The Business of Writing Books

The takeaway message here is that I have no business talking about writing books.

I mean, I write them. I’m almost done with my third full-length novel in a year. I don’t, however, do anything else with them. They sit and glare at me (metaphorically, obviously, although if it was literally I might actually do something because that is some creepy shit).

Today is day five of some time away from my job that pays the bills. The first couple days were weekends, and so were not super productive, but the last few days it’s just been me and the computer.

And you know what? I’m pretty happy.

I’m certain that if I kept this up and stopped showing up to work, I would stop getting paid, and I like money. Money is nice. Money allows me to pay my mortgage and pay for daycare  and student loans (oh, the student loans) and all the other things I enjoy like internets and smart phones and electricity.

Oh, and hot water. Love me some hot water.

Yesterday I started to wonder how I could reconcile these two things: the desire to stay home and write every day and the desire to have a home with heat and hot water and coffee and beer to write in.

And then today, Chuck Wendig posted this magic which lead me to this magic.

This is just what I needed to go with the tentative financial plans I made yesterday.

Key points of advice, paraphrased:

  1. Get rid of your fucks, for there are no more fucks that need to be given.

2. But don’t starve.

There’s a lot of really good advice, all of which I intend to follow, but the most important things are to (a) do it, do it a lot; (b) stop caring so much about other shit, and (c) don’t wait to do it. (Also, starving artist is not really that cool, so don’t strive for that.)

I have the first part of a four-year plan (the financial part) but now need to move on to the second part (the actual doing it a lot and not giving so many fucks part).

And then I have to balance writing and working and and triathlon training and sleeping.

This is the year of working my ass off (not literally Bianca the Yoga Butt will come to my rescue) but I can do it and I declare here, with you as my witness, that it shall be so.

(If anyone wants to just randomly start sending me a few thousand dollars a month, though, that’d be cool. I’ll dedicate my books to you.)

Under Pressure

There are a number of things at which I excel. It makes me a little uncomfortable to list them in public, because I want to maintain my aura of humility.

Aside: Once, as a younger lass, perhaps 12 or 13, I couldn’t remember the adjective form of humility, so I needed to ask because the internet wasn’t a thing yet. So, I asked my father what the correct word was. But instead of just asking, “Hey, dad! What’s the adjective form of humility?” I asked, “Hey dad! What’s the word that’s not humil?”

There was much mockery. For years. Every time I busted out with the time he tried to convince me that panache was pronounced Puh-NATCH-ee he’d remind me of the humil incident. The fact that I was (a) young and (b) knew that I didn’t have the right word was brushed aside so as not to interfere overmuch with the mocking. Sigh. I miss that man.

Anyhoosits! I am deeply humil (hee!) but am trying to get to a place in my life where I can say, without embarrassment or an aura of self-deprecation, the things I do well. I want to find that great swath of field between braggadocio and humility. However, today is not that day.

Today is the day when I talk about something I do not do well.

I am crap at stress management. Unfortunately, I am extremely stressed right now. EXTREMELY.

So, let me tell you how I deal with that. I have a list.

  1. Not eating when I am near the source of my stress. I am so nauseated when near the stressor that I cannot consume food. So I do not. Unfortunately, I am near that stressor for approximately 8-9 hours most workdays. That’s a lot of not eating.
  2. Drinking lots of coffee. On an empty stomach. Because who needs a stomach lining?
  3. Procrastinating. Due to fear of failure. However, chronic procrastination can cause failure, so it doesn’t really make sense. Welcome to my brain.
  4. Drinking wine. Not when stressor adjacent, though. It hasn’t yet come to that. I may or may not have an airport bottle of whiskey in a stressor-adjacent drawer, but it’s pretty safe since I’m not much of a whiskey drinker.
  5. Reading. How could this be bad? you may ask. It’s not entirely. Not all my coping mechanisms are destructive.
  6. Reading instead of exercising. Yeah, that’s when it’s not so good.
  7. Reading instead of sleeping. And now you see the bad.

So, I’m not eating or exercising or sleeping. How could that possible go wrong?

I’m home today. As I was yesterday. I’m trying to reset my brain with sleep and normal food. I’m also doing a lot of writing. And trying to figure out how much money I need to save up so that this can be my life.

What I probably should do instead is figure out how, in my current limited time, I can fit in the good things to manage stress. Namely exercise and sleep. Oh, and being able to eat in the presence of stress.

For today, my goal is to write, drink plenty of water, yoga (year of the yoga butt! I cannot wait to introduce everyone to Bianca the Yoga Butt when she finally makes an appearance), and write. Baby steps.

And, speaking of babies; check out my not a baby! (Gotta end with a happy note – and I know 95% of the people reading this are here for Alvie pics.) (The other 5% are really hoping for shoe porn. And not my kind of shoe porn. There are a lot of disappointed searchers out there.)

IMG_0136 (2)Do you know what that is? That is a big, underwear-wearing boy watching Cars as his reward for proper use of the potty. We are thisclose to declaring potty training over and done.

2014 in Review – the Books!

I promised a book review post weeks ago, and here it is!  Basically, for my series recommendations, just go read this, minus Kresley Cole + CE Murphy’s final (sob!) Walker Papers book.

 

Oooh – also add Ilona Andrew’s new series debut Burn for Me. I liked it. A lot.

I read 140 books in 2014 that I’d never logged as read in Goodreads before. I gave out 14 five star reviews. Those books, aka my favorite 10% NEW reads for the years are, in no particular order (the covers are links and I’ve noted which are series books):

2nd in a series

1st in a series

9th in a series

There is a sequel, but this is a good stand-alone

1st in a series. Also a movie. You probably knew that.

3rd (and last! sob!) in a series. READ IT! READ THEM ALL!

Why yes, it was the first time I’d read this all the way through. My first attempt, in high school, did not end well.

1st in a series (goes with the Dragonfly in Amber also listed)

stand alone and laugh out loud

My review: beautiful, heart-wrenching, occasionally very funny (in between the horrors of war bits), hopeful, depressing, and gorgeously crafted.

I don’t know how I never logged this before. It was not my first time through, but it’s showing up as a new read, so I’m counting it! Ha!

This was gorgeous. Although according to the reviews, it’s a love it or hate it type of book.

7th in a series. I think maybe my favorite so far. I love Kate. And Curran. Love.

And last, but most certainly not least:

Also 7th in a series, and also my favorite in the series so far. I not only love Atticus (and Oberon! LOVE Oberon!), I love Kevin Hearne, and Luke Daniels who narrates the Audiobooks. This is a series I own in three formats because it is THAT GOOD.

 

So there you have it – my best books of 2014. Only 20% (roughly) of my new books read were not fantasy, paranormal, or romance. I can definitely do better in 2015. Overall, though, not a bad year.

I Like Big Brains!

One of the best things about 2014 was that the new friends that I made were all so very much smarter than me. Well, that’s kind of good. A little disheartening at times, but overall good.

More or less.

There are times, of course, that I have to Google things before replying to texts from my platonic soul mate (who has about five million degrees in such diverse things as [I am now commencing the “making shit up” part of this paragraph] in nursing, biology, literature, comparative religion, underwater basketweaving, nuclear physics, necromancy, Swahili, and general awesomeness).

And my fellow writing group members are pretty freaking smart, too. They are also highly degreed (I have a BA and an MS, and am the least educated in the [admittedly small] group).

I read book. A lot of books. I read 134 (I think, I’m not going back to look) new books in 2014. I probably read about that many in re-reads. Maybe more. I finish a book every 1-2 days on average.

However, most of them are not…intellectually challenging. Not that you can’t learn new things from paranormal romance or urban fantasy – you absolutely can. Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series is phenomenally researched, and Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy send me to the Google almost as often as Cat’s texts.

But, a lot of what I read is not quite as much of a brain workout. Which is AOK. It doesn’t need to be. My brains work a lot when I’m at my job. And whoa! It’s been a workout there lately, too. I have a couple new projects that have really been making me feel idiotic taxing my mental limits.

Now, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I hate (HATE!) feeling stupid. It’s my least favorite feeling (well, maybe tied with nausea). So, I either need to (a) dump my smarty-pants friends (not an option! I mean smart people AGREED to be friends with me, so if I were to get rid of them, I’d just be reinforcing my own stupidity) or (b) do things that make me feel smarter.

So, in 2015, in addition to (and adjacent to) my goals I listed last week, I have these three caveats and addenda:

  1. Fifty percent of the new books towards my 150 book goal must be vampire and werewolf free. (I will honor the spirit of the rule, and not just seek out witch books, either.)
  2. I will listen to podcasts that keep me abreast of current events on a regular basis PLUS one educational lecturey type thing a month (TED-Ed type things). And I will report on it.
  3. I have a burning desire to become conversational in another language. I have the Swedish Rosetta Stone (because there wasn’t Norwegian). I will Rosetta Stone and learn me some Swedish so that by the end of the year, I can have a conversation with an attractive  Swedish person that I will import for that very purpose.

Hopefully this will cause my brains to embiggen.

2015 is my year of pushing though my comfort zones. Putting myself out there. Putting my brains out there. (Not literally, though. Don’t worry!)

After spell-checking this post, I wonder if one of my addenda should be to stop making up words? Ha! Never going to happen. It’s not wrong if I’m doing it on purpose. (That would be an excellent motto, although not one that would generally go over well in court.)

 

Happy 2015!!

You guys! It’s January 1, 2015. I had some great goals for the past year and want to share how that went.

  1. Be a hermit – SUCCESS! I was definitely a bit of a homebody this year
  2. But not too much – SUCCESS! I didn’t always stay in, so that was good
  3. Edit book 1 in the series – half SUCCESS! I made a good start, but have a ways to go
  4. End the year lighter than I started it – SUCCESS!
  5. Enjoy the moments – SUCCESS! For the most part, anyway!
  6. Get something published for money – fail…I did get rejected, though, so that means that I tried!
  7. Get to Mordor – not quite – but I made it 1350 miles!
  8. Learn a new skill – hmmm…I don’t know if it’s NEW, but I really feel like I did a lot of new things
  9. Make a new friend – SUCCESS! Not only did I fall in with the most awesome online tribe of women (BAWG!), one of whom I even got to meet IRL, I also made two new local friends (BAT writers!)
  10. No unjustifiable purchases (do I need it, how will I feel about this purchase in 1 week/month/year?) – ehhhh…this could be better.
  11. Read 125 new books – SUCCESS! I read 134 new books (does not count re-reads…maybe I’ll count those this year and see how many that is…)
  12. Run for fun – half SUCCESS! I had a rough year with the running, but I had some wonderfully fun trail runs in February and March.
  13. Start six new, good habits – ehhh…I decided that this is too specific to be successful. I’m mostly good.
  14. Write book 2 in the series – SUCCESS! I finished the second book over the summer.

My bonus resolution was to develop a taste for Irish whiskey. Although I wouldn’t call this an unmitigated success, I no longer make this face when drinking my Tullamore Dew:

buffy whiskey

And now – with that awesome year drawing to a close, what kind of crazy shenanigans am I going to get up to this year?

  1. Blog more.
  2. Finish book the third
  3. Edit (for realsies) book the first
  4. Do better at sticking to the budget
  5. Exercise more
  6. Meal plan more
  7. YOGA BUTT!
  8. Read 150 new books
  9. Remember to enjoy the journey
  10. Learn better ways to manage work stress (meditation? yoga butt?)
  11. Get the rest of the way to Mordor and a good portion of the way back home

 

I’m very excited for this year. I have one big goal (that relates to goals 5 & 9) in 254 days. It’s going to be a lot of work but will end up being completely awesome. In the meantime, I’m going to spend a lot of time channeling my inner badass.

Fucking Valkyrie Ice Queen

I might even have to borrow Alvie’s sword.

He looks very goal oriented, doesn't he?

He looks very goal oriented, doesn’t he?

HAPPY 2015!

I’m wishing everyone a year full of fabulousness.

This is what I hope my year is like.

This is what I hope my year is like.