2018 Words Review

Ugh, days go by so fast, and these days I never seem to have any time.

As I mentioned in my last blog post. 2018 was a difficult year as well. I still was seeing multiple doctors to try something that would help with chronic pain, still working a job that paid less than half of what I previously made, and then at the end had to deal with an estrangement with my adult (legally, but not really) child. Then in January to even further complicate things, my partner and I were helping to run a conference, and then we pulled a young man out of *his* bad home environment to come live with us in the room my daughter vacated. Oh yes, and I discovered mold in that bedroom, so I had to repair and replace some drywall.

Oi. Busy.

Anyways, writing fell off a cliff. Not only did I have difficulty finding time to write, the muses were basically dead. So below is my sad progress on my works in progress for the year of 2018.

Oddities Book 3: I wrote a total of 11,220 words in 2018, bringing the total to 71,462 words by the end of the year.

Fae Book: I wrote 5470 words in 2018 on this one, bringing the total to 67,132 words. And I’m only at the beginning of the climax scene. I suck.

Ninth Deena Tale: Ugh, this is even worse. This one started the year with 5487 words; I added 6399 words, bringing the total to 11,886 words at the end of the year. This is the one I’m focusing on to finish as quickly as I can, so that I have at least one finished piece in 2019!

Total words written in 2018:  23,089.

Since I started recording (and counting) words, I haven’t had a year that bad, though there were years before 2010 where I didn’t write at all. But man . . . . that’s sad.

I am trying to revive the muses and get writing again, so that at least 2019 can be a better year. I’ll move to working on one thing at a time starting with the Deena tale since that one should be done in under 5000 words. Then the Oddities tale. And then finally, I’ll finish the YA gay paranormal.

My daughter had been reading and giving me feedback on that last one, and had been eagerly awaiting the book’s completion. But then again, she’s not talking to me.

Hopefully that improves this year as well.

 

 

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A Silent Epidemic

Oh my God, has it really been since July that I last posted?

I profusely apologize for not posting much in 2018. A lot has happened, and I’m only now able to talk about what’s been going on. I’m currently suffering with not one but two silent epidemics, as well as bleak financial times. These things sap my energy and drain my will to do much more than survive.

The first silent epidemic is chronic pain. I’ve now been to 5 different doctors as well as a chiropractor and physical therapist for what feels like a dagger stuck in my lower back/hip sending shooting pains down my right leg. I went through a few different diagnoses before the final one of “spinal stenosis with sciatica.” It’s due mostly to osteoarthritis and disk herniation, which means it’s not easily fixable. I did a few procedures in 2017 including nerve cauterization to try and deaden nerves (which worked for my left side but made my right side worse), and then more procedures last year, ending with most recently a series of epidural steroidal injections that caused such a severe flare-up that I couldn’t walk for two weeks without the aid of a cane.

Right now I’m taking pain pills and just trying to do physical activity when I can, because I’m pretty much broke. I’m making enough at my day job to pay bills, but that’s about it. I have to work overtime just to have funds for things like food, household supplies, and gas. I don’t have enough for seeing any more doctors or any more procedures.

So that’s the first malady that has taken over my life. The second “silent epidemic” is that on December 3rd, my only child, who turned 18 in August, went to work as normal, and then texted me late in the evening to say she was never coming home again and not to contact her. My world was shattered.

I’d known she wanted to move out, which I’d told her was fine, great even, but I’d told her she needed a plan. She’d wanted to join the military, but then was being hesitant about it, and yet wasn’t showing much interest in applying for college. She and my partner had shared a tumultuous relationship but that had been improving, and she’d said she wanted to work on that as well. She’d also just started dating someone, and had introduced him to us. He seemed very nice.

And then she was gone. She moved in with him (and his mom, actually), and started telling people how she’d been abused. Now I admit I made some mistakes with her, perhaps punishing more often than I liked because she kept doing the same thing over and over again–lying and hiding things. And I feel badly for her because her father and stepmother really were abusive to her, and now she’s very messed up emotionally. But I always tried to communicate openly with her and let her choose things, including punishments. She’d been helping financially, and then suddenly that too was gone. I feel shame, and confusion, and anger, and loss.

A lot of loss.

So recently I’ve been cleaning out her room–she’s still in contact with my mother, so at least I can get some news, and a way to send her belongings to her. I always thought her relationship with me was rock solid, but apparently not. I say this is a “silent epidemic” because apparently adult child estrangement is now a huge thing, not openly discussed, but if you Google it, there’s been studies about how common this new trend has become. I guess nowadays it’s just easier to run away from problems and cut out anything that might difficult to deal with. I’ve had issues now and then with my own mother (she’s a bit of a busybody), but I’d never even think to stop communication with her. I find this trend deeply disturbing on a macro level.

2019 will be a year of rebuilding.

 

(and I will try to get the 2018 recap up soon, though it’s not a lot of words for the year)

 

 

Going Wide

Well, this wasn’t exactly what I expected to do this month, but Amazon sort of forced my hand.

Anyone who has been following kboards lately knows that indie writers have been struggling with Amazon for the last few months for all books enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. Amazon says that an author is paid for each page read and says it has an accurate way to count the pages . . . and then suddenly Amazon admitted that it had been counting pages read from bots scamming the system and the program.

Then Amazon began cutting everybody’s page reads to the point where it became pointless to even be in the KU program. And the funny thing was they cut EXACTLY 50%. I really have to wonder how EXACTLY 50% of my page reads are from bots when I don’t even advertise anywhere, and also how it affected most other indie writers (except the ones with millions of page reads) in EXACTLY the same way.

When they stripped all my reads after May 25, I had enough and asked them to remove all my books from Kindle Unlimited/Kindle Select. That means that now I am free to sell these books across all sellers and platforms.

So for those who have been waiting, these books are now available at Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and Smashwords, to name a few. Google’s being a bit tougher so that may take a few days. (One note–I have the first Deena/Professor tale up but I’m still working on getting the rest done. I’ll try to have the second one up in a few days.)

And here’s the big news–Smashwords is having their annual eBook sale all July! So grab the following titles at discounted prices, or even free:

FREE:  Deena and the Professor Part One: Corporal Punishment  Deena one v3 thumbnail

The Foreman (Book 1 of the Hard Hat series)                        Back Camera

75% off:  Friday at the 7-Eleven <–only $1.00                                     Back Camera

 

50% off: The New Hire (Book 2 of the Hard Hat series)             51CP7EN9BqL__AA160_

Juliet’s Orders                                                                            juliets orders_thumbnail

 

Enjoy!!

Whirlpools

Years ago when I was first starting my writing career, I used to read Dean Wesley Smith a lot, and I attended one of his workshops at a writing convention. One of the words he used that stuck with me is the concept of “whirlpools” that writers can fall into. These whirlpools represent situations or issues that stop all progress forward and can suck a writer down into oblivion.

I seem to be stuck in a whirlpool right now.  A bunch of monkeys on my back dragged me into it–monkeys with names like “Laid Off” and “Major Paycut” and “Sole Breadwinner.” Not to mention “Chronic Pain,” “Buried By Debt” and “Medically Untreatable.” It’s rather dark in the whirlpool, and it doesn’t help that I’m also trying to support a partner who struggles with anxiety and depression, and a soon-to-be-graduating child with issues of her own. When I try to write, all of that crap invades my head, and I can barely get a word out.

I know this whirlpool is temporary. I’ve already let go of the worry and despair I felt last year while battling the chronic hip pain, and settled into a sort of acceptance of “Okay, so this is the new me. I hurt most of the time and I can only do a few activities each day. Oh well.” And then I try to celebrate each little thing I manage to get done. And the financial situation will also be temporary, because I’m already moving up in the mundane call-center job and one way or another I’ll fight my way back up to a livable wage. Or I’ll sell enough crap to make a dent in that fucking debt. One way or another, I’ll survive.

All of this doesn’t change the fact that I feel bad about not getting the books out faster. It pains me to know there may be readers waiting for Book 3 of the Oddities . . . and it’s not even close to done yet. I’m sorry. I’m working on it, and eventually I will finish the book and get it out there, but I truly regret the delay.

So anyways, here’s the current WIPs as of 4/30/2018:

  1.  A Conspiracy Uncovered (Book 3 of the Oddities series), at 65,850 words, moving into the steady climb toward the climax, and still estimated to be about 95k when complete.
  2. Fae Fortunes (YA M/M paranormal), currently at 64,689 words, just about at the climax scene, maybe ending with 80k??
  3. The Gang’s All Here (Deena and the Professor Part Nine, BDSM serial romance), currently at 8584 words, estimated to be 12k total.

A day late and a dollar short–more, actually.

As far as I’m concerned, 2017 can go fuck itself. I wanted to make this post near the beginning of this year, but life hasn’t been letting me do much of what I want lately. In 2017 I began having chronic pain in my back and hips with sciatica, and despite physical therapy, various drugs and some procedures, I’m still having chronic pain even now. Combine that together with my current under-employed status and the stress of not having enough to pay bills and relying on help from family, and it makes for a pretty poor setting to be writing anything at all.

2017 was the worst year for writing since about 2010 or so . . . or at least that’s what it felt like. I haven’t yet looked at the numbers, so we’ll see.

Here’s my breakdown of what I wrote in 2017:

Oddities book: I wrote a total of 48,146 words, bringing the book to 60,242 words by December 31, 2017. (estimated to be 95k at completion).

Fae book: I wrote a total of  8,849 words, bringing this book to 61,662 in 2017. Estimated total length? I have no clue, since it’s already longer than I originally planned. I’m not even at the climax scene yet!

Deena tales: I finished the 8th tale and published it and then started on the 9th tale. Total words written: 8096. (9th tale ended at 5487 words for the year)

Total words written in 2017: 65,091.

Total words written in 2016?  152, 421.

Yeah, 2017 was a bad year. I wish I could say 2018 is doing better, but it’s actually doing even worse, so far.

My only goals this year are to finish the three books listed above. That’s it. If I can do that, I’ll be happy. On the bright side, I actually published 4 things in 2017–the two books with Riptide, Part 8 of the Deena tales (under another pseudonym), and I republished the novella that originally was published by Torquere. I’m a little down that my full-length novels don’t sell as much as I hoped, particularly the second Oddities book, Fraud Twice Felt. But I received mostly good reviews and those who did read them seemed to enjoy them.

(My other goals for 2017 are to find a job that can actually pay the bills, and find some way to manage the chronic pain that doesn’t rely on something like narcotics. Errrgh. )

Send me a prayer or a kind word. I could really use it.

Struggling

Still here.

Still in pain. And it’s amazing how much chronic pain can suck the life out of you, drain away your energy and your drive, and make even enjoyable activities dead and lifeless. I had two procedures to hopefully fix the issue, but the relief was short-lived and I’m back to struggling every day to simply haul myself to the EDJ, put in the hours that won’t even pay enough to settle all the bills, and then rest.

I’m still writing. But wow. So slow. Sales of course have tapered off and I know I need to get things turned in, get that next book written, but it’s hard to concentrate, let alone be creative. Having a financial crisis on top of things doesn’t help either. I have to pretend to be upbeat and energetic in interviews in order to get a job that will dig me out of this hole, and that’s draining too. I have to dig deep simply to find the energy to spend any time with any of my friends at all.

This isn’t meant to be a ‘pity poor me’ post, however. There have been a few great reviews that I’ve come across which help encourage me to keep going. I’m committed to finishing the Oddities series and I still have plenty of passion for the boys.

I apologize to readers that I’m not getting these books out more quickly. I sincerely hope you’ll hang in there with me.

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Status of WIPS as of 10/10/2017:

  1. 3rd Oddities book is now at 54,417 words. I have about another 1800 words needing to be typed in. Estimated total length:  95k.
  2. YA m/m paranormal currently at 60,030, and about to head into the climax. Estimated total maybe 70-75k?
  3. Deena and the Professor Part 9:  Currently at 4096 with another 400 words to type up,  estimated total 10k.

 

A Quick Update

I know I’ve been very quiet lately–barely any online presence at all. The last two months have been a blur for me, trying simply to get through each day. I understand now what chronic pain is, and how it can swallow your life whole.

I feel like I’m barely crawling, in getting anything done at all. That includes writing. The old spoons analogy really applies here–I look at each day and know that I’ll only be able to do a few things before I have to lay in the recliner and let the aggravated nerves settle down again.

But today hopefully that will change. I’m heading out in an hour to do a procedure where my doctor will be cauterizing some of the nerves in my lower back and sacral area, so that I no longer have these shooting pains down my legs and the ever-present dagger in my back. Apparently it all comes from arthritis, which I seem to be developing at an alarming rate. I’m not THAT old!!

Wish me luck.

***

WIPs:

Book Three of the Oddities series: currently at 48,501 words. (Plus about 1200 words hand written in a notebook needing to be typed into the Word file).

Fae Fortunes: currently at 58,741 words.

Deena and the Professor Part Nine: 3006 words.