Year End Review

My publication anniversary is here. Technically past but that’s fine, we’ll work with a generalized idea of it.

First off, let’s do inventory.

Last year about this time, I started my 12-in-12 challenge, meaning to write a book a month. Technically I have one more day to finish. I think I’m shy by one book, but my numbers keep slipping all over the place. It’s expected, but whatever, it’s close enough, right?

Published this year:

His Grace Oct. 25, 2017

Contract Gifted April 7, 2018

His Wings April 8, 2018

Fragments May 9, 2018

Isabella’s Story (boxset) Oct. 6, 2018

Seed Oct. 15, 2018

Published “next” year:

Crop Nov. 22, 2018

Harvest Dec. 31, 2018

Wraith’s Rebellion (box set) Jan. 2019

The Reaping (box set) Feb. 2019

Written this year:

Contract Claimed -NaNoWriMo appr. 89k words

Contract Sealed – Dec appr. 20k words

His Wing – Jan approx. 87k words edited and published

Contract Delivered – appr. 70k words

Crop – appr. 87k words (finished about 104k) edited and published

Harvest -appr. 90k words (finished about 108k) edited and published

The Last Prophet – appr. 90k words mild editing

Hera – July appr. 97k words beta read

Contract Gifted – appr. 25k words edited and published

Grim Port – Oct. appr. 101k words

Plotted out:

D.o.t.A. books x 4 (I cannot recall their names)

Savage Shores – m/f alien interaction on a giant paradise ship.

Contract Unspoken – m/m smutty novella of Mr. Wrightworth and an unnamed slave

Elysia – an Elders book about Elysia finding Kaz and turning her, though told from his perspective.

The Special Boy – a Coven book set in the Coffee and Blood world about the grown male witch

Grim Haven/Grim Travels – two books to fill out the Grim trilogy set in Scotland

In Planning:

Bob – (Coffee and Blood) an ‘Elders’ book, as Bob is technically an Elder, about Vampire Las Vegas. South American setting.

Ba En Ra – (Coffee and Blood) a trilogy set in the Ba En Ra family, said to be located in or around Egypt, where they lived for tens of thousands of years.

The Rebellion – (Coffee and Blood) a trilogy wrapped around the werewolves and witches and a treaty they are in the process of forming.

Bitches – (Coffee and Blood) I don’t care what the freaking wolves say, this title has to change. This is a couple of stories, or maybe a trilogy wrapped around Daisy and her adventures. I’ve given her a nudge and she might find herself in Mungo’s path. That’ll make sense later on.

Duality – (solo world) a book or series set around a world where mages need to pair off in order to access their magic.

Shade – (solo world) a series of random books of varying lengths about an immortal named Shade.

Savage Shores – this is supposed to be a series following the consequences of the book.

Alpha – a set of three smutty m/m novellas revolving around the ‘adoption’ of a new companion by an Alpha who has two already. They would then be released in a set. The series would continue on.


Something is missing. Maybe December was finishing off Contract Signed. It would take about four hours for me to find the information and then I’d get lost down the rabbit hole.

In the last year I’ve also moved, gone back to school, moved from full time to part time work, adopted a cat, got my license back… been making my own covers.  I like the cover making, but I need more experience and practice before I start selling, I think. I always think that, so we’ll see how it goes.

Cover design takes hours at a desktop, though. I don’t have that time. So no arts and crafts for me.

So…

What do I want to do in the next year? What do I want to see?

I want more than five books published. I want the entire backlog edited and published. I want to keep writing as fast as I am, so one or more books written a month.

I need to set a clear goal but I think I need to think on this more. Just like I did last year, I want to set up the books for writing and editing and such on. I want it all listed out.

Right now, let’s focus on right now: Finishing the Grim trilogy. Write that sucker. I could be done in two weeks with some pushing.

Once finished the Grim trilogy, finish reading Harvest. Grab Hera and do a read, then start the plot edits then do other edits. Grab the Grim trilogy as a whole. Read it all, do plot edits. Then start actual edits on the trilogy.

Given time and how things are falling into place, I’m actually hoping to have that almost done by January 7th when I go back to school.

So, my real hope is that my next year will look like this:

January: Wraith’s Rebellion box set

February: The Reaping box set

March: Hera

April: Grim Port

May: Grim Haven

June: Grim Travels

July: Grim box set

… and then? I dunno, but that would get me four out of 7+ books. Dum, dum, dum, what do I do then? I’m definitely on a Coffee and Blood kick but they don’t draw a lot of income so far.

Except I freaking love them. You know, if you couldn’t tell. Those who read them seem to like them, which is fantastic. I just need more readers.

So… oh, D.o.t.A, I guess.

 

 

Week Four (Day Five)

Wrote almost 5000 words yesterday on Mr. Wrightworth’s novella.

I went looking through available movies this morning and there are actually a couple I’d want to watch so that’s what I’m doing Sunday.

Movies, writing, bath, and wine. Not all four at the same time, but a combination of them throughout the day.

Yesterday during work I ached again. It’s this weird all over tenderness. Like I got super drunk, that’s what the feeling is.

Like I drank way too much and now my whole body is protesting. Haven’t had wine in weeks.

… Haven’t had stronger alcohol in months.

This morning my throat is scratchy again, but it has been for two weeks. I’ve been fighting off this cold and fighting off this cold. Maybe that’s why my body aches.

I assume it’s stress and fighting off a cold that’s making me ache. Growing up I was told emotions are just in my head. Like we should all strive to be Vulcan or something, but let’s admit that they do alter our body chemistry. I’m almost certain I’ve seen studies on it.

So my body is in permanent hang over mode. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on making it worse this weekend. A couple of glasses of wine and then early to bed.

Unless I’m almost finished the novella. We all know I can’t sleep with a project almost finished.

Forgot to eat this morning, ishk. Except not eating in time makes me sick, but eating too much also makes me sick. The school has a little cafe, but the only things my diet allows is fruit (ish) except they only had apples.

Because everyone loves apples, right?

They make me physically ill unless I’m in the mood for an apple. Way too sweet too.

So I had a ‘fuck it’ moment and grabbed a jumbo double chocolate muffin. I’m severely going to regret that about… oh… five  tonight, you know, when I clock in. But that’s kind of what happens when you toss your hands up in the air and just do something stupid.

Suppose it’s about time for the weekly review.

Writing (class) is about on par. I seem to struggle with the odd spellings, but I knew that before. There’s these lovely things called word check and Google. I use them, though I only normally need them for the first three uses of the word. Then I get frustrated with the ‘waste of time’ and commit the spelling to memory. I don’t use the words she wants us spelling so …. there’s that.

Math, we had a test on Tuesday. The second class is today. It didn’t take me long at all.

Keyboarding there’s two tests or something of that sort next week. We’ve not really covered the one, for proofreading marks. I think I got it down, though, so long as she doesn’t expect me to draw them out. If she just gives them to us and is like “what do you use this for?” I’ll be good. I know we’ll be using those going forth (in class) so I know I’ll get it down within a couple of weeks.

Computer skills has still been file organization. It’s all pretty standard (for me) and I keep chastising myself into paying attention, as I drift off in a daydream.

Pay attention, stupid.

Accounting I had about a third of the classes? Half? Think it’s half. Technically we have six classes a week. I missed one on Tuesday because of the road test and two yesterday afternoon because she had an appointment. With no place else to go, I settled in the classroom, determined to get some of the book read for Interpersonal Communication.

And then I remembered the new assignment for Accounting was up. The assignments are online like so many are, and the software is simple, but it doesn’t let you bring up the numbers and information you need along with the answer slot at the same time, this is a frustration. Also, if you make a mistake, you have to go through the entire question before you can try again.

But it takes the highest score so you can just keep redoing it until you get 100.

Well… it was a long question and I was tired, I couldn’t keep my information straight. I did it three times, got grumpy, and printed off the numbers from the secondary window and everything went swimmingly. But it took two hours to do.

I was also frustrated when I was done, because I wasn’t making mistakes because I didn’t get it. I made them because the date or the cost of a transaction slipped from my mind after a second. So, I switched over to Mr. Wrightworth’s novella and finished up the chapter just to relieve some stress.

Except he’s a little stress ball because he’s not allowed to beat on his slave, which I kind of wanted to watch given my recent mood, but that wasn’t what we agreed to write.

Once that was done, I went to work and was asked to start right away. By 6pm I was done, shuffling around and having to lean on things when I came to a stop because my back and legs are aching that much. I don’t even know why, they just are.

Last is Interpersonal Communication. There was a quote assignment due today which I’ll submit on lunch. We had to choose an inspirational quote and write up a blurb on why we chose it, how it’s personal. There’s an informal sharing in class today.

I dun wanna share. I just wanna sit in the back corner under the desk and sleep.

Just today and tomorrow, then I have two days off. I’m almost through, but my body was done a couple weeks ago and has just basically been limping on through.

Heaven help anything that wakes me Sunday morning if the house isn’t on fire.

I’m, of course, referencing cats who turn into wanks whenever they want something. Darius, the youngest, keeps body checking me in my sleep and I don’t know why. Not on my body, no, he body checks my face and neck, and he weighs about five pounds now. He didn’t do it last night, but that’s because I wound up curled around the oldest, who actually got up and smacked Darius away.

Just two more days.

Oh, and I can sleep in tomorrow since I don’t work until 1pm… 1:30? Ah crap, now I can’t remember my own schedule.

 

Week Four (Day Four)

This morning, I finished writing up the plot for Mr. Wrightworth’s novella. It’s the first one from his point of view and could end up ten chapters long. I’ve decided to spend my Sunday curled up on the couch with his story, watching movies and drinking wine. Not all day, obviously I’m going to wait for the afternoon at least for the wine, but I suspect I won’t have more than a glass or two.

Which reminds me, I have to drink more water…

I’m hoping (that’s a big hope) to get the novella done Sunday or Monday. It’s only supposed to be about 23k words, which I can definitely do in a day without breaking my brain. Especially when I’m involved in a story, but writing smut has always taken me longer than regular stuff.

I’m also hoping that keyboarding will help me with that. Because dang it, I’d love to be able to type 78wpm on a story.

My calculator claims I could write the novel in five hours if I wrote at that speed. I think it’s lying. It must be. Bad calculator.

That would be fantastic. Imagine the possibilities!

I’m trying to figure out what movies to watch on Sunday. Normally I  put on Netflix and go, which reminds me, I have to cancel my Netflix subscription. They aren’t getting in movies or shows I want to watch besides some original content but I don’t want to pay that amount for one show every two months. I might as well just buy the show when it comes out on DVD, same price and I don’t have to worry about being connected to the internet.

I could marathon through the Riddick Chronicles but… not sure I want to. My biggest trouble over the next couple of days might just be deciding what to watch.

The boss is back in town, she arrived in time to walk with the president guy. The other managers were also there. He didn’t say hello or anything to me, which normally he does, makes an effort to greet everyone. Maybe he was having an off day.

We talked very briefly about the weekend of doom. I said I was still upset because she dismissed what I was saying based on the fact that I was tired. And that I never want to do that again. Like. Ever. But I didn’t get into detail, since she’s still on vacation until Friday or Saturday. I can talk to her then and explain the garbled mess and how, apparently, I had someone from the store on my friends list on Facebook, she violated my consent, and the co-worker appeared to take that as my threatening her but bee-tee-dubs, here’s the post in question because while it’s locked, I have nothing to hide.

I have my personal Facebook under friends-only lock because I know sometimes I’m a wank. I say stupid things etc, welcome to being human. But I also have it locked because back in high school I had a stalker and she… appeared at one point to be haunting my Facebook and doing things. So… I locked her out.

I worry about that, but I also know that I was pushed to my end/extreme. I am good at a lot of things. Heck, I might even be considered great at a lot of things. Working constantly of thirty-seven days straight while dealing with stress is not one of those things. That doesn’t put me in the wrong, it just shows a limit that no one has tested before.

The schedule was also posted, I obviously have Sunday and Monday off. Thank goodness.

Just three more days.

Except… issues. I was called back from break yesterday because the doors were broken. When I got up front, there were six or so customers standing in our vestibule, about to push the doors off the tracks. It is an escape method, but the issue is, unless you have the strength and know-how, they’re almost impossible to put back on the track. One person needs both of those things because you kind of need to feel it out and you can’t lock up for the night unless it is back in place.

My body is not doing that. It’s barely upright. The other person I normally rely on for that sort of thing bruised her rib a few days ago and there’s no way I’d ask that of her just because my body isn’t doing that. Her body shouldn’t do that, even if it can.

So, I might have shouted a little.

“No!”

One customer was pushing on the door, a man was reaching up to the knobs, touching all the things. I told him to shut the doors off and he said that didn’t work. I repeated it and then made a motion away, like do it or get the fuck out the way and I’ll do it. So he scowled at me, but shut off the power to the doors and said it wouldn’t do anything.

I grabbed the doors and pushed them open. Because once the power is off, the doors move just fine which is how I know it’s not a problem with the tracks of the doors like we keep getting told. It’s the motor or has to do with problem number two.

The ceiling was dripping water about every ten seconds.

The cashier told the customers waiting that I was on my way up, but could they please move to the side, because the ceiling appears to be leaking (we had a heavy rain) she then watched the people under the leak, look up and stare.

As the water fell on their faces.

The leak has been there there a while. I think it’s three times now, it was supposed to have been fixed. It winds around electrical stuff, a motion detector and what kind of looks like an air conditioner. This store is the only one which seems to air condition their vestibule which I always thought odd until I actually looked up. So… we’ve got water leaking around electrical stuff.

Each time the ceiling leaks, I realized, we have issues with the door.

Tada, water is leaking into the wires of the door, creating hazards. Our doors will snap shut on customers, but also not open. Let’s not forget our basic math water + electricity = bad.

We put a bucket under the drip with a wet floor sign. You could hear it dripping into the bucket.

Customers dropped garbage into the bucket.

Thanks, guys.

After we closed up, the cashier related the story once more about customers looking up, so I looked up. It’s a weird, weird thing. But it’s a good thing I did because the leak has spread, so we put another bucket out there. The new one is directly over the path of the customer. Yay.

All I can do is call them in again, except I’m tired of them sending people who don’t know what’s going on, so I linked it all back into the comments and suggested the two might be connected.

Oh, right. Passed the driving test. I got the one the driving instructor refers to as the strict one. She’s quite a happy person, I never would have suspected she was strict at all. She kept saying good and I kept thinking she has to say that. At the end she said she had nothing else to say and I passed.

Just need to wait to be on insurance for someone before I can take a car out. If I had a car I could go home on days like today, where I have the afternoon off due to an instructor being out, and nap before work. Nap, like a person with time or something.

I’m now trying to figure out how to save up enough for a car. The fact that I can’t go to Mexico again for two years because of school means I’ll have a little from that, but it’ll take something like six trips to pay for a car and that means I’d have to save for six years to get a car and I don’t have that kind of time.

So, I’m basically batting around ideas on finances and trying not to feel overwhelmed over the fact that I can’t afford it right now. I can’t afford to buy a new car, because I can’t afford the monthly payments, not on what I’m currently being paid. Maybe once I graduate and have a job. Even if I had to keep the retail job for a little while to help things out. It’d drive me crazy, but at least then I’d have a car.

Why can’t money grow on trees?

Ah well. One thing down. A couple more to go.

Week Three (Day Five)

Writing:

How do I put this…? My muses have been tossing about ideas for a new Contracted trilogy?

I know, I’m world and story creating like crazy and not getting on with the writing of anything yet. It’s all the clickity clack from keyboarding school driving me to it, but I’m making and keeping notes on OneNote so that it’s all there and available for when I can write again.

A Kaz/Balor story is started but put off because the content is not work or school safe so I can’t work on it anywhere. Not until either tomorrow or Sunday but I’ve allotted for edits for Crop to get that done.

Have I talked about The Others? It’s almost entirely unedited, which is stated in the first post there. It’s an ongoing project that I update in between other things, or pick away at between classes and such. So, if you’ve got an itch, head on over. Just realize it is m/m.

The idea is to pull it later on to edit and do additions, then publish it as a series. I think I’ve decided I’m writing out as much as I have/can, as far as it goes, then pulling the whole thing and editing it.

But if you do go, you’ll notice I’m not rushing any with that.

Other:

Work moving stuff last night definitely tired me out. I’m not necessarily sore, though. Just… tired.

I went to brush my teeth this morning and had immediate fatigue, so… you know, the writing class is going to be fun since she has us hand-write notes.

We had an accounting quiz yesterday and I looked around after I finished and realized everyone was still writing. Cue me panicking because I must have missed something. If they’re still writing, it must mean I did something wrong, skipped at least one part. So, I checked it again and again, even put the alphabet beside the transactions, worried I had just skipped one.

No, it just happens that I have managed a good understanding of the first two chapters. Because I read them ahead and took my own notes (this is how I learn better) but now I worry because chapter three, I read it and I couldn’t find anything to make a note about. Just, yup, that all makes sense.

Writing, the instructor was sick but assigned some homework in place of her being here because we still have to keep up on work, right? Your boss calls out sick, do you just skip out  home and do nothing?

If  I’m being honest, I’d work from home if I could get away with it.  Well, it sounds like a few people didn’t hand anything in because they didn’t read the full announcement. Oh, geez.

Keyboarding! Keyboarding is the one I constantly feel like I’m struggling with. My hands are starting to move a little better but I still have to make exceptions to their rules. My knuckles don’t move like that and as much as I’ve forced the new motions, the fingers just kind of shoot out and start hitting all the buttons. So, I guess you could say that I’ve adapted the method because of my arthritis. I’m sure my method wouldn’t pass for others, because the damage to the joints is different.

However, my word count and accuracy have begun to go up. Yesterday I did a two-minute timing without a single error, not even one I deleted. Though… it was weird. I did several two-minute timings. I think five in total? On one they kept wanting ‘exam’ someone wrote and exam and didn’t tell this other person when the exam was.

Yeah, for some reason my brain insists there’s an ‘e’ on the end of ‘exam’ but not all the time just every third or fourth time I write exam. My fingers hit the ‘e’ at the end and my brain, reading it out goes, “Yup, that looks right.”

Math, I worry I’m so lost that I think I’ve made it. Like I aimed for the Pacific Ocean and ended up in the Atlantic instead and just can’t tell the difference, that kind of lost. It both seems too easy, and they ask me things that I was never taught in school.

Rounding and estimating, what is this? Math of lazy people?

Yet, I use rounding and estimating when I’m doing math at work, but because I’m in a school setting my brain stutters and I think I must not know how to do it right.

Have I hit them all? No. Computers. I need to pay more active attention but I think he thinks I’m writing in class because now he’s wanting us to focus forward. If I don’t take notes, it doesn’t stick. Writing notes by hand gets it out of my head so I just never remember. But if I type it, thanks to all the writing, my brain logs it all down.

All, like, “Oh, gonna need this in edits, I just know it.”

So on breaks and as he was dismissing us, I scrambled to get notes into my note page to remember it this time. He’s teaching us file sorting. I like to think I’ve got that down. But then I tried to find things in my OneDrive and it seems I bungled something, so I need to revisit my system. Which is fine, it’s new. Sometimes it takes me some time to figure out the easiest way to set up a new system.

Oh, and Interpersonal Communication. I started reading the book, think I’m about halfway through. Need to read more, obviously. Need to take notes in that class, it’s after lunch and that’s definitely going to be brain death time.

I am trying to interact with my fellow students more. Soft skills, you know?

Work last night, besides the exhaustion, went all right. The co-worker was happy she hasn’t been happy in a long time. She also sported a new look. Looked like half her hair disappeared, since she flattened it. But the happy scared the shit out of me. I’ve had people get happy like that when they’re about to attack me.

I thought it was maybe just my perspective too, until someone else saw her walk by and their eyebrows raised.

“Whole new person this week.”

Hey, if she stays happy and isn’t mean to anyone, whatever and good for her. If she’s planning something, ugh. For about a second, I thought she was gloating and then I realized I didn’t care what she was doing. I was tired, I wasn’t working.

I played my game between school and work. When I started, a man I hadn’t met properly came and acted like the MOD. It took a second for the voice in the back of my head to kick me and remind me of interpersonal communication.

He’s good people. He’s in training for a boss position and I like him. I’ve never met an boss-in-training who I thought was good people. People, yes, but normally they’re just not great people. Oh, I’ve met plenty of bosses who are good people too, including my current one, it’s just I never meet good boss-in-trainings.

He was nice, he tried to help, he communicated, he introduced himself. There’s nothing threatening about him in the least.

Good.

Truth be told, it was his presence that calmed me around the co-worker being happy and the assistant asking (per her job) about the weekend. She says she has to talk to the boss about it, again that’s her job. I told her I wrote it all up and she seemed surprised.

Well, writer. Hypergraphic. Super upset. Also I have a bad memory. I cannot for the life of me remember anything beyond I don’t do my job and her invalidating all of my feelings by blaming me being tired.

Good thing I wrote it down.

At the end of the day, what was said doesn’t matter as much as the outcome. Of me bawling my eyes out and feeling like she was manipulating me into quitting and whatever she took from the conversation.

Which, I have to say, from my view is smug assuredness.

Oh well. There are other jobs. I’m told they’re a dime a dozen.

I can sleep in tomorrow, I’m so flipping excited. Nine more days. Just nine more days.

Week Three (Day Three)

Writing first: I’m now considering/dabbling in smutty short stories or novellas from Coffee and Blood. I mean, come on. They’re vampires who sometimes have sex to pass the time.

It’s just that the sex doesn’t fit in with the actual stories they’re telling. Sex happens between stories, or after stories, or the tales of debauchery are kind of shared in an offhand manner, like they’re relating changing a tire or something.

Contract Taken received a five-star review on Goodreads and I’m so flipping happy. I’ve been seeing a lot of unhappy readers leaving ratings and reviews. Other authors say it’s because I put Contract Taken up for free so I’ve drawn a lot of people to me for the price, but those people don’t necessarily like my style. They just read everything that’s free and then leave bad ratings.

I mean, a rating is personal, so I get that. I just wish I could get more people who like the books to leave reviews.

On the plus side: you can tell I don’t pay for reviews. I don’t have five hundred five-star reviews all vaguely glowing about ‘this author’s book.’ Nope, you can tell they read the whole thing. Or didn’t, but come right out and say they didn’t finish.

Everything else:

2iratx.jpg

I actually think in memes when I get uncomfortable. They’re like little comics which can offset my mood and get me thinking about other things. Sometimes they make me giggle a little and completely remove the mood. So, I use them inside my head when and where possible.

I guess I like memes, is what I should say.

The above is in reference to my desire to call in sick to work. As soon as it popped into my head, I realized it probably was high anxiety riddling my system and my body protesting that enough is enough. I get it, I do.

Every little thing this morning started that pre-attack twitter in my chest. From refilling the cat’s water dish to random thoughts.

I did sleep last night, woke in the middle of tensing up, almost-charlie horse in my freaking leg again. Ugh.

Saw that work posted schedule for me and then looked up the full schedule. We’re not really supposed to do that, but there was a weird thing where I’m the closing manager but I’m not scheduled to close… and my hours were ever so slightly shorter than they usually are.

The person who did the schedule, once I looked at the expanded one, put an extra body with me every night. So, yeah, that’s fun.

I see the person who violated my Facebook privacy on Saturday. I have no intention of bringing it up, but I also know that I can’t talk about personal items with this person. She’s proven to be untrustworthy and it’d just be best if I left off and just focused on work with her.

I don’t work with the person who I had the blow up with, I do see the assistant manager. I don’t actually know where she stands on the person in question. However, that’s her doing her job. It’s no one’s business who she supports, but I do not need another strip taken off me.

I suspect that the extra body is either mandated by the boss (who kind of got involved at 3am in her timezone. I thought it was 9am because I reversed the change) because we all know I’m stressed out and tired and my feet are dragging. I’m like a regular manager.

If I could insert that drum and cymbal sound that goes at the end of a bad joke, I’d do so now.

But it’s true, I’ve been told so often in the past that I work faster than others, I make others feel bad, blah, blah, blah. And then when I hurt or I’m sick, or I’m just having a bad day, their response is:

“Now you know how other people feel.”

Yeah, it’s really shitty of your to bring up.

Instead, I normally inform the person once more that I’m hurt/sick/off and that I am not feeling well in any form of the word. That for me, this isn’t normal, this is very abnormal, this is very wrong.

And, uh, school…

I missed an assignment for keyboarding. It will barely lower my mark but I’m really broken up about it. That’s not like me. It’s really not like me. Especially since I do the assignment and I print it off before I leave the class for the day. How?

How do you mess up that system, brain?

How?

The only time I didn’t do it was this past Friday because we had timed typings and it ran late, so I don’t think I even finished the section until that afternoon. But, I printed it off on Monday and handed it in. I’d say I hope, but she’s already posted my mark for that area.

It was small, very, very, small, but I’m upset because let’s say that was an email I missed.

I’d be in super trouble. No, not really, it’s mainly just a sign of how stressed I’ve been, how out of it and overwhelmed. My brain is skipping about and not focusing on what I need it to focus on. So. I need to pay more attention, actually super figure this out.

Which is super annoying.

Yesterday, I started the reading for Interpersonal Communication. We’re reading a selected self-help book, which I loathe by the way. I hate self-help books. I don’t want some wank millionaire preaching to me about how he became a wank millionaire. Because that’s basically what they do: you’re doing this wrong and this wrong and this wrong.

Bitch, please, I knew that before. Stop telling me how to do it wrong, strip all that nonsense out and tell me how to do it right.

I’m reading How to Win Friends and Influence People. So far, it’s the training my company has given us. Good company, have a treat. But only a little one, because your head is bigger than your bank account already.

Except they don’t tell team members that’s what they’re doing. They’ve just been passing this stuff down.

“Use a person’s name. Introduce yourself.”

“WHY WOULD I DO THAT?”

“Because we said so.”

Ugh. Names are the sticky point for me at the moment. I respond to a lot of different names, including ones that don’t belong to me at all, aren’t even similar to my name. No one ever gets my name.

I once had a regular customer for six years and she called me Rachel every time she came in. I wore a name tag, I corrected her the first two years and then just gave up and started responding to Rachel.

I don’t use other peoples’ names because it sounds insincere and weird. How often do you hear your name in a conversation? Like, really? When the book was written, I can very well see it, but I feel like we’ve swapped over from using actual names to non-verbal communication surrounding the act. We don’t use someone’s name, we now turn to them, or hesitate and make eye contact.

But the book says to use names, so I’ll try to use names.

I will probably cry the first couple of times. Because that’s my reaction to everything for some silly reason. Overwhelmed? Cry. Upset? Cry. Angry? Cry. Happy? Cry.

Sad? Laugh.

Scared? Laugh.

Sympathetic concern? Laugh.

WTF?

Anyhow, started reading that, listening to music at the same time. Now I’m overwhelmed by sound. I need quiet, not even white noise, I just feel like I need to find a sound proofed room and stay there for an hour or so because sound is starting to frustrate me.

Heaven help the poor soul who chews loudly.

Oh, oh, there’s a term for that. I’m in sensory overload.

Yayyyyyy….

I say sarcastically.

This is the first time I’ve noticed entering sensory overload before I basically have an angry temper tantrum inside my head because someone is chewing too loudly or breathing in my direction but two tables away. I guess that’s a plus, but I don’t have the option of secluding myself somewhere and taking a breather.

I was a bit secluded last night, did some writing and watched a show. My unwind time, basically. Wrapped up in a blanket, cat on either side and just doing what I wanted quietly.

That didn’t help.

I feel like I’m constantly blanking. If it weren’t for that internal personal aide, I’d be so pooched. Even with accounting, they wanted us to write up an income statement. My response?

“A what?”

“An… income statement.”

“What goes on that?”

“What goes on a P+L report?”

“I don’t know! How would I know?”

To which I basically facepalm because I do know. Let me tell you, if that voice was an actual person, they’d lose their patience with me a lot.

Whoa. There’s something called Sensory Processing Disorder? And it sounds like it might be linked to OCD (which hypergraphia is also linked to).

Oh, boy, I just went looking for ways to calm down the sensory overload so I don’t end up in a pouting meltdown, because for some reason it’s one of those things I don’t cry over. Nope, kind of pout like a child. I don’t like that reaction either.

Sullen silence, I think my father used to call it. Because, you know, not allowed to throw an actual tantrum.

Anyhow, school is about to start and I need to focus on not throwing up on the person who sits beside me, who is super quiet all the time.

 

Week Three (Day Two

Writing First:

… just drew a total blank.

Uh, right, I finished reading Contract Claimed last night. When I started reading it, I thought it was complete. That is not the case. As I hit that area, I had this flash of a promise I had made to Mr. Wrightworth to go back and expand. The book was originally written for NaNoWriMo 2018, it was the start of my 12-in-12 challenge. Halfway through, I realized my issue, but also that if I didn’t get something down, I’d lose the thread.

So, I’ve got a nice flow and then all of a sudden something like two books got mushed into the later half of Contract Claimed. The plan is now to fix that.

Nate’s story will be the second trilogy out of Contracted, still slated for editing next June or so. Then, once it’s scheduled for editing, I will do additions and the like for Will’s story. I’ll revisit Contract Gifted at some point and expand on that as I had originally planned. Once all that is written and done, Mr. Wrightworth might consider a one-off to wrap up the series (or at least those characters) where his name is finally revealed on the last page of the book.

Because I’m evil, or he is, your choice.

My beta is about a hundred pages into Harvest  and asked if there’s actual sex in the books at all.

Uh oh. We realized I added it during the edits. But, admittedly, Coffee and Blood tends to have less sex than most of my other books.

Possibly because I’m on a bit of a theme, after her comment, a sadist from the old Devil faction appeared and offered to seduce half the Eastern shore of the North American continent.

I should be putting edits into Crop, but my mental health is in the way again. This isn’t even a part I could hire out for. I need to take each edit out of context, judge it, perform the edit, do a check, then decide if the new way even looks good.

Then do a scanned spot check of the surrounding area to see if anything else jumps out at me.

Other stuff:

I spent the trip to school fantasizing about going onto stress leave from work. It’s my understanding doing so qualifies me for Unemployment Insurance. Or maybe it’s employment. I don’t recall, because I’ve never used it before.

What I’ve heard is that if I go on stress leave, tell them I chose to go back to school because I knew work was stressing me out, they might even help pay for the schooling. There’s a special name for it, but they basically help you get the training you need to get a job and get off of their services.

Except, for that to work, I would need to explain to them the situation with my co-worker. She’s the reason I chose to go back to school. She’s also the reason I applied for my manager position, because I had to get as far away from her as possible, even though I knew I would be going back to school.

There’s a, uh, a worksafe program, that might actually be their name. When you report that kind of thing, they do a full on investigation. The company can be fined, the boss could get in trouble.

It’s not her fault. She’s been trying to correct the behaviour. And I don’t really want the company to be fined. Their handbook covers the topic quite well. It could mean termination for the one involved.

I’m not the type to derive any sort of joy from that. I want this person to change and to stop hurting people. If that all happened? She would be bitter and angry and nothing good would come of it.

I’d much rather the ability to go on stress leave and for her to put her nose into the air like she does and say, “I knew it. She was never cut out to be a manager.”

Nine and a half years experience managing for this company in like six different positions.

It’s those little details that really explain my reaction. I don’t just have so much experience with this company. I have moved between different stores and learned different management styles. Different customer bases. Different ways to approach things. I learned that my way does not necessarily always work. I’ve learned the company’s way… typically works.

I’d just like them to stop cutting hours and to add more back in.

It’s… I’m tired of fighting her.

I had trouble talking myself into bed last night. Anxiety hit me like crazy hard and I don’t understand why. I don’t work with her today. I don’t even work. I don’t see her until Thursday and even that is in passing, is my understanding.

This morning, despite dragging my protesting self to bed at nine, I’m more tired than I was last night. I hurt more, probably because I woke tense. I keep giving myself these weird charlie horses in my sleep because I’m so tense during sleep.

My stomach is still on lock down. I never want to eat, having difficulty downing my coffee or talking myself into water. I’ve got this feeling a physical beating is coming and I just want to get it over with already.

Which, admittedly, is probably why I’m a little more focused on Mr. Wrightworth than I should be.

I don’t know. Maybe I should take the time to write that Master-child scene between Kaz and Balor that started playing through my head. It’s only about a chapter long though, so what do I… How do I handle it when it’s done?

Can’t just slap that into the box set, when it comes out, people would expect an extra bit to be Ashley and Kaz.

Admittedly, I could write that as well, but Kaz is super gentle and sweet with Ashley. He’s always had a soft spot for women. Always nicer with them than the men.

So, let’s say I wrote the Kaz and Balor chapter(s) for the sake of my sanity. Then what?

Then what… start an erotica anthology and just talk about these stories I’m writing but never publishing? I think Amazon allows 10k + words. I think. But would that dilute the world? Would those who like the vampires feel like I was pushing the issue, even though Kaz has had Balor tied to that bed on and off for a year?

I don’t know what to do.

Week Two (Day Two)

It took until I reached school for me to recognize that weird heaviness all over. My joints are aching, on top of more pain, and I’m already sick. Yesterday my nose started running after lunch so I could very well be sick and tired, and in more pain now.

I should have suspected when I had an internal argument with myself this morning over shoes and my backpack. I wore the backpack as I put on my shoes, normally I take the backpack off and kneel to put on my shoes, you know, like a normal person. The idea of kneeling made me whiny and the idea of taking off the backpack only to put it back on again made me call the inner voice who argued with me a very nasty name.

Normal people don’t have full on conversations with themselves, I realize, but I do. Especially when stressed or annoyed. Heck, the voice even helps me remember things, it’s like my personal Siri or Cortana.

Anyhow, I’m supposed to be imputing edits for Crop this morning but I think I need to do some self-care to get through this day. Then, when I get home, I need to medicate with a couple different things and go to bed early, hoping I’ll sleep the night through. At this point, it’s the only help I’ll have.

In a month, though, another option becomes legal. I wouldn’t have to take ibuprofen for the swelling, Valerian to keep me in a deep sleep, and St. John’s Wort to take away the brittle edge that pain puts me in. I can stop at a dispensary, buy a little something, have a puff (quite literally one puff) and then sleep the whole night away.

It’d even have the added benefit of replacing anything I take for anxiety or insomnia for about three days. Replacing such side effects as agitation (how exactly does an anti-anxiety helper cause agitation?), insomnia, and all sorts of medication conflicts with dry mouth, the munchies, and sleepiness.

All without breaking my brain, writing, or mood, so I’m super excited about that.

So, obviously, not working on Crop today. Instead, I ended up reading The Last Prophet on the trip to school. I think I want to expand on this a bit. I think the wrap up doesn’t have to end like a movie does, I think we can do wrap up in the book and not write a separate novella about Sweetheart. Well, not about her outcome. I think I need to add more about P.P. Marky.

A prophet who became a rapper and exists in the modern day, obviously conflicting with the title of the book. I kind of want to hug Marky, as his songs make it onto the radio and later on Abby recalls one and uses his prophecy to save them. Prophets aren’t supposed to be able to cross the thresholds of other prophets, so that could maybe be where her title comes in? I dunno.

I’m looking forward to expanding on this.

The cover artist contacted me a few days ago and I responded. She had been on vacation and then sick. Woops. I checked for a blog or news page, I must have missed it. Completely my fault that I didn’t give it another week, but it’s ingrained in me to follow up. A cover will eventually be in the works, when she is recovered and goes through her messages and puts me on the schedule.

The Last Prophet has distracted me from my pain today, and my frustration and emotions over the past couple of days. I’ve found myself opening the file between classes to read more. This is a good thing, especially for me.

The only trouble being, I requested a wrap with the cover artist. The e-book cover is free, I would pay for the wrap. But the poor woman needs to know about how many pages the book would be, and I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about it and I might be able to add another 80k words to The Last Prophet. It’s going to be a beastie, but there are other things I want to add and explore and delve into. Everything is just a flash, and partway through I asked myself: why? Why is it a flash? Why can’t there be a couple of chapters extra? Why can’t David take lunch with Sweetheart so we learn about her, but also to show their relationship instead of having him just tell Richard? Why don’t we learn about Abby and her parents? Why does she just casually mention her father is dead, when there’s a magical force behind that?

Why doesn’t she call her mother when she awakens?

There are so many other things that need to go into this. And you know what? If it winds up being so freaking long, I can always break it into books like I do all the others. Let’s face it, if I took my trilogies, I could probably work them into one book quite cleanly, besides maybe Contracted because of the time jumps and changes between books.

I feel like I have the bones of The Last Prophet, basically. They’re good bones, they’ll work very well, but they don’t have as much flesh on them as I’d like. So, I’m going to take my time and do what I will with the book. I’m going to turn it into my vision instead of pushing the first copy out in the world.

I seem to be moving away from erotica and romance more, but my bio does say “whatever takes her fancy” and “when she finds a world she loves, she dabbles endlessly.”

Sure, The Last Prophet could go under its own pen name for high fantasy or something, but … no. This is me, this is how I write. I know there are people who insist an author must write only one genre, but that’s just not how I can work. It’s not how most of us work, and few seem to realize that. They hear about Stephen King switching from horror to the dark fantasy genre and they were scandalized and thought he was an exception to the rule.

I like to think of it as authors switch genres as much as readers do. Just because I love Robin Hobb, doesn’t mean I read her exclusively. Nor do I stick to her genre for reading. I also love Anne Bishop, Anne McCaffery, Anne Rice, and Stephen King when I’m in the mood. I’ve picked up single books from some weird scifi/fantasy hard boiled detective something before. I enjoyed it and put it down and never picked up another.

My writing is the same way. So, despite a four day debate about switching The Last Prophet to another pen name, I’ve decided to keep it under Aya DeAniege. And, yeah, it’s the same pen name that published erotica and plans to again. The same pen name that dabbles in vampires, witches, werewolves, and angels. Both in sexual and non-sexual context.

I suppose, with my love of the book, I should save up royalties and pay for an actual editor for this one. But at the length I’m looking at it would be $3-5000 to edit it.

If my writing paid that kind of money, I wouldn’t need a student loan, heck, I wouldn’t need a job. When I felt like this, I could take a long, hot bath with a glass of wine and a good book, then sleep the day away.

I have a vision for The Last Prophet, and it’s keeping me sane and just a little stable.

Now it’s just a matter of how to get what I want.