Saturday, December 31, 2011

See You Next Year!

I know, real original title there...

Things have been insanely busy this holiday season for me. From Thanksgiving to Christmas... (beau's b-day is 2 days after X-mas), trying to spend time with TWO families, out of town relatives coming and going...

I know, excuses, right?

Well we're culminating the whole thing this year with a huge celebration at, of all places, our tiny abode, haha. Both families will be mushed into our main room for a night of gaming and probably name-calling :P Should be a good time! This is the final good-bye to the rocky ride of 2011, and a big smile and open arms for the possibilities of 2012...

(And BOY, do I have plans for 2012!!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Opportunity of KDPS...

or, Kindle Direct Publishing Select.

Basically, this is a system that allows Amazon to run the world's largest digital library. In exchange, author's get a tantalizing look at a very large pool of money, to be split among those that are borrowed the most.

Amazon gives this (distillation, me) example to help explain:

If 100,000 books are qualified as lent books in a month.
If your book is downloaded 1,500 times.
When the pool equals $500,000 for the month.

Then: 1,500 of my downloads from 100,000 total downloads
= 1500/100000
= 1.5% (of total downloads)

And $500,000 in the pool
Then: 1.5% of $500,000
= $7,500 (earned in that month from the lending downloads)

More realistically, let's assume 100,000 downloads (which seems like an awful too few), and, seeing as how I believe every book in the library has been checked out at least ONCE (I know I sure tried), what happens if, all else true, your book merits only one download?

Then: 1 of my downloads from 100,000 total downloads
= 1/100000
= .001% (of total downloads)

And $500,000 in the pool
Then: .001% of $500,000
= $5 (earned in that month from the lending downloads)

Or, if 200,000 books qualified for download (more realistic and thus cutting your earnings in half), you would earn $2.50 in royalties from KDPS, for that month, for your single download.

As with the store, there is no guarantee of getting noticed. Nothing says you will have a better chance than the other hundreds and thousands of books available. Big name books from big name publishers will probably take the lion's share of the pool.


My first novel, "Shackled", of which I am quite proud, has garnered me a number of excellent reviews. What it has NOT garnered, is attention and sales. Much like sticking a book on the shelves of your local library and hoping one day someone tries to check it out, I will be putting "Shackled" into KDPS. Except, unlike that scenario, I have a chance for a least a little money. (I am not going to pretend I will earn $7,500 from this opportunity, but even $2.50 is more than $0.00... and in fact more than I would earn in normal royalties, anyway.)

It was easy to unpublish from Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. Both were done within the hour. However, I don't know how Smashwords' extended network will work - but I was not particularly included as I don't have ISBNs yet. (It may only be a problem with Kobo.)

An added bonus of KDPS is that you are enabled to choose 5 days during your 90-day mandatory exclusivity contract (you didn't think they let just ANYONE get their hands into that money pot, did you?), as I said, 5 days in which your work is completely free on Amazon. They can be random days, or all at once. You cannot roll them over into a second 90-day contract. When they are free in the store, they are not available for download. You may choose the days and that will be adhered to, sans (minus) downtime for Amazon's own latency issues (their words). It could be quite a useful promotional tool. It is also the first time indie authors have the ability to make their work free directly on Amazon, instead of the roundabout-competitor's-have-underpriced-you-carousel.

So fly, little novel. Find your audience in the land of (for them) free monthly downloads :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Today marks the release of "Emergence
", omnibus #1 of the Icarus Helix series.

This is GIMUNGOUS news!!! "Emergence" is priced at $5.99 - almost a 40% discount from buying the episodes individually. This is great for everyone involved! :D

For those that would love to be fantabulous people and help spread the word - tagging, posting, tweeting, etc, it would be more than appreciated... it would be GROOVIFURCATED! (And also, thank you, thank you, thank you!)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Because I'm Good At It.

Being the awesome procrastinator I am, imagine my surprise that I've almost exhausted my barrel of tricks when it comes to not writing. I am seriously running out of "other" things to do...

But anyway, I thought it might be nice to check in with the ol' chart, since I haven't updated it recently. I'm not going to do the whole sales break-down, as I'm sure you'll see why when you see the chart. Suffice it to say - once I put IH on hiatus, my sales dropped off considerably.

Lucky for me (and I didn't realize this until I just charted them a few minutes ago) they are in fact, slowly climbing upwards again. Releasing new content can't have hurt me (provided it wasn't awful) and November actually saw my first sale of the THE THUNDERSTORM (Krakakow!) releases :)

And while I'm thinking of it, I got my first review of Disappear. Bakari, I, like many others, gaze into the stars and wonder where you vanished to after your blog disappeared. But please accept my most humble thanks for both purchasing and enjoying my work :)

So, here is the chart, I've almost been at this game a full year! Can you imagine? :) As for the color scheme, despite the gory works I've recently released, deep down I'm a girl and harbor a secret love of rainbows. Get over it ;)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Incompatible, Live!

Wonderful, fantastic news :)

THE THUNDERSTORM (Krakakow!), release 3 is now LIVE! "Incompatible" (formerly known as "Roadtrap") is ready on Amazon and soon B&N.

Loving someone means accepting them as they are... and all the crazy they carry with them.

When lovestruck Matt springs himself as Valerie's second in a visit to her parents, he realizes he may never have known her, after all...

This is a short story, approximately 3,500 words.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Few Updates

Okay, so I was supposed to get "Incompatible" up last week and somehow the time got away from me (I blame tryptophan?), so basically FAIL.

This week it is coming your way, fo' sho!

I have a lot of excitement planned, actually, something along the lines of this:

Release "Incompatible"

Release "Emergence" (Icarus Helix omnibus #1, episodes 1-5), also in this vein, I intend to make "Cheat", Icarus Helix #1, FREE for December. I'll let you know when the word should start being spread :)

Release "Frigid" (for reals this time :P see the progress I've made on the side??)

I'm looking at what else I could finish, unfortunately "Youth" may be pushed back to a 2012 release.

Also, and this is quite big news - I quit my job. Now, don't go getting the wrong idea. I'm not flush with cash, nor have I become an uber-rich Indie Success overnight. While November has been my best sales since July, I'm still in the range of about FIVE DOLLARS made (heh).

We've shifted some things about personally/financially and my significant other has magnanimously granted me freedom. In exchange for taking care of a majority of the house chores, and creating and publishing as much original content as I can wrap my brain around, I have the ability to write full-time.

So, I am going to take absolute advantage of this situation! I'm setting my writing goal until the end of the year at 50,000 words. That's 10k/week. Next year, I hope to schedule 520,000 words for the year. Maybe even MORE!

Wish me luck, and look forward to new content :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Well, if you missed it, I've already revealed and released Disappear and Hooded.

They can also be found on Nook: Disappear and Hooded.

Maybe you want to check them out? Maybe you're not into shorts. Hopefully that's not the case because this next is also a short, though quite the creepy one... It will be releasing next week :)

Brace yourselves, for Incompatible...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So... Many... Ideas...

I have so many things lined up to write, they are practically begging me to let them free. I know I should sit down and work through them one at a time and get them done, like they deserve.

So of course I did the most irresponsible thing today and spent my writing time working on a short story I just thought of today :P

With the horrible title of "Futurescope" it clocked in at 1,305 words. Now I have to decide what to do with it, haha. It feels a little too short to publish alone, and quite cliff-hangery in that there should be more to the story. I'm done with it as far as today goes, maybe I will go back to it and fill it out more, but I wrote it almost straight through and it feels like that was where it needed to end.

It's definitely the beginning of... something. I feel like if I publish it, I should do so with a disclaimer that I intend to go back and write more.

Anyone interested in a read?

Ah well, how's everyone else's writing going?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Well would you look at that? Just look at it!

Very, very cool cover for one of my favorite shorts! I'm really proud of this piece ("Hooded"). We're going to upload it today so it should be available soon :)

In the meantime, THE THUNDERSTORM (Krakakow!) Release #1, Disappear is available :) Check it out? (Link in the sidebar as well!)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I know I've been quiet on the blog front recently - trust me, my fingers are tiny nubs from all the tapping on my keyboard I've been doing.

But you know what's coming? If you guessed THE THUNDERSTORM (Krakakow!)... you're right! You can pick up your collapsible flannel bicycle at the front desk. But before you attempt to ride it home, feast your eyes on the first cover reveal...

All thanks and praise to my indefatigable, insatiable, independent cover artist, Jeroen ten Berge!

Friday, November 4, 2011

November, Day 4

So I got a bug up my bum today and decided I wanted to write another short for THE THUNDERSTORM (Krakakow!) I had two major reasons for wanting to write this story.

1. I've been thinking of it for a long time.

2. I needed to work in a different genre than "Youth", at least for a little while! I think my day break on that piece will be good, because I still wrote :)

Thusly, Roadtrap was born.

Writing for today: 3,474 words!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November, Day 3

So, I'll be honest - no writing yesterday. But today I knocked out 2 chapters of "Youth" (which is making me more and more excited), and finally got up to that future point I'd already written, which is great!

So my word count for 11/3 is...

3,122 (1,744 new words)!

Not sure I'll finish anything else before midnight, so I'll go ahead and leave this as today's totals :) How's everyone else doing?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The November Write-a-thon

So I'm really busting my toosh here, trying to be on fire at the keyboard for November. Lots of things I want to do this month, aside from my blitzkrieg of new work in THE THUNDERSTORM (Krakakow!)

Didn't do as much as I thought I did today, but the stuff I did was important to get "Youth" published up.

Word count for today: 1,873! (Not counting edits!)

Coming Soon:


Krakakow! (kow!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Movie Review: In Time

From IMDB:
In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage - a connection that becomes an important part of the way against the system.

I am noticing a pattern here, and that is: If all the "know-it" people (aka: critics) don't like a movie, chances are that I WILL.

Much as I was pleasantly surprised with Green Lantern, I enjoyed every action-packed minute of "In Time".

Before I start my critique, I want to say that enjoying the movie was a huge relief for me! There really are some awful movies recently and I'm glad to see a good one snuck through the rabble. Also, I wrote a REMARKABLY similar story, about time as currency. This is my disclaimer in case I mean to publish it in the future :P I DID have this idea before I saw this movie ;) But all in all, this was a relief, because it was an idea I had, and it was very well executed. To the critique!

My biggest concern was when the plot got a little hazy, there were plenty of RUN RUN RUN! scenes. It almost made me feel like flashing something shiny in your eyes, because you got so distracted you forgot to pay attention to that small snag in the plot.

Despite that, I LOOOOOOOOOVED this movie. I went with the beau and my two 14-year-old brothers and ALL of us loved it. It's more a guy's movie than a girl's, but there is enough romance to pacify the non-action-affiliated love crowd :)

I found the "time" references very witty! Things we say without even thinking about it, that take on a whole new meaning when time=money=life. The concept of time, becomes Time, with a capital and right in front of your face. "I don't have Time for this" literally might mean, "I have only 4 hours to live and this is not important enough to spend it that way."

Loans dealt in Time, at the exorbitant 30% interest rate, someone might say, "I don't have the Time to pay that back!"


A con for the movie for me, was that the father's back story was not explored a little more. You really end up wanting a flashback, or some sort of scene to really clarify the main TimeKeeper's line, "Your father said the same thing, twenty years ago."


There were a few clever twists on the time references, for example: the local time-stealing gang are known as "Minutemen". For some reason I got a really big kick out of that. Then, of course, Justice goes by the name the TimeKeepers. Very, very cool. And decking them out MIB style only adds icing to the cake ;)

The cost of things is quite strange, when computed in Time. Four minutes for a cup of coffee? Is it worth it, when you think like that? A MONTH for that sit-down meal??? I also thought the whole Time Zone distinction was VERY clever!

I don't care for Justin Timberlake as an actor, but I admit he was pleasantly surprising in this movie. Amanda Seyfried (Red Riding Hood fame), the lead female, also did a very nice job.

All in all, I found the characters 3 dimensional, believable, and full suspension of disbelief in the theater. I left the cinema wanting to check my arm for my Time! I can't give it 10 stars because while it was a fantastic movie, there aren't really any catchy lines that I think I can inside-joke about with my friends. None that come immediately to mind.

I would recommend this movie. I plan on watching it again! I give "In Time" (they really should have thought of a better title) 9 seconds out of 10!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Movie Review: Tangled

From Amazon: Tangled

Disney presents a new twist on one of the most hilarious and hair-raising tales ever told. Your whole family will get tangled up in the fun, excitement and adventure of this magical motion picture.
When the kingdom's most wanted - and most charming - bandit Flynn Rider hides in a mysterious tower, the last thing he expects to find is Rapunzel, a spirited teen with an unlikely superpower - 70 feet of magical golden hair! Together, the unlikely duo sets off on a fantastic journey filled with surprising heroes, laughter and suspense

When I first saw previews for this movie, I thought it might be a fun watch. I've read many different versions of the Rapunzel story (one of my favorites being that the mother was pregnant and was craving some very specific lettuce that only grew in the old witch's garden). Instead of lettuce, this story revolved around a piece of the sun that falls to earth, blooms into a flower and reverses the aging process when sung to.


So the queen gets sick and they use the flower to make a magical elixir, thus passing the power onto Rapunzel via her hair. The catch is: when you cut her hair, it goes from golden to brown and loses all its magical powers. I can't help think... stereotyping much? We brunettes have got powers too! :)

The evil witch steals Rapunzel away, locks her in the tower and then convinces her she is her mother. The woman is a witch with a capital B. Wait until you hear her song, "Mother Knows Best". Cree~~py!

I was very pleasantly surprised by this movie. It had a lot of action and adventure and the best character in the whole thing was Maximus, the palace horse. He really steals every scene he's in. The princess was the most believable teenager/just-turned-18-year-old I think I've seen in any Disney movie, being slightly vapid, very excitable and somewhat selfish. The man-thief with a heart of gold, Flynn Rider, was incredibly cheesy, but the romantic scenes did give a little flutter to the heart strings.

Rapunzel has a sidekick, a chameleon named Pascal (what's wrong Disney, running out of sidekick animals?) whom she apparently can understand semi-sign Chameleo-speak while he understands English. (Convenient.)

The witch is a nightmare of a "mother" and makes me cringe, just thinking of dealing with a woman like that. Her passive aggressive comments (such as telling Rapunzel, size 0, she shouldn't go out in public because she's "chubby"... just kidding! *ho ho ho evil laughter*) left me feeling vaguely uncomfortable.

All in all, it was a movie I would share. It is definitely one I would let kids watch, because aside from the Ignoring Mother's Wishes And Doing What I Want aspect, it's a fun little movie.

And seriously, Maximus totally steals the show.

I give Tangled 8 hairbrush/accessories out of ten:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Movie Review: Grave Encounters

On Amazon: Grave Encounters

Lance Preston and the crew of Grave Encounters, a ghost-hunting reality television show, are shooting an episode inside the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital where unexplained phenomena has been reported for years. In the name of good television, they voluntarily lock themselves inside for the night and begin a paranormal investigation, capturing everything on camera. They quickly realize that the building is more than just haunted: it's alive, and it has no intention of ever letting them leave.

It's Halloween time, so of course scary movies get a bump up the To Watch list. Grave Encounters is an indie horror film that I was surprised to discover was released this year. I have a tendency to be a little behind on movies that I don't actually go to the theater to see. This was actually released September 9th, but being indie, was quickly released to DVD after its theater run. You know, instead of mindlessly waiting a year?

The previews for it looked excellent, in the way of psychothrillers. Honestly though, the previews are TOO thorough. There were some very memorable scenes in the movie that were downgraded to "acceptable" because I knew to expect the surprise from the trailers.

This is another one of those "made to be real" movies ala Blair Witch or The Last Exorcism. I actually have a hard time with these movies because for some reason the jostling camera makes me motion sick. I'd like to note I have no problem on boats, in cars, rollercoasters or merry-go-rounds...

I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, that there is a mixture of "live" footage and stationary cameras. They set up cameras all over the hospital to capture the supernatural footage, as well as what they were taking with them. It was not a superb, but a viable excuse for the style of filming. It was enough that I could suspend disbelief for the length of the movie :)

The ending is what you would suspect, though the paths of some characters in the movie may surprise.

I thoroughly enjoyed Grave Encounters and I would watch it again during a spookfest, and definitely again with someone who hasn't seen it (like watching Saw again - just to see them jump!) Especially for a low budget indie film, I was very impressed with the visual effects and talent.

I give Grave Encounters 8 frights out of 10.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Suckiness of Man

Today we left my house and went down a few streets to pick up some dinner. I happened to check my watch on my way out the door and it took us less than 15 minutes to return home.

In that time, my car, in my driveway was broken into, all the change was stolen, the glove box was completely emptied and rifled through and my Tom Tom GPS and cord (but not the window mount?) was stolen.

Fifteen minutes to return home and feel utterly violated, scared, furious, depressed, heart-broken. Andy bought me that GPS. I use it - need it - for work.

I don't care about the change. They probably got about 75 cents. I'm poor. I don't have money to leave lying around. But you come onto my property, get into MY car, steal MY gifts? Then you leave my car door open, so my battery runs down from the overhead light (that's how we knew someone had been in the car in the first place), like you're leaving some sort of message that you have the dominance and the right to take my valuables? And when we ask the neighbors, we find at least two other cars have been broken into the past few days? (Way to drop the ball, neighbors, if you'd said something to us, I'd have locked my doors. At least I informed other neighbors!)

I don't swear on here often, but I hope the police catch those fucking jackasses and they get what's coming to them. There is no cause for this sort of violation.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Book Review: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd

A Monster Calls is a story about a grade-school boy, Conor, dealing with his mother's deteriorating condition due to cancer.

This book had a lot of hype for me, a lot of people saying it's the must read of 2011. All in all, I had one laugh-out-loud moment and one tear-jerker moment. This book is teen fiction, which means I could read the entire thing in an hour. However, I chose to read it slowly and really savor the images, so I took three days to complete it.

It was recommended I read the book in hardcover and I am glad I did. The pictures, especially of the yew monster were pretty amazing, even in gray scale. They do add a certain element of "being there" to the story.

It was a decent story and I mostly enjoyed it, but I did find it seemed to drag a bit toward the end. The monster was a very thought-provoking character and really stole the story for me, much more so than Conor or his misunderstood semi-barbaric grandmother. I also found Conor's dad to be a completely aggravating loser of a man.

In the book's defense, as soon as I finished it, I turned around and loaned it out. It's a good story, as I said. I do think people should read this book, and I agree it should be read in a format in which the pictures can really be studied - this is the type of book that was made for print over digital.

I'm not sure I'll read it again, or won't read it again, unless I get an urge to delve into the pictures again (the most likely scenario). The brick-and-mortar hardcover price was staggering, I would have liked to see it priced more in the $12 than the $20 range.

I'll give A Monster Calls 7 yew berries out of 10.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Double Up

So I've been working pretty hard, trying to get that next bit and that next bit out! "Youth" is coming along very nicely, it's a very clean story. There isn't a lot to bog me down - the story doesn't take weird turns, it's this, then this, then that! As a result, the length has doubled in the past few days, pushing past 7k already.

I'm still amazed at the power this story has over me. It's not just how I get so immersed in that world, it's how I see things and my heart is wringing just to try and describe them. This story feels very real to me, more like I witnessed it happening then made it up off the top of my head.

I originally pictured it as a short about 10k, but Andy said, "You shouldn't waste this on a short - you should make a novel out of this." I can't guarantee a length, in my opinion, a story is told when it's finished. Whether that be a 2k slice of life, or a 574k doorstop (coughAtlasShruggedcough), a story is a story when it's finished.

"Youth" isn't finished yet, and there are a number of checkpoints it has to pass before it's "told". With that in mind, I've bumped the length-o-meter up to 20k, to give me some more progress/breathing room.

And for all those waiting for it:


Thursday, October 6, 2011

The March Continues

Another productive day for THE THUNDERSTORM! (Krakakow!)

"Youth" is blazing through my heart and my keyboard as probably the saddest story I have ever written. But, the more I write, the more I feel like this story needs to be told. Watching it unfold makes me shiver - I really hope the readers feel what I'm feeling when it's finished.

The funny thing is, sandwiching each chapter I've been watching old episodes of Roseanne to keep my spirits up :P

So far today, 2 chapters of "Youth" in. We'll see if I can pick myself up (fighting off a throat infection) and get anymore written before I head to bed.



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Flip(ping Out) Side

Everyday I'm putting in time on THE THUNDERSTORM (Krakakow!). Something, anything I'm working on for that project, has to get some words, some story, some attention and care.

Today I started the opening chapter of "Youth".

And I am flipping out.

While I was writing, I had that tingly nervous excitement coursing through my veins, fueling me in an addiction-like madness. I type 90 words a minute or better. My fingers thundered across the keys. Characters and life took shape, molded by my word choice. Ideas bloomed, my heart spoke.

"Youth" was started.

This is going to be freaking awesome!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I'm going over some work in preparation for THE THUNDERSTORM. (I laugh every time I type that, like it's being announced in a wrestling ring.)

Dates are not of a concern to me, yet. I'm aiming to finish the pieces, first ;)

So far, here is what is releasing (during THE THUNDERSTORM, hahaha!)

Short: Disappear, 2895
Short: Hooded, 2524

I went back over "Hooded" today, and honestly, it's one of my favorite stories that I've ever written. Am I aloud to say that? I just did. Something about the style, there, that speaks to me. I'm not sure others will agree with me. In going over it, I added about 100 words. Now it feels "really" done. (Part of the reason I haven't previously published it was it felt slightly unfinished.)

For myself, seeing "Hooded" completed makes me feel like I've grown as a writer :) (Am I aloud to say that?!?)


Monday, October 3, 2011

Decisions and Business

Kind of productive day for me on the writing front. I wrote a short story called "Disappear", about 2500 2900 words, spawned solely from (I kid you not) a joke made by my cover artist about "Wallpeople". (All one word.)

About business:
I have to say I have some significant degree of agreement with Michael Kingswood. Ninety-nine cent novels undervalue the author, and the time spent crafting and bringing a story to life. Good writing can stand on its own legs with reasonable prices. My pricing scale is about the same as his but I believe this is how it will be:

$0.99: Shorts, up to 7,500/non-novelettes
$1.99: Novelettes (10,000~17,499), episodic releases (20k)
$2.99: Novellas (stand-alone), 40k
$3.99: Novels starting at 60k

I fully agree that pricing is the first indication to a customer of length. Because the lowest price is $0.99, we should make the "shortest" category conform there. Michael chooses 25k as his threshold, but for some reason 20k feels better to me. Maybe because I'm stuck on that length, having an episodic series?

So I think my pricing scale is a little less complicated. Formulaically (I think I just made that word up), we have $0.99 as a constant (c). So:

(length/20k, rounded to nearest whole, zero inclusive) + c = $

If I end up with a piece that's, say, 30k, and falls in between the 1.99/2.99 (1+c - 2+c) realm, it will have to be author's discretion. Is this the best thing I've ever written? $2.99. Am I pleased, but understand it's not my Nobel Prize submission? $1.99. I have discretion ;)

What this means:
Effective soon... relatively immediately, the prices for my works will be changing. I've heard Amazon can take 24-72 hours to simply change prices (!!). So sometime in that timeframe, expect them to change. I won't make the move until tomorrow (September 4th, EST).

IH episodes will go from $0.99 to $1.99.

"Shackled" will go from $2.99 to $3.99.

I'm sure people will think I'll hurt myself and lose sales by adopting this pricing scheme. Last month, with 6 releases, I sold 6 copies. You know how far I can drop? Six. I think I'll risk it :)

Please expect future releases to follow this pattern!

I would also like to announce the teaser for "Emergence", the first IH omnibus. It will bind the first 5 (five) episodes of Icarus Helix together into one volume. As per the above formula, this 100k omnibus will be priced $5.99, actually almost a $4 savings from buying the single episodes :) (at the new price).

Last bit of news - sorry for my ranty sort of whine yesterday. I'm feeling a bit better today and I would like to tentatively announce THE THUNDERSTORM. Why, what's that, you ask? I plan on releasing a slew (and I mean a SLEW) of finished works in November. This of course depends largely on my ability to finish them - ha, ha. Four is the minimum. I expect "Disappear", "Emergence" and/or "Frigid" / episode 7 to release. If I can really get my ass in gear, I hope to also release "Heaven", "Image" and if I REALLY move it, the unannounced "Youth". Please look forward to them :)

And I just glanced at my sidebar and realized I have two other shorties over there, "Glouscene (Working Title)" and "Pancake Man (WT)"... NaNoWriMo comes early for me? :P Except I'm shorts not novels, so maybe I should call it NaShoWriMo? That's fun to say ;) NaShoWriMo! (Aka: THE THUNDERSTORM.)

Comments, thoughts, criticisms welcome... you know where to leave 'em!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mental Disorganization... or Just Mental

My mind stays busily, sometimes painfully active. I think about everything, and I mean everything, constantly. When I lay down to sleep, my thought process goes something similar to this:

"Okay, time for some sleep. Let's get comfy. Yeah, okay, that's good. Close my eyes and..." three seconds later, "the first of the month is in a couple of days, I'd better remember to give the dog his heart worm medicine. I should remind Andy to get a haircut tomorrow, it's getting long. Did I put my keys in the key turtle? Do I know where they are? Retrace my steps... no, they're on my desk, under the credit card bill. Can't forget that. Do we have bread? I think Andy threw it away. Should I check? No, I'm in bed, forget about it. Are my car doors locked? Did I roll up the windows? Is it raining? I have to remember to do some laundry tomorrow. I wonder if Andy knows where Ajax's red ball went. What day is tomorrow? Do I work? Is my alarm set? I think I remember setting it." and on and on until I literally pass out from exhaustion.

Some nights I can control it, by picturing a blank white nothingness and repeating "white" over and over to myself.

Rarely, very rarely, I can count sheep. But then I start thinking, are they walking, or jumping over a fence? Do I have to visualize them jumping? Are they fluffy sheep or are they recently sheared? White sheep? Black sheep? How many should walk/jump? Do they trot up and hop over the fence? Do they walk around it? Is it just a small, stand-alone section of fence? And that goes on until even the sheep are glaring at me in annoyance.

There are only a few things I know of that can "shut off" my brain. One of them is reading - when I'm immersed in a world outside myself that is interesting, I have laser focus. The other is video games because I have some horribly competitive monster in me that thrills at earning achievements and learning or mastering. Funny enough - time management/strategy/city-builders are my favorite type of game. Younger, I played Tetris into the ground and older, Lumines.

If things are particularly stressful and my brain is clocking in overtime, I might go on "video game benders" that waste hours and days of my life, because I just need a break. From myself? I guess so.

When I'm depressed, my ability to focus on a single task or project recedes into the land of make-believe.

Stressed and depressed, you can imagine I'm pretty useless.

On my desktop right now, I have 7 separate stories in progress, and four more in my head, unstarted. When I start to work on one, I seem to get a new idea. (It's getting really crowded in there. Oh, and I just remembered I have some stuff started on Google Docs, too...) It's gotten so bad, I'm afraid to work on anything, because I'm afraid I'm failing by not finishing one. People tell me, "Just sit down and do it. Work on one thing, and finish it." Oh, how I wish I could. Add in the fact that every job now includes, "must be able to multi-task in a fast-paced environment" (because I'm trying to improve my situation in life) and my business degree (teaching me that focusing on one thing at a time is a terrible way to do business) and I am a recipe for Failed Disaster.

I'd like to put my head in my arms and go to sleep, hope that my brain can rewire itself in the night and make things work, but I can't even get to sleep properly. Then I have outlandish dreams that I'd like to share and multiple people - never just one! - say, "That would make a good story!" and before I can run away - "You should write it!"

Yes, yes I should.

Let me add it to my list.

I'm sorry I'm ranty today, I'm tired. Andy's sick and I know I'm catching it. So much to write - doesn't my body know I don't have time to be sick? There's unfinished writing to be done, a career to mold and... wait, no, I'm not doing so hot there either :(

September sales were dismal - 6. All but one at the very beginning of the month. +1 Depression, -1 Medrick :P

I know, I know I need to just write and get them down and get them out there. Can someone please get the memo to my brain, to just calm down and focus? I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Love you guys, seriously.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


So everyday I keep saying to myself,

"Today is the day, I'll settle in and write the next piece of "Frigid"!"

And then something happens, and, well, I don't. And I get mad at myself and the next day I say,

"Today is the day,..."

Which is a bad cycle. One I didn't break yesterday...

But today, I did! So, yay for me.

I'm hoping to keep up on it. I really do want to finish it and keep moving. I've got big plans for November, and I'd really like to have "Frigid" and episode 7 titled... "Fi..." ahaha, teaser :P... finished.

Here's to hoping I don't have a lot more tomorrows like yesterdays.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Being a Salt Witch

The other day I had a dream, that I was in training to be a salt witch. Something big (and unnameable) was coming, so we had to be prepared. We ramped up "practice" (coven getting together and trying new spells/perfecting old ones) to every night to best prepare ourselves.

I discovered a girl who had salt witch potential so naturally I invited her to join me.

"How will we get there?" she asked me.

"We fly, of course!" I exclaimed, taking off into the air.

"I can't fly!" she called after me.

"You can if you want to!" I responded joyfully. Turns out she did want to, so she came sputtering up after me.

We flew through a large network of power lines. Good thing this isn't a dream, I thought, or I'd have gotten tangled in those. (True story, many of my dream flights end with me tangled in power lines. Obviously a metaphor for how trapped I feel in life?)

We flew to a run-down looking neighborhood - an apartment on, of all things, Salt Street. Our masters/teachers/coven leaders were a man and a woman, incredibly powerful. In fact, they were so powerful that they couldn't control their powers and some time in the past had gone completely insane. To save the world from destruction, some authority in the salt witchery world erased their knowledge of their power - it could only be awakened (and thus, managed) when they were training their coven.

The female leader was Arlene, from True Blood:

and the male was SO powerful that at some point in his life he disintegrated his entire body and was actually just a floating head, trailed around by a purple cloud. He looked a little like Jambi the Genie...

... except flesh-colored.

Sadly, that's about all I remember, except that I was an exceptionally good at mastering new spells and techniques.

A Salt Witch Prodigy, if you will.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Caring About Jimmy

One of the fun things about traveling about is that you get to try local or new foods.

Have you ever heard the little song, "Jimmy cracked corn, and I don't care!" I always thought this meant yellow corn (and maybe it does) but today it occurred to me - it might mean black peppercorns.

Two things I really enjoy are turkey and black pepper. Imagine my surprise when a lunch meat called "Cracked Black Peppercorn Turkey" showed up in the fridge. I had to know... was it any good?

I was hesitant - it looked weird. Almost dirty. But the smell of the peppercorns hit me as the bag opened and I was almost instantly sold.

I care if Jimmy cracked black peppercorns all over my turkey.

Because it's about the best durn lunch meat I've ever eaten!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Universe Really Wants Me to Get Out of Ohio

Tomorrow morning I'm leaving for South Carolina. There is the potential for work, serious work, there. I need to take the chance. So I took two weeks off of my current job, and I'm trekking down there to hang out with my dad for awhile and blaze through their help wanted ads/sites/postings/offerings.

I'm taking my computer with me, and between applying, I hope to be writing. My stepmom is also very sick, so I intend to help take care of her. (Remember when we fled down there in May? She hasn't gotten better.)

If all goes well, I'll be starting a new job that brings in more dough and eases my financial burden.

If all goes to hell, I'll be returning home, broker than I've ever been.

Some Things That Make Me Believe I Should Leave As Soon As Possible:

1. Rain. Cold, cold, wet, sleety rain. Today. Cold.

2. I ate Chinese for lunch. My fortune: "The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the buts you use today."

3. My birthday was yesterday, but I forgot to renew my car's tags. As I was driving over to my mom's for a last minute hair cut, I remembered. I realized I forgot to renew them 3 minutes before 5pm. I got to the DMV at 5.13pm. Tuesday is the only day they are open until 6.30pm! I had $47 in my pocket (thank you birthday money). Tags cost $54.50 (ugh). They don't take plastic, only cash or check (seriously??) My bank had a branch on the corner of the block, across the street. Lucky~

4. A 9~12 hour trip, depending mostly on me, I should probably change my oil beforehand (considering it was about... 6k over the recommended last change? :( ) The oil place snuck me in and I was able to pick up my car thirty seconds before closing time.

5. Dad called, out of nowhere. He said, "She might not make it through the weekend. (long pause) I can't wait to see you tomorrow."

Alright already, I get it! Bye bye Ohio!

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's Real!

Today is my birthday!

I absolutely love, love, love, love my birthday. It is the one day that is all for me. Just mine. For me.

Today I am 27 21. Yup... 21. Just old enough to drink.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it (just like a real writer) ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August 2011 Sales Update

August has been a nice time for me :) I started off red-hot, with sales almost everyday until the 14th. I attribute this in part to the late release of IH #5. People picked it up early August. So, ready to be wowed? ;)

My sales for August totaled 37... 148% of July!

Since I put my first book up for sale in February, I have sold 129 units. 28.68% of those were in August. My overall sales saw a 40.21% increase... not too shabby :)

I had no release this month and that hurt me. Normally I could expect around 8 sales around an IH release date from new readers and people on top of the series. Gonna have to suck up that loss :(

August has the new record for highest number of days with sales - 14/31 = 45.16%!! 11(!!) of those were on or before August 14th... which made the other 17 days of August VERY depressing :P Though, 8/37 sales (21.62%) were made in the other 3 dales of sales. Someone picked up the whole IH series so far on one day :)

August was a huge month for me because (ba da da daaaa!) I averaged 1.19 sales/day!!! Even though I only saw 14 days with sales, I had multiple sales per day :)

Smashwords accounted for 0% of my sales :( Barnes and Noble was a whopping 40.54% of my month's sales!!! That is huge, because if I only released (for example) for Kindle, I would have roughly half the sales I received! Amazon was 54.05% of sales, with Amazon UK 5.405% (How funny is that?)

Best-selling rank so far:
#1 - Cheat, 40
#2 - Liar, 24
#3 - Coward, 19
#4 - Thief, 17
#5 - Shackled, 15
#6 - Thug, 14

Onto conversions! Remember, I want at least 50% conversion, and I think 75% is great!

So, as follows:

Cheat - Liar; 40 - 24 (60%) July saw 51.61%, so that conversion rate has risen!

Liar - Coward; 24 - 19 (79.16%) Down from 81.25%. Still happy it's above the 75% mark.

Coward - Thief; 19 - 17 (89.47%) Down from 92.31%. It's hard to be unhappy about the drop when it's literally a difference of one sale.

Thief - Thug; 17 - 14 (82.35%) Up from 50% :). I mentioned last month "Thug" was slow on the uptake, so it's really started pulling it's weight more.

While my sales from episode to episode are something to be proud of, the overall conversion (from "Cheat" to the latest, "Thug") is 35%. The satisfied goal there is 50%, but I am above 25%, which makes me very grateful :)

Final Notes:
August was a rough month for me personally, but I am pleased with my sales results. If things... MANY things... hadn't popped up, I expect I'd be showing around 50 sales for the month! As it is, things happen and I am pleased with where I've gotten so far.

Maybe one day I will really be able to make a living at this :)

My July goals were 35/40/50 (achievable/happy/excitement). I met my achievable (YAY) and got about halfway to my happy goal :)

While the winter sales season will start to pick up, I am a bit worried about my own titles. After August 14th, I literally seemed to fall right off the face of the ebook planet. People forget my name or something? ;)

I'd like to set my goals, starting at 25% of my overall sales (129) but that is actually below 35! So, I have a lot of pessimism about September's sales (especially until I get another title available) but I want to do at least as well as last month...

So my goals are:
40 (achievable)
45 (happy)
50 (excitement)

How about you all? How are you doing? :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

In My Heart

I don't think I need to go into some long-winded, flowery, million-times-voiced explanation of how music affects me. I think by now, it's just something people understand - music is powerful.

When I was in high school I listened to a lot of heavy metal and hard rock, also punk a little ska and (regular?) rock. No death metal - I couldn't understand what they were screaming, so what was the point? A lot of death metal sounds suspiciously the same to me. Loved me some MudVayne, Slipknot, Coal Chamber...

One thing I notice about the music I grew up with - all in all, it just seemed hopeful. It was about where you would be, where you would go, who you loved... The beats moved and it made you smile.

I listen to four radio stations. One is a college station that plays primarily rap. One is a generic "current" rock station. The third is a special mix of the 90's, 00's and now. The last is a country station.

A year ago, I never touched that last station.

Then, I started noticing how much I hate today's music. Not at first. At first it's catchy and fun. But the lyrics start to sink in. They carry a heavy message of hopelessness, depression and anger.

Katy Perry sings about her drunk whorebaggery... and how she'll do the exact same thing next week!

One song I turn off immediately when it comes on has the lyrics, "they be treatin' you like a slave, throwin' chains all up on you" and then I click it off.

GaGa's "Edge of Glory" is the same four notes with her basically just repeating the chorus.


And over.

And over.

It's boring. It's mind-numbing. And it's the same 12 songs played in an endless shuffled loop. I need stimulation. I need NEW music.

I need hope.

So recently, I started poking at that fourth radio station. Sometimes a song here or there to break up the monotony, but more and more I find I just leave it on. This is quite startling to me, as (maybe as recently as a year ago) I would rather stab my ears out than listen to country.

Even scarier - I actually know the lyrics and sing along with a few of the songs... know a few of the artist's names... want to listen to the songs when I'm NOT trapped in a car...

I've been doing a lot of "What the hell are we gonna do"ing. Not necessarily soul-searching, but equally as important. Now, more than ever, hope plays a key role in my mood from day-to-day.

There is hope on the horizon for me. It may involve an awkward and sudden move a quarter of the way across the country, but I have a lot of support from my significant other and I'm really thinking it might be the best play.

So, about the country station:

I'm finding more and more I like the music here. Don't get me wrong - I still don't like a lot of it. But I like a lot more than I did. Country singers still get it - they still sing about hope and love and feeding your dog (?). So I want to share a very appropriate song for my situation and I hope you all enjoy it.

If, like I used to be, you can't listen to country without having a brain bleed, I'll also just post the lyrics and listening will be optional.

Two lines that really stand out for me:

Get lost and get right with my soul


Maybe it's the feeling or maybe it's the freedom

So please enjoy Rodney Atkins', "Take a Back Road". Be warned, it's catchy :)

Sit in that six-lane backed up traffic
Horns are honking, I've about had it
I'm looking for an exit sign
Gotta get out of here, get it all off my mind
And like a memory from your grandpa's attic
A song comes slippin' through the radio static
Changing my mood
A little George Strait 1982

And it makes me wanna take a back road
Makes me wanna take the long way home
Put a little gravel in my travel
Unwind, unravel all night long
Makes me wanna grab my honey
Tear down some two-lane country
Who knows
Get lost and get right with my soul
Makes me wanna take
Makes me wanna take a back road

I've been cooked up, tied down, 'bout forgotten
What a field looks like, full of corn and cotton
If I'm gonna hit a traffic jam,
Well it better be a tractor man
So sick and tired of this interstate system
I need a curve and wide-a-twistin'
Dusty path to nowhere
With the wind blowing through my baby's hair

Yeah, makes me wanna take a back road
Makes me wanna take the long way home
Put a little gravel in my travel
Unwind, unravel all night long
Makes me wanna grab my honey
Tear down some two-lane country
Who knows
Get lost and get right with my soul
Makes me wanna take
Makes me wanna take a back road

Some ol' back road

Maybe it's the feeling or maybe it's the freedom
Maybe it's that shady spot
Where we park the truck when the things get hot
Yeah we park the truck when the things get hot

And it makes me wanna take a back road
Makes me wanna take the long way home
Put a little gravel in my travel
Unwind, unravel all night long
Makes me wanna grab my honey
Tear down some two-lane country
Who knows
Get lost and get right with my soul
Makes me wanna take
Makes me wanna take a back road.

Some old back road, get right with my soul
Now all I gotta do is take some old back road
To the shady spot where things get hot
Way down, way down, way down some old back road

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pat Yourselves on the Back

Hello everybody, and may I also say WOW.

From comments here to mails in my box, I have gotten tremendous support from you guys and you all rock my socks off. (Seriously, cannot wear socks for like 6 months, they have been rocked so hard, and so far.)

There are a lot of things in motion right now. I am trying to set myself up for success and I've made some hard decisions and spent more time on the phone in the last 48 hours than in the last 2 months, combined :P

As far as I know, my head is healing fine and my hand is doing much better today! The road rash is still very sore and the scabs tear a little easier than one would hope but I think I'll be okay ;)

Hopefully I will come bearing good news, and soon! But for now I want to tell you all to just give yourself a big pat on the back because you guys are totally awesome. I have a recognized terror of failure and even thinking about changing the IH schedule put me in tremors. My good friend, going for a PhD in Psychology recently did a career counseling session for me.

Probably one of the biggest things I took away from him was when he looked me in the eye and said, "It's okay. It's okay to fail. It's okay to give up sometimes, or try again later. It's okay."

It sounds stupid but I burst into tears because it's so much harder to live with that understanding (for me) than to just get it. You guys have been amazing friends, backing me up even when I'm falling and I thank you for it.

I love you guys!!! My colleagues, my fans, my FRIENDS!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I will probably be the first one to tell you - I hate excuses. I would much rather the person just say they are sorry for something they've done then try to tell me all the extenuating circumstances.

But, to make a rule there have to be exceptions. (Or so someone once gravely informed me.) If the excuse is something that will continue to cause problems in the future, I think it's better to know.

The fact is, "Frigid" will not be releasing as scheduled. It _will_ release, just not on time. I'm hoping before this month ends. After that, IH will be changing over to a 2-month release schedule (from it's current 1-month schedule).

I've had a number of major life bombs dropped on me recently. Certainly not the least is that my significant other will soon be jobless. He is the assistant manager of a well-known national brand, but the landlord for his store up and decided he is refusing to renew the lease. It's not only his store, a number of landlords seem to have ganged up on his company. His is not the only store that is closing, nor is it the only one in our area. Probably the worst part about this is that his store was actually doing well and under his management! About 6-7 weeks ago, his store manager was promoted and he has been running the store alone, (still on an assistant manager's salary, even!) and blew away the upper management with his stellar numbers and efficiency. It makes the fall all that harder.

The reality is that I rely on him a lot (probably too much). He pays the mortgage for HIS house, the utilities... I pretty much use my measly 6k/year income to skate by on my bills, and when I catch a break, take us out for dinner or stock up the pantry once in awhile. (Does anyone even say pantry anymore?)

I am proud of where the IH has come so far, and I am making definite inroads into indie publishing, but I am not growing at a life-sustaining rate and I need to make some hard decisions.

I don't need a lot to survive - only about $500/month for MY personal bills. I am making about $10/month with my writing, so far. With his looming joblessness, I definitely need more coming in.

Don't get me wrong - I have been looking for a better-paying job for upwards of 2 months.

There. Is. Nothing. In. Ohio.

Smart people leave Ohio. I did once and did very well for myself. But, I came back. And now I find I'm basically back to where I started before I left. Minus the debt I paid off while I was gone (but the new debt is growing, sigh.) I really, really, really want to leave again. It's a lot harder when it's not just you, but you have someone else very important to you that has to be situated, also.

If this wasn't enough for you, I was also in a biking (bicycle, not motorcycle) accident recently and kissed the pavement with my right hand (THANKFULLY not broken or fractured, just very, very contussed) and also with my head. (No helmet, FTW.)

Hospital bills I know I won't be able to afford and a concussion later, here I am. Slightly disoriented, unable to cool off while sitting directly in front of a full-blast AC and painfully typing this to you.

Thankfully the road rash on my hand, head and leg aren't too bad. But they are pretty colors.

So to recap: homelessness looming, bike accident, changed release schedule and #6 will be late.

And, for what it's worth:

I am very sorry.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Icarus Helix Episode 6: "Frigid" (Sneak Peek!)

I would love to know everyone's thoughts :D

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Communication, Part 2

We hit 60 words today in our sign practice. Andy missed a couple on his round (he went first today) and I got them all correct. Got to use my sign to celebrate, even! Went something like this:

Me: Sign champion!

Him: I'm incompetent.

Me: Correct. (One of our new signs today.)

Him: =(

Haha, seems a little mean, but it WAS funny :)

Friday, August 12, 2011


I will be the first to admit: in the mornings I am an angry, biznotchy, growling, lumbering, scowling, barbed, volatile creature of hatred. I don't wake up well, I never really have. Something about the land of dreams sinks its claws into me and fights, fights to let me resurface unto reality.

I wake up slow. I use multiple alarms. I always hit the snooze and I hate, hate, HATE noise. It's not even noise so much as voices. I hate listening to people talk in the morning. Give me at least an hour before you so much as say "Good Morning"! Something about it just grinds against my brain and mashes every snarling instinct in my nervous system. It's not flight for me, it's FIGHT.

Needless to say, with as exuberantly talkative at my beau is at ANY given hour, this is a problem for us.

I recently published "Thief" about a mute boy whose best friend is deaf. They communicate in sign language. Oh, to know sign language... it's so... silent!

When I wrote "Thief" I tried to do some research into sign culture. I've always been interested in signing. I even tried to sign up for it in college. (Fun fact: my college only allowed you to take beginner's sign unless you actually had a close relative who was deaf. I don't. The waiting list for beginner's sign was still two semesters deep...) If I take a class, I don't want it to be half-assed... I want to learn everything I can. Just taking beginner's sign seemed sort of a waste to me.

So for my research I signed up with a huge deaf/signing culture message board. I introduced myself, said I was doing some research into signing culture and had some questions.

Then the internet crickets came out.

When I finally received a response, it was sadly to a link that was all about what non-hearing people hate about "hearies". I found many of the things there to be inflammatory and even hurtful. This was my greeting into the deaf culture? I was quite upset. I ended up mailing the moderator and asked to take my post down, then I excused myself from the message boards.

They say you catch more flies with honey. If you want someone to understand you, you have to be accepting when they start from ground zero. My students in Japan said some shocking and almost blasphemously incorrect things about America. I kept my patience and explained the error, and I tried to laugh off as many of the incidentally hurtful things they said. If someone kicks a rock and accidentally hits you, punching them in the face isn't going to solve anything.

I really despaired about signing for quite awhile. I'd made a few brave forays into the culture and seemed to keep finding locked doors.

Recently, Andy (the beau) asked me to go see Harry Potter (part 2) in the theaters with him. I read the books, at about a rate of 1 per day. They were alright. I wasn't terribly impressed. I can respect they brought the world of books to many kids, and applaud them for that. I would probably have sufficed on Sparknotes. Sadly, I found the movies equally as lacking. They just didn't hold any punch for me. But I took his desire to see the movie, and I struck a deal.

I would finish watching the movies (4 total more to watch, at that point) AND see the last one in theaters with him, if he would learn sign language with me.

Now, I understand it can take about a hobojillion years to learn sign language. But I felt like it took a hobojillion years to get through all the HP movies.

A deal was forged.

We add about 4 new words a day, via a set of 500 sign flashcards we obtained at a Border's funeral for 30% off. We also bought an ENORMOUS sign dictionary (ostensibly for when the cards are finished?).

We're up to somewhere about 50 words. We practice every card (current plus the new 4) every day. We've settled into a routine:

1. Pick new cards, at random.

2. Try to guess what the signs on the cards mean.

3. See the meaning of the cards, read the text of how to sign it, read "related" words".

4. Someone says a word and you have to produce the sign. It gives us some good practice because it's almost like "translating" the word into movement.

We were also doing an I-sign-you-say backwards translation, but doing both took up a lot more time and with an increasing number of cards/words, we just say-and-sign-quiz.

It's slow going. It will take us about a million years to learn sign language. But the important thing is: we are doing it together. With increasing numbers of words, we can put together some simple sentences. We can communicate small things via sign. We have opened up an additional line of communication and set aside time to spend with each other (that is very important).

And maybe a small personal favorite thing... the more we learn, the more I look forward to a nice, voiceless morning.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Schrödinger's U-turn

Me and the beau were driving on the highway from our town to the next over the other day. I was watching the scenery and we passed a few of those U-turns they have through the median that are really only used by clocking coppers and occasionally emergency vehicles. At every U-turn there was the (No U-Turn) sign.

This sort of irritates me, because especially on that stretch of highway (it's even worse farther on), if you miss your exit you are literally driving for miles and miles before you can turn around. I can even think of at least one exit that says "No Re-entry Eastbound" so if you miss your exit, and take the next exit, you still can't turn around.

My solution, of course, was that a number of the no U-turn's could actually be places where, oh, I dunno, you can turn around! When bargaining, aim high, so I said every other one should be OK for turning around.

The beau of course reminded me that U-turns through the median onto a highway could be quite dangerous (duh, thanks, I know). And if you're on the highway, you might not be able to see someone making the U-turn... meanwhile you're going 65mph... etc.

So I suggested there could be some sort of sign for these types of U-turns. I thought about it for a moment. Obviously the words can't be too long, because you're going 65mph and don't have time to read the frikkin' Analects so it has to be quick!

Our conversation went something like:

"Okay, I know what to call it!"


"Viable U-turn Ahead" and here's where I beam with self-satisfied glee because this is a perfect answer.

"You can't use viable."

"What? Why not?"

"Wh... what does viable even mean? I don't even know what it means. The laws of this country aren't made for any other reason then to protect dumb people. People don't know what viable means. If you use that, no one is going to know, and there'll be just as many accidents anyway."

(And out of all that I of course took...) "You don't know what viable means?"

"I... okay, maybe. It means potential, right?"

So we had a long discussion on the what the exact difference between "potential" and "viable" is. I argue that "potential" refers more to an unknown quantity ie: He has a lot of potential. Whereas "viable" refers more to a YES/NO statement, there either being (in use) or being (not in use) of a U-turn ahead. Either way, watch out.

I drummed up a mental tally of some of my coworkers... and decided OK, maybe "viable" WOULD be a bad choice...

So with an equally satisfied air of triumph, I declared, "Schrödinger's U-turn!"

He made some unintelligible exclamatory remarks...

"Do you know what Schrödinger said?" I asked, somewhat exasperated.


So I gave him a crash course in layman's terms of THAT experiment. While agreeing it was interesting, he burst my bubble with:

"If they don't know what viable means, they probably won't know who Schrödinger is."


That is probably true.

But I don't like being defeated twice, so I sulked.

"I don't care," I said. "We'll put it in the traffic manual and they have to learn it or NO LICENSE. I hereby declare Schrödinger's U-turn to be in effect."

So there.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Captain American't

You may remember my glowing review of Green Lantern.

I'm writing a series about teens with superpowers. Obviously I like this kind of stuff.

But for everything good about Green Lantern, Captain America sucked floppy donkey schlong (pardon my language).

Some of the jokes were funny, but the actors' timing was poor. It felt forced. In fact, in a huge movie theater with the sound so high the ceiling is shaking, the actors mumbled so much I couldn't understand the dialogue.

Hugo Weaving (better known as "That Bad Guy From the Matrix" or "V") is an incredible actor. I loved his performance. I wish he hadn't been stuck with such droll dialogue, but at least he managed to put a great deal of life into it.

Other than Hugo, I liked the costumes and a lot of the cars, especially the Hydromobile, as I called Johann Schmidt's transportation. And Samuel L. Jackson, because if you don't like him in any given movie, he has a federal contract that says he can come punch you in your face (even if you are pregnant or wear glasses). So, I liked him.

When all the bad reviews started coming out about Green Lantern, I was skeptical of the movie. I wanted to see it - so I did... and loved it. The more reviews I saw the more I thought, "Either you didn't watch the same movie as me, or you have been paid to badmouth it by a rival studio". I could not understand the fiery loathing the reviewers poured onto the hapless head of beautiful Ryan Reynolds.

Then Captain America came out and got glowing reviews. "It's everything Green Lantern wasn't...", "the acting was superb...", "If you see one movie this summer, see CAPTAIN AMERICA!".

The only one of those reviews that was correct was the first - everything Green Lantern wasn't... because Green Lantern was awesome and Captain America was physically painful, it was so disappointing.

I get it - it's supposed to be a set-up for the Avengers movie next year. It's supposed to build tension and make you anticipate something in the future.

The only tension it built in me was an aggravation at having a wallet six and a half bucks lighter. Don't see this movie in theaters. Wait until it comes to Redbox and rent it for a dollar. Or better yet, wait until you have one of those $.50 weekend coupons from Redbox and THEN rent it. Or BETTER, rent something ELSE, get offered a FREE rental and get Captain America.

You'll thank me later.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July 2011 Sales Update

I felt at the end of last month that my sales this month would not be as high. I had a few reasons for my belief. First(ly), I had someone purchase all my works in one big swoop (5 sales). I also was featured on Daily Cheap Reads Jr. These provided a little more than my average exposure (none but enthusiastic book bloggers). Another reason for my belief was that my release was very late in the month (the 27th). This only allowed 5 days for the new release to sparkle in July... not even a full week! So some residual sales were probably lost (but are being picked up early August).

Despite these things, I only fell short of last month's sales by 2... TWO! I believe this month and through the end of the year should go up, up and up! So, onto the chart!

My July sales totaled 25 units. That is about 92.59% of June. I was expecting more around 20, so I was pleasantly surprised :)

Since I put my first book up for sale in February, I have sold 92 units. 27.17% of those were in June. My sales last month were 40.29% of my total, so the percentage has dropped. While this seems down dramatically, please also note that my TOTAL units sold INCREASED 37.31%. So, having the same number sell each month (or less) of course the percentage will drop, if for no other reason than there are more "points". Think of it like school grades in school. The more points there are, the less each individual point is worth...

"Thug" has been slow on the uptake. The first four days saw six sales, where I was expecting closer to 7-10. But I'm not worried, because there is a lot in the world to read and I'm sure fans of the series will come around to grab it up eventually (or even soon!).

17 of my sales (68%) came on or after "Thug"'s release (July 27th). This is down from 77.77% in June, but that's kind of a good thing. It meant my sales were more evenly spread across July, not all coming in a big lump like at the end of June. This was definitely better for my overall mental state throughout the month :P But it was also exciting to see sales more often.

July had my highest number of DAYS with sales, at 12/31 - 38.71%!

In June I averaged .9/day in sales. In July: .81. Ah, it went down, but that's okay. It is literally the difference between two sales.

Smashwords was 4% of my sales this month (down from 18.51%). B&N was 24% of my sales, up from 22.22%. Amazon was a whopping 72% of my sales!

Best-selling rank so far:
#1 - Cheat, 31
#2 - Liar, 16
#3 - Shackled, 14
#4 - Coward, 13
#5 - Thief, 12
#6 - Thug, 6

Onto conversions! Remember, I want at least 50% conversion, and I think 75% is great!

So, as follows:

Cheat - Liar; 31 - 16 (51.61%) June saw 47.82%, so that conversion rate has risen! That means people who picked up "Cheat" before have read it and decided to move on in the series :) I hit my 50% conversion, so yay!

Liar - Coward; 16 - 13 (81.25%) Well, this is down from 100%, but both numbers increased, meaning people are getting more into the story! I am still well above the awesome 75% mark, so I am very pleased.

Coward - Thief; 13 - 12 (92.31%) This number has risen almost 11%! I think that is great. It is startlingly close to 100% and well above both the 50 and 75% benchmarks. I have nothing bad to say about these numbers, either :)

Thief - Thug; 12 - 6 (50%) I have hit the 50% goal marker, so I am happy. As I mentioned, "Thug" was slow on the uptake, but I believe early August will see more sales of it.

I'm going to introduce a new section here, at least for this month. We can talk about "units" and percentages, but I thought it might be a little bit of an eye-opener to see how much I am actually making. (Here's a hint: not much :D) So, I've prepared two charts for you. The first is a breakdown of ALL the royalties I've earned since the beginning of my "journey" if you will (since February 2011). It is broken down by vendor. Please check it out:

This second chart is a breakdown, by month, of the royalties I've earned (not vendor exclusive). Because of the "rules" of royalties by the vendors, anything less than $10 in a month means you don't get royalties until that account balance reaches $10. In (very late) June I received my first royalty check from Amazon... for February, March and April! I won't receive another one until (at the earliest, late) August :( But, I finally hit $10 at both B&N AND Smashwords this month, so I should receive THREE in August! :D So enough blathering and here is the chart:

Final Notes:
I feel like I'm pretty on track with where I should be, from July. I'm hoping to be swept up in the big Christmas rush season. As the weather cools down and more people turn back to reading, I offer a nice, affordable body of work to peruse. I also think that writing YA will help fill the void left behind by Twilight or Harry Potter, especially since HP is coming to the ebook world. Hopefully those readers will be looking for their next big reading fix and they will come upon me :)

My July goals were 30/40/50 (achievable/happy/excitement). I'm not totally surprised I didn't meet my achievable, but I was pleasantly surprised by beating my pessimism. Boons last month aside, I did well on my own this month :)

If I were going to give someone advice, from this point, I would say: TITLES MATTER! I'm not talking what the book is called, I'm talking having works out there for people to snap up after they read something else of yours. If someone isn't buying X, they might be buying Y, Z, A, N, or P! (I have 6 titles, so I used that for reference, hah.) While I have no proof that people finish "Cheat" and immediately buy "Liar"... the sales pattern strongly reflects it...

So why are you still here? Get writing! Okay, I'll give you just one last little bit, and then you better GET WRITING! (If you're aiming to meet/exceed me) :)

I feel a little confident about August, so here are my August goals:

Achievable: 35
Happy: 40
Excitement: 50

Thanks for sticking around and I'd love to know what you think!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why Lookee Here

Seems to me, the newest Icarus Helix drops today. And here it is! So go get your "Thug" on! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Third Hand

The problem with keeping odd hours and eating all over the house (read: at my computer) is that I usually find myself having to make two trips to the kitchen - once for food, and a second time for drinks. To me, this is kind of a pain in the butt. Not only because I am inherently lazy about inconsequential tasks, but also because it delays things I actually want to do. (Eat, read, watch something.)

I am fortunate in that I often get my drinks from cans. (Pop.) A can being a closed container at the start, it is easily transported in unconventional ways without loss of product.

When I have a bowl in one hand and a plate in the other, there is nowhere for the can to go. Now, I know you might think - "Why not put it in your pocket?" For anyone who has ever dealt with girl pants, you have probably also dealt with girl pockets.

Girl pockets are only large enough to hold our hopes and dreams. Good luck putting anything substantial in there.

(To me) The next obvious solution is simply to grow a third hand. In the absence of practical science or sufficient quantities of radiation, I must think a little more widely. For example: can the beau carry the can for me? Well, he also has a plate and a bowl, so, no.

Expanding my scope yet again, I alight upon a delight of my life who is also usually underfoot. Being half border collie, he delights in doing and completing tasks no matter the consequence. (Read: He is less lazy than me in that circumstance.) It was but the matter of a moment to teach my worker dog his task, nay duty to assist the one who feeds, bathes, cleans up after and cuddles him. Being that I have a very good relationship with him, he will patiently sit and wait for me to take the can back, practically forever. I am very much of the "nurture" side of the argument. My dog was able to do this at nine months old.

I will give a small disclaimer in that Ajax is extraordinarily gentle and does not chomp down on things when offered them. It makes the first five minutes of "Tug" very easy to win.

So I give you, my Third Hand:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Actually Not Dead

I know, I know, I haven't been updating regularly. Sorry.

So here's just a quick update:

1. Puppy's worms seem cleared up, and his fur is getting back to being soft (yay.)

2. Humidity is pushing us into the 110's (WTFH???).

3. Wicked horrible storms everyday mean the computer has to keep getting turned off. (Sigh.)

4. "Thug" is on schedule to release THIS WEDNESDAY! (Miraculously.)

5. Black-Eyed Peas broke up. (Seriously??)

6. I now have an AC unit in my writing room so I don't die from the humidity + computer heat while trying to write. (This Wednesday!)


Monday, July 11, 2011


I love my dog very dearly!

But recently he has been shedding fur. A lot of fur. Like, I go to bed clean and wake up covered in hair that has somehow drifted from the living room, down the hall and through the closed door of the bedroom (his crate is in the living). Hairy morning.

He's a (part) lab and this is his first summer. Between the black fur, the sensitivity to heat (of labs)and a recent flea infestation that FINALLY succumbed to the Frontline (and numerous baths), it's not uncommon for the dog to be shedding, even heavily.

But when I can pinch his fur in fingers and give a brief tug... and the whole clump comes off in my fingers... something is the matter!

I also noticed some white bits in his stool. He often eats grass because he actually thinks he is a goat. (Also, labs are notorious eaters.) I originally thought it to be just grass seed.

Then I thought - What if my dog has worms?

THEN I thought - How the hell would he get worms?

So I took the day off and planned to take him to the semi-retired vet who only charges $20 walk-in fee plus medication. Not bad!

First step - come armed with a stool sample! So I waited for the puppy to pop a squat and went to pick it up with a plastic grocery bag...

Imagine my disgust when those "white bits" I noticed a few days ago turned out to be WORMS. Probably a full inch long, they stretched and bulged amongst his poo.


I quickly wrapped it and headed for the vet...

... only to get there and find the building essentially condemned (WTH?) They were shredding the inside of it, rebuilding and the vet sign had been hollowed out.

New plan.

"Sick" dog in the car. Wormy poo in a trash bag on the floor of the car...

I went up the street to another vet clinic I knew was there (but undoubtedly more expensive!). Luckily they weren't busy and took me as a walk-in!

The vet suspects poor Ajax has a common lab affliction - Flea Dermatitis. Not only do flea bites itch for him, but he essentially breaks out into hives because he is actually allergic to them. He doesn't bite or scratch much, though I did notice the spots on his skin a long time ago. I figured it was heat rash because it came and went.

But other than that - TAPEWORMS! My poor guy has been eating and all the protein has been sucked up by those little buggers, making his coat brittle and unsustainable :( He should have his nice, soft coat back soon!

Now as I said before - how in the hell did my dog get worms?

Fun Fact!

I apologized profusely and looked miserable about my dogs worms. The vet took pity on me and explained how he probably got them:

When a dog gets fleas they scratch and bite at them. Sometimes when they bite, they swallow the flea. Fleas carry tiny parasites ON THEM that grow into tapeworms. So just one flea can give a dog tapeworms.

Completely preventing fleas on dogs is a pipe dream. We Frontline him on schedule and he's only ever had one bad break-out (we don't Frontline as often during the winter, and right during the beginning of spring he had his break-out). So a dog getting tapeworms is nothing unusual. I think the medication for it is only a few dollars per tablet.

So the goal is to get his worms cleared up, get him on a (better!) preventative than he was on, and keep lovin' him like we do :)

And before, when I said "sick" dog, here's why:

My dog is a cannonball of energy. Despite the fur loss, the worms, the weight loss from the worms... you would never, ever have guessed he was sick.

I attributed his symptoms to the following:
Fur loss - summer heat. (It was not patchy, just kind of general shedding)
Worms - grass seed in the stool
Weight loss - more active during the summer (we're not talking skin and bones walking around, he lost maybe 5lbs... at 10 months he's over 60lbs (with worms!) and lean)

He is energetic and lively. His eyes are bright, and he will play and run on a moment's notice. He still loved playing frisbee and going for walks at any time! He had normal stool (no diarrhea). So, I don't think it was unusual to have guessed he was fine.

But, I'm glad we got it cleared up, though the medication made him a little drowsy today. My poor wormy wigglebutt will feel better soon :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

#Sample Sunday: "Liar", Prologue

Prologue - Bad Men

Marcus Tiller did not think of himself as a Bad Man. Bad Men were the people who took your money, knowing you would lose. Then, when you had no money left, They would offer to let you borrow, so you could keep playing. Once you lost the borrowed capital, those same Men would tell you They would break your legs next Tuesday... unless you came up with what you owed. Those were Bad Men.

Marcus was just a man in a pinch. His cards were perpetually bad, his mojo gone on the wind. Sometimes, when you were down, you stayed down. Sometimes the world would not let you stand up. But sometimes... an angel watched over your shoulder.

He stared hard at the newspaper in his hands. Did an angel smile, even now, at his disbelief? Surely the words would crawl from the recycled pulp and escape his notice.

Make 100k,
become rich from
very little work.
No selling necessary!

The advertisement was followed by a phone number and a name: Ollie Parsons. He dialed immediately.

Icarus Consulting was squeezed between the Mane Street Salon and the corner convenience store, Reuger's. Though the three stores shared the same brick face, the dark lines on Icarus' sign made it appear to draw back from the street. He checked his watch - seven minutes early for his interview.

The door swung open with a gentle noise of vacuumed air. The atmosphere in the office was charged - an ionized air purifier humming gently against the wall. The AC pumped cool air over his face. He felt energized after a few moments in the room.

Foldable cubicle walls neatly marked the territories of the building. Cut off from the noise of the outside, he could only hear the purring of electronics and the tapping of a keyboard. The typist stopped and after a moment's pause, a head popped up over the wall.

The woman flashed him a brilliant smile, unruly curls waving about her face as she hurried to greet him. Her business suit was tailored very fine and she moved with indisputable grace. Though she was shorter than Marcus, she stared confidently into his eyes.

"May I help you?"

"I'm Marcus. I'm here for an interview." Why did his voice catch like that?

"Marcus... Tiller?"

"That's me."

"Mr. Tiller!" she exclaimed, grabbing his hand and pumping it enthusiastically. "I'm Ollie... Ollie Parsons. We spoke on the phone?"

"Oh, yes, right. I'm going to meet with you? I'm sorry, I didn't realize..."

"No, no," she answered, waving a dismissive hand. "No one does. I'm the only one here. Just little old Ollie all alone in the office." Her teeth flashed again in a smile. "But I'm looking for a very specific candidate, so, really, I have to be the one to take care of it! Right?"

"Er, right."

She ushered him back into the recesses of the office, deeper than the small storefront appeared from the street. They sat at a round table with plush chairs. She folded her hands and looked at him expectantly.

"Did you bring a résumé for me to look over?"

"Right, here it is." He fumbled the paper out of his bag, handing it across the frigid surface of the table. He laid his arms down and the cold seeped through his jacket to chill his bones.

Her eyebrows quirked unexpectedly. "St. Mercy Four Cities Hospital? I see you've worked there for quite some time. I would think a position of that institution would pay a decent salary. Could you tell me the nature of your work?"

"I'm a neonatal attendant. I help care for the newborns in the ward, before the parents are sent home. I'm a babysitter in the best sense of the term - medically and physically."

A small smile played across Ollie's mouth. "Indeed. Please describe the care you give to the infants."

"I watch over them through the night, change and feed them, I write a lot of charts about their condition and take 'Apart Time' shifts."

"What is an 'Apart Time' shift?"

"Each baby needs individual care apart from the other babies. We usually have them from 2-4 hours, in which we give them attention, cuddles, soft things to see and touch, feed and change them. We may also listen to music or read stories so they hear and respond to sound or a human voice."

"Interesting. So you are left alone with someone else's baby for a few hours at a time? Sort of like a nanny?"

"Yes, I suppose you could look at it like that. We also monitor their vitals, though, especially infants in the ICU. I write and interpret a lot of medical jargon."

"Tell me, Mr. Tiller," Ollie said, giving him a hard stare directly into his eyes. "Do you like your job?"

He hesitated. There was not necessarily a reason to lie or be truthful. Should he say what she wanted to hear? He thought it might be best to speak what he felt.

"They are not my children. Of course I care about them, in a professional capacity, but once they leave the hospital, they are out of my life, essentially. I generally won't see them ever again, or recognize them if I do."

"I see. And, could you explain to me why you could possibly need $100,000?"

Images of the Bad Men flashed through his mind and he flinched. His hands clenched on the table. "I owe some people some money," he said, horrified at his own admission. What use hiding it now? "There is no option to not pay... not that I'm trying to get out of it," he amended quickly. "Just, I don't have the money I need."

"Well, we can touch on that particular circumstance later..." she offered. "What I want to know is, how far would you go for the money?" He looked askance at her, but she was smiling without a hint of indiscretion.