Category Archives: Updates

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.

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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.

Holiday Mayhem

Nothing turns my day job into bedlam faster than a holiday at the first of the month in the middle of the week. Rarely is there a three day weekend with this current work situation. In fact, I think I remember one time where I had three days in a row and it was only because I ended up sick with the flu the day before the holiday. The first week of the month is always busy. Add in a holiday and you end up with a lot of confusion and aggravation. People just don’t do change well. That is a lesson in human behavior that I have learned well.

With that being said, the 4th of July was an epic day. I’d found a story that I wrote a while back when I changed bags for work. It is a little more horror but, it was really pretty good. I decided to revise it and put it out as a short novella for you. I will definitely let you know when it will be available. I’m just going to take some time to polish it up this weekend and ship it off to my beta readers. Then I’ll get all the other details together once I have my feedback.

I was amazed at my production time on the 4th though. I skipped getting online and doing the usual social media surfing. Instead, it was like old times. Me, the keyboard, and some music in the background. I think I tripled my word count for my best day in the past year. And yes, it was awesome!

It reminded me of why I enjoy writing so much. I get lost in my imagination when I do that well. It’s really like reality suspends itself for me and I’m really in my setting and talking to my characters. I think that’s why my early drafts are super dialogue heavy.  More than that, it was a rather blissful day with just me and the pup working away on what I wanted to. Those days are rare since I work a full time job. But, I’ll take them whenever I can get them.

Approaching my weekend, I want to see a similar amount of productivity. I know I have some errands to run but, my plan is to get those done after work tomorrow and then come home to work in the studio. Sunday is always a day for me to focus on my fiction. So I’m excited for that.

Another thing that I’m excited about is that I’m actually scheduling some posts so that things can be more regular here on the blog. My initial plan is to bring you posts twice a week. Posting starting next week on Wednesday and on Satuday.  I have a list of topics and ideas but, I would also love to incorporate what you really want to know. So, I have an open invitation for you to comment your questions. It can be about anything really. I’m not going to be very picky about sticking to a topic because the whole idea of this blog being a window into my creative world is pretty all-encompassing. So whether you have a writing question, a question about creativity in general, or something even more mundane don’t be shy.  Ask away.

The challenge for me is going to be finding images to use. I know blogs are pretty boring without them so, I’m off to look for resources for free images.

Homecomings

It isn’t a secret that for the last year or so I have been trying to find the right mix of things to make my marketing life easier.  For authors, it is never just about writing the book (unfortunately). That’s a big part of it, of course. There are just so many other things that go into it if you want to make it a full time living. Which, I do obviously.

I’ve tried out other blogging platforms. I was a long time user of another for more obscure rantings and ravings about daily life. That platform has been through a lot of changes and I’ve been through them all. This last change however, made me decide to try something else. I had the bright idea that I would simply combine and consolidate using a new platform. Surely that would make my life easier. Right? No. So, here I am back on wordpress. And yes, I will consolidate here finally. I finally figured out that this is by far the best platform for what I need and want to do.

So what have I been up to, aside from writing?

I took a vacation and spent some much needed time with my neices in Kentucky. Going back to the old homestead is always interesting. This time was no different. Those three girls are just a joy to be around. I was able to spend a bit of time with my baby brother. It sounds like he may be making a move closer to us soon. So we’ll see what that brings.

I also had a chance to spend a day with my best friend since high school. Deedra is always keeping me laughing and motivated to keep going on the worst days. It was good to be able to go out to lunch and spend some time like we used to. It felt like we were back on “field studies” again and I really need to do that more often.

I joined a virtual women’s writers group a while back. I’ve gotten so much out of it. Really wanted to partake in a big workshop the leader was doing. With the trip and some additional expenses, I couldn’t afford it though. She’ll have another and maybe I can do it then. The support and encouragement happening in that group is amazing though.

WordPress is acting funny for me today so, I’m going to keep this little update brief. I’ll figure out what is going on and make more regular posts going forward. Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have questions related to writing or the creative lifestyle. I’ll be happy to use them for a future blog or even possibly a video series. I’ve been saying I want to start a Youtube channel for a while. Maybe it is time. I just need to come up with ideas for what to talk about. That’s where all of you lovely readers can help me.

Indiegogo Is A Go For Launch

TSOTS COVER ADIn May of 2013 I published my debut novel The Secret of the Storm. As a new author, I am excited at the response from my readers and that it has been so positive. I will admit that I was very surprised when I kept hearing the same feedback from readers; when is the sequel coming out?

Truth is, I hadn’t planned to make a return trip to Slauson Cove. When I finished The Secret of the Storm, I didn’t exactly think that people would want to hear more about Elora and the Walsingham family. I even moved on to new projects including a major series. How wrong I was though. Nearly everyone who has read the book has been calling me out for another book about Elora and the Walsingham family. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I wouldn’t mind going back to the sleepy little seaside town and telling more about what happens after the prophecy seems to be fulfilled.

People want to hear more about Elora and her family and friends. This is great for me. It means that I did something right in crafting that story. Producing another book is definitely on the to do list but, as I said previously, I did move on to other large scale projects that are eating a great deal of my time. One of those is nearly ready to hit the press. Taking the time to write another impromptu book is going to take resources that I don’t have.

old file case Family Secrets#2I’ve started an Indiegogo project to fund what I need to get another Slauson Cove book in the works. There are so many things that go into producing a book. I want to do this right and I want to be able to pay other indie-artists and freelancers to help me make it the best it can be. That means I need funds to work with. Not only will I need those to pay the people helping but, I’ll need money to help me promote it once it does come out.

I’m trying to raise $4,000.00 through Indiegogo. The campaign will last 60 days starting August 1st. I’ve chosen to go with the flexible funding option so that if we don’t reach the total goal I can still keep working on a more limited budget for those who do want to see the book come out.

Donating is simple and can be done via the campaign site using your Paypal account or a major credit card. Simply choose your level of support. Many of the levels include a tangible copy of the book sent to you when it is completed. The details of each level are there for you to see. Donors will be featured in a post here on the blog and will also have a special place on the main header as soon as the campaign ends and I receive the list of donors. This will likely be in early to mid October.

Work will be starting on the book in September. But books won’t be mailed until all is finished sometime in April or May of 2014. Writing a book takes time and I’m wearing a lot of hats. I’m a mom, a teacher, a writer, a publicist, a homemaker, and I am trying to market with social media and promotion tours here in East Texas.

For the next few weeks, you’ll see posts here about the upcoming release and the perks that I’m offering and why I’ve chosen them at various levels. If you can support the cause, please know that you’re not just helping me take some luxury vacation or buy some sort of trinket. You’re helping me get my career and life on track. You’re helping put a little girl in dance classes, paying for education costs, and helping enable me to stay home so I can focus on the two things I love most my family and my stories.

So please, at least read the campaign here. I know that times are tough and everyone else is struggling just as we are here. But there are other ways that you can help. Boost the signal and send it out to your social media. Tell people why you’d support it if you could. You never know, it may inspire someone else to contribute where you couldn’t. I will also be posting a flyer for you print off. You can post it wherever businesses will allow you to do so. Public bulletin boards are great places for this. You can also ask your local librarian, post it in your dorm, pass it around your reading and writing circles. There are any number of ways to get people to notice the project. The more people do, the more likely I am to reach my goal. And I can’t do that without all your support.

Thanks in advance for all the support you’re showing me. As a special celebration to get things kicked off, I’ve been able to lower the price on my Kindle Edition of The Secret of the Storm to $2.99. That will last through August 10th. So, it is a chance to get the original story at nearly half price. If you haven’t already read it. I suggest picking it up and getting to know Elora Castain and the Walsinghams.

On The Horizon

I’ve been absent much more than I wanted to. We’re still researching internet providers for the new apartment right now. Though we’re planning on having everything set up at the first of the month, we’re on a budget and looking for the best deal we can find. So, access to my blog, email, and other online things is very limited at the moment.

In fact, I know I was spoiled now. I got very accustomed to having high speed internet. My ex insisted on keeping it when we were living together because of his “hobbies”. Of course I took advantage of the connection. Since he was never without it, I’ve pretty much had continual access to high speed for about six and a half years. That is, until now. Now, I’m literally using a sort of dial up to post things and check my email. Sometimes I think it would be faster to do this by snail mail.

Regardless of whether the net access is up and running by the first of the month, there are still big things on the horizon. One in particular, I want to give you some details on.

Yes, I am planning to do a sequel to my debut novel, The Secret of the Storm. The readers are speaking loud and clear on this particular issue. And I have been putting pen to page to jot down ideas for the plot and a couple of new characters to add to the mix. I won’t give details away yet except to say that there are even more family secrets for Elora Castain to uncover in the next book. There is a certain small issue from the end of the first book to resolve as well.

As much as I am planning to do this, I have to admit that I’m concerned about the time that this “side project” will take away from the coming series Armageddon Rising. It will definitely make a lot more work for me in the coming months if I am going to meet a deadline as I have in mind. So, in a way, I’m going to leave it to the readers to decide if there will be another.

On August 1st, 2013 I will be launching an Indiegogo campaign to fund the sequel. There will be incentives for those who donate or pre-order the book. I hope to raise enough to pay off a couple of bills, market the books more, and allow me to get out there to meet the readers in a more one on one way, and give us a bit of breathing room here at home so that we can continue to move toward our goals for our family.

Yes, it will be up to the readers to help get this one done. I’m going to need funds to pay editors, artists, etc for things to make this happen quickly. If those funds aren’t raised to a certain level, I don’t think that I can sink as much time into it to get it done on a tight schedule as planned. Other works will take a front seat to this one unless I can reach at least half of my goal on this crowdfunding. I’m aiming for $3,000.00. If it funds completely or goes over the sequel will take a center stage for me for the next few months (aside from homeschooling the munchkin, of course) and will come out sometime in the spring. If I only get half of the amount it won’t happen until summer or later because I’ll have to put other projects into that mix and hopefully release two back to back. We’ll just see what you all say.

It may be the case that you’re all just being nice to the newbie on the market and saying you want a sequel too. In that case, I won’t bother with it. I’ll just move on to the new series all together.

In any event, there are a lot of things happening for me. I’ll be posting more about everything soon. I’m planning on starting my regular posts back up next week. So that gives me through Monday to get my thoughts sorted and things planned out. So, I’ll see you all on the other side of the weekend. Have a fabulous one!

Kids & The State of the Fluff

I am in a very different place than I was a year ago. The changes have been remarkable really. My level of happiness is through the roof. My energy level has its ups and downs but, overall I am going along just swimmingly. The move has been a big boost in motivation for me. There are just so many things going on at once that I have moments where I’m a bit overwhelmed. Adjusting to what is essentially a brand new life isn’t easy but, I have to say that this change has been pretty seamless.

I’ve gone from living with my parents to living in my own home with my fiance and our little girl. So, I’m not just part time momma anymore. In fact, we’ve had to seriously adjust to being mom full-time. There are things about being a full-time mom that are very different from having a kid a weekend here or there like I did with my ex. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade those weekends with her for the world. I always tried to treat her like she were my own kid – despite my ex’s constant reminders that she wasn’t mine or my responsibility. But having a little one in the house full-time is a very different experience.

Back on the 4th of June, I attended her Kindergarten graduation ceremony and her classroom party with her Dad. I was asked to be there and I gave up a trip to Florida with my mom to see family I haven’t seen in a long time in order to be there. Not to mention, the trip to Disney World. What was striking about this to me was that the teachers had asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. Every kid gave an answer that the teachers told the parents and families as they walked across the stage to shake the principal’s hand. For Kat, her answer was that she wanted to be a really good momma.

I am learning that I have to be an example to her. She mimics everything I do. For example; over the weekend we had the opportunity to have my parents over for dinner. My mom had just come back from her trip. She brought a pretty sentimental piece of furniture for my new home and we wanted to unload it from the truck so it wouldn’t be in the weather. I had borrowed her steam mop to get the floors done when we moved in. So, I took the opportunity to use it one more time before she took it back home with her.

I had asked Kat to stay in the other room as I did the kitchen and dining room. And she was being good and doing as she was asked. What was funny was when I looked over at her, she had our broom. As I was mopping the floors, she was pretending to mop with the broom. Every stroke I made, she matched. I thought it was just her playing around at first and laughed it off. But then, there were other things I started noticing; like her copying my mannerisms at the dinner table. 

So, I am really starting to think about how I’m living my life. What do I want for her when she grows up? How can I show her what those things are and why they are better? And I came to a realization that the biggest thing I can do for her is set the example of living a healthy lifestyle.

I am already much more active than I have been in the past. Let’s face it though, writing requires me to be fairly sedentary for a great deal of time. I want to be even more active when I can. So when a family member suggested me coming two nights a week to do Zumba with her, I agreed. And I took Kat with me the first time.

Talk about a challenge! Oy Vey! We managed to get through half of the beginner set before we were all gasping for air and wanting water. I think it was a shocker for us all to see just how out of shape we really are. Yet, we were having fun while getting that mini-workout. I know it will take time to learn the moves. Frankly I want to get the DVD and do it at home. It was a blast and I can’t wait until I can actually dance like these people can who do it. I know it will help my coordination and I also know that if I cycle it out with yoga, I’ll likely get my flexibility back as well.

I’m excited though. I think I have found something that may prove to be my niche for exercise. More importantly I think I’ve found something that I can do that will allow me to help make physical activities fun for Kat as well. She had a ball trying to do the dance. So much so, that Charles and I are talking about how to get her into dance classes thinking that it may help with her coordination and balance. We’ll just see how things shape up over the summer. We have a lot to accomplish but we’re getting there.

Just continuing to plug along. And once I get unpacked and find my files again, I plan to get back to tracking everything like I was and posting the health sheets for you all to use as well. Just keep being patient with me. I just have a lot going on and I am still trying to stay on schedule to publish The Fallen One late this summer so I’m stretched a little thin.