera). He keeps using me as a test model for portrait shots, and hopefully one of these days it will be warm enough and I’ll be dressed cute enough and have my hair and makeup done well enough to get some usable author photos out of it.

Today I signed up for Camp Nanowrimo. The summer camp version lets you set your own goal, so I’m aiming for 30,000, which means I have to write at least 1,200 words a day, and I get Sundays off, as well as my birthday. Really, I don’t have a lot of prep left to do. I could flesh out a few more character bios, but I’m ready to start writing this thing. I’m just biding my time until April 1st.

UFYH: After I sign off of here I’ll go start a load of laundry. Woo.

Later: I have an Indie Spotlight article that I need to post later today, and Sasha has to go back to the vet for a check-up. And I need to try to wrap up a client project. Nothing too terribly exciting.

Lawd Have Mercy! Also, a New Cover for Restless Spirits

Guy-friendly cover of Restless Spirits by Jean Marie BauhausProject: Radium Town, the Steampunk Weird West adventure set in my hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma at the dawn of statehood and featuring Will Rogers and Tom Mix.

Writing stage: Researching, world building & plotting

What got done: Over the weekend I did a little more research into Tom Mix, and rounded out my cast with a couple of invented characters, including my requisite genius inventor and another BDD super agent, Madeline “No Mercy” Mercier, who will act as a foil to Betty. The part of Mercy will be played in my head by Sophie Okenedo (Queen Liz X to all you Whovians). And if you’re so inclined, you can see my whole dream cast, as well as research links and inspiration for costumes and setting on my RADIUM TOWN Pinterest board.

Today I used my writing time to publish the new cover I created for Restless Spirits over the weekend, which has gotten hearty approval from the guys who’ve weighed in. Upating the cover for the e-book versions on Amazon and BN.com was simple enough, but CreateSpace was quite a bit more involved. I also made minor modifications to the books themselves, including updating the cover credits on the copyright page and adding a link to buy Dominion to the end — a simple “No duh!” selling tactic that was nevertheless lost on me until I read a tip on it somewhere last week. A natural sales person, I am not.

C25K/UFYH: You know, we had all these lovely warm days in January and February, but now that spring is actually here, it’s cold. Yesterday we even had some snow. So the C25K thing is on hold until it warms back up and stays that way. As for UFYH, I didn’t do much over the weekend, but today I bagged up all the trash and recycling and took it out to the bins, and also bagged up all of the errant shopping bags that would take me far too long to fold and put away.

And of course I gave Sasha her meds. She’s feeling a lot better since the antibiotics and vitamins have kicked in, but there’s another suspicious place on her stomach where it looks like the cancer might have spread. We’re also giving her Interferon, and the hope there is that it will boost her immune system to the point where it will be able to kill the cancer, or at least keep it in check, without draining all of her resources. Poor kitty. She’s only 10, which isn’t exactly young, but it’s not old enough to have to contemplate saying goodbye yet, either. I think she’s tough enough to get through this, though, and I still expect that she’ll be around for several more years.

Cooking: Last night I cooked up the big spaghetti squash that I picked up on Friday, and used some of it as a noodle base for a Thai-peanut stir fry that I cooked up last night using ground chicken, shredded cabbage and a frozen stir fry veggie mix. It wasn’t exactly Pad Thai, although it tasted close enough, and it was a bit Sandra Lee what with the frozen veggies, but it was delicious all the same, and with the spaghetti squash I didn’t miss the high glycemic noodles at all. When I do cook I always make a big batch, so that’ll do for dinner for the next few nights; and the leftover squash is put away to serve as a pasta noodle replacement later this week.

Later: Client stuff. I need to keep my head down and get stuff done.

On the Versatility of Spaghetti Squash. And Some Minor Publishing Plans.

Today is groceries & Bible class day, so no time for writing. The grocery shopping’s done, and I stocked up on vegetables in an attempt to get myself back on the low GI wagon. I bought a big spaghetti squash to stand in for all the noodles I’ve been eating lately, and I actually picked out some recipes from my Low GI board in Pinterest and lined up a menu for the week.

I’m mostly looking forward to making (and eating) this Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai (or at least, my own version of it). For the leftover squash I picked up some pesto mix and I’ll just toss it with that and some chicken and Parmesan and pretend it’s pasta. This avacodo, cucumber and tomato salad is on the lunch menu. Hopefully this week will remind me that vegetables can actually be delicious and cleanse all that starch and sugar out of my system so I’ll stop craving it so much. Of course, not looking at Pinterest so often would also help with that.

Later: lunch, then client projects, then Bible class and giving Sasha the rest of her meds. Then we’ll get in bed and watch Justified. We started the first season last night. So far it looks like a keeper.

Weekend plans: I need to give my current book listings some attention and make sure all my author profiles everywhere are up to date, and I need to add some content to the pages of this here blog. I might do a new cover for Restless Spirits, since my graphic design skills have improved so much since the last cover, and also because I’ve been told by male readers that they loved it but were reluctant to read it because the cover is too “romancey.” I’m also thinking about experimenting with changing my pen name from my full name to just J. M. Bauhaus to see if that helps to lure in more male readers (and isn’t it a shame that that’s even something I have to consider in this day and age? Sigh. Boys.), but that might cause me to lose my reviews on Amazon, so we’ll see.

Ropin’ and Chewin’.

Project: Radium Town, the Steampunk Weird West adventure set in my hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma at the dawn of statehood and featuring Will Rogers and Tom Mix.

Writing stage: Research

What I accomplished: Today’s work was mostly passive research — watching some old clips of Will Rogers on YouTube to get a handle on his voice and mannerisms, and jotting down some character notes. That man sure did like his chewing gum.

C25K/UFYH: Cleaned the bathtub (thank you, Magic Eraser), laundered the shower curtain, and bathed the dog. I also need to bathe me, but I’m waiting for the shower curtain to dry.

Later: It’s a chilly, rainy day, so I’m going to be camped out here on the sofa with hot tea and an afghan and working on the list I posted yesterday and then failed to do most of because I was hormonal and sleep-deprived and those two things broke my brain. Although I did get started on mockups for one client’s website, and, you guys! I’m doing a website for a YA author’s vampire series and what I’ve got so far is SO PRETTY and I can’t wait to show it to her. And I’m so excited about this project I can’t even tell you. I need more SFF authors to hire me to do their sites because THIS is the kind of web design I truly love to do.

Getting Acquainted with Agent Blake

Project: Radium Town, the Steampunk Weird West adventure set in my hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma at the dawn of statehood and featuring Will Rogers and Tom Mix.

Writing stage: Character development

What got done: Wrote up a character outline for Betty. Started reading Green Grow the Lilacs (the play on which the musical Oklahoma! is based) to get a sense of early 1900s NE Oklahoma dialect.

C25K/UFYH: Gave Sasha her meds, then cleaned the toilet and attempted to reign in the ridiculous, out of control pile of used shopping bags that are stuffed behind the kitchen table. I started folding them into little “footballs” a la this tutorial. It took me a little less than fifteen minutes to fold a dozen bags, so, about a minute per bag. I think it will take about an hour or hour and a half’s worth of twenty/tens to get them all. Although I may just bag up the rest for recycling and be done with it.

Later: Client projects and then writing some long past-due posts for my design blog. Giving Sasha the rest of her meds. Writing an article or two for Demand Studios, if there’s time.

Update on Sasha Kitty

So we’re back from the vet, and it’s worse news than I’d anticipated. Sasha’s cancer is back, and so is the infection. She was dehydrated and running a fever, so they gave her some IV fluids and antibiotics and loaded us up with two different kinds of oral antibiotics and some vitamins.

The vet sounded hopeful and said she believes there’s a good chance that by taking care of the infection Sasha’s immune system will become strong enough to keep the cancer from growing and spreading, and then we can figure out what to do from there. And I might end up having to learn how to give her subcutaneous fluids to keep her properly hydrated. At any rate, we’re asking those in our circle who pray to do so for our kitty. She’s a tough girl. She came back from that surgery fighting and we believe she can beat this, too.

Achievement Unlocked: Found the Plot

Project: Radium Town, the Steampunk Weird West adventure set in my hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma at the dawn of statehood and starring Will Rogers. Now with bonus Tom Mix!

Writing stage: Research & Plotting

What I learned/accomplished: Found a more detailed biography of Betty Blake Rogers that gave me everything I needed, and the story started clicking into place, and now I have a general back story and plot, which is this:

At the dawn of the 20th century, strange things started happening. All over the world, ancient beings, creatures believed to belong to legends and nightmares, began to wake up and attempt to reclaim their place in the world. The first event happened in the UK, when faerie creatures declared war on Britain and her subjects. Other incidents in other locales made it clear that this was a pattern, and governments around the world began taking measures to defend humanity from these new, ancient threats, gathering together the greatest minds in the world to develop new technologies for fighting these creatures.

In the US, newly elected president Theodore Roosevelt, fresh from one such encounter on the shores of Cuba during what was officially documented as the Spanish American war, establishes a federal Bureau of Domestic Defense, an agency charged with identifying, preventing and preparing to deal with any such threat on American soil.

Shortly after returning home to Arkansas from a lengthy stay with her sister in Indian Territory, where she met and befriended a young rancher named Will Rogers, Betty Blake meets a Bureau recruiter and is offered a job. The seventh of nine children, all raised by their widowed single mother, Betty and her siblings have had to work their entire lives to help support their large family, a situation that prevented her from graduating high school. The Bureau offers her a chance to complete her education and, more importantly, a salary large enough to support her mother and younger siblings. It’s an offer she can’t refuse, and this quiet girl from Arkansas undergoes training that transforms her into a skilled and ruthless government agent.

Five years later, Betty returns to the newly minted state of Oklahoma, assigned to guard a man of science who has chosen the town of Claremore as the site for testing his new steam-powered oil drill, designed to drill deeper and faster than any other drilling method on the market. Claremore has been booming since the discovery of a wellspring of special water with curative properties a few years prior. Nicknamed “radium water,” this mineral water put the town on the map and made it a bustling tourist destination. At the time of Betty’s arrival, the town is even more packed than usual thanks to a celebration of the transition into statehood as well as the renaming of their county to Rogers County in honor of Will’s father.

Turn of the century ClaremoreWill himself, now a vaudeville sensation, has returned home for the festivities, accompanied by his best friend, Tom Mix. When he meets Betty again, sparks fly. For Betty, Will’s arrival is a welcome diversion from a boring assignment. But once the professor’s oil drill is put to the test and found to be a success, it’s time to pack up and return to Washington… that is, until the strange behavior of the townspeople belays those plans. All over town, people are behaving erratically, turning on each other and becoming violent for no apparent reason. Is there something in the water? Or could it be that the professor’s drill has awakened something deep underground, the very sort of something that it’s Betty’s job to prevent?

Dun dun DUNNNNNNN!

So that’s the story I’ll be writing, more or less. Now I just have to fill in the details and figure out exactly where it starts and how it ends.

C25K/UFYH: No, but I did get dressed in leaving the house clothes, complete with makeup and styled hair. I have to run an extensive errand this afternoon, so I’m short on time today. Although, if I don’t hear back from one of my clients with feedback on the mock-ups I sent them yesterday, then I might have time to go for a walk later this afternoon. Yesterday, Matt and I went outside to toss the football, and I was even clumsier than usual (which is saying a lot, believe you me) so I got quite a bit of exercise chasing after the ball.

Later: Have to take Sasha back to the vet, which is the aforementioned errand. We’ve been having to take her back regularly since her surgery to have the pocket of skin where the largest tumor was removed drained of fluid. It needs to be drained again, but it also feels like it’s hardening into another cyst, so we need to get that checked out. She’s also not gaining any weight, despite her healthy appetite, and she looks almost as anemic as she did before the surgery. Poor kitty. I hope we can figure out how to get her healthy again.

At any rate, the vet’s way out in Bixby, so this will likely take up a hefty chunk of the afternoon. Afterwards, if Client #1 has sent me feedback, then I’ll work on finalizing their design; if not, then I’ll go for a walk. And then I’ll start sketching ideas for Client #2’s YA book series website.

Showbiz Cowboys

Project: Radium Town, the Steampunk Weird West adventure set in my hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma at the dawn of statehood and starring Will Rogers. Now with bonus Tom Mix.

Writing stage: Research

What I accomplished/learned: On Saturday I went to the dollar store and bought a new notebook and a pack of note cards for research and plotting, and in the notebook I began jotting down a timeline of real life historical events relevant to my story and characters. In the biography of Will Rogers that I’m reading, I’m up to where he became a vaudeville sensation and joined the Ziegfeld Follies and started to get noticed by Hollywood, which is farther than I needed to go. I learned that Will was quite the world traveler at the turn of the century, and he was in England at the dawn of the Edwardian era, and I might be able to use that. I learned that he and Tom Mix were in a Wild West show together here in Oklahoma and were BFFs, and I can totally use that. I also learned that Betty Blake, the girl that Will would eventually marry, was quite different from the type of character I need her to be for my book (which I very much expected), and now I need to focus on figuring out how my alt-history directly affects her to the extent that it takes her from a quiet Kansas girl to a butt-kicking government agent.

C25K/UFYH: On Saturday we did yard work, and I mowed the back yard, which satisfied both my workout and unfussing requirements. On Sunday I did fargle-all but sit around in my robe and read steampunk short stories and watch Supernatural and knit, because last week tired me out more than I realized. Matt made a corned beef brisket and my robe was green, so that was our St. Pat’s day. ANyway, today I vacuumed the whole house and took out the compost. Later this afternoon I’m either going to go out with Matt to toss the football around or I’m going to go for a walk. Either way, I’ll get some kind of movement in, although I’m still not quite up to snuff on this whole C25K thing. I’m still waiting for the weather to become warmer and stay that way.

Later: I have design work to do for two clients, and quite a bit of e-mail to answer, and I need to work on lining up some clients for April so I’ll actually have time for Camp Nano instead of having to spend all day every day writing Demand Studios content. And then after dinner we’ll fall into bed and watch Walking Dead.

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