Monday, June 1, 2020

Weekly Update: Rollercoaster Ride

My god, what a week this past week has been. What a mess our country is. I'm not going to get into all of that because my god, how do you begin to unwrap that? Other than...stop being assholes, people. We all have a right to be who we are and what we are. That's that. Let's try to unwrap my week...

I spent a lot of last week trying not to melt in the humidity that comes with summer around here. Yep, I know, it was/is still spring, but it didn't feel like it. It felt like we just plain skipped over spring. Wearing a mask was miserable, but I did it anyway. Also, I'm happy to report that my almost panic attacks while wearing the mask have lessened. Maybe it's like some sort of forced therapy. Either way, I'd rather wear it than not.

The big news from this past week was that I received the proof copy of my book. I've never been so excited/nervous at the same time, I don't think. Opening it was like ...Christmas morning. I was nervous that it'd be a mess, but it was beautiful. All of the images were in the right spot and look amazing. My friend, Eric, did such an amazing job with them. I actually did a livestream of me opening the package and showing it off. That was fun. Quite a few people popped in and everyone seems to be really excited for me. I hope they're that excited for the book too.

Bonus for the week was that Ben was able to spend the weekend here. We were mostly lazy, but I did get more of my studio done and tackled some of a new client's project. I also got my plants into planters. I didn't buy a lot this year simply because finances won't allow it and Walmart is pretty slim pickings. Still, I have 3 tomato plants (one might not make it. It's pretty sad looking.), a planter with some flowers in it, 2 types of thyme and a sage plant. I may try to dig out the flower bed along the side of the house and see about planting some tulips or something there in the fall. All of the beds are a total disaster and half of my tire planters have trees in them now. I'm not sure what to do about that. It'll probably require hiring a professional to come and take them out. Ick.

Now, on the downside for the week...Well, y'all know what's happened and I won't rehash it. I will say though that it has my anxiety spiking really high. It's hard to sleep because my brain gets in a loop of what ifs. Last night I didn't sleep worth anything and then was woken up around 7:30am because they were working on something out in front of my house. I have no idea what. They're going to be digging up the drain pipe and clearing it out, but I'm in the middle of the block so it makes no sense to start there. Either way, they were loud enough that I didn't get to go back to sleep when I badly needed it. Just have to keep on pressing on, I guess.

Roger will be here soon and I'd like to be about done with work when he gets here, so time for me to sign off for now! If, on the off chance, you'd like to check out my book, there's a pre-order for the ebook up on Amazon now. That and the print version will release on July 14th (which happens to be my anniversary).

As always, talk to me if you need an ear...mine are available...


Monday, May 25, 2020

Weekly Update: Steamy

Holy crow, y'all! We got a whole bunch of rain and now it's hot and steamy. It's too dang early for this! We skipped over Spring and jumped right into summer and I'm not a happy girl. My house is old, has like no insulation and no air conditioning. I've already got our two fans running (our other fans broke) and I'm typing this in the dark. Have I mentioned that I'm not a fan of hot, sticky days?

Let's move on to something happier, eh? I had my live reading (via Facebook live) on Thursday evening and while it wasn't a huge turn out (6 consistent, a few others popped in and out), I think that it went really well. I had a couple of people ask when the book is being released and someone said that they thought that I should narrate children's books. That's a pretty nice compliment. So, I'm happy with it. Relieved that I never have to do a "first" one of those again...lol! There's a decent chance that I'll do one more live reading before the book is released, but I haven't totally decided when and what story.

Speaking of live readings though, I've tentatively set up my first in store reading for later this summer. Someone that I know is opening a collectibles shop and wants to do monthly events and is interested in me coming in and reading to local kids. I'd also bring along coloring sheets and crayons for the kids. I think it would be fun so I'm hesitantly looking forward to that.

Let's see...what else? I haven't made a decision regarding the job that I was approached with. I can't see a single reason not to take it, other than...it's not clicking with me. Maybe it's because I want to focus more on writing my own books (and blurbs). My editing business is also doing well right now so I don't want to take away from my clients. I'm still thinking on it though so we'll see what happens.

I do think that I have decided to take on the show on Indie Volt. I'm not quite sure who my guests will be or what the show will be, but it's a good way to get my name out there more. It's something to keep contemplating at least.

Things are okay here. We're all healthy and right now, that's a big deal. I had some drama yesterday with someone who took advantage of my being a helper. I've learned my lesson with him though and he won't be getting any more free work/consultations from me again. It's disappointing when people reveal themselves to be total asses, but they're out there and I happened to trip over one.

As for this week, it's a keep on keeping on kind of week. I have to take Ben to the orthopedist tomorrow and other than that, I'm home and working. I've got books to do for clients and that studio isn't going to finish itself. I also have to go to the post office to mail out some comics and Lego minifigs to folks who lost things in the recent floods. I hope that they bring smiles to people's faces. I'm happy to help in any small way that I can.

Now I think I'm going to make some lunch (something cold!) and then continue working. I think I'll also have to convince my cat that the fan isn't for him and he has to share...


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Bonus Post: Freaking Out

Guys, I don't know if it's the caffeine talking or what, but I'm spazzing a bit tonight. As some of you know, I have my very first book (Tales From the Toy Store) coming out this summer. I'm very close to having it completed. I'm just waiting for the illustrator to finish the cover and write up his bio. Then, I insert those and send it off to Amazon where it will be published. After I go over a proof copy, it will be ready for print.

All this is great and exciting...except when it becomes an anxiety fueled "fun fest."  I'm being reminded that comic/geek podcasts won't want me on as guests because what I'm "selling" isn't their audience. This means stepping out of the industry that I've been hiding on the fringes off and trying to find podcasts that are interested in supporting children's authors. I'm sure it's as simple as doing some research, but I'm freaking out about it. The podcasts I could do now are done by friends, people I'm comfortable with.

I'm going into a spiral of oh god, what if I can't find an audience for this book? What if nobody buys it? What if I'm a total failure?

Then, as if that's not enough, tonight I was offered a video podcast of my own if I want it. I could make it about whatever I wanted but it was suggested that I do one where I bring on indie novelists. Create my own space to talk about this kind of thing. I could do it...I could fit it into my schedule...I know a few people I could have on as guests, but what do we talk about? My interviews have always been silly in nature and done in a matter of minutes. Could I somehow take that concept and make it a popular show segment? I don't know.

Did I mention that I was approached by someone about taking a job this summer writing blurbs for other people's books? This is something I profoundly am not good at...okay, I'm mediocre at it, I just like to think I suck. I was assured though that they would train me to write them in the style that they use. It's not as if I can't learn. It's not as if I couldn't use the money. My business is doing okay, but I'm always looking for new projects and new clients for during the quiet times.

So much feels as if it's flying at me all at once and while none of it is bad, it's a bit overwhelming and I don't know what to do. I'm frozen from making decisions or progress. I really don't like when I get this way. I'm sure that y'all understand. It's also bedtime but because I'm wound up, I won't sleep.

Anyway, tomorrow is the next big day for my book. I'm going to be doing a live reading of the first story that I wrote for the book. It also happens to be the first story in the book. I'm worried that nobody will be there. How can I raise excitement if nobody listens? See what I mean? Spiral. I can't let myself do this. I need to pull it together and make some decisions. I need to find my way through this.

I need for this book to do well. I'm not looking for NYT best seller. I'm looking for sells more than 50 copies. 100 copies would be a dream come true. It would be proving to myself that I could do this. It would be proving to me that I really am a writer and a good one. I want to write for the rest of my life and it starts with this book.

Deep breathes...I can get through this and tomorrow will be a new days to start making new steps, right?


Monday, May 18, 2020

Weekly Update: Rain, Rain, Go Away

Whew! It's been raining and raining and raining. My neighborhood is flooded. My yard never floods and the side yard is standing water. Luckily, we don't have a functional basement (we have a Michigan basement) so nothing is damaged here, but I'm seeing posts from folks saying they've lost entire comic collections and such. Ugh! I'm sending some of mine to one of those folks...he lost something like a few thousand comics. I'm not sure mine will help, but if he doesn't want them, I won't be upset if he finds a new home for them.

Speaking of new homes, my external hard drive didn't arrive on time (what does these days?) so instead of backing up files, etc, I started tackling my studio..known around here as "the wall". Holy crow, I feel as if I may never finish. I've spent probably a good twelve hours in there already and it's nowhere close to done. This is what happens when you never properly set up a room and then let it become the junk room. I've hauled out 2 bags of trash, multiple broken cardboard boxes, and have 3 boxes of things set aside for Goodwill. On top of that, I have an entire tote filled with scrapbooking supplies/books that I'd like to sell. Did I mention that I'm nowhere close to done yet? It's insane how much I shoved into one room. Still, I'm determined to make it a functional space again so all I can do is keep going whenever I have the chance.

It can be overwhelming though. I know that when I was in there over the weekend, I'd get one little section done and then just look around, stuck. My youngest was trying to encourage me by telling me that I was doing a good job, but then would get completely frustrated with me when I'd say thank you, but there's still.... I can't say that I blame him. He doesn't understand what it's like to get that overwhelmed (thank goodness). Hopefully, by the time he comes back over again (no idea when that will be), the room will be much more progressed (or done) and we can just enjoy the space. If nothing else, I now have a space where I can sit my laptop to work. In fact, at some point this week, I'll be taking my old laptop in there, attaching the external drive and let it sit there and run backups so that I can move things to my new laptop.

That's one of about a billion things that I have to get done this week. I seriously have a to do list that spans an entire sheet of paper and I keep thinking of other things that I need to add to it. So far, I've gone to the post office to pick up a package. That's it. So, I suppose that I ought to wrap up this post so that I can see what's next. At least I won't be able to complain that I'm bored, right?

Now, don't think I forgot...I want to know how all of you are doing. Are you hanging in there still? Struggling? You're not alone. I have my good days and my bad days, but on every day, I'm happy to listen.


Monday, May 11, 2020

Weekly Update: Not Much New

Here we go...Monday again. This is week...umm...9? that we've been on stay home, stay safe. Honestly, I've totally lost track. The days blend into each other when you're pretty much doing the same thing every day. Last week was pretty much get up, eat breakfast, play Animal Crossing for a few minutes and then spend the next few hours working on a book for a client. This week will be the same except swap out book for graphic novel. I'm happy to still be working, and routine can be good, but I'm ready to mix it up a bit. How I have no idea.

Roger has been here and it's been nice. He's helped me with a few things around the house but mostly it's just been nice to be around another person. He goes back to his dad's house on Thursday (his little brother's birthday) and I don't know when he'll be back. His stepmother has decided to start charging him rent and he's in the process of looking for a job. Once he starts working, it'll be harder for him to get over here. I'm still hoping for a weekend or a couple of days with all three boys so we can do the barn clean out. It's a project that I just can't do on my own.

Speaking of projects, last week I had my cover reveal for my book. I got a lot of support which was really exciting. I'm hoping that when I launch it, a lot of people pick it up for their kids. It's not about the money, but more about seeing my "baby" out there in the world. I'm just waiting for Eric to finish the cover and to send me his bio. Once I have those, I can upload it and get a proof copy to make sure I didn't mess anything up. I suspect something will be wonky, but no way of knowing until I make those steps.

So like this post says, not much new. I did a bit on the house, not much, but it's still forward momentum. There's still a ton to do so I suspect you'll be hearing about that for a while. My hope is that the weather is nice next week and I can tackle my front porch. I'll be inventorying those tubs to hopefully get them gone and doing some planting, I think. I also have that wheeled cart to assemble. It's sitting out there stacked in pieces. Not exactly useful. I also need to hack away at the bushes and trees that have outgrown their spaces. Actually, I wish I could remove the trees. They don't belong there, but I have no way of doing that so I just keep cutting the branches off. It doesn't do a lot of good, but makes me feel like I'm trying.

And I guess that's it for this week...not the most thrilling update, huh? Maybe next week I'll have more fun things to tell you about. For now though, stay safe, wear your masks, wash your hands, and hang in there. We'll get through this, but we can't get lazy about it.


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Weekly Update: A Day Early...

It's only Sunday, but it turns out that this coming week is going to be a week of put my head down and work, work, work. I didn't want to not post so here I am a day early.

Not much has changed from last week to this. Not surprising, eh? I mean, we're all in the same boat. Honestly, I'm okay with riding this out for the most part. I'd rather be inconvenienced and have some down days than watch those that I love die. I really believe that we're opening too early and bad things are going to happen. I've ordered masks to take the next step in our protection and we're just hanging in there.

Speaking of, Ben and Roger have been here this weekend. Other than the occasional brotherly bickering, it's been really nice. We've tackled a few small projects which has helped. One of them was cleaning out the deep freeze. Ick. It got turned off at some point so it was a bit of a chore to get it cleaned out. I'm still waiting for some of the ice to thaw so that I can wipe it out. Once I've done that, I'll list it on local sales sites to see if anyone is interested. I think that Roger and I can move it out onto the front porch. I'm only going to ask $50 for it so hopefully it sells quickly. It never hurts to have that extra little bit of cash in your pocket. I also have a flute that I'm going to sell for $75. It doesn't take up much space but it really should be being used, not just collecting dust around here.

The living room is finally feeling like a living room. I have to tidy the bookshelves, clear one more space and then attempt to figure out how to store all of the books/comics that I still need to read for reviews. I'm so far behind that there's quite the stack. I also need to mail out some books that people purchased for me and perhaps just list boxes of books on freecycle or local groups. I need to clear out what I know is going. We took 2 bags and a box out to the barn yesterday that will go to Goodwill once they open again. I got tired of looking at them in the house.

For Mother's Day, I've asked the three boys for a workday so that maybe we can tackle the barn. It's full of just stuff. Some can go, but quite a bit just needs to be organized into bins so that we can find things when we need them. It might be tough to coordinate a day where none of them are working, but I'm hopeful that we can finally tackle that project. It's a big one.

So, fingers crossed that things sell and that things can get done. It's so much easier to get through this time when I feel as if I'm being productive. I'm still missing people tons, but that's just going to have to be what it is. It's not worth the risk right now to mingle and there's no way I can travel to see "the man" right now. I'll just have to keep the course with cleaning, my work, and keeping in touch with folks the best I can.

How are all of you doing? Are you hanging in there? Let me know!


Monday, April 27, 2020

Weekly Update: Another Day at Home

Just when I think I'm handling all of this well, something happens that reminds me that I'm more sensitive right now to certain things than I might be otherwise. Yesterday, I popped into a friend's livestream. Nothing exciting there, right? Well, this is a friend who I'd been trying to have a one on one video chat with for a few days and he was always too busy to do it. Then, when I joked in the chat that I had been hoping to have that chat with him, he pointed out (to everyone) that this was a chat and it didn't always have to be about one on one and I was selfish. Now, he was joking. I knew he was joking, but it still hurt enough that I was in tears. I knew I was being sensitive and yet, maybe, at the same time, he was being insensitive. He talked about how if anyone needed something just like what I'd asked for, just to let him know. How come then he wasn't making it happen for me? I dunno. I don't want to dwell too much on it. It's probably best to just move on. Still though, it did show me that I'm lonelier than I realized and missing human connection.

I haven't seen "the man" since August and with everything that's going on, there's no knowing when we'll see each other again. With the stress of everything, he's gone quieter than usual and that's wearing a bit on me too. I'm not upset with him, just missing him tons. Our anniversary is coming up in July and it's looking less and less like we'll spend it together. I want us to be safe but man, this sucks.

One thing that doesn't suck are my kids. This weekend, at least for one night, I'll have them both here. It's so tough with everyone's schedule, but Roger will be finished with exams and Ben has a four day weekend off from work. I'll be picking Ben up on Thursday and then Roger on Saturday. I don't know if Dillon will come. I thought he was going to fit in with our family, but he doesn't seem to have much interest. That's his choice but I had hoped for something different.

So, I'll have the kids and that's something I'm looking forward to. I want to do a bit more house tidying before they get here. I'm really proud of what I have done, but I need to go back to former rooms and do maintenance. I don't know if I'll get much past there because I've had quite a few client jobs come in and I need to focus on those. I'm really thankful that I'm still working. So many folks aren't. Still, another stimulus isn't something I'd say no to. Money disappears quickly when you're feeding more than just yourself.

Now, that's a lot of paragraphs about me. How are all of you doing? Are you hanging in there? What good has happened for you during all of this? Please don't hesitate to leave a comment or reach out. After all, we're all in this together.


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