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Excitement from the #authorlife front…

Where do I begin?

Maybe with Happy Easter!

To those of you who celebrate the holiday, like myself, may you find peace with the season and remember the reason for it. This year is a bit odd for me as it feels like I am personally going through a bit of a period of rebirth and transformation. I couldn’t be happier about this though. There is a real deepening of my sense of purpose, my confidence, and my optimism for what my future holds. I’m writing more, promoting more, and it feels like many things are finally coming together in my pursuit of the “Author’s Life” I’ve always wanted to live. So I’m celebrating all sorts of aspects and themes with this one. And I sincerely hope that all of you are as well.

Last night I was chatting with my best friend Deedra Mosely via Skype while I was checking messages and emails to make sure that all is confirmed for the events I have lined up for April and May. I was expecting the usual confirmation emails of my booth and so forth. That wasn’t to be the case. Instead of the “shout out” about the promo spot on their facebook which I got. I was also asked to do a presentation on “Writing The Paranormal” as part of the convention. The next thing I know, I’m on the schedule and just a teensy bit over-excited. Not good when I really need to sleep and go to the day job the next morning. I must have seen 1:30 or 2:00 AM because I was so wound up and brainstorming what to talk about.

I would love input and suggestions. What are questions that you’d want to ask your favorite paranormal and horror authors?

I get to bring a unique spin to this because I have actually worked with investigations and reseach for years. I’ve made presentations on the subject before. I started out back in the 90s and even founded a local group here before life got in the way of investigating. Not to mention my own priorities changed. I still consult for my former investigators when they need help and reach out but, things have been fairly quiet on that front for years now.  I can’t say that I don’t put experiences into my fiction work. But, you’ll have to read and see if you can pick out those elements for yourself.

Exorcising The Past is firmly planted in the horror genre. In fact, it is sort of a cross genre, if you will. I can’t take it out of the paranormal genre but I am certain that many readers will classify it as horror. I’ll let you judge for yourself though. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is available right now on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. If you do read it (and I hope you will) do a girl a favor and leave a review. You have no idea how much you can help authors like myself by leaving a review of whether you liked the work or not.

That being said, this presentation is much different. Before I focused on dispelling the myths about the field and actually giving information to train investigators in terminology and understanding phenomena. That’s a much different sort of talk. There will be plenty of presenters from active investigators and groups. I get to focus on how it influences the creative process and what inspirations it conjures up. I have a ton to consider before I take that stage and plenty of notes to make to take along.

If you have suggestions feel free to leave a comment or email me. You can find information in the contacts.

Oh and yes, I got my limited edition print copies in today and they look amazing! I’ll get pictures this weekend for another post. There is nothing quite like holding a book baby for the first time. I don’t think I will ever get used to that feeling.  You can get your hands on one of these numbered and autographed books soon. I’ll be giving away a total of 6 copies in the next 6-8 weeks.

How can you enter the give away? It’s easy. Just sign up for my newsletter. You should have seen a pop up box when you came to this article. If, by chance you already put your name and email in those boxes, you’re already entered. If not, you can sign up via my website as well www.annebelleauthor.com and under the News & Events tab you’ll see a drop down for the newsletter that will take you to a sign up form.

Additionally, if you come and see me at the table. I will have some additional sign up slips that will put you in a drawing as well. Follow me on social media for additional ways to enter. I’ll do two rounds of announcements and will require your email to contact you if you win.

Good Luck!

What else to tell you about?

Lots of content coming up in April both here and on my Vlog/Podcast. I have a whole calendar set up with topics and when to post what. So I’ll be busy this weekend creating content and getting it ready to go.

If you are in the area and coming to Tyler for the conference I would love to meet you. So stop by my booth to pick up a copy of my novels. I’ll be more than happy to sign and take a picture if you like.  Don’t miss my presentation at 12:15PM on April 21st. Comments here are a way to help me choose questions to address in the talk. Q & A time at the event will be limited because there are so many presenters lined up for this one.

Stay tuned for announcements about other events as well. This is keeping me hopping and I absolutely love it!

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

 

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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!

Doing the prep work…

Anything worth doing takes preparation as well as determination. We all know this. That’s why people spend years in school getting a degree, a year planning a wedding, or even years writing a book. So it is no wonder that the release of a book also takes preparation.

I decided to take time to really prepare my space for writing success. I’ve realized that it is far too cluttered and hindering progress. So with my recent refund from the IRS, I decided to invest in my current set up to make my space both inspiring and condusive to progress and productivity. For me, that means installing shelves and various organizational items but also a bit of frivolous spending as well.

I upgraded my phone which was a much needed item. I chose the LG Stylo 3 Plus which suits me quite well. The size isn’t easily lost in my purse or bag. The camera is a much better quality than my last phone. Incidentally that was also an LG. Android has many options for me as far as apps and working on the go as well. The stylus is a wonderful touch for those times I want to write a note or even do a bit of photo editing on the go. Overall, I find that I love it. It seems to be a perfect fit for my life without breaking the bank the way an iPhone or Samsung would have on my budget.

I also went to Amazon to get new a new external hard drive. I opted for a 2 TB by SeaGate. Which I hope will serve my back up needs for video, photo, and manuscript projects. I made a trip to Target and got some new pens and various stationary items. All good things for a writer when they are facing a battle with writers block.

But my real prize in all of this is something most people will find perfectly silly.  I bought myself a mechanical keyboard with “clicky keys”! Yes, that means that I get the feel of the typewriter that is so nostalgic.

You have to understand that this makes me so giddy happy that I’m all smiles and laughs upon getting it out of the box and realizing that it really does have the sound and feel of the old electric typewriters I started out on. Yes, I’m extremely nostalgic at times. And I can’t really explain why this makes me so stinkin’ happy but it does.

I have a laptop stand and a dust cover for my laptop keyboard on its way too.  And I got those noise-cancelling headphones I have been talking about for quite some time now. Perfect for the gym and for when I need to eliminate the distractions of a noisy pup. I am just too excited about the overhaul on my space. I have big plans for this year and I think that all of these changes prepare me for a very productive year and all the wonderful things that come with spending your time doing something you love to do.

Now, to get all of the organization part done and find the time to take a writer’s retreat to focus on what I really want to be doing.

So what are you changing in your life to inspire you and help you be more productive? I would love to know.  Share in the comments below! And do let me know if you would be interested in seeing the completed workspace after I do some spring cleaning and set up.

Even in the midst of sadness…. Ideas Abound

As I deal with some technical glitches with my newest endeavor, I find myself frustrated and seeking solutions to these little problems. I realize how first-world these are. Even as I talk about them with friends and family it seems trivial compared to other things going on in the world.

In our local community a very young boy lost his battle with cancer this week. Understanding his fear of the unknown it is a bittersweet piece of news that leaves me a bit more heartbroken than I thought it would. You see, I have always had a unique outlook on death. Well, at least, I have for as long as I can recall. It has never really bothered me as it does many people. But, I cannot imagine having to comfort a young child who was scared, confused, and questioning everything knowing that he would be facing that unknown sooner rather than later. My heart goes out to his family. I know they are devastated. I would be. But I also firmly believe that he has his answers and he’ll eventually be giving them the scoop when their time comes.

I’m thankful that I live in a small town in times like this. There is something to be said for a community that is close-knit in times like these. East Texas has always risen to the occasion when needed. And this is no different. While not everyone will attend a memorial service for this boy, so many of us are praying for them and grieving with them in our own way. And they will have the support they need, I’m sure of that.

Remember what I said about inspiration turning up at the oddest times? Well, as I’ve thought about this boy and his family an idea came to mind for a short story. I started to put it on the page today and realized that I have plenty of tidbits for stories that could be produced fairly quickly. That got the wheels turning on how to put them out to the world. And that leads me to a question for you dear readers.

Would you be interested in short stories by me? Single stories that aren’t novel length but more a quick read for an afternoon sitting. I would release these on Kindle rather than having them available in paperback. Though I won’t rule out the possibility of releasing a paperback collection down the road. But, I would love to get some input from all of you as I consider how to proceed. Would you prefer them to be singles or a collection?

Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Also, if you don’t mind, say a prayer, send some good will, or just generally give good thoughts for the family of little Brock. I am sure they could use them.

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.

And Then Life Happens…

What’s the John Lennon Quote?

Yep, that would be the one.

Living creatively is as much about stopping and experiencing life as it is about creating things that will enhance it for yourself and possibly others. It is impossible to create constantly. If we do we deplete the well of experience and inspiration that we draw from. Once in a while, it is necessary to stop and smell the roses. Whether that is literal or proverbial is entirely dependent on the artist.

NanoWrimo is a huge undertaking even for published authors. 50,000 words in a 30 day span is a huge commitement. It takes planning and foresight. Not to mention everyone in your life being on the same page as you and willing to pick up the slack if you are working full time. Planning is a must if you expect your story to have any sort of flow or cohesion at the end of November. And sometimes, life happens and you know you aren’t going to make that goal.

For me, when it happens, as in previous years, I don’t just stop. Whether I finish a self-imposed ludicrous deadline, or not, isn’t the end of the world. We can’t plan for all the interruptions that can happen in a month.

For example: You get sick. Your attention is pulled away on a project at the office, requiring you to work late most nights. A dog that is persistent in his need for extra snuggles or play time. (Don’t laugh. Have you ever tried to write something with a chiweenie yapping at you from the end of the bed? Impossible! I really need some noise cancelling headphones.) Kids needing attention or homework help. Not to mention extra acitivities with them being off from school or prepping for plays etc. Spouses that want attention or need something from you when you’re in the middle of a huge plot twist. (Suddenly I’m very thankful for my single status.) Toss in a major family holiday to the mix.

The point is. Life happens. No matter how much you plan your schedule or think you have all the distractions in check, life will eventually find a way to pull you away from the projects in your head. And that’s okay.

When you find yourself completely flustered with all these things; sometimes all you can do is embrace them. Enjoy the moment. Be present with the people you care about and who care about you. Whether they be big, small, or furry. They won’t be there forever. They will eventually leave you to your thoughts and projects. And you may find something in those moments that adds just what you needed to your projects.

For me, it is all about embracing this journey we call Life.

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

 

Vastly Overrated…

You know, it is funny how sometimes I have this overwhelming desire to have what is considered a “normal” life. You know the type. The white picket fence, husband, 2.5 kids. I’m sure that it works for some people and they are quite happy with it but for me, it doesn’t necessarily work.

I’m quirky and introverted. I’ve always been so. I don’t think that is something that I can change about myself and be happy really.  It is also the thing about me that most “normal people” don’t get.

Now,  I can pass for normal when I need to.  I can don the dress, put on the makeup, and carry on a conversation with the best of them. But, where am I truly in my element and happy?

At home, in my pajamas, with my dog and my laptop, writing away at my desk or the kitchen table. That’s the usual spot. Sometimes you’ll find me on the couch watching Netflix with an embroidery project or at the easel with my headphones on. But mostly, it is just doing what I am right now. Tapping away at the keys on my laptop.

I think it is important for everyone to figure out where they thrive. I know that I spent way too much time trying to fit in where I never really belonged in the first place. All for the sake of having that version of normal I mentioned before.

Embracing yourself as you are is important for many reasons. I might be a baker and decorator but I rarely like to do anything that is cookie cutter even if I am aiming for simplicity. I try to think outside the box and do things that will make me happy more often than I just go with the flow these days.

So ask yourself these questions. Answer them honestly because, well,  they matter to you.

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What are you good at that you honestly enjoy?
  3. How much time do you spend of your week or day doing those things?
  4. What keeps you from doing them more?

I asked myself these same questions when I was just out of school and again recently as my life changed again. The answers evolved over the years. They were very different at the ending of my last attempt to be normal than I thought they would be. What I really learned from them was that I needed to find my bliss and stop reaching  for something that I wasn’t sure would make me happy and focus on the things that did.

Your normal is likely different from mine. The truth is, it is up to us, as individuals, to create our own version of normal for us. Going with the usual social norms, is akin to letting society tell you how you should live your life without question. And that, my friends, is vastly overrated. Take what resonates with you from it but add your quirks and your own flair to life. Wear the funky ties or the bright colors. Take your notebook with you wherever you go. Sketch in the park or set up an easel and paint. Dance or play your instrument on a busy corner for the fun of it. Speak up at an open mic night. Or whatever else you feel moved to do.

Whatever you do in your life. Just be you. We are all amazing in our own way. So, just as I sign my novels when I meet people, I say to you; Embrace your journey! Your story is in your own hands to write. So make it a good one!

Strange Research Happenings…

As a writer my life is full of research. Writing in the paranormal and supernatural genres doesn’t mean that we just make everything up by the seat of our pants. Believe it or not, there is a lot research and investigation that has been done in the paranormal field. (I know. I was part of that fringe group for many years and still occasionally partake of case work when I have the opportunity to consult etc.)

With that being said, one of my major projects is a series of shorter novels I’ve dubbed Armageddon Rising. The first book is out currently on Amazon.com. It deals with a protagonist who is a fallen angel and centers on end times prophecies. So there is a lot of research happening for me to carry on with the next book in that series. It is a very weighty topic to tackle even from the fiction angle.

Months ago I bought a book as part of that research. I put it on the shelf until I was ready to delve back into the topic and really didn’t think about it much after that. The other night, I was looking for something and it caught my eye. I thought I would go ahead and start reading it. Sure enough it is full of interesting and useful tidbits. I went to share those with family members who would find them equally as interesting and as we were talking about them my fingers randomly opened to part of the index. That’s when things got really strange.

In the second line of that page where I opened at random I find my legal last name.  Then on the opposite page, I find a close relative’s name. Crazy right? And I’m not talking about just a first or a last name. I mean the whole thing. Knowing this person as I do and the context of this site they are named on, I wonder if they’ve ever googled themselves. It was just a super strange way to end the day and start a weekend of my own work (as opposed to the day job).

This weekend will be busy. Working Saturdays is always a thing. At least it has been for the last two and a half years or so. But, after 2:00pm tomorrow, I can refocus my efforts on research, writing, and my own projects. I’m ready for that. It has been a long start to the month and a super busy day today. So this lady is ready for a bit of R and R.