Not as Easy as it Looks

If you recall, last Sunday, I rather blithely posted about putting together a career plan. Well, let me loop you in on something that I didn’t expect: This is easier said than done. Later on, when I sat down to think about this, I realized that this wasn’t a minor undertaking – this was in fact, pretty huge.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised at that. This is a “Career” plan we’re talking about. There’s so much involved and connected that it was more than a little daunting.

I’m going to do what I can to break this up into manageable chunks – both for my own benefit as well as yours.

First, I’m going to go back a bit to what I’m going to call my “Mission Statement” which was:

I want to be able to support myself and my family with my writing.

There are two things about that statement that I need to keep in mind. The first is that there’s a sliding scale implicit in that statement. Do I want to be able to do this at my current lifestyle? At the expense of my current lifestyle? How do I want that to look?

Other questions include whether or not that statement means that I need to make enough so that both myself and my wife can afford to quit the day-job.

So there needs to be some definition here. Maybe that initial statement should read:

I want to be able to maintain my current lifestyle while writing full time.

That’s going to take some fleshing out as well. What kind of writing am I talking about. I could write technical manuals, or advertising copy, or screenplays…

Or novels.

Or some combination of the above – maybe all of the above. The question that I’m asking myself here is what kind of writing do I want to be doing. And this isn’t going to pigeonhole me into a single format forever. Like I said earlier, this is something that I’m going to have to revisit pretty often – at least every six months, to see if I’m on track.

So, taking into account all of that, I’ve come up with the following statement (applicable for the next six, or so months):

I want to be able to maintain, or improve my current lifestyle through telling stories.

That covers both the long and short form stories, and screenwriting as well. One might make a convincing argument for ad copy as well, but I’m making the decision to not include that at this time.

I think that’s pretty comprehensive – in fact, I’ve already written it down where I’m going to see it on the regular.

That begs the question:

What’s next?

What happens when I reach that goal? Where do I go from there? Even after a few days of thinking about it, I’ve yet to come up with anything even close to an answer.

I know that this is something that I’m going to be revisiting, and since this is going to take time – so much time in fact that I will almost certainly be a different writer than I am today. Maybe “What’s Next” now is going to be different when I eventually get there.

So I’m going to trust (not blindly, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for clues) that when I reach my goal, there’ll be a “Whats Next” waiting for me.

That brings us to the next question: How do I get there?

The answer is going to sound trite, but here it is anyway:

One Step at a Time.

Now I can hear you rolling your eyes at me, but hear me out. There’s a heap-load of things that I can do to help me on my way. Cons, appearances, Social media presence, self promotion and, of course writing.

That last one is most important – I have to produce stories. The only way that happens is if I sit down regularly, and get to work.

Note that I didn’t say “Daily.” I’m not going to hang my success or failure on a “You-Must-do-This-at-All-Costs” stance.

What I am going to do is write every day – until I don’t. Life happens. There will come a time where I’ll need to take a day and refill the well, spend time with family, etc. It’s important to recognize that the art is a support system for life, not the other way around.

That’s the beginning of the career plan: Write regularly. Keep writing. Put yourself to work, and put yourself out there.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t be surprised by this and, as I type this up, I’m not surprised at all. I’m not done by a long shot, but I think I’ve got a pretty solid foundation to build on.

See you on Thursday!

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

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Five Thing Thursday: November 7th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: The 2019 Rugby World Cup Finals was this past weekend. In the end, it came down to England and South Africa, and South Africa pulled off an amazing game and beat England. In so doing, they made history in that no other team prior that had lost an opening pool match, have ever gone on to win the World Cup. Well done Springboks!

Thing #2: Update on Queen’s Will: I am down to working on my Antagonist. He’s been creeping around in my thoughts for a few days now. When I’m done with him, I’ll start outlining. I’m getting pretty excited to dig in.

Thing #3: This is something that I didn’t know prior to this week. Alice Cooper was originally the name of a band. They put out 4 albums in the early 70’s. They split up, and the lead singer (His name is Vincent Furnier) took up the name “Alice Cooper” and struck out on his own.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Alice Cooper. The guy has a discography longer than my arm…

Thing #5: If you’re caught up in the NaNoWriMo frenzy, good on ya. I wish you the best of luck.

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What am  I reading this week?

Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach

The Taken: Celestial Blues by Vicki Pettersson

Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? I’ve had a bit of a dinged up knee, so I’ve been keeping off of it. That means more reading, writing, playing games. I think I’m going to try and get out to the movies this weekend too.

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

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Plans Within Plans

I need a plan.

I suspect that you probably need one too.

For the longest time, I’d been so focused on writing stories that – to my embarrassment – I’d neglected to do any long-term thinking about what comes next.

To date, the majority of my goals concerning my authorial career can be summed up in the following:

I want to be able to support myself and my family with my writing.

As a mission statement, that’s a good start. As a complete plan…

Well, the details are a little…hazy.

So that’s my project for November, since I won’t be doing anything NaNoWriMo related. Oh don’t gasp like that, I’m not a sprint writer – and I’m still doing character work.

What I am going to do is take that month to work out a solid career plan.

It will be as complete as I can make it (This isn’t an excuse. I don’t “Career Plan” for a living, and this is a weak spot in my skillset).

There may even be numbers…

This plan is. Not only, going to consider actual writing, but it’ll cover con appearances, workshops, self-promotion/social media presence, and anything else that I can think of.

I also don’t expect this to be a one-and-done kind of thing. I reckon that this is something that I’ll revisit every six months or so. I could probably go longer than that – this is a long game after all – but six months is easy to remember.

And, to hold myself accountable for actually getting the work done, I’m going to chronicle it here in a series of posts.

Stay tuned folks, while I try and carve a career out of this. Hang on and strap in, it may be a bumpy ride…

See you on Thursday!

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

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Five Thing Thursday: October 31st.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: Considering the date, I thought it appropriate to point you toward a book written by Mallory O’Meara titled “The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick.” You should go put it in your eyes.

Thing #2: Keeping in the theme, you should take the time to track down, and then watch the movie: Jennifer’s Body. While it didn’t do too well when it was released in 2009, it’s made a steady comeback – and for good reason.

Thing #3: And, if that weren’t enough to keep you busy, check out the SyFy Fangrrls Forgotten Women of Genre Podcast. They’re going to be starting a Horror series of episodes soon.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Alice Cooper.

Thing #5: You Need a plan – hell, I need a plan – for your writing career. The level of detail is up to you, but you need to have *Something*

Bonus Thing!! This post is going live on October 31st. On November 1st, the next issue of my Newsletter goes out to subscribers. Want to know what I’m up to? What I’ve been doing? Want things like cover reveals, and other newsworthy Tidbits before anyone else? Check out the finely-crafted “Subscription” bar above!

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What am  I reading this week?

Four Past Midnight (an Novella Collection) by Stephen King

The Dead Sea Anthology edited by Kevin G Bufton

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? The 2019 Rugby World Cup Finals are This Weekend!!!

So it didn’t quite turn out as I’d hoped. England and South Africa are in the final, but it’s sure to be a fantastic match, and I’m really looking forward to it!

Go Springboks!

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

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Faith Hunter’s “Shattered Bonds” Blog Tour

Hi Everyone! Today, I am totally jazzed to be one of the stops on Faith Hunter’s Shattered Bonds Blog Tour!

This time around, I’ve got an excerpt from Shattered Bonds. Additionally, be sure to hang around until after the credits roll, because at the end of this post, there’s a chance to enter a tour-wide giveaway.

I’ve been waiting for this book and let me tell you, I *may* have made a bit of a squeeing noise when the excerpt arrived in my mailbox – and I may have read it more than twice.

Speaking of which…

An Excerpt from Shattered Bonds!

The game went silent.

The room went still. Sweat smell of surprise came from Alex. He slowly turned his head and looked at us, long curls sliding across his dark-skinned forehead and cheek. “Jane?”

Eli was standing behind us, weapon drawn.

They think I died and you went feral, I thought at Beast.

She snorted at that thought and let go of Alex’s hand. It tasted of sweat and soot and coffee and an odd chemical taste. Beast rose to her back feet, placing her right paw on the desk near the keyboard.

Alex said, “Oh.” He opened the file drawer to the side and pulled out the specially made, heavy-duty, oversized keyboard, placing it in front of us. Behind us, Eli relaxed and we heard the sound of a weapon click back into the Kydex holster.

Beast extruded her claws and turned over the use of the paw to me. Carefully, slowly, I typed. Letter by letter, the words appeared on the small, designated screen to Alex’s far left. ‘ed n trouble. where ed?’

Eli grunted in worry, propped a hip on the large oak desk, and pulled his phone, probably to text Bruiser to get back to the house. My honeybunch was out in the vineyard, checking the youngest vines and the new trellis and the stability of the terraces down the hill from the house. Beast had smelled him on the wind as we raced inside and located him reliably. Bruiser wasn’t alone. He was with Brute, the white werewolf, and Pea, the grindylow. Not things I had consciously noted until I needed to.

Alex slanted sharp eyes at us and went to work, minimizing two of his screens, searching through private vampire sites he was able to access because of my position in Mithran hierarchy, and other sites that were open to the public. Beast dropped to the floor as he worked and pulled the ceramic water bowl to her with a paw. There were water bowls placed strategically throughout the house, all ceramic, since she refused to drink out of metal bowls, preferring toilet water to the taste of steel. Which had been gack until I was able to explain to the humans what was wrong. She lapped water.

The house had been an inn and vineyard that I bought before I left New Orleans. I’d needed a place to lie low while my human body either died from magically induced cancer or I decided to stay in Beast’s form forever. I hadn’t known what I was buying, not exactly. I was just hunting for acreage and I bought a property that had gone into foreclosure after the original owners’ costly divorce. Now it was territory for Beast and a house big enough for my family and clan to live with me. If I survived.

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Like what you saw? You can Pre-Order Shattered Bonds at the following locations:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0399587985
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shattered-bonds-faith-hunter/1130494862
The Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Shattered-Bonds-Faith-Hunter/9780399587986
Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780399587986
Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Shattered-Bonds-Audiobook/B07YQ7WQ7P

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BIO
Faith Hunter is the New York Times and USAToday bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock series, the Soulwood series, and the Rogue Mage series, as well as the author of 16 thrillers under pen the names Gary Hunter and Gwen Hunter. She has 40+ books in print.



Faith collects orchids and animal skulls, loves thunder storms, and writes. She likes to cook soup, bake homemade bread, garden, and run Class III whitewater rivers. She edits the occasional anthology and drinks a lot of tea. Some days she’s a lady. Some days she ain’t.

Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series is a dark urban fantasy. Jane is a full blooded Cherokee skinwalker and hunter of rogue-vampires in a world of weres, witches, vampires, and other supernats.

Her Rogue Mage novels—Bloodring, Seraphs, Host, and the RPG Rogue Mage—feature Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage in a post-apocalyptic alternate reality.

The Soulwood series is a dark-urban fantasy / paranormal police procedural /para-thriller series featuring Nell Nicholson Ingram, an earth magic user and Special gent of PsyLED.

For more, see www.faithhunter.net
To keep up with her, like her fan page at Facebook: Faith Hunter

Giveaways

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For Other stops on the Tour, Please check out the following, finely-crafted, link: http://www.ltpromos.com/2019/10/09/faith-hunters-shattered-bonds-blog-tour/

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Five Thing Thursday: October 24th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: The Final Trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker went live late Monday night!!! If you haven’t seen it, get out there and take a look. I admit that I got a little misty-eyed at the last word of the trailer.

Thing #2: Fall has arrived in my neck of the woods. As a friend put it: The weather went from 70 to 50 like it’d seen a state trooper.

Thing #3: This Sunday, I am hosting one of Faith Hunter’s Shattered Bonds Blog stops. I’ve got an excerpt, and a link to giveaways, so be sure and stop by on Sunday!

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Sabaton.

Thing #5: The Rugby World Cup Semi-Finals are this weekend!!! So exciting!!

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What am  I reading this week?

Four Past Midnight (an Novella Collection) by Stephen King

Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? Rugby World Cup. This weekend is the Semi-Final matches. Last Week played out, just as I’d hoped – though truth be told, I’d have preferred it if Wales had pulled out the win sooner than with less than 6 minutes to go in the match. That was a nail Biter.

Here’s how this weekend shakes out:

New Zealand v England
Wales v South Africa

This is turning into my ideal world cup final. I *Really* want it to come down to New Zealand and Wales. We’ll see how it goes.

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Getting Myself Off my Back

This is going to be a short one today. I’m just coming off the emotional roller-coaster of Wales beating France to move forward into the 2019 World Cup Semi-Finals – BY ONE POINT!!!

And they only did manage to take the lead within the final six or so minutes of the match. That was a nail-biter.

As I’m coming down from that, my thoughts turned to stuff that I “Should” have been doing. I use quotes here, because Should is a relative term. I’m not on any deadline, for better or worse, my time is my own.

I’m still building characters for Queen’s Will. This takes time, and it’s something that I need to do before I can move on. I know this, but when I see all of the announcements, cover reveals, and cons going on, I want to be There too. I wonder if I could be doing more. Those thoughts eventually turn to me starting to ride myself about what I’m doing with my time.

Certainly, I could be doing more. I could spend all day, every day working on this project, but not only is that not sustainable, it would do more harm that good in the long run.

So this is my note to myself that it’s ok to take time to enjoy things that you love. As long as you’re making progress regularly (Note that “Regularly” isn’t the same thing as “Daily”), you’re doing fine.

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Five Thing Thursday: October 17th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: You can’t handle everything all at once. In fact, if you try, you end up doing more work with less of a return. This is something that I need to tell myself pretty often.

Thing #2: This past week, I discovered the Low D Whistle. I honestly didn’t know it existed before now, though I’m pretty sure I’d heard it before. I really dig the way it sounds.

Thing #3: Character work is still progressing for Queen’s Will. I’m starting to get little snippets of scenes pop into my head and I can tell I’m getting close.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Sabaton.

Thing #5: Progress can sometimes be measured in a single step. Don’t worry about the days where that’s all you can manage. A journey of a thousand miles not only begins with a single step….that’s how it ends.

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What am  I reading this week?

Four Past Midnight (an Novella Collection) by Stephen King

Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn.

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? Rugby World Cup. This weekend is the Quarter-Final matches. There’s been some good matches – and some surprises – so far, but here’s where it gets real. Each match is a knockout match. Here’s how it shakes out:

England v Australia
New Zealand v Ireland
Wales v France
Japan v South Africa

I’m predicting England, New Zealand, and Wales will win their respective matches. South Africa and Japan…That’s a tough one. On paper, South Africa is clearly a better team, and I do think that they’re going to win, but…It would be pretty cool if Japan beat them. They’ve done it before. We’ll see how it goes.

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Writing Music…

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you probable know that I love music. I need music like I need to breathe (I’m listening to it right now – “Tonight we Ride” by Unleash the Archers – check them out here).

I work best to music. I write to music. If, for some reason, I can’t play it out loud, my thoughts will tune into my own internal radio station and I’ll listen to it there. It is high up on my personal “To Do” list to be able to play it myself one day.

I love music.

What I haven’t fallen in to is creating playlists for projects. I know some folks that do that, and it works great for them. They’ll even post their spotify playlists – which I think is a great idea.

On my current project – which I’ve titled “Queen’s Will,” I was surprised to find that one of my characters had music.

Only once before have I ever associated a piece of music with one of my characters. For those of you that haven’t heard the story, that character was Anette, who appeared in my story “The Price of Power” in the “Trials” anthology.

Here’s a snippet from when Anette makes her appearance:

“Nice to meet you, Elise.

“My head snapped up. Anette stood between the fence and the platform, surrounded by spawn. She wore a black coat that hung down to her knees. Faded jeans were tucked into heavy boots. Her hair was long and black and streaked with crimson. What skin I could see was flawless. Her eyes were hazel, maybe a little sunken, like she was tired.

She looked…pretty, like a lost piece of something beautiful there in the filth, her hands in the pockets of her coat.

Anette’s song is “Road of No Release” by Blind Guardian. Here’s how the song opens:

“Please sister, wake me up. You’ve traveled far – release my mind – sing this song of mine.”

I wrote this entire story to Blind Guardian. Not just the release that had “Road” on it, but their entire discography. But it wasn’t until I started on Anette’s character that the song stuck.

I was so surprised, I emailed my writing group later that day: “Look what happened!!”

Since then, I’ve become sensitive to the potential for music to attach itself to characters. While I’m up for new ways to do things, I’m pretty slow to adopt them – I’m pretty set in my ways, but when a song, or album attaches itself to a character, I’m in without any reservation whatsoever. And when I say “I’m in,” I’m *all* in. I’ll listen to that song, or songs, on repeat while I’m writing that character.

You’d think that (and it was certainly a concern of mine) I’d get tired of the same thing, playing over and over but, for me, it doesn’t. Even better, I’ve found that there were unexpected benefits.

The first is that I drop into The Zone much quicker. Like it does for damn near everything else, music greases the wheels to the point where I’m only barely aware of the music playing. It’s just me and that character.

The second benefit comes when I’m “Not” writing. I use quotes here because I’m really never *not* writing. My brain makes sure of that. When a song that has attached itself to a character comes up in the rotation while I’m doing other things, it transports me back to that character – even if that character is in a finished work. When that happens, it gives me some extra, unplanned-for, head-time with those characters and their stories. This has, more than once, helped me to solve problems that I’d been struggling with and, even better, has sparked new ideas.

Now I know that some of you out there can’t write and listen to music, and I’m not saying that you should make an already difficult process harder on yourself – nobody needs more work.

What I am suggesting is that you open yourself up to the idea – you might be surprised.

See you on Thursday!

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

Posted in Inspiration, LIfe, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Five Thing Thursday: October 10th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: As I grow older, I more fully appreciate the time that injuries *Didn’t* take to heal when I was younger.

Thing #2: I am fully in the grasp of character creation – Which is kind of like mini World-building – and I love it.

Thing #3: We have officially entered the time of year where I have to decide, in the morning, which jacket I would like to stash in the truck when it gets too hot for it in the afternoon.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… The Scorpions.

Thing #5: I am surprised to discover that at least one of my characters has Music.

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What am  I reading this week?

Four Past Midnight (an Novella Collection) by Stephen King

Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn.

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? Rugby World Cup. There will be much watching, and trying to avoid spoilers, since it’s in Japan and most of my watching will be replays.

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment