Second Degree Burns, Books, Reindeer Pajamas, Odin, and Everything In Between

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I am a self-professed weirdo. I’m someone who doesn’t like the notion of being normal at any given point throughout my day or even my life for that matter.

I realize it’s been ten days since my last entry. I’ve been one tired and busy woman as of late, with Ravensrealm, work, and more work, and reading a few books here and there.

I’ve started a new job in the last couple of weeks, which has eaten up my spare time after my shifts at IHOP are over. At least, the second job is doing so on the days I’m scheduled. I’ve started work at JCPenney’s, and it’s been quite the interesting experience. I’m in the women’s department (I wanted Sephora, but then a lot of people want the Sephora department – who wouldn’t? You get to work with makeup), and I’ve never been one to be much for clothing. My tastes have often geared towards jeans and t-shirts, mainly because I like jeans, and I like buying novelty t-shirts. If not the super casual look, then I’ve leaned towards the medieval styles – tunics, leggings, corsets. There is often a problem for me when it comes to buying clothes, however. Jeans and t-shirts are more in my price range than the medieval style clothing and are more accessible. (I miss this store called Enchanted Knights – it was in the Grand Traverse mall many, many years ago, and closed that location, but they had pirates shirts and poets shirts for sale.) I’ve never really been excited for clothing before, but I’m seeing things that I like and that I would definitely wear in a work place situation. ^_^ (For meet and greets and conventions, I either intend to be in cosplay or in medieval-style clothing. Because I like the idea, and I’m weird that way.)

Of course, because I am a weirdo in my own right, I’ve noticed the novelty pajamas JCPenney has. All are Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer themed . . . and they have adult onesie pajamas. At first, I was turned off, but the more I think about it, the more I want the Rudolph pajamas because, damn, now they’re adorable! I’m torn between wanting to wear them on Christmas Day (my goal for Christmas this year is to not work at all, stay at home, stay in either a pair of fuzzy pajama pants, fuzzy socks, and tank top/fuzzy pajama top or the Rudolph adult sleeper, and play Star Ocean: Till the End of Time for most of the day. Hey, #LifeGoals, man!) or the Christmas two-piece pajama set I’ve already purchased for myself that has a pair of red and white striped fuzzy bottoms and a green fuzzy top with jingle bells, a pug, and the phrase “Bah Hum Pug”. Yes, I realize I can do both so please stop giving me ideas, my friends!

I’ve been quite determined to make some changes in my life. For the past year, I’ve been feeling quite exhausted. Five days a week, I’m up around 4 am because my shifts at IHOP start at 6 am. With the exception of when I lived in Louisiana, I’ve been doing this for two years straight, and this is where I need one of my changes. I give mad kudos to anyone and everyone who can get up at 4 am every day, not just for two years, but five, ten, twenty. I’ve had co-workers say, “I don’t know how you do it” to me when they realize what time I get up to be to work. While for me it isn’t difficult, it’s draining. I have mornings where I want to call in just so I can stay in bed a little while longer (but I don’t because I have bills to pay, and I need money to pay my bills and to buy the things I want and need).

After two years, my final day with IHOP is this upcoming Sunday. I’m not going into the reasons why I’m leaving. There are many, and I’m not spending twenty paragraphs or so going into each and every single reason for leaving. This is not the forum for that, and it’s a bridge I also refuse to burn. Mind you, the goal is to move forward, to keep learning and growing as a person and in Spirit. There is always that part of me that craves to learn, to be challenged, and to keep moving forward. That’s why I’m loving JCPenney right this moment as it’s outside of my comfort levels, it’s challenging to me (and nerve-wracking, too), and there is the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to move forward. I know I won’t be able to do everything on JCPenney alone so I will seek other work to supplement, but it’s time for me to move on from IHOP. I have loved that place, I love the customers who have come in and always brightened my day, be it with a joke or just by being there, and I will be forever grateful for the experiences and confidence I’ve obtained from IHOP. I will definitely not be forgetting my time there anytime soon. I have a lovely scar on my left arm from a really super hot plate. At one point, the burn looked like a Dachshund with its head lifted up. It still kind of does at the same time it also looks like the Starfleet logo from Star Trek. The mark has been on my arm since Labor Day. It’s so very slowly fading.

And, yes, a lot of this does have to do with the fact that I’ve turned 40. I’ve had a lot of people tell me they would never guess that I’m 40. I don’t look 40. I don’t act 40. In this lifetime, I’ve never been 40, and a part of me has always been about defying expectations. I’ve never pursued an office job where I sit in a cubby corner with a cubby desk for eight hours a day. The idea of such a job when I was a child and was a teenager simply never appealed to me. I don’t care for the societal expectations that, maybe once upon a time were great for the vast majority of people, have become downright negative and harmful. With very few exceptions in my adult life, I’ve always worked. And I’ve often pursued what I’ve wanted, what I’ve known to be best for me. When little things here and there pop up that confirm what I’ve always known, it’s a joyous moment that’s also a bit painful but the pain comes from the overwhelming feeling that I am in the right place, that I am on the right path.

Earlier on Facebook, a poem called Valhalla Calls appeared in my feed, and it moved me in ways that I can’t even begin to describe. In my Heathenism/Paganism/Wiccan path, I’ve found the Norse gods, I’ve found them to be quite amazing, and, when I look at what I’ve been able to read of the existing lore, I’ve found myself questioning what’s happened and trying to understand it. On a spiritual level, I dig deeper, and I uncover answers, at least for myself, that no one else can answer for me. It’s challenging, it’s painful at time, but it’s also very rewarding.

Now, mind you, I will not insist that my path is the right path for everyone. I know way too many people of different faiths and backgrounds to even insist that my path in Norse Paganism is the only path that must be followed. For starters, it’s a lie, at least in my book. The best path for anyone to follow is the one that, when you question something you’ve learned and you’ve gained a better understanding of why something occurred and it only strengthens your faith more, allows you to grow as an individual on all levels. You may not be able to see everything on your spiritual path, but you walk forward with your eyes open and your heart filled with wonder. The best path for anyone to follow is the one that leaves you feel closer to whoever it is you believe in and teaches you to strive for your own higher good and the higher good of your communities.

One thing that has helped me and inspired me as of late to keep pursuing both my career choice and my spiritual path is a book, The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. I know it isn’t in the realm of my usual genre, science-fiction and fantasy, but, once I learned it was the story of Franny and Jet Owens, the aunts from Practical Magic (I’ve watched the movie and loved it – I will always envision Franny and Jet as Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest), I was interested. Extremely interested. I’d loved the movie of Practical Magic so stepping outside of my usual range for reading material is no big deal for me.

I. Love. This. Book. I love the message that Alice Hoffman conveys in this story about love. Love is difficult, love can lead us to ruin, but it’s always best to love more instead of less. Very few books have moved me the way this book moved me. It’s going to be on my book shelf for a long time to come.

I’ve also read the latest Magnus Chase book, and the rumor is it’s the last in the series. While I love the series, I’m also very grateful to hear that The Ship of the Dead is the last installment. My overall complaint is that Rick is just too cookie cutter in his approach with his characters. His main characters do grow and develop, but secondary characters remain the same, be it in the Percy Jackson series or in Magnus Chase. And I’ve noticed a huge difference between the Greek and Norse gods in my own research alone. I love Rick, I’ll keep his books in my personal library as well, but no more Magnus Chase. At least for me.

The next week promises to be quite busy for me. The weekend is pretty much booked between both jobs, and then I head to Michigan to see my dad for a short period of time, get the rest of my belongings and come back to Tulsa. I’ll try to write something during this time, but, if you see nothing, at least you’ll know why.

There is no rest for the wicked and the weird.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend, my friends!

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Exclusivity – Why It Makes No Sense to Me

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I should be working on Ravensrealm right this moment. I’ll be getting back to it once I write this. It’s an interesting thought that’s occurred to me.

I just clicked on a ten minute video by a guy named Derek Murphy on why book marketing is a waste of time. It was quite informative, and it does make me wish I had the money to get a website up and running for myself. It makes me wish I had covers uploaded for my paperbacks. It makes me wish I had more money to do what I need to do with this publishing career that is simply invisible to me right this moment. I am taking my writing career quite seriously, but when your income is decreasing and you’re forced to choose between buying promotional items to get the word out there and making your car payment, well, you make your car payment.

I, however, digress.

As I watched and listened to this guy speak, I noticed he had another video posted about how he had gotten kicked out of Kindle Unlimited or some other exclusive Kindle thing (KDP Select does require self-published authors to be exclusive through them in order to gain the perks of having a book enrolled in Kindle Unlimited) and he lost $50,000 because of him being kicked out of that particular program. I don’t know the reasons why he was kicked out. I’d have to watch the video, and, quite frankly, it’s just something I don’t understand.

Mind you, I get the perks behind being exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle program. Enroll your book into the Kindle Unlimited program, readers enrolled in the Amazon Prime program get the book for free, but you, the author, get paid for every page read. Doesn’t matter when the enrolled reader reads the book. You still get paid from a pool that increases as each month goes on, regardless of whether or not you stay in KDP Select. It’s how many indie authors are actually making their money with Amazon at this point.

At the same time, this exclusivity can bite the self-published author in the hind-end. A falsified report or review can suspend an author’s Kindle account (but not CreateSpace) and have all digital books removed from Amazon’s website. Claims of manipulating the review system will have the same effect. Reviewing an author in the same genre as you write will have the same effect (if you persist on reviewing books in your preferred reading and writing genre). Amazon doesn’t have real life people looking into claims and reports of abuse nor into the authenticity of reviews. They only do that when the author questions the reasons and demands an investigation.

I originally was exclusive through Amazon . . . for all of a few months after I’d published Portal to Gaming. I didn’t like the idea behind exclusivity. I felt, for myself, that I was denying myself readers who prefer other platforms over Kindle. (It also took me a couple of years to get my books into paperback formats because I didn’t have the money to purchase ISBNs. Yes, I know CreateSpace gives out a free one, but, if you’re looking at using multiple sites for selling your books, it still costs you to purchase the ISBN from CreateSpace to use it wherever you wish. In the long run, if you’re going to purchase ISBNs to use on other sites like Barnes and Noble’s Nook Press or Lulu or any other website that helps with paperback/hard cover printing and distributing, you’re better off buying a block of ISBNs in one go because it does eventually add up. My advice to self-publishing authors when it comes to ISBNs is this: Determine up front if you’re going to solely use CreateSpace for all of your paperback publishing needs or if you’re going to expand beyond CreateSpace and use other sites that offer similar services. Do your research into the costs and go from there.) Exclusivity just didn’t feel right, even to do promotions, and there are other online sites that can do ebook publications for free and that will distribute to Kindle as well (though not for the same royalties as publishing directly through Kindle).

Seeing that Derek Murphy had a video about being booted out of Kindle Unlimited also raised another . . . thought for me. Traditionally published authors are not asked to be exclusive to any one retailer. To a publishing house, yes. That makes sense since the authors are signing a contract with the publishing house. But the publishing house doesn’t necessarily have exclusive contracts with bookstores. I’m also presuming that they don’t have exclusivity contracts with Amazon. I’m basing my presumption on the following: I’ve done a quickie search on both sites using The Lord of the Rings as my search criteria. Both sites advertise having the books in their digital libraries, and, yes, Amazon Prime members can download the ebooks for free over paying $9.99 for the NOOK equivalent. Clearly, the publishing company handling The Lord of the Rings and any of Tolkien’s other works is not being punished for not being exclusive through Amazon yet Amazon wants indie authors to be exclusive through them.

Note: Amazon does not require indie authors to be exclusive through them upon publishing a book through Kindle. It’s just that, if you want the perks of getting paid per page read and handling ebook promotions and sales events, that they actually do require you to be enrolled in KDP Select, which states upfront that you can’t have your ebooks uploaded anywhere else during the time you have your books enrolled in KDP Select. KDP Select is entirely optional. However, as I stated above, KDP Select is where most indie authors make their money because Amazon Prime members get to download the ebooks for free for paying for the membership, and the Kindle/Kindle app keeps track of how many pages per reader are being read during any given time frame.

Back to my point about the publishing companies – their objective is to reach as many readers as humanly possible. Exclusivity denies them that. That’s why we see The Lord of the Rings on sites like Amazon, like Barnes and Noble, and in pretty much every bookstore that’s in existence, be it a chain retailer like a brick and mortar Barnes and Noble, smaller chains like Horizon Books in Northern Michigan, or a local bookstore in your vicinity.

This is, overall, why exclusivity makes no sense to me. Yes, a vast number of people shop Amazon. Amazon does offer some rather nice royalties for the indie author but can revoke those benefits, remove the books in question on a whim or based on an algorithm designed to see if you’re actually trying to cheat the system and not realizing when you’re not.

At the same time, people still visit bookstores, big and small.

I encourage all indie authors to do what’s best for them when it comes to publishing books. I encourage all indie authors to weigh the pros and cons of exclusivity through any online self-publishing site. If the pros outweigh the cons and the risks, by all means, be exclusive through a particular retailer. For myself, exclusivity through Amazon is just too huge of a risk. It reminds me of the old adage, don’t put all of your eggs into one basket. Not entirely sure how that came about, but clearly it warns about laying all of your hopes into one facet of something is clearly multi-faceted. (Or maybe someone actually did put like a dozen eggs into a single basket and all of them broke by the time they reached home.) I will still definitely use Amazon – I would be crazy not to utilize their services. I just plan on utilizing as many online retailers and ebook publishers as I possibly can. It’s the best course of action that feels right to me.

Finally, I’m taking this moment to point out the following: Of all of my stories I’ve published, only ONE is currently a free download. That is Sigyn’s Flowers, and it’s available directly through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, with uploads to Smashwords and Draft2Digital for expanded distribution. If you are not being given a list price of $3.99 for The Sons of Thor, $3.49 for Portal to Gaming, or $2.99 for The King and Queen of Wands, it’s an illegal download and needs to be reported as theft. I do not get paid for sites beyond what I’ve listed having downloads of my books. The same will hold true for Ravensrealm and any other book I self-publish.

A Note on Geek Culture

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Last night, I posted this to Facebook

I can certainly attest that this has been going on for at least a decade, if not longer. And it isn’t just limited to being a competition and guys/people being dickheads over who is the better geek. Fan artists will turn down work if another fan requests a pairing that isn’t their OTP (one true pairing) or will completely work the piece so it’s just a friendship piece. Fanfic writers and readers will go batshit crazy if someone doesn’t write their OTP or won’t even touch another writer’s works if it doesn’t have their OTP. Character bashing will run high. And even worse still is the laziness inherent to fanfiction readers with a simple phrase of “update soon” – understandable if the author hasn’t updated in weeks, months, or, in my wretched case, years – but in half an hour to an hour after the story or the latest chapter has been posted? Did you even read the chapter or did you skim for the non-consent scenes? (It was also fandom that taught me, where some readers and some other authors were concerned, it didn’t matter if someone had just updated a story or even ended the story, what mattered was getting the reviews and keeping the story going, even if it should have ended twenty chapters ago.)

“I speak from person experience. I’ve distanced myself from a few beloved fandoms and even shy away from large fandom bases because of the zealousness involved or the potential for zealousness. Love of a fandom should be the binds that tie us together, not the driving force to divide us.”

It was followed by a link that I shared from another friend, an article on the toxicity of fandom. The article can be found http://junkee.com/rick-and-morty-toxic-fandom/130622

When I was a teenager, I found it . . . not difficult to make friends. I found I wasn’t interested in being the most popular girl at my school. I found I didn’t want to wear the latest fashions or have all the cool things that the other cool kids had. It simply didn’t interest me, and, if you factor in that I graduated the year the internet started to make noise in the world, I did actually have a bit of a lonely existence. I was (and still am) a die-hard Bangles fan. I love buying their albums and trying to collect some of their paraphanelia. I was (and still am) a Lord of the Rings fan, and I was (and stiil am) something of a gamer, be it playing Dungeons and Dragons my (now ex) boyfriend, my (now former, so-called) best friend, and my brother, or on our Nintendo console, my Super Nintendo console (paid for that myself, I did!), or our Sega Genesis console (Shining Force is still a fave).

So enter the internet and doing web searches for the Bangles. Of all things, yes. My favorite band. I do consider myself as big of a music lover as I do consider myself a geek, and I consider myself to be quite a geek. It was finding that connection with fellow Banglemaniacs that lessened that loneliness. The internet became more wide spread, my brother gave me a replica of the original Voltron (the cats, the original, the best), and I resumed writing, delving into fanfiction with Transformers. I met more friends, made more connections, and it’s all been for the same love of fandom. My best friend and I met because of the anime Inuyasha, of all things.

All of this since 1996. I can certainly say my experiences have been more positive than they have been negative, but the negative still has been there. The toxicity is still there. I’ve experienced some of the toxicity earlier this year in the Hetalia fandom. “Oh, you’re disagreeing with me on something I wrote years ago? I’ll just be a dick because I can because I think I’m smart and informed because I read this book and this book and that, and therefore that makes me smarter than anyone else who dares disagree with me.”

Toxicity certainly takes on different forms in fandom. The memes pop up with the differences between a fan and a fanboy. The fan will make connections. The fanboy will be a dick and claim his fandom is superior to anything else. Just think of the long-standing “rivalry” between Star Wars and Star Trek fans. That’s been going on for decades now, and the majority of fans actually love both. (The jokes that come up from this “rivalry”, though, are often hilarious.)

This toxicity doesn’t just apply to fandom. I’m noticing, have long since noticed, where it’s applying to everything. Reading, religion, politics – you name it, people are making it a competition. Last night on Facebook, someone shared a meme to one of my groups that said “Only real readers will understand the struggle”, and it was captioned over a gif of Dr. Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds looking quite ashamed over the fact that he only read five books the previous week. Now I love reading as much as the next person, I love my deities, and I love my fandoms as much as the next person in those fandoms . . . I just don’t see the need to be competitive. What’s the measure anyway?

And it is the toxicity that does make people wary. From my experiences in the Inuyasha and Gravitation fandoms, I’ve distanced myself from them. I keep myself a bit distant in the Thor/Avengers and Hetalia fandoms because I don’t want to repeat those negative experiences and to have that toxicity try and seep its way into my life. The best thing I can do for any aspect of my life is to keep the love alive and to stop the flow of the negativity.

It is more meaningful, in the end, to find that common ground. “Oh, you love Inuyasha? Me, too!” Let the conversation go from there. If someone loves the manga over the anime or vice versa, it is hardly a crime. The manga inspired the anime. The characters are the base. Just go from there.

Love of fandom, love of geek culture is not a competition. Period. If you’re making it so, you’re the one losing out on some amazing experiences with some truly amazing people out there, and you’re definitely losing out on some amazing friendships. I have my best friend because of fandom. I have some truly amazing people in my life and have parted ways with some truly amazing people, and it’s all because of fandom.

I stand by my remarks last night. Geek culture has changed over the last decade. Some of it has not been for the better, and this is where I take my stand. Being a dick to someone eventually assures your own loneliness in the end. For myself, I embrace all geeks everywhere, of all genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, ability/disability. DC, Marvel, anime, manga, video game, movie, TV show, book . . . you’re all welcome on my page and in my world. The diversity and embracing the diversity is what makes us stronger in the end.

Be kind and be compassionate. And, if you’re a bit of an old-timer, like me, remember what it was like to be lonely, to not have someone to share your love of all things geeky with and empathize. Like I said, you’ll find some truly amazing people out there, and you can have some amazing experiences because of those friendships.

It’s all up to you in the end.

Ravensrealm Update and Other Things

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I’ve made the announcement to my Facebook pages, personal, author, and series, that Ravensrealm’s publication is being pushed back to December. This is not something I necessarily want to do, but, with real life getting in my way, the novel is nowhere near where I want it to be, which is where it needs to be. The real life things in my way are unavoidable at this point and need my attention as much as my novel needs my attention. I’m starting a second job, seeking yet another because my bills need to be paid and caught up, and I’m making some other transitions that are just flat necessary. I have a trip to Michigan that’s coinciding with the original release date, and I’ve had other worries just eat up my time, my thoughts, and my energy, and it was not a fun place for me to be. I do not wish to release a shoddy book on a day that I’m just not going to have much time for because, you know, real life. It sucks for me personally and professionally, but, when I see what my options are, I’ll take the postponement.

That said, the release is not being pushed back by too much. Instead of November 4, Ravensrealm’s publication will be December 9th. By the time this date rolls around, I should be in a better position to have that day off from work, to be in a location to promote the book, and actually have the release party that I wanted and that this book deserves. (I had originally gone with December 12, but a Saturday release has more appeal to me because the people I know that I would like to be there work during the week.)

So mark your calendars. Again. Ravensrealm will be unleashed the 9th of December, in time for holiday shopping! I might even have some giveaways ready for that time, too!

Stay tuned!

The Gods of War (musings)

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This is a spiritual and a writing aspect for me, and it’s a thought coming to me in light of the most recent mass shooting in the United States. (I’m actually not going into politics with this.)

What I find myself wondering on this is do the gods of war enjoy bathing in the blood of innocents? Does any god of war in any fantasy realm enjoy bathing in the blood of innocent people? Do they grow stronger for the loss of life or do they grow weaker? I know in some pantheons the answer to this question is yes. They enjoy it because they’ve often demanded blood sacrifices. It’s captured in the histories and myths surrounding them, and that’s how we often base our created pantheons in fantasy realms.

But what if we had a god of war who didn’t enjoy seeing innocent people slaughtered? What if he, or she, had demands of his, or her, followers to only engage in battle with other warriors? What would that actually do in terms of wars breaking out between kingdoms? Would it be a motivating factor for a god of war of one pantheon to declare war on a kingdom that follows another pantheon?

The spiritual aspect on this for me is that I am a learning practiioner for the Norse, calling myself a Lokean Odinist. Some of the more basics of the myths surrounding Odin himself is he used to send the Valkyries out to cause trouble and strife, to brew up a war, so he could bath in the blood of humans, but I find myself questioning the motives behind that. What was Odin seeing that would prompt him to do such a thing? Were people suffering unjustly at the hands of a cruel king or queen? Of course, the Norse pantheon is interesting to me overall because each deity has more than one ascribed attribute. Odin is a god of war but also the god of wisdom, intellect, and creativity. Loki is the god of mischief and lies but also the god of the hearth, the god of stories, and a god of fire. And this goes on. Freya is a battle goddess, a queen of the glorious dead, and yet, after the death of Baldur (who was the original god of love in the Norse – yep, the Norse made a dude the god of love), she becomes the goddess of love.

Anyway, these are thoughts that come to me, thoughts that I can use for my works, and for the spiritual aspect of my life. I mean, if we don’t question motives, how are we to learn anything, be it about ourselves, for our craft, or for simply understanding why someone would act upon a thought?

For the fantasy writer, I encourage you to figure out your pantheon, come to understand why your pantheon acts in the way that it does so you can have a more dimensional cast than a simple, oh, s/he’s a god of war and likes blood. That’s too flat and too overdone. Deities do require some human or humanoid traits in order for, not only the reader to understand and relate to, but for the characters as well. The Greeks and the Norse, to name a few, have proven we can have two different types of gods of war or the gods of war can have more than one attribute. (For the Greek, Athena is a goddess of war, but she’s a strategist. She utilizes her wisdom aspect to know when war is necessary and when it’s to be avoided, whereas Ares enjoys the thrill of the battle.)

Just a few things to think upon, for myself, and to share.

Projects – Current and Future Ideas

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This is just a brief list of current projects and some ideas I have for the future. A bibliography is something every author needs. It doesn’t matter if we write fiction, non-fiction, epics or short stories. Careers are built on creating our own personal libraries.

And the library I want to build is going to be quite interesting, at least for me. I would love to do a zombie series, Resident Evil style. I find a good portion of zombie stories to be fascinating. It’s basically on my to do list at some point in my writing career. I have all kinds ideas for urban fantasy and Norse mythology projects. I’m keeping a private journal with ideas for their preservation. And, yes, Norse mythology is kind of specific. It’s the basis for my spirituality, and writing the Gods in various situations is quite enlightening.

In the meantime, here is the list of my current projects and the status for each:

Arc of Fantasy
Portal to Gaming – published
The Sons of Thor – published
Ravensrealm – nearing publication
New Atlantis – in progress
The Intergalactic Chase – in progress
Book 6 – yet to be titled, yet to be started

The Twilight of the Gods
Snow in Olympus – in progress/on hold

Dragon’s Rain – in progress/on hold
Frost Gians – in progress/on hold
The Genesis Mission – in progress/on hold
The White Owl – in progress/on hold

The Summer of Dragons and Fireflies – first draft completed, in need of typing and revisions. This is actually the first book in a series I’d originally was going to call Elysium, but I believe I’d discovered another series out there with the same name so I’ve nixed the idea.

In between novels, I plan on working on some more short stories. Not one of my stronger suits as a writer, but I want to turn Sigyn’s Flowers into a short story collection. The stories in that particular collection will be Norse/Viking themed. It would be quite weird to have a completely unrelated story into such a collection.

In terms of conventions for 2018, I have plans to hit up three – Anime St. Louis, Tokyo in Tulsa, and World Fantasy Con. If I can get to a couple of more, I will certainly try. I will also try to plan smaller book signings, based on time and resources. I will certainly be sure to update on when and where I’m able to host such gatherings on my own and any change in convention plans.

The upcoming first year of my forties is going to be great!

The Last Entry of my 30s

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This may surprise whoever reads this and whoever hasn’t been following me on facebook.

I am excited to be 40 the first of October. I truly am. I know some people will be doing the whole, “Lordy, Lordy, look who’s forty?” for a person on the 40th, I know some people who will be attempting to call me “over the hill”. All because I’ve hit 40.

And here I actually feel fabulous about turning 40. I don’t feel old, I don’t feel over the hill, and I certainly have shocked a few people when I’ve said I’m about to be 40 (I love it when people tell me I look like I’m still in my 20s – just don’t want to relive those years). My 30s were filled with a lot of ups and downs. I wasn’t as spiritually aware in the beginning of my 30s as I am heading into my 40s. I had a few bad years where either I was freaking out about my birthday or because I was a bit on the long-term unemployed side. The freak outs were because I hadn’t fulfilled a few lifelong dreams of mine. One was to become a mother (still hasn’t happened as of yet – tell me to rush, and I’m spraying you with silly string before tarring and feathering you) and the other was to finally get myself published. At the time of the freak outs, well, I was presuming I had to be traditionally published. Oh, how times have changed.

I look forward to my 40s because I can take my life in the direction I want and need for it to go. It isn’t just about career and family but about the way I perceive myself. I learned an interesting tool today from a friend that has me thinking on how I can utilize it for myself. Time will be the only one to tell what the results will be. It’s a new aspect on myself for growth, one that will definitely be interesting.

There isn’t much else to reflect on for my 30s. They were fun, they were heartbreaking, they were profound.

May my 40s continue to bring good health, good cheer, positive energy, greater growth on all levels, and success.