Dear Friends of Aviario,
I have been resisting this decision tooth and nail for longer than I'd probably like to admit. I know it's been a long time since my last blog post, and a while since I've been on my social media platforms, as well. Life outside of Aviario has been difficult, and as much as I had hoped to be able to balance being an author with my current struggles, it has fallen by the wayside. I owe it to myself and to all of you to step back, to address the things which are currently causing me stress and strain, and to focus completely on them. I have managed to write about half of the first draft of Adjustments, but my previous first drafts were all completed by this point in the year. Trust me when I say: this one is too good and too important to turn into a rush job. "A book a year" was a promise I made to myself, first and foremost, and while there's a little rush that comes with being that prolific, it's not worth sacrificing the quality of something I hold so dear ... or the possibility of burning myself out.
I haven't decided how long this hiatus will last ... perhaps, at least, through the summer. Quite a few things that are causing me strain and exhaustion are beyond my control, and I need to dig deep and find the sort of patience and resilience required to weather them. I appreciate the messages of concern and support I've received from some of you over the last month or so, and want to apologize for my "radio silence". There have been days when just thinking about how long I've been away has made me anxious: that spiral of avoidance stops now. I miss all my Twitter and Instagram friends, and I promise you, I'll check in when I can.
To those I've received book review requests or proof copies from: I do still completely intend to review your books! Part of my time away will be spent preparing for my return, and this includes reading and writing those reviews. I will be emailing you all separately for personal, private conversations. The same goes for anyone I may have scheduled guest blog posts with.
I know that in the culture of the internet, we expect things to come quickly, at a constant, breakneck pace. We click, we scan, we move on. But books are different animals: meant to be savored. I need to treat their creative process in much the same vein, especially this time around. I have complete faith and trust that this break will, in the long run, bring us all closer together, not create a rift of absence. In the meantime, be well, read good indie books, support one another, and - hmm - maybe reread the first three Aviario novels? This one ties them all together. You might want to refresh your memory ... wink, wink.
Until next time, I remain your fond concierge,
One of my favorite stories when I was very small was “Stone Soup”: a tale where a community is coerced to make a delicious pot of soup by each adding their own ingredients. There are plenty of reasons why this is a great jumping-off point for analogies about writing, but today I think I’d like to talk about the ingredients which are currently simmering in my own imaginary cauldron.
Every story is inspired by an amazing assortment of things: people, places, memories, and other stories. One of my college professors, the amazing Ann Page Stecker, taught me a wonderful term for this: bricolage. (We would call it to each other from across hallways, imitating the old Ricola commercial: “Briiiiii-co-laaaaage!”) When familiar things are mixed together in their own soup, something new, complex, and wonderful emerges. If it’s done properly, some ingredients aren’t even evident at first taste: like zucchini snuck into brownies. The contents of a story soup don’t have to be consciously added, either: it’s the reason why so many authors say that voracious reading is one of the hallmarks of a great author. What we experience comes through in our writing voice: I learned quite early on that my writing tended to sound like whoever I’d been reading, without trying. Now I look to it as a tool: I read a bit of whoever inspires me whenever I’m writing.
For me, the most fun thing about the story soup cauldron is that books aren’t the only fuel. Every now and then, some other sort of media grabs my writer’s brain and won’t let it go. Bioshock Infinite has that hold on me now: a 2013 video game which takes the turn-of-the-century United States and introduces elements of alternate worlds and timelines. There’s a bit of steampunk worked into the world setting, and the gorgeous visuals and styling sucked me in right away … but what is firing my brain is the seamless telling of the plot and the revelation of its twists. (If you would like to play it for yourself and experience it, I strongly advise you not to read anything about the plot, because it’s very easily spoiled.) Every event, every line of dialogue and piece of scenery, quietly advises the player what will eventually happen. It’s done with such care and subtlety that the massive revelations in the last two hours of gameplay still come as a complete gut-punch, and it’s the sort of master storytelling that every author hopes they will be able to pull off. I’m in the middle of a second play-through so that I can deconstruct it with a writer’s eye and tuck its tools into my kit.
The other large ingredient simmering in my soup is Disney’s new remake of Beauty and the Beast. Those who personally know me understand that the original is one of my favorites, and Belle has a special place in my heart. I went into a viewing as a skeptic, not sure that I’d care for it at all. Some elements didn’t pass my personal litmus test, but they are minimal in comparison to the wallop the story now packs. Every single character has been filled out with new depth, and none of it feels stilted or forced: the Beast’s history fits him like a glove, the deeper current of Gaston’s ego is as natural as breathing, and the story of Belle’s mother is heartbreaking. The new movie shows how adding to a beloved story can enrich it and make it thicker, like flour or cornstarch in a broth. This technique came in a very timely manner, since I’m gearing up to flesh out the history of two Aviario characters in a pair of novellas.
Since Camp NaNoWriMo fires up in two short weeks, I’ve got to bring my camp stove with me, and I’ve got a few great ingredients to cook over the fire. Are any of you participating in Camp? Look me up under user name “chartharsis”: I’d love to chat with you! If you’re not a Camper, I’d still be curious to hear what you put in your own story soup. Leave me a comment below: hearing from my readers makes my day!
Have a great week, and I’ll see you back here next Wednesday!
Okay, everyone, this is my last post in this series, and boy, is it a big pet peeve of mine. While I agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion, there are some very, very angry people out there who don't believe self-published authors deserve to call themselves "real". Don't believe me? There are two extremely awful articles in particular by a blogger named Michael Kozlowski on Good e-Reader. You can read them here (one and two), but if you're an indie author, I'd really advise against it: especially if you have high blood pressure. (See "you'll never be an author if your head explodes", several blog posts ago.)
The truth of the matter is: writing is just like any other profession. We start out by deciding that is what we want to do, and we begin to practice. A widely quoted axiom states, "If you write, then you are an author". You put words on the paper, and voila! A writer!
The trouble is, it may take you a while to think you're a real writer. Or even an author. (And that's before we even start talking about how others see you!) So you keep working, and get second opinions, feedback from fellow writers... maybe make a friend or two of some already-published folks. The more work you do, the more you live your life wanting to be a writer, the closer you come to believing it is true. And isn't that exactly what happened to ol' Pinoke, here? He had to prove himself brave, truthful, and unselfish to become a real boy. As for authors, I believe we have three different criteria to fill.
Prove your writing to be richly detailed, full of believable characters, and free of grammatical nastiness, and someday, you will know you are a real author.
Once you know that, you are your own Blue Fairy. You give yourself that spark: and no one will ever be able to take it away from you. If you need another pep talk, I can do no better than this one by long-established indie author guru Kristen Lamb. Go forth, prove yourself to yourself. I'll be here to cheer you on.
Until next week,
As an independent author, I encounter the same stereotypes, repeatedly:
Ouch, right? So I’ve decided to do my part by creating my own little toolkit to help fellow indie authors ensure that their writing shatters those stereotypes into tiny little splinters. I know there are a million other blogs and e-books that hand out this advice, but everyone does things their own way … why not document mine? This week, I’m going to start with the most technical of the three: Your Writing Must Not Be Good Enough.
In order to debunk this, we indie authors must first define what constitutes “good writing”. For my own part, when I review a book, I look for the following benchmarks:
This can be subjective. There are some very famous authors (I am looking at you, James Patterson and Danielle Steel) who can use almost cookie-cutter elements like sex or action scenes to string together the weakest of plot points. They have found something that works for them. The trouble is, if you want to be truly noticed as an indie author, cookie-cutter is not going to, well, cut it. Your plot should have a good, sharp hook or a unique element to it. Take a look at your writing, and if you can compare its plot easily to that of a famous author, try to find what makes it uniquely yours. Are you telling people “it’s just like (insert best-seller here)”? If they want Best-Seller X, they can just go and read it again. Tell them why they want YOUR story.
Well-defined Characters We Can Care About
I’m not just talking about lengthy, detailed descriptions of their hair, eyes, body, and clothing. What makes them tick? What do they fear, love, or have inside jokes about? Give your readers a glimpse of this before you’ve ended Chapter One - even on page one, if you can manage it. Also, I cannot stress this enough: character is not plot. If your main character is in trouble because they have to evade fifteen unpaid parking tickets and the police in their dystopian future consider this punishable by death? That’s plot. If they didn’t pay their parking tickets because they lined their guinea pig’s cage with them as a form of protest, and/or donated the money to the homeless guy on the corner of their block instead? That’s character. They can run from the cops all they want, but unless I know about that guinea pig and/or homeless guy, I’m not gonna care, even if they are gorgeous.
No Typos, Excessive Verbosity, or Overused Words
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Unless you are Lemony Snicket, if you say “The bomb covered in multicolored wires of various lengths and thicknesses like a spaghetti casserole from hell was getting closer to detonation. Esteban opened the junk drawer of the oaken hutch that his Great-Aunt Hattie had left to him in her will before she died of dysentery and gave it a thump to keep it from sticking, before pulling out the neon orange tool set at the back right corner of the drawer and opening it. He popped the latches and pulled out the smallest pair of tweezers with their red rubberized handles and whirled back around to face the explosive device with fervent determination” … your readers are going to be praying for that bomb to go off.
Consider, instead: “Esteban pounded on the junk drawer, cursing. Behind him, the bomb ticked on. He wrestled out his toolkit, almost dropping it in his haste to pop the catches. The pair of tweezers shook in his hands as he turned back to his work.” Sentences of mixed length help the prose flow more naturally, but leaning on short phrases with sparse description help create the sense of urgency Esteban is probably feeling as he’s trying not to get his apartment blown up.
Few to No Cliches
Unfortunately, the genres I see most in self-publishing are those which fall prey to the most clichés: romance and fantasy. Yes, I know that clichés and tropes exist for a reason: we love them, they’re fun. But they’re also super-predictable. If your reader knows what’s coming, they’re not going to want to bother reading it… unless, as with your plot, you give it that little dash of spice that makes it uniquely yours. Exhibit A: The brooding love interest who has to do That One Big Epic Thing to redeem their reputation. Make them less than perfect in the looks department, or completely unable to resist a sing-along. Give them a life-long dream of raising hedgehogs. It all goes back to the first two points: plot and character. Make them as indisputably yours as possible, and you’ll be well on your way to shattering the first Indie Author stereotype.
Thanks for joining me Between The Lines! Please share your thoughts below, and I hope you’ll join me next week, when I’ll bust the stereotype of The Lazy Indie Author!
I know, I know: no one wants to talk politics. We want to live our lives, and remain happy, or be happier. I do, too! The trouble is that right now, they're everywhere: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, the news, the papers, television in general... and whatever your position on them may be, getting away is sometimes really hard.
Creative folks like myself see this as a double challenge. It is, traditionally, the duty of many artists ("volatile creative types", if you'll allow me to quote an old cartoon) to reflect the world around them in their art, be it through obvious or subtle means. If we do not reflect the world we live in, we can reflect the world we wish for, and thus create a contrast. All of this reflection is very important in fast-changing times, as 2017 promises to be... but sometimes, it's just tiring to be a prism, or a mirror, or light-reflecting device of your choice. Sometimes, a creator wants to just sit down and have fun. The trouble is: with this traditional burden on our shoulders, should we feel guilty for just having fun?
Absolutely not. Now, as much as ever, people need fun. If you need to be reminded of that, print it out, tack it to a corkboard, paint it on your wall... whatever it takes to get the message across to your brain. (Sometimes mine needs a sledgehammer.) Ready? Let's get to work.
Oh, wait. ... Can you focus? I know that lately, I haven't been able to. My mind keeps drifting to all the better things I could be doing. There's so much contradiction: people need fun, but the world needs voices for change...
Yeah. That. Thanks for the demonstration, J.D.
So, if your standard creative-type person can manage to settle on the fact that they're going to practice BICHOK (butt-in-chair, hands-on-keyboard), how to keep the mind from wandering? There are several possibilities:
Writing sprints - they aren't just for NaNoWriMo anymore! Set a timer for as long as you feel like you can easily focus. There's no shame in starting small: five, ten, fifteen minutes... even one! Put down what you can in that time, and treat it like meditation: if you find that your mind is starting to wander, just bring it gently back to your writing. One version of this is the Pomodoro technique: write for 25 minutes, take a break for five, repeat.
GET THE REAL PAPER OUT.
Sometimes longhand writing really is the best way to go about it, and keep from being distracted. It also has the bonus of being portable - you can write anywhere. If you already do this, and you find your focus waning, switch to typing and see how you do... but use an application like Cold Turkey to limit your website use. There are plenty of other internet browser add-ons that fit a similar bill.
If you can't write, doodle. Make an inspiration board on Pinterest. Do some writing-related research. Go over your outline. Chances are, if you do something related to your project, it will spark something after long enough, and you'll be able to start churning out the words!
Build yourself a writing playlist, or find music that helps you focus. If I don't have a set playlist, or the time to make one, I'm finding that electronic instrumentals do the trick for me. (If you're curious, you can check out my Pandora station.)
SET A DEADLINE.
"I'm gonna have this chapter done by the end of the week, so help me..."
DON'T SET A DEADLINE.
The world won't end if you don't finish. Remember: if your head explodes, you'll never make it as an author.
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, BRIBE.
No writing done? No ice cream. No new episode of Insert Favorite TV Show Here. No buying That Thing You Saw And Really Want. That's all there is to it. Your parents knew where it was at, guys. (Hi, Mom!)
So, there you have it ... a few techniques that I've proven work for me. If they work for you, go right ahead and rock them! If not ... I promise, I won't be offended. If you have a trick that helps you focus, please leave it in the comments below!
Well, hello there, 2017. We've been waiting for you. Nice to meet you.
Nothing earth-shaking has happened to me recently, but there have been enough small changes in my off-the-page life that are adding up. In trying to go with the flow of it all, I have realized that a change to my authorly routine is likely in order. I haven't quite figured out what that change is going to be, but I should have it ironed out by next week. Stay tuned!
Now, on to a subject dear to my heart: my Twitter community. As many of you know, I have connected with the majority of my indie author friends and supporters through Twitter. In metaphorical terms, Twitter's the neighborhood I grew up in. My friends and I hung out and played around, have gotten to know each other, learned and loved and lost together, and it's a pretty tight place. Everyone knows everyone on the block. But the neighborhood's gotten rougher over the past year: gangs of trolls have started rolling around more and more frequently, and the news is getting worse and worse. I wake up and look around the block in the morning, and everyone's yelling at each other about the latest hateful graffiti, arguing about what to be angriest about, and what to do about it.
Meanwhile, I just sweep off my front step and try to smile at the people going by, hand out a nice warm GIF or two, some friendly sentiment. A little support to keep them going. Some of them bring their own positive offerings to my doorstep, and that's so, so lovely and appreciated. We still connect about the things we used to, but not as frequently. We're all so distracted by the fact that the neighborhood's not so great anymore.
Like any other neighborhood, some people are giving up and moving out. The Seattle Review of Books articulated it far better than I could. But I like my little brownstone on the block, and I'm sticking around. Like Buster in the North End, I can see the value that remains, and the promise lurking underneath the piles of freshly-slung mud. This neighborhood still has its good people, and we will remain, stubborn and creatively prolific, defending our right to be here and, as Neil Gaiman once said, "Make Good Art".
There are some people who are constantly protesting the state of things - both in the neighborhood and in the world ... people who are up in arms for every cause, defending the offended, to the point where it almost seems like being angry is The New Cool Thing. I am, by no means, saying that being angry about injustice is not right. But what I will say is this: it is very, very, very tiring. I am an emotional person on a good day, and as much as I want to, it is difficult for me to join in every single fight - picket, sit-in, flyer-passing, rally, march, the list goes on! - in the neighborhood. I cannot fight for everything. So to my friends and neighbors: I have an important message for you.
Just because I am not as up in arms as you does not mean I disagree with you. I only have so much energy to fight. I must conserve the rest of it to live, so that the fighting is worth something. To create, so that in between the fighting, there is something there to restore our minds. I fight in my own way: I make beautiful things where and when I can to offset what troubles you. I spread kind words to counter hatred. A very famous writer once said, through the mouth of an equally famous wizard, that "(it) is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love".
So while some of my neighbors go out to fight to reclaim their virtual streets, I will be the one with my door open and the kettle on. If you need a quiet place to sit and recharge, I will be around. We'll chat. I'll share pictures of cats, funny stories, anything you need. And we'll Make Good Art together. That, in itself, small though it may seem, might redeem the neighborhood a little.
Until next time,
Last week, I was looking through my Twitter feed, when the tagline for the latest entry on my colleague Colleen's blog, Writer On Wellness, made me slam the brakes on my scroll bar.
"The Devil On My Shoulder Says: Was Self-Publishing Worth It?"
My immediate reaction was almost visceral. I clicked through, expecting a long guest post extolling the virtues of traditional publishing: yet another diatribe on how those of us who self-publish are wasting their time and producing sub-par work, simply because we do not all have contracted agents, editors, or book deals. I have strong feelings on that sort of judgemental opinion, so I read the article, knowing I'd want to formulate my own response. The guest poster, fellow indie author Sara Secora, actually uttered that phrase while describing one of her darkest moments. Context made me breathe a sigh of relief: she wasn't putting down self-publishing, simply acknowledging its realities, and how they had caused her anxiety.
I immediately did two things: utter a silent apology to the universe for making dreadful assumptions, and message Colleen and Sara. I asked if they'd mind my writing my own blog on the subject, and they were gracious enough to agree. So, here I am, about to share my thoughts on being a self-published author, two books on.
The internet had a lot to say about self-publishing when I started my journey, but what I've found that I wish to share with you is a variation of a popular social media game: Two Lies and a Truth.
Lie #1: You Have To Do Things That Cost Money To Get Noticed. Editors! Cover designers! Primo webspace! ADVERTISING! SO MUCH ADVERTISING! *buzzer noise* Nope. In my opinion, word of mouth and proper networking can get you just as far, if not farther in some respects. Get to know your fellow indie authors. Facebook author groups and other groups (Google+, Goodreads, independent websites) have been hit or miss, with me ... everyone has certain types of social media which "work" better for them than others. Mine have become Twitter and Instagram, inarguably. Connect with people, and they'll want to share what you have even more. (Yes, I'm going to refer you to Amanda Palmer's Art of Asking again. Unashamedly.)
Lie #2: Traditionally Published Stuff Is Better Than Yours, Always
Bullshit. Maybe that's just my ego talking, or maybe it's the fact that almost half the books I read in 2016 were by indie authors. Two of them held court at the top of the list with Stephen King's "Doctor Sleep" and Iain Reid's "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" ... L.M. Bryski's "Book of Birds" and Jette Harris' "Salvage", both of which I've reviewed in older blogs. Indie authors are just as good as any other authors. They just choose to do things their way. (Also, um, I've read indie authors who wrote circles around trad-pub stuff. Looking at you, A.B. Funkhauser.)
Truth: You Gotta Do A LOTTA WORK. And this isn't limited to cover art and editing and fancy formatting. You're your own marketer. Your own accountant. Your books don't get sold unless you make people want to buy them. I'm still on very wobbly training wheels when it comes to marketing - I'll be the first to admit it - and I'm looking for ways to extend my knowledge and make this work a little better for me in 2017.
So, if you don't have to lay out the bucks if you do the legwork, and your stuff is as good as anyone else's, if you work at it like any other craft... IS it worth it to self-publish?
My ultimate answer is this: it depends entirely on how you define wealth. Like Sara Secora, my stories are my passion. If I had gone the route of traditional publishing, I would have felt as though I were a donkey endlessly chasing a carrot on a string... plodding along, submitting letter after letter until they stopped coming back with some variation on the word "no" in them. There's never any telling how long that could take, and I have too much to say, too many things to spin into words, to wait. I publish my novels for their own sake. I hold them out into the ever-growing sea of works to readers, like a vendor selling papers on a busy city corner, and if even one person picks them up and says "Hey, this made my day a little better", I'm over the moon.
Yes. It's worth it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a devil to flick off my shoulder with extreme prejudice, and a fourth novel to start.
Until next week, I remain your hostess,
NaNoWriMo is over, and I am happy to report that I am a proud winner, and possess another 50,000 words of fresh new writing! (That's about 50 pages, give or take, for those of you playing along on the home game.) Over the course of that writing, I've also been doing a lot of thinking, and of course, what I mean to do is share those thoughts with you here. All together now: "What have you been thinking about, Ang?"
Fun. I've been thinking about fun.
Let's go allllllll the way back to late 2014, when I concretely decided to self-publish the Novels of Aviario. I just checked, and somehow I never actually wrote a monumental blog post about this. It just ... happened (as so many creative things often do). One of my biggest reasons for deciding to self-publish, however, was because I wanted my writing to stay fun. I went to college intending to major in Creative Writing ... but my alma mater dropped it as a major right before I began, so it was English Lit with a Creative Writing minor for yours truly. Which meant that the majority of my time was spent on term papers about symbolism, literary criticism, thematic structure, and the stuffier nuts and bolts of great writing. I wrote about writing more than I actually did it, and after a while, writing started to feel like work.
To someone like me, that was the stuff of nightmares. So I left the first draft of what would become In The Cards alone for years, occasionally picking at it and hoping to make something of it, but mostly realizing that the stress of college had tainted writing with the ghost of a chore, the same way nicotine lingers on old furniture in a heavy smoker's home. Gross.
It wasn't until those months in late 2014 - ten whole long years later - that I began to rediscover my writing, and that, hey! - it could still be just as fun as it was when I was using it as an escape from high school stress. Only, now, it was an escape from the stress of a job I was dissatisfied with. I poured my heart and soul into From the Desk of Buster Heywood, and magic happened. As Buster grew his spine, so did I. I started to fight for things that would make my job better, easier, less stressful. And I started expecting less fulfillment on a soul level, there: that sort of value came from my writing. Now, two years later, my job satisfaction level is much higher, because I ask for less from it on a personal level. I have two novels and a completed draft of the third to show for the process. But let's talk about that third novel.
The Proper Bearing was a gift to me from a very dear friend, who created its main character for a game I'd began long before I'd picked up my pen again. The game was meant to be a substitute for writing, at first, and now it has evolved into a supplement. (For those who wonder if tabletop games make good novels, look no further than Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's infamous "Dragonlance Chronicles" trilogy.) Nick's backstory and potential for development were so rich that I knew they'd make a great novel, and his creator was gracious enough to allow me to explore it. Along the way, what I thought were my loftiest goals for the novel became the biggest millstones around my neck: having a thoroughly detailed, horribly accurate setting in keeping with the United Kingdom in 1979, and making sure that Nick was absolutely, thoroughly, 100% how this dear friend would portray him, were we playing it out around a table. I stalled, about two-thirds of the way through, and absolutely loathed what I was writing.
At about that point, my lovely then-fiancee sent me a picture of Mark Ruffalo, who was the physical inspiration for Nick, messing about on a skateboard. It was so un-Nick that it was probably far funnier to us than it would be for most people, but I had a flash of inspiration. I cut the picture out and taped it to the inside of my drafting notebook with a speech bubble.... and off I went, renewed. I went through what I had so far with a vorpal pen. If it wasn't fun to read, out it went. A lot of what got cut were the ponderous details I'd spent so long researching, the settings and descriptions which were all but poking the reader in the eye while shouting, "Look how thoroughly British I am, wot wot!" It was cringe-worthy. I also stopped worrying about comparisons to Harry Potter ... because yeah, sure, it's a British boarding school and magic is a factor, but Oakridge is pretty much to Hogwarts as a potato is to a sweet potato. They're both potatoes, but you wouldn't top one with pecans and brown sugar, am I right?
Long story short (too late?), I remembered where the fun lay in my writing process. As soon as I did, the rest of the draft took off like a shot. I finished The Proper Bearing with ten days to spare, and started on another project just for fun ... but that's another story to be told another time.
It's good to be back! Thanks for hanging in during my writing hiatus!
Until next time, I remain your hostess,
As the New Year is upon us, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking: not about goals and resolutions, but about progress. A lot can happen in a year, especially when you’re an author. I have a friend who started out the year scribbling between customers at a retail job, and now she’s proudly freelancing enough articles to work from home and focus on her own writing. Another friend is set to self-publish her first novella this February … and of course, this past fall saw the publishing of From the Desk of Buster Heywood and the completion of the first draft of In The Cards.
More than that, I’ve grown to be part of an amazing community of writers on Twitter: writers who hold one another up and cheer through every victory, no matter how small (finding just the right word) and provide support in the face of hardship, no matter how large (a precious baby girl’s medical bills). If there is one thing that 2015 has proven to me, it is that authors can do anything… and most of us do it for very little or nothing at all, in between what my friend Gracie calls the #JobToSurvive. It’s a precarious balance to keep, for sure … and if you ever find yourself weighed down by it, feel free to reach out to me. I’ll just point you toward groups like The WANA Tribe and the #2bitTues Twitter crew, and we’ll keep you afloat.
As a fitting end to the year, I thought I’d close 2015 with a little giveaway! If you sign up for my newsletter before the end of the year, you’ll be entered into a random drawing to win a copy of “Writer With A Day Job” by Aine Greaney. It’s an awesome book with a lot of tips, hints, and exercises that are helpful no matter what your #JobToSurvive might be.
Just click here to sign up, and I’ll add your name to the list. A winner will be chosen via Random.org's list generator and notified via email on Saturday, January 2nd. Good luck, and happy writing!
I'd like to thank all of my readers for being patient with me over the last couple of months. I know that updates to this blog have been erratic, and newsletters to my Friends of Aviario have been all but nonexistent. Now, at last, with one more sleep 'til Christmas, I find myself finally getting my feet back under me.
This means that I don't have anything special and shiny to share with you all: no clever Twelve Days of Aviario, no illustrations of Buster and his friends in ugly Christmas sweaters or June with a Yule Log for the Solstice ... but what I do have means just as much to me: my gratitude to you all.
Over the last few weeks, I have not had much time to work on my creations, but the enthusiasm and encouragement of my fans and fellow writers has kept me smiling. You have been kind, supportive, and uplifting, and without you all, I would have far more of a struggle getting back into the swing of things. All too easily, I can recall a time when stress and setbacks would have kept me from coming back to working on my little corner of the world for months ... but knowing that it is for someone other than myself, now, has made all the difference in the world.
Thank you for being here for me, every single one of you. I promise that I'll continue to create things that are worthy of your amazing support: of your light in the gray fog of winter.
Happy belated Hannukah and Solstice, Merry Christmas, and all the cheer of the season,
I'd be grateful if you'd help support me by clicking below: