Looking Back on 2017

Despite the political turmoil of 2017, it was actually a really great year for me. Even though I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed at work since I’m basically defining the new role I’m in, I’ve been able to make up for it in writing, cosplay, and trips.

In January I went to my first out of state Con in Alabama, where I met some amazing new cosplay friends. This was also when we debuted out first CMV and created Black Knight Productions Cosplay. I met even more great new friends at SeishunCon in February, and in April I got to debut a new cosplay: Luka Macken from Black Butler.

At the beginning of May, I was able to announce my first novella publication (that wasn’t self-published) with Radiant Crown Publishing. This was the first time I was able to successfully negotiate a contract that wasn’t for a short story (after having to get an attorney involved on a previous one – that’s a whole other story.) It was so refreshing to have a contract be offered that was so pro-author, and it’s been wonderful working with Olivia and her team so far. I’m looking forward to The She-Wolf Of Kanta coming out on April 17th!!

MomoCon came storming along in May, and Luka was welcomed by a much bigger Con. Plus we got to do our first panel of the year on That Butler, the Musical. Promotion for my novella kept rolling along and by this point I was doing interviews for it.

In June I got the chance to visit Mexico, Honduras, and Belize on a cruise. It was a blast! I had such a wonderful time, despite a few complaints about the cruise liner. As soon as we got back, we went to see Book of the Atlantic in theaters, and had that whole fiasco where the film reel was lost. 🙄 Long story short, once we told Funimation about it, they got a new showing put up for us. It was a few months later, but it was wonderful to see in theaters!

By the end of June there was a cover reveal and a giveaway for SWoK (making it all the more real!) and two beautiful maps for SWoK got released as well. By the time DragonCon rolled around, I had both Scarecrow and Pajama William T. Spears being debuted on top of us doing two panels. We did an encore of That Butler, The Musical and also did Black Butler: Upstairs, Downstairs.

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r the DragonCon hype died down, I created a unique Halloween costume I called the Black-Feathered Queen (that I never got the chance to wear 😢). I also finalized Seto Kaiba (sans coat) for AWA. He went over really well! Kelley and I did our first professional photoshoot with Fairyluna Photography and it was a wonderful experience.

Right before Thanksgiving I negotiated the second contract for the year: one for my debut novel Stolen which is scheduled to release from Parliament House Press in 2018. I’m super thrilled to be working with them and have learned quite a bit about marketing from them already. Like I said before, 2018 is going to be BIG.

Finally in December we got to go to Disney World again, which we always love regardless of how often we visit. Even though it was cold and we had some trouble at the hotel we stayed at, it’s Disney, so we got compensated. They even thanked us for pointing out flaws when we checked out. I also helped organize a family photoshoot with Fairyluna again, which only made us want to schedule more down the road.

All in all, I’m grateful for the new friends, the new experiences, and the new knowledge I found in 2017. If 2018 is even half as good as this year was (again, an exception for the political climate), I’llbe happy. I wish y’all the very best for 2018, and who knows, maybe our paths may cross – if not at a convention, then maybe at least in book form. 😉

Why I Blog

This post is supposed to be a talk about “who I am and why I’m here”, something that really makes more sense for an initial blog rather than one that’s been around a while. At the same time, I thought it couldn’t hurt to reflect. I did just do that a few days ago for 2015 after all.

When I first started this blog, I didn’t really have a plan in mind. I only knew that if I didn’t have a place to keep track of the stories that I wanted to publish, I was going to forget one. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing for a brand new author? I went back and looked over my first three blog posts, almost six years old now.

I had never worked on a blog before. The most I had previously was a professional school site that had links to my resume and whatnot. I was super excited that my first short story had been picked up (omg, someone wanted to pay for my writing?), but every time I opened a new blog post, my mind went blank on what to say. I’ve gotten (somewhat) better about it over the years, but it still doesn’t take much for my brain to close up. Stories I can come up with, but blog posts? That’s an entirely different beast.

So why do it? Why do I put these kinds of posts up in public? Well that’s a complex answer. It is, of course, a place to keep track of my stories, but I could have just as easily done that in a spreadsheet. I could have just made a static site like I had before. No, I think the reason I came to blogging and why I still blog is because I love seeing people’s reactions. It’s similar to the happy feeling you get when your tweet gets hearted on Twitter or a post gets liked on Facebook. I know it’s only temporary and it’s just a handful of bytes that don’t mean much in the bigger scheme, but it sure does make me feel good.

We authors are always scribbling our ideas, our dreams, and our nightmares down on paper. We work on them when others are enjoying their favorite television series or relaxing on a game. We work on them while putting aside time with friends and family. We work on them despite drama at work and stressful traffic and a pile of dishes in the sink. Then we slide our works out into the light of day, and most of the time we don’t hear anything back. It takes a lot of scribbling before we hear anything, which means that much of the motivation has to come from the inside. Through blogging and letting people know about the process, the research, the heartache, the excitement, the fulfillment, I want to share how these stories get made. I want to share what it’s like for me, and maybe hear about what reading them felt like for others. I want to be able to look back on the hike up this steep hill and see all the people who have been changed by mere words.

I know my blog is just a small little cranny in the corner of the interwebs, but I like to think I keep it pretty cozy here. I see the same folks visiting, liking my posts, and commenting, and it makes me feel like I’m not alone scribbling away in the dark. It makes me feel like I’m surrounded by friends and encouragement. Maybe that sounds simplistic and optimistic, but even though I write horror stories, I’m actually a pretty optimistic person. I want to share the stories in my head (because it can be pretty crowded in there).

That’s why I blog.

Creating a Professional Home

Having lost my school based website a while back due to my graduating, I finally decided to sit down and transfer my experiences into an online portfolio.  I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time, but then while browsing around on WordPress I came across Nancy McKeand’s Professional Blog and decided it was a good idea.  I’m simply not organized enough to be able to keep up with everything on my own, I finally realized.  So here we go.