Why The Timeless Man Got Postponed and Other Life Lessons

Cheaters and ChupacabrasI was supposed to self-publish The Timeless Man last month and the reason why I didn’t publish it is because it didn’t have a cover.

It’s like this.

A friend did the cover for the first Ivy Russell novella, Cheaters and Chupacabras. I decided that I wanted the other three novellas to use the same background, but a different symbol for each novella (for Cheaters it was the wedding rings). I asked this friend if they could do the symbols for the other three novellas earlier this year and they agreed.

But between illness and humidity (because that affects art when you’re working with water colors, kids) and communication issues, it’s now July and the cover still isn’t done. I’m not sure when it’s going to get done or what I’m going to do when it gets done since this has sort of jacked up my entire self-publishing timeline, not to mention it’s not just this cover that needs to not be plagued by humidity, but the next two as well and I don’t feel like it would be a good idea for me to try to publish anything until I have every cover done. And so, we limbo.

The last time I inquired about the covers, which was Tuesday night, in the course of our conversation, my friend said to me, “I thought you got mad and just did it yourself anyway.”

See, that’s the life lesson I’ve taken away from every interaction I’ve had like this and there have been a lot in my existence. People I work with or ask for help from or ask favors of don’t come through for me often, so I just end up doing it myself, if I’m able to do it at all. It’s now such a common occurrence that people just expect it to end this way.

And it’s all my fault.

When you come out of the birth canal (or in my case, c-section incision) as a preordained responsible, independent human, then that’s your label for life. People go to you for help and you help them because you can and that’s what the world tells responsible, independent humans to do.

But when the script gets flipped and the responsible, independent human needs help, nobody knows their lines anymore. They don’t know how to react. Because the responsible, independent humans have a tendency to attract and surround themselves with somewhat flaky, dependent humans that just aren’t up to the task of helping. They want to, but they just can’t. Because reasons. Or they will, but it’s on their timeline, which is completely out-of-sync with your timeline, and that’s just too damn bad because you should just be grateful that they’re helping you at all.

So, I don’t ask for favors very often because I know the likelihood of being blown off or disappointed is pretty high and when I do ask for a favor hoping that maybe this time will be that one time things are different and they end up being the same, yeah, I tend to stop asking and keep on slogging through life on my own, doing everything the hard way because it’s been made pretty obvious that I’m a responsible, independent human and therefore shouldn’t not require much in the way of help. So, yeah, I either get pissed and do it myself, or I find myself in limbo, at the mercy of someone else’s timeline.

Which sucks.

‘Cause it makes my books late.

 

Disclaimer: I love my friends, I really do! Even though some of them aren’t the greatest at helping me out when I need it, they still have other qualities that are absolutely marvelous. All of my friends have their faults, as do I (and I have more than most), but they’re all really good people.

I wouldn’t be friends with them if they weren’t.

Give me some credit here.

July Writing Projects

FireworksThings don’t always go the way we plan, sometimes for good, sometimes for not so good. For me, this happens more than I’d like to admit.

For the two of you that were probably anticipating it, no, you didn’t miss it. The Timeless Man wasn’t published last month due to technical difficulties (which will get their own post). Because it wasn’t published last month, it sort of mucks up everything else planned to be published for the rest of the year and I’m still working out how it’s all going to get done. We’ll see, we’ll see.

In much brighter, less aggravating news, the novella I started working on at the end of May which I continued to work on in June is most definitely not a novella now. I’m at 44,000 words and still going, so. Yes. Definitely not a novella. Definitely a novel. Still doesn’t have a title. I’m only doing about 1,000 words a day on it and since I’m doing this without an outline, just seeing where the story goes, and I only have a vague idea of how it all ends, I could get it done this month, but I’m not going to carve that into stone.

In addition to this, I’m going to write a couple of other things. One is a short story called “Darling”, which will mostly be posted as a freebie here on the blog because it’s been ages since I’ve given away free, fictional words. The other is a novella called Voice, which will go in the next anthology. I will also be revising “A Ride in the Country”, also slated for the same anthology.

So, aside from the non-publishing debacle, things are chugging right along and I’m getting my To Do List of Doom wiped out.

Thank goodness for that.

A Quick Thought on Love Winning

rainbowflagLast Friday marriage equality was declared law of the land and I am down with that. Not because I’m the marrying kind (thought if I do decide that I am the marrying kind and the kind I want to marry is a woman, then yes, I have a vested interest in this outcome in the future), but because I know that there are other people that are the marrying kind and I think they should have that civil right. I am all for it.

The reason I think I am so all for it and probably would be all for it even if I wasn’t a bisexual gal is because of my great-aunt and my childhood.

I have a great-aunt who is a lesbian and throughout my childhood she and her then-girlfriend were often present at family functions. These were happy occasions usually, filled with food and laughter and hugs. Wonderful, warm occurrences in my existence. Now, the children were never expressly told that my great-aunt was a lesbian (I was in my teens before I did that math and then got confirmation from my mother), but in my kid-brain I put her and her girlfriend together. They were always at the family functions together so in my head they were one entity, a team, a partnership. And I remember a lot of my cousins referring to them likewise.

The big thing about these family functions, though, was that even though it was not expressly stated to the children that my great-aunt was a lesbian, none of the adults treated her as anything but a beloved family member. She was never treated as an other or a less-than. She was never treated, at least in my memory, as a deviant or a disappointment. She was loved and respected and cherished and so was her girlfriend.

So to see people so dedicated to treating people like my great-aunt as other or less-than, to deny them a government contract that grants them a certain set of rights that are only granted to couples that enter into that contract, to see people that I share DNA with, my own blood, HER own blood, putting their religion and their adherence to a cherry-picked handbook above someone that they are told by that same handbook to love, is just fucking baffling to me. I don’t get it and I decided on Friday, once and for all, that I’m not going to get it and I don’t want to get it. I’m sorry you feel that way and I feel sorry for you because you feel that way. I’m sorry you choose self-righteousness and a promise of an afterlife by some super judgmental god over loving and protecting and relating to people in the here and now. But if that makes you happy (and considering how many folks are frothing at the mouth right now, it doesn’t seem to make them THAT  happy), then you do you.

But my great-aunt is not an other. She is not a less-than. I am not a less-than. That guy you don’t know marrying his partner of fifty years is not a less-than.

The way you cut your own humanity off like it’s some sort of defect, though, that’s pretty less-than.

Love wins.

June Writing Projects

pinkflowerLast month was a bit of a struggle because I wasn’t feeling all that motivated to write. Little by little, I finished the two short stories I’d set out to write, “Through the Electronic Looking Glass” and “Cabintown Road”. I wrote a page a day on each of them and then did a finish line sprint one weekend when they were almost done. It took two weeks to get them done that way, but considering how rundown and blah I felt about the whole thing, I was just happy to get them finished.  Whatever it takes.

The last two weeks were supposed to be spent writing a novella. The one I picked to do doesn’t have a sure title yet, but the idea was pretty fresh and I thought a thousand words a day would get it, if not done, then pretty close to done on the shorter side of the novella scale.

That didn’t happen.

I’m working without an outline and after about a week I realized that there was more to this story than I thought. So, it’s either going to be a longer novella or an outright novel. We’ll see. I’m going to keep working on it this month.

I’m also going to revise (Vampires) Made in America down to novella size. Since this first step is focusing primarily on cutting out all of the fat and repetition and such, I don’t think it will be too difficult, nor will it take too long.

Now watch me struggle with it.

And of course, it’s time for yet another self-publishing release!

Look for The Timeless Man, the second Ivy Russell novella, to come out sometime this month.

Charity Money

thumbs upIf you’ve been present in my social media world in the past week or so, then you know that I’ve been doing some linking to a few different things that are raising money for a couple of different causes (a teacher friend has a campaign to raise money for some hands-on math supplies for her high-poverty students at DonorsChoose.Org; The Davy Jones Equine Memorial Fund is having an auction; Davy’s Angels are selling t-shirts with the proceeds also benefiting DJEMF). In addition to trying to raise some awareness for these activities, I’ve also donated to my friend’s campaign, bought a t-shirt, and have been getting outbid left, right, and center on the nifty memorabilia at the auction.

I like to put my money where my mouth is when I can. And I try to work it so I always have money for my mouth (thought I will have no trouble running my mouth for various charities and organizations when I can’t afford to donate; that is the very least I can do).

So, I feel I should make a full-disclosure about my charity money, the money I earmark to donate to various causes, charities, organizations, and whatnot because that money might involve you, too.

My charity money is the money I make garage sale-ing my life.

That’s right. If you buy any of my crap on eBay (stuffed animals will be going up in the next month or so, BTW) or any of the stuff I’ve made and put in my Etsy shop (new bracelets should be in the shop in the next few weeks), then the money you pay me will probably go to one of my chosen organizations.

Now, it didn’t always work like this. For the longest time, that money went to pay my bills. And then, when I started making enough money through my various day jobs and a little from writing, I started saving it up. It’s never been a big cash flow. More like a nickel trickle. And last year I came to a point where I decided to put those nickels to some good use.

Why am I telling you this? Because some people like to tell other people how to spend their charity money. Even if they have absolutely no connection to that person’s charity money, they still feel the need to tell them that there are other, more deserving organizations than whatever one they chose to donate to, oh, and by the way, there’s no need to tell people that you donated to any charity because they do it all the time without needing to mention it, you unhumble jerk.

I am telling people this so they don’t make the grave mistake of buying something from me (except my books; that’s bill-paying money and I’m fairly sure folks are cool with me paying my bills) only to then have me take the hard-earned money they gave to me in exchange for goods and give it to some organization that they don’t feel is deserving and would rather I not ever mention.

I am also telling people this so I can tell the people that don’t even buy my stuff, but still have a problem with the organizations I give to, that they can just shut the fuck right up, turn right around, and give to the organizations they think are more deserving. Don’t like me talking about my organizations? Then you talk about yours louder than I talk about mine. Or don’t tell anyone at all and just mute/unfriend/hide me. Whatever trips your trigger, floats your boat, and/or tickles your fancy.

But for the love of all that is unholy, just in general, STOP TELLING PEOPLE THAT THEIR GIVING PRACTICES/AWARENESS RAISING IS WRONG. Sweet mercy, you fucking buzzkills. Shaming people because their giving/awarness-ing isn’t to your liking is just a dick move and you’re a terrible person and you should feel bad. No, really. You need to analyze your need to belittle someone trying to do something good. Because that seems like a serious hang-up to me. Major personality flaw. Also, not a good look.

(For clarity’s sake and to cut off an argument before it starts, I’m not talking about valid criticism of an organization because not all of them act on behalf of the greater good. I’m talking about people shitting on a reputable organization and/or fundraising/awareness attempts because of blah blah bullshit bitchcakes. You know what I’m talking about.)

So, in conclusion, if you buy something from me during the garage sale-ing of my life, that money will probably end up going to a organization that I dig. If that offends you, then you should not buy my stuff.

Except my books.

Always buy my books.

May Writing Projects…and Some Furniture Moving

pinkflowerHow you like this newness? Yeah, I’m feeling bored and uninspired with this bit of blog. I want to do something different with it, but I don’t know what I want to do with it. I’m sort of an asshole like that. So, I figured that maybe a little bit of a layout change my help with my blahness. So far it’s only sort of working.

At least I’ve been productive on the To Do List of Doom, though.

Basically, aside from some cover art and print proofs, I’m set for the rest of the year when it comes to the self-publishing schedule. Everything I’m working on for the rest of the year will be stuff coming out for next year. Right now that’s looking like an anthology and some novellas. One of the novella ideas could go full novel, but I don’t know. We’ll see.

This month I’m going to finish the first drafts of “The Electronic Looking Glass” and “Cabintown Road” which I started at the end of the last month. Then I’m going to start working on one of the novella ideas I’ve got. There are four and their themes are sort of similar so they might actually make a good collection. Not naming any names because I’m not sure which one I’m going to work on and I’m not sold on the titles yet and I’ll probably change them and a 30,000 word story doesn’t need 95 tags because I keep changing my mind.

I’ve got two weeks off of one of my day jobs this month (this year teaching our “spring break” is two weeks in May; “summer vacation” will be two weeks in September) so I’m hoping to use that time to get a lot of writing done.

Yeah, I was laughing before I even finished typing that sentence.

Writing–April Projects

SeptemberI’m having one of those really helpful productive periods that allows me to lay waste to whatever I put on my daily To Do List, which in turn helps me clear off my mega-To Do List, and all of this accomplishment just inspires me to to do more.

I’m going to try to continue that vibe in April.

Last month I finished up all of the work that needed to be done on the remaining Ivy novellas and they are formatted to ebook specifications, so they will be ready to roll out over the course of the year. All that’s left in their regards is to format the collection paperback and do the covers, which I’ve farmed out certain aspects of the artwork to roommate Carrie, so I won’t have to worry about them until at least May, since I plan on publishing the first novella in June.

Last month I also revised some short stories. I will continue work on “The Seaweed Man” this month because I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing with it. I wrote the new stuff I wanted to include into the story, but I’m not sure how I want to combine the new stuff and the old stuff together. There’s a few different routes to take and I haven’t decided which way is the way to go. I anticipate agonizing over this and futzing around with it for the duration of April.

Also, I’m going to revise “The House Down the Road”, which I was going to revise last month, but completely overlooked because I’m human and not as smart as I think I am.

If I have time, I’ll start writing a couple of short stories, “Cabintown Road” and “The Electronic Looking Glass”, for the next anthology.

And of course, I’ll be publishing my latest finished anthology, People Are Terrible and Other Stories. Look for that sometime next week.

Go Team!

Megalomania–Garage Sale-ing My Life

dresserI realized that “sale-ing” isn’t any kind of a word, but sometimes my world requires artistic liberties to explain.

Now is one of those times.

As mentioned before, one of my not-so-serious resolutions this year is to get rid of some stuff. This quickly became The Great Purge of 2015.

In addition to clearing projects from various To Do Lists, I’m also getting rid of my stuff. I’m either throwing it away, giving it away, or selling it. I have a lot of stuff I no longer need but other people may find useful. I hope to put together a garage sale this summer (probably with someone much better at it considering the last time I did it, all I got was a sunburn).

In the meantime, I’m using eBay and my Etsy store as online garage sales.

Right now on eBay, I just have some magazines (The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Sports Illustrated), some books, and that last Monkees VHS tape in my collection that no one will friggin’ buy. However, if I can ship it easily, it’ll probably end up there. I’ve got some Family Guy stuff (DVDs, a Blu-ray, lunch box, collector’s stuff), walkie-talkies, earbuds, and some other stuff in my T0-Sell pile that will probably end up on eBay before my yard.

As for Etsy, in addition to the jewelry and bags already there, I will be listing more jewelry, more bags, and probably some jewelry making things (beads and such) and fabric I’ve decided I’m never going to use.

The one thing that I’ve decided not to sell is my artwork. I gave it one go round on Etsy just for shits and giggles, but in the end, it’s just not the art you sell. It’s the art you give to unsuspecting people. Or suspecting people, as the case may be. The point is that right now it’s taking up space in one of my drawers when it could probably take up space on someone’s wall or fridge and it’s more likely to do that if its free. So I’ll be giving it to some random folks in my life.

Maybe I’ll even put up a few of the drawings here, Twitter, and Facebook to see if any brave souls want to lay claim and risk having their tastes mocked.

So if you want a piece of me, now is the time to get it.

Writing–There’s Going to Be A Lot of Self-Publishing This Year

flame box elder penAs you most likely know, I published my first title of 2015 back in February (Hatchets and Hearts, in case you missed it) with the idea that I was going to use the same self-publishing schedule for 2015 that I used in 2014 (February, June, October).

Yeah, well, I’ve changed my mind as of now. I say as of now because we all know that I can, may, and most likely will change my mind another dozen times between now and next week.

However, the plan as of this hour will be to publish one of the anthologies next month (April) and then publish the last three Ivy Russell novellas in June, August, and October, and most likely putting the whole collection of novellas together for December.

Why?

Well, two reasons. One: This is all part of my goal to get stuff off of my To Do List. There’s no reason for me not to, especially since it’s not like if I publish these titles I’ll have nothing left. I still have another anthology I’m working on plus a several more novellas. I’m sure one of these things will be ready to publish by next year.

Two: There’s really no reason to mete out the Ivy Russell novellas over an extended period of time. Cheaters and Chupacabras sold a grand total of 12 copies so far.  May as well get them all out and be done with them.

(Not that I don’t like them or anything. I adore Ivy Russell and her friends. The four novellas ended up making an nice closed circle in my mind, ending any thought about whether or not I should write any more. This is just a business sort of decision.)

I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I should release The Timeless Man, The Odd Section of Town, and Firebugs and Other Insects individually or just put them together with Cheaters and call it good, but I figure I may as well give them a go on their own. Who knows? Maybe one of those stories will actually take off.

The anthology I’ll be publishing next month is called People Are Terrible and Other Stories. For the five people that bought Rejected, you’ll recognize six of the stories from that no-longer-available anthology (the other three will end up in the other anthology). But there’s six new stories and a novella, too. Fun for the whole family.

Provided the family can do PG-13 to R level stuff and likes horror.