Archive for December, 2014
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Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
As we close out another year, I want to take a moment to talk a little bit about 2014.
There were some amazing highs. For instance, Wizard being able to retire, and BLB’s (youngest son) graduation with his B.A. and a few other things. On the professional side of things, I did a little math…. Before I get to that, I need to tell you that I didn’t keep a cumulative total of all my unit sales on the Plus One Chronicles, which includes The Proposition, Possession, Obsession and The Plus One Chronicles Boxed Set. So as this year closed, I took the total money I made off the books (Yeah, I tracked that, LOL, for one thing, the IRS insists on it) and divided it by an averaged price point to get a ball park figure on total unit sales.
I was expecting between 50k and 75k.
I’ve sold WELL over 100K units of The Plus One Chronicles, and that does not include my subsidiary sales to Germany and Brazil this year. I was stunned. That is a career high that covered part of 2013 and 2014.
My career low for 2014? Writing Exposing The Heiress (Book 3 in the Once A Marine Series by Jennifer Apodaca) triggered serious burnout. Part of it was plain old fatigue and some of it was writing and rewriting that book to fit the changing needs of the publisher (that isn’t a criticism, that’s how publishing works). The book ended up consuming all my time, forcing me to push back all my other projects and causing me to lose momentum with readers. Letting down readers added to my frustration and that fed the burnout.
Burnout sucks. Self doubt sucks. I’m coming out of it now, but it’s been pretty miserable. So how did I get past it? Well I know people have all kinds of solutions; vacations, chocolate, writing exercises, change of scenery, help from friends, etc. But in the end three things really helped me:
Even when trying to write actually upset my stomach, NOT writing was worse. Which means that my PASSION outweighed the heavy dread and bitter self doubt that kept up a running dialogue in my head. I knew I loved writing and telling the stories of the characters living in my head. The idea of all those voices in my head forever silenced left me unbearably sad. I just had to rediscover my love of telling stories which brings me to:
Because no matter how burned out I was, I refused to give up. I kept at it, first determined to finish Exposing The Heiress (still need to hear back on the latest version, but that’s another blog), then I set about figuring out what projects I really wanted to write in 2015. Just because I love writing, doesn’t mean it’s easy and that’s why perseverance matters. Get ready, because this is the ranty part of the blog: Dreaming is easy, but achieving your dreams? It had better be so hard, so challenging that you have moments of doubt. You had better feel like you’re trudging up an impossible hill, in the snow with a pack of demons nipping at your heels while trolls are shooting flaming arrows at you and hyenas are bouncing around, laughing at your efforts.
Because when you make it to the top? It will be so freaking amazing, even the laughing hyenas, flame-shooting trolls and nipping demons will celebrate. There is nothing like the feeling of achieving a challenging dream. It’s a rush like nothing else with a chaser of pure satisfaction. But to get that, we have to strive hard for something that feels a bit out of our reach.
And if it’s not hard? Then you aren’t dreaming big enough.
Just as important, when that beautiful dream at the very tip of the impossible hill takes an inevitable slide (and it will, because life is full of ups and downs), you know what will save you? Say it with me now, “PERSEVERANCE.”
Okay now I’ll end that rant and let’s move onto the final thing that’s helping me come back from burnout:
3) SUPPORT. And that’s where all you guys come in. Thank YOU for the constant support! Additionally, I have Wizard, my family, my sister and friends. All of them have been there when I’ve chosen to talk about it. I don’t always do that because I think talking can morph into a habit of complaining that can become a slippery slope. A little venting and problem solving is good, too much weighs us down until we’re trapped in the same place. It’s a fine line, but I couldn’t do this without the supportive people around me.
So there you have a bit about my highs and lows this year. My goals for 2015 are to release CAGED MAGIC in the Wing Slayer Hunter Series and launch my very sexy, Savaged Illusions contemporary series. I’m dying to write that first book. It will be loosely tied to Sloane Michael’s world from The Plus One Chronicles but each book will be a stand alone story with a happy ending. It’s possible I’ll have more releases in 2015, but those two are my focus right now.
I hope you all have a safe New Year’s Eve and that 2015 rocks for all of us! If you’d like to share some of your highs and lows from 2014, I’d love to hear them!
Oh and FYI, I’m going to be offline doing some family stuff so I won’t post again until Monday.
Monday, December 29th, 2014
Hey guys! I’ve missed you all! Our holidays were great but nonstop and man, I’m ready to go back to writing today! So a quick recap: Christmas Eve we had Biker Witch (my sister) and her Biker Hubby out for dinner. That was totally kick back and fun. Then Christmas day we had two sons plus their girls out and Special K (my daughter-in-law) cooked dinner. And let me tell you, THIS is what I missed out on in having all sons! Special K made a delicious dinner of Chicken Pasta Marinara. I didn’t have to do anything
And okay I know boys are capable of making dinner too But it’s amazing for us to have these special girls that our three sons have brought to our lives! Better than any material gift that’s for sure.
Then Sunday we got to see Middle Son and his girlfriend, and she made carne asada fajitas. Awesome! We had a great time with them too.
Another awesome thing, we had Bailey for almost a week. He was good as gold, and we loved having him. The first three days we went for walks and he chased lizards and played, but then, his hips started bothering him. Bailey is getting older, and his hips can really hurt. Holy Heartstrings, that is hard to see–he looks at us with big sad eyes that beg us to make it stop. Middle Son told me what to do, so I got the meds for him and it helped. Also I went out and bought him a new bed (for our house, he has a kennel he loves at his house) so he could get more comfortable:
When Bailey wasn’t with us, he slept in the bed until the meds kicked in and he felt better. Let me tell you, both Wizard and I were STRESSED over this, so worried about the dog who has given all of us so much love. Middle Son had told me this happened, and I could hear the worry in his voice when he talked about it, but seeing it firsthand is wrenching. Bailey’s feeling better now, and he’ll be okay.
And when we took him home, Middle Son and his girlfriend were so calm and confident, helping Bailey while going out of their way not to make us feel bad. Middle son thinks the stairs in our house are aggravating Bailey’s hips and said, “I’ll order baby gates and have them sent to your house.” And I thought, this man cares so much for his dog AND his parents. He doesn’t want to deprive Bailey or us, we’ll just work together to solve issues as Bailey ages and has more challenges.
Seriously, I hugged both Middle Son and his girlfriend. We all love Bailey and want what’s best for him.
So over all our Christmas was good even though Bailey had a couple difficult days. He has a lot of people who love him and will work together to take care of him.
How was your holiday and weekend?
Monday, December 22nd, 2014
So I this idea, I’ll do a short, quick holiday video. Sixty seconds max. And you know what? Wizard has time now, I’ll ask him to film it for me. It’ll take us, what, a half hour?
Um, yeah, I forgot a tiny little detail — Wizard is a perfectionist. Suddenly, we were doing test shots all over the house trying to find the best location and even moved the Christmas tree and rearranged furniture. Yep, even the Fed Ex guy was amused, because of course he came by to deliver something I’d ordered as we’re filming right in front of the front window. Totally embarrassing.
Although two days before the UPS guy came by while I was cleaning with music blaring and there’s a possibility that I might have been singing…and dancing…with a mop. However as far as I know, that is not on video so I’m going to deny it ever happened
Anyway, we finally got the video to Wizard’s satisfaction, until we uploaded it and realized the sound was too low. So we did it again the next day. We’re getting the hang of this, although our next goal is to learn to edit the videos, making them tighter and cleaner.
So to the answer to the question: How long does it take to do a sixty second video? TWO DAYS!
If you haven’t seen it on FB or Twitter, I’ll try to embed it here: And if you’ve seen it, skip down!
That’s me unedited, just chatting. But it’s also sincere, I really want readers to know how much I appreciate them.
In fun and slightly random news, Bailey Dog is coming over today and is staying with us until Sunday
I’m hoping to blog on Friday, but if not I’ll check in next week. I wish you all a warm, safe and joyous holiday with your family and friends!
Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
After an epic battle and I mean EPIC, my meds are supposed to come today! And we’re nearly done Christmas shopping, so things are really looking up!
How about you guys? Are you all making progress?
And while I have your attention, do you have a favorite Christmas cookie? I can’t decide if I do so I’m thinking hard and confusing myself. My overall favorite cookie is chocolate chunk, but that’s really not a Christmas cookie. What if someone asks me and I don’t know the answer? Or what if I desperately need to bake something? See my dilemma? So do you guys have a favorite?
Okay, fine, enough talk about cookies and Christmas
Now onto Wednesday Worthy. Now this isn’t a super tough dude, (umm, look at his tats–it’s like his mom chose then, LOL!). But I like his smirk and abs so I thought, why not give him a shot. Right? Cause we’re totally generous that way–we let the wannabe Hunks come in a audition. And keep in mind, even if he doesn’t make the cut for the big jobs, there’s always job openings at the bar (alcoholic or coffee–we’re a full service lair here), or package carrier, dog walker, you know, the usual stuff.
So what do you think? Is he worthy?
Monday, December 15th, 2014
It was pretty non stop this weekend as Wizard and I tried to get a handle on Christmas, and we’re making progress! I got most of the Christmas cards done, finished shopping for Wizard and got started on everyone else. And I’m thinking a lot of about Linc’s (CAGED MAGIC, Wing Slayer Hunter) book. But I need to focus on Christmas first.
So…Wizard and I finally decided to give up the fresh tree and get a fake one. Well actually, I’ve been tired of real trees for two years, while Wizard stubbornly insisted fake ones were too much of a pain. Then he suddenly changed his mind…thanks to a neighbor caving in last year and buying one, then spending fifteen minutes last Thursday telling him Wizard much easier it is to deal with a fake tree. Suddenly Wizard saw the light. Because you know, a MAN told him how easy it was.
Umm, yeah, moving on.
So Thursday night we went on a hunt for a fake tree. We went to Home Depot, Lowes, Target and found it! Loved the one at Target.
But they didn’t have it in stock.
So we drove twenty or twenty five miles one way to another Target. And learned there that the were Out of Stock EVERYWHERE IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE. (Somehow they couldn’t figure that out at the first Target).
Crap. So Wizard says. “You know what, let’s try Big Lots.”
But then we talked ourselves out of Big Lots and went to Wal Mart. DUMB MOVE! Apparently our Wal Mart stocks only Charlie Brown type of artifical Christmas trees. I have baby weeds in my planter with more to them than these trees–it was pathetic. By then we were tired and cranky and went home, pretty much planning to forgo a tree altogether. I don’t even know how many miles we covered in total that night.
Then Saturday morning, Wizard went to help him mom out with some stuff and I ran errands. While out I decided to check out Big Lots. Bingo! I found a fake tree CHEAPER than we were wiling to pay. But the problem was I had the smaller car, so I waited until Wizard got home and told him. He’s like, “Let’s go!” We went and snagged the tree.
The next morning we go to assemble it and guess what? The tree stand is missing. It’s supposed to be included, it said so on the box!
We jump in the car and head back to Big Lots because we knew there was only ONE of the trees left the night before. When we walked into the store, I swear to you, SWEAR!!, that the last tree was right there in a customer’s basket in the line to check out. Seriously. Wizard stopped dead and said, “Oh my God, that’s the last tree. Can you believe it?
Yeah, after the week I had, I totally believe it. We are 10 minutes too late.
Long story short, (I’m kidding, this isn’t short at all!) a guy who works there came to our rescue, giving us the stand off the display tree. And here’s the tree last night:
We’re both happy with it. The tree is pre lit with clear lights and we just put on a few ornaments. We really wanted to simplify this year so this works well for us.
How was your weekend?
Friday, December 12th, 2014
I’m sorry for not answering blog comments on Wednesday, this whole week has gotten away from me. I’ve been fighting with the insurance AGAIN to get the meds I need which is a major time suck. But the revisions are pretty much done, about 40 pages of editing left, so yay! It should go in sometime today. This morning I have more errands beginning with a 7:30 am appointment, and we’re suppose to have a torrential downpour all day. But once I’m home, as long as the power stays on, I WILL FINISH!
Then this weekend, I’ll try to get the rest of my Christmas list together, do some cards, and at some point, we need to get a tree. This is my idea of perfectly decorated Christmas:
But I’m pretty sure that’s not happening
So what are you guys doing this weekend?
Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
We shall not talk about my week so far. Even Wizard can’t believe the ridiculous frustrations. The only good news is I’m just finishing the revision today despite it all. I’ll still have to do a clean edit but it should go in Friday.
Anyway, I went looking for fresh
meat um, I mean fresh candidates, but I seem to be a little hunk blind right now….I probably wouldn’t recognize a hot sexy man unless he buys me my own private Starbucks staffed with Hugh Jackman and Chris Hemsworth lookalikes on my own private Island with a house full of French bulldog puppies…oh and health insurance that provides the services without making me jump through flaming hoops that magically vanish…oops, I may have slipped into a rant.
So…I looked for a hunk but couldn’t find one, so I’m going to put up three from my private stash, and you can choose your own Wednesday Hunk! So what do you think? Wizard’s in the background, yelling, Say yes! Just agree with anything Witch says! She’s got Crazy Eyes.
All right, here’s Hunk Candidate #1
Hunk Candidate #2 ( I originally typed that Hung Candidate #2, LOLOL!! And I haven’t even touched wine or any alcohol at all!)
Hunk Candidate #3
So which one is your choice for Wednesday Worthy?
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