Multi-passionate writer, author and solo-preneur

Month: December 2013 Page 1 of 2

101 in 1001

101 in 1001In lieu of traditional resolutions this year, I’ve decided to put together a list of 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days. This is not an official 101 in 1001, partly because I’m not strictly adhering to the official rules, and partly because I don’t plan to track them publicly through the community website (although I will post updates and progress reports here). If you’d like more info on the official 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge, you can click here.

My version is mostly made up of things that need to get done that I keep putting off, although I didn’t completely neglect fun and personal growth. There are also a few goals that are about obtaining things rather than accomplishing tasks, but these are things that we need and/or will help accomplish some of the tasks on the list. Also, several things on the list won’t be doable unless/until our income picks back up, but with two and three-quarter years to get it done, I’m going to be optimistic.

So without further ado…

So Long, 2013. Don’t Let the Door Hit Ya.

So, 2013 kinda blew, and I can’t say I’m sad to see it in my rear-view mirror. I spent a lot of time doing the things I thought I was “supposed” to do–looking for a “real” job, doing low-paying and unsatisfying work to keep the lights on, marketing the heck out of a web design business that is becoming less and less viable as a business model (seriously, how does a small studio compete not only with the big design agencies, but also with all of the pre-made themes and cheap/free DIY solutions out there? The answer: not very well), and it didn’t get us anywhere. Well, the lights did stay on. And I did experience some personal growth, which you can read about here. But otherwise, 2013 was pretty useless.

Especially from a writing standpoint. I mean, it wasn’t entirely void of accomplishment; I did write some short stories, and experienced some much-needed growth in that area. But I didn’t write any of the novels I’d hoped to write this year. Heck, I didn’t even make good headway on one. It wasn’t just that I didn’t have the time, I simply didn’t have the energy. For a while there, it was like I forgot how to write. The story-telling part of my brain just ceased functioning, and when I did try, everything was crap.

With all of that in mind, for the New Year, my biggest goals are, one, to not allow myself to get distracted from the things that really matter. Instead of wearing myself out doing things that feel dutiful and responsible that aren’t really generating any income anyway, I’m going to try out this wacky theory that keeps getting put forward by successful people that if you focus on doing what you love, success will find you. And you’ll be a lot less cranky in the process.

The other big goal is simply to develop a daily writing routine and stick to it. Even if it’s only, like, 50 words a day. But it has to be fiction. Blogging and freelance writing don’t count.

I do have other goals. For one, I’m going to experiment with new ways to grow my fan-base (I’ll be doing a post in the next few days about how you can help with that) and increase book sales (because the more books I sell, the more time I can free up to write new ones).

This is also going to be a year filled with editing. You should see some new books coming out this year, but they’ll be books I wrote years ago and never finished (or started, in some cases) revising , as well as last year’s slew of short stories and flash fiction, starting with Shiny. I might also experiment with serializing one of those unpublished novels, but I’m still working out the details on that.

As for books in my “to be written” queue, that still includes the untitled Restless Spirits-adjacent-but-not-a-sequel paranormal romance, the other two to three books in the Damned series, the steampunk western Radium Town, and a Restless Spirits YA prequel that might become a series. If I can get just one of those drafted this year, I’ll be happy.

The keyword this year is “Focus.” And if y’all know me at all, you know what a huge challenge that is for me; but new years are all about challenging yourself, right?

Right. So what are your big goals for 2014?

2013: Blessing In Disguise

I’m not going to beat around the bush: 2013 was not a good year. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say it had very little to offer in the way of high points and was filled with a lot of very low lows. Low-lights include losing one of my uncles and one of our cats, substantial freelance income loss and a whole lot of stress and frustration.

There was also a lot of blaming myself and beating myself up, feeling completely helpless and useless, and wondering why God was punishing us. What can I say? It’s hard to think healthy and helpful thoughts when you’re standing knee-deep in the doo. 

.99 Cent Kindle Sale!

99 cent ebook saleHey, folks! My paranormal romance/mystery novel Restless Spirits is included in this Big .99 cent Kindle Author Sale!

Dozens of books in just about every genre are included in this three-day sale, which runs from today through December 29th. You’re bound to find something you’ll like, and helping to support indie authors in the process.

And if you haven’t yet gotten around to reading Restless Spirits, you should know that this is your last chance to get it on the cheap. After this sale the price will go up and it won’t be put on sale again for quite some time (if ever) as I focus on promoting other books. So this is the best time to grab it — or recommend it to a friend!

Click here to check out the entire list of books on sale!

Joy and Peace Come to You

Isaiah9-6

 

We’ll be having a quiet, homemade Christmas at home, just the two of us and our pets and more food than two people should eat, relaxing in our jammies and watching Christmas movies (…what do you mean, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard aren’t Christmas movies?).

In the meantime, I invite you to listen to this special Christmas message from our pastor (MP3). It contains some new insight into the circumstances surrounding Christ’s birth that kind of blew my mind.

Here’s hoping you and yours have an equally peaceful and satisfying Christmas!

Emergency Gift: Easy DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Easy DIY Wool Dryer BallsI cannot believe we’re only a week away from Christmas! I’m so not ready! As much as this year seemed at times like it would drag on forever, in the end it really flew by, and Christmas has snuck up on me.

Hopefully, you’re more prepared than I am, and all of your shopping, crafting and DIY-gift making is done. But just in case it’s not, here’s a great last-minute DIY gift idea: homemade dryer balls. 

New Mexico Dreamin’

New Mexico!My husband has had what you might call a “state-crush” on New Mexico for a while now. He has relatives there, and some fond memories of visiting them when he was growing up, and of how beautiful it is around the mountains there. He’s also a fan of Hatch peppers, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that those come from there. From time to time, he would talk about how great it would be if we could move there someday. I would nod and be like, “Sure, sweetie.”

Eight(ish) Questions About Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

Or, Jean is thinking way too much about this show (minor spoilers through Episode 10):

Book Review: When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes

I originally posted this review in March of 2012. We’ve recently pulled this book out and started going through it again, mainly because it has a lot of good advice for staying warm in the event that all of these winter storms knock out our power. I stand by my original review — the info in this book really holds up. It would make a great Christmas gift for anyone on your list who might need some coaxing when it comes to adopting a preparedness mindset.

You might know Cody Lundin from The Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival. Or you might know him as that guy from Youtube with the sustainable underground house. But if you don’t know, Lundin is a survival instructor based in Arizona whose instruction focuses primarily on indigenous skills—in other words, surviving off the land the way the Native Americans used to do it.

But Lundin broadens his teaching focus for When All Hell Breaks Loose, his manual for urban survival in a SHTF situation. Whereas in his survival school Lundin primarily works with hikers, campers and other outdoor sports types who are at a greater risk of getting lost in the desert or wilderness for a stretch of days, his book is more concerned about long-term survival for the entire family, and it’s deliberately written in terms that even Grandma and Grandpa can understand.

28 Frugal and Natural DIY Holiday Ideas (Link Roundup)

28 DIY Holiday IdeasIf you’re anything like me, you’ve grown weary of the rampant materialism of the Christmas season. You might also not have a lot to spend, so you couldn’t participate even if you wanted to.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ideas and possibilities for giving meaningful gifts that don’t cost a lot to make and, in a lot of cases, make use of stuff you already have. Whether you’re looking for gifts for loved ones, ideas for expanding your Christmas decorations without expanding your budget, or even some relaxing gifts you can give yourself to maintain your sanity this season, I’ve been collecting links along these lines all year (thanks to Pinterest), and I’ve rounded them up to share with you. 

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