Here, There, Everywhere

The last couple of months have been hectic.

After Campfire Stories, I needed a little break. I relaxed, and gave myself time to think about what I wanted to do next. I also bought a few books! ūüėÄ

Shortly after my break, I got to visit with my aunts and my uncle, which was amazing. I learned a fun and crazy card game. We stayed up all night playing. I won a few times, but I had a pro on my team.michal-parzuchowski-43274

Pretty soon, I will get to see a different branch of the family tree. I hope that goes equally as well. I’ve been running around trying to prepare for it. I bought an adorable bathing suit. I also attempted to clean.

While it’s been tons of fun, it’s also been distracting. I haven’t gotten much work done. I tend not to work when I have guests, so my break lasted¬†a lot longer than I thought it would. ¬†Plus, it takes a moment for me to get back on track each time I change my schedule or have a lot of stuff going on.

After this next visit, my schedule should be clear for awhile. I hope I can focus during the second half of April, and finally get Tapestry close to finished by the end of May. I already marked up one of the stories.

I’m super excited to get back to work. I’m going to try to squeeze in another story before the impending family visit. Who knew I could miss work? The feeling is probably fleeting, so I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

 


Campfire Stories: Nearing the End

Campfire Stories is going to be published soon! Everything is complete including my new author biography. The group is entering the marketing part of the process.

Of course, I will be announcing all new information on my Facebook Page and Twitter account.

I’m feeling all sorts of emotions: surprised, happy, hopeful, and a little disappointed. First and foremost, I’m happy we were able to put this book together. Previously, I was worried about the project falling apart. ¬†I am also happy¬†about everything I’ve learned and been able to accomplish. This has been a great experience. I hope the marketing end is just as educational and fun. I’ve gotten slightly more familiar with Mailchimp already. I hope there are lots of sales, that people like my work, and I gain readers.

The slight disappointment has nothing to do with the Campfire Stories project. I had wanted Tapestry published by the time Campfire Stories was published. I have fallen short of this goal. However, there is a silver lining.

Campfire Stories has taught me what goes into creating a book from start to finish. It took five people nearly a year. Granted, we were doing other things in our lives, but putting a book together is not as simple or easy in practice as it is in theory. I understand now why I have fallen short of my goals with Tapestry. They were steep goals. I will make better ones going forward.

I want to give a huge thank you to my Campfire Story partners:

Ansley Ashe

Jill Marcotte

Lucy Jayne

Allison Gammons

fdywsfh8n6y-rachel-walkerI published this blog a couple weeks early. It was ready, and I thought it would be a good Valentine’s treat for my readers :).

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!


Campfire Covers

I took on the role of cover designer for my Campfire Stories collaboration. This was my first time designing for a group of people. I had a few doubts. ¬†I’m not an expert photography editor, or an illustrator with ten years experience.

However, I have some skills. I’ve taken a few art classes. I’ve spent many hours looking at covers, movie posters, etc. I’ve experimented a lot with photography in the past, and was a part of a photography group. I’ve used Gimp, PicMonkey, and Paint to create different pictures. Experimenting helps a lot with the learning process.

Plus, I decided to volunteer for the job because I enjoy making covers. It takes awhile. Sometimes I spend over 8 hours just experimenting. Nonetheless, in comparison to writing a book, 8 hours feels like instant gratification. I also love visual arts.

Initially, I spoke with the group leader about what kind of cover to make. I wanted to make something with a campfire. She wanted the lettering to be a little girly, which made sense for our concept. We didn’t want to make a horror cover, because that’s not what we wrote. The cover should represent the writing, and our anthology has different genres within it. There’s horror, fairy tales, and even a tall tale.¬†cover-campfire3

I showed the group leader some pictures, and we picked out a couple. I ended up using her favorite: a campfire in the woods.¬†I had to use a big, bold font; I did not want the title to get lost in the background (right). It’s amazing how long I spent looking at fonts. I have a new appreciation for fonts.

cover-campfire-8I also did additional mark ups with the font the group leader suggested (left).

At this point, I posted  5 of the cover designs for the rest of the group to see. A different approach was suggested. I had a conversation with another group member to get an idea of what she was looking for in a cover.

This time I went with a more minimalist approach. This cover set was faster to put together, because I did not use any filters. I wanted an elegant font this time. I picked a couple cursive fonts and a couple funky fonts to give the group options.

 

The group voted this month! And the final cover is:

dark-campfire-cover2

 

Working with a group was an interesting experience. It’s different trying to design something for someone else. It involves more than just my vision. However, it was fun and I enjoyed the process. Everyone was kind and cooperative. I hope it’s everything they wanted, and that we sell lots of books.

Thank you to the photographers who put their work in public domain.

Photo credits in order of appearance:

http://all-free-download.com/free-photos/download/campfire-celebration-fire_235678.html

https://unsplash.com/search/campfire?photo=rLm4Wq96h_0

 

 


NYE 2016!

It’s time for 2017!

I’m excited, and have so many plans for the new year. However, before I get into this year’s resolutions, I’ll write a quick update on my resolutions from last year.

I did finish doing the French Duolingo! However, I am not fluent. Or close. I finished the Duolingo course last winter, but continued practicing until this month when my 426 day streak ended. Duolingo is great, but I feel immersion in France would make being fluent much easier.

I did not publish anything new. Tapestry has been sent to a beta reader. It will be published this year. I am determined. My mindset surrounding my writing has changed. I learned so much about editing. I will not hold on to a story as long as I held on to Tapestry again. I talked about this a little bit in my last blog post.

I started a few new writing projects, and I added more words to an existing project. Goal accomplished.

Last but not least, I lost weight this year. I still have more weight to lose, but I am happy that I am on the right path.

Like the years before, this year’s resolutions are similar. I will publish. I will continue to exercise, and lose more weight.

I am done with French for now. Maybe another year.

I am adding a new resolution. I want post more on social media. It’s an important part of marketing, and I want to get better at it.

Reflecting on 2016 is satisfying. I did a lot of what I wanted to do. I’ve come a long way.

I can’t wait to accomplish my goals for 2017!

Do you have any resolutions this year?

firework unsplash.jpg

Happy New Year!

Be safe.


Campfire Stories

Sorry this blog is a few weeks late. I skipped my November NaNoWriMo blog because I felt there was nothing new to write about it. I didn’t want to write the same blog over and over again. Instead, I decided to do two December blogs. The second one will be published on the 31st of December.

I mentioned before that I’m working on a collaboration. I am part of a group of writers that will be putting out a short story collection. The collection is called Campfire Stories.

The authors had to create a story inspired by a campfire. However, it was not strict. Each person could go in any direction they wanted: horror, tall tale, legend, etc.

We agreed to submit at least one story, and edit each other’s work.

I ended up submitting two stories. One is  a campy, horror story.  The other is about a ghost.

Round one of editing happened during October, so I had my editing notes going into November.

I gave up on NaNoWriMo early this year, and worked on my second drafts. I resubmitted the stories a week and half ago. My fellow collaborators have already read my work, and they gave me new notes.

It’s interesting to see what someone else thinks of my writing. I’m always excited to see the comments. I also love that four different people have read my work. They each have their own opinions and comments, which shows how differently readers can interpret something.

The editing process is so much faster this way. I used to want to hang on to my work until I felt it was perfection. However, it’s a lot easier to get a story to perfection with a critique partner.

Additionally, I created covers for the collection. I hope my collaborators like my work. I enjoyed doing it.

While there have been delays, we are mostly on schedule. Campfire Stories should be done by the end of January.¬†ūüėÄ

I liked participating in this, and I would like to do something similar in the future. I’d love to run my own contest one day.

Have any of you submitted stories anywhere, or worked on a collaboration? I’d love to hear how other people’s experiences turned out.

Merry Christmas! Hope your holidays are fun and filled with joy!


Halloween: Jenna Marbles Edition

Halloween is here! And I have decided on my costume.

As I was thinking of the makeup I have but haven’t used for ages, an idea struck me. I will dress up as Jenna Marbles! I can experiment with my makeup, I should have something to wear in my closet, and I’ve been a fan for years. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this before.

Especially because this year I have been nostalgic for Space Hooker Jenna. Not that I’m claiming I can pull it off. My final look may be a mixture of Space Hooker, normal Jenna, and drunk Jenna makeup challenge. I’ll do my best. I never have worn makeup the way Jenna does, so it’ll be an experience. I’ll have to pass on the lashes as I don’t want anything glued to my eye, but I will rediscover my¬†hair chalk.

I’ll dig up my leggings. And all of my jewelry. Like Jenna, I love the 90s. I have hoops and chokers. Hope the chokers still fit. I already found a great shirt! The final look should be a mixture of the pictures down below (jewelry, colored hair, and laid-back happiness if all else fails). I didn’t find a drunk makeup picture, but you can Google that if you want.

 

*These photos are Jenna’s. The links are connected to her page, which is where I found them.

Jenna is also notorious for not cleaning. I love it. In this way, we are kindred spirits; so all of my selfie’s shall be authentic to my costume ;). I’m excited!

If you want to see my final look, I’ll be posting pictures on my Instagram.

What are you doing for Halloween?

 

 


Writing Outside of my Zone

Not only has the summer flown by plunging me into the fall, September has come and gone as well. During these months, I went out of my comfort zone and wrote in a different genre.

The idea came to me when two different people asked me to participate in group projects. It seemed like a good idea, so I said yes. I wanted to keep my style, but felt horror would be the best way to go for the stories. I have never written a horror story before; although, my work does have a dark vibe to it.

I watched horror movies to get into the horror writing mood. While I’ve seen one or two, they’re not my normal pick. I found ones I liked, and ones I hated. However, I was inspired by them all. I came up with two good ideas (one for each group), and went to work.

Surprisingly, it has been a struggle to write two short stories. It took awhile to come up with relevant ideas. That was the hardest part. I underestimated how hard it is to come up with an idea out of thin air instead of using an idea that has spent months bopping around in my mind.

forest face fog

Once I had the ideas, it should have been easy from there. Instead, it took ages for me to get what I wanted written down. Part of it was nerves. I want the stories to be great, but I know they will need lots of editing. I hope the groups will not be disappointed with my first drafts. Especially because I struggled to make my sentences tense enough. Horror involves jumps and scares. That’s not my forte.

This is also my first time working with other artists. I was nervous about sending out an informal contract to make sure I knew what I was agreeing to. The problem with contracts is that they can be too detailed or not detailed enough. I did my best.

Sadly, one of the collaborations fell a part. It happens. I am happy that I tried, and got to know another artist a little better. I’m still a part of the other group, but I’m not sure if we’ll make it all the way to a finished anthology. I hope we do. I also hope to improve my horror writing with the group’s feedback. We should be exchanging stories shortly. I’ll keep you guys updated.

Have you ever collaborating with other artists on a project? I’d love to hear about your experiences!


Losing

I finally heard back from the decision committee about my short story competition entry. I entered it February with high hopes and excitement. For months, I remained hopeful. The committee got more entries than they had expected, and kept everyone updated through their blog.

Now ¬†I have my answer.¬†I lost. It sucked. It would have been nice to have the prize money, and great to get recognition. However, it was not as bad as I thought it’d be. I briefly wondered how much I lost by, and if it would be better to know. I decided I’m happy I don’t know. I thought I’d feel sad or defeated. Instead, ¬†I shrugged it off after a day. It was not meant to be. The worst part is telling other people. Being a “loser” is not as bad as the insult implies.

trophies

Great to have, but not necessary.

It’s like being a Chopped contestant.¬†When you’re in it, it’s intense. You want it. After you lose, it doesn’t feel intense anymore. The dream doesn’t change. It’s time for the next project!

Also, I still have my story, and I like it. Maybe I’ll make another short story collection :).


Smile

The last couple of months have been hard. Not just for me, but for my entire country. And much of the rest of the world. The word is never perfect, but it feels abysmal at the moment. I’ve felt alienated, sad, and hopeless.

I don’t know how or when the universe will right itself, and gives us a break. I’ve been moping, but I’m coming out of it. I’m still sad. However, I need to live my life. I’m going to focus on the positive, and what I can do. I’ve also watched lots of Jenna Marbles videos.

I appreciate everything I have. I’m getting by. I ate delicious fudge. I am going to try and make new friends. I am so happy for my current ones.

Thank you for reading my blogs, and everything else you do. I can’t wait to release a novel for you.

I hope you can find things in your life to smile about. If you can’t right now, I’ve found some cute pictures for you.

 Bambi searching for Thumper.

 

 

Cuddly Pug, warm and safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only way to swim.

 

Peace, love, and happiness.


Superstitious

In my past, I have been slightly superstitious. As time goes by, my superstitious nature tends to increase. I find myself crossing my fingers and knocking on wood during conversations. No jinxes! This superstition seems to be an unexpected consequence to my being poor.

I have been living off of my savings while trying to become a writer, so I have a fixed income so to speak. I don’t mind overall. March and April went well. I had finished April by winning CampNaNo. I wrote my blog happy and victorious with a small thought in my head: oh no, good luck please stay with me! I had ambitious yet reachable goals for May. I was excited and ready.

A couple days after I wrote the blog, I got the estimate to fix my car. It was an astronomical amount for me. What could I do? I paid for it. It wiped out my savings. I was in shock for the first day or two. I was not writing; therefore I fell behind with my goal. Ironic isn’t it? The clock is set. I have to write like my life depends on it because it does, and I stop. After the shock, came sadness.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Several years ago, I was getting in shape. I felt amazing. Then, I got sick. The illness lasted over a month. I lost all of my progress, and no longer felt like working out at that time. Almost two years ago, I finally got a third of the way through a fantasy novel. A grand accomplishment. I could not wait to finish. I was backing up my work monthly at the time. A couple days before my backup, my hard drive crashed. I lost a huge chunk of the fantasy novel as well as all of another personal project. Devastated, I had to go out and buy a new lap top. This depleted the savings quite a bit. I have not opened the fantasy ¬†novel since. Although, I still hope to finish it. Shortly after the hard drive crash, my car battery died. I replaced it, then it died again a few months later. Startling. The company did replace it, but it was not a comforting day. Last year, I had a dentist overcharge me. He also did a filling incorrectly, so I had to have it done again (by someone else).

One step forward, two steps back.  Yes, I have become more superstitious. Always hoping luck will be on my side.

This time is different because my wiggle room is gone. I’m anxious.

I am moving up my editing schedule. I need to publish. I need to sell my book after publishing. If I don’t, well I’d rather not think about that. I want to finish the first draft of my Christmas novel since I’m in the middle of it, but I worry that it will take too much time.

I am writing this blog on May 11, 2016. I have had my setbacks. However, I am proud of my progress overall. I never give up. This time it’s one step forward, half a step back. I want to do this. With all that I am, I want to succeed. I have slowly started to get back into writing this week. I’m several days behind, so I adjusted my goal.

I will keep you updated.

*Knocks on wood.*

wood

Are you superstitious?

Update (June 16th): I met my adjusted goal for May. I hope to do the same in June. I also found this article:

http://writerscircle.com/five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2/?utm_source=twc-twcfan&utm_medium=social-fb&utm_term=20160511&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2&origin=twc_twcfan_social_fb_link_five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2_20160511