Tag Archives: Blogging

Grabbing 2019 By The…

Happy New Year!

Say good-bye to the old and let’s welcome a new start for 2019.

I don’t remember if I made any resolutions or goals for last year, but I wanted to approach this annual reset with greater determination and focus.

It actually started the day after my 44th birthday when I walked around nearby Lake Murphysboro. As I trudged up and down the hills, the phrase “Before 45” kept repeating in my mind. I decided then to create actionable goals to measure my progress and force me to work harder. My birthday is December 15th, so it’s close enough to the end of the year to make these annual goals (though I do want to achieve them before I turn 45!)

In no particular order, these are my 2019 writer goals:

Publish 8 books

vintage-1148940_640Yeah, I know that sounds ludicrous, but it’s possible and who says I don’t have a few novels in my back pocket already? Quicker releases don’t mean lesser quality. I’ve got a process that works for me and I feel I can scale it up and increase what I’m doing. I’m in mid-trilogy writing now (it may turn into more than three books) and I’ve got a new novel near ready for my pen name. I’ve been working with two other authors on different series, though it’s still in the early stages of the projects. I’m also contracted with a small press to co-write a trilogy due for later this year, so 8 isn’t that crazy of a number.


Grow my newsletter list to over 5,000 subscribers

It’s now less than 900 because of serious culling a few months ago, but it needs to grow. No matter what happens, this has to be a priority moving forward. I believe in the power of a vibrant, healthy email list. I’m already putting in steps to achieve this.


Earn over $10,000 in book sales

Honestly I’d love this number to be much higher, but using my past performance as a guide, I’ll start here. If I can be transparent with my sales numbers, my hope is that it will help others learn and grow. Look for a post in the coming weeks with a recap of what I’ve earned so far. It’ll be brutal for me but instructive for you.


Grow my BookBub followers to over 1,000

BookBub is an amazing service that I’ve yet to fully utilize. Eager readers use BookBub to find new books to read. Why not try and grow my presence there for the future I have planned? They get notified of my new releases and keeps my name in front of the best kind of audience: readers!


Launch a book with over 100 pre-orders

Pre-orders are a point of contention amongst the indie author community, but I’d like to make this happen. My highest has been just under 50, so it’s a stretch but I feel quite achievable.


Blog once a week

This one will be difficult to maintain, but it’s something I feel is important. It gives me a place to share my journey and is where I found my first readers. You guys are super important to me and I need to honor that. Expect new posts at least once a week, most likely on Tuesday’s.


Attend 8 Cons

This one was tough because I considered doing very few, but with 3-4 already scheduled, I think I can make it happen. I’m looking for a few more Horror cons this year as my pen name has been crushing it and I might as well build the readership as much as possible.

There you have my look into the future. These are my measuring sticks. I expect yours might be different and that’s great! We all have different paths up the mountain (That’s a Craig Martelle reference for those who don’t know!) and no one path is the best. All that counts is that it’s your path. We all define success in our own terms.

So what are yours? What are your goals/resolutions for 2019? Feel free to comment with a few so we can all support one another. Onward and upward!









(Almost) Average August Recap

It’s finally August 31st and I can back down from posting a bit. If you’ve been following along this month, you might’ve noticed I went on a post frenzy, sharing a new post every day.

I decided in late July to give it a try and I’m proud to say I’ve made it to the end. I think instead of my normal once a week posting schedule I adhered to prior to August, I might up that to three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

calendar-159098_960_720During this past month, I’ve had the most visits, views, likes, and comments since I’ve started this blog several years ago. I was blown away by the response I’ve had and hope to continue offering interesting posts going forward.

So in case you missed it, here’s a rundown of the last 30 days.

New Release: Twilight Madhouse Vol.1: My post about a new horror anthology featuring 10 stories, including my short piece “Achievement Unlocked.”

“Gate” Crashing: My rant on using the suffix -gate for scandals.

Writing Ideas: My tips and tricks when trying to get the creative juices flowing.

Reality Bites Book Awards: I was nominated in four different categories.

Rough Writing: I reminisce about a difficult lesson learned.

Morning Routine of a Non Best-Selling Author: It’s exactly as it sounds.

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews: I discuss the latest reviews for my book The Selection.

Review Circles for Authors: I’ve started a Facebook group for authors to give and receive reviews.

Tools of the Trade: A nice discussion about the hardware and software I use to write.

Forgetting to Remember: My terrible problem with remembering names.

Dirty Dish Philosophy: Lessons learned from washing dishes.

5 Posts for Indie Authors: 5 blog posts I thought were informative to the indie authors of the world.

Flash Fiction – “Zombie Says”: I offered a free story for you the reader!

Author Spotlight – Greg Alldredge: An interview with scifi author Greg Alldredge.

Review – “Fire Eyes Awakened”: My review of R.J. Batla’s new book.

“Self To Younger Self, Come in”: Words of wisdom I’d share with my younger self.

Review – “Twilight Madhouse Vol.1”: My review of the horror anthology with my story “Achievement Unlocked” in it.

10 Things Learned Since I Started Writing: As the title implies, 10 lessons learned since I started this journey.

Reality Bites Book Awards – Final Round: I made it to the final round in the category of “Sci-Fi Author.”

Giving Back: I strongly believe I need to give back to other writers in any way I can.

Eclipse Comic Con Recap: I attended an awesome event and met new friends.

Upcoming Events: A list of all the places you can find me in the next few months.

Just Finish Already!: Get that story out of your head and on the screen.

Indie Comic Creator – Todd Black: A super talented creator of indie comics I met at the Eclipse Comic Con.

Musical Inspiration: How music inspires my writing.

Sacrifice for Greatness: What are you willing to sacrifice in order to be great?

Choose Wisely: Important decisions can lead to lasting consequences.

Author Spotlight – Pamela Morris: My interview of Pamela Morris, an excellent horror author you should know.

“The Selection” – Chapter 1 Preview: I offer the entire first chapter of my novel The Selection.

Youthful Dreaming: When I was younger, I really, really wanted to be Spider Man.


I hope you’ve enjoyed my month of madness. When you have time, please check out the posts from this past month and please consider clicking “like,” commenting, or sharing whatever interests you.

Thanks for your support!











Tiny Moments

Life’s fickle nature can change in an instant.

Recently, I had a pretty slow day at work. All through the morning and just after lunch, I barely had any sales to speak of. Then, in a window of 8 minutes, I received a few emails that changed the course of the day and the next. Just as quickly as those were opened, the rest of the day went back to the slow pace it started with.

Those brief moments made me think about how drastically our lives change in an instant.

We’re all aware of the high profile shootings around us. We know how a terrorist can alter an entire nation’s psyche in a matter of minutes. There are those terrible calls telling us something bad happened. We also have the good things which change us. As a writer, an email from a publisher can change the course of your career.

Tiny moments in life can have the greatest impact.

Sometimes I feel we lose sight of that. We don’t see how those butterfly wings can create a storm. We don’t see the thousands of tiny ants burrowing under a tree. We get wrapped in the big moments of life. They’re wonderful too, but all too often it’s a series of smaller events that have the greatest impact on us.

It’s also in those tiny moments we find what life is really all about. The grand gestures are great, but it’s the small things which make it all work. When you consider long term relationships, it’s not the great romantic gestures that bring the couple closer, it’s the thousands upon thousands of small daily events that strengthen the bond. And it’s also small moments that can weaken it, sometimes happening in a quick moment like with the emails I described above.

Things change quickly. We have to be ready for that. We have to be aware of the small events around us and how much of an impact they make. If we neglect those, we might be losing out on something special.


Guest Post: Kris Baker Dersch

I’m excited to bring you today’s guest writer Kris Baker Dersch. She’s the editor and producer of an excellent flash fiction podcast called No Extra Words (Go subscribe now!) Besides her duties with the podcast, she’s also a writer, librarian, and a mom.

Kris was kind enough to offer an essay and I think you’ll enjoy hearing a different voice than my own. Please, please, please go visit her at one of the many links I’ve included below, I know she’ll appreciate it and so will I.




A new bookstore just opened in the town where I live.

I love bookstores. Owning my own bookstore is one of those pipe dreams I have, like some people want to have horses and run a dude ranch. It’s not going to happen. But in my head, I’m Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail with a quirky little book shop that is just what people don’t know they need. Of course, we’d also have to sell records so my husband could participate. And we’d decorate it with old typewriters.

Even movie reality doesn’t work here, because by the end of the movie her bookstore gets shut down by Tom Hanks and the big chain around the corner. I’m sure that the people who ran the wine cellar or specialty shoppe that once occupied this bookstore’s spot in my quirky suburban small-town will probably tell you to hit this bookstore very soon because odds are they will not be long for this world. Reality is hard on dreamers.

Writing can be like this. There’s the dream of the bestseller and the book signings. The movie rights to your first novel will go for a high six figures, nothing to set cinema records, but plenty to live on forever, although you’ll keep writing because you love the craft just that much. If my bookstore owner fantasy is Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, in the author fantasy I’m Emma Thompson in Stranger Than Fiction with her Selectric and her quirky shut-in status, not enough to be mental illness, but just enough so you know she’s famous enough to get away with it. Or maybe Colin Firth in Love Actually, typing away in his French villa that is somehow also in Portugal. Maybe I just love their typewriters.

I haven’t hit my reality when it comes to life as a writer. Or maybe I have. Lots of work, self-imposed deadlines, no money. Maybe this is what it is all about. That certainly is a romance-killing reality.

I’m doing Nanowrimo again this year. I have two wins: 2009 and 2012, so you can see I’m not consistent about doing it. In 2009 I only had to work 16 days in November because of a scheduling fluke and I had my own little office, an attic bedroom in the house I was sharing with my then-boyfriend. I had a “new” 80-year old typewriter, my first, and I felt like Anne of Green Gables writing under the eaves. The whole thing was terribly romantic. I wrote some kind of historical fiction and never looked at it again. In 2012, I only made it because of a last minute “I shall not lose” 20,000 word Thanksgiving weekend. I never did figure out how to turn a Nanowrimo draft into anything more than dead trees.

I crashed and burned on my third Nano attempt last fall. That boyfriend and I are now married and share our home with this tiny human who last November at the age of six months decided to stop sleeping. Week 2 I fell out of love with my novel idea, and week 4 I didn’t write at all. Writing can be a real slog. I wasn’t planning on signing up at all this year. What’s the point? I wondered.

I didn’t know what to write. I was disenchanted with the idea of launching yet another manuscript. It helped to learned that the rules of Nano have changed and it is now acceptable to bring partially completed works and add to them for your word count. Thinking of November as my “finish the crap I’ve started” month is not romantic at all, but that’s what actually inspired me to sign on and take the plunge again. While there’s a lot to be said for launching into the great unknown with an idea and barreling out thousands of words just to see what happens, after six years of trying to tame this writing beast, I know that there’s more to it than that. Sometimes it’s a brilliantly edited short story you thought would be a novel but just needed trimming. Sometimes it’s yet another draft because damn it who wants to read all that unedited crap. Sometimes it’s flash fiction because life with a toddler and the Great American Novel don’t mesh. It’s hard work, all of it, and less romantic than that bestseller and movie rights dream, but a lot of things that are worth it are hard work. Like owning a bookstore.

I wish that bookstore owner all the luck in the world, and I hope if there’s anything I can do to make her successful I will be able to step up and do it. I started that today by buying some books. She may not make it, but every indie bookstore I love exists because someone took the leap. And every book I ever stayed up all night reading, re-read eight (or ten or fifteen) times, or clutched to my chest after finishing it because I couldn’t let it go exists because someone rolled a piece of paper into a typewriter, picked up a pen, or opened a laptop.

Whatever you’re doing to build your word count today, I salute you. It is two parts hard work, and one part dream, but the dream keeps us going.




You can find Kris at her blog: noextrawords.wordpress.com

Twitter: @noextrawords

Facebook: facebook.com/noextrawords

And of course the podcast itself: No Extra Words