Reviews (Thank You)

This is an extra post onto my weekly schedule, which I’m proud to say I’ve both accomplished and done completely on time for an entire week. I thought about waiting until Monday to write this up, but I already have a subject to discuss on Monday (shocking, I know), and this is fresh now. Extra is good, right? So is writing about something you feel the need to write about, when you feel the need to write about it. And I need to write about this now. Forgive the length in advance. It’s important.

I woke up this evening (yesterday, technically) to find another review for Reave up on Amazon. I was half-asleep and looking at it on my phone, so I had a moment of, “Does that say eleven now?”

It said eleven.

I read the newest one and did something similar to what I always do, which is shake my head a bit and sit (or lay) there in this state of disbelief.

I should say here that I have faith in my work. Not so much in myself. I’m self-deprecating by nature, and compliments pretty much roll right off my back if they’re related to me. That’s a subject for another post, but I feel it’s important for me to clarify the difference between anything negative I say having to do with me as a person, opposed to my work. It’s difficult to get the difference across when you’re saying the sort of stuff I do. So when I say, “My writing is crap,” (usually another word), I don’t mean that I feel my work is crap. I mean that I wish I could do better. It keeps me striving to do better. I always want to feel that.

Even though I have the utmost faith in my work (but I will add here that this series was difficult to set up with that first book, opposed to others I’ve written, due to circumstances in it and a limit of . . . well, everything), the positive feedback . . . it’s baffling.

I nitpick, and stuff still slips through. I nitpick and overlook things because I’m looking too closely at something else. There are some things technically wrong with that book that make me want to punch myself in the face. But . . . people are enjoying it anyway. And that is the point.

The mindset I have when writing stories has always and WILL always be characters first. I focus on characters first, story second (because they put in place themselves), writing third. So I’ll be totally honest and admit that I expected to get my first one-star review right off the bat. I expected some person to do what I do and tear that thing apart. It’ll happen one day, but today is apparently not that day. (If you’re hearing Aragorn shouting, “BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!” in your head right now, we have something in common.)

That first bad review is going to sting. I’m sure it will. I’ve heard that my self-deprecation can be very off-putting, so unless we’re talking in person (where I have essentially zero control over what comes out), you won’t know what my response will be when my writing gets torn apart. I’m not going to write it down on here. If you know me at all, I’m sure you could take a guess at it.

But bad reviews will never take away the feeling of a good one, not for me. It could be the worst review in the entire world, and it wouldn’t take the others away.

My biggest fear with it (it being Reave here) was that people wouldn’t get it. I worried people wouldn’t (or COULDN’T) relate to Aster. I worried some of the subjects would put people off. I worried things would be misinterpreted. I worried people would think it was too slow, or that it lacked ‘explosions’ (everybody loves explosions). I worried people wouldn’t be able to stand the writing style. I worried nobody would be able to make it past the first page. I worried and worried and worried about so many things (it’s what I do).

PEOPLE ARE ENJOYING IT.

So . . . this entry right here is for me to thank any and everyone who has spoken to me about my book, or left me a review. Waking up and finding a new one where someone says they couldn’t put my book down, or that Aster is an achievement as a heroine, that the characters were well-developed, that they were attached to it in some way, or rooting for Aster, or saying the only bad thing is that it ended and they can’t wait for the next.

Can’t wait for the next . . .

I’m shaking my head again.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately, not knowing how to ‘get it out there’ with this freaking debilitating anxiety I have. I’ve done a lot of struggling with a lot of things that run along those lines lately, and different ones that all lead back to the same issues: My ability or lack thereof. My faith in myself.

Before I published, I was constantly asking myself why I ever thought I could do this. After I published, it was more, ‘Can I do this well enough?’

So thank you, from the absolute bottom of my heart, to anyone who has taken some of their time to say one good word about my book, either to me or anyone you think might enjoy it, or in a review. Reviews (along with word of mouth) are the lifeblood of an author. They’re what point out to potential readers the good and bad things about whatever book they’re contemplating picking up. They can make all the difference in the world in that regard. But what you reviewers might not realize you’re doing in writing just a couple sentences is giving an author a little bit of faith in themselves, and a lot of validation in what they’re doing.

I don’t know most of you to thank you in person, and trust me when I say it wouldn’t come out right if I could (along with the fact that I might possibly be tearing up a bit as I write this).

I’ve spent the last several years of my life holed away, writing, and hoping that I would finally get to the point where I thought I was good enough for this. 99 people out of 100 could hate my work, but if that one person loved it? I would keep releasing books, just for the one.

I really can’t thank any of you enough for making me feel like I might be good enough to do what I love. You’ll never hear me say my writing is good. I’ve said many times that I’ll claim passable on a good day. But it’s good enough for somebody out there, and that’s more than enough for me.

I just have to make the connection that it equates to me being good enough, and I’m getting there, thanks to you.

(And for all of you who are looking forward to the second, I promise I’ll have it out as soon as I have the funds to cover it. It’ll be a bit, which is good because it’s currently in the hands of one of my best friends [who is pretty much the most spectacular beta-reader in the world, along with being one of the most spectacular people in the world]. But I’m hoping to get it out for you all soon.)

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Emarosa – I Still Feel Her: Part 1 (Friday Music)

Many of you know that Geographer is my favorite band. Hearing them was like one of those *lightbulb* moments, only I had no claim to some fantastic idea. Geographer hit me like a ton of bricks. But before there was Geographer, Emarosa gave me a very similar moment. Before Michael Deni’s voice haunted my daydreams, there was Jonny Craig.

The first time I heard Emarosa, whew. His voice demands to be listened to. That’s my opinion, but if anyone could deny the spectacular level of Jonny Craig’s voice . . . I’d love to hear it. He’s unfortunately left the band, which makes me very sad. But I still have their songs to listen to and that makes me happy.

Emarosa took up my favorite band spot for a while (along with A Silent Film). I’m not ashamed to say that I can be fickle with my favorites, but the reason Geographer wrested the spot from the others is because . . . there isn’t a SINGLE Geographer song I don’t like. There are some I like less than others, but I like every single one of them and that has NEVER happened to me before. (Might like an entire album by a person/band, but there’s usually at least one I dislike.) Unfortunately, there are some Emarosa songs I’m just not particularly fond of, despite how spectacular Jonny Craig’s voice is.  That’s just me. But holy hell, does he ever have an amazing voice . . .

ALL THE COLORS (Wednesday Randomness)

I’d had every intention of spending the entire night editing and just getting to my Wednesday post this afternoon (evening, or whenever I woke up), but . . . my wrist hurts from writing so much. So here I am!

For my Wednesday Randomness post, I’m really going to talk about something completely random . . . ish. No, there’s no ish about it.

To explain, I have to talk about work (just for a second!).

I print my books out to edit them because I would honestly rather not read anything on a screen if I didn’t have to, and I’ve found I’m able to catch more when it’s actually on paper.

I use gel pens to edit. You know . . . the really inky ones (not the ones that write thin) that feel like you’re writing with air? I also have pretty big handwriting in general, so needless to say, I go through A LOT of pens. (Writing a bit larger than normal comes in handy when inputting changes, I should add to my own defense.)

All in all I’ve gone through an UNGODLY amount of pens from editing over the past several years. But I’ll be totally honest, I just love seeing the pretty colors. (What?) Getting new pens is like Christmas for me, only better. I get to organize them in the order I want them used (OCD much?) and all sorts of fun things. And I do love moving from one color to the next.

I’ve thought a lot about the trees I’m killing with editing (I love trees), but I hadn’t really thought about all the pens. Mostly because I save them (WHAT?) and have full intention to recycle them at some unknown point in time. Probably after I’ve accumulated a number of them that goes past ungodly and into the realm of, “I don’t even know what to call this.”

But I had a thought earlier.

You see . . . one of my hobbies is making make up. (I haven’t done in quite a while, partially due to lack of time and partially because . . . . . . . . . erm . . . . . . the amount I already have is startling . . . and partially because I’m always in pajamas. Meaning: no makeup on.) This is related to pens, just hold on.

I had a bit of . . . . um . . . we’ll call it an obsession a while back. That’s putting it lightly because I can’t tell you how many times my husband has heard me say, “I WANT ALL THE COLORS.” (Yes, that is exactly what I ran around saying.) The problem (which is also the awesome thing about it) is that when you make your own eyeshadow . . . there is an ENDLESS amount of colors. You can mix them to make new colors. You can do all sorts of things. The possibilities (color-wise) have NO LIMIT. (Also make nail polish, but I’m still on a biting streak [ :/ ] so I guess that shouldn’t even count because I CAN’T use it.)

Anyway, I don’t know what made me think of it, but I looked at my husband and asked, “Do you think the metallic gel pens are basically just mica?”

They LOOK like mica. (All this time it’s taken for me to think, “Hey . . . this looks like that.” >.o)

So now I have this crazy idea in my head that I want to use some of that mica to attempt making my own ink and refilling my gel pens.

ALL THE COLORS.

*cough*

I looked it up and apparently you can mix the mica with aloe vera and it will make ink. (?????? Weird.) But I’m kind of . . . . . . dense when it comes to making things work, and I don’t know how to get the ink into the pen (if it would actually BE ink).

But I’ve got all this mica (ALL THE COLORS) that I could do this with. I think it would be fun. I might try it, even though it would put a halt on the ‘don’t know what to call this’ goal.

I’m SO glad I have a husband that doesn’t care if I make an entire room sparkly (XBox and all accessories included).

If I actually do this, I will say something about it on here. And if I figure it out, I might share the knowledge. There’s pretty much nothing about that on the internet (obviously a lot of people have no interest in this specific thing), but maybe it might help someone out later.

I should add:

The likelihood of me actually figuring out how to get the ‘ink’ in the pen and making it work is . . . pretty much nonexistent. (My brain doesn’t work that way.)

ALL THE COLORS.

*eyetwitch*

The first of the Monday Update posts . . .

Today is my first Monday Update post, and after writing two full entries that are going to rot in Draft Land . . . I THINK I’m starting to figure out why blogging occasionally frustrates me (very badly). (Not to mention I have a streak [not steak] on my glasses that I didn’t get cleaned off, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Maybe my problem with this particular post is that I have about five million (clear exaggeration) things I could/might possibly want to say. Maybe it’s my mood. Maybe my biggest problem with it is that, in some way, all I want to write for this entry is:

I JUST WANT TO WRITE A BOOK.

I’ll keep this short (for me), just to spare you until I get all these possible topics for Monday separated into smaller subjects that could potentially be written about at a later date.

What I’ve been doing lately is editing book 3 in the Reave series. One of my largest issues is not ‘fleshing things out’ so this second run-through since December is to do just that. (The first was more to fix technical errors.)

I added A LOT to book 2 (I’m not saying how much), and I need to make sure this one is on par with what I put in the last. The problem is book 3 is/will be the most difficult to do that with (for reasons I’m not going to say because releasing it is just too far off and I don’t want to spoil anything).

I’m also not going to say how many hours of work it’s taken me just to get to chapter eight, but . . . it’s a lot.

That’s what I’ll be doing work-wise for . . . a very long time (for me), if the hour-count per chapter holds.

Along with all that, I’ve been trying to catch up on here. I’ve neglected Twitter and Facebook (surprise, surprise). I’ve been struggling with pushing through my anxiety in order to do what I need to do for Reave (working on it). And I’ve also been struggling with the INTENSE desire to just fall off the face of the planet for a little while, workworkworkwork, then come back at some point.

It’s extremely difficult not to, and I just have to remind myself that I wouldn’t be doing Reave any favors in doing that. Then again, I’m not really doing it any favors currently anyway, given that I can’t even figure out 140 characters to promote it. That might be adding to the temptation to disappear. It’s just overwhelming and I feel I’m not doing any good anyway.

I probably shouldn’t even be blogging when I’m in a mood like this, but it’s showing no signs of stopping anytime soon and . . . well . . . at least it’s real. That has to count for something, right?

So that’s my life as of now, as far as updateable things go.

Hope everyone is doing well out there (and kicking any struggles one may find themselves going through in their frustrating [non] faces).

Also, Reave is now available on SmashWords. You can find it here: Look, I’m a link to Reave on SmashWords.

Mae – Falling Into You (Friday Music)

If love were a song, this would be it (my opinion). I feel that’s the only thing that needs to be said here, but I will point out that obviously I know it’s not Friday (I’m behind this week, but trying to keep up), and I will also add that this song might possibly have brought a tear to my eye on one or two occasions.

Hope everyone is having an exceptional weekend. I’ll try to get another post up on Monday, but I’m not making any promises, proposed schedule or not. Trying is about as good as anyone can do.

Please excuse me while I stand in the ‘defeat corner’ . . . (Wednesday Randomness)

My newest plan has been foiled by an unexpected foe: Cold

(Isn’t that the way plans go? Yes, I know as much, but I still plan everything anyway.)

Obviously, it’s winter, and obviously Cold is expected to some degree (bad pun?). I’m not that stupid (Debatable after the pun? Does it help that it wasn’t intentional?), and trust me when I say that Cold and I are WELL acquainted.

Many of you know that I work in a shed. It’s a pretty nice shed. It has an AC that works well enough to keep Hot at bay in the summer (as long as I stick to my nocturnal schedule) and it’s well-equipped with measures to prevent Weather from causing too much trouble for me year-round, apart from insulation, which I’m sure would help IMMENSELY. But preventative measures only go so far, especially without insulation. And when Cold decides to strike rather than hang around, I only have two choices.

I can (not) grin and bear it, use up my supply of tissues due to my nose constantly leaking fluid (which seems to be more water than anything that typically constitutes as ‘nose fluid’), have my two heaters on full blast (until the breaker blows and leaves me in the dark for a bit), have my fish hand warmers (yes, they’re fish – one of the best gifts ever) on both hands (until I need to smoke or write something down at least, which requires alternating removal). I can handle it most days. I can (not) grin and be totally fine because I’m working and that’s what I love doing, even when my fingers feel like they’re going to break off anytime I touch anything. It’s fine.

It’s all fine until Cold actually strikes. I can (not) grin and sit here with all those things above, while my heaters try in futility to keep the temperature JUST ABOVE what it is past the second (first?) line of defense against Weather (and risk getting myself legitimately sick during). OR I can stop being so freaking stubborn, go inside, and be warm (apart from when I have to come outside to smoke and/or take my dog out).

Sounds like a good time, yes? Yes, it really does.

The thing is . . . I don’t TAKE time off. I might take a bit of time here or there to watch some TV with Husband. I might take off a bit here to chat with a friend or two (sometimes I multitask during, which only partially counts – either as work, or time off [and I suck so bad at multitasking that it’s hardly either thing]), or a bit there to do things that people have to do (eat, sleep, etc.) . . .

When I’m not working, I’m THINKING about working. I’m thinking about all the things I need to do, formulating a ‘plan of attack’ (an order to do those things). So time off really isn’t ‘time off’ for me. I’m either working in my head or feeling guilty about all the things I should be doing instead.

I haven’t taken a full day with no guilt in . . . I can’t even remember. (Guilt = not ‘time off’ . . . Planning = not ‘time off’ . . . An Hour or Two = not ‘time off’ because that is NOT enough to relax me)

I took one yesterday. A full day where I did nothing but watch some TV with my husband, and played hours upon hours of video games. I woke up and saw the temperature on my phone and basically said . . . well, I’m not going to say what I ‘said’ here because I try not to say anything too bad . . .

It was a series of four-letter words though, and I think that’s enough to go on . . .

Anyway, yesterday was pretty spectacular (and, alright, alright, I did do a bit of catching up on Twitter INSIDE [that was weird]). It was really nice to say, “I’ll do it later,”  while thinking, “I’ll do it later and that’s fine.” Rather than saying, “I’ll do it later,” while thinking, “OMGINEEDTOBEDOINGTHISRIGHTNOWHOWCANIBETAKINGTIMEOFFOMG.”

It was nice, and it really made me see that I . . . need to take breaks. I need to spend more time with my husband than eating and watching an episode or two of Modern Family during. I need to do that. I need to let myself enjoy things other than WORK. So . . . I think I’m going to start taking at least one day off every week, to spend with Husband. I think that will be good for my sanity (I’m also sure it would make him happy, and that’s a very good thing).

Unfortunately I woke up today and Weather had changed only the tiniest bit. Knowing I needed to get some things done today, I trudged out to Shed and thought, “I can stick it out for a few hours.”

Also unfortunately, a series of events happened which frustrated me to no end and I found myself thinking a set of words I never, ever think.

I just can’t be bothered with this right now.

(It didn’t help that the last time I’d been working with Herald [my laptop], I essentially stormed off in a fit of frustration, which MIGHT have carried over . . .)

So I went back inside, played more games, ate an unhealthy amount of white cheddar popcorn while playing those games (I’ve got skills, and apparently was lacking self-control today), made dinner with Husband, then came back out here now. And honestly . . . I’m still feeling like I can’t be bothered (Word is driving me insane).

Anyway, obviously Cold has hindered my plans to catch up on here (among about fifty other things I need to do), but like all things, it will pass and like all things, I will get it done. I will (not) grin and bear as much as I can of Cold until it decides to just hang out rather than punch me in the face. Then I WILL grin (no parenthetical aside needed) and not bear anything more than a ridiculous workload that seems like it will never, EVER lighten.

By the way, I sincerely hope no one is as cold as I am right now.

(I know it’s not Wednesday, but obviously I wasn’t out here to write this Wednesday, and this was ABOUT Wednesday, so . . . WEDNESDAY.)

It’s time to play my favorite game.

It’s called ‘the catch up game,’ and if you can’t tell that I’m being sarcastic (SOMEONE INVENT SARCASTIC FONT FOR ME, PLEASE), then I should go ahead and say, “I’m being sarcastic.”

That being said, I should also point out that it means I’ve finished this run-through of book 2 in the Reave series, which means B2 is out of my hands (meaning I can’t touch it again until my friend gets through revising it). This is good. B2 was my priority (obviously, as I’ve fallen off the face of the social-planet), and now I’ve reached the point I needed to reach with it. I don’t have to spend every waking moment working on 3 and 4, so I’ll have all that time to do the other things I need to do. It also means that I’ll get to at least pretend I have some sort of life, and that’s good.

I have to apologize for how far behind I’ve gotten on reading blogs and the like, but I will TRY to remedy that within the next few days. Don’t get mad if I don’t go a month back in archives to catch up, but I’ll do what I can. (And by that I mean, “I’ll do what I can without making my brain explode.”)

Charles Yallowitz, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THIS? I’ll admit I’ve been baffled over that many times.

I’ve been trying to come up with some sort of blogging schedule, but I should also say I’ve been trying to do that for a really long time now. I’m kind of at a loss as to how anyone can even stand reading my posts (they’re always talking about how much I suck at blogging, or at life in general), but hey.

I’m thinking what I might do is use Monday for an ‘update’ post (but I’m kind of at a loss as to what I could actually update) or something to do with ‘work’ or ‘writing’ or SOMETHING, use Wednesday as a ‘random’ post (along the lines of Friendship: The magic of THE CLICK or Hello World. I am a moron. Nice to meet you.), then Friday will get back to my Friday Music posts.

We’ll see how well that works out. I don’t have a clue about it as of now.

We’re going to count this as my Monday post, even though it’s Sunday (I might change my mind about that, but I might not). I need to spend a few days playing that game I was talking about and try not to get overwhelmed by it.

If anyone has some pointers for time-management, I’m all ears (eyes). O.o

(If any of those pointers involve making days 50 hours or inventing a way for people to function on absolutely no sleep . . . I’ve already thought those to death. But if you can figure out how to do either of those things . . . it would be helpful.)