December Writing Projects and Other Tidbits

SnowflowerIt’s December! And December means that I don’t do as much writing work because I’m too busy wading through all of the holiday cheer to get much done. And yes, that was sarcasm because this has long been my least favorite time of year and I think I lost what precious little Christmas spirit I might have had back on November 1st when I inhaled about a pound of artificial snow during a floorset.

Anyway. Writing projects.

I’m going to continue working on The Haunting of the Woodlow Boys novella. Just writing 500 words a day, taking it very easy. I’m also going to start revising Voice, again taking it very easy. I have almost nothing made for Grinchmas so that’s where most of my energy is going to be directed. Making little bits of progress on writing projects is better than making none or stressing myself because I’m struggling to write and make Grinchmas. I can go full blast again in January.

Tidbits and News:

The distribution of The Ivy Russell Novellas paperback has hit a snag because that book is jinxed and/or I am terrible at my job. So for the foreseeable future, it will only be available on Lulu. Sorry for any inconvenience, but there shouldn’t be much because Lulu is just as good as the more popular marketplaces.

Speaking of other not so popular places, I’m doing a couple of holiday deals through Smashwords (which is compatible for most all eBook platforms) for my two 2015 eBook releases, The Ivy Russell Novellas and People Are Terrible.

Use the coupon code CW86C to get 15% off of The Ivy Russell Novellas.

Use the coupon code DS99F to get 15% off of People Are Terrible.

These coupons are only valid at Smashwords and the deals end on Christmas, so don’t miss out!

2015 Holiday Gift Suggestions

Milwaukee Christmas treeIt’s Black Friday, when folks trample each other to buy price-reduced manufactured goods so they can give them to family and friends to prove just how much they love and appreciate them. As much fun as that is (and as someone who has worked retail off and on for years and got to watch two ladies nearly come to blows over a scooter, I know my good times), not everyone is hip to getting their friends and family the same gift everyone else is giving to their favorite humans.

Well, that’s why I am here. To point you in the direction of some really nifty finds that you won’t find in all of those fliers and on the shelves of your local big box store.

Obviously, you should totally buy all of my books and give them to all of your friends. But if you don’t want people to get suspicious that you’re not putting any thought into your gifts (but you really would be; I’d vouch for you), you should also check out these authors: Shanna Hammaker, Brandon Ford, Jeremy C. Shipp, Shonell Bacon, and Johi Jenkins. Horror, memoir, mystery, fantasy, paranormal romance, young adult…you’re bound to find something for someone or many somethings for many someones.

If you know an aspiring writer (or anyone that uses a writing instrument, really), perhaps check out Roweville Retro and get them a one-of-kind pen, pencil, or stylus. You can even get a custom made creation. Get them that present that other people will be trying to steal from them for years to come.

Speaking of writing, how about encouraging the people you really do like to keep in touch with some spiffy postcards? This is what happens when I keep taking and drawing pictures with no set purpose in mind. I have to find something to do with them and what better use than to remind people that dropping a picture card in the mail and sending it to a friend is still a fun surprise.

But, if you’re looking for better art (and you probably should be), then check out Hannah McFaddon Art. Hannah McFaddon is an amazing artist and now she’s got a whole line of prints available, too. Tea-Rex! Are you kidding me? Absolutely adorable! And guaranteed to be something that a loved one is going to adore and hang proudly on their wall.

So go! Shop! Buy things that people didn’t know they needed and will love to get!

 

**Yes, I am once again promoting my friends and acquaintances (and myself) for the holidays because I like them, I like what they’re doing, and I think they deserve some spotlight. Go team!

Holiday Shopping Suggestions

flame box elder penNo, do not fear. This is not a post to try to get you guys to buy my stuff (but, still, buy my stuff *coughcough*).

This is a post to draw your attention to a couple of my friends who make some really fabulous things that you should be aware of. These are perfect items to include on your own holiday wishlist or to purchase for friends or relatives.

Seriously. These are great things that you don’t want to miss out on.

RowevilleRetro. Handmade pens, pencils, styluses (stylii?), and other goodies, made from reclaimed materials. The pen in the picture? All mine, baby. It’s flame box elder and writes beautifully. It’s pretty neat to know that I’ve got a pen so unique. Don’t see one you like? You can custom order one to get exactly the pen/pencil/stylus your heart desires. And for a great price! Don’t forget to like them on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter to keep up with latest goodies.

Brush Crush. Hannah McFadden is a terrific artist and now you can own one of her lovely pieces (I’m still making up my mind on which one I want; I want them all!). Inks, oils, pastels, acrylic, watercolor, she’s got skills in so many mediums. Check out her website for more pieces and like her on Facebook to keep up with her latest projects.

‘Tis the season for giving and if you’re going to be giving, then give something good. So, give these good people a look see, pass on the URLs, and, ya know, buy something.

 

*Full disclosure: None of the people involved in the two shops asked me to do this. This is all me, baby. I’m promoting them on the blog because I like them, I like their stuff, and I already promote them on my personal Facebook and Twitter. In my opinion, they deserve to have lots of people flocking to them to purchase their merchandise. If this blog post (or repeated sharings/likings/retweetings/favoritings/whatever) can help generate that mob, then it’s the very least I can do.

Cubs Convention 2012

As a birthday present from my friend Becca (spending money a Christmas/birthday present from my mom), the two of us went to Cubs Con this past weekend. Now, I’ve been to conventions before (I did Wizard World in 2005 and 2006 and DragonCon in 2007 and 2008), but I’ve never been to a Cubs Con.

We ended up doing just autographs and pictures. No panels (not that there weren’t some that I didn’t think about going to).  And we missed the opening ceremony (but did hear the huge ovation for Kerry Wood) because Becca’s plane was late and by the time we got on the Kennedy, everyone else was on it, too. On one hand, I feel like we managed to do quite a bit. On the other hand, I feel like we missed out on a lot.

But here’s a quick rundown of things we did do.

-Friday night, after checking in, registering, eating, and wandering around the vendors, we hit up Kitty O’Sheas for the Tweetup. There we found our Cubs Con sherpa, Harry, almost immediately. Birthday wishes were exchanged (his birthday was Friday) and he presented me with a gift that only a true Cubs fan could appreciate: a Carlos Silva autographed ball. I feel bad that I didn’t get him anything. I’ll be sure to get him something next year. Oh yes. I will.

-Also great meeting Daniel, Jen, and Vince, and giving a quick hello to a couple of others. Sorry we didn’t get to hang out longer and meet more people.

-On the way back to our hotel room we were brushed aside by security so David DeJesus and his wife could hurry by.

-Saturday morning we got in the cluster known as Reed Johnson’s line. It was a bit of a mess and there was possibly a mutiny being staged behind us, but we made it out alive with Reed’s autograph. Nice guy. I felt his shirt matched his goatee.

-Next, Becca got her picture taken with Geovany Soto. He was late to the photo op. I said it was because he was doing his hair; gel can be a difficult medium to work with. Considering how perfect it looked in Becca’s picture, I’d say I was right.

-We deviated from the Saturday plan by creating a line for the James Russell photo op (I also defended his honor at one point). His signing was on our Sunday agenda, but we saw an opportunity and we took it and I’ve got the K-Mart Photo Studio picture to prove it. We also got bonus time with him since the flash wasn’t working. He was very sweet, even if his plaid did clash with my shirt (he made up for it with really kickin’ cowboy boots).

-We hooked up with Harry and lined up for the Blake DeWitt signing. Sticking to the less popular players was actually a decent strategy as the lines were short. Harry left and came back and didn’t miss much. DeWitt needs to stop letting his mom cut his hair, but other than that, he was quite nice. I’m bummed that they made him change his number (so DeJesus could have #9). Doesn’t seem fair. Also, he had cold hands.

-On the roll that we were, we jumped in the line for Tony Campana and it was a good thing we did because a lot of people showed up for that signing. When I got up there, I asked how his hand was holding up. He said it was okay, then looked behind me and said that he thought it might be sore by the end. So cute and wee. He really is quite pocket-sized.

-While waiting on Campana, we saw both Starlin Castro and Brett Jackson walk by. Castro had an entourage and Brett Jackson apparently just came down from Appalachia where he was hanging out with Grizzly Adams.

-It was then that we parted ways with Harry for a bit as he wanted to get Soto’s autograph and Becca wanted Jeff Samardzija’s. He was nice enough, though I question his hair choices. It wasn’t quite as scary up close, but still I think he should look into a new style.

-Sunday morning, we lined up for James Russell’s signing as was originally planned. Everyone else signed my calendar, but I’d gone to the trouble of bringing Russell’s baseball card and I wanted it signed. So after watching an ADORABLE little boy (he must have been about two) with a Toy Story backpack get HIS baseball card signed and put away in his backpack (OMGSOCUTE), I got my card signed.

-Our last event of the con was a photo op with Blake DeWitt. Again, he was very nice and Becca has the Awkward Family Photo for posterity. I told her that she needs to frame it and put it on her desk at work to see how long it takes for anyone to ask her about it. And if they do, tell them that we’re family from Missouri. Trust me. That would be hilarious.

And so ended our Cubs-filled, fun-filled weekend.

Con pictures on Friday! Stay tuned!

Friday Five: Birthday Presents

My birthday is next Wednesday and I, like so many other people, love my birthday. It’s my special day even if I don’t do anything more out of the ordinary than going to McDonald’s for lunch to celebrate it. It’s my day because it’s the anniversary of my birth and therefore, it is automatically a fantastic day.

Also, I like free stuff and birthdays are great for free stuff.

Here are five presents I would love to get for my birthday this year:

1. Tickets to a Cubs game. It’s a sin that I’ve only been to Wrigley twice in my life. Maybe they’d actually win the game so I could hear “Go Cubs Go” in person.

2. Books. I’ve got a whole wishlist of them on Amazon and I am desperately low on new reading material.

3. iTunes gift cards. I love music. I’ve got lists of songs that I’d like to acquire. Some of it recorded after 2001, even.

4. Monkees Present and Changes CDs. Yes, downloadable music is where it’s at, but they’re the last two CDs I need for my collection of original Monkees music (I’m not counting Missing Links vol. 1 and 2; I need those, too, but they’re all outtakes and alternative takes). I’ve got a great collage of the cover art going and I need those two pieces to finish. Also, the music.

5. Donations to The Dempster Family Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a local children’s hospital, or a local humane society or no-kill shelter. One of the biggest bummers to being broke is not being able to contribute as much as I’d like to charities. I think it’d be cool to have people do it for my birthday.

If you read my Christmas list, I bet you were expecting something just as wild and extravagant, huh?

Well, I’m a complex person. Get used to these sorts of surprises.

Five Gifts I Would Give (If I Could)

Last week I listed five gifts I wanted from Santa. As much as I like getting, I like giving, too.

Here are five gifts that I would give if I could afford to give them and if it were practical to do so. Don’t look for anything of substance here. You won’t find it. It’s not one of the things on the list.

1. I’d give the Pittsburgh Pirates a winning season. I’m not talking championship; I’m saying finishing things out above .500. I’m no Pirates fan, but it’s got to be miserable as a fan and a player to running on two decades of losing seasons. No one deserves to go through that (though there are some people I think should; doesn’t mean they deserve it, though).

2. I’d give everyone a white Christmas. The snow would only last a day and wouldn’t be on the roads so there’d be no travel problems. I think people in the warmer climates are missing out.

3. I’d give people a break from being self-righteous. I imagine it’s exhausting and they could use a vacation.

4. I’d give my old high school some windows so it wouldn’t look so much like a prison. Or I’d give it some razor wire so the prison look would be complete. Whichever would be better for the current students.

5. I’d give everyone an extra tomorrow so they could catch up on their sleep today. Sometimes you just have to pause and take a nap so you have the energy to keep up with life.

That’s my giving list. What’s on yours?