Week Five (Day Five)

Finished the first hundred pages of Harvest, got another sixty from my beta reader. I keep thinking I’m going to drop off and ‘die’ mentally again so I’m pushing through this but I still have until December.

Trying some ads for Seed even though I shouldn’t, because I’m technically broke. I’m trying them because it’s the best pre-order to date and I want to get it out there to the right readers.

Bookbub scared the bejesus out of me yesterday. It sent me an email about a new release alert and I had a small panic/joy that they had actually taken me on for a new release ad. Panic because how would I pay for it, joy because oh my god.

But no, it’s a new release email they push to all your followers on Bookbub for free until you cross a specific follower line, which I think is over 1000. So… free for me forever!

Look at the upside of situations, I guess. Yup, that’s my mood today.

I guess it is update day for school.

Writing has gotten into talking about word choice and cliches, that kind of thing. It almost bores me because my work has talked to me about it for years, but then ignored it. I try to do the formal business-like language. So, I struggle to pay attention because I feel like I know it and she wants us to hand write everything while kind of discouraging notes. If I’m not taking notes, there’s a very good chance that I’m not paying attention, I’m just saying.

But all I want to do is write stories on the paper. The blank pages are taunting me, which they haven’t done in over a decade because I no longer deal with paper. It’s a lot harder for me to ignore that pull than it is to ignore the pull for a new story on the computer. At least the computer, I have to put in the effort to open the processor, whereas when I’m sitting in class with a blank page before me, trying to pay attention but I just end up staring at a blank page?

It’s worse than the clickety clack, it’s actually triggering my hypergraphia. That part where not writing has started to hurt and I hate that, but that’s how it goes when I resist impulses to write. So, I need to figure something out because writing The Others hasn’t helped take the mean edge off that need of mine.

All because she wants us to hand write everything!

I mean, I could hand write a story, just out on all that paper I have. I don’t actually need five hundred sheets of paper for school ,do I? I might use a hundred total, leaving just enough to write an actual book.

Oh god. Now I’m thinking about it.

Computer Skills and Math were kind of cancelled for this week as the instructor is out. He did assign work, I had the Computer work done the day he assigned it, I think, and the Math I finished yesterday about twenty minutes into the class that’s regularily scheduled for Computer Skills. I spent my remaining two hours reading the book for Interpersonal Communications.

The only class for that for this week happens this afternoon and we’ll have a speaker. No computer because she wants us to take notes and make sure the speaker feels like our full attention is on them. I get that. I suppose.

I swear, I’ll take actual notes and not write a story.

Although, now the idea of the pen scratching across the paper…

It’s like scratching a mosquito bite. It feels so good to think of that, but I know it’s dangerous and I shouldn’t do it.

What would I even write, right? I don’t have a story that could be done on paper!

There, matter settled.

Oh, but that scritchety-scratch of pen on paper.

Where was I?


The test yesterday was out 15% one, not the 5% one that I thought it was. Great, I feel like I did good, but I have this weird thing sometimes with proofing. I could proof until the cows come home. Then a book launches and I find a typo in the description.

I’m looking at you, His Grace.

Don’t worry, I fixed that one.

Anyhow, it took me about twenty minutes and for the timed writings in there, I actually met and exceeded my average words with no errors. Heck, I even had to go back and fix some stuff because I’m a silly goose.

My fingers are trying to say different words than I’m actively thinking to them. It’s like they’re trying to link to my unconscious mind which is kind of running in circles in the background going, “It’s almost NaNoWriMo and we haven’t settled on a story!”

Not participating in that this year, what with school and work and all.

Shoot, where was I? School update.

Accounting has been simple for this chapter. Doing the extra work took about ten minutes, and then I went back to reading the book for Interpersonal Communication. When I finished, I still had an hour or so of class left (this was ‘free’ time and many left during or even before the class started). I was going to work on The Others but there was a nagging voice at the back of my mind.

So, I wrote the rough draft of my book report yesterday in Accounting class.

Except, I can’t tell anyone except you, dear reader, because the other students have begun to resent me for always having everything done and never having a bother with the assignments. Or a complaint about the teachers. There appears to be some unrest starting and I don’t understand why everyone is getting so upset about sitting in class when it’s the perfect time to do that homework you’re behind on, or practice in that class you need help in.

Instead, they talk about wanting to go home and how a class or day is a waste. It’s not a waste, it’s a practical gift.

Besides what might be assigned today, I am going into the fifth weekend without any homework, because I took the free time I had at school and put it to work.

Pat on my back, right? It’s something to be proud of because I know me.

Normally by October, I throw my hands in the air and basically shout, “I quit!” and homework starts lagging. I know if I don’t do it here, I will struggle with it at home because that’s my time. And I won’t do it at work because some Nosey Nelly shoves her face into my business as I’m trying to do homework. They start asking about school and homework and what am I struggling at?

Oh, nothing? So, you’re just bored all the time? No, oh yes, of course you’re upset you missed 1% on your Accounting test.

No, I’m not upset because I didn’t get a hundred. I’m not beating myself up over it. I normally score in the 70% range for tests. When it came up to 99% it bothered me because I was so close and it’s a thing of pride to finally cross that threshold and have a 100% on a test.

I missed the dollar signs. She could have docked 3-6% for missing all the freaking dollar signs but she only took off a percent. For all she knew, I was dealing in ounces of crack, or bananas!

Ah well.

I don’t have lunch today. Yup, I went and blanked on freaking lunch. I’m not going to go hungry, I’ve got a debit card and got paid yesterday. It’s just that I’m one of those people who tends to look at the price of fast food/pre-made meals and turning up my nose because I could make something that tastes much better for that price or less.

Let that be a lesson to me!

If I had realized ahead of time, I might have been able to ask for leftovers, as it was, I didn’t find out until I was about to leave my room.

Next week I want to try to make loaded cauliflower casserole. I think is what it’s called. It’s going to be a little weird, but it’ll have cheese… and more cheese. I’m hoping it can pass for an “adult” macaroni and cheese because suddenly that’s what I’m craving.


To do? I don’t know really.

Uh, so I’ve been accepted into the college, yay. I’m actually quite excited about that, that’s not sarcasm. I plan to treat this as a job basically. My only trouble being, the certificate has something like thirty-seven courses listed for three semesters. That math doesn’t add up!

And I want to take all of the classes, well, almost all of them. So that doesn’t help me narrow it down. Especially when there are a couple that I want to take to further the certificate to help me get a job later that require four prerequisite courses which are all prerequisites of one another.

I also have to sort out learning French. Being bi-lingual can help your wage as well as your career in general.

It’d also be kind of cool if I could translate my own books into other languages.

My problem with languages at the moment is that they’re all a broken jumble. I tried counting to ten in French. Got to seven… then it turned into Japanese.

For the writing…

Seed is up everywhere except Amazon. Going up there in just over a month. Amazon doesn’t let you put up a pre-order more than three months out, even if you have the completed files. But then, the pre-order on Amazon is more for show than anything else whereas on other sites it helps build your rank on that first day. Basically, I’m not rushing over to Amazon. Setting up a pre-order there has no benefit for me. If all three were done right now, okay, that would have some use.

But the readers who want my books, will still come back to read them if they have to wait five months for me to fix my mistakes and make something of a story. Those are the readers I want the most. I love all readers, but I don’t want to rush anything else to publication that isn’t polished enough.

At Death’s Door has received some editing. I’m about a third of the way through the first re-edit. I’d also like to never have to do this again. I want to fix it all, but it’s time consuming. I’m now thinking about the fact that if I had an editor and a cover designer, I’d be able to write more and worry about less.

But my income hasn’t changed from yesterday or last week.

My books are appearing on Google Play, which opens up to a whole different audience. I’m also trying out a Bookbub ad, not the featured deal which they always kick back at me. I’m hoping the ad passes so that I can get some traffic into Seed. Or do they just pass all the ads there?

Besides all that, I’ve taken on a weird side project. It just hit me like a bus. I’m not talking about it beyond that because I keep expecting it to basically die like so many other random projects. But anytime I sit at a computer it’s all I think about. On breaks at work I’ve been doing research for the project, looking things up. Get home and immediately start working on it.

It’s so weird, though, because the project has basically pushed me into trying to advertise for Seed. And I still edit a chapter of At Death’s Door almost every day. Breaking that into bits seems to be making it easier to edit, because I’m more likely to pay attention to what I’m doing instead of ignoring it.

It is the first time I’ve written with an audience, so to speak. Want to spend time with the family but also get the project done, so I just take my netbook with me. Which is dying I should add. It’s a year old and black bars just randomly appear across the screen now and it takes twenty minutes to load even though I stripped everything out of it basically.

And then added a game back in because I was like, “it’s stupid anyhow!”

I dislike that brand of computer. Either I have bad luck with them, or their product is inferior.

Oh yeah, my tower, which is the same brand, can’t play a game which my six-year-old laptop can play because the maker of the tower hobbled it on purpose even though it was purported to be a gaming system.

I’d burn the tower, but it’s all I have. And besides not being able to play the games I want, it works well for all the other things. Certainly a great deal faster than the netbook. I don’t wait a minute or more for a page to load and it doesn’t lose internet randomly.

I just have to sort out this chair situation.

Maybe next month that’s what my royalties will go to. A nice office chair.

Anyhow, I have to get back to work. This project had me up at 6am to work on it before work. I don’t work until 11am.

I don’t know what’s going on with this thing, but at this point I’m not going to dig my feet in, I’m just going to go with it. The speed I’m working at, I could be done in a week or so. That’d be nice. But this way, if it fails, no one is getting excited over a project that will never be done.

Could have been the school that did it. My brain could just be like, “get all the words out now!”

Guess I’ll find out.


Contract Sealed Week 2

The past week has been a bit of a struggle to get myself to work on something. This weekend I almost took two days off. On Sunday I set up free days for His Grace and I found out that Contract Taken didn’t even make the list of books for the year. Basically had a fifty-fifty chance and still failed.

I did not feel good about myself or my writing. For about six hours I felt like there was no point in even continuing.

Then I remembered it was December.

I chose such a short project for this month because I know I end up in a fragile state. I certainly wasn’t going to do anything rash. The only risky thing I do in December is buy scratch tickets.

I don’t even drink in December, it’s too dangerous with the wringer that work puts me through and the whole being alone thing. I know the holidays are hard and I won’t take that risk.

Monday when I got home from work there was a package waiting for me. A reader had sent me four care packages. That definitely cheered me right up.

I suck, but at least some people love me. This was the first thing I’ve received. Well, and private messages. Those are the new fanmail, right?

Okay, so it didn’t just cheer me right up. I was absolutely elated and told everyone I know. I only ever have bad news.

Bit by bat, ghosted by long term boyfriend, dead computer three times, no water for three weeks, leaking ceiling, mold the landlord won’t fix, raccoons, three noisy neighbours, bedbugs, and now ants.

In the last year.

It’s been a run of bad luck and situational that I haven’t been able to fix given my income. Couldn’t even afford hot chocolate.

And then I found it in the box…

Actually, my first order of business was making apple cider. I was a little disappointed when I discovered I can’t afford to buy more in Canada. Hopefully the prices will go down. Or they’ll go on sale or I’ll find it in a grocery store somewhere.

As I mentioned before, this past week has been… difficult. But not in a usual way.

I’m physically in quite a bit of pain. A cluster of events have left me with an all over ache. But mentally it’s… It’s weird

I can feel that manic energy starting and I can’t recall the last time I felt like this. I don’t know if it’s the events, or adding vitamin D to my diet. Or maybe it’s just because the iron is finally going back to where I need it to be.

Oh yeah, over the last week I’ve been given a bottle of my favourite wine and hooked up with a console for a great price. And then the package showed up on my doorstop.

The survivor of psychological abuse in me is really certain something is going to go horribly wrong. It always does when things go well. That’s the way my life has worked for three decades.

Gifted a computer, the pipes break for almost a month.

Come to think of it, things have been off kilter since I accepted a plane ticket back in September and not necessarily in a bad way.

Well, not in a bad way for all things but writing. It’s been a tough couple of months for sales. Which was part of why I felt like such trash on Sunday when I didn’t even make the list.

Beth says she felt like this too. She ended up walking away/ignoring all things about her books and it worked itself out. When she tried to do something about it, nothing would happen and she got frustrated.

I’m going to do something similar, but I will still be writing. I will edit and publish as I can. But otherwise, I’m going to just stop.

Stop looking at the reports that keep upsetting me. Stop trying to market all over, because it’s not helping. Stop looking for reviews or reviewers. Just stop.

I’ll gather my ego back up and once I feel better and more able, I will jump back in the middle of marketing and all the rest. Until then, I will focus on me and what I like to do.

Writing, editing, and cover making.

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.

Look Until You Are Exhausted

Yesterday I applied to about fifty marketing websites for At Death’s Door. 

Many of them said on their websites that this is not a sure thing. The usual suspects from last time toted how they’ll totally have my ad on their page on the Twenty-fourth.

They didn’t last time, if they don’t this time, I’m going to be pissed. 

Like I said before, they are offering a free service, but it’s apparently not guaranteed. Their confirmation email should not say that it will be in their newsletter if it’s not going to be in their newsletter. Is that too much to ask?

One said that I had been accepted and will be posted, I believe it even had links to the pages for me to go look at on the day and share and such on. I will look, if it is there, they may be my new favourite for communication.

And of course, there were the forty or so sites which are not guaranteed. Oh, I still applied to them all. To all the sites I could find. I also have a list of Facebook pages to post to the day of. 

I’m starting to work on ad copy, something that will fit into a 140 characters or less. Hash tags and tweets and places to do the things. Beth has one page which worked one time, but it’s also a free service and seems to have a good spread. It doesn’t disappear immediately.

Having done all that, I went out with a work friend at nine thirty and didn’t get home until after one in the morning. Walked home from downtown… 

I am not disturbed by the fact that I walked forty minutes at one in the morning. It was even warm still.

It’s the up at six, legs being annoying, wine still lingering in my mouth after brushing my teeth twice, feeling. It’s the “I don’t want to do this” feeling. Which could also be the “please, marketing, please, please, please, work.”

In the mean time, I’ve got a full work day ahead of me and I don’t want to be bright or cheerful. I want to curl up and sleep.

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.


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…

Arts and Crafts for Authors

I’m talking about cover design. No, I’m not going to tell you how to make a cover. There are a couple of tutorials for different covers from the age old, “add a black box,” to, “add black bands,” and on to the, “just feather that all around,” stuff that doesn’t translate well from Photoshop to Paintshop, apparently.

Cover design is very personal, and while I may talk about it later on, I won’t right now. I just got started, by next week all my information will hopefully be upgraded.

Cover design is one of those things that most of us should probably hire out for, myself included. It’s not just a slap on the butt and it’ll work.

It’s not like painting a wall, where as long as it’s mostly okay, no one will notice the flaws. 

There’s positioning and hierarchy and typography. And not just the type of font you use, but how you make that sucker stand out from the rest of the cover. There’s negative space and texture and colour.

So, I’ve been talking for a while about getting into cover design…

I’ve got the program, I’ve got a couple sites for stock photos, I’ve been doing research in those moments when I can’t focus on writing. 

I kind of suck at it right now, but doing this kind of work when the words elude me takes the pressure off me. I don’t feel like I’m a failure because I can’t make my three thousand words, or I’m not marketing, or editing. I get my mind off the plots for a little bit, so that I can take a look back with a fresh perspective and see new things in a world. 

It’s a great thing that keeps my attention and doesn’t make me feel guilty, unlike the video games I keep trying to play. On the one hand this is a good thing, because it means that I have the ambition, drive, and, heck, even the time management skills required to get this whole dream of mine off the ground. I’m just missing the reader base.

Market more.

That’s the voice I hear, except it’s always in a snooty tone and said by someone who isn’t living paycheck to paycheck, able to afford rent but nothing extravagant. Know what I can’t afford?

Furniture, trips, alcohol, makeup, and a shit ton of other things like daily coffee. If I can’t afford those things, I can’t afford marketing.

Then you can’t afford to be a writer.

You and I, snooty voice, need to have words out behind the woodshed with a shotgun.

This idea that if you can’t afford marketing, you can’t afford to be an author is absolutely ridiculous. You can afford to be an author. Save your money for things that really matter, like an editor and cover designer. Write a good book, the rest will come with time. Sure, it’ll take you longer, but just because you don’t have expendable income doesn’t mean you have to abandon your dream.

End rant.

Yesterday, after making my three thousand words I made the cover for His Grace and then did the other idea I had for the cover. It could be the shitty angel wings I grabbed for filler, but the second one looks stupid. I will try to find an appropriate pair of wings and see how that looks. 

Probably just the same.

Then I tried playing my game and was on just long enough for it to load before I looked at the time and grimaced.

It was only noon, I still had lots of time before my day off ended. I couldn’t come up with anything to do with the game, at least nothing interesting, so I closed it down and reopened Paintshop. 

I grabbed a couple random things. I slapped something together and finally ended up looking at an approximation of the cover I had wanted for Masked Intentions. Only an approximation though.

I started trying to come up with pre-made cover ideas. While wandering around, I found a stock photo of two pillows and got an idea, so I did it. That’s it, that’s all. I made what was mostly in my head.

My typography and texture mixes are still bothering me. Texture is getting better, but I have to find someplace with typography tutorials. I want to know how I do that thing with the thing and that one over there.

Mine’s just all flat and boring. All I can really do is drop shadow and glow. 

I am doing the smart thing, though, and making up recipe files for my covers. I think there’s a way to save palettes but I don’t know how to do that yet. Rather than spend the three hours teaching myself in the middle of craft time, I grabbed the hex numbers and added them to the recipe file.

So, that’s what I did this weekend. It’s what I plan to do tonight when I get home as well, unless His Grace begs to be written. 

I need to finish Death Mask. Haven’t heard anything back from the betas of Cheating Death, starting to worry it’s a bad book. Ah well, I’m a bad author and a bad cover designer.

I don’t feel bad about that, though, as I will get better.

When Avoiding the Ending, do Other Work

It’s not that I have writer’s block, but that this happens when I get close to the ending of something. It happened with Contract Renewed and prematurely with Contract Sealed. There’s just something about ending a book that gives my brain a stutter and a little death.

I’ve been working on Wraith’s Rebellion since September. My fingers are trying to tell me that’s ten months. I’m not really trusting them at the moment, as I’m having difficulty moving the joints and that interferes with a lot of reasoning skills because of the pain.

If the damp could go away, I’d be ever so happy.

So working out the ending and saying goodbye to Quin and Helen is seriously messing with me. It’s not like there have been a lot of characters, this has been a very intimate story and unlike with Izzy and Nate… and Mr. W, it isn’t done and in the past. 

They just feel cozier to me, and I don’t want to give them up, but this will be the end of their story. The world might continue, but I don’t think they really come up again unless Anna does tell me her story, then it’d be text based communication only.

In the meantime I’ve been playing video games. Mainly because the arthritis is causing enough pain to drain me to the point of nothing, so by the time I get home from the day job there’s a fog in my eyes and I still have the nightly things to do, like dinner, dishes, and cats. 

Please buy my books so I can quit my day job.

I had never intended on full quitting, but it’s working with my hands. I know they say with arthritis to use it or lose it, but I can do stretches or colouring books, nail painting and fine work for cover design. Things which help with my career rather than help someone who yips and yaps at me because someone my age couldn’t possibly have arthritis and why am I not moving faster to serve their purpose?

I’m talking clients, not boss. The boss is quite understanding and we’re discussing training for another position because… well, hands.

In the meantime, while this stupid rain continues and the damp gets into my joints, I’ve started promoting At Death’s Door even though I swore I’d wait for more reviews on all the books before I did that. I’ve been considering setting out a cover goal for myself. 

One pre-made cover for each day off the regular job. Once I reach ten covers, I’ll start selling them. Take that money and reinvest it in the books. Etc and so on.

I’ve been considering getting a website. But here’s the thing. My credit card expires next month and I haven’t received the new one yet. I’m worried about starting and subscription service, in case the credit card company has decided my paying the card on time all but that one time isn’t good enough and and they don’t send me a new one.

It could seriously mess with my plans, but that’s life. Always kicking me in the face.

After all that trouble last year, I had a couple quiet months. Then on Sunday my kitchen ceiling started leaking. Did my job, notified the landlord. No response. Then on Thursday same thing, except four this time.

Did my job, notified the landlord and pointed out the mould growing on the ceiling now. Said he’d be there Friday.

I have no idea if he did anything. The ceiling isn’t leaking anymore but it’s not raining as hard. My kitchen smells like mould and mildew.

Know where you don’t want that stuff? In your food.

I’m so sick of chasing people with the same comment or question sixteen times, then having them act like I’m imposing on them because I want an answer as to what will be done about this thing that is their responsibility.

Answer the first time, and I won’t have to ask again.

So I need to look for a new place on top of everything else. Due to the area being an “up and comer” people are moving into it which is jacking up the rent. I can’t afford to move on my income, and I’m “well above” minimum wage.

I was told recently that minimum wage was meant to be living wage, how much you had to make to support a family. I can’t support myself on more than that! 

Not anymore, not with people jacking up the rent because people are moving from Toronto because they can’t afford to live there either.

Dear world, I was told there were breaks that people catch. You lied, I want a refund on hope invested so I can convert it into something more useful.

As an added note, I think my autocorrect is starting to lose its mind. Oh boy.

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.