A semester of fail.

I’ve been feeling pretty crappy about myself this semester.  It feels like nothing is where it is supposed to be and I don’t know where I’m going.  As tempted as I am to say fuck it all to the real world, the reality is that I like the lifestyle I have – and that is made infinitely more possible by having a second income.  I like having money to spend on any number of things – including my writing projects (editors and cover images aren’t the cheapest items) and travel (to anywhere in the world – although Iceland, Romania and the Seychelles are currently featuring). The thing is, with a finite amount of time in the day I find myself unable to accomplish everything in the four sectors I internally judge myself on: exercise, work, writing, and adulting (which relates to anything and everything).

Over the past few months, I find myself only being able to hit two out of the four on any given day.  After work, I have nothing left over for any of the other things I want to do.  I don’t like feeling the way I do, but I can’t figure out how to address it.  I’ve recently started with a small change.  Last week, I started getting up earlier, so that I would at least be able to check off the ‘exercise’ task on my list.  This change has not led to more effort in the categories of writing or adulting, but I am hopeful. Am I being too hard on myself?  Probably.

Here’s a list by the numbers from January 2015.

1 = root canal

11,856 = Tumblr followers

5 years = amount of time I don’t have to worry about birth control (thanks Mirena!)

65,759 = number of words for the first draft of The Queen of England: Coronation

298 = number of pages (almost) edited for Life After Joe

IDK = number of faculty contracts, amendments, and other letters sent

IDK = number of books sold (but I can assure you it’s not as many as I would like)

7 days = number of vacation days (no wonder I’m exhausted!)

35 years = my age as of March 17

2 = new book ideas conceived

1 = month I went without soda (never to be repeated)

Related .gifs to this post

tumblr_ngqdgj3vqt1sulnzno1_500tumblr_mrmstsOoNR1sq38yao1_400

8e474c3f151bbaa64491e6871612a7a1 tumblr_mz9t5qRFip1r2zx2ao4_500 tumblr_n2le5akTRo1qb6v6ro2_250 tumblr_mun90kDJTl1r8cq85o1_500And what about you, dear reader?  Have you ever fought back against a time in your life that wasn’t where you thought you would be?  I’d love some suggestions!

Book review: The Magician’s Assistant

As I come close to finishing Life After Joe, I opted for one additional ‘widow’ read.  In this case, The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett popped up for a reduced price, and intrigued by the premise, bought it.  Here, some of the usual widow tropes were met straight away – with some twists on the genre.

Spoilers ahead.

The husband – is gay!  And no, he was not secretly cheating on his wife – the good widow Sabine married her husband knowing full well he was gay.  Best of all?  She lived with her husband and his partner.  Such dysfunction.  Much messed up.  So tragic.

In the reading of the will it becomes apparent that Parsifal (the husband/magician with a terrible name) has a secret family (not children, his actual family) that he never to told his beard wife about.  Being the good widow she is, Sabine connects with them.  I was on board until Sabine decides to journey back to Nebraska with them to learn other shocking things about her dead husband’s past.  Somehow entangling herself into her new ‘in laws’ lives, things go weird when she crushes (?) on Parsifal’s sister, disconnects completely with her parents and then the book simply ends.  While there is some pretty language, the story falls flat quickly and has almost no resolve.

From the perspective of the widow storyline, I liked the initial moments post death (not that I like people dying, more that it was very realistic).  I also thought the dream sequences were a nice vaguely supernatural touch.  The characters were fairly well developed, but I thought all of them could use a great deal more of some common sense.

Overall, I can’t say I would recommend this book.

And for the life of me I can’t understand why there are about five different covers for this book, most of which have a bunny on them.

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The book needs more Rabbit.

Instant ticket to feeling better? Booking travel.

passport-stamps-FIXEDAlthough I’m feeling like this semester is a total failure (to be discussed in a later post), at least I can rely on a few things to perk me up.  With work winning out over writing, it’s good to put some of those hard earned dizzles towards one of my favorite activities – travel!  In this instance, I’m looking forward to the trip after my trip – Romania!  I’ll be going to meet up with an author friend, Elena.

I found the above .gif here: http://www.flight001.com/log/non-stop-travel/

Less than a month until my next vacation!

First cover looks for Life After Joe: Thoughts?

Although work is banana-pants-crazy-time (and will be until I leave for vacation on June 11th #serenitynow), I’m happy to see (finally!) some progress on the cover of Life After Joe.  Here are my two favorites…  These are not final, and I imagine there are a few more versions before I’m exactly where I want to be, however – progress! – a concept I’ve been lacking this semester.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

joenew7

joenew3

Still with the iUniverse…

Whenever I get an e-mail from iUniverse, it always makes my day.  As my initial commitment to them started in February 2007 and I have been too lazy to switch the publication of the physical copies of my book over to Createspace since then, the communication in the past 5 years has been limited and random at best.  When they do contact me, I can always be assured it will make me smile cringe.  And before you even inquire, yes, they are always offering some ‘service’ or another that will cost me money.

Let’s get started!  From my helpful Marketing Consultant (I’ve had at least 10 contacts over the years), here’s what iUniverse can do for me:

I am sending you an email so we can create a marketing plan that sets your expectations. I will begin in asking you questions so I can properly determine what you want and what is suitable for your book.

• What do you want to achieve with this book?

Well, Mary, can I call you Mary?  I’m going to stop you right there.  Given my books have been with you for YEARS, if I don’t know what I want to achieve with my novels by now, I’m not sure I can consider myself an author.  Furthermore, if I didn’t know what I wanted to achieve from the moment I published my books, then what would the point of writing all these words be?  Sure, I have a range of goals, which range from specific numbers to pie-in-the-sky achievements, but no, iUniverse, I don’t need your help.

• Who is your target audience?

Your mom. In all honesty, this is something an author should know at the start of writing, or at least by the time the book is published.  For example, my YA stuff would be best for 13-17 American young women.  Room 702 would be best for a female demographic, ages 24-50, but I wouldn’t rule out men enjoying the novel as well.

• How would you like your book to be marketed? Is it via Internet, Book Trailers, Book Reviews, Press Release, Newspaper & Magazine Ads, Book Signings or Library Shows, T.V. commercials, Hollywood, Reader’s Digest, In-flight magazine, Literary Agent, Bookstores, Libraries?

I would like many of these options, iUniverse.  All of them are available to me with a little bit of research and some extra money, but thanks for offering.

Delete.