2018: listing things for fun & focus

I adore lists. They aren’t useful to me in any organizational way. They don’t make me work more efficiently or help my productivity. The opposite, if anything.  I’m always leaving lists behind, or forgetting where I’ve put them, or getting distracted before finishing one and starting a new one instead…the list itself is rarely a helpful tool.

But making lists? That’s a fish of another color. I consider making a list its own reward. I love writing them.  If you think this odd, well, I also consider scrolling through the cable channel menu its own distinct activity rather than a way to find shows to watch.

I put things on list for the sheer joy of checking them off again. True story. Hey, I never said I was normal.

ANYWAY. Still here? Fab. It’s the beginning of the new year and everyone was doing lists at the end of the old year, but I was hibernating, so I’m late with mine.

Here be my list of 2018 accomplishments. I made them all on my own. They’re little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good. (Apologies to Lilo & Stitch for the misquote.)

1. Wrote a book. The Sharp Edge of Yesterday isn’t published yet, but I finished it & it’s finally in post-editorial revisions. (It even kinda has a pitch: Grace Reed is hiding a terrible secret and a more terrible power. that will rip her away from the family she’s sacrificed everything to keep together. )

2. Wrote most of another book. Ghost Town isn’t finished, but it’s well over 50%, and that’s something. All I’ve got for  pitch is the tongue in cheek, “She’s the new sheriff. He’s been dead a hundred years. Together, they fight crime and bicker.”

3. Attended a few too many science fiction conventions as a professional. Pro meaning I had books there to sell, wore a pro badge, and/or participated on panels and such. Woo, this means I get to make a sub-list!

  • Capricon (MY FIRST CAPRICON!)
  • Concoction (MY FIRST CONCOCTION!!)
  • C2E2 (sorta. All I did was chat w/artists & commission art. )
  • Indiana Comic Con
  • 2018 SFWA Nebula Awards Conference
  • Gen Con
  • Michigan Comic Con
  • Dragon Con
  • WindyCon

4. Wrote 2 short stories. Yes, me. Me, the person whose previous four short stories turned into novels. One of these two, Homecoming,  is a slice-of-life piece about a character who’s in Sharp Edge, and it’s a freebie for people who sign up for my mailing list. The other, Mercy Has a Bitter Taste,  I’ve had critiqued & polished & am sending off to be rejected by all the best professional markets. One down,  thirteen more to go before I trunk it.

5. Started regularly attending an incredibly supportive open mic reading group in Chicago.  Gumbo Fiction Salon. I’ve read all of Bitter Gift there, and the reception is what gave me the confidence to start sending it out.

NOTE: GBS isn’t the reading series I first expected to support. There’s another series, held at Volumes Book Cafe, that I attended once and & HIGHLY recommend. I’m v sad about never returning to it, but scheduling conflicts, life detours, and a VERY difficult location have all conspired against me getting back there. (And now I’m too embarrassed to show my face again. Sigh.)

6? I think that’s it for major writerly type achievements from 2018. I mean, yes, I commissioned new covers for books from the fantastic Rhiannon Taylor and the amazing Rachel Bostwick, I signed a contract for line edits from a phenomenal professional editor, I signed up for 2019 conventions, I ran multiple book promotions online, I got my latest novel into the WorldCat library database and on shelves in library systems in Illinois, Ohio, & Kentucky, and maybe Pennsylvania…

…but all that’s just everyday authoring stuff.

So much for 2018. Onward to 2019. Big plans in the making & big doings ahead.

 

Look, a cute cat! Also an important request.

Email newsletter sign-ups are vitally important to independent authors like me. Please click the link at the bottom of this post and join my mailing list. Don’t wait. Don’t tell yourself, “I’ll do it later.”  Don’t dismiss it thinking, “Oh, I don’t need that.” Don’t put it off.

Do. It. Right. Now. Please.

Why so emphatic?  I will explain. Spoiler alert: I am not big on persuasive rhetoric. I’m into raw data. Here ’tis, with bullet points)

It’s a free way to show your support

People who care enough to join a list want to be there. That’s no small confidence-builder. (And who doesn’t love free?)  If you’re on my list, I know I’m not bugging you when I talk about a great new release or announce a short story or show off a new cover. You asked to be included. Knowing I have an undeniably real audience waiting for things from me keeps me going on bad days. And good ones.

If you aren’t getting the newsletter, you WILL miss important book news.

Some of you follow me on other social media, but let’s get real.  Facebook & Twitter are great first contact points and excellent for connection, but for announcements and alerts? They’re a crap-shoot at best. It’s too easy to miss things. Trying to keep up with everyone and everything every day is impossible.

A newsletter comes straight to you. Can’t miss it. And it’s patient. It doesn’t disappear down the timeline or get hidden.

With the newsletter, even if  I–or you–step away from Facebook for a long break or delete social media entirely, we won’t lose touch.

Subscribers get exclusive gifts and benefits. Yes, for free.

It all starts with a subscribers-only Rough Passages short story. You get that just for signing up. There will be more.  I have raffle ideas in mind. I’m working on stickers, unit badges, and other awesome subscriber loot. I may even share an email address to subscribers for entering story errata, so all of you can share directly what I got wrong & need to fix. (and get entered in the Fix-it Raffle!)

Subscribers get all the fun news first.

I have to give my most loyal fans the best benefits, right? You’ll get to share in the excitement of new covers or other graphics before anyone except me, (and the artist) and if I’m seeking reader opinions on future decisions, I’ll consult with my email subscribers first and give their answers greater weight.

It’s easy.

Seriously. All I need is your email address. I do have the list set up for 2-step confirmation because consent matters, but it isn’t hard. You provide your email, you get an email asking you to click on things to confirm your interest and verify that you are not a Giant Robot. That’s it.

It’s easy to stop, too.

At any time you want, you can get off the list by clicking a link at the bottom of every newsletter email I send. For real. I’ve subscribed and unsubscribed a couple of times to test the feature.
In summary: I have a mailing list now so I can keep in touch with people who want to hear important news about my books and get exclusive fan perks. I would love for you to be a subscriber.

Here’s a direct link to the newsletter page: CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

And here are more pictures of my cranky ol’ cat:

He is just so darned adorable.

As always, thank you for reading.

 

Getting comfortable in my writer skin

No writers were harmed in the creation of this skin, I swear.  The comfort comes from taking two big steps towards acknowledging that this writing gig is a Real, Permanent Thing.

1. I got Dawnrigger license plates.

Yes, personalized ones. Don’t hate. There’s a story. Of course there is.

A couple of years back, the state decided that it would be rolling out a new license plate style, and that when my turn came, instead of getting a sticker for registration renewal, my old plate would be replaced for free. Huzzah, I said, because the plates I was issued Way Back When had a letter/number combo I always hated.  I never replaced them because  the fee for title transfer was low compared to the exorbitant fee for getting new plates with a new car. The Awful Old Plates went through…four title transfers, I think? Yes, I am a cheapskate.

This year, it was my turn to get free new ones! The form arrived with the link for renewing title registration online, so up to the website I went, all excited about finally being rid of my Awful Old Plates.

Whereupon the state informed me that once I completed the registration renewal they were going to send me THE SAME AWFUL LETTER/NUMBER COMBO on entirely new plates. WTF, said I, with extra exclamation points. No. Nope. Unacceptable. HELL NO, even. Cussing out the computer screen may have been involved.

Then I spotted my salvation in a sidebar on the left. An option for personalizing plates. An extra fee in addition to the renewal, but not as much as new registration.IMG_4142

So I did it. What the hell. No, they are not vanity plates. (Seriously. They aren’t. Vanity Plate was a whole ‘nother  choice on the site. Who knew license plates came in so many different flavors? I didn’t.)

Now my little car has plates that read DAWNRGR. See? Maybe no one but me will ever know what that means. But I do know, and it makes me happy.

2. The other authoring-related thing I did makes me even happier, and was much easier; I listed myself as “author at Dawnrigger Publishing” in an official directory for the first time.

It wasn’t a government form or anything.  It’s just a member directory for a organization at my college.  I’m still working as Registration Staff part-time at the Mount Prospect library and as a volunteer at the Botanic Garden. Putting the word ‘author’ in the
Primary Employment” slot on this form changes nothing at all officially, but…

I felt comfortable doing it. That changes everything.

I’m getting there. Slow & unsteady, but I’m getting there.