Ten Years of Blogging and the Struggle of Realness

WordPress sent me a notification recently, one I really hadn’t expected, but apparently I’ve owned this site for ten whole years!

That’s just crazy to think about.

Looking back over my first post, it took me a while to really get comfortable with what to even blog about. I was struggling to figure out how to open up, and it was difficult to even feel comfortable talking about who I was or where I was from. That kind of honesty online felt dangerous, even though now it’s an everyday thing.

When I was growing up, and the internet was the wild west it was really frightening to use your real name online. Everybody used aliases for fear of being the victim of identity theft, which wasn’t really understood at the time. You had emails for different usernames, you carefully managed what information you gave out because everything was public. Very few messageboards were behind passwords, so everything you said and did was public. Nobody knew how that would affect job prospects, or health insurance opportunities. Mental illnesses just weren’t talked about.

Then came Facebook, and you had to use your real name to get setup. You originally had to enter your real university email address to have an account. Suddenly there were potential ramifications of things you did online, or at least, you thought there were. Oh boy, things sure have changed ten years later!

I had to think of this site as a “professional online portfolio” which sounds kind of ridiculous these days, but that was the equivalent. Slowly my blog grew out of my writing experiences, my progress, my struggles, my highs and lows. Slowly I started to understand my online presence and how it reflected a unique part of me, similar to how my writing does. I grew more comfortable in my online skin, I grew more comfortable in what I could share.

Today it’s easily the hub of my author business and I work hard to keep it updated (*eyes that header image real hard haha*). It’s as natural a part of my work as my writing, as Facebook, as Instagram, and YouTube. It’s taken me a while to fully embrace it, both its more casual aspects (the blog itself), and its more professional pieces (media kits, book listings, social media links, etc). It’s had a lot of modifications in the past ten years, and several complete revamps. I feel like it’s going to get another one soon once I carve out some time.

Some of you all have been following my blog since I first published my sword and sorcery short story in Short-Story.Me! (which has also had a heck of a site update over the years!) and it has gone on to get–

*squints*

A whopping 58,500 views? Holy cow!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve worked real hard to figure things out through this blog, and I appreciate you all for following me on my journey. Some of you have even been with me from the very start, and I can’t express how thankful I am for your support and motivation!

Here’s to ten more years of blogging, writing, learning, and figuring out this whole author thing.

Thanks for being here. ❤

New Book Announcement!

I know, I know, I’ve been dancing around this announcement quite a bit on my Instagram stories. I can’t help it though, it’s not everyday you get to announce that a new book is going to be published!

If you’ve been following along, you probably already know that I submitted Book 2 of the Stolen series (Broken) last month. I was so thrilled to get it in with time to spare on a deadline I had already needed to push back. This book though has nothing to do with the Stolen series, or even with the She-Wolf series I’ve talked about some.

The Seeking is a brand new YA Horror novel, and it’s coming soon from Parliament House Press!

This novel mixes quite a few things that I love: autumn, a dystopian society, monsters, love, and family. I am so excited that you’ll be able to experience it soon and that you’ll get to discover the secrets of the Gray People.

If you’re curious to see more about this weird novel, check out my Pinterest board for it!

As soon as I have more details, I’ll be sharing them! And if you want to find out about news like this first, be sure to sign up for my mailing list or join the Facebook group!

A temporary cover I made.

The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the town of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the Exalted Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

Draft 1 of Broken Finished

Wow, you guys! I can’t believe I finished up the first draft of Broken! This was a tough book to write, both emotionally and logistically since it’s book 2 of a trilogy. On top of that there have been some very emotional events going on in real life which have only made concentrating on this book more difficult. A week or so ago I had to request an extension from my (amazing!) publisher and they were happy to grant it. I hate having to do that. I’m one of those students that always liked to have their work in early if possible.

Now I have a month and a half to get the edits done, which I think is no problem. I know the beginning especially needs some serious work, but I’m very pleased with the ending. One of the troubles of writing book 2 is that it’s tough to know where to end the book. That’s certainly been the problem here. I can’t wait to share this rollercoaster ride with you all! Now I just need to fix some places, fix some characters, and get this beauty delivered to my publisher!

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
2/12 – 1,711
2/13 – 2,163
3/2 – 4,692 (!!!)
3/3 – 2,846 on Broken, 560 on Chosen

FINAL Word Count for Draft 1 of BROKEN: 67,485

Progress:
My goodness, this has been an emotional roller coaster for these poor characters. Then they end up facing one of the most ruthless and terrifying creature in the land, so you know it won’t get easier.

Next Up:
Starting Chosen with a very surreal encounter and some long-lasting decisions.

Commentary:
My gosh, you guys, I can’t believe the first draft of Broken is finished! I’ve been plugging away at this book since August 10, 2018, which means it took me 7 months to finish it. Considering that it’s the middle book of the 3-part sandwich of Stolen, I knew it would be a difficult project, but I didn’t realize how tough it would be. I’ve had a great time writing it, and I’m stoked to continue on in book 3, Chosen.

I can’t wait to share this book with you all! It’s definitely different from book 1, but it shares a lot of the same themes and ideas of course. That’s what you want in a trilogy, right? I’m so dang excited to finish up with fixing the structure so I can get it into your hands sooner!

Writing Emotional Scenes

Working on a really emotional scene right now and it always takes a lot of focus and prep time to really get into the right feeling. It takes prep work, it takes listening to the right music, it takes planning and being willing to dive into your emotions. For people who write, they understand how difficult this can be. It’s taken me about a week to find the time and ability to dive into this scene again because it can be so taxing. When it’s done though, that feeling of relief is amazing.

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
2/10 – 2,441

Current Word Count: 56,131

Progress:
Sometimes things don’t go at all like you plan. In fact they turn so much worse just when you think things will get better. The shock is tough to adapt to.

Next Up:
A journey to a very dangerous place with a very horrific companion.

Commentary:
Yay, I hit that 70% mark on my wordcount! This was easily one of the most intense scenes of this book, which is right where it needs to be in around the middle of book 2 of my trilogy. I always feel like my first drafts suffer from too little detail, but I’ll be coming back through in later drafts to add more meat to these scenes. This one in particular almost has all the detail it needs, but I’m sure I’ll see more when I come back to it with fresh eyes

I wanted to have this book done by the end of January, but that hasn’t happened. I want this book to be as powerful as I have it in my head though, and sometimes that takes time – more time than we expect. I’m pleased with where I am for now, but I can tell it’s going to take longer than I anticipated.

I know folks who have finished Book 1 of the Stolen series are clamoring for a Book 2, but I want it to be right too. Oh, the struggles of being an author! I think you all with enjoy this one though! It’s definitely darker than Book 1 though, so just be prepared!

A Cute Short Story and 2019 Plans

It’s been a heck of a week so far! I wrote a lovely little short story featuring Mawr from my novel, Stolen, and the Lady Sphinx. It’s a cute little piece that talks about his live before the events that take place in the book. Seeing as how many people love reading about him, I thought it would be cute to do a little Valentine’s Day special for the adorable guy.

You can read the full piece here at the Parliament House Press website!

Today is also the kick-off day for my YouTube channel! Each Friday I’ll be releasing videos about writing books, author life, and documenting events that inspire my work. My first video chronicles all the events I’ll be at this year and where you can find me. If you want to chat with me about any of my work, that’s a good time to do it! I hope to see some of you this year, especially since I’ll be doing a couple of out-of-state cons!

It’s gonna be a busy year!