Crop

I missed last week’s update because I was doing a read edit of Seed. This week happens to be the day before the first day of the month so I’m combining the two.

After a great deal of thought, I’ve decided to close The Ethereal. This means His Halo is being removed from the schedule and I will not be pursuing more books in the world. This doesn’t mean that I will never complete the trilogy, just that there are no plans to work on it.

I’m not enjoying writing or editing the books. Readers don’t get excited over them like they do with others so it’s time to call it.

I liked the covers though.

So it’s the last day of January, and His Wings is halfway through a description edit and sitting just shy of 80k words. It’s launching April 8th so I’m determined to get this done.

Seed has gone through the first read edit and I think I like it better than At Death’s Door but that could just be me liking a newer story better than an old one. Once I have the description edit of His Wings done, I will input the edits for Seed and get it off to the betas.

Fragments is almost halfway through a read edit. Once that’s done and Seed is off to the betas, I will input it’s edits and get it up for preorder.

Depending on betas, I might have three books launch across a month.

I’m also working on a side project that started bothering me called The Others which is a blog story? I’m not entirely certain. It is an experiment for sure. It’s just written as the whim takes me and in between things.

Which finally brings me to February. It’s project is Crop which has gone back on the rotation instead of being a floater. With about ten chapters left to write, Crop will likely take most of the month because of how it is written. Its word count is unknown, probably somewhere between 35k and 45k at the moment. I believe I had just started chapter ten.

I can only write Crop on my phone, which leaves the mornings, nights, and work breaks open. Hence where I’m getting all the other edits done. If I finish Crop early, I will launch into writing Harvest almost immediately.

Depending on other edits, I will also start the description edit of Crop right away. If Seed launches May 1st, I want Crop to launch no later than August 1st, and Harvest on October 1st.

No word on March’s project yet. I have to get Harvest written by April 12th. Hmm, 13th, let’s say. That’s when my long commutes end and I want to keep that… that kind of pace.

I’ll miss those focused times for writing on my phone. I’ll have to get a longer pair of headphones so I can plug into my computer once I move and blast music loud enough to drown my own thoughts until I can focus. Maybe that’ll work.

On Finding a Name

Ugh, so I might have messed up the setup of the site and made posts instead of pages. It should be a simple fix of switching them over with some copy and pasting but it’s the time that it’ll take and how stupid I feel right now.

I’m still debating what to call the site. Smart thing is some combination of my name, but ayadeaniege.com just sounds narcissistic to me. I’m trying to come up with something that I won’t want to strangle myself over.

In the meantime, I’m hoping my brain holds out and I can do a writing sprint this weekend. After two days of struggle, I finished chapter fifteen of Death Mask, which will likely end up being chapter seventeen, after I go back and refresh the first couple of chapters and fix up the first little arc.

I’m hoping this weekend to complete His Grace and begin the editing of that. Beth needs some help with a side project that I promised I’d work on for her. It could take ten days to four months.

Urgh, why, Beth? Why must you taunt me with your books and blackmail me with your cooking?

I have a full plate, basically. Lots to do.

Today I checked up on the Storyteller Competition¬†and discovered that they are preparing the short list. I haven’t been disqualified yet, so I can’t just stop checking on it. Or I could… I mean, I’m not going to win.

I’m always told to be more confident, but the people talking are really never happy with me when the next thing to come out of my mouth is, “I’m confident I’m not going to win.”

It’s not that I absolutely could not win a competition, but the short list is comprised of things chosen by Amazon’s algorithm. Which doesn’t quite like me but likes Contract Taken for one day, then the next likes At Death’s Door on fewer sales? I just… I don’t know how to read that thing and it’s partly responsible for creating the short list.

Oh, and I might be about to go through another one of my episodes, so if none of that made any sense to you, it’s okay. It’s the partly broken brain I have in its death throes. It’ll be back next week and my hypergraphia will be back on full blast.

When the Words dry up

Bad words, bad, bad words.

Normally I use that sentence in place of a curse word, but this time around, I’m chastising the words that I’ve been chasing around for the past week. 

Some people call it writer’s block, I call it hypergraphia. 

I’m not just prolific, I have a need to write nearly everything down, otherwise it becomes painful. I physically ache when I can’t write when I need to. I’ve learned to offset it over the years, manipulating myself to keep from going completely mad and writing on the walls.

For me, it swings like a bipolar. There are periods of lots and lots of writing, then periods of nothing. At some point over the next couple weeks I’m going to hate anything to do with words. Mainly the written word, but verbal communication will fall drastically as well.

I’ve been trying to push through and finish Death Mask in the mean time. There’s a period of time after, as it’s coming back, that I read everything I can get my hands on. Last year during such a period, I did editing on the Contracted series. 

One of my bosses, years ago, said something that has always stuck with me: use your people to their strengths. Don’t put someone in sales who isn’t great at sales, put them on setup where they can achieve more and are happier.

When it comes to managing yourself, it’s the same thing. Know your strengths and weaknesses, know when you’ve reached your limit and when you need to wear a different hat for a little bit. I could just try and try and try to write. Just do that for the next year and end up maybe completing Death Mask in the next twelve months. 

That would be a chapter every two months for those who may be counting.

Or I can take a break and recharge my batteries. I know the fastest way to swing myself back around is to basically look like someone with no attention span. My favourite way of doing this is to watch something on the television while playing a game and reading a book at the same time. After a day of that the thrum starts up again, but it takes about six days straight for me to start that twitch and to rage quit all the things and go back to writing. 

I didn’t write while in Cuba, but it’s time for a break. I can’t just walk away from all this for a month. For starters, that’s a bad thing to do. It’s also just not possible for me to shut down the indie author in me, not without a bunch of alcohol. I’d rather not do that.

But I don’t want to market and I don’t have a book to edit. 

Do I? 

Oh, I could edit Contract Signed. That’s a thought that could work out. 

I will still have Death Mask with me and available to write. I will even look at it every day and on each commute. This time around I just wanted to huck my phone across the room. I wanted to play a game or something. 

I don’t have a game. Writing a blog post instead, just because I can’t handle that but I feel guilty for not working on it. I had such a great start yesterday before work. Then my day just killed my brain.

In the mean time, as I struggle with finishing a book that should have been done two weeks ago, I’m going to see about a website. Maybe pre-made covers and graphics as well. Maybe even the cover for Death Mask, that needs to be done and I can do it all without doing the words. 

So much for two trilogies in six months. Stupid, broken brain. 

I realize that without that brain being damaged the way it is, I wouldn’t be the author that I am. I get that, I do. And I know there needs to be balance, but I want to write. I have ideas this time, I have the plot written out! 

But my words have failed me. I stare mutely at my blinking cursor and just want to cry because I can see it, I can hear it, but it won’t come out of my head. 

So I have to wait. I have to sit on my stories and hold my own hand even though I want to shout and scream at myself. I know it’s not because I’m lazy, I know it’s not because I’m not ambitious enough or don’t have the time. It’s simply because I’m broken and it’s not the kind of broken that I can piece back together. 

That frustration isn’t going to help me any. 

Sometimes it’s hard to be kind to yourself, because you have plans and want to go places and do things but you just can’t. I’m more forgiving of other people’s mental health than I am of my own. I shouldn’t be surprised by that fact, but I am. 

And I know I need to take care of myself before I look outward on the world and try to make a change in what I see. That’s what I’ll do, but in that conflicted, “I’m upset because I’m crying because I’m angry with you because you worried me,” sort of way.

Marketing is Repetitive

I’m marketing At Death’s Door more today. I’m going to say this, but only because I’m bored: Ugh.

If there are any marketers reading this and I’ve accidentally submitted to your site twice, I apologize. Beth’s had me do this for her, so I thought the site looked familiar because I was there for her, but no.

Ugh.

Marketing is repetitive. You can pay other services to submit to other pages, however you pay them to submit your book to the free services of other sites which doesn’t guarantee you promotion. This means that… well, do it yourself! If you submit to 45 sites the chances of being picked up by one are pretty slim unless you are some sort of best seller with six million reviews. For all you or I know, those sites are automatically ignored because they’re basically spam bots.

Now if it’s a network, that’s a different story.

So paying such and such a price to do that when there’s a Fiverr option (of five bucks) to do the same thing is pretty well pointless. But beware Fiverr, there are some who say they’ll post your book to Facebook pages, ect, then send you doctored photos. Beth caught someone last year doing that. She’s very focused on anything Fiverr. If she can’t track what you did, then you did nothing and she wants her money back.

And if you send her images of “open” Facebook groups and she can’t find them on Facebook, she’s going to demand her money back, then report you to Fiverr, and give you a one star rating because stop ripping indie authors off you mean people.

Submitting to sites goes by fairly quickly, after an hour I had about twenty sites. Maybe a few less, I’ve been wandering in between submissions because it’s such repetitive work. I don’t mind repetitive work if it’s with my hands. Sorting blueberries, removing paper bits from fiddleheads, that kind of thing. The copy and paste and switch windows in a different pattern every time, that’s what’s getting to me.

I like patterns, they make my job easier.

Here’s the thing with marketing (for those brand new at it) you want all your links open in tabs in behind. Open a new tab for each site you visit, then close it once everything is complete.

I visit sites often which have the go forward then back thing going on, but marketing, I often close the tab I’m working on. It’ll also help you trace back and forward. So at the moment I have the original search through Google (good ol’Google) then the first result I opened, and from there I actually found another site with many links and that’s the site I’m working on. Once I’m done I can just close the tab and go backwards, or keep it open and use it to compare the links between sites and maybe save myself a few clicks.

Some people ask for ASIN, then they ask for the link to your Amazon book, do not go to Amazon and look up your book. Go to your bookshelf in KDP and click on the US site from there, this will give you a clean link. If you look it up on Amazon, there’s a bunch of numbers at the end.

Want reviews? If six people click that link with the numbers and try to review, you’re going to have a bad time. It’s some kind of referral number. Use a clean link. And in that clean link, the ASIN is present. I think that might be the most frustrating, yet easiest part. I just keep the Amazon link on the clipboard and then delete the webpage and leave only the ASIN when they request it.

If you find yourself getting bored, take a break. Wander the internet, check social media, write a little bit. Boredom makes it a laborious process.

Some sites require a certain number of reviews. The magic numbers seem to be 3, 5, or 18. Nothing outside of that, which I find odd. But hey…

So those who pay for reviews get a head start. Annoying, nope, I will not pay for reviews, not if I can help it.

At Death’s Door currently has four reviews, bringing it to 4.7 Stars on Amazon. Yesterday morning, it had two. I’m dancing, but now I’m just one off of meeting about two thirds of the sites’ requirements. I used to itch for that third review, now I’m itching for the fifth.

Some sites require family friendly books, or no erotica. Most of the sites I chose accept erotica because I’m now keeping a list for later reference. Just a list, not the links themselves. For my next free day I will search each one, which will take me to a new page, in case they move it.

Some sites require you to sign up for free account. For the most part I avoid these. For starters, I never remember the log in and I’ve never heard of these sites.

Many require you sign up for their author newsletters and/or the newsletters sending out the free books. So look at it this way: a site says they have 40,000 readers of their email. They also have a lot of different authors who have advertised on their site. How many of those 40,000 are actually readers, and how many are just authors who are sitting on the newsletter and not paying attention to the emails?

In order to tell if you’ve been advertised, though, you have to sign up for the email and check the days that you requested. The last time I did this, the sites I applied to all sent me an email saying, “Your book will be promoted the days you requested” except it wasn’t. If it’s not guaranteed promotion, just say so! Most sites do.

Don’t tell me you’re going to do something, then don’t.

There are ever a very few that don’t tell you anything at all. They want you to submit an inquiry for more information. I take that as I do jewelry that has no price. Either I can’t afford it, or the seller is snooty and thinks I can’t afford it, either way they aren’t getting my money. I prefer to give my money to those who are transparent and up front about everything.

One site kind of threatened you with the possibility of being drawn for reviews, and that those reviews may not be kind, if you don’t do the paid option. That was a little odd, I’m not certain if I should take that as they will find everything wrong with your book, or if it was just friendly advice. I’m hoping it’s friendly advice…

On Organization

When I decided to make my own covers, I moved them and then started getting confused so quickly. It’s nearly impossible to find anything, and I find myself cursing the moron who set it up.

That’s me, still.

I opened At Death’s Door in Paintshop and tried to make the wrap, except I couldn’t because I wasn’t organized. I had no idea where the texture was that I used, the original image is in freaking purgatory it seems, and, oh yeah, I don’t have the template to make the book because At Death’s Door is longer than my other books by a little bit.

The paperback version hasn’t been formatted because I don’t have Microsoft on my desktop.

Microsoft, why in the hell do you sell an operating system without the blood processor? Why does that make sense, in what world?

You money grubbing…

So there goes the small black number I had from my royalties. I was planning on spending that on Paintshop, which is still in the trial phase for me. Instead I will have to pay out of pocket for that, but Beth reassures me that if I keep all the receipts and I use it only for my work, I can write it off at the end of the year.

In the past, I have taken my document from my computer (which has OpenOffice and whose page numbering I can never figure out) to either my laptop (now dead for good) and my tablet (so close to dead I’ve left it at work over the weekend rather than lug it home). So I had to update in order to get the book to do what I wanted.

Which meant that I had to get office to do the format to get the template to do the wrap to get the paperback copy of At Death’s Door. If I had been more organized, I would have done this over the past couple weeks, but nope. No, I did not do those things because I am not a bright person.

I’m going to have to reorganize everything. Files and subfiles and folders and cover work and a sub folder for every step of the way then the completed cover and document in the outer most folder. That’s what I’m going to have to do, and I don’t know how long it’ll take to reorganize the entire thing.

But I also have to go out and buy clothing because the trip to Cuba with Dorian is in a couple of weeks and I have absolutely nothing I’d wear in public. Especially in the swimsuit or fun in the sun style of clothing.

That’s pretty well my entire weekend, and I’m already procrastinating by writing a blog post, go me.

Graphic Design

I have been working for the past two weeks non-stop pretty well. Getting back into the swing of things, which is great.

I’ve completed another edit of At Death’s Door, and that will be my focus until April 1st, which is when I hope it goes live.

I’ve finished writing the first draft of Contract Signed, and gotten about a quarter of the way through Contract Sealed.

I’ve reached chapter 15, or about three quarters of the way through the second book of Wraith’s Rebellion, which I’m thinking of titling Cheating Death, instead of Death Mask.

After some research, some conversations and a bit of work for relearning, I’ve decided to get back into graphic design. I did this as a teen, though not in any sort of a serious sense. Just dabbling on my mother’s computer with Paintshop Pro because the only games we had were solitaire and pinball.

And I was really bored of pinball. I also only had her images to play with, which also got boring. What she had and what I wanted would sometimes overlap, but not always.

Let’s face it: graphic design is the second most expensive part of indie publishing. The first being editing, and the third I think being formatting.

Anyone can do cover design. How nice your cover designs turn out depend on practice, eye, and equipment. Like last night, I discovered that I need an actual mouse pad to do this, because my mouse ‘bounces’ and then ruins my freestyle select two thirds of the way around an image that the smart select can’t find.

It also takes patience. A different kind of patience than what writing or editing or marketing take.

I have the eye, I have enough ability to look at covers for At Death’s Door and be like, “hey, this is how that’s put together!” What I lack at the moment are the practice and the patience. Of course, I have no patience because I want to get At Death’s Door up for preorder, and I have little practice because of the same thing.

There’s at least two more edits and one final read through before it can go live. One of the edits, I’m going to start tomorrow before I read through it and then do the read for the final edit, then read again for problems. Hopefully by then, my beta readers have gotten back to me.

The most I’ve done for graphics was slap a transparency on my header photo for Facebook and Twitter, then add text. So impressive. It also took me an hour to do. Don’t get me wrong, I had a ton of fun doing it, but that was an hour of work from At Death’s Door.

I may use graphic design as a way to unwind, I’m not going to lie.

And while writing this post, I found an image I want to touch and play with. Excuse me, while I go sign up for a website and see if they let me play before purchase.

Difficulty Focusing

 

I’m trying to focus for Contract Signed, but I’m outside of the plot I had written down so I’m kind of in my own marsh style area. Seven more chapters to go, I kind of have a gist of an idea of what and how. Because the what and how of before didn’t really change all too much.

On the vampire front, I’m on chapter six of Death Mask now and that’s going fairly well. Again, I’ve broken outside of my plot just a little bit. But this break was by mashing two chapters together because it worked better as one rather than separated.

What I should do, is when I get home start edits on At Death’s Door.

Or work on edits while at work on break and before my shift starts. I could do that too. Except I need to have laser focus for this edit and there are people who talk to me while I’m sitting there. I think they think I’m joking when I say I’m working?

I also have to take the time to set up the… I don’t have a clever name for it yet. The book where I’m going to put all my worlds in one place so that I stop whining about all the ideas I’m chasing and the possibility of losing them. This way I can add and snippets of plot to the book. When I’m done writing Wraith’s Rebellion and the new Contracted trilogy, I can just open the book, grab a page and off I go.

In theory.

I’ve been starting to think of what I’d do if I quite my day job, how would the writing run. Just sleeping until I wake up doesn’t do it for me, not if I want to be productive. So I was thinking if I can manage it, I’d have a seven am start, maybe earlier some days, with coffee. That’d give me a couple of hours to do some writing before a majority of people are even up.

Or stores open, because I’d still have to go out and buy groceries and stuff.

I’d probably work a set schedule, like Monday to Friday, seven to whenever I went to bed. I’d probably end up wheeling that back to like five and then taking the rest of the night “off” to pursue whatever projected I wanted to or to just play video games. Take weekends, holidays, and festival days off.

I know I sound like a crazy person. I know my first book just went up in September. I know that I don’t have a firm date for the next book to come out, or a real plan to get the others out at this moment. I know I’m writing every day instead of editing.

I also know I’m not marketing, but everyone wants 15+ reviews on Amazon, I don’t meet that requirement yet and I’m not going to pay for reviews. So I have to actually wait on that.

But at the end of the day, I am a planner. I want to plan for the eventuality of not working a day job so that when I get off the job, when I get home that first night, then the next morning? I can get up and I know what I’m going to do and I know how I’m going to do it. Without planning now, getting it thought out and the kinks figured out as much as I can, I’ll spend weeks, or even months caught in a bog of trying to figure it out as I go.

So I’m planning and thinking now. How can I do this, what is the best use of my time?

Oh gosh, I’d be able to eat meals at a table instead of at the computer as I typed one handed…

Second Round of Edits

At Death’s Door is going through another round of edits. I just finished the read through and I can see the spots and holes and problems. Then I can see things that are nagging as you read, like, you know… that’s not what he said before.

The timeline is definitely all over the place.

Here’s the thing, I’ve got two options. Do things and fix all the things, or use those slip ups to my advantage. Some of them may not have been slip ups, they could have been Quin losing track of time, or mixing up memories. I believe he says as much.

He also says a couple of times that they were instructed not to scare the delicate little mortals.

Then there were some nagging bits bothering me so I went to the character causing them and handed them to her and we looked at one another for a time. She considered not telling me, I could see it in her eyes. She’s not a character whose head I ride inside of, sometimes they surprise me.

In the end she told me.

There are nagging bits and burrs and seeing the end of the trilogy, I just kind of sat there for a minute, then started shouting at the characters.

Ah well.

Knowing that ending allows me to alter a few things. It kind of explains a few things, why things sat the way they did. Why that one was just like that, why that person was just so. I can smooth a few things over or rough them up in a few other places.

There were bits and pieces that I absolutely loved, but then the voice changed. So I need to go back and recreate that voice through the entire thing.

I’m on chapter two of that re-write (sure, let’s just call it a re-write instead of an edit) and I’m having difficulty moving forward.

I don’t want to do this again.

Quin’s is a story of abuse that spans centuries. It’s the kind of abuse that people normally give flowery names to. If he had been born a girl, he might have even been called a “child bride” instead of facing the truth.

And he’s completely unapologetic about it. You asked what happened, this is what happened, don’t get weepy or bristled about it, it didn’t happen to you. Unless it did, then respect that this is how he has come to terms with what was done to him.

He’s also at a critical stage of his growth. He hadn’t quite shrugged off his abuser, but he’s about to face the man for the first time in centuries. It could go either way. He could fall into that trap again, or make the next step and defy, finally coming to terms with the fact that he is in control, he can take control of his abuser.

Because this is a vampire, after that step he could, in theory, become the abuser. He could exact every revenge fantasy of every body in the world.

But I don’t think Quin’s like that. He’s thought of ending it all, but never torment or revenge.

He just wants it to end.

And I don’t want to go through his life story again, adding in more details as he dictates them.

But I will.

Because he asked me to.

If what he was asking me to add would alter that voice that dragged me into the narration, I would say no to him. There’d be no point otherwise. I’m all for a whipping boy, but even I can only take a character being subjected to so much.

Like pretty well all my stories, there’s probably a light at the end of the mine shaft I dropped them down. Things probably work out in the end. But that doesn’t change the fact that Quin spent fifteen hundred years, his entire life, in an abusive relationship because he didn’t have the support he needed to get free.

Not until Helen walked in, called him Mr. Fedora, and asked him why?

At Death’s Door

I opened At Death’s Door and discovered that I was almost done with the first round of edits. These were mainly typos, autocorrect issues, and some formatting. The story is now on my phone in pdf form and I’m going to give it a read to check the global edits. This includes adding things that I couldn’t during the initial writing, going back and revisiting all descriptions, and such on and so forth.

I found a premade cover today that I quite like the look of, one from someone Beth has used in the past. They’re even offering to do the wraps now! Beth had to make her own… or maybe Beth didn’t read the entire site like she lectured me on doing several times. She gets like that sometimes.

So I need to rush through and get the edits set up so that I know the approximate length of the print book to get the cover ordered. Once I have the additions to it and the cover on order I’ll run back and start over as if I haven’t done any edits at all.

Which means a read and mark down edits. Then a read to make certain I didn’t create a typo in the mean time, because I do that because I’m stupid. Then through a grammatical editing program which does all right. Then another read to make certain I didn’t make a typo again, because I do that because I’m stupid.

Then I’m going to ask for a beta reader.

While they have the book I’ll read it again in the freaked out way I do. Which is basically as follows:

OH GOD SOMEONE IS READING MY BOOK WHAT ARE THEY READING WHAT DID I DO OH GOD WHY DID I DO THAT THERE’S A COMMA MISSING RIGHT THERE IM STUPID AND SHOULD JUST GIVE UP.

No punctuation whatsoever, just screaming at the top of my lungs inside my head as I start ripping it apart for more errors.

As Beth says, the editor in me hates the writer in me.

Just Keep Writing 

Three weeks, I could not work. Which is now totalling about six weeks out of work. Driving me crazy, is what it is. 

Masked Intentions goes live in nine days and I don’t have the final draft up. Not because I have been lazy or because it needs more work, but because I haven’t been capable of work for six weeks. 

I think I had two days around Christmas before everything went to hell.

I haven’t been on social media or marketing or anything. My sales reflect that. And I can maintain that…

If I can work. 

So now I have to make that all a habit again. Get back to working on all the things.

The moment everything was fixed, I went back to writing. But I’m now six weeks behind on my plan. That really messes with everything. 

I couldn’t even write on my phone, so Death Mask isn’t written yet, it’s in a perpetual state of half-done chapter one. So I’m skipping ahead to chapter two and will return to chapter one later on. 

On the computer, I’m writing the Signed trilogy, which resides in the Contracted world. This is Nate’s story, so m/m and bdsm, and all that explosion of crazy. I completely blame Nate and his Master. They kept messing with me so I figured I’d start the world up again to torment them and it all just came spilling out. 

At Death’s Door will probably have to wait until March for release, so that I can do all the fixes that I was supposed to do over the last six weeks. It’s going to take longer because I can no longer remember what the fixes are. So now I need to read the entire thing before I can start edits so that I can get the bigger picture again and catch all the problems.

So annoying.

Because all I want to do is write. 

Sure, I could ship this work out to someone else, but that costs money I don’t have, and I’m not earning from the books themselves. In the last month I’ve only sold one book.

Probably because I couldn’t do anything or access anything or get my head to work. 

I’m on kdp select, and discovered that Contract Taken was up for free days. I’ve grabbed three and have moved a few free copies with the help of marketing and some from social media.

This morning the book was sitting at #9 on Amazon’s free-romance section. Suppose that’s good, but we’ll have to see how that goes.

A review blog somehow picked up my book and listed it. It’s weird because I don’t recall applying to them or anything of that sort. I’m not certain how I landed on that page, basically. They also made a “review” on Goodreads that was just the description.

I have no idea what their plan is, but I’m afraid to ask.

When everything was in the middle of breaking, Dorian did something stupid. He booked a trip to Cuba for the two of us at at five star resort.

I’ve never been to Cuba, and we all know I’m not comfortable being gifted expensive things. Hence why he’s stupid. 

I appreciate it, I will try my darndest to enjoy the trip, but accepting such a gift makes me uncomfortable. Even if I had purchased the ticket myself, I’d probably be uncomfortable. That’s money I could put into covers or marketing.

I’m starting to sound like Beth. While I’m not certain that’s a bad thing, it does sound a little crazy. If I had the money to go to Cuba, I should go to Cuba. Experience for an author is absolutely necessary.

Who knows, it could spawn a story. I could end up writing a best selling novel because I want to Cuba.

Oh, but think of the promotions I could have bought with that money… Bookbub and ENT and all the things. Such shiny things.

Suppose a beach and all inclusive resort stay will have to do.