Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Being Present

As an enneagram 4, I guess I'm supposed to be obsessed with the past. Maybe not obsessed, but apparently 4's are supposed to dwell on the past a lot. Side by side with holding grudges from the past, 4's are also in the moment. They react emotionally to what is happening to them in the present. And while yes, both of those things are somewhat true of me, I find I think a lot more about the future than the past or present.

I love reminiscing about the good times way back when. I love looking at old pictures of me and my brothers and sister when we were little. Recently, I found a bunch of old videos and pictures I had no idea I had on my flashdrive and downloaded them all onto my computer. I had a great time looking through them, laughing and smiling at many of the silly, crazy videos of my brothers when they were younger. I love swapping stories with my brothers about the past, just talking and remembering the good times. But, like with everyone else, there are some parts of the past that isn't so fun to think about. Some things you'd rather just not think about at all. And then there are other things that takes time to heal and accept and when that finally happens you don't even realize it until you think back on that particular situation and realize you don't feel so awful about it anymore. You can remember the good times without focusing on the bad. I've learned to do that a lot with the past and I try not to hold grudges, especially over the past couple of years I've grown in that. Letting go of both big things and small things that people have done. As a writer, there are plenty of old stories that I cringe at when I reread them and yet it's also an encouragement. I do like to look back at my old works and see how far I've come.
How much my writing as improved and I don't know if it's this way for all writers or just me, but certain books I've written come with certain emotions and remind me of certain situations. I was writing the second book in my Stargazer trilogy when a huge life moment happened and ever since then, whenever I think of that book and/or read that book, I always think of the situation that was happening around the writing of that book.

Right now, the future is a big thing for me. I've found myself thinking about the future a lot over the past couple of months. My plans for tomorrow, for next week, for next month, for next year. What classes I'll take, what work I need to get done to accomplish particular goals. How many words I need to write today, tomorrow, the next day to get my book done at the time I have planned. Goals, goals, goals. I love goals. I love accomplishing things. That all stems from my time with depression. It's my coping mechanism, my way to ward off negative thoughts, self-doubt and anxiety. If I don't have a goal to aspire to, something that I can accomplish then depression starts to creep back in. So does anxiety. I like being busy. Not socially busy. I'm not a big fan of a full week of going places. No, I like being mentally busy. Always focusing on something, looking forward to something, planning something. That's one of the reasons why I am so thankful I'm a writer. As a writer I have like five ideas floating around in my head that I can think about or work on or just mull over whenever I want. I have a few projects in the works that I can pick and choose which to work on that day or if I want to work on several I can. More recently though, I've found myself thinking a lot about my future. a lot because of all of the uncertainty and not knowing what's going to happen next.
Ever since this year started I feel like I've been thinking about the future non-stop. I turned twenty in March, I'll graduate from Ivy Tech in the Fall, I plan on getting my driver's permit soon. I keep thinking about what I'm going to do after Ivy Tech. What job will I find, do I want to keep going and get a degree in library sciences? I just feel like there's so many unknowns in my distant next year future that I've tried to do my best to plan what I can and keep to those plans. What I mean is, I've grabbed hold of my writing and have become more structured with it because I can accomplish writing a book in a month. I can make short-term goals that I can accomplish. I've also been thinking a lot about, do I want to keep self-publishing, or do I want to buckle down and go the traditional publishing route even though I know that takes a long time and is full of uncertainty. The future has been on my mind

Out of the three, the present always feels like the least exciting to me. Mostly because my day to day life isn't all that thrilling. I don't travel tons of places or do tons of fun stuff all the time or hang out with tons of friends every week, and I'm OK with all of that. Doing all that would burn me out. I like having my two or three friends to hang out with every once in a while, going to see a movie here and there and just writing and living a pretty unexciting life compared to other people's. This summer I have no classes. It's been kind of nice... but I feel like my brain is still trying to process the fact that there's no classwork to do and I suddenly have to fill the many hours a day I usually spend on classwork doing something else. But I guess, back to goals for a second, I've fallen into the habit of measuring how good my day has been by how much I've accomplished. If I felt like I didn't get enough writing done that day, then I would feel like it wasn't as good of a day, that I hadn't done a good job. If I didn't get that particular thing I wanted to get done that day then the day wasn't as great as other's. I realized this habit while writing in my journal. Every night I try and write in my prayer journal and I realized that almost every night I would measure how much I got done and if it held to my standards then I would say it was a good day. If not then it wasn't as good of a day.

So, I've been trying to be more present. To live in the present. Over the Winter and early Spring I was so swamped with work and when I wasn't doing classwork I was writing and I didn't go out anywhere. I didn't see our neighbor friends or other friends like at all. I just felt like I had to get that stuff done or the day was a waste. But I'm realizing that it's OK if I don't get to the word count that I had planned to get to. It's OK to take a break every once in a while. To go out to the zoo, to parks, to be present with my brothers and my family and not worry so much about whether I got everything I wanted to get done that day done.
To just go out, enjoy myself without thinking about what stuff I have to get done when I get home. To just take some of the pressure off of myself. No one else is putting any pressure on me for like anything, it's all me and I think, when my writing is concerned, I need to be a bit nicer to myself about what I get done and what I don't.

Of course, I know there has to be a balance. I'm working on that too. If I want others to take my writing seriously, if I ever want to get traditionally published, then I need to take my writing seriously. I need to be scheduled, I need to take those few hours every day to work on my books, to grow in my craft and to get to that target word count. But while keeping to realistic goals, getting those target word counts down and being serious about my writing career, I also want to be present and not measure my day on whether or not I got all my writing done. Sometimes there are just off days! Sometimes you just need to take a break or you'll burn yourself out! And I shouldn't get frustrated or measure what I finished that day and what I didn't just because it was an off day or I needed a break so I didn't burn out.

I guess right now, I'm just learning to be more present and finding that balance between having goals and being scheduled and having a plan for my future, while also living in the present and enjoying where I'm at right now in both life and in my writing.

Anyways, have a great week everyone! I'll be over here trying to beat writer's block and getting through Golden revisions!

And here's an extra Doctor Who gif cuz this was too good to pass up 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

When You're Feeling the Doubt

Before I say anything else I'm excited to say I've updated the ebook version of Weapon Icean!! It now contains a sneak peek of Project Hellion. It's also on Kindle for 1.99, so if you haven't bought Weapon Icean yet, right now is the best time to do it!

So, I wrote half of this post when I was feeling stuck with Golden and just having some doubt and writer's block. Writing this post helped me to understand my own thoughts and helped me sort of move past that doubt and block... and then over the weekend I finished the post while feeling a little better, so I hope this post isn't too weird or confusing or all over the place.

Anyways, so here it is. The last week or two I've been feeling this doubt about my writing. It's not writer's block or burnout. I don't think my writing sucks or that I should just give up. It's nothing like that. I'm more driven than ever before to get my books out there and to become a successful published author. To write books people want and love to read. I've never been so invested in the books I'm writing like I am now. Project Hellion, the Golden trilogy, Sterling Silver, I'm all insanely proud of those works. I love them and I poured everything into them and I've loved every second of figuring them out and writing them and revising them. I'm loving writing. So why do I feel this doubt? While I'm very proud of how far I've come as a writer, I know I still have a lot to learn, have a lot to figure out and accomplish. Writing will always be my love and my passion. The thing that I wake up every day excited to do.

I've never really felt this sort of doubt before. I don't even know if it can really be called doubt... It's like I'm proud of how far I've come, what I've accomplished and where I'm at, but I also keep thinking... what if nothing happens? What if I'm just wasting my time self-publishing? What if my books never go anywhere? What if I never go anywhere? I mean, I know I'm not going to be the next J.K. Rowling or Victoria Schwab, but I wouldn't mind my writing getting somewhere. For my books to get into the hands of readers who love my characters as much as I do.

When I first published Weapon Icean in 2016, I had been researching and thinking about self-publishing for a few years. At the time, self-publishing felt like the best option for me. Not just cuz I'm impatient and wanted to get my book out there as soon as possible, but I also felt that it fit me, the way I write and how my life was structured at the time. There were no deadlines, no nothing. I could work on a story at my own pace. Plus I was taking college classes and stuff... Now though, the end is in sight. I'll have my Associates by the end of this year and as I'm facing a summer of no classes and a whole lot of free time, reality is sort of setting in. I've been thinking a lot about my career as a writer and have tried to be as realistic as possible.
Me overthinking 

I don't know what next year holds or my time after graduating, but I know one thing: I want more than anything to be a successful author. And right now, I'm thinking self-publishing isn't really it for me. I know it works for others and good for them, but I'm not sure that's the right path for me or the genres I write in. I'm not giving up on advertising and promoting Weapon Icean and Of Magic and Mayhem. I even plan on publishing Project Hellion through Amazon too, but I think in the future I'm going to be more patient.

I want to seriously consider traditional publishing. Maybe even getting an agent. I want to at least try and work toward being traditionally published and I think Golden is the book for the job. Really, I don't know why I think that. Golden is such a weird book genre-wise. I've tried looking for books similar to it and I always come up blank. In the YA sci-fi genre, there is either space operas with romance and drama, romance novels between a teen girl and an alien guy who comes down to Earth, Firefly type books or Star Trek and Star Wars type books. There are even YA sci-fi books who's plots revolve around the politics of that world. But Golden isn't like any of those. There's romance (of course) and there's aliens and there's spaceships and futuristic tech and all that cool stuff, but there's so much more. There's existential crises, aliens with god complexes who believe themselves to be all powerful, cruel Acolytes and mysterious Priestesses. There are twists and turns and the whole of the book's plot stems from the religion of the Celests. I haven't been able to find anything like it in the YA sci-fi genre. On the one hand I think that's a good thing cuz it means my idea is fresh and original, but on the other hand, not so great when it comes to trying to find something to compare it to when explaining or pitching it to someone.

Anyways, I kind of got off topic. Doubt. Doubt is a real thing. I refuse to let it stop me from writing and I refuse to let it destroy my passion for the projects I'm working on, but it's also there... Something I have to deal with. I think it's just an accumulation of my bad habit of comparing where I'm at in my journey to where other's are in theirs and the fact that I suck at marketing and promoting my books. One of which I need to stop doing and the other that I need to work on. I hear this time and again in the writing community and I need to take this advice: don't compare your journey to others' journeys. Don't compare where you are now to where others are. For all I know they could have worked just as hard, if not harder, than me. Struggled with doubt and writer's block and slaved away for years before getting to be as successful as they are. Besides, what they publish is their final draft. Not their first draft. Most first drafts aren't that great, but no one ever sees them. Readers only ever see the best of their work, their final drafts, which means my first, second, third, fourth and on and on drafts don't have to be perfect either. The final draft will come... it just is going to take some time. As for getting published and becoming traditionally published? Well, I have been and will continue to pray about that. That is up to God. In His timing and His plans for me. I trust Him to open those doors for me if and when it's the right time.

Don't let doubt drag you down. Feel it, think about why you're feeling that way and then move past it because your writing is amazing and it will get into reader's hands one of these days. People are going to love your ideas and your characters just as much as you do. So yeah... I don't really know what this post is really about... Its sort of all over the place, but I hope somewhere in here is something encouraging or relatable.

Have a great week everyone! 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Sterling Silver Chapters 8-10

Hey everyone! Chapters 8-10 of Sterling Silver is now on Wattpad! If you don't know what it's about then here's the synopsis:

The daring and spunky TABITHA STERLING is the latest in a long line of vampire hunters in her family. After her father is killed during a hunt, she is forced to take up the responsibility when none of her other siblings are willing to. 

Three years later, during a regular night of hunting Tabitha bumps into a stranger, who, the next day is revealed to be the new boy at her school, the handsome, dangerous and alluring SEBASTIAN. After nearly killing him in the middle of English class, he tells her that he's there to recruit her to join the Moirai, a secret, worldwide organization of vampire hunters. He claims she must take up the spot that her father left behind, and at first Tabitha is resistant. But when Sebastian insists that he can teach her more about hunting than anyone else can, she reluctantly agrees to train with him. 

As Tabitha trains with Sebastian, they grow closer, and despite Tabitha's vow to never get romantically involved with a vampire, she just can't help herself. She and Sebastian are bonded through old history between their two families and an old foe who is after revenge against both of them. As they go on the hunt for a dangerous new vampire in town, long-buried secrets about Tabitha and her family are revealed and Tabitha must come face to face with her family's past.

The first ten chapters are officially on Wattpad for your enjoyment!

Here's a sneak peek from chapter 8:

Sandra nodded slowly, taking a bite of her food. Carlos cut into the conversation. "I understand. Your dad was a very independent man but his father trained him extensively. When his dad passed away, he asked for our organization to train him. He learned far more than he did from his own father."
That didn't mean Tabitha needed to be taught anything from them. Maybe her dad was just... not as good. Sebastian choked on a laugh and when she turned to glare at him, he covered his mouth with his fist.
He shook his head and grinned, coughing. "It's nothing... just that your father was an excellent hunter. Maybe he didn't have as strong of instincts as you do, but he was far more competent and better trained that you are when he was seventeen."
Tabitha narrowed her eyes and scowled. She set down her fork, folding her hands into fists on her lap. "So, your saying I'm horrible? How is that I've survived this long then, huh?"
From the other side of the table she caught Sandra giving Sebastian a warning look but he ignored her, facing Tabitha and giving her his undivided attention. "I'd say sheer luck. You're untrained and your instincts are all over the place. Don't you remember the other day? You didn't even get close enough to touch me with one of those little stakes of yours. Do you really think you could take down other real vampires?" 
Tabitha seethed. "Real vampires? What do you think I've been doing the last three years? It certainly wasn't hunting fake vampires."
"No but they also weren't the most powerful ones. They were scouts, or just regular vampires going about their lives. The ones that have been turned in the last century. Not the powerful ones. The ones that you should be scared of and should be learning how to take down. They lurk in the shadows, far too clever and old to be caught by a common hunter," he pointed his fork at her.
Tabitha forgot all about being civility. Her instincts flared and adrenaline flooded her system. In one quick, fluid motion she grabbed her fork and jabbed it down with all her strength into his thigh. Sebastian sucked in a sharp breath of surprise and fell out of his chair. Chairs screeched against the floor and suddenly everyone was on their feet.
Tabitha scowled and stood, throwing her napkin onto her plate. "Would you look at that. I just stabbed a real vampire in a matter of seconds."

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Sterling Silver: Chapters 6 and 7

Hey! Chapters six and seven of Sterling Silver are now on Wattpad! You should definitely check it out. ;) This book probably is my favorite book so far that I have ever wrote.
Not even Golden can compete with the pure excitement and thrill I felt while writing this. The supernatural genre full of vampires and werewolves and hunters has been my favorite genre, one that I've immersed myself in the most since I was sixteen. I know it like the back of my hand. I know the ins and outs of creating a good vampire, a good werewolf, a good romance in that genre and just good characters. There's seriously no limit to what you can do in this genre. Anything can happen. Death, drama, betrayals and this book has every one of those things in it. Really, if you've watched The Vampire Diaries, you would like this book. In the acknowledgements of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black called that book her love letter to every vampire novel and supernatural book she read. This book was sort of my love letter to The Vampire Diaries and I hope you love it as much as I loved writing it.

Here's a sneak peek of Chapter 7 which is in Sebastian's point of view:

They smiled at one another, three good friends in a car headed to dinner. Only... not just any dinner. But a dinner at Tabitha's house. Tabitha, who never seized to intrigue and amaze him.
She reminded him so much of her great-great-grandmother, Marcie. Marcie used to have the same fire and life in her eyes that Tabitha did. The same sort of resilience and strength that came in handy for a vampire hunter. Sebastian looked forward to kindling that flame just as he had done with Marcie. Teach Tabitha how to hone her hunter skills and become the best she could be. The best hunter this generation had ever seen. Just like Marcie.
Marcie been a gorgeous, intelligent young woman. Fiery with killer instincts. Those instincts seemed to always run in the Sterling family, although Tabitha seemed to have some of the best. The hunger for a fight, the thirst for blood, the instincts, and stamina to hunt all night and still have energy for the day ahead.The Sterlings had always amazed him, ever since he had first met them back in 1887. Their hunter instincts and strength were impressive and almost supernatural compared to other hunters he had met.
Sebastian had no doubt Tabitha would not fail to impress, much like the others of her family. Already, he could see the potential in her. She was still a little rough around the edges when it came to fighting, but Sebastian wasn't sure if she even needed his protection. If there was anything to protect against to begin with. He was betting on Alistair's curiosity and brutality to get the better of him. But if he did show up in this town, Sebastian would be ready.

Though, Marcie had always been a bit more... trusting. It had been the late 1800's when they met... Back then everyone knew everyone and trusted each other. Now in 2016, Sebastian had lived through several terrorist attacks, mass shootings. People in this time lived surrounded by death and fear.

Friday, June 1, 2018

May Monthly Wrap-Up

This month has gone by so fast! I can't believe it's already June! I feel like I've gotten a lot done in May and yet not enough... Bronze is underway and I had been hoping to finish it by, well, tomorrow, the end of May, but that definitely is not going to happen. Golden isn't even half way through revisions and Project Hellion? Well I thought it was finished but then I sent it to a new friend who blew me away with her amazingly awesome editing skills and now I realize that book still needs quite a bit of work. Anyways! Here's my May wrap up!

May Writing: My writing in May has consisted mostly of Bronze. Lots and lots of Bronze. I'm 35,000 words in and still have lots to do. It's funny cuz I first started working on Golden in May of last year, feels like it came full circle kind of, especially now that I'm on the sixth draft of Golden. When I first wrote it I thought it was the best book ever, needed little to no revisions or polishing or anything. Skip ahead a year after writing the sequel that completely derailed my original plans for the series, and now I find Golden will probably need more work than both the other books!
But it'll be worth it. I'm excited to see how it turns out, what's in store for this series of mine that I've put so much time and energy into. I've also been working on Sterling Silver, polishing up each chapter before they release on Saturday and since I have an awesome new editor friend who does an absolutely amazing job, I'm also getting some editing in on Project Hellion. Not to mention! The cover for Project Hellion is finished and I so cannot wait to release it! I'm thinking I'm going to re-release Weapon Icean in paperback this month and add the first two chapters of Project Hellion to it as well. I am psyched and even though I'm nervous as to how the release of Project Hellion will go, I'm just excited to get to hold it in my hands and have both my books side by side.

May Reading: May was a pretty good reading month for me too. I started reading the Evermore series by Alyson Noel after picking up the first two books at a new used bookstore that just opened in town. At first, I devoured the series. I ripped through the first four books, but then lost a lot of steam. The series just stopped being so enticing and honestly, the books became sort of repetitive and boring. Not to mention, I didn't know this when I first started reading them, but they're heavily influenced by spiritual stuff. Like the chi and chakras and crystals and all that weird stuff... I'm not much into reading about that sort of stuff, so I sort of gave up on the series. I started reading Strange Star by Emma Carroll but I sort of fell out of that book as well... It wasn't what I had expected. I'm hoping I can find some better reads for this June.

May TV Shows: Well, like half my TV shows ended in May which is kind of a bummer. Shadowhunters is on its break, The Flash and Siren had their season finale. Both were very good! The Flash got really weird this season... I liked the Thinker at the beginning, but then things just got... strange. Siren was fantastic and Freeform completely surprised me by doing so well on that show. I don't usually have high expectations for Freeform cuz usually their supernatural/magical shows aren't always the greatest or they don't start out so well, but Siren was top-notch. I highly recommend it. The 100 was on and now is on a two weeks break. The Originals came on too and that is going crazy well!! I'm so sad this is the last season, but I am also excited for The Originals spin-off called Legacies about Hope Mikaelson and the Salvatore Boarding School!

May Life Stuff: Not much has happened in May. We celebrated Memorial Day with family while also celebrating my two younger brothers graduating high school, my cousin graduating eighth grade and another cousin's birthday. It was a very celebratory day. I'm also working on studying hard for the drivers' permit test because I feel like I should get my licence at some point (even though I hate driving). There was an incident last Friday at one of our local schools. There was a shooting at the middle school and a bomb threat at my brother's high school, which was super scary since he was there during all of it. Luckily, everyone at the high school was safe and OK. But yeah... nothing else has happened, besides the weather getting ridiculously hot all of a sudden.

For June I'm hoping to completely finish polishing up Project Hellion, writing Bronze and revising Golden... I know I shouldn't give myself so many goals, but I'm hoping to get all three of them done by July and to have Project Hellion ready to go by July too.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

P.S. Don't forget! Chapters 6 and 7 of Sterling Silver will be on Wattpad tomorrow!! 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Cover Reveal: Project Hellion!

Guess what!! The cover for Project Hellion is finished and I can not wait to share it with you guys!! I hope you love it as much as I do cuz I am seriously freaking out! My mom (she does all of my covers) did a fantastic, amazing job!! :D

That's an understatement 

So here it is (with the synopsis of course)!!

Delphi is ready to fight back. Two months have passed since Delphi acquired her icy abilities and the Shadows have kidnapped her and revealed her to the world. She’s fallen into the rhythm of a semi-normal life of friends, school, and training.

But after a mission where something goes terribly wrong, her cousin and Boy Wonder, leader of the Young Protectors, benches her from the team. Delphi runs away to stop the Shadows on her own, sick of the Protectors holding her back, and allies herself with the one person she never wanted to see again: Tremble. As she digs deeper into the history of the Shadows, dark and surprising secrets are revealed. Project Hellion, a sinister scheme set into motion by the Shadows longer ago than anyone thought, is the final piece of the puzzle and Delphi is the only one who can stop it before it’s too late.

In the final chapter of Delphi’s story, lines between good and evil are blurred, and Delphi finds herself in a role she never thought she would play. Maybe being a villain wasn’t so bad after all.

Oh my goodness! How awesome is that?? It looks amazing and I can't wait to share the book with you guys. The back cover and spine still needs work, but that shouldn't take long. To give myself some extra time to check over it and edit it some more and just make sure it is perfect, Project Hellion will be out by the end of July and considering that I hadn't planned for it to be ready till December this year, I'd say that is some pretty good timing! I know Weapon Icean hasn't been on Amazon in paperback in a while cuz there have been some technical difficulties with CreateSpace and everything, so I plan to get it back up there in time for Project Hellion's release. I'm also thinking of doing some book box giveaways with both books inside it and some merch stuff?? Still thinking that over, but that would be pretty awesome. 

Anyways! Is that cover epic or what??!! Let me know below in the comments! Have an awesome week everyone! 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sterling Silver: Chapters 3, 4, and 5

So I realized as I was planning out the installments that if I were to just do two chapters a day with a book that's forty chapters long, that would be a looong time! Like it would span for months and I hadn't planned for it to last that long, so instead of just doing two chapters a day I've decided to do two chapters one week and then three another week. So last week there was chapters one and two, this week three, four and five and then next week there will be six and seven. Anyways! Chapters three, four and five are out today on Wattpad! Here's a snippet of Chapter Three:

Tabitha didn't know why she couldn't control herself in class. Sebastian hadn't tried to kill her or attack her at all... She could have killed him. Stabbed him in the middle of school and he would have desiccated in front of everyone.
Rule number two of being a vampire hunter: Keep the secret.
No one, no one could know that vampires existed. As a hunter Tabitha had an obligation to uphold that rule and keep the secret. If she didn't, she would be punished by the Carters, the hunter family – who were as much hunter royalty as Tabitha's family. Surprisingly, there were quite a few vampire hunters in their small town. For some reason Tabitha couldn't fathom, the Carters' ancestors had decided to make Rosewood their base of operations. Where they had settled and created the headquarters for the Moirai, the secret, worldwide hunter organization. Since then, hunters from all over the world came and lived there, drawn to the place.
Tabitha gripped the edge of the sink to stop her hands from wandering to her pocket where she always kept a vial of rowan. Go back into class and throw it at his head or... or... She took deep, even breaths, trying to calm her pounding heart, and ease the adrenaline rushing through her system, urging her to kill. He'd snuck past her last night and then today in class. How had she not sensed his vampirism to begin with?
She focused on her reflection, inhaling one more deep breath. Tabitha wiped her face dry before heading back toward class. Control. She needed to control herself. Tabitha kept her hands in fists at her sides as she entered the classroom again and went back to her seat. From the corner of her eyes she could see Sebastian shooting her an amused smirk that didn't reach his narrowed eyes.
Read the rest here: