dreams Archives | Sheryl Steines

Category Archives for dreams

Experience Regardless of How Small

Step Away

I created an experience after my day started rather unlike how I planned it. When I just couldn't look at the computer screen any longer, regardless of still needing an ending to the second book of my new series.

I had run up to my daughter in Kenosha, WI., earlier that day because she was busy and needed some school supplies. I drove an hour and a half, dropped them off and promptly returned home. I was a bit grouchy for having made the trip and getting stuck in traffic and though it was a great day for a car ride, I had things to do.

But when I get home, I found myself unable to stay indoors with the temperature reaching 64 degrees in February.

I decided to go for a walk.

Experience Softly

My neighborhood is quiet, the walk undulates through the subdivision in a languid motion. Up and down, past the pond, through quiet, private streets. While it's an easy walk in the sunshine, I chose instead, to drive to the marsh near my house.

I've never really been there this time of the year, usually it's warm, or hot when I take a stroll. I hadn't really thought about it much, until I got there.

I wasn't dressed for the mud, the snow and the high levels of water. While i had on my gym shoes (a Chicago thing,) I found myself walking through overly saturated sandy paths, thick, icy snow, and sloshy grass.

It was beautiful. While a lot of people had the same thought as me, the trails themselves seemed empty, quiet, serene. And I did something I never do; I left out the ear buds. I walked in silence.

Well not really silence. I listened to the birds, to the families that were on the trail, to my shoes as they crunched against the hard snow, as they stuck in the muddy, sandy trail, to the cars that drove along the roads that border the marsh.

My summer walks can be exhausting with the heat, I look forward to the end of the trail. This time, I never worried about the end, rather, I simply took the time to enjoy the stillness around me. I felt the change in temperature from where the sunlight melted the snow, to the shadows that were left behind trees that blocked out the sun.

I was never too cold or too hot as I walked my usual path, farther from the parking lot as I saw fewer and fewer people.

Live in the Small Moments

I find myself, for the first time in my life, really living in the small moments. Learning to be alone with myself, making time for things that make me happy.

I said this was my year of experience and I've yet to make plans for a big experience. But what I done, it create experience when there was none and learned to revel in the simple; as I enjoy the day, or an hour, or a single minute, living in the present, not in the past or in the future; but just here.

I heard once, that the days are long and the years are short. And as I finish my 51st year, I realize that those long days, broken up in little moments are refreshing, and lovely and are very necessary.

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Writing and Believing and Being Stuck

Writing

Writing has always been my dream and from an early age, I've always thought of myself as one. Even at age 9, I was told, I was pretty good at it. When I started writing my first book, I realized it might not be so.

I always believed in the characters and the story, it took me years before I felt comfortable and not guilty for selling my books. Positive reviews have built me up, while negative reviews made me lose my confidence.

Believing

Comic cons, and talking with future fans always built me up and invigorated me as I kept crafting the series. I always believed in each story, I always believed that each one got better and better. Not just the writing but the plots and the characters. They grew, became complex. I believed I had something.

And then book four – Prophecy, happened. I knew I had something great. It was a rewrite of the book She-Wulf. I worked really hard to rewrite, restructure, and tie the story into the series. I had multiple content edits to ensure the story flowed, that there were no plot holes, that it bridged books 1, 2, and 3 into book 5, the series conclusion. I knew it in my bones. I had it right.

Prophecy

I wasn't expecting what happened. While I sent out a request for ARC readers, I had usually received 50 to 100 responses. For Prophecy I received 10. I was disappointed. I hoped in all the other requests I would have had readers who wanted to continue the story.

I accepted there were only ten, and hoped for the best.

Prophecy currently has nine, 5 star reviews. Some of them made me cry. I was pleased to know that the story worked, that book was entertaining, that someone was pissed at the ending and sad and confused.

All of what I had I put into the story. I felt stressed as I wrote the journey, I cried at the end. The results were what I hoped for.

Stuck in the Writing

I worry the final book, the conclusion to Annie's journey, won't live up to the book four. It terrifies me, and now I'm suffering from a bit of writer's block as I work on my next series.

Writing is always an up and down as you try to write complex, exciting, enjoyable stories, as you try to sell them so you can continue to live your dream.

The process offers me the most confidence I have ever felt in my life, I was meant to spend my days writing. And the process deflates me faster than anything else in my life.

I love writing. No matter how stressful the rest of my life can get, it is and will be the most satisfaction I have ever had and I don't think I can give it up. For now, I'll enjoy the results of Prophecy and feel proud that I did it!

Prophecy – today on Amazon.

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Experiences – Living it One at a Time

A Year of Experiences

I decided this year is my year of gaining experiences and not a year of acquiring more things. It's not so much that I'm going to jump out of an airplane any time soon, it mostly has to do with saying yes and putting myself out there by trying new things. It's about putting away the anxiety and just living.

It's about traveling because that is one of the few things I've always wanted to do. It's about finding a job that gives me confidence and maybe a little satisfaction. It's about not letting the weight of all of the issues wear me down.

While my biggest dream and goal is to be a writer who can support myself with royalties and such, it's not happening any time soon. It's about moving forward regardless of the set backs.

Experiences: 1

I went to Aruba two weeks ago. I never really had a dream to go there, but there it was, an experience thrown in my lap. I had roughly two days. It was quick, it was tiring, a little fun even. I think we saw everything you could see and it was nice to be in the 84 degree weather instead of at home in the 30 degrees.

I like to plan, this wasn't a plan. This was pick yourself up and go. It was pushing aside the anxiety of travel and just enjoying being away from home. Forgetting that while flying standby, things might not go as you hoped. It's traveling international and having to stand in the security line and then U.S. Customs while still in Aruba and then going through security again and not losing your composure, stomping your feet or getting frustrated by the process.

Learning to accept is far less stressful. Saying yes is more enjoyable, even when there are doubts.

Experiences: 2

Yoga. I've been practicing yoga on and off for twenty years. At one point of was consistent, twice a week, and growing stronger. I hurt my back, I had two shoulder surgeries. I was off for two years.

When you come back to an activity like yoga, or lifting weights or running, there is a period of time when your body will ache, you will be tired, you will want to quit.

I didn't quit.

Instead, I dealt with the inabilty to twist a certain way and the muscle aches afterwards. I fought through it and within weeks, I found myself growing stronger and finding my poise and grace when I practice.

Recently I went to a yoga event. The class was hard, but I powered through, i learned a little something from this teacher I never met and I felt good challenging myself to something new.

I take in the lessons of yoga. I learned to take in the teachings. I have a new respect for myself and what my body can do. I'm proud of the strength I've gained, I'm proud I didn't give up.

The Lesson

I'm learning, it only took me 51 years to do so. You have control over how you react to what happens around you. You can choose to not let it bother you. You can choose to have fun, live in the moment, even when the rest of your life feels as though its crashing in around you.

I'm putting myself first. I'm taking care of myself, nourishing myself with good food, and good exercise. I'm taking it one step at a time. That's all I'm asking. Just one step at a time.

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Resolution – I Still Don’t Make Them

Resolutions

I still don't make New Year's Resolutions. I tend to think that by making a New Year's Resolution every year, implies that the only time of year you can make a change, is at the first of the year, and to the rest of the year, be damned.

While I do realize this is a perfect time to look back at the past year with reflections and contemplation, that act really serve to sadden me. It's another year down, and another year no closer to my dream of being an author or having a better job or whatever the thing is I wish for.

Every Day is a New Day

We're only human and in that, we tend to make mistakes. Most of them we can simply pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and move on. Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in the weeds, spinning our wheels. I've done that several times in the course of my life.

But what I've learned is, every day is a new day and every morning when I wake up, the day is full of possibilities and I have choices; I can either stay in the mire or walk away.

I've had a rather challenging adulthood from infertility, to mismanaging my career, to the inability to sell my books and having children with issues. The weight of it was overwhelming, and I've spent much of the time stuck in my own pity party of muck and mud, spinning my wheels.

It took a normal, average moment in time when I finally decided to stop. It wasn't the first day of the week or of the year, it wasn't a New Year's Resolution, it was just a day in the middle of the week. I was hit with a realization and I stopped, cold turkey.

The break needed to come to save my sanity and while it hasn't been easy to keep my life from overwhelming me and keeping me from feeling sorry for myself, I wake up every day and promise myself that even though the problems will come, I will not allow myself to step back into the muck and weeds.

How You Ask?

Talking to myself differently. Discontinuing certain behaviors that don't serve me well, discussing things in the positive not the negative, no longer saying “Why me?” and most importantly, pushing the negative talk out of my head.

Resolutions

I do make resolutions, but not on New Year's Eve. Every day I remind myself, that when the sun comes up in the morning and I have a chance to make changes from the mistakes the day before. I didn't eat healthy yesterday, I will do better to fuel my body with good food. I didn't sell a book, I will write my blog and tweet more, just to be social and kind.

While I do have the moments where I lie awake at night worrying about something, it happens, I will make sure that everyday I make I remember that I have choices and those choices can fuel my dreams, increase my health and keep me out of the darkness.

Life is about living it, both the good and the bad. It's what's we do with the quality of it that matters, and worrying about what I cannot change, doesn't serve me or my children.

My resolution, every day is to move forward and not spin my wheels. Life is too short to live in one spot. Grow, change and forgive your mistakes. Move on.

May you have a very happy new year and may you find all that you are looking for.

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This Is My Journey and I’m Gonna Own It

Journey

Life is a journey. I'm sure you heard that before. What happens on that journey comes down to three things; doing what we want, reacting to what happens and changing what needs to be changed.

My life's journey, for many years, was about dealing with my children's issues. This included doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, medicine. For years I wrapped myself in this and as a result, my life became one big pity party. I take full responsibility for letting myself get sucked back in, unable to leave the swirl of problems.

I also take responsibility for ending it.

How Am I Doing Since Ending the Pity Party?

Just saying you're done with the party, doesn't end the party. Things don't seemingly get better because you want it to. There will be ups and downs; you will feel as though you're being sucked back in.

I might take the attitude, out of sight, out of mind, but the calls still come. I still have to deal with my kids and their anxieties, their issues, their meds, their insecurities. But what makes it different this time, this time, I won't allow myself to get sucked back into the pity party, to wallow in their situations.

This time I listen, I give them advice, only when asked and I told them very plainly, it's their lives. Make a decision and move on.

It's hard to give up control. It's hard to become mean or tough in a way I never thought I would have to, but for my sanity, for myself to continue on my journey in a healthy way, I need to pass the torch to my children. It is their lives, their decisions, and I'm only here to support them.

I've done good. Rather than keep myself up at night, worrying about them, I've put that to the side, and accepted without question, that this is who my children are. They will find their way, I do tell them that. I also tell them to take it one step at a time. Have a goal and take one footstep in front of the other. Never feel defeated because there are always choices.

Moving On

I'm moving on. I'm only a support system, I am no longer making the decisions. While I still worry about my kids, I'm not letting myself swim in a sea of despair or a whirlpool of worry. They're young, they have time to make choices, to live good lives. The best I can do for them is to be strong, to be a good role model, to show them how to make a plan and ride it until they accomplish a goal.

While I try and support their choices and hopes for the future, I also need them to know, life doesn't always work out the way we want, but we surely won't get anywhere close to where we want to go if we don't try. I want a happier, healthier life, I need to control what I let in. This is my journey and I'm in control.

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To Write Helps Keep the Pity Party Away

I Write what I Like

When I wrote my first book, I wrote what I liked. I was greatly influence by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed; urban fantasy, female lead, real women saving the world on a weekly basis. At that point in time the thought was, write what you like.

What I discovered over the course of the years, not everyone wants to read what I like, and the new thought is, write to market.

A Lifetime of Dreaming

I write what I like, it gives me pleasure. I gain confidence when a story works out well, whether I planned it or not.

This is what I had wanted since I was seven years old, to sit at home and write stories, and earn my living entertaining the masses with my words.

Sometimes it doesn't work out that way.

To Write to Market: Research

So I'm spending my time trying to do two things, write what I like and write it to market. I've been researching what the market really is. What do readers enjoy and clamor to read?

The problem is, I'm not enjoying the books I'm reading. I feel like they're, not as original as they could be. Well yeah, they're written for market.

Congrats to the writers who can make it work. As I sit at this crossroad, I have to make a decision. Do I write to please the masses so that I can stay at home and live my life long dream, or do I write for me and get a job elsewhere to make money?

Where I am Now?

A few weeks ago, I announced that my pity party is over. I came to believe that I was addicted to the pity party, that it was consuming me and I needed to be done. Like any addiction, it doesn't go away just because you say so.

I'm in the middle of a bump in the row. I'm feeling pity for myself again. But I can't stop writing. It's who I am at the core.

So I'm diligently preparing to release book four and get book five ready to publish. I hope that the boxed set of the books will sell better than they do now. It will always be a struggle for me; to write or not to write. To live with passion or not to live with the passion, the thing that makes me uniquely me.

So where do I go from here?

I'm a writer. It's what I do. I'm getting better at it. I don't want to quit. I use these bumps in the road to re-examine where I'm at and where I need to be. I've decided I need a new project. I'm working on my memoirs. My experiences raising three children with very difficult situations. I'm writing short stories, I plan to enter writing contests and submit my work to magazines. I want to freelance.

What I don't want to do is quit the thing that gives me joy, confidence, and passion. Ironically, it's also the thing that makes me angry, jealous and bitter, but I'm trying really hard to focus on the good.

So I'm in a good place. I'm continuing with yoga, I'm cutting back on crackers, cookies and sugar. I'm working out harder than I've been able to in years. It's all about controlling the positive and letting the negative go. It's not easy by any stretch, but I finally switched that thing in my brain that gets me out of the hole and back into the light.

I'm a writer at the core. It's what I know.

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Challenges – We’re Not Alone

Challenges. We all have them. It’s not so much the challenge itself, it’s how we react to the challenge and overcome it that’s the key.

I’ve struggled to find a job after college; I worked in a bookstore, I worked at a contract employee in my chosen field to get experience, I filed and mailed stuff for money. Even when I found the job, it still wasn’t what I wanted to do. I made the jobs work for me. I learned, I grew, I started writing policies and procedures. At least I was writing.

I created a career as a writer, I also worked on databases, I worked in compliance, I continued to learn. I finally wrote my first book.

Challenges continued as life moved along. There were infertility struggles; my children have extra ordinarily difficult situations in their lives. One is transgender, the other suffers from OCD and severe anxiety. The only answer for these issues is to take one step and then another. I grow and change, I learn to accept. I write more books.

Writing Through the Challenges

Writing is my respite from the challenges life continues to throw my way. It’s been my dream since I was seven to be a writer, create worlds and entertain others with these stories. While I continue to write, my greatest challenge is to market the books, find readers who enjoy them and hopefully be able to support myself as a writer.

I continue to grow and change. I’m on draft four of book five and I’m winding down my first series. I used my main character, Annie Pearce to mirror the challenges in my life. She struggles, she fails, she takes one step and then another, toward a successful conclusion. I test her, she wins.

If only it were that easy in the real world.

While I still struggle, I keep taking the next steady step. For me there is no stopping, because once I stop writing, or stop parenting, the battle is surely lost. As long as there’s one foot in there, still hanging on then there’s always a chance to succeed.

No one is immune to the downs in life. We all ride the roller coaster. Sometimes, it slows and stops and we get off and move on. Sometimes as we pull in to the end of the ride, the coaster slips and sends you through the twists and turns. When that happens, we simply hold on tightly to absorb the twists and turns.

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The Dream is winding down. Prophecy coming soon.

The Turning Point

It has been a dream to become a writer since I was seven. I've said that many time here. The reason it's so important now, is I'm putting the finishing touches on book four of the Wizard Hall Chronicles called Prophecy. While it'll be out in November 2019, it is the turning point of the series; the work horse. It links The Day of First Sun, Black Market and Wizard War to the final book in the series. It tells a complex story.

I had to get the story right. When I originally started writing the series, I had planned on stand alone books, that told a different story in the wizarding world all centered around Annie Pearce. I wanted a strong female character, a role model for everyone.

The series shaped up to become something far more than I anticipated.

Reality

I wrote The Day of First Sun, a story about the magical death of a high-profile, non-magical princess. I combined my two favorite genres, urban fantasy and the police procedural/detective novel.

For many years I sold the book to readers by stating “It's a little like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and CSI.” It's still a bit true, but the reality of the series changed as I wrote Black Market. A plot point began to develop and I couldn't overlook that both book 1 and book 2 tied back to the death of Annie Pearce's father, Jason Pearce.

I'm not much of a plotter. I tend to write by the seat of my pants, having an idea of what the book will be about and how it will end. I hadn't planned to link the books, but I couldn't deny, there was something there.

Clue emerged in the first three books pointing to the climax, the truth about what happened to Annie's dad. I couldn't stop it from happening and yet, I needed to tell the story in two books.

It used to be called She Wulf

Many years ago I had written a book called She Wulf, a tale loosely based on the story of Beowulf. The book was released and to make a very long story short, it didn't go well. In the end I decided to take She Wulf off of Amazon and work on the next book in the series.  As I've mentioned here before, that too didn't go well and I ended up rewriting The Day of First Sun and re-releasing it.

I followed the natural flow of the series which led to Black Market and Wizard War. In my infinite wisdom I decided it was time to retell She Wulf.  It could no longer be a cute stand alone story, it had to do so much more. I renamed it Prophecy, and pulled out of it Annie's journey to the truth. The truth about the past and the truth about her family as she must make difficult choices in her life that could result in Annie loosing everything.

My personal journey is mirrored in Annie's

As I struggle with various things in my life, a child with anxiety and OCD, a transgender child and the death of my first child, I channeled all of the confusion, hurt, anger, and love into Annie journey. While she and I are on different journey's we are trying to overcome our problems with class and grace and come out on the other side intact.

Prophecy became an act of love from me to myself as a way for Annie to forgive herself for her past mistakes and for me to forgive myself and learn to accept the realities as they are.

Will Annie accept her destiny and save the future or return to the past to save her family?

We all have difficult choices in our lives that deserve careful consideration. Some of us have more difficult choices to make but we must trust ourselves to make the choices that best fit our lives and our families and we must most importantly love ourselves, care for ourselves as we move through life.

I have a dream that I keep front and center because it is what keeps me sane in the middle of the insanity. I can't let go no matter how much stress I carry in the rest of my life. That includes the impossible task of marketing myself and trying to sell my books so that I can stay at home and concentrate on creating more stories.

As Annie struggles, I struggle and together, I can assure you, Annie Pearce and I will make it to the other side.

Catch up on the Wizard Hall Chronicles on Amazon today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How We Overcome – Whe Art Imitates Life

Art Imitating Life

My writing reflects events in my life; cross roads, decisions, my horrible feelings of coming disasters. I've been incorporating all of these in Annie Pearce's journey. She's on a big journey this time. Full of adventure she didn't ask for, questioning her purpose, and feeling as though she's failing miserably. Much like I feel like right now.

It's the end of the school year, a time when decisions need to be made. I have an 18-year-old embarking on college next year and a 21-year-old who's struggling to finalize her major and what that means for her future. I have a writing career that feels as though it's spinning in one place and am struggling to fix the issue.

I always remembered J.K. Rowling discussing her depression and how she wrote about it through the use of dementors. It stuck with me. While I'm not creating a new demon to characterize a mental health issue, I am using the story and Annie's reaction to the events in the plot to work through my own life's situation.

Has it helped? I'm not so sure.

Overcoming

My life's issues might be a little unusual, but I am certainly not the only one who has events that weigh me down, that make me rethink my life's choices that make me sad and want to throw things. I'm dealing with that now.

It's not what we overcome but how we overcome that's important. Do we hide our heads in the sand or do we stand strong, carry on, make choices that get us to where we want to go.

I'm trying to overcome, I'm just not sure how much more I can do.

Sharing

So what do you do when all seems lost, or you feel you lack control of the situation, or there's not enough time to do what you need to do?

We all struggle and rather than beat ourselves up about it, or troll others and shame them, we need to lift each other up. Read and author and review, comment on a post or like a picture. Share how you overcome and offer support.

I'm not alone and I know that I'm not. I have a friend who's going through something big too. All I can do is ask how she is and she asks that of me.

We can be compassionate, understanding and help each other. And most importantly, be kind to yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Marketing Plan and Still Flying by the Seat of My Pants

The Marketing Plan

I had every intention of using my marketing plan this year. I had the plan down to weeks. I had a theme for each month, I had topics determined and I knew what I'd be writing in each blog for the year. Really, I did.

But stuff happens and it's the last day of March and I didn't follow any of it. Nothing. No themes, no blogs, and my advertising went out the window.

And I just filled out my expenses for last year and I'm having a minor heart attack.

What Really Happened

You see, I've never really been good at making a plan and executing it the way I planned. It's actually how I write books. I've mentioned it here several times; I'm a pantser not a plotter, I write by the seat of my pants rather than plot out my books. I tried, really I did, but planning has a way of binding me, I lose creativity, my freedom. And in that it takes me longer to write a book. There are down sides you see.

My marketing seems to work the same way. Things happen, I read something on line and decide I should write about it, or advertise that way, or rewrite my descriptions, change my keywords. You get the idea.

I do worry as I pulled together all of my expenses for 2018 that I really need to keep with a plan or I need to quit this writing thing all together and do something else. Spending way more than I should have makes you rethink a lot of stuff.

And that's the point of the marketing plan.

But it still didn't work.

Changing the Future

What I really learned is this, I personally love my books, the characters I've lived with for a decade. But that doesn't mean the stories are right for the market. I missed an essential piece of this, what would people like to read.

I've also learned to cut back on the things that do me no good. The stuff that makes other people rich on my writing career.

No more buying other people's books. There's plenty of free advice out there if you know where to look.

The Plan

I'm just going to write what I love, and slowly, organically pass it around. I'm going back to comic cons where I know there are fans. I'm starting to connect with people on line, who like the same things I do. Just simple statements, simply retweeting, liking , sharing. Nothing fancy.

It's the problem of the writer's journey. How do we find the audience who will like what we write. I can't quit, it's something that's been a part of me for so long. All I can do, is make a plan and this time stick to it.

 

 

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Write what you know – It’s all in book 5.

Write what you know.

I'm a woman, I write what I know. The struggle between holding down a job and caring for a family. The struggle between living my life and chasing after a lifelong dream.

Honestly I believe we can't have it all, at least not all in a neat little package where everything works. Usually something has to give: friendships, hobbies, travel.

Chasing the dream.

I struggle with the dream. The writing of the book, marketing it, trying to do it without a full-time job. And I'm finding myself at the end of this series, putting everything that I have in me, into the book.

When I read Harry Potter, I remember J.K. Rowling explaining what the dementors meant to her. She said they were a representation of her depression. I never forgot that.

My life in literature.

The nearer I got to the end of my fifth book in The Wizard Hall Chronicles, the more upset I was finding myself. I've been living with the characters in my head for 10 years, crafting their lives, creating their journey on the pages of the books. I decided it would be the end of the series and it left me sad. But it also became more than an end of one journey. It was as if Annie was taking on my emotions, my struggles, in a way she never had before.

Annie's struggling with changes in her life, a trip to the past and newly acquired information that smacks her hard with the truth about her life. Essentially, she's experiencing my struggles, my emotional upheaval as I witness my own changes. My kids are nearly grown, I'm debating whether or not I should stop writing and just live my life.

It's my own fears, my own lack of confidence that I'm writing into the pages of Annie's story. While I'm not writing these things in the demons she meets, she essentially is me, and she is essentially experiencing what I'm experiencing.

Write.

February has in effect been a difficult month of selling books, of writing the last book of the series, of deciding whether or not this is all worth it. But in reality, I can't give this up. It is so much of what defines me, who I am and what I do. While I get frustrated reading best sellers that are poorly written, or discover what works for some isn't working for me, I'm still finding myself obsessively working to finish Annie's story, to the completion of her journey. It is what I have been working toward my whole life, writing, a book, a story, with meaning, something relatable to others.

I had a fan send me a word of encouragement, telling me not to give up because the story of Annie resonates with people. Maybe not a lot of people now, but someday maybe. She's relatable because she's me, and I'm writing what I know. And what I know is the only way to achieve your dreams or your goals is to keep moving forward, even if forward is only one step at a time, one day at a time.

Here's to the dreamers who can't give up.

 

 

 

 

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New Beginnings: Welcome to 2019 – Day One

New Beginnings – New Year's Resolutions

Welcome to new beginnings. I've already admitted I don't make resolutions. I realized a long time ago, they never really work and waiting for one special day to state what my intentions are for the coming year is a waste of emotional energy.

I'm fairly self-aware, so for me, I know what I need to do, and I don't limit myself to one day a year to bring about changes. Though I will admit, it's always easier to make a change at the start of the week or the start of a day.

New Beginnings – My goals are always the same

I try to eat right, exercise regularly, write everyday. I won't make a resolution per se, what I have done is set a goal for myself and for this year, it's selling more books than I sold this year. I really hope to become a full-time author and not have to rely on an 8-5 job.

New Beginnings – Selling More Books

I'm in a tough industry, this writing gig. It's a lot of ups and downs. Most of the time I want to throw my computer out the window, quit writing, stop spending money on ads, marketing, editing, book covers and software packages. And then I think, what else would I do with myself if I didn't write?

Once in a while, someone responds to an ad I'm running, stating that they loved the series and can't wait for the next book. I cry a little because I never realized I might have fans.

To to achieve my goals, I promise in the coming year I will not give up on the dream I've had since I was seven-years old. I want to be a writer and damn it, I shall keep trying, with new plans and additional help.

New Beginnings – The Resolution, Sort of

Rather than make resolutions, it's really about setting goals and completing the step needed to accomplish those goals.

I took a hard look at my book sales for the year and for the life of my books. I haven't made nearly enough to do this full-time, but since I started running ads in July, I've sold more in six months than I had in the last eight years. It's the first positive step on the way to a dream.

Now that the plan is in place, I'm concentrating on the positive strides I've made this year rather than all of the past failures. I'll ride this wave throughout this year and every month try to increase and make changes to the previous work.

You can look at the glass as half full or half empty, it's your choice.

So I look back at 2018 as a year of trial and error and the learning of many things and I look forward to 2019 with clear eyes and a real plan.

Welcome to 2019, may it bring you peace and happiness. I promise not to give up on my dreams if you promise not to give up on yours.

 

 

 

 

 

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Resolutions at the new year – I don’t need them anymore.

It's that time of year for resolutions

It's the time of year for resolutions when we make these pronouncements:

  • To lose weight
  • Start exercising
  • Take up a class
  • Finish a book

I don't make New Year's resolutions anymore.

Yes, I like to have a date when I will begin a new book, or have a book ready for publishing, but when it comes to these shouldas, couldas, wouldas, about my person, I feel as though I need to make a decision and begin, whether it's the beginning, middle or end of the year.

It's because I know what I need to do. I just have to get off my butt and do it, whatever it is, whenever it is.

What I know

See, I know I need to lose a few pounds. I need to eat smaller portions and eat less sugar. I didn't wait for the end of the year to make my New Year's resolution to begin. I just said, “This is what I need to be healthy.”

And I know it's not a diet. This is the way of life. I just have to do it.

For my career I knew I needed to manage the advertising and marketing and writing. I quit my job because at the moment I was able to. Because this is what I had to do if I want to be an author.

New Beginnings

We like the idea of new beginnings. The ability to shed the bad stuff from the previous year. I have a lot of baggage I could do that with. What I need to do instead, is remember to live in the moment. Not my resolution, but my real life, all the time.

It's not a resolution, it's simply me remembering that today is a new day and I need to live today with all that entails. No more resolutions, no more attempts. Just one day at a time. If I slip today, I pick up and do it again the next without judging myself or being hard on myself when one day goes badly. I tomorrow, not January 1. There's always tomorrow.

If you must have resolutions

If you must make a resolution, do this: Each and everyday I will:

  • Honor myself and my dreams
  • Live in the moment
  • Be passionate about something
  • Stop judging myself
  • Have a bad day and move on
  • Forgive myself for infractions that mean nothing

We mess up. We take corrective actions we move on. I will remember to live in the moment, not starting on January 1, but starting today.

Have yourself a very happy holiday season and be your best self, even if that means you lay around in your jammies watching Doctor Who episodes once and while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Big Release – Wizard War

The Wizard War is Coming. What side will you choose?

I'm very proud to announce my third book in The Wizard Hall Chronicles series, Wizard War.

After spending the last year deep in edits, working with beta readers, and sending out books to ARC readers, I'm so excited to share this new adventure with Annie Pearce, Cham Chamsky and the rest of the Wizard Guards as they traipse through Europe in search of a vampire on a murderous streak.

The book in few words…

Eight months ago, Annie Pearce, closed the murder investigation of Princess Amelie of Amborix and put her killer in prison. So receiving a newspaper article with a picture of the princess alive and well, walking the streets of Paris, left Annie shocked and confused.

Who sent the picture?

With the threat of exposure hanging over her, Annie and her wizard guard partner, Spencer Ray chase the wily, young, vampire across Europe attempting to stop her murderous streak. When finding the vampire seems nearly impossible, Annie seeks out an old nemesis, Sturtagaard the vampire, to help them kill the demon princess.

But all is not as it seems. As Annie traipses across the jurisdiction of other wizard guard units, who blame her for the situation, tensions rise. A vulnerable Annie, must push aside her self-doubt and focus her energy on stopping the vampire. If she’s not careful, all her plans can lead to a wizard war, one that only she can stop.

Want More?

Get your fix of the Wizard Hall Chronicles anytime by signing up for my newsletter here on the site, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

 

 

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Not a Self-Help Kinda Girl But This Changed My Life

She Believed She Could, So She Did – R. S. Grey

I'm not much of a self-help kinda girl. I don't criticize those who like that stuff. For me it's just so cult like. That someone could convince you to be a certain way or do a certain thing by what they say, versus you being able to do that for yourself.

When I Read Motivation, Self-Help Non Fiction, This Happens

That notwithstanding, I have on occasion read non-fiction works that have left me thinking, wishing, wanting something. My favorite has been and will always be On Writing by Stephen King. All writer's should read this, though I admit, it didn't quite light that fire under my butt and get me writing. And once I was a writer of a real book, it didn't inspire me to quit my job.

So next read, was Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. It was also a journey about finding fulfillment and doing what makes you happy. What it made me want to do was prune and care for my yard. But as it was mid winter and my yard was covered under several inches of snow, I never made it to the reconstruction of my back yard and the growing of grapes on a trellis.

My last foray into the non-fiction inspirational type of self-help book, was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I came across that quite by accident, when surfing cable for something to watch. Weirdly, I thought, it actually hooked me but really it only left me wanting to take a trip to Naples, Italy, find the restaurant with the green and white tiles and eat a margarita pizza. So much so I put it on my bucket list. No kidding.

Everything Changed With the Arrival of a Gift

Nothing, I say NOTHING has ever left me more motivated to do anything than the quote, “She Believed She Could, So She Did by R.S. Grey. Funny story. I received a Pandora bracelet for my 50th birthday recently. Not knowing much about it, I went online searching for a charm that represented me as a writer. Surprisingly I found a typewriter, with a disk and that exact quote etched into it. It was specifically marketed as a charm for writers, authors, bloggers. Perfect.

I had never heard the quote. But I ordered the charm. It stuck with me. The quintessential quote about confidence. The kind of confidence that lights a fire under your butt and forces a change in the way you live.

It took me all of two weeks to assess my situation; to realize that I've been steadily selling books. Maybe not enough to replace my salary, but enough to that I could quit a job I really didn't like and make a major push for the end goal.  A full-time writing career.

I Didn't Look Back

I kept my job because I wasn't selling enough books. But in order to sell more books, I needed more time. Once I found that quote, once I realized that all I needed was pure confidence in myself, than I could take that first scary step and author for a bit. Truly become that person that I knew I wanted to be when I was seven years old.

I never wavered from that dream. It has traveled with my from the time I was seven. It was all I wanted to be, and everything I did from writing my own detective stories at seven, to taking English classes in high school and getting a BA degree in English, to taking as a procedure writer, a blogger, writing brochures, newsletters or biographies. Everything I have done as been for that single moment when I took that step forward into the world I had dreamt of most of my life. To be an author, to say what I have to say, to be who I want.

It was all because of that quote. “She Believed She Could, So She Did.” To RS Grey I thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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