My 29th birthday isn’t until next Saturday, but I think it’s close enough that I can get away with this post.
I have to admit there were times in my teen years that I never thought I’d reach 20, let alone 29, but yet here I am, still going strong, so I look forward to what comes next. I look forward to what my future holds. And I hope the coming year is filled with great moments that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Each year I take a look back to at the things I’ve accomplished throughout the year. To say this past year has been one of the best, but also one of the hardest, would be an understatement of epic proportions. Those closest to me know the struggles I’ve faced over the past year. Some days have been easier to handle than others, but with the love and support of my friends and family, I’ve made it through another year. And I’ve managed to keep my sense of humor intact, as well as my sanity.
Well, the sanity part is debatable, I suppose. It depends on who you ask. There are a few of my friends that think I’m a little nutty for working as much as I do, but that’s who I am. I don’t do well with downtime. I can’t sit still and do nothing. I feel lazy when I do, so I have to have a full plate at all times. Call me an overachiever. Call me crazy. Call me whatever you want. I don’t care. I’m happy with the person I am. And it’s taken my long time to get to this point, but it’s nice being in a place where I finally know who I am. I’m happy with the person I’ve become. That’s not to say there’s still not room for improvement because I know I can always get better. And I will.
What have I accomplished this year?
I released my first novelette A Second Chance back on April 12th, I believe it was. This wasn’t my first time being published; I was included in the From the Dark Side Anthology. However, this time around felt like the first. I was filled with a giddy anticipation that similar to the feeling I use to get on Christmas morning.
A Second Chance underwent significant changes from its original incarnation which was included in FDSA. And whenever I look back on its growth, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I think it turned exactly as it was meant to. There isn’t one thing I wouldn’t change about it. NOT ONE!
In addition to A Second Chance, I also published a short story titled Sacrifice. This is another one that I’m very proud of. Sacrifice forced me to step outside my comfort zone and tackle a pretty difficult topic, and I think I did well with it. I know some have expressed disappointment over the fact it’s not a novel, but I feel like I told the story as I was meant to. And as long as I feel that, I’m okay. It’s when I don’t think I did a story justice that I worry.
This past year also saw the launch of Frugal Maine, a website dedicated towards helping out my fellow Maine residents who are looking for information on frugal and green living, cheap entertainment options in and around Maine, frugal reads, working from home, etc. I did take a hiatus from it for awhile to focus on my personal writing, but I’ve since returned to it. And with the help of one of my best friends, Acadia from Superficial Gallery, I think it’ll get to the point I want it at — a one-stop shop for all residents of Maine.
This year I also appeared on two episodes of Podcaturday, a weekly roundtable discussion between Jennifer and James Melzer and Acadia. While this may not seem like a big deal to some, for me it is. I’m actually incredibly shy, and I have issues with stage fright. Granted, I’m not in front of an audience when taking part in the show, but it does cause the same feelings of apprehension in me. I end up not saying much. My second time around, though, was better than my first, and I know in time I’ll become more comfortable with the entire process. And to be honest, I’m quite anxious to get to that point.
Hm, what else? I did have a few new jobs over the past year that unfortunately did not work out in the long run. But that’s okay because not all will.
I also started a few other side projects that I’m excited about, and I’m anxious to see how successful they turn out.
So that’s it, pretty much, in terms of this year’s accomplishments.
What have I learned over the past year?
This is pretty loaded question because I’ve learned a lot. And some of those lessons were not so pleasant.
- Some people will always hurt you, no matter how much you wish it were different. So if you have to stay strong, no matter what, and keep telling yourself that things will eventually get better.
- Sometimes you have to guard your heart in order to protect what matters most to you.
- Sometimes you can only trust yourself to get things done. And sometimes that means leaving behind those that can’t keep up.
- Sometimes you have to trust others, even if you’re scared to because not everyone in life will hurt you.
- Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and hope and pray that everything turns out exactly as it was meant to.
- Some people truly do come into your life at certain times and for certain reasons. (While I’ve always known this, it was reinforced again this year.)
- No one can make you feel inferior and not good enough, unless YOU allow them to. So don’t give anyone that power over you. EVER!
So that’s my past year in a nutshell. And here’s to the coming year and whatever it brings.
The last time I uploaded a story it took a good day and a half for it to show up, I think. Not this time, though, which is good. It means that Sacrifice is available to all of you that much sooner.
I do have to give special thanks, again, to Jennifer Melzer, Heather Faville and Nicholas Denmon for their insight over the past few weeks. It’s helped me a great deal.
In Other News:
I was the special guest on Podcaturday yesterday morning.
For those not familiar with Podcaturday, it’s the weekly roundtable discussion between James and Jennifer Melzer and Acadia from Superficial Gallery.
While I still laughed a lot, and it’s hard not to with these three, I did talk more than the previous time I was on there. I figure by this time next year, I should be able to outtalk them all. Okay, maybe not. But close. Those three are professionals when it comes to “shootin’ the shit”, especially Acadia. He NEVER shuts up.
What makes yesterday’s Podcaturday extra special is the fact that I WASN’T nervous AT ALL. For those who don’t know me well, situations like Podcaturday or public speaking usually make me very nervous to the point of breaking out in hives. I’ve been working on it, though, and have been pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone and try new things. I don’t want to look back on my life and regret one moment of it, so I’m trying to experience as many new things as possible. I’m trying to challenge myself. Who knows what I’ll try next.
So what did we talk about yesterday? A lot: Game of Thrones, The Killing, cryptozoology, Stupid Ned Stark, Jenny’s accident, James’ book sales, my book launch, and Wet Hot American Summer, which I watched last night because Acadia was bitching again that we never do what he asks. And to be honest, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be. In fact, there were several moments where I laughed out loud. Plus, Bradley Cooper was in it, and who doesn’t love him?
That’s about it in terms of updates. I will be posting some interviews and special guest blog posts over the next few days. I meant to last week, but I never got the chance. I had to cover for my mom at work, which meant physically going to work instead of my normal routine of rolling out of bed and plopping down in a chair. I had to juggle four different jobs while trying to get Sacrifice ready for all of you. Plus, when you add in the mommy factor, it made it one CRAZY week. I honestly need a vacation now.
I hope the rest of your Sunday is fantastic. I’m off now to take my Mini Me to her first fishing tournament. Here’s hoping she catches the biggest bass.
*whispers* For those Jersey Shore fans, I totally just said that like “It’s t-shirt time!” LOL! I couldn’t help myself.
Anyway, it’s been hella crazy lately. As some of you know, my mom has been dealing with back issues, which means I’ve been fairly busy helping her out when she needs. That includes physically going into work and covering for her since, as she says, I’m her Mini Me. In fact, next week I’ll be at work while she’s at home getting some much-needed rest. It’ll be a long week because I’ll also be juggling my three other job besides that one. But as one of my astute friends likes to point out, I’m crazy, so that’s normal for me.
For those who don’t know, I recently began working as an IC for Ranker.com. I have to say it…I LOVE THIS JOB!!! It involves writing and research. The writing part is really fun, and I’m allowed to show my true personality, which is a plus. Sometimes I get the impression that some people think I’m really stuffy, but I’m not, so it’s nice to let my hair down and be Nikki, the slightly nerdy country girl with a quirky personality. (If you’d like to read my first list for Ranker, it’s here.)
Now onto the story writing-side of things.
You’ve probably noticed that I still haven’t published Sacrifice yet. There’s a couple of reasons for that.
Aside from the fact that I’m stretched pretty thin lately and have a lot going on in my personal life, I’ve been busy adding some additional scenes to Sacrifice which are taking me a little bit of time because I want them to be perfect. If I don’t, my internal editor, aka The Bitch, will rear her ugly head, and well, we all know how THAT goes. (See here.)
Those additional scenes I’ve been working on would not have come about without the guidance of my editor, author Nicholas Denmon and book reviewer Heather Faville from Doubleshot Reviews. Their help is appreciated more than they know.
I’m actually trying to focus some of today on Sacrifice, so hopefully I can wrap up the rest of it. *crosses fingers*
Sales Talk Time!
So the other day I noticed an increase in sales. Not an “OH MY GOD, I’M RICH, I CAN RETIRE” increase, but a large enough one that it shoved me into the #84 position on Amazon for occult books. When I saw that on my screen I nearly peed my pants with excitement. I was included on a list with Stephen King, JA Konrath, Katie Salidas and Amanda Hocking. Pretty sweet, right? Seriously, I was so struck with giddyness, I couldn’t hold still. The little kid in me was all kinds of excited. What a great feeling. I hope it’s just the first of many times that happens.
One last thing before I go. I was interviewed by author Suzy Turner for her website, so please take a moment and check it out. In the interview I reveal who I would cast as Annabelle and Jason. SQUEE!
Have a great and safe Memorial Day, everyone!
If you’ve taken the time to look around my site over the past week, or are on my friends list on Facebook, then you’ve probably seen the cover for Sacrifice. (If not, it’s to the left.) I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out, and I think Jenny did a great job putting it together.
I’m also proud of how the story itself turned out. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve sat down to write a story like this. It wasn’t easy for me to write because I had to push myself beyond my comfort zone, but I think the end result is exactly what I was hoping for. Sure, the ending will leave readers with some unanswered questions, but it was intentional on my part. I didn’t want a clear cut ending. I wanted to leave it open to the readers’ interpretation.
If my editor’s reaction to Sacrifice is anything to go by, I think the story will do well. She told me it’s creepy and has a vibe similar to The Entity. And no, when I first started this story, I had never seen that movie. I did finally watch it about four or five months, and I enjoyed its creepiness factor, so to have my editor say that to me was a compliment. When you write a story like this one, you want people to react that way. You don’t want to hear the same kind of compliments you’d get from a tearjerker. So score for me.
Aside from the new cover, I can also reveal that Sacrifice is nearly done. I sent it off to one of my readers last night. Hopefully she doesn’t hate it. And I plan on sending it to another one this morning.
As for the release, I’m hoping, if all goes well, it’ll be within the next week or two. I still need me editor to go through it one more time and make sure I addressed areas that needed some work. From there it still needs to be formatted and then uploaded. So cross your fingers for me that all goes well.
Since releasing A Second Chance a couple of weeks back, I’ve been one busy lady. I’ve been promoting A Second Chance on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve also made several appearances on fellow author’s websites.
In addition to all the promotion, I’ve also been working on a short story called Sacrifice. I originally began writing in at the end of last May.It’s been a long journey. It’s very different from A Second Chance, which may disappoint some people. And I’m ready for that. As an author, I think it’s my duty to challenge myself at every turn, and I did with this story. And I’m proud of how it’s turned out. I can’t wait to see what all of you think.
As for when it will be available, I plan on releasing Sacrifice very soon, hopefully within the next two weeks. *fingers crossed*
Until then, here’s a look at the final cover. Enjoy!