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The Search for Independence: part 1

I haven’t written a blog post in a while because I didn’t really know what to say. Things are moving along on their slow way to finishing, and a lot is happening, but they are kind of up in the air at the moment.

This last couple of weeks I’ve realized that the best option for my health is to either work at a small location with few people at it, or work from home, so I’ve been looking into working from home more and more. I’ve found a lot of options, and resources, and I’m trying to find what will work best for me. I am going to be taking a multi stream income approach for the best results.

First, my books of course. I have three scheduled for the editor, one currently at the editor, and two more I am working to complete. The release will be Costume Shop by end of this month, Steel Soul in October, and Steel Heart in November. I’m hoping to have Steel Line (book three of the Steel Series, my litRPG) or Dragon’s Heart (book two of my Half Blood Sorceress series) out in December and January. That’s five books in five months! Sign up for the newsletter here to hear when they come out.

On the art front I’ve uploaded more images to redbubble for stickers, t-shirts, and the like. I’ve also got some ideas for Halloween and Christmas themed fabric for spoonflower. I’ll be doing those soon. I’m also working on drawing something every day, even if it’s just working on a larger project, and I’ve been showing the work over on Instagram. I’m considering doing some sort of comic or story line for the art, I’ll have to see if I can come up with a good story for it that can fit into a series of little strips. Right now I’m focusing on finishing a coloring book, and getting that up on amazon/etc.

And of course I have my etsy where there are pins, key chains, and other physical things I’ve made. That includes the little enamel pins you see here.

Then the last arm of my working plan….freelancing. This is the tougher one since I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve been doing some research and finding various places where I can submit to write for blogs and magazines, and it’s been an interesting learning experience. Most of them require you to do a lot of prep and fill in the questions before you can even do actual work. And learning about it is difficult too because there isn’t a guide or anything, you basically have to piece information together from other sources until you figure it out. I guess that’s why only those with perseverance make it in the freelance world. I don’t have a lot of perseverance, but I do have self preservation, and if I want to stop working in an office where I keep having asthma attacks because people wear perfume…. here’s an option. I just have to make it work.

There is one more thing, and that’s recording. I have a twitch, and two youtube channels (one for art/writing, the other for gaming) that I haven’t been using that much. I stopped using YouTube because they took away my monitization, and I wasn’t doing a lot with it anyway. Twitch I haven’t been able to do as much because I’ve been sick. I’d like to get back into making videos, probably once or twice a week. I think trying to do them every day was too much and it just got overwhelming so I stopped. I also want to stream on twitch. I really enjoy playing some of the more story driven games, like The Turing Test, and talking about the different story situations. The Turing Test has been really interesting because it deals with AI, and what separates people from machines, and when a computer becomes creative. It really made me think about Googles Deep Dream simulation, and where tech is going.

I’d also like to stream some of the artwork I’m doing, maybe some of the larger projects. I’ve done a few streams like that, but the goal is two a week. One game, one art/writing. Scheduling doesn’t quite work yet, but I’m trying to figure that out. Every time I set a schedule something comes up on those days.

The other thing I’d like to do is start tracking this progress, showing what I’m doing and where I’m succeeding and failing. I think I’ll call it “Road To Independence” and put up a video every week with my trials and tribulations, as well as my successes, so expect that. It might mean fewer games, and more working on writing/art/marketing…but if that means eventual independence I’m all for that.

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Posted by on September 6, 2018 in Updates

 

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Favorite Reads of 2017!

I set out with a goal of 30 books this year, and managed to read 30. I will admit, I upped my book count because I realized they wouldn’t all be novels. I had a few graphic novels, and some short stories in the mix, as well as a few audio books for my long commutes.

In all I read 16 novels, ten short stories, and four graphic novels.

I’d have to say the Baine Chronicles were my absolute favorite this year. Jasmine Walt spun a fantastic story about a shifter hybrid who gets caught with her magic on display and has to avoid being killed, then ends up rescuing the arch mage. So much allegory for real life in this series. Lots of magic, and mischief. Loved every page and I read the first six books pretty quickly.

Star Nomad by Lindsay Buroker is another favorite. This read very much like Firefly, and Buroker wasn’t afraid to say it up front. That’s what she was going for, and she managed it with flying colors.

Dungeon Crawl by Skyler Grant hit on a second love of mine, LitRPG, which I didn’t even know was a thing until just this month. I’ve been enjoying Sword Art Online, Kilobyte by Piers Anthony, and other movies and books in this genre, but didn’t know it had an actual name until just recently. Dungeon Crawl scratched that itch (so to say) quite nicely, and I’ll be reading more of these types of books this year.

I also read Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker. This is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to make their story telling better. I had to rewrite a lot of chapters because of this book, but my novels are so much better because of that rewrite. Worth it!

Lastly I’m going to say Grizzly Shark is my favorite graphic novel this year. Oh, Heathen and LumberJanes were good, but Grizzly Shark is one of those books that will stick with me for the rest of forever. With sharks swimming through the trees to eat everyone, and irreverent jokes on every page, I loved it. Crass, unapologetic humor that goes out of it’s way to just be itself. Would read again!

Of the other books, there were some good ones, and a few fell short, but nothing really bad. The books I chose just stood out a bit more than the others, either because I loved the series as a whole, it hit that nestalgia button, or it was incredibly memorable (queue the grizzly shark!)

How did your reading challenge go?

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Review

 

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5min – Day 10 – Declutter Continues

Decluttering continued yesterday, and this morning. I cleared out all my craft drawers in the living room, threw out some paints and pencils that were no longer in great shape, and sorted everything. I still have a lot of crafting supplies. I’m going to have to decide if I want to keep them all. Am i actually going to use them? Or am I just holding onto them because I occationaly enjoy using them?

I also started with one bookshelf and I’m going to be working my way around the room to the other book shelves. I’ll need to get a couple boxes because I’m going to be getting rid of a LOT of these books, and downlaoding the ones I like the most on ebook readers. Some of them I might just add to a wish list so I can pick them up from a library later. It’s clear, though, that I don’t intend to read all of these anymore. How can I? I have other things going on in my life, and there are hundreds of books in this house, and almost a thousand on my kindle.

I do love reding, and I read a lot. But the days of collecting because I think a book looks amazing is over. I just don’t have the room for it anymore. Sad, but true.

On the writing front, I finished editing another chapter last night, and then I came down with something. I’m almost certain that I ate something that did not agree with me. I can’t decide what it was, but it was acting a lot like a slight case of food poisoning, or an allergic reaction to something. So I went to bed, and slept early. Then I woke this morning feeling much better.

Today they were painting the staircase just outside my apartment so I we were not supposed to leave the house until 5pm. That was easy enough, the paint smells terrible.

And that’s my five.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2017 in On Writing

 

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All the books!

giveaway 3It’s time for a HUGE give away. If you go HERE you can download more than fifty free books from various scifi, fantasy, and horror authors. There are even a few super hero books, and a couple YA books.

My book, Witch’s Sacrifice, is also available for free. Get it now, this is probably one of the few times I will offer it for free.

You can’t go wrong just by checking it out. Plus you can sign up for their roflcopter and try to win a free kindle. More free stuff! I know, it’s amazing!

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2016 in On Writing

 

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What are you reading?

I’ve been on a reading kick lately. readingMost of the books in the picture I read in the last couple weeks. I found a series I loved, started reading, and couldn’t stop.

The “Little Flame” series is an urban fantasy set on a rock star tour bus. It gets a little sexy at times, and there are a lot of great kick ass scenes. I’m half way through the series and each book gets better and better.

A few of the others are short stories from Annie Bellet. I love short stories. When they are really good they give you a glimpse of a world that makes you want to come back for more. All of Annie Bellet’s books do that for me. I love the fact that each one of her short stories is set in a different time and place giving you that window into new worlfs and ways of life. All but one of them had elements of fantasy though.

I just picked up her Once Upon a Curse, a short story dark fairytale collection. Can’t wait to read that.

What are you reading?

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2016 in On Writing

 

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Strong Female Characters

I saw another post asking which stories could use strong female characters, and my answer probably wasn’t what they were looking for: None of them.

Now, before you get up in arms please hear me out, because I do have a reason behind it.

There are already a lot of wonderful books out there with strong female characters as the lead character. A short list:
Aurian by Maggie Furey
Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon
The Hallows Series by Kim Harrison
Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
The Twenty Sided Sorceress by Annie Bellet
The Little Flame Series by Melissa Lummis
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Magnificent Devices by Shelley Adina
White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
Several books in the Xanth Series by Piers Anthony
Anything by Anne McCaffery
Elvenbane by Andre Norton
Several books in the Wool Series by Hugh Howey
The Shambling Guides by Mur Lafferty
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hit Girls by Garrett Robinson
Anything from the Buffy the Vampire universe.
Harper Collelly series by Charaine Harris.

And these are just the books that I know of because I’ve personally read them (or watched the movie in the case of Hunger Games). There are over 6,000 books in this list with strong female lead characters, many of which have been on best seller lists, or made into movies. And this isn’t even counting all the strong, wonderful women that play secondary roles in books like Kitiara from Dragonlance Chronicles, Catti-brie from the Dritzzt series, or Hermione from Harry Potter. That’s not even getting into comic books. And I’m sure there are thousands more that aren’t even in that list.

All of the stories in my list are sci-fi and fantasy. That’s because I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. But I also know a lot of strong female characters from paranormal romance. I also know of characters from other books, games, and films in many other genres that are strong female characters.

Am I saying we don’t need any more? Of course not, that would be like saying we don’t need more books. I really enjoy reading about strong women doing extraordinary things, and even wrote my own series of books with that in mind so I hope my favorite authors continue writing theirs. I also enjoy reading about mages that slowly go mad, or women who are hell cats and need to be tamed. There are all kinds of books out there, with all kinds of characters, because people come with different attitudes, desires, ideas, and personalities. But I would also encourage more authors to include strong female characters…IF they are a benefit to the story.

Not every story has a woman in it. What if you wrote a story about a man in a men’s shower room? Or a group of men going on a camping trip together? Or a father and son sharing a moment? Or a group of dwarves out to save their mountain? Not every story is going to have a strong female character in it. Not every story is going to have a woman in it. In fact when they added a strong female into The Hobbit some of the fans were less than thrilled with the addition.

A story isn’t always about sex, gender, political correctness, or whatever. Sometimes it’s just a story about a leaf blowing in the wind, or the history of salt, or vampire bunnies. And if a story doesn’t have a female character that doesn’t automatically make it anti-women. Hell, there could be a character in the story that is utterly sexist and the story still might not be about women.

My thought for those looking for strong female characters: Expand your reading list, because there are THOUSANDS of books out there with strong female characters, you just have to be open to finding them. And just so you know, MEN need strong male character role models, too. And both sexes need the ridiculously heroic characters, or the weak ones, or the the psychopathic murderous kings/queens to show them what not to be. It does not take away from your enjoyment of books/films/games/etc because the other sex also has what you are looking for.

And if you think any gender, or genderless, or gender fluid individual needs more characters like them out there: GO WRITE IT! That’s the beauty of the indy world. Anyone can make anything that they think should exist.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2016 in Commentary

 

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Ban them all!!!!

This week is banned books week, dedicated to thousands of books that have been banned throughout libraries, schools, and colleges. Sometimes books banned in an entire country.

You can find my top 5 banned books reading list here, and my thoughts on each book. Also a bit about my thoughts on banning books in general. However… I’m a writer not a talker so I needed to write about why I find the idea of banning a book so offensive.

The first video I clicked on about banned book top fives this morning was from a woman who said she agreed with the ban on a comic book that I actually loved. She noted the sexual situations, violence, and nudity and said she agreed. It wasn’t appropriate for children.

My question… Who’s child? Just because you find something offensive, does that give you the right to tell my child they can’t read it?

I took a look at the reasons for banning a lot of the books (books that are still being banned today, btw) and one thing became increasingly clear… Most of the titles weren’t being banned to protect the children, they were banned to protect the ideals of the adults.

Take Harry Potter, for example. It was banned because it “promotes witchcraft.” Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that it did. So? There are people in the USA that are Wiccan and do practice a form of witchcraft, and they probably share that love with their children. Is that wrong? Some would say it is. Others would say inflicting Christianity on a child who is incapable if telling fact from fiction at a young age is wrong. Are either of them right? Both would say the other is wrong and neither would see their own bias they suffer from.

Harry Potter was banned because some parent saw it as an attack against their personal beliefs and was afraid that their child would turn away from them. This bothers me. If your beliefs aren’t strong enough to stand against a children’s book than they aren’t very strong beliefs and maybe you should reconsider them yourself.

Others were banned for incouraging violence, or homosexuality. M.E. Kerr was told that the girls in her book had to turn away from homosexuality at the end in order to get past the censors. I’m glad she wrote her books anyway because “Is That You, Miss Blue” had a big impact on me as I was growing up.

In some cases banning books serves to promote one life style over another. We can’t have our children growing up thinking it’s okay to be gay, or promiscuous, or practice another religion.

But with each banning the case against the people who would do this rises. If your ideas and beliefs can’t stand up to a little scrutiny then they cannot stand!

On the other side of the coin: by saying children can’t read a book because that book will change them and encourage them to do x, y, or z, you are saying that child is weak willed and incapable of making choices in their own. If you honestly think Harry Potter will make your child believe they can cast a spell and turn someone into a frog then you really don’t think highly of children.

Playing pretend, imagination, exploration of different ideas and themes encourages young minds to grow and expand, their horizons to widen. Just remember that most scientists were inspired by star trek and science fiction. That’s why you are probably reading this on a smart phone right now. The concepts for smart phones and cells phones were first invented by star trek writers.

“But, sex!” the banners cry.

Children are not asexual. Some boys look up little girls skirts. Children play doctor, masterbate, and sneak peeks. Yes they are still trying to figure out themselves, and yes they should be protected from inappropriate situations, however books are not going to hurt them. On the contrary, books might help them by showing them what is appropriate and what isn’t and giving them encouragement to speak up when bad things happen.

Part of growing up is discovering your sexuality, and learning about yourself, and your body. Books can be a safe way to explore those thoughts and emotions. By restricting books you’re actually making it more likely that a child will act on those thoughts instead of just reading about it.

“But, homosexual agenda!” 😥 Just, no.

“But, violence!” Okay now you just sound like the same people crying about video games causing violence. Multiple studies prove this is dead wrong. Any aggressive tendencies they have are linked to frustration, not the violence on the screen.

Isn’t it better to teach children how to deal with frustration? To give them examples of both the right and the wrong way of doing things so they can have the knowledge to do the right thing and why it is the right thing?

Lastly I would just like to add that reading a wide variety of books in multiple genres, about various points of views promotes critical thinking, tolerance understanding, and creativity.

Moral of the story: banning books should be in a case by case for a child, not a school.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in On Writing

 

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