The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Category: Writing Page 3 of 17

It’s 2019, but I’m Blogging Like it’s 2003

My goal for the new year: become as relaxed and chill as this good boy.

Happy new year, folks! I hope you’ve managed to get off the post-holiday struggle bus and start getting back into the swing of things. As rarin’ to go as I thought I was for 2019 to get started, as far as actually getting off my butt, my new year didn’t really get started until this week. But so far, it’s going pretty well.

2018 really kicked my hinder. I talked some in my last post about how stressful and chaotic it was, but I don’t think I fully realized the toll it had taken on me, or just how burned out I was, until I had an opportunity to really slow down and rest during the last half of December. I was a complete emotional mess in the days leading up to Christmas. I spent a lot of my break just being lazy as h*ck and refusing to feel guilty about it. I did a lot of journaling, but other than that and the necessary stuff around the house, I allowed myself to do ZERO work–not even to think about it–until after New Year’s, and then I spent the first few days of January just thinking about what I want and hope for for 2019.

My word for the year is “Health.” I have some chronic health problems I need to address, and I need to get better at taking care of myself. Part of that means eating healthier. I’m not doing anything drastic like Whole 30 or anything crazy like that (if you’re doing Whole 30, more power to you, and I wish you success. I did it once, and once was enough), but simply trying to be more mindful about what I put in my body and making healthier choices on a day-by-day, meal-by-meal basis. One positive thing I got out of Whole 30 was the idea of stopping whenever I’m tempted to consider the impact what I eat will have on my health and on how I feel, and to ask myself if it’s worth it. Sometimes the answer is yes (with pizza and homemade baked goods the answer is always yes), but surprisingly often, the answer is no.

It also means moving more. I’m not going crazy with that, either, but I definitely feel better and tend to be in a happier mood when I fit some movement into my day. Currently that looks like doing yoga most mornings and occasionally before bedtime. I started doing yoga on my break, mainly because it seemed like a good way to settle my mind and my overwhelming emotions, and I kind of fell in love with it. By now I’ve been at it long enough that it’s starting to be a habit, and my day doesn’t feel complete without it. I’m also becoming bendier and less prone to carrying tension around in my muscles, which is helping a lot of my aches and pains.

It also means resting more. I thought I had a pretty good handle on slowing down and resting when I needed to, but I took this rest assessment and discovered that I actually suck at resting. Apparently just getting to bed on time (most nights) and letting myself be lazy on Saturdays isn’t as adequate as I thought. So I’m trying to fit more types of rest into my life. Yoga is part of that. I also got out my guitar and started practicing again, and I dug out my coloring books and pencils and started a new embroidery project, because it’s easier for me to be still and quiet and not let my thoughts spin out of control and wear me down if I can keep my hands busy and have something visual to concentrate on. And I’m trying to take advantage of this freakishly warm winter to get outside and into the woods more often. Oh, and I’m trying to spend less time on my phone, except for when I’m using it to read or listen to books or podcasts.

As far as my working life goes, this looks like being more gentle with myself and moving at a more relaxed pace. Last year, I let myself get sucked into this hustle mindset of trying to do all the things and get them done as quickly as possible, and I blame that for the burnout I was feeling by the end of the year. I’m just not made for hustle. I’m wired to be slow, thoughtful and methodical, and when I forget that, or try to force myself to be different, it’s always a recipe for pain and suffering. I also let myself get pushed into believing I had to be a lot more ambitious than I’m actually wired to be, to come up with a vision for my life that, when I snapped out of whatever spell I was under and really examined it, was sheer insanity and not the kind of life I want for myself AT ALL.

Side note: one thing I discovered about myself last year is that I’m an Enneagram 9 (head to the Lazy Genius’s Instagram and click on her Enneagram story highlight for a quick primer on the Enneagram, if you don’t know what that is), and 9’s have a tendency to “merge” with people we spend a lot of time around, meaning we tend to internalize their goals and ideals as our own. I realized I was spending a lot of time following influencers whose ideals and goals are great for them, but terrible for me. So I had to spend some time culling my feeds and eliminating all of the voices that were leading me down an unhealthy path, and I also had to spend some time just staying off of social media altogether and getting really quiet while I figured out what I actually want and what is actually best for me and my life. And going forward, I now know I need to be really careful about the voices and influences I allow into my life. But on the flip side, I can use this tendency for good by surrounding myself with people who are positive influences and will help steer me in the direction I want to go.

So I’m trying something new this year. I’m not setting any concrete goals for myself, I’m not going after any big dreams. I’m not actively investing in personal growth or trying to change myself in any big way. Instead, I’m just going to let myself relax this year and really get to know myself, and get used to being comfortable in my own skin. And I’m going to just enjoy my right-now life without trying so hard to change it. Because while it’s not perfect, it’s actually pretty good. I’ve already accomplished a lot of things and I’m living out the result of several dreams having already come true, but you wouldn’t know it, because instead of letting myself slow down and enjoy any of it I’m always looking ahead and chasing after the next big thing. But I have this theory that if I just relax and enjoy my life and just keep doing my work at a steady pace, it’s all going to work out the way it’s supposed to. So for now, I’m just going to allow my life and career to unfold one day at a time without trying to force anything to happen, and to be led by my own intuition and instincts instead of by the proclamations of gurus and experts.

What does that mean for my writing? It means I’m going to take a more relaxed approach, for one thing. This is the first time in three years that I don’t have any official deadlines or contractual obligations to fulfill, so I’m going to enjoy that freedom and follow the muse where it leads me. I’m going to allow myself to have multiple projects going at once, bouncing back and forth as inspiration leads me, instead of forcing myself to focus on one story from beginning to end. I’m going to work at a comfortable pace and not worry about a production schedule or setting arbitrary deadlines for myself. Stories will get done when they get done. Books will come out when they come out. And hopefully, I’ll rediscover the joy of creating for creation’s sake instead of focusing on what the end product will look like and how well it will sell.

Currently, I’m working on two novellas. One is a stand-alone. The other is the beginning of an experiment in serialization–I’m planning to release this story as a series of shorter novellas, and eventually bundle them together into one larger volume (or volumes, depending on how long it ends up being; I’m thinking this could turn into an ongoing series) a la what Hugh Howey did with Wool.

I started this new series this week on a whim, although it’s been percolating in the back of my mind for quite a while now. If you’re a longtime subscriber to my newsletter, then last year you got the chance to read a short story called “Night Driving,” which I’m getting ready to release in e-book form alongside another short I wrote last year. This new series will center around the main character of that story and pick up about six months after those events. I’ve got a couple of scenes in the can and I’m really in love with these characters and this story, which popped up more or less fully formed in my head over the weekend. I’m also really excited about the possibilities of where I can go with it. It’s a supernatural thriller, and it’s going to allow me to explore some themes and questions relating to my Christian worldview in ways that won’t be too explicit or preachy. So anyway, since that’s what I’m excited about, that’s what I’m focusing on right now.

The other novella–which might be more of a novelette–is a horror story inspired partly by my own experiences with sleep paralysis, and partly by all the murder documentary shows I watched last summer when we had free satellite and no streaming memberships and the only decent channel was Investigation Discovery. I’m not as excited about that one, but I’m having fun writing it.

I’m also still working on outlining and world building for the YA Southern Gothic I got inspired to write last year. And don’t worry, Dominion of the Damned Damned fans, that hasn’t fallen off my radar. Getting both the new version of Dominion and the sequel, Deliverance, published this year is still high on my priority list. I’m still awaiting the final six chapters of Dominion from my editor-slash-husband, but he also needed a break, and currently he’s distracted by trying to figure out what to do about some raccoons that have apparently invaded our walls and ceiling and keep waking him up in the middle of the night with their antics.

But I’m hoping to get Dominion back out there soon, and then I’ll turn my attention to revising Deliverance. As for writing the third book of the trilogy this year, though, I’ve decided to put that off until next year. For one thing, Deliverance is pretty harrowing and ends on kind of a bleak note, and my emotions need a break from that universe. For another, I truly have no idea how to get these characters out of the bind I left them in. I know the answer will come to me eventually, but it won’t do any good to try to force a solution. But knowing my tendency to think about stories other than the one I’m working on, there’s a really good chance that the answer will come to me while I’m writing something completely unrelated.

One thing I won’t be doing a lot of this year is marketing. Last year, I made book marketing a big goal and spent a lot of time and energy (and a little bit of money) trying a number of different tactics. And it made not one single whit of difference to my book sales. In fact, if anything, my overall sales went down. According to smart people who are a lot farther along in this journey than I am, active marketing is pretty useless unless you’ve already got a large back catalog of books, and at this stage of my career I’m better off putting all of that time and energy into writing and producing more books. So that’s what I’m going to do, which takes a whole slew of marketing-related projects and activities off my plate (as far as fiction goes, at any rate. I’ve got a nonfiction book coming out soon, and marketing tends to be more effective for nonfiction books, so I’m not entirely off the marketing hook, alas. But nonfiction marketing also tends to be way easier, so it should balance out).

One thing I’m still undecided about is my newsletter. Last fall, I had both decided and announced that I was going to move from a monthly to a quarterly newsletter. But I don’t think I really like waiting that long between issues, and also, that’s when I was viewing my newsletter as a marketing tool. But now I’m starting to look at it as a way to connect with my readers in a more personal way, and a way to share bits of my life and cool stuff I’ve discovered, rather than a way to say “Hey, here’s a new thing I wrote, please read it.” But (again) I’m also wondering whether it would be better to do that via newsletter or here on the blog. Right now, I’m considering moving to an every-other-month schedule and sending out a curated newsletter filled with stuff I think you’ll like. What do you think? Would you like that? Or do you already get enough of that sort of thing in your inbox?

Which finally brings me to this here blog. I know this sort of post is really old fashioned. This post is more Livejournal circa 2003 than 2019. This post assumes you’ve got a long attention span and, even more audaciously, that you actually might care about what’s going on with my life, and that you care to know not just what I’m working on, but why those projects. This is what blogging used to be, and why I got into it in the first place, and I miss it. From other grumblings I’ve been hearing, I know I’m not the only one. As people grow more and more weary and disconnected from social media, I have a feeling that this type of blogging might come back into vogue. I know that I certainly plan to do more of it in this space. Not real often, because, let’s not kid ourselves, this post is really long, and I’ll honestly be surprised if anyone is still reading by this point, and also because it’s taken me all morning to write. But once in a while, maybe, when I’m full of things I want to say.

What do you think? Do you miss this lengthier, more personal style of blogging? Would you like to see more of it from me? Or do you want me to stick to short, fluffy entertainment articles and announcements? I’d love to hear your thoughts about what you’d like to see here, and also in the newsletter. And I’d also love to hear how your new year is shaping up so far. So leave a comment below!

Midnight Snacks and Other Short Stories Now Available on Kindle Unlimited!

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KU subscribers and Amazon Prime members rejoice! Or at least give each other a high five. All of my short indie fiction is now back home on KU. Grab them all here.

“But wait, Jean,” longtime readers might be thinking, “didn’t you just take them all out of KU at the start of this year?”

Yes. Yes I did. But now I’ve moved them back, for reasons. If you want to know those reasons, you can read all about them right here, along with what I eventually plan to do for the benefit of non-Kindle readers. The short version is that after a year-long experiment with global publishing, I feel like Amazon and KU is the best home for my short fiction, at least for the time being. Which means I plan to publish more shorter works there in the near future, so if you like shorter fiction, and especially if you happen to like MY shorter fiction, that’s a good thing! High fives all around!

“But I don’t have a Kindle / I’m not enrolled in KU!”

You don’t have to be left out — you can install the free Kindle app on your smartphone, tablet or PC and read Kindle books to your heart’s content (true fact: I gave my actual Kindle device to my husband because I like the smartphone app better). And if you’re not in KU, you can purchase these books at the regular retail price (or if you’re a Prime member you can borrow them from the Prime Lending Library). Also, like I mentioned in the other post linked up there, eventually I’ll collect all of my shorts into a paperback edition. More high fives!

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Dominion of the Damned by Jean Marie Bauhaus

Cover Reveal: Dominion of the Damned (New Edition)

As you may or may not be aware, Dominion of the Damned has been getting an update to bring it more in line with the writing of the sequels (because six years is a long time for one’s writing style to evolve), and the new revised edition will be back on virtual book store shelves very soon (in the meantime you can read the revised-but-not-actually-finalized version for free on Wattpad).

And it’s getting a new outside to go with it’s new insides.

Here’s your first look at the brand new cover for the new-and-improved Dominion of the Damned:

Dominion of the Damned by Jean Marie Bauhaus

Salvation of the Damned is finished and coming soon to a Kindle near you!

So this weekend (around 5PM on Saturday, to be somewhat more precise), this happened:

And there was so very much rejoicing.

The final word count came in at just under 72K, which is shorter than I thought it would be, but it took a turn toward the end that I think is much better than what I’d originally planned (note: just because you outline doesn’t mean your books won’t surprise you), and it felt right to end it where I did, with enough resolution to tide the reader over while leaving plenty to anticipate for Book 3.

But it still has to go through revisions, and while there’s no doubt some stuff will get cut, there’s also a good chance some stuff will get added, so who knows what the final word count will be.

Although I’d originally hoped to have it ready in time for Halloween, in order to leave plenty of time for proper editing, the release date is getting pushed back to December. But considering last week was July 4th and it’s already Labor Day and Halloween is practically next Tuesday, December will be here before we know what hit us.

In the mean time, there’s still plenty of time to read Book One, Dominion of the Damned, during its limited free run on Wattpad, and to get your friends hooked on this series!

For a Limited Time: Read the COMPLETE Dominion of the Damned on Wattpad!

Now you can read the ENTIRE updated edition of Dominion of the Damned FREE on Wattpad! It won’t be up there for long — when I re-release the new edition on Kindle I’ll have to take it down.

If you haven’t read it, now’s your chance to get a free introduction to this trilogy, the second book of which is coming later this fall. And if you have read it? This is a perfect time to get your friends hooked on this series!

Still here? Well go on! Click here to read Dominion!

Dominion of the Damned Trilogy of the Damned Jean Marie Bauhaus

Read Dominion of the Damned FREE on Wattpad!

Dominion of the Damned Trilogy of the Damned Jean Marie Bauhaus

 

For the last few months, when I haven’t been drafting the sequel, I’ve been working on a revised edition of my vampires-in-a-zombie-apocalypse epic Dominion of the Damned. And for the last couple of weeks I’ve been posting it in serialized form on Wattpad. The first six chapters are available now, with a new chapter going up later today.

I’ll be re-releasing the new edition in e-book and paperback form, first in Kindle Unlimited for 90 days and then in wide release, once it’s all ready, all in the run-up to launching the sequel in time for Halloween(!). But if you don’t want to wait, or if you know someone you’d like to introduce to the ‘Verse of the Damned in a commitment-free way, check it out on Wattpad and tell all your friends!

 

Bound Spirits Restless Spirits Book 3 Jean Marie Bauhaus

Happy Bound Spirits Launch Day!

Bound Spirits Restless Spirits Book 3 Jean Marie Bauhaus

 

It’s here! It’s here! At long last, book 3 of the Restless Spirits saga, Bound Spirits, in which the Wilson sisters battle an angry poltergeist, a weeping woman who woos people to a watery grave, mistaken beliefs about their parents, and–worst of all–wedding fever, is now available in e-book and trade paperback formats wherever books are sold online. Head here for all the links!

Or head here to read reviews!

Have you already read it? Head here to leave a review (pretty please with all the sugar on top?)

Yaaaaaaay!

 

Pre-Order Bound Spirits!

Bound Spirits is available for pre-order! Head here to order your copy at your preferred e-book retailer.

Still behind on the series? Head here to grab the first two books!

Character Inspiration: Hannah Jordan

A lot of thought went into crafting the protagonist of my post-apocalyptic dystopian novel Dominion of the Damned. To survive this brave new world in which zombies ravage and vampires rule the remnants of humanity, I needed someone who was strong enough and courageous enough to survive the plague and stand up to her vampire overlords while still being entirely, relatably, vulnerably human. I needed a survivor who was both intelligent and practical-minded, yet young enough to not quite have her identity be fully nailed down and to be very confused and conflicted about her feelings — and also young enough to have parents who aren’t yet out of their childbearing years.

Meet Hannah Jordan. A country girl, the product of rural America, raised and trained by a survivalist father and a mother who emphasized a more traditional education, she was a nursing student who had her life all mapped out, happily anticipating the birth of her new baby brother when a worldwide zombie outbreak dashed her dreams and took her parents, leaving her as the sole guardian of the newborn, determined to protect him at all costs.

As adept at fighting and shooting as she is at stitching up wounds and comforting the sick and injured, Hannah is less confident when it comes to stepping into her mother’s shoes and caring for the infant. Yet it’s her love for her brother that drives her to brave a world that’s left them both at the bottom of the food chain, confronting monsters when she’d just as soon curl up and hide. She has as much common sense as she does book sense, but that doesn’t keep her from second guessing herself. She’s slow to trust and quick to assume the worst, but she’s loyal to a fault to those who earn her trust.

When it came to casting Hannah, at least in my own imagination, I wanted someone who could convey that mix of strength, intelligence, innocence and vulnerability. Maybe it’s because I was watching a lot of Firefly and also heavily invested in The Sarah Connor Chronicles at the time I wrote my first draft, but Summer Glau is who I’ve always envisioned, despite the fact that, really, she’s quite a bit more petite than Hannah is described as being. One thing I didn’t want was for Hannah to fit the cliche of a tiny girl who can inexplicably kick monster butt. Hannah is neither a cyborg nor has she been genetically enhanced, which is why not only is she not described as tiny, but also relies more on guns than on her fists and feet.

Even so, it was Summer Glau’s face and mannerisms that helped to shape Hannah, and this is who I continue to see years later as I read through the book in preparation to write the sequel. I’m not sure there’s anyone else more suitable who could take her place. But if you’ve read Dominion, I’d love to hear your ideas for casting Hannah in the comments!

Bits & bobs, and a NaNoWriMo update

zNaNoWriMo Participant 2014We’re into week 2 of NaNoWriMo, and I’m currently at 14,191 words (that’s words written in November. The total manuscript word count currently stands at 20,714 — about a third of the way through the first draft. I think). I should be at 16,670 by the end of the day, which probably won’t happen. But if I can put in another 2K before I call it a day, I’ll be close enough for comfort. Which means I’d better keep this post short so I can get to writing.

As for what’s happening within the novel, the plot hung a sharp left the other day and now I have to solve a decades-old murder in addition to getting my two protagonists to make with the smoochies.

What else am I up to? Yesterday, I finally put away the Halloween decorations, but left up the fall decorations and added a crocheted horn of plenty that I still need to take a picture of. Today I changed out the dirt in Matilda the Box Turtle’s tank and took her out to get some sun on what may well be the last warm day of the year. And of course there’s the freelancing. Fiverr’s keeping me busy with editing and book formatting gigs, and I just wrote this post on romance novel and wine pairings for Libib.

The forecast is showing wintry weather this weekend. As unpredictable as that crud tends to be in these parts, the rest of this week is going to mostly be dedicated to prepping, to make sure we won’t starve or freeze if we get stuck here and the power goes out. Of course, the more prepared we are, the less of a big deal winter storms tend to be, so if the sky simply sneezes out a few flurries over Tulsa this weekend, you’ll have us to thank. 😉

Right, then. Time to write. How’s your NaNo novel coming? Or any big projects you’re tackling this month, as the case may be?

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