Blog Stop – Lucienne Diver’s Fangdemonium Blog tour!!

Hi there, all!!

This week I have the pleasure to host Lucienne Diver on her blog tour to promote the release of her new book, Fangdemonium!

She was nice enough to stop by and answer a few questions from me and, after the Q&A, we’ve got an excerpt from her new book!

Don’t forget to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page for an awesome giveaway.

So let’s get to it!

 

 

 

 

ME: What did you enjoy the most about writing Fangdemonium?

LD: My very favorite thing was once again getting to write my humorously homicidal, endearingly dangerous psychic vampire Alistaire. I had no idea when I started the series how much I and my fans would come to love him. I thought he’d be a one-off character. My editor insisted that he had to make an encore. Without giving anything in the series away, stuff happens, and I’d left his fate a bit up in the air. Well, not anymore!

 

ME: How does it feel to be ending the series?

LD: I won’t say that my fanged fashionista heroine and her gang won’t make any repeat appearances in short fiction. (Gina’s a bit too persistent for that!) But it was really amazing to give the series a kind of closure. I really enjoyed bringing the series full circle. I really, really can’t wait to hear from readers and see what they think!

 

ME: Background music while writing, or quiet?

LD: I need quiet when I write. I love words, love lyrics. If I had music playing, I’d get distracted listening to the message rather than the voices in my head. Gina is a bit of a diva. She’d never stand for that!

 

 

 

ME: Without giving anything away, did the series end the way that you thought (or had planned) it would, while you were working on Vamped (Book 1)?

LD: You know, it kind of did. I’m a pantser. I start with an idea. I might know a few big events along the way and generally where I want things to end up, but I’m as surprised as anyone about how we actually get there. Often my characters will throw detours up in my path, so I think they’re going to zig and they insist on zagging. Writing is so much a test of mental agility. I know that technically we writers create our characters and chart their path, but more often it feels like we’re arguing over the map and fighting over who’s going to drive. As long as we agree on the destination, I guess we’re good.

ME: Every writer comes out of a book different from when they went in. How do you think you’ve grown or improved as a writer as you wrote Fangdemonium?

LD: I’m sure I did grow, but I can’t think of any specifics with Fangdemonium. I think that’s because I’m more overwhelmed by how much Gina has grown as a character from the beginning of the series to the end. I feel like a mama bear, in a way. I’m so proud of her and how far she’s come. I like the way she turned out. I think I raised her right…although she’d probably take all the credit herself!

 

ME: If you could give one piece of advice to a new writer, what would it be?

LD: Get it down, and then get it right. A lot of first time writers are so self-conscious, trying to get things just right or to sound really deep or poetic. Sometimes authors have to get out of their own way and let the characters step up so their voices are the ones that flow onto the page. That’s why I write first thing in the morning. My inner editor is still asleep, and I don’t second guess myself to death. That’s for the revision stage.

 

 

Huge thanks to Lucienne for taking the time to field a few questions from me.

Now, as promised: An Excerpt from Fangdemonium!!

“Whose van is this?” I asked.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” said the new girl.

“I thought that was for the military.”

“So did I,” she said cryptically.

“Sanitize the van?” Imanyi said to David.

The new girl—I really was going to have to get her name—handed David something from a backpack before swinging it over her shoulder. Two somethings, actually. They looked like water balloons, only the liquid inside was cloudy.

“That’s not—” I started.

But David wasn’t beside me anymore. He was standing at the sliding door to the panel van, which he’d never shut. He lobbed the first of the balloons with such force it exploded on impact, and the scent hit me like mustard gas. Not garlic and holy water like the grenade someone had launched back at the studio, but a bleach bomb, splattering the insides of the van. He moved to the driver’s side and did the same thing with the front section of the van. My eyes watered. Blood tears again. My nose stung.

“It won’t cover everything,” Imanyi said at our shocked looks, “but it’ll ruin the noses of any tracker dogs and it might do enough. We can’t leave anyone behind to do a controlled burn and we can’t let a blaze get out of control and set fire to the building.”

 

ABOUT FANGDEMONIUM:
Fanged and fabulous…and hunted.
Gina Covella, fashionista of the fanged, and her entourage are primed to reveal the existence of vampires on the popular Ghouligans television show, when their former federal handlers swoop in to shut them down and imprison the vamps in one of their super secret testing facilities. Or not so secret, as the gang knows all about the horror hospitals and has sworn to take them down.
Their daring escape runs them right into the arms of “the resistance”—a group of humans and vampires who’ve joined together to stop the fighting that’s made Gina and her boy Bobby’s hometown a bloody battlefield. Going home brings them back to old nemeses as well, including the psycho psychic who declared Gina “chaos” and Bobby “the key”. They hope he’ll unlock the secret of stopping the Feds’s freakshow experiments for good, because they’re building up to something big. Huge. And they’re consolidating their power in the Big Easy, aka New Orleans, where what’s cooking is nothing less than the final showdown.
Publisher: Lore Seekers Press
Price: $6.99
Release date: July 17th, 2017
ASIN: B073BMFDJ8

You can get Fangdemonium here

About LUCIENNE DIVER 
Lucienne Diver is the author of Vamped young adult series (think Clueless meets Buffy) and the Latter-Day Olympians urban fantasy series from Samhain, which Long and Short Reviews called “a clever mix of Janet Evanovich and Rick Riordan”. Her short stories have appeared in the KICKING IT anthology edited by Faith Hunter and Kalayna Price (Roc Books), the STRIP-MAULED and FANGS FOR THE MAMMARIES anthologies edited by Esther Friesner (Baen Books) and her essay “Abuse” was published in DEAR BULLY: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins). More information can be found on her website: www.luciennediver.com.

GIVEAWAY
There’s a tour-wide giveaway for copies of FANGDEMONIUM and a Rafflecopter gift certificate for 20 dollars! Open to US residents only.

Enter Here!!!

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What a Difference a Year Makes

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about today. There were a couple of ideas cooking, but, then, I saw Wonder Woman over the weekend (Which was awesome! You should go see it!) and, then, just this morning, I saw the announcement that Jodie Whittaker had been cast as the 13th Doctor.

Both the movie and the announcement (and the intro video) had a heavier impact on me that I expected them to and I’ll have to unpack that some.

And that dovetails into today’s post.

There are only two times during the year that I tend to really get introspective.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m almost constantly looking inward, but there are times where I feel the need to bring a stop to the day-to-day and consciously devote some time to examining where I am, where I’ve been, where I’m going, what I’m thinking, and what I’m feeling.

All that stuff.

Those times are around the turn of the year and my birthday.

This past Friday I turned 47. Last year, about this time, I blogged about my 46th birthday, so I went back and read that post to do a little comparison.

Here are some of the similarities:

  • I wrote on my birthday.
  • Epic grill-fest
  • Blogging

I can’t remember if we went to the movies last year. I don’t think so. I didn’t get out all that often.

Here are some of the differences:

  • I didn’t have an agent, then.
  • Playing the guitar has kinda fallen by the wayside. I’ve got a pretty bad case of carpal tunnel and my fingers start to weaken and go numb (while my wrists start hurting).
  • I get out more often.
  • RUGBY!!!

And that’s scratching the surface.

Suffice it to say that I’m still on the path – farther along than I had been this time last year. I’m still chasing the dream and, like the rest of us, I’m still dealing with resistance and things that want me to falter.

The dream is a long game. It’s good to keep that in mind while you’re taking things one step at a time, one day at a time.

So I’m going to end this the same way I ended a similar post a year ago.

Chase your dreams. Find the things that bring you joy and fill your life with them. Go out and get your happiness, and good on ya for taking steps along the path.

 

Good Luck!

 

Time: 2:56 pm-ish

Music: Blind Guardian – Fly

 

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Every Time

C’mon, say something.

Just get started and, eventually, something will come. Then you can build on that.

Don’t stop. Quit glancing out the window. That’s not what you’re here for. You only do this once a week. There are people out there that do this sort of thing every day.

That’s it. It’s starting to get easier now. Just keep putting one word after the other as the ideas start to gel in your head.

No, you haven’t written about this before. You don’t need to check through your past posts. Keep typing.

Don’t check your phone. Or your Email. The world will survive without you for this little bit of time. Keep going. Twitter will still be there.

Stop worrying about what people are going to think. Sometimes this is for them, sometimes it’s for you, sometimes it’s both. You’ve got momentum now.

Listen to the music, but not too closely. It’s a shield, a barrier to keep the world out of your head while you do this, but it can intrude if you let it. Keep focus. Keep going.

You’re nearly there. Just need to wrap it all up, so that it makes sense. No, it’s not a dumb idea. People will either get it or they wont. Stop worrying and get it out there.

 

Yeah. Just like that…

 

 

Time: 12:53 pm-ish

Music: Blind Guardian – Sacred Worlds

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Getting Real…Really

This week, I’d like to take a look at an idea that has been floating around the writing community lately…And kick it really hard in the soft bits.

This idea has a tendency to come and go at intervals and, this time, it came along as a click-baity article, the gist of which was:

“If you don’t write every day, then you’re not a real writer and you should quit right now.”

This is, of course, unalloyed horseshit.

There is only one criteria to be a writer:

You MUST write.

That’s it. If you write, you’re a “Real” writer.

You’d think that this would be self-evident. Words are our stock in trade, after all. “Writer” doesn’t imply how often one must write, only that one DOES write. Everything else is set dressing.

It’s been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the whole “You must write every day” thing is no exception.

The underlying idea is to help new writers develop a habit of writing. Why is a habit important? Because it will be easier for you to get started if you’ve been developing the muscle memory to sit down and write regularly.

But writing regularly doesn’t, necessarily mean writing every day. Whatever schedule works for you, is what works for you. If you can sit down every day and write, fine. If you can get five days of writing in and then take the weekend off, fine. If you can only write on the weekends, that’s fine too.

And it’s more difficult for the writer that’s just starting out. You’ll pick up a book on writing by someone that you admire and find an “Absolute” that you cant live up to.

Ray Bradbury (and I’m going to paraphrase here) once said that you have to get up each day with the irresistible urge to go write. You have to approach it with joy every time.

Ray, freaking, Bradbury.

I’ll admit it: Sometimes I don’t have the irresistible urge to go write. Sometimes it’s a slog, a supreme effort of will to drag myself into my writing room to eke out a few hundred words or so.

That doesn’t make me any less of a writer. What worked for Ray, worked for Ray.

As I was developing*, I picked up “On Writing” by Stephen King. I still read it pretty regularly, but there was a point in the book where he talks about plotting (He’s not a fan of plotting) and he’s not very complimentary about it.

The thing is that Stephen is a discovery writer. He just writes and sees what happens.

That method doesn’t work for me. I’ve got to tell myself the story before I can start getting it down.

It took me a *long* time to get past that dim view of plotting. Like much of writing, it took a considerable exercise of ego to stand up for myself and say (to myself) “That might work for you, Uncle Steve, but it doesn’t work for me. I’ll find my own path, thanks.”

This field is full of “Do it this way or you’re not “Real” crap.

This doesn’t mean that you should ignore writing advice. those folks are successful for a reason. Keep in mind that they are also writing these books from their perspective, which might not (and probably doesn’t) match your own. This is you we’re talking about. You make your own definition of “Real” and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Take what works and leave the rest. I encourage you to try a little of everything, find what works for you, and put it to use.

Good Luck!

 

*Not to imply that I’ve finished – or will ever be done – developing as a writer.

 

Time: 12:27 pm-ish

Music: W.A.S.P. – Golgotha

 

 

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Interview With Pat Esden

Hi there Everyone!

My friend, Pat Esden, has a book coming out on June 27th.

The book is titled, “Reach for You” and it’s the third book in the Dark Heart series.

June 27th is only two days away and, in the middle of everything that’s involved in a book launch, Pat has agreed to stop by and answer a few questions for me. How cool is that!!

So, let me step out of the way and present to you my interview with Pat Esden.

 

Me: What did you enjoy the most about writing Reach for You?

 

PE: Hands down it was sharing the finished draft with my critique partners and agent and hearing their reaction to this novel’s twists and its ending. This is the final novel in the series—more correctly a trilogy. I’ve known where the plot was headed since I came up with the concept for the series. Keeping my mouth shut about the twists for so long has been torture.

Me: I saw that you’ve got Pintrest boards for each of your books. Where does creating those boards fall into your writing process?  

PE: I am a HUGE fan of Pinterest. What you can’t see is that I have more secret boards than public ones. I create secret boards for projects I’m currently working on and for future ideas. I’m a visual person and it’s the perfect way for me to build and tweak ideas (I even save inspiring music videos and later add the songs to Spotify). I have boards for setting, characters, plot, brainstorming, research, and even marketing. Once a project has been turned into my editor, then I go through and delete images that no longer apply to the story. After that, I make them public.

Here’s a link to my boards. https://www.pinterest.com/patesden/

Me: Every writer comes out of a book different from when they went in. How do you think you’ve grown or improved as a writer as you wrote Reach for You?

PE: Great question. I think my confidence as a writer has grown. When I started the series, I was sharing my work with perhaps a half dozen critique partners. REACH FOR YOU was only read by two of my longest term CPs and my agent. I feel like this allowed my voice and my style to remain more intact, but it required me to trust my judgment and abilities more.

Overall writing the Dark Heart series taught me a lot about reader and genre expectations. These things effected how I’m choosing to approach my next series (Northern Circle Coven) which is coming out starting in 2018.

 Me: Background music while writing, or quiet?

PE: I create Spotify playlists for each novel and blast those while I draft. Here’s my REACH FOR YOU list:

https://open.spotify.com/user/22iwtf6o2fwo6rnjkhyq4bv5q/playlist/0x1A8mDkQYR6eQxOoEnzDE

Once I’m done with the first draft, I write and revise in total silence. The only exception is if I have a scene I need to rewrite from scratch.

ME: If you could give one piece of advice to a new writer, what would it be?

PE: Be persistent. Persistence is needed when a writer is learning the craft. Don’t settle for good enough. Strive to always better your writing skills, expand your tools. It’s also needed once your writing reaches the publishable level, whether it’s doggedly querying agents or gathering yourself up to keep writing through rejection by those agents or editors. The only way to fail is to quit striving.

 

Thank you, Pat, for taking the time to stop by and answer a few questions!

REACH FOR YOU (Dark Heart series book 3) comes out on June 27th, 2017. You can find pre-order links below.

 

Her passion is her greatest weakness.

His legacy is his prison.

To reunite, both must fight the demons within.

 

A world of deception and danger separates Annie Freemont from her mother—and from Chase, the enigmatic half-ifrit with whom Annie’s fallen in love. But she vows to find her way back to them, before Chase succumbs to the madness that threatens his freedom. The only person who can help is the magical seductress, Lotli, a beautiful, manipulative woman . . . a woman who has disappeared.

Annie must stay strong, even as the future she imagined is slipping away. With the help of family and friends, she discovers that Lotli is being held against her will, by those who want to exploit her powers. But though weakened, Lotli remains a powerful alley and adversary. A bargain is struck. And now Annie’s only chance to rescue Chase could also tear them apart . . .

Loyalties will be tested, walls will be breached, and enemies will be fought, yet Annie’s greatest battle lies within her own heart—to trust her love for Chase to overcome its greatest enemy, and to save those she holds most dear from the terrifying realm of the djinn . . .


BARNES &NOBLE 
AMAZON KOBO |

TARGET  | BAM | INDIE BOUND | BOOK DEPOSITORY

 

Pat Esden would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts.

An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle, and George Scither’sCat Tales Anthology.

 

 

Time: 10:42 am-ish

Music: The Wind.  Seriously, just the wind, it’s blowing pretty hard here.

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The Forest and The Trees

These days, writers are being called upon to juggle more and more things. We need to be able to do more and more things. Websites, blogs, social media, self promotion, and so much more in addition to actually – you know – writing.

This can be a handful for the full time writer. Now add in a day job, family, friends, other interests, reading, that pesky thing called “Sleep”, getting outside in the sun*, and you can see how easy it could be to get overwhelmed by it all.**

For all of us, at one time or another, we can feel like we’re walking in a forest that goes on forever in all directions. Sometimes there’s a path, sometimes not. Sometimes there are others walking with you, sometimes not.

What it all boils down to is that some days, you look at your life and it’s like:

 

 

 

 

 

When times like these come, I try*** to remember two things:

  1. This forest is amazing, and huge, and full of potential, and there is a lot of stuff going on in here.
  2. This forest is made of individual trees. If I’m not paying attention to where I’m going, I could walk into one.

Sure, the trees may grow close together in spots which would make it seem like you’ve got two, or three, or more trees in front of you, but at some point, you’ve got to choose a direction, which will point you toward a single tree.

All you have to do is not walk into it. Nobody really wants to get a facefull of bark. So you can move around the tree, climb it and see what there is to see up there. You can stop and watch it before moving on, or just pass it on by without a backward glance. Deal with this one tree in your way and move onto the next.

And, while the trees are something that you’ve got to deal with, they are also pretty awesome in their own right****and you never can tell when, while dealing with your trees, a new opportunity arises that you never expected to find that takes you in an entirely new direction.

 

 

 

 

 

(Ok, maybe not as literally as this, but you get the idea)

So, the next time you’re feeling lost in the forest, try and remember that the forest is awesome, and that there are a lot of things both cool, and not so cool, going on in there, but don’t try to look at the whole thing all at once. Focus on the tree in front of you. Linger and enjoy it, or skirt around it as quick as you can and move on to a better, more interesting tree. Or hop up on the tree’s shoulders and ride it for a while.

See where they take you.

 

Time: 1:20 pm-ish

Music: None.  It’s been a weird day…

 

 

*No, seriously, you need to get outside once in a while.

**This is not to say that full time writers don’t have these things as well.

***Not always successfully.

****Something I also, sometimes, forget.

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Coming Home

“Well, back to reality.”  – The Supreme Being – Time Bandits

“I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.” – Groucho Marx

I got home on Saturday afternoon from being away from home and family to attend ConCarolinas, and a weeklong writer’s retreat.

I always come away from these events energized, inspired, and a little humbled to find myself considered a part of, or an equal to – which is much more humbling and, to my mind, surprising – such an incredible bunch of writers.

This week, I busted my ass.

These kinds of opportunities don’t come along for me every day (More like every year – circumstances permitting) and I was determined to make the most of it. I went into the retreat with a very specific goal:

I was going to finish the second round of edits and send them off to my agent by the end of the week.

I got a little bit of a head start during the ConCarolinas weekend due to a combination of waking up early and using that time prior to any panels I wanted to attend, to write.

With the head start, I came into this last week with the task of editing 34 chapters.

To put it in perspective, with my day-to-day writing schedule, this would have taken me roughly 3 weeks to complete (less if I’d elected to work on the weekends). Add to that, some of the edits required a complete rewrite of three chapters.

I did it in 4 days. 2 of those days, I called it a night around 1 am.

That’s not to say that I spent every waking moment writing, but this wasn’t a vacation.

I had a job to do.

Part of it was that the book feels ~Really~ close to being ready for prime time. So much so, that, taking into account the summer vacation months, my agent and I are planning on shopping the book around beginning September first (Stay tuned, Y’all) and that’s pretty exciting.

Another part is that, despite reassurances that I shouldn’t, I feel a little guilty for going, so I needed to make sure that I made it worth the sacrifices my family made, both monetarily and in terms of me being gone, to make it possible for me to do this.

You may be wondering what it’s like to come home after, what would appear to be an ideal writing environment.

It feels pretty damned good.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time and I got a lot of stuff done with a group of folks that I care deeply about.

It wasn’t Home.

At best, this past week was a rough simulation of what it might be as a full time writer. Yes, I’d have more time during the day to write, but it wouldn’t be in those crazy long chunks of time that I had and I sure as hell won’t have someone cooking three squares a day for me.*

You may also be wondering how someone makes that transition from the retreat to reality.

On one hand, the switch is pretty instantaneous. You get home and there you are with your family, the dogs (also family), and the day to day asserts itself.

On the other hand, the switch is gradual. The inspiration is still there, the eagerness to keep going with the Work, to do more. What happens is more of a longer term thing. Saturday was almost pure “I’m home. Stand back while I soak it all in.”

Today, and going forward though, is planning, deciding what to do to keep the fires of inspiration lit, doing all of the little “I really need to do ‘that'” things that came to you during the conversations you had and stories you’ve shared.

Taking stock of where you are, where you want to be, what the next steps in that direction are, and taking those steps.

Bringing the retreat home and making it part of your day to day.

 

*THANK YOU, CHEF!!

 

 

Time: 11:37 am-ish

Music: Demons and Wizards – Beneath These Waves

 

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Retreat!

I didn’t think I was going to get a blog post up, because here I am, decompressing after ConCarolinas, looking forward to spending nearly an entire week almost completely within my own head.

For those of you new to the blog, every year – circumstances permitting – I meet up with my writer’s group and we spend a week, writing, and critiquing, and talking about the art, craft, and the slog of the writing business.

If you can manage it, I highly recommend taking a few days to get away from it all and prepare to get to work.

Now I am not talking about taking a vacation. Don’t get me wrong, if you need a vacation, by all means take a vacation. Get the rest you need. Take care of yourself, you’re the only you that you have.

This is not a vacation. I’ve got a goal set for myself and it’s a pretty significant chunk of work if I’m going to meet this goal.

I can’t wait to dive in.

Compared to my usual writing day, a day at the retreat would be similar to an entire week’s worth of writing, so I really want to make the most of the opportunity

I’ve let my group members know what that goal is and I know that I’ll have someone to help keep me on track* and I’m going to share that goal with you.

I am working on the second round of edits for my agent and I want to use the opportunity this week to get that done and send that off.**

I’d like to get it done before the end of the week, so that I’ve got time to work on other things.

That means (Stand back, I’m going to do math), if I want to reach this goal, I’ll need to get through 11 chapters a day, for three days.***

So set some goals and see if you can meet them. You might not be able to get away for an entire week****but try and take some time to see what you can do,

 

Time: 7:17 pm-ish

Music: Blind Guardian – I’m Alive

 

*This, too, is a nice thing to have. Not as someone that hangs over your shoulder, badgering you to get work done, that’s how people get hurt.

**Unfortunately, you don’t get to remind me or ask me about my progress.

***Worse than it sounds – a boatload of work though.

****I can only manage it once a year

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Sunday Schedule

 

Here is where (and when) I’m going to be on Sunday.

  • 9:00 AM – Rituals for Creativity.
  • 11:00 AM – What Diversity Is Good For
  • 2:00 PM – Avoiding the “Representing the entire (Insert Marginalized Person Here) Trap
  • 5:00 PM – Worldbuilding in SF vs. Fantasy
  • 6:00 PM – Pacing the Novel

Hope to see you there!!

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Getting Away from it All

Balticon is in 4 days!!! Will I see you there? Check out the Events page for my schedule. I’d love to meet you.

The next couple of weeks are going to be busy for me. I’ve got 3 days of the day-job, then I fly out to Balticon. Sometime in there, I’ve got to pack, make sure all of my traveling ducks are in a row, keep writing, get enough sleep, and spend time with my family.

Right after that, I’m on the ground for two days, then I’m off again for ConCarolinas, where I get to catch up with (most) of my writer’s group and to see a lot of people I haven’t seen in way too long.

Right after that, will be the annual writer’s retreat where I get to hang with my tribe, share work, and get some serious words on the page. It’ll be bittersweet. We’ll be welcoming new faces and toasting absent friends.

I won’t kid you. I really need this week. It’s not that I’m not writing (I am). It’s more that although writing is a solitary thing, I need this time with my tribe to recharge my batteries, heal some of the damage that the real world has done, get myself centered again.

I come away from these weeks with new ideas, new energy, and a new commitment to the drive to carve a place for myself in this business.

Here’s hoping that you find some time to spend with your tribe.

 

Time: 8:06 Pm-ish

Music: Dragonforce – Soldiers of the Wasteland

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