Wishing You a Merry Christmas!

I know Christmas isn’t until Monday, but I’m taking a break between now and New Year’s, which hopefully will include a sabbatical from being online. I’m planning to spend that time enjoying my people and resting up for an ambitious year of writing all the things, and I hope you get to spend at least part of that time doing whatever your version of that is.

Hope you have a great holiday! See you next year!

Oh, and PS – there’s still time to sign up to get the new Restless Spirits Christmas short story that I’ll be sending to my mailing list on Christmas Eve! And ICYMI, you can read a sneak peek of that story here.

…And a Happy New Year!

Happy 2016, folks!

If you know anything about author blogs, then you know what that means–it’s time to review the last year and look ahead to what’s coming in the new year. So let’s review, shall we?

In 2015…

Actually, the last year came perilously close to being a creative disappointment. I started out 2015 with plans to write and publish Ghost of a Chance, but the draft I’d started floundered, and then the Kickstarter I ran to try and breathe new life into it failed to gain traction. But then that all led to my publishing contract, which was pretty much the main highlight of my whole year.

With the contract in view, I started a new draft of Ghost for NaNoWriMo, and though I didn’t win, I did make decent progress, and with a solid outline to work from this draft is shaping up much better than the first attempt.

As far as actually finishing things, I wrote and released the mini-sequel Restless Spirits: Love Letter and wrote a short story to submit to a horror anthology. It was rejected, but I plan to keep trying to find a home for it.

As far as freelance work goes, 2015 was a big improvement over previous years. I had quite a few editing gigs, some of which were more enjoyable than others, all of which taught me a little more about my own writing; and a lot of book formatting work, which I enjoy mainly because it’s mindless enough that I can actually listen to podcasts and music while I work. Article writing was really where it was at during the last part of the year, though, and I was able to add some good pieces and respectable clients to my writing portfolio. My writing pay scale also shot way up, so that was pretty great.

Personally, it was a perfectly fine, if not particularly exciting, year. I struggled a bit with some chronic health issues the last few months, and we rounded out the year with a number of small household crises brought on by the almost endless rain, but nobody in the Bauhaushold suffered any major illnesses or hardships this year, so I’m chalking it up in the Win column.

In 2016…

I have a feeling 2016 is going to be a big year, at least professionally speaking. It’s certainly going to be a busy year. I have until August to turn in the final draft of Ghost, and I’ve got until April to complete revisions on Restless Spirits –which is slated for re-release on Halloween — and Love Letter.

Besides all that, I’ve got to come up with and implement a publisher-approved marketing plan, which will include a lot of activities that are way outside my comfort zone (which is partly why I’ve dubbed this year to be a Year Without Fear; more on that next week on the other blog).

Part of that means resurrecting this space as a full-fledged blog and not just a news page. So I’ll be trying to post here more regularly–or at least more frequently–and rambling about things like how the book is going, what I’m doing to get ready for the release, how my trad-pub experience compares to self-pub, etc. Even though so many blogging experts tell you not to, I may even delve into serving up writing advice, because after spending a year as a freelance editor I have a LOT to say on that subject.

I’m also open to answering reader questions and tackling reader-suggested topics. I asked my Facebook followers for some of each, and only one person responded. She had a lot of questions, though, so that should keep me busy for a while. Still, if you have any questions or suggestions for topics you’d like to see me cover here, drop them in the comments.

I also hope to step up my freelance writing game in 2016 and actively pitch articles and guest posts instead of waiting for clients to come to me. Currently I have one steady writing client, and I’d like to add a few more. I’ll also talk here about how that’s going and what I’m doing to help make it happen.

That’s probably an adequately full plate for the next 12 months or so, but even so I’m also hoping to do something with Dominion of the Damned this year, even if it’s just to come to a decision about what to do with it. I’m trying to decide whether to continue it on my own or try to find a publisher for it, and that discussion is a whole ‘nother blog post in and of itself.

Oh, and related to the whole book marketing thing, I’m also going to be starting a monthly newsletter. Currently my mailing list only receives an e-mail from me when there’s a new release or other major news to report, but I want to become more engaged, so I’ll be sending them a more personal e-mail at the end of each month. I’m still trying to figure out what will go in it. Right now I’m thinking an overview of how the book is going, a writing excerpt, and a book recommendation, or at least some discussion of what I’m currently reading. Anyway, if you’d like to get that and you’re not on my mailing list already, just click the button to sign up in the sidebar. You’ll also get a free short story collection if you do!

So that’s what I have going on in 2016. And it’s not overwhelming or panic-inducing at all! *grins somewhat maniacally and unconvincingly*

What about you? Anything big coming up this year? Did you make resolutions or are you just winging it? Tell us about your New Year’s expectations in the comments, and don’t forget to ask a question or suggest a topic for this blog if you have one.

I hope everyone reading this has a blessed, productive, prosperous and disaster-free new year!

PS – Eucha Falls is now a free e-book on Amazon, BN.com and pretty much everywhere else that sells e-books! Go get it!

Wishing You a Merry Christmas!

Christmas-author-blogI’m in semi-vacation mode through this Wednesday, and then I’ll be in full-blown vacation mode until next Monday. I’m hoping to get a head start on the necessary revisions to Restless Spirits, but I also want to be sure I get some actual rest and fully charge my mental batteries to take on all the writing I’ll be doing at the top of the new year. In that vein I’m looking forward to a lot of hours on the couch, either reading books for pleasure or watching cheesy made-for-television Christmas movies (I’d say they’re my guilty pleasure but the truth is I have no shame about this) while I wrap up some holiday crochet projects.

Before I go, you should know that the Kindle price for Dominion of the Damned has dropped to $3.99 for the foreseeable future–just in time to load it onto someone’s new Christmas Kindle!

Wishing a wonderful and worry-free Christmas week to all those who celebrate it!

I guess they don’t call it “Labor Day” for nothin’.

Happy Labor Day!

It’s my usual Labor Day tradition to spend the weekend getting some cleaning done. Usually this means cleaning my house, but we’ve actually been doing a pretty decent job lately of keeping the “public” areas presentable.

However, there is one room that I have put off tackling for far too long, because just thinking about having to clean it makes me feel so anxious and overwhelmed that I literally become nauseous. That is the room formerly known as my office/craft room, but in the past year and a half or so has come to be known as “the cat room.”

I think the devolution of this room really started when our kitty, Sasha, became sick last year. We already used that room to shut the cats up at night, and I’d been able to stay on top of their messes, but dealing with a loved one’s cancer, even when said loved one is a pet, takes a lot out of you, and I didn’t have the energy to keep battling our other two cats’ destructiveness. That only got worse after Sasha passed away — both their acting out and my inability to care what they were destroying — and shortly afterward I moved my desk into my husband’s office and pretty much gave that room over entirely to the remaining cats.

To know what we’re dealing with here, you should know that our oldest cat, Nibblet, is psychotic, and compulsively destructive. She has pica and eats or chews everything, and when she’s angry — which is pretty much her constant state — she deliberately knocks things off of shelves and breaks things. Our other cat, Boudica, isn’t so intentionally malevolent so much as just really clumsy, although she does have some chewing tendencies of her own.

So other than cleaning up their frequent bodily emissions, scooping their litter and occasionally vacuuming the small amount of carpet not taken up by stuff we’ve dumped in there because at some point we also started using that room as a big junk closet, we haven’t cleaned in there in well over a year, and it has become kind of a scary place.

So yesterday I decided to gird up my loins and finally start the long process of taking back my craft room from the cats.

Once I got started, it actually wasn’t quite as bad as I’d anticipated. One of the things that kept putting me off from tackling that room is that we’ve got a pretty bad brown recluse spider problem, and there are plenty of places in there for those things to hide. Generally, I have no problem with spiders, but as a rule I do have a huge problem with anything that can cause your flesh to rot. The good news is, while I did run into a few spiders, only one of them was a dreaded brown recluse.

The bad news, however, is that I discovered that one of the cats (or maybe both, but I suspect it was probably just Nibblet) peed all over both my yarn stash and my sewing fabric. So that’s going to be fun, detangling and re-winding all of that yarn after I’m forced to wash it.

At any rate, after a couple of hours in there yesterday, I got all of my knitting supplies safely cat-proofed inside my old TV cabinet turned craft cabinet, restored order to one of my book cases, removed a lot of things to the garage that can either be sold or given to charity, and threw away a lot of trash. And that was just one corner of the room. Still, it already looks a lot better in there. Y’know, if you stand at a certain angle and only look at that one corner.

My weekend wasn’t entirely about spiders and cat pee, thankfully. I did manage to make a little progress on my new novel outline, albeit not as much as I would have liked. I figured out the main character arc progressions for both of my protagonists, which is a good thing, but I’m still having a hard time envisioning more than a handful of scenes and figuring out the main story beats. I may just have to start writing and do an exploratory draft, but I need to focus on getting my short story collection ready for release before I start writing the new book in earnest.

Today, as predicted, I still have to write those short pieces for Fiverr. After those are done I’ll probably spend some more time working on the cat room until Matt’s ready to cook up some brats and break out the holiday beer.

So how are you guys spending the unofficial end of summer?

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.