Bucket List

When I was younger (probably 17-18 or so), I wrote up a list of things I wanted to do in my life. That list, unfortunately, has been lost – along with any and all the endless amounts of notebooks I’ve had throughout the years. Shame. It’s an even bigger shame that I can’t remember the things on the list. Not really.

There were probably things like, Get a tattoo, or Travel to [some unknown place]. I’m sure it’s baffling to at least one person out there that I can’t even remember where I wanted to travel to seven or eight years ago. I can say that it likely included destinations where my friends were located then (as I used to have a LOT of friends scattered across the country, and still have a few of them, actually).

I can say that, since that time, I’m sure I’ve done a lot of the EASIER things on my list. I didn’t do things like, Bungee jump, or Skydive. I don’t want to do those now, and it baffles me why I ever wanted to.

I have several tattoos. I’ve been a lot of places (outside the continental US, but haven’t had my feet off American soil). I’ve lived in five states since age 17, and right on the border of another. I’ve visited more states than I care to count right now, for one reason or another (almost always involving seeing people that I knew more so than doing THINGS). I’ve gone snowboarding more than once. I’ve been to the top of a mountain (driving, not climbing, but that’s one experience I don’t care to do again as I was nearly having a panic attack the entire time). I’ve seen the northern lights in person. I’ve gone whitewater rafting. I’ve been in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. I’ve gone snorkeling. I’ve driven to the point of being utterly lost and found my way home without a map or GPS or smartphone, both literally and figuratively.

I’ve written a book (quite a lot more than a), which was always on the list.

I’ve done some things in my life. I used to do so many things on a whim. I’d get an idea in my head and just . . . do it. It made for some amazing experiences, I can’t deny that, but it also made for some amazingly bad experiences along the way.

I’ve realized that – most of the time – when you reminisce with people, you filter through the memories. You laugh about the good (laying on a blanket around a bonfire with some of your best friends, staring up at the stars, while people play guitar and make up ridiculous songs sang in a Schwarzenegger-like voice), and skirt around the bad. You skirt around the bad and the REALLY bad is rarely ever acknowledged.

It’s better that way, I think. You know what happened and why talk about it when you can laugh instead?

BF and I often reminisce, as we have about 16 years or so of life spent (mostly) together to reminisce over. I realized that . . . most of the time, when I speak with people who have been in my life for a long time . . . reminiscing is involved (as long as there’s time to catch up and get past the ‘how have you been the last several months?’).

I have a lot of things that I still want to do, rather than talking about things that I’ve done before. They’re different wants than they likely would’ve been when I sat down however many years ago to write the old list. Then again . . . I wouldn’t know.

I’ve seen a few people have those sorts of lists on here, and it made me really think about it.

Rather than randomly spout off the things I still want to do, I’m going to make a new list and put it on here. I will cross things off when I get to them. I may never get to most of them, but I’m going to try.

It’s much more difficult to do when you get older and have so many things to take care of, but it’s not impossible. It’s much more difficult when you set your sights higher, but it’s not impossible.

It might take me a few days to get it up, but that’s the goal.

Aim for the stars.

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Self-publishing.

Yeah. I’m doing it.

I know, I know. I said I was going to attempt querying and do the whole shebang (get an agent and we all lived happily ever after with a picket fence and 2.4 dogs, er, kids).

Anyone who’s been following my blog for a little while knows I flopped back and forth about it (don’t we all?). I spent so much time weighing the pros and cons of each – carefully and meticulously – until all cons blurred with pros and pros were cons and cons were . . . um . . . what’s going on? That was basically how it went in my head for a very long time, so I told my husband to make a decision on it. I was content with that for about a day or two, and then the mental-flopping began again. I didn’t want to blog about it because I wanted to get it sorted in my head.

I realized, after speaking with so many people, that this was a decision only I could make.

I started looking into cover artists just for curiosities sake and found one that I LOVED.

For about four days, I did nothing but flop around mentally afterward. I mulled over the word author. I’ve said it before that I will NOT call myself one unless the word aspiring is in front of it. Not yet.

One night, I looked up the definition of it. I kind of had a moment. There was no ‘traditionally published’ in the definition, of course. For one of those days, I contemplated over the word – what it meant, what it meant to other people, and what it meant to me.

Rather than focus on pros and cons, I started focusing on why. Why did I want to be published traditionally? What was drawing me to self-publishing despite the stars and rainbows and glitter of the P and the T together?

When thinking about the why . . . it fell into place.

I don’t need a publishing contract to accomplish what I’ve wanted to accomplish with this. All I want is for ONE person out there to love my books – to make an impact on a person the way that some books have impacted me. I don’t need a P and a T together for that. I don’t.

So I made the decision about a week and a half ago and I haven’t looked back since.

There hasn’t been one single flop from me, or even one second of doubting the choice I’ve made.

I don’t like posting things on here unless they’re set in stone. I’m feeling comfortable with sharing now.

I’ve been arranging things with that love-inducing cover artist and the photographer. I love them both. Seriously. Details are being figured out and things are being put in motion.

My editor had to extend the date of finishing my novel, so I won’t have it back until early to mid-October. I’m trying to get everything done that can be done until that point.

As of now, I’m shooting for early December. That’s going to depend on how everything works out, but now . . . I’ll be able to keep you all updated.

It’s so freaking weird having things moving. I spent such a long time feeling like my entire world was at a standstill.

Anyway. No more waiting. It’s time to start letting them go. I’m worried, of course, but . . . I’m feeling good. I’m excited. I never thought I’d be more excited than stressed/nervous, but . . . I am.

Wish me luck. I’m definitely going to need it.

O.O

Unhelpful Book Reviews: A Rant

I believe this is going to be my very first rant on here. At least the first that I have every intention of posting after I get finished typing.

A little bit of back-story to explain completely . . .

About a month or two ago, I decided that I was going to download some e-books off of ‘The Big 2’ (Barnes & Noble and Amazon). The entire purpose of it was to write some good, helpful reviews – both for the potential readers, and for the authors.

I suppose that I should interject on my own writing here and clarify that I was downloading lesser known books, hopefully by authors who were just beginning their careers. I was hoping upon all hope that I would be able to . . . HELP.

There are two issues . . .

One: I have major problems with reading long things on any type of screen. Even things that I write. When I’m writing my own books, I keep them in separate chapters until throwing them all together. I do not read my own books in their entirety on my computer. I just can’t retain things, or pick them out. So, doing this was potentially problematic in that sense.

Two: Well . . . You see . . . I tried to read one of those downloaded books. I got about 10 or so pages into it and literally could NOT continue. It was torture. Absolute TORTURE.

I went and sat down at my computer with intent to write a review (I should say, I’ve only written one book review in my entire life, apart from the one I’m currently speaking – er, typing – of. I told myself, “Constructive criticism, C. Constructive criticism. Anything you say could potentially help this author. HELP THEM, FOR HOLY &%*$’@ sake!”

I wrote the review, and I was pleased with it.

I was pleased with it until I realized that it was written better than the book I’d attempted to read (I swear this is not me tooting my own horn. If you’ve read many of my blogs, you know that I’m extremely critical of my own writing). And I was pleased until I realized that, if I posted it? I could potentially do more harm than good. I guess the Aspiring-Author part of me couldn’t stand the thought of harming the career of another author.  Even if they might have . . . needed it. Even as a wake-up call.

I didn’t post it anywhere. I still have it saved on my computer, but that’s where it sits.

Anyway, I’ve been perusing The Big 2 again today, and I just got a bit frustrated. Or more than a bit, possibly.

 

The purpose of this here rant is not about the horribleness of that book, or of any other book (though authors DESPERATELY NEEDING to get their books edited before self-publishing, and also ensuring they GET GOOD COVER ART are potentially fuel for the fire of another entry.)

The purpose of this here rant is the absolutely unhelpful, ridiculous book reviewers on The Big 2.

Not all of those reviewers are unhelpful. Some of them write amazing reviews – even those 1 star ones (which I am more likely to read than the 5 stars).

This rant is not even about the reviews that are ridiculous (and also a bit ironic). (THIS BOOOK WAS REATAR!!!!!!!! WHA WAS THE AUTHER THIKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [insert more excessive !!’s]), (This author really needs to stop reling so much on spell-check) . . .

This has absolutely nothing at ALL to do with the reviews that have zero writing (I’m assuming they all just couldn’t stomach the book to the point of not even wanting to comment on it).

This has nothing to do with the rating system at all, really. This has nothing to do with bad reviews.

This has absolutely everything to do with people who give a book 1 star to . . . ask a question. (As a side-note: I actually saw one review like that with 5 stars)

– Here is one star. How many pages are in this book?-

-Here is one star. I’m nine. Can I read this book?-

. . . . . . .

What these people fail to realize is that they are actually harming careers.

I hadn’t even been looking at books with ratings that had less than 4 stars, until earlier. And I’ll tell you – I flagged and flagged and flagged until my little heart was somewhat content once I realized what I was looking at. Unrelated content. Suspected underage user. Unrelated content. Again, and again, and again.

If the book is free .  . . Can’t you just . . . DOWNLOAD it to see how many pages there are?  Hmm?

 

I try to be professional on here – at least to an extent. But seriously? Harming careers.

I say again . . . Harming CAREERS.

I sure as hell wouldn’t want that level of ignorance keeping my potential audience from picking up my book when the time comes. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it – that’s totally fine. That’s an entirely different ballgame.

But if I don’t want it to happen to me?

I don’t want it to happen to any of you either.

 

Maybe I would be more helpful at skimming reviews than reading books. Ha