Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year ;) (slightly updated)

I have some more good news for those of you with eReaders (or as I'd like to call ya, traitors LOL). Since last night, I have been hard at work at getting my books ready for digital sale. Oh, they've been on sale in eBook format before, just not like this:

Roots of the Cypress Tree (ePUB)
A Candlelit World (ePUB)
Scrambled Egg: Poems and Other Confessions (ePUB)

That's right, folks...all three books are available in ePUB format now. At this time, they are only available for purchase at my official bookstore, but in time (crossing my fingers) they will also be for sale at the Nook and iBookstore websites.

But...that's not all!

As of today, they are available for purchase at the Kindle store too! No, you are not hallucinating! I may be a book purist, but I also recognize the changing of the times and am doing my best to adapt. On the right hand side of this blog is a new widget called "My Kindle Store" for you to check out.

The best part though, is that no matter which store you buy these eBooks from, the price will be $5.

In my last post, I gave you Lulu's latest coupon code. Be sure to use it to your fullest advantage, whether you are a book purist like myself, or you have gone digital. Please visit my official bookstore to see my updated catalog, and keep an eye out for my upcoming short story releases for January. Happy New Year everybody!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The first two short stories in a series of monthly releases has been published.

The Christmas Party, published 12/21/11
Synopsis: Anya Douglas and her small circle of friends each receive an invitation to a Christmas party. They decide to attend despite not knowing their hosts, and get much more than they bargained for this holiday season.

From my notes: I started writing this story on August 16th, 1998. I was 11 days shy of turning 18 years old. I finished it on January 25th, 2000.

Who might like this? Fans of the "Twilight" books and romance novels might enjoy it. This story contains some adult content, so don't let your kid read this one ;)

The Wall of Memories, published 12/22/11
Synopsis: When the Vietnam Memorial is dedicated in Washington DC, two veterans make the road trip to see it and come to terms with their memories of war that still haunts them 16 years later.

From my notes: This story was started on February 22nd and finished on April 12th, 1998. This was originally written for my Conflicts & Revolutions class, taught by Steve Cole. This story is dedicated to him.

Who might like this? Fans of war history, war films & literature. Although the story is fiction, it is set against the backdrop of actual events related to the Vietnam War.

I plan on releasing two more titles a month for the next five months, all in ePUB format. Then, when the time is right, I will combine all short stories into a single collection and publish in actual book form.

Be one of the first! For only $2 each, buy yourself a copy of "The Christmas Party" and/or "The Wall of Memories" today!

moment of clarity

I'm up a little later than I should be tonight, I have to work early tomorrow, but I wanted to write about a moment of clarity I had while I was nearing the end of my shift.

I suppose every woman has moments like this when she's in her early 30s. I've been working at the same job for almost seven years, it was a job that was originally supposed to earn me some easy money while I wrote. It's not an easy job, I've worked in fast food for years before McDonalds. Over half a decade later, I wear a manager's uniform but mostly I'm a seasoned grunt. I can go anywhere and work any position. My co-workers are like family to me, and my work life has taken over to such an alarming level that my writing has suffered despite publishing 3 books and the projects I am currently working on. Needless to say, its a dead-end job. I feel like I could be better used elsewhere, but I'm too comfortable where I'm at to look for a better position. Yes, I've gotten lazy in several aspects of my life.

As a kid, I saw myself as ugly and fat. Guys in my class didn't pay any attention to me and I was not popular. I suppose that was the reason why I had relationships with the guys I did. If a man did pay any sort of attention to me, I grabbed on and held on regardless if he was the right one or not. These relationships, with two exceptions, ended badly because I wound up settling for the first man who would look my way instead of waiting for the man of my dreams. I deluded myself that these con men were the real deal. When I met a man who had potential, I screwed the relationship up myself through my own self-destructive insecurity and fears. It is something I've had a lot of trouble letting go of, because there was always the hint that maybe someday we would get a second chance. That hope is slowly dying six years later. I don't think he will ever really come back. I really loved him and always will. I feel his absence in my heart every day and see what could have been in my dreams almost every night.

The biggest piece of advice I can ever give anybody is this: The only things in this life you really regret are the risks you didn't take. If you see a chance to be happy, you grab it with both hands and to hell with the consequences. Don't ever settle.

I am trying to start doing more of the things I love, to take better care of myself and become the person I want to be. From now on I am done settling.

My friends, this may sound familiar. Well let me assure you this moment hit me so hard I may as well have been punched in the gut. I saw the never-ending cycle stretching out in front of me with no end in sight. I saw my life wasting away doing the same old shit when friends my age and younger are starting families and finding real love and happiness. As much as I loved my aunt Patsy, when she was alive she led the same sort of life. She lived several lives in fact, but the one I was a part of was one of...well, comfort. Security. She was only really happy when she was with her family. She was a real independent woman, never had a boyfriend move in with her and she raised her kids by herself. I love and admire her memory, and I always looked up to her. But as she told me several times, "Don't be like me."

I don't want to. I want to love and be loved, have a family and nurture my writing. I know that anything worth having is worth working hard for. I intend to make it happen.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

conversations of my heart and dreams...

More progress made today...

I had a "duh" moment today when I realized that none of my stories had copyright notices in them...and how some of them had title pages (and when necessary, TOCs) and others didn't. Now they do. I'm getting closer to releasing them, maybe it will be a Christmas present for you guys?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Making progress already :)

I have been working for hours at a time these last few days on my old stories. What a blast from the past. I remember sitting at my desk as a teenager from the time I got home to the time I went to bed, only stopping to eat dinner, typing away like a fiend on my Canon StarWriter 60. That was my first workhorse. I only stopped using that poor old thing when its built-in printer finally died, but it got at least five years worth of near constant use. Transferring the contents of the old text documents to Word has been a major pain. With every paragraph break and italicized or boldface words (so many italics!), there was a small mass of strange symbols in between sentences and words. Luckily I still know my old stories inside and out, so it wasn't too difficult.

The majority of my stories have been gone through and all the weird symbols have been removed, now all there is to do is fine tune them until I feel they are fit for release. My plan is to publish each one individually in eBook form, which depending on their size will only cost one or two dollars apiece. I will eventually combine them into a short story collection, maybe two if I feel like stretching it out further, but I doubt it.

My stories are so much shorter than I thought they were! I was sure "Survivors" would be long enough to be a standalone title, but its only 87 pages long! I was very impressed with some of them, many of my one-liners made me laugh out loud. There are one or two which will need an extensive rewrite, or else will get scrapped completely. Otherwise, they are still really good and I am so happy that they will finally be given an official release after collecting virtual dust for almost 16 years.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Upcoming projects!

I have two projects that are on the horizon, thought you would like a sneak peek at whats coming up in my world.

1. On June 3rd, I lost one of my closest friends who was also a poet. Unfortunately in all the years that I knew her, she never saved her work, so only 11 of her poems have survived. I am planning a book which is a tribute to her life, which will include her surviving poems, photos, tribute pieces from friends and loved ones, and I have compiled all the Facebook status updates that she wrote in the last 6 months of her life. Unfortunately, much of the book relies on the contributions of friends and family and that is slowgoing. "Traci: A Life in Reflection" will hopefully be published in 2012.

2. Novella and Short Story Collections
Before I started writing poetry, I had aspirations towards being a novelist. One of my earliest goals was to publish my first book before age 16, which was how old S.E. Hinton was when she published "The Outsiders." I never realized that goal, but during the course of 15 years I wrote several short stories and novellas. Few are large enough to stand alone, and some will be paired together. I will be spending a lot of time going through and revising these old stories as needed- most of them were written when I was a teenager and therefore are in dire need of fine tuning.

Here is a brief list of titles which I will be reviving:

Repeat - One of two war-related stories that I penned in my senior year in high school. Set during World War 3, this centers on the antics and misadventures of a reluctant soldier who finds himself repeatedly returned to the front lines after being injured in combat.

The Wall of Memories - Another war related story, this was written originally as a class assignment. A veteran travels to Washington DC when the Vietnam Memorial is completed and comes to terms with his past as a soldier in the Vietnam War.

The Christmas Party - Three friends receive an invitation to a Christmas party from a mysterious couple who are more than they seem. This may appeal to those who enjoy the Twilight books.

Treasures - Three petty crooks get wind of an urban legend about a treasure chest buried at the bottom of a lake and get themselves roped into a fatal kidnapping scheme to find out the details.

Sibling Affairs - A group of friends become tangled in the lives of the Rush family, who share a deadly secret.

Survivors - A possible stand-alone book, this story is divided into two parts. Centering on the character of Sarah Greene, a high school student who is kidnapped with her class by a deranged teacher and a year later finds herself in a dangerous situation with her savior from the traumatic event. It is her circle of fun-loving friends who step in and save the day.

The Curse of Black Beauty - A man survives a near-fatal accident involving a horse and, upon moving forward with his life and finding true love, finds himself on borrowed time.

The Matchmaker - A middle aged woman sets up her roommate with a reclusive man and winds up falling for him herself.

The Serial Killer - A young woman is taken hostage by a serial killer, who falls in love with her and will do anything to reclaim her after she is rescued.

Ghosts of the Field - A woman investigates the mysterious death of a man whose ghost is haunting her.

Backtrack Thru Politics - Set in the year 2096, four scientists travel back 100 years to foil a Presidential assassination with the help of a professional time traveler.

A Fallen Colonel - Set in the pioneering days of the film industry and has characters modeled after real life silent celebrities, a trio of friends find both fame and heartache when one of them succumbs to alcoholism. This was begun in 1998 and is currently still unfinished.

Churning Through Sick Lullabies (working title) - A woman comes to terms with her life as "the other woman" in a couple's marriage after the husband dies.

These are all projects which will take a very long time to sort through and finalize. I will keep you posted on their progress.