Category Archives: Updates

The Currents April 2018 & Goals

Welcome to April folks! The start of a new adventure and some really exciting things coming up for me. Conventions and speaking engagements abound in the next two months and I am loving every minute of this. I won’t lie. This feels right to me and I know that I am beating a dead horse with friends and family but, I need more of this. More time to focus on what I truly love and meeting the people who make it possible.

So I have decided to give you all a little look into my world in a series of posts on Monday to tell you what I’m currently reading, listening to, and what my free time is spent on. This seems to be what people want to know about authors after all. So, who am I to keep that info secret?

What I am reading?

Well, I’m finishing up Dan Brown’s Origin on my Audible at the moment. So far so good. I’ve been a fan of the Robert Langdon stories since I first heard of The Davinci Code. I understand readers desire for series work. It had been a long time since I’d read any of his work and picking this one up was like revisiting an old friend. I’ll have to review it when I finish it.

On my Kindle is a copy of a rather interesting little memoir piece by Peter Hockley called Four Nights With The Devil.  I’m fascinated by the stories of how people change spiritually and convert over to Christianity. It usually reaffirms my own faith in God and the belief that He speaks to everyone individually. Being met on our level and the spiritual path ahead of us unfolding in a way that we understand it, well, that’s an epic and life-changing experience. Again, I will have to review it when I finish. This one could spark a bit of a reflection for me though.

Musically speaking I have been leaning toward more instrumentals these days. Lindsey Sterling features heavily in my playlists for when I am writing. The addition of the mellow sounds of Josh Groban and Michael Buble interspersed with a bit of Norah Jones and Florence and the Machine.  My tastes are pretty eclectic. I’m sure that the preference may change with the week depending on what happens throughout the week.

Curious about anything else? Drop it in the comments and I’ll respond.

So moving on to goals.

I’ve decided to do Bi-Monthly Goals this time. Quarterly was just too much time to track these. So I’m shortening the scope of the list in an effort to actually be successul at it.

  1. Get my revised drafts out to my Beta Readers of the next release. (Yes we are almost there folks.)
  2. Post a minimum of 8 videos on the Youtube channel. Youtube is a challenge thanks to subpar internet upload speeds living in the country. I’m not the only one using our service so, I can’t be selfish with it. One a week may be all I can manage for now. I’ll go with it.
  3. Blogging 3 days a week. Yes, that means more check ins and more rambling for all of you to see.
  4. Book my first 5 video clients.  After making my book trailer video (You can see it here) I had a lot of people asking who I had create it. So, I’ve decided that I would like to start offering it as a service that people can get affordably for their own book or project. In fact, I am working on a couple to build my portfolio now so that I can show a variety of styles. If you are interested in having one done, see my website for more details.
  5. Complete the outline for Armageddon Rising Book Two. Yep, that’s the next big project. I still have plenty of research to conduct though.
  6. Tyler Paranormal Convention : Complete my presentation and make a sales goal I’m setting privately
  7. Geekend : First Author’s Panel and of course a private sales goal.
  8. Have 25 Youtube subscribers by May 31st.
  9. Get over 200 newsletter subscribers by May 31st.
  10. And Finally… Write another novella work for my Investigators from Exorcising The Past. I think I want to make this a regular thing for serial fiction.

There you have it folks! My 10 goals! Don’t miss the recap on Youtube to see if I met them. Yes, I’ll go on camera for that. Seems a good way to hold myself accountable.

 

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Really? And these kids want to what?

As I went about my day, I found that I really have little patience for stupidity. And I am sure that someone will label me a fuddy-duddy for this anectdote. I no longer care whether or not I am considered hip, cool, or fashionable. I’m not trendy. And I like what I like and despise what I please without reservation. I’m too old to play these games and hide the fact that I have a brain and can use it. So, I’m going to use this experience from earlier to make a point or two about things, I believe to be, wrong in our society.

For a bit of back story. I work for a loan company. It’s one of those places that are a chain and offer astronomically priced loan products. It is the sort where customers are desperate without alternatives and well, they take advantage of a bad situation and generally make it worse. Quite frequently we are mistaken to be a place where people can pay bills or cash checks without the need for a bank account. It happens. And as a rule, I explain that it isn’t a service we offer. They ask where they can and I give a couple of local options and people are frustrated but, they go about their way to get their cash.

Today however, was a different story. About an hour prior to closing a maroon Chevy sedan pulls up outside. Clearly Momma is driving since a young man got out of the pasenger side. Now, his sagging pants, hoodie, and ball cap turned to the side didn’t make for a good first impression to begin with. But, he came in and I was my chipper friendly self. He asks the question I figured was coming. “Do you cash personal checks?”

This is the conversation that ensued:

Me: Sorry, that’s not a service we offer here. I’m simply a loan company.

Him: But Google said you do.

Me: Well, Google is mistaken. I don’t do any check cashing at all personal, payroll, or otherwise.

Him: But Google says you did.

Me: (loosing my patience) Yeah well, I’ve been here for three years and we’ve never cashed checks. Sorry about that.

Him: But it says-

Me: Honey, Google is wrong! I cannot and will not cash that check for you. Period. End of discussion about Google. You can try  **** or ****. See if they can help you out.

Him: I’ve already been there.

Me: May I suggest getting a bank account with one of the local banks. Or taking the check to the bank that it is written from.

Him: Huh?

Me: Where is the check from?

Him: My mom.

Me: No, what bank.

Him: I don’t know my mom gave it to me.

Me: Okay so, I can’t help you with your check. Good luck and have a nice day!

Took another two minutes of blank stares and me refusing to say anything further before he took the hint that it was time to leave.

This kid was likely 17 or 18 and seemed perfectly normal otherwise. I didn’t ask for an I.D. But, all I could think to myself was that these kids are going to be running the country some day. Our educations system is failing them if we can’t even get them to comprehend something as simple as the answer to that question.

Do you do X?

No, I don’t. We provide product/service Y.

The exchange seemed surreal to me. Like he honestly believed that Google was God and that if he told me enough that Google said we did something that it would somehow make me start doing what he wanted. Fortunately, I’m not easily swayed in that way. But, then again, I head about things others in the same business (company) do and I wonder about their ability to reason and think logically.

I see this more often now and it is truly disturbing to me. Sadly it isn’t only the kids I see this with. It is adults too. And these experiences really take a toll on my optimism for the direction of human evolution.

Honestly, this is a case of life being stranger than, or at least as strange, as fiction.

Rainy Weeks & Event Announcements

It has been a trying week for me. The rain that has been stalled over the area where I live has made the usual routine hard to stick with. We had some sun on Monday; which was a good thing. Of course we’re back to the overcast and stormy weather through Thursday. That makes for a long week when you’re dealing with people all day long and all the rain does for your mood is make you want to curl up in bed with the pup. We can’t change it. So, I’m just trying to make the most of it.

It turns out that this week SamBee’s had an order for some cookies for a wedding rehearsal dinner. So my evenings have been mostly consumed with that project. But it is a nice change when I feel like I am struggling through some areas of manuscript revisions. Sometimes a step back and a change of pace will help clear the tunnel vision and make it easier to move forward when you get a chance to do so.

GeekendI am excited to tell you that I am going to be at another local (to East Texas anyway) event.  Kilgore, Texas is hosting  Geekend which coincides with Free Comic Book Day! The event dates are May 5th and 6th. Along with cosplayers, gamers, and other authors I’ll be set up with books and swag items. The excitement doesn’t stop there though. This will be the first time I’ve been on an Author’s Panel at an event like this. So I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining long-time friend and fellow author Edward Hancock II to talk shop and answer audience questions.

You can find all sorts of information on their Facebook Page HERE. Including links to their event site, schedules as they are available, and all of the other participants and vendors who will be in attendance.

Easing back into the touring part of marketing my work is a bit unnerving. It has been way too long since I’ve been in front of people. But, I’m also very excited about it. I love to meet readers and enjoy talking with other aspiring writers.  You never know who you’ll meet in the process of going to these events. And I’m looking forward to adding more before the end of the year. I have my eye set a couple of events that are held in the Dallas area as well. So we shall see what I can add to the schedule.

Do you know of local events near you that have space or are looking for author’s or speakers on creative writing? I’d love to hear about them so drop a comment to let me know how to find an event in your neck of the woods. You never know when I’ll want to take a trip and I’d love to make those trips worthwhile.

Keeping it simple tonight. As I said, cookies are keeping my evenings busy at the moment. But I wanted to drop a line to announce about Geekend so you can mark your calendars.

Events & Other Writerly Things

Being a writer has perks.

Yes, it is a pretty solitary existence. We spend most of our time alone with a screen and a keyboard for company. However, there are the rare occasions when we get to step out and really enjoy the spotlight.

For me, I have always enjoyed the process surrounding a book signing event. I meet people who share a similar interest and have a chance to talk with them and sometimes it leads to friendships.  Now I haven’t done an event in, what feels like, forever. It’s been a few years. But, I’m excited to announce that I will be a vendor and attending at the Tyler Paranormal Conference. Click on the link and it will take you to the facebook page with all the information. And if you are in the East Texas area and can pop over to Tyler for one of the three days of the event, I would love to meet you. Maybe even sign a copy or two for you.

In other news, I’m entering the rewrite phase of the work on Slauson Cove Book Two. Second drafts are for working out plot holes and deepening the story. This one needs some TLC. That being said, it is time to really get to work on it. And I’m ready to get this one into the hands of all of you who enjoy my fiction work.

The irony is that I’m also working on the final editing phases of a short novella that I will be formatting soon to put out. It isn’t related to the Slauson Cove story line but is something unique that could be a start to a sort of collection of stories based around a group of characters if the feedback indicates that there is a demand for it.

Sort of a short post today folks. I have a ton on my To-Do List. So keeping it short and sweet is practical for me. But, I’ll be back with more insights from the studio. Maybe even with a cover reveal for the novella later in the week. Guess you’ll have to subscribe to stay tuned and not miss that.

In the meantime, tell me what sort of book-related or fiction-related events you enjoy or would like to attend in the comments. I am curious about how I can make these sorts of appearances more appealing and give you all more than just me sitting at a table signing books. Would you enjoy a reading styled event? Maybe a Q & A would be better. You tell me!

Welcome 2018 Now Create Something!

Happy New Year! 

Watched the drop from home this year with a bottle of champagne and my parents. Nothing too fancy really. We had finger foods and watched a movie after midnight. It was good company and a nice relaxing way to go out with the old. For all of you I hope that it was a safe and happy celebration if you were out with friends and that the new year brings you everything you hope it will.

Now it is time to get on with the business of getting things moving and shaking for 2018. As I think about all that I want to accomplish in the coming year I realize how much work I have ahead of me. I have to say it can be exciting and daunting at the same time. But, for me, it is time to kick the fear factor out of my headspace and go on with creating the life I wanted for myself.

This week will be a little different. I’ll be posting about quarterly goals and I’ll recap last year in a post. And I’ll be making some announcements and starting some exciting new things. But, you have a lot coming your way from me in 2018.

There’s a new book! Yes, I’ll be doing some official posts about the details. However, fans of The Secret of the Storm will be happy to know that they’ll get to return to Slauson Cove with Elora Castain. There will be some promotion events where you can meet me in person and I’ll be signing books. I’m working out details on a few of those for 2018.

If you haven’t read it then what are you waiting for? You can pick up a copy via my Amazon Author Page. Just go here or search for Anne Belle.

I’m also going to be brave and step outside my comfort zone this year with a new YouTube Channel. This is going to be a combination of advice, Q & A, and a look into my world. It should appeal to anyone who wants that look into the process of creating a fictional world, who wants to be more creative in their ow life, or who just wants to get to know me.

And, finally, I’m going to be producing a newsletter along with some freebies that will be exclusive for subscribers that will keep with my theme of creative lifestyle/living. This could be exclusive videos, printables, maybe even a short teaser or story for you. You’ll just have to subscribe to see.

So here’s to everyone having the best year ever! May the success, friends, fun, and happiness be plentiful for you throughout 2018. I hope you’ll join me on this crazy ride. Follow me here to get updates and sign up for all the fun coming your way.

December Days..

Woke up to a rather dreary day today. The overcast skies and rain didn’t help cure the urge to tell Alexa to snooze for a while.  I still had to get up and make the trek to the office. Like any self-respecting writer, I long for days when all I have to do is drink my coffee and put down my ideas on the page. Like everyone else in the real world though, I get up six days a week and do my duty at the day job.

The first part of the month is the hardest on me. Just a lot of people and only me to service the accounts in question. This is the only time of the month I feel that I need an assistant in my office. But, that won’t happen because I simply don’t have the volume to warrant it over all. This month is really no different. But, I will say that I am glad to have the first over with for the last time this year.

My days are typically pretty lax with this job. I answer phones, make calls, handle store reports, take payments and process loans. But it is generally spread out over the day and I can manage to take a bit of time to draft or plan at the very least. And there is a busy intersection just outside the window to keep me entertained when I am thinking.

Just a few weeks ago, I watched the very violent end of a high-speed chase from a neighboring city. I have no idea what the details of the circumstances are. However, I watched as a car was clipped and a pickup truck was launched into the air turning over twice before it hit the ground and rolled three more times. I was amazed that the driver and the passenger came out of it alive.

There are also several regular jay walkers who, I’m fairly certain, will meet an untimely end eventually. One elderly man in particular comes to mind. I have a tendency to hold my breath whenever I watch him crossing. I also am very happy on the Saturdays that the barbecue people are in the parking lot because their chef will go and walk him across to make sure he gets over okay.

It is a small town where people are friendly and yes, I know most of my customers by first and last name. I can also tell you how many kids some of them have, how many grand kids for others. I take pride in my customer service level. It has been a career for nearly 20 years as I have worked for various companies. And yet, I long for days when I don’t have to see people and deal with a million questions about payments, interest rates, and how people can’t make this or that payment.

Tonight, I’m putting some words into the WIP. I’m typing this blog about essentially nothing more than my day and I will sleep soundly for another night. I’ll get up and do it all over again tomorrow and hopefully avoid the numbers game with the boss. I’ll go through an early Christmas gift and start making a submission plan for 2018.

December is always a month of reflection and planning for me. So, I hope to share a bit of that with all of you in the next few weeks as we get ready for Christmas.

Time For An Adventure

It is that time of year again.

Halloween is over and writers the world over are sitting up until midnight to get the first wordsprints in for their new project as part of NanoWrimo. Along with this is a lot of anticipation, excitement, and even anxiety. But, if you’re a writer, or have even thought about writing a book, this may be a challenge to help you get started.

So what is it? NanoWrimo is short for National Novel Writing Month. While it’s name says that it is a national event and, well, it happens to be based in the good old U. S. of A, it has definitely become a worldwide event. It brings writers together over a shared goal and experience, striving to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

All the official details are at their website : www.nanowrimo.org 

In a nutshell, the challenge starts at midnight November 1st. Writers who partake of the challenge come in various varieties. Some will start with nothing more than an idea for a couple of characters and a scenario. Others have been doing research and planning for a while but haven’t really written anything to amount to a manuscript. Personally, I’ve tried both approaches with varying levels of success. Whatever the approach, we all start writing and share the experience using forums, in-person events organized by someone in the area, twitter, facebook, etc.

It is an exercise in creative thinking and time management. I’ve completed the challenge before and found it rewarding. It gave me material to refine that eventually became my first novel The Secret of the Storm. Now, I’m signed up under the pen name and happy to connect with other writers. This year, my project is the sequel to that first novel. I hope to replicate the prior success. And in the process launch a new venture. So, stay tuned for that.

If you’re a writer who wants to make strides in your writing, I extend an invitation to the challenge.  Connect with me and keep up with novel progress by following me on facebook or connecting with me on the Nanowrimo site as I update word counts throughout the month. This month there will be some extra posts about the progress as well.  So open a word processor (Scrivener and several other sponsors offer free trials for November for NanoWrimo Participants) and put your idea on the page with me and the other writers taking the challenge.

Connect with me here: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/anne-belle

 

Happy Halloween…

If you’ve not already taken the kids out trick or treating then, I hope you have fun, get lots of loot, and make great memories. If you’re recovering from a costume party over the weekend, I hope that it was eventful and memorable for you. Likewise I hope that we’re all ready to jump into the holiday season and make the most of it.

For my Halloween weekend festivities, I kept it quiet. I enjoyed a well-deserved day and  a half away from the day job by snuggling with this little guy and watching Stranger Things 2 on Netflix in a glorious marathon of binge watching while working on an embroidery project that will be added to my mother’s Christmas decor. East Texas weather didn’t disappoint me either. It ended up being quite chilly and I was enjoying my new slippers and my favorite comfy pants. I even realized that I’ve lost inches since my sugery in September. That was a big plus for me.

October has been a busy month. The first half of it was spent preparing for a charity event where we displayed this beauty. I’m planning on a post to explain all of it but, just looking at it is awesome. Out of that we actually booked our first wedding cake as well. That will happen next year as they are planning early. I am excited about it though.

As I wrap up the month I am finding myself a bit more determined to make the most of the end of 2017.  I need to finish my current WIP draft and get on with the process. I’ve put it on hold long enough. Nanowrimo is a perfect excuse to do just that. I’ll post about that tomorrow and what to expect in November from me. There are definitely changes brewing for me.

There will be more posts of writing projects and other creative endeavors. And looking ahead. 2018 is sure to be a big year for me. It’s all about priorities. And I’m getting those in line.

 

Explanations…

*taps microphone* Hello? Anyone still here?

An explanation is in order for such a lengthy absence. And I’m happy to give it considering all that has happened for me.

Like many of you I have many talents and interests. Some call it a blessing and others a curse. My own truth is that it is somewhere in the middle. It seems that I am fighting with time, more often than not, to make a way to pursue all of them with any sort of proficiency and take care of myself. I admit that in the past 10 years, I’ve not taken very good care of myself physically. It caught up with me and I landed in surgery. The whole experience has given me reason to take stock of life and what I want from it. Prioritizing certain efforts in life will reap better results than stretching myself thin and getting nowhere on any of my projects or interests.

This year was a bit of an experiment with my mother to see if we could build a baking business from home. What we realized is that most people here in our neck of the piney woods don’t want to pay what our creations are worth. That leaves us with very little clientele. We did a charity event on the 14th of October and the response to what we offered and our pricing made it clear that opening a bakery in town is not a good risk financially. So, that was a bit of a reality check. Though, I don’t regret giving it a try. I enjoyed it and the time spent with my mom. We’re still going to keep decorating and taking custom orders. We just altered the plan and expectations a bit.

For me, it brought my initial dreams to the forefront again. You could say that I took a break from writing with any sort of regularity. Certainly there have been a number of stalled months in 2017. But I want to finish the year strong and with something to show for all the efforts I’ve made. So, I did some brainstorming and have a whole list of topics to write about here on the blog. I even have a grand idea to bring some workshops and a workbook for you all. So, there is definitely some time in the studio that is happening to get all of that together.

Let’s not forget that I have another Slauson Cove book in the works to finish up this year and hopefully be releasing in Spring or Summer of 2018. ( More on that later.) So I have a lot on my plate as we come to another turning point in my life. Time to get with the program and try to reach more of the world.

In which the author is sidetracked…

Wow, the time got away from me.

I’ve been most of the week in my little writer’s studio working away on my novel in the time that I’ve had. Happy to say that it is going really well. Hoping to be at the halfway mark by the end of the day today. We shall see if the muse sticks around like she has been. So far, so good. The outline helps. But it has been good to be doing what we writers do.

I am going to try to have something a bit less trivial next post. I’m looking over options from my brainstorming sessions to find something interesting to bring you.

I’ve been thinking over the idea of bringing an episodic fiction series to Patreon. Initially thinking about something with a bit of a vintage feel to it. For those who don’t know me well yet, you’ll find that I love the Victorian Era fashions and social graces. I’ve wanted very much to write something set in that era. I’m not sure if it would quite fit the usual steampunk mold or not. I’m not about the cogs and gears so much. But, I do think it could be interesting and find an audience. For me it would be a bit different from the usual style as well. That sort of break could be good for me.

Speaking of breaks, I did take one this evening to watch Kong: Skull Island. I’d seen the movie while on a date when it was in theaters. I’m not usually an action film girl. I made an exception here because I remembered it being pretty good. (Well, it could also have been because of Tom Hiddleston but, I digress.) It was a good film. I think it went into a greater detail that opened the whole concept up for a new generation to enjoy. Definitely was more about the myth behind it and wove in a whole history that was interesting and kept you riveted.

I have mixed feelings about the remakes I see now. It almost feels that Hollywood isn’t willing to take chances on new ideas anymore. There is no shortage of new fiction out there to pull from. Many a novelist also dabbles in screeenwriting. We’d love to see our characters brought to life on the silver screen. But, again, Hollywood would rather invest time and resources into making a new version of King Kong or It for example. I get it, those are sure box office revenue winners. They are in it to make money. I’d just like to see more storytellers get their work to the audiences that will love them.

Before I call it a night, I want to take a moment to reach out to all of you. What would you like to see here? I have ideas but, I would love to answer some of your questions as well. It can be about writing, self-publishing, creativity, or even just life in general.