Saturday, May 17, 2014

Short Blogging Hiatus

I'm taking a short hiatus from daily blogging as I get ready for the next blog tour and deal with some personal issues.

I'll be back in a few days.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Things I Wish I'd Known as a Teen

As I get older, I think back on the things that I did as a teen and a young adult and wonder what I was thinking. There are so many things that go on in the life of a young adult now that it's nearly impossible to figure out what's supposed to happen. And people will give opinions about how you're supposed to behave and what you believe, but in the end it's all about you. It's all about what you are and who you are and how you want to live your life.

I've been thinking for the past few days, as I think about my sister graduating from university and the years that have passed since my own graduation, and it's occurred to me that there are a lot of things I wish I could go back and tell the younger me. Things that would have changed the way I lived my life and where I am right now. It sounds cliche and more than a little stupid, but I know that there are choices that I would have made differently if I'd known what I know now.

So here are some of the things that I would tell a younger me:

Follow your instincts. I started out university as an education major, but switched to science because I was talked out of teaching and into a "better paying" job market. But I knew deep inside that I wanted to be a teacher, and now I'm five years out of graduation trying to figure out how to get into the teaching game. I should have followed my first instinct and not let anyone talk me out of what I wanted because of their own bad experience with it.

Learn to take care of yourself. This is something I still have trouble with, but I'm getting better. But as a young adult, it was all about the grades and the community service and the job. I never got a chance to really sit down and take care of myself like I should have. I didn't go through my own emotions and figure out what they were and what they meant to me. And now I'm living with the consequences of keeping everything bottled up for so long.

Make your own conclusions. I think of myself as a smart girl. I think that I have the capability to take on the information that is coming my way and figure out what to do with that. But I spent a large portion of my life being "brainwashed" into believing that something was right and something was wrong based on someone else's opinions. Now I have to come to terms with the fact that what I was told might not have been right.

Figure out who you are. And do it on purpose. Dolly Parton was right. You have to figure out who you are, what you want, and what you believe. And then you have to act on it, take it out into the world and do what you have to do to make sure that you are being true to yourself. I never knew that as a young adult, and I wish I did.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Creativity Cravings

I wonder if I'm the only one who starts craving really strange things when I start working on something new. It's always something that's crazy and strange, but I still crave it when I get started writing. And lately it's been brownies.

And more importantly--my Gran's homemade brownies.

It's always lovely to have something that reminds me of being a kid and a time when I was able to be creative and happy. So the other day, just before I sat down to get some work done, I threw together a batch of my Gran's brownies and put them in the oven. Then I sat down at the makeshift writing desk in the living room and waited, spending the time looking over the last few pages that I wrote in order to make sure that everything was okay and ready to work.

When they were done, you wouldn't believe how much work I actually got done. I grabbed a piece and sat it by my computer and got to work. I tore through those chapters while I was snacking on the brownies. Not the healthiest of snack foods, but still.

I suppose it makes me feel at home and comfortable when I have something like that--my creative comfort food. And I let my creativity flow so much easier when I have something that allows me to relax. I just wish I could have that in my life forever.

Hmm, maybe I need to look into life comfort food.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Best Thing About my Job

When people ask me what I do for a living, it's strange to put a label on it. Mostly because I do so many different things. I'm not sure whether I should say that I'm a teacher, because I don't really "teach" in the traditional sense. And saying that I'm a tutor seems to fall so far short of what I actually do with my students that it seems inadequate.

Whatever I call what I do to make money, I know that it's what I was meant to do--aside from writing that is. Working with students is something that has been a desire of mine for so long that I don't know what else I would be able to do. I've worked retail and I've worked customer service, but nothing is as satisfying as working with students and seeing the ways the students light up when they begin to understand something.

Perhaps that's the best part of my job. I love teaching material to students, but I love it even more when they come up with the answers on their own. That is the most fulfilling part of my job. When I see a student who came into our appointment so frustrated and ready to give up make a one-eighty and become confident with what they're learning, it absolutely makes my day. It's why I do what I do.

It's almost the same as the feeling I get when I make it to the end of a run, when I've gone just a little further than I did the day before. It's exhilirating to see students take control of their learning. It's an amazing feeling.

And that's why I do what I do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Shows I'm Catching Up On

I feel like I spend so much of my time worrying about reading and writing that I forget about the shows that I want to watch. Or the rest of the world that's moving along outside of me. So I feel like I've missed out on a good number of shows as I've spent the last few weeks and years working on material for my books and blog tours.

But I am trying to catch up on some of the shows that I've either missed or let fall by the wayside as I spent most of my time doing other things. Especially this week as I finish prepping posts for my second blog tour I'm having a bit of a hard time keeping up with the shows.

I suppose the shows can be described as shows that I'm getting into and shows that I'm catching up on. I'm finally getting into Game of Thrones and I actually have the books on my list to read as the show is pretty interesting. I absolutely love fantasy and pseudomedieval worlds. I think my favorite character on the show is the Khaleesi Daenarys Targaryen. She's the best character on the whole show, but there are so many great stories that it isn't funny. I'm definitely sad that I've missed out on this one for so long.

The shows I'm catching up on are True Blood, The Walking Dead, and Supernatural. I've fallen so behind on those because of all the work I've been doing. I'm looking forward to catching up--even though for some shows I'm several seasons behind rather than just a few episodes. I'm about 3 seasons behind on Supernatural while I'm just a few episodes behind on the others. I'll probably start at the beginning of the previous season and try to catch up before everything starts over again.

I miss being able to sit down and watch television to enjoy it. It's something that always made me feel relaxed. And now that I'm working so much in writing and getting other things done, it's hard to keep track of when the shows are on and how far behind I actually am.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Prepping for the Second Blog Tour

As the end of the month starts to come on, I realize that I've got a lot of work to do. My second blog tour is coming up soon and I have to figure out when I'm going to get the posts put together for the blog tour.

It's a hard thing to get my things together just to make sure that all the posts are ready and that everything is ready to go. I'm trying to figure out when I'm going to be able to sit down and write the posts. With everything that's going on this week, it's going to be hard to find the time to sit down and figure everything out. I'm going to have to schedule writing time, especially since I haven't written any of the new Elemental Royals novel in weeks.

Probably the only thing that I've been doing is working out. So perhaps I should reschedule my time so that I can get the work in for the blog tour as well.

One of the things I've got to do is design the logo for this blog tour. It's something interesting to figure out how to design a new logo and infographic for a blog tour because it has to be just right. It has to be an image that makes the blog tour stand out. That makes the book stand up and be something that makes people want to read it.

I suppose that's the hardest part of a blog tour. Making everything work just right so that people actually want to read it.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Too Many Ideas, Not Enough Time

One of the things that I love most about being a writer is having all these wonderful ideas about stories that I can write. It's a wonderful thing to have all these worlds in my mind and characters who are so strong and unique.

But while I love that, I can see how sometimes it's a curse. I feel overwhelmed sometimes by the number of stories and things that I want to put on paper that I can't because I don't have the time. I wonder if other authors think the same thing.

I keep a notebook of ideas for stories or for characters that I want to write, even if there isn't a particular story to go along with them. And I spend a lot of time every day writing, just to get some of the thoughts out of my head.

It's a hard thing for me to do to slow my brain down enough for me to flick through the different stories and characters to find the one that I can write out. It's difficult to find the one that I can spend the time with.

Right now, I'm focusing on the final Elemental Royals novel. And I've got another series that I'm working on, but I want to keep these other ideas fresh as well. It's a lot of work, but it's what I love. I love to write, just as much as I love to read.

And that's the best thing in the world, right?

Friday, May 9, 2014

That Bad Feeling...

I've recently taken on the role of book reviewer. And I'm glad that I did because I love to read, and, as a self-published author, I want to support other independent and self-publishing writers. I love the fact that other people want my opinion on their writing. 

But I hate that feeling when I get into a book and I just can't stand to go any further. When I try to push through and read the book because I made a commitment to the author to read and review their book. But sometimes I just can't do it. I can't get through it.

I feel like crap when I end up trying to get through a book and just can't do it. And I hate the feeling even worse when I'm sitting there reading the book and I get frustrated with it because, in my opinion, the author is trying too hard. That's happened several times with several different independent books that I've been reading for reviews. It's horrible to tell another writer, who has put their heart and soul into their work, that I didn't like it. 

Or worse, that I didn't like it so much that I actually couldn't finish reading the book. 

I suppose that's the one thing about the job of book reviewer that I hate more than anything. I know what it's like to have this pride in your work and know that it's everything you could have made it. And I live in fear of the day when a reviewer says that my book sucks.
I don't ever want to be that reviewer for someone else. Every writer has something to say and a story to tell, but not every reader is the best to get that story. I have to keep that in mind. I have to live by that. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Favorite Kind of Day

There are some days that are better than others, and I have to admit that I really enjoy the days where I can relax just a little bit. And I relax the best when it comes to days that are quiet and raining.

For as long as I can remember, I've loved the rain. It's been something that has always made me feel better. The sound of rain hitting the roof or falling on the concrete is a sound that I've enjoyed for so long that I don't know what I'd do if it didn't rain every once in a while. I need the relaxation and the calming sound.

The days that I love the most are rainy days in the spring or the autumn, when it isn't too hot. I can go outside on the front porch and sit. I get to sit there and watch the rain fall and smell the clean scent of everything. And that's the best smell in the world in my opinion. It's fresh and crisp and just amazing.

I get out a book and a glass of soda. And I put my feet up and read while I let the sky open up around me. Those kinds of days are fantastic days.

And maybe one of the best things about a day of rain is when it decides to thunder. I love the rumble of thunder and the bright crack of lightning.

In short, my favorite kind of days are days when it rains, when it storms. Because afterwards the world is so perfectly clean that it's breathtaking.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Scheduling Sucks

Now that May is here, it's hit me that I've got to get things together for the blog tour for the second novel in the Elemental Royals Trilogy. And that means finalizing schedules and all of that fun stuff.

I like doing blog tours. I get to talk to a bunch of different people who love books as much as I do. The blog tours not only give me a chance to talk to people and make connections, it also allows me to get my name out there in a way that makes it easier for me to get books sold. Selling books is good, but making connections is better.

The worst part about doing a blog tour isn't writing the guest posts or putting the content together. The worst part is all about the scheduling. It's about getting the schedule done, making sure I've got everything organized and ready to go. It's about the thousand emails and the dates and times and deadlines.

And on top of scheduling for the blog tour, I' also working to schedule for the blogs. I've got to schedule posts, write them, and put together the upcoming list of books and things that go on the review blog. That's the part about the review blog that I hate the most. It's just putting the schedule together. I love writing the posts and reading the books. I just don't like having to spend twenty minutes going through the list of books that I have to read and put them on my schedule.

So, in short, I have to say that scheduling sucks.

A lot.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What to do with My Vacation

So my vacation officially starts today. I have roughly a week and a half off before I go back to work, and I'm trying to figure out exactly what to do with my days off.

Obviously, I'm going to try to get some writing done. I would love to have the first draft of the last Elemental Royals novel finished by the time my next novel comes out in September. So that means I'm going to be working on it as much as possible. I'm not writing quite as fast at the moment because I'm on a new computer that doesn't have iTunes on it, so I don't have my writing playlists. Perhaps I should put everything on my iPod and keep it with me. That would most certainly help me write a little faster.

Of course I have the book review blog that I have to worry about as well. I've got books to read and blog posts to write for that. So I'm going to spend a little bit of my time reading so that I can get the reviews put together. I'm in to the books that have been sent to me by authors at this point, so I have to get them read and put up. It's going to be an interesting couple weeks as I get through those.

And then I have this blog to keep up with. I've got to put together blog posts for it and all of that good stuff. Sometimes I don't see how people write a blog every day. It's hard to come up with topics for every single day. I fear that I'm running out of ideas.

Lastly, I've got to work on the blog tour for the second Elemental Royals novel. I'm finalizing some dates for blog stops and things like that. And I've got to write the guest posts and put together the graphics as well. I like doing blog posts and things like that. Putting things together isn't always the most fun. But I'm going to spend part of my vacation finishing up the blog tour.

Oh dear, and then I'll start planning for the blog tour for the first novel in the Off World series.

Maybe vacation isn't going to be as relaxing as I thought.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pulling Out the Old Novels

As I talked about yesterday, I'm nearing the end of the Elemental Royals trilogy. One of the things I have to do now is look to my next series and my next project.

Although I've started a new series and will release the first novel in that series in September, I also want to look forward to some of the other things that I'll be working on. I always have to be far enough ahead that I can figure out what I'm going to work on next.

I suppose I like to be scheduled and planned and thinking ahead.

So one thing I'm going to do is pull out some of my old novels. The ones that are finished and the ones that aren't. But that's still given me a lot of material to work with.

I'm thinking of going back to the very first novel that I finished. It might need a lot of work, but it's something for me to start with. And it gives me more material to send out to agents.

And since the novels have had a lot of time between when I started them and when I'm going back to look at them, I'll have a set of fresh eyes to start on it again. And that might be a wonderful thing for me to do.

Practice makes perfect, right?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Planning a New Series

It seems like I always have ideas running through my head. Sometimes things just pile up in my head and I have a hard time keeping up with everything that I want to do.

Especially when it comes to writing. I almost always have a new idea for a new story or series rattling around in my brain.

As I'm drawing to an end of the Elemental Royals series, I'm working to plan another new series or two. I know that it's kind of odd to work on a new series before I've even finished the very first one that I'm working on. But I can't help the fact that I've got all of these thoughts rushing through my head. And I like the planning stage of putting together novels or a new series.

Right now, I'm looking through the planning of the Off World series. And I'm also looking back at other novels that I've worked on but perhaps never finished. I'm planning on going back to some of those and reworking them to make them ready for publication.

There are at least three series and a stand alone novel that I'm looking at writing. Once I finish with the Elemental Royals series, I'm going to focus on the Off World series. At the same time, I'm going to get some work done on The Chosen Chronicles, a series I started years ago. I also want to work on another trilogy or two. And I have a fallen angel novel that I've been wanting to write for a long time.

I have so many half finished files and novels on my computer that it isn't funny. If I was able to, I'd have one novel after another that I could work on for months. I could probably spend the next six months writing novels that I've started but never finished.

And that would be a wonderful thing!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Characters I Wish I Could Write

Since I've started watching Game of Thrones (I know, it seems like a lot of stuff comes back to Game of Thrones right now), I've been thinking about the kind of characters I'm seeing on the show. And I've been thinking about the kind of characters that I write.

The more I watch, and the deeper into the plot and the relationships between the characters that I see, I start to wonder if I could write better characters. I've been looking at the different types of characters that there are in my books and wondering if there are better ways to write them, or if there were more characteristics that I could give them to make them more realistic. Because the characters I've been watching in the show and reading in other books, I've been taking a closer look at the characters that I write.

Honestly, I thought I could write a pretty good character. I thought I was pretty good at descriptions and behaviors and dialogue. What more could I do to make the characters more rounded or more realistic? And how can I learn to write more or better characters altogether?

It's hard for me to do something more than what I do, because I'm not entirely sure how. But I wish I could write better villains or better leading characters. I already do character maps and self-interviews and backstories. I honestly don't know how to write a better character.

And then I start to think that maybe my characters are exactly the way they're supposed to be. I might be writing sword and sorcery and fantasy, but that doesn't mean that it has to be on the epic scale of the Game of Thrones books. And I can have a good character without them having to be an incestuous queen with a whiny son and a philandering husband. But it would be quite cool if I had a character that interesting.

But there's one thing that I can say--I can write a damn strong female character.

Who knows? Maybe I already do.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The TV Shows I Wish I'd Watched

Since I'm late to the game getting into Game of Thrones, I've been thinking back on some of the other shows that have been out that I wish I'd actually sat down to watch. And the more I think, the more I've realized I'm really picky about the shows that I watch.

And I missed a lot of good ones.

Looking back on it, I've come up with a top ten list of the shows that I wish I'd started with from the beginning.

  1.  Game of Thrones
  2. Agents of Shield
  3. Reign
  4. Arrow
  5. Married to Medicine
  6. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
  7. Devious Maids
  8. Dance Moms
  9. The Test
  10. The Cleveland Show
I may watch a lot of TV, but it seems like I miss the best shows because I don't catch them from the beginning. Or I get into them and then kind of back off before I really get through them. I'm that way with The Walking Dead. I've still got to catch up on seasons three and four. I've missed so much that I really don't know what's going on anymore. And I absolutely hate that.

At least I can say that I finally broke down and saw Frozen. Which was absolutely worth it!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Vacation is Coming

It kind of makes me laugh to say it like that, especially since I'm watching Game of Thrones now and the Starks are always saying, "Winter is coming." Maybe that's why I wrote it that way. And that's perfectly okay. It's a symbol of my dorkiness.

As the end of the semester winds down, I'll be going out on my vacation for a week before the summer session begins. I get a week off, and I'm sitting here thinking about how I'm supposed to occupy my time during those long days. It's going to be one of those very long weeks, just because I'm going to have entire days were I won't have anything to do. Maybe I'll get a lot of reading and writing done!

Having a week off is something that I'm not used to lately. With my multiple jobs and my days of working with other companies and church, time off is something that I don't normally get to deal with. And when I do get it, I don't know what to do with myself. So sitting here facing down a week of no work... I don't know how to begin planning what I'm going to do.

I suppose I should get some reading done. As I sit here and look at my reading list, I figure that a week off would let me read several different books over the course of the week. And I can really give my Kindle a workout by reading a bunch of those extra books I've got. I've got so many authors who have been incredibly patient with me waiting for their reviews. And I have to get to them just like I promised.

But of course I can't spend the whole week just reading. Now that I'll have a lot of time on my hands, I could actually buckle down and finish writing the new Elemental Royals book. I haven't had a whole lot of time to write lately, and I'd love to be able to sit down at my desk and get some real, hard-core writing done. I might even have the first draft finished by the end of the summer!

And another thing I should probably do over vacation is amp up my agent search. One of my resolutions is to have an agent by the end of the year. And that isn't going to happen if I don't get on the ball and send out more queries to more agents. It isn't like my writing is so great that they're going to come knocking on my door just because. Although that would be amazing.

So maybe my days won't be so empty of stuff to do. I might actually get some things done!

Edited by - Stephanie King