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Kindle Vella Blog Hop

Hi Everyone!

We’ve made it through the month of September (and three-quarters of the way through 2021) and because of this, I think we all deserve a treat 🙂

Because of this, I’ve gathered together some great Kindle Vella authors for you guys to check out and enjoy.

Hope you’re having a wonderful day!

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Forsaken Beauty and the Etherbeast

Kelsey Josephson

A bookish strongwoman longs for freedom.

A beast searches for a cure.

Together, they’ll break man-made curses.

After her own father sells her to the unscrupulous Ringmaster, Belle thinks she’ll spend the rest of her days performing cheap stunts while the Nuzaran masses gawk at her ether-poisoned body. A chance encounter with a beast by her solitary campfire changes everything. Can they find liberation or will the past consume them both?

I have a deep love for Universal Monster movies, all things related to Nikola Tesla, and iced coffee. The first two things fuel my creativity and the latter keeps me motivated! You can check my other works on my website: https://simplykelseyjo.com/

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Genre: Dystopian Steampunk SciFi 


Beneath Gehenna

After an alert goes out to the paying members of the disaster bunker known as New Eden, residents find themselves trapped between two vastly different worlds: one that preys on trauma and one that creates it. Now, a newly wealthy yet troubled man and his new friends must find a way to live with the Hell they bought or return to the Hell which remains.

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/product/B09CZK57GP/

Benjamin ran with scissors when he was five. He now writes, paints, uses sharp woodworking tools and plays with glue. Sometimes he does these things at the same time. You can read more at https://www.bxwretlind.com/ where, in addition to books and art, he writes blog articles focused (mostly) on writing.

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Genre: YA Dystopian

Death Date

People tell you to live life to the fullest. Take your time. Don’t make rash decisions. I should have listened. Maybe it would have made a difference. Tomorrow is my eighteenth birthday. A day that’s supposed to be special. Eighteen years old means adulthood. Life is just starting. That’s how it used to be, years ago. Before our new society formed. Instead, I face uncertainty. My past sways the outcome. On this birthday, I will receive the most important gift. The gift of the date I will die. 

Death Date | Kindle Vella (amazon.com)

In addition to writing YA Dystopian, I also write YA Fantasy. You can check out more about my projects on Facebook-  https://www.facebook.com/authorbysimpson/

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Genre: YA Fantasy

A Forest of Stolen Memories, by Callie Thomas

Celebration turns to disaster when a mysterious curse goes awry. A reminder that the Sorcerer’s prophecy still plagued the royal family. Roselyn’s memory is suddenly erased, leaving her panicked at the altar. Confused, she flees to the place the prince fears most–the enchanted Mistbrooke Forest. Danger lingers closer than she can imagine, forcing her to seek help from a dark stranger who may be the key to recovering her lost memories. Can she break the curse without breaking her heart?

A lot of inspiration for the forest descriptions in my story comes from the tropical island where I’m stationed: Okinawa, Japan.

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCallieThomas/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/authorcalliethomas/

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Genre: Science Fiction

We Own These Streets 

Victor and Iris aim to change a dangerous race to first place, that’s if they can survive the literal fast-paced profit motive. 

When Victor broke into Iris’ repair shop, she expected a profit raid, not an unknown racer fit for the pro-circuit. But their chance encounter provides a chance to get what they both want. A way out. When adrenaline remains the most addictive commodity in this corporate sponsored world, can they resist the attention it brings? 

The race is on… but can they ever stop?

Rose Sinclair was a community leader who started with a blog in 2013, and now writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance novels and organizes pen pal projects. https://artoverchaos.tumblr.com/

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Genre: Fantasy

Fight or Flight: A Cinderella Tale of Court Intrigue

Who doesn’t love a Cinderella story?

However, the stories never tell of what happens after the Prince finds his Bride and Cinderella finds her ‘Happily Ever After’. What should be a happily ever after for Alyssa quickly becomes a game of survival as she tries to navigate a hostile court and those who are eyeing her position next to the prince.

Will she manage to win the game or will the strike of midnight only declare the beginning of her doom?

In addition to writing Urban Fantasy, one of the things I love to do is write fanfiction. You can check it all out here on my blog in addition to my original works.

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Genre: Thriller/Romance

Tate and Claire are leaving Las Vegas. He wants to escape a crippled MC after their beloved leader is murdered. She wants to flee a dead-end job and “Mommy Dearest” mother–who suspiciously took her father’s place as the club’s new president. When she hastily agrees to a meeting with a man her mother hates, Claire’s thrown into a night of terror that derails Tate’s plans. Lies unravel…and sins are revealed. But will those secrets be bigger than the one they buried in the desert years ago?

I live in Cincinnati and write the Darcy Walker mysteries and the Rivera and Gutierrez Novellas. www.instagram.com/ajlapebooks

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Genre: Coming of Age Romance, Family/High School Drama

An Operator’s Daughter

Severe anxiety and sexual harassment, 17-year-old Ashton has to deal with both when jettisoned into a dysfunctional family and chaotic high school. Her father, a retired SEAL, is struggling with the death of his soulmate and loss of self-purpose, and refuses to provide a home for the two of them to share.

Drawing strength from her deceased mother’s journals, Ashton begins to overcome the chaos of her present situation. But when her own budding relationship with an Operator begins to parallel her parents’ love-at-first-sight story, she must put aside logic to secure her own happy beginning.

New episodes for An Operator’s Daughter are released on Tuesdays and Fridays, with part II schedule for release in December 2021.

Laurie Anne Brandon writes fiction based on her experiences living in suburban Western Washington state and careers in sports television production, alpine ski instruction, secondary education, and military educational counseling. An Operator’s Daughter is her first work of serial fiction.

https://www.facebook.com/laurie.brandon.12

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Genre: Mystery/Suspense/YA

The 7th Whistleblower

Claire, a journalism student at Brunston University has stumbled onto quite a few secrets about B.U.s alumnae. Outing the culprits might not only destroy the guilty, but take down the innocent as well. Travel with Claire Richardson as she navigates a sticky trail of clues that will ultimately force her to choose between what is good and what is evil.

The 7th Whistleblower | Kindle Vella (amazon.com)

Every since I was a young girl I absolutely loved watching Mystery and Suspense movies with my mother. The art of a story unfolding to reveal the larger picture inspires me to create characters whose curiosity pushes them to find the truth.

Visit my Link Tree for more info on current works @

https://linktr.ee/MHandy1

Kindle Vella

The Great Kindle Vella Experiment…

Is, well, not going so great.

When I first learned about Kindle Vella, I was very excited. A whole new way to engage with readers, sign me up! What Kindle Vella promoted was stories, but told in installments. Now, I know that I’m dating myself slightly here, but one of my favorite things growing up was getting to read the next installment of the story in our local newspaper. They were little mysteries, would probably be considered quite easy by today’s standards. But the anticipation of waiting for the next week’s paper to find out what actually happened, that anticipation was so, so sweet.

I think that is one reason that I’ve been drawn to fanfiction as well. Instead of readers having to wait until the entire book has been written, rewritten, edited, proofread, sent to the printers, and finally released, now they can discover the story along with the writer. This especially works well for my writing style, considering that I’m a Discovery Gardener when it comes to writing. (If you’re curious what that is, check out my post on that: https://theseekerfiles.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/how-i-write/ )

So when I learned that there was a platform where I could share my original works in installments, I was instantly intrigued. After a little bit of research, I discovered that Kindle Vella offers the first three chapters free to Vella readers before they have to pay tokens to read further chapters. Even better, because who wants to spend money on a story that they don’t like. This way, readers can get a feel for the writer and the story before deciding whether or not they want to go any further. Very nice!

Excited to get started, I carefully looked over my current WIPs, picked my most developed one, Elianora, and got to work. Vella was very easy to use and to set up and I quickly had four chapter uploaded. I had a few readers stop by, two even decided that they liked my story enough to keep following it and four thumbs up. Sweet, it’s not much, but it’s a start, right?

Well, then life happened, I had a relative get very sick and family ended up taking priority over writing for a while. Still, writing is the core of my being and I love sharing stories with other people. So now that life has settled back down, I picked myself up, sharpened my pencils, and settled back at my desk to write.

On September 15th, I decided that I was going to write and share 5 stories. 3 would update Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while the other 2 would update on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Because I’d made a timed commitment, life decided to get crazy on me, so I didn’t manage to update the story every day that I intended, but I still managed to get four out of five up and updates happening at least 2-3 times a week. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a start and I was very proud of it.

And you know what happened?

It’s been twelve days now and I have not had a single view. Not a single person has read any of the stories that I’ve published. It’s kinda funny, actually, because if anything, this has only made me more determined to succeed.

I don’t know where I’m going wrong, but I’m going to share my process here so other writers trying to use Vella can maybe learn from my experience/mistakes. And hey, maybe a reader will trip over this post and decide to give my stories a chance, so you never know.

First, Content:

I am not a great writer, certainly not an epic writer on the level of Tolkien or Rowling, but my fanfiction readers and those who have read my books tell me that I create a good story that helps entertain them. They also give me feedback, which I love because I believe that it makes me a better writer.

What I love to write is Fantasy, with my books being heavily Urban fantasy. These four stories that I currently have up definitely lean more into just the fantasy category. I decided to go with a broad range, so I have one playing with the myth of Atlantis, a Cinderella type tale, a magical war, and a humorous one dealing with a character being Isekai’d.

Second, Appearance:

I have the feeling that this is where I’m falling short. I’ve put on pretty shiny cover pictures, carefully summarized, and then tagged with seven tags in what I think best describes the stories. Maybe they’re not being picked up because I’m not marketing them right.

I should probably do deeper research into exactly what my target audience is and what tags they search to find stories like mine. (Scribbles quick note and puts it where I can easily see it again).

Third, Marketing:

I put these stories up thinking that Kindle Vella readers would be willing to check out new content simple because where it’s a new platform, there is limited content. However, I’m beginning to realize that a lot of people are simply not even aware of Kindle Vella. It’s not something that you see on tv or hear about on the radio. Even in reading groups, I see very few mentions of it, if any.

Not only that, but stories available on Kindle Vella are growing by leaps and bounds, mine might be getting just lost in the shuffle. So I need to make people who already like my writing and writing style aware that I’m using this platform and what this platform actually is.

So, In Conclusion:

I still have a long way to go before I figure out Kindle Vella and its algorithm.

I need to do a lot of market research (I got excited about sharing my stories and jumped in with both feet, so now I need to do a bit of backtracking, lol)

I’ll need to further examine the variables, like posting times (will I get more views if I post in the morning or the evening) and how many times a week is the optimum amount.

Still, I think it will be worth it in the end and I’m not giving up here. I’ll keep posting about my journey and my process 🙂

Hope you’re having an amazing Monday!

~ A slightly discouraged yet very stubborn discovery gardener

P.S.

If you wanna check out my stories, I’ve included the links below.

Daughter of the Sea: https://www.amazon.com/Daughter-of-the-Sea/dp/B09GS1D4D1/

Elianora: https://www.amazon.com/Elianora/dp/B09BDJTCYZ/

Fight or Flight: https://www.amazon.com/Fight-Flight-Cinderella-Court-Intrigue/dp/B09GFCQX7Q/

I was Isekai’d: https://www.amazon.com/I-was-Isekaid-now-what/dp/B09GK3L297/

Book News, Monday Misc.

Book Update!

So, exciting news!

I can’t remember if I told you all here, but I’ve been struggling for several months to make any progress at all on Book 4: In Search of Pack. It’s been a total slog, painful to get more than a sentence or two on the page before I abandon it again to try again the next day.

However, since I’ve discovered my true writing style (Discovery Gardener, woot woot!), I’ve been making forward progress again. It’s been a little bit slow, as I’m having to deal with the slow/stilted parts, but I’m finally moving forward with the story and I’m truly curious to discover what Aletta and Lirim have gotten themselves into this time.

If things continue going this well, there might very well be a summertime release in my future. Fingers crossed!

Happy Monday Everyone!

We are strong together!

writing

How I Write

How do I write?

Earlier this week, I shared about how I had found out that I was a discovery writer, about how freeing that was for me. So I thought that I would share a little about how the process looks like and works for me, especially now that I know what my strengths are.

So, before I found out what my writing style, this is what it would look like, especially the past month.

I would sit down, turn on my computer, and pull up my main novel and the fanfiction story that I was working on. I would then also pull up the outline that I had created for both. I’d skim over my outline, maybe changing a couple of words here and there, add a sentence to flesh out something that I’d thought of as I thought over while thinking of the story. And then I’d skim the last, oh, thousand words or so in order to spark the memory of where I’d left the scene. Once I was satisfied that I knew where I was and where I was going, I’d start a new paragraph. But this was a struggle. I’d write a sentence, maybe half a sentence, before going over and fiddling with my music, or checking my email, or facebook. Basically, anything to ignore the flashing cursor that appeared to be mocking me.

Meanwhile, I was inwardly very frustrated, even as I sought to distract myself. I knew where the story was going, what the characters were supposed to be doing, so why weren’t the words coming. I would return to the page and just stare at it, begging for my brain to produce something, anything. But the words simply wouldn’t come. So I would go and journal a little bit or work on a story that was ‘just for me’ and thus I didn’t care about it being perfect or well thought out. I would write anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand words on it and then move on for the day. I’d return to my novel, and still, absolutely nothing. Promising myself that I would get my goal finished tomorrow and make up for today as well. Then I would go and do my daily chores, wishing that I could’ve gotten more done. My frustration and self loathing grew. I am a writer, I have been writing all my life, people enjoy my writing, so why was storytelling so hard and unrewarding for me of late?

Then I learned my writing style. I’m a Discovery Gardener. This means that I have to discover the story alongside my characters. My world and self image of myself as a writer tipped on their side, but I was so tired of being frustrated that I was willing to give it a try. And to be honest, it just felt right.

So here’s how my writing looks like now.

First, I threw away all of my outlines. Every single one. I might’ve heard my characters cheering, but that might’ve just been me, lol. I gave myself 24 hours without writing to allow my brain to clear out and remove all the expectations and must haves. I didn’t HAVE to do anything but go along for the ride.

The next morning, I sat down nervously at the computer. Would this work? Or would it not? Still, I wouldn’t be any worse off than I was before and I would just need to keep looking to find what works for me. I pulled up my novel, the one that I’ve been stonewalled on for the past several months, that would be the best test after all. Having thrown all plans out of the window, I had no idea where it was going. So, taking a depth breath, I quickly skimmed the last paragraph (It wouldn’t do any good to start in a completely random place, lol). And then, I put my hands on the keyboard and started to write. And the words came! It wasn’t the painful task of trying to pull a story from someone. Instead, it was like sitting down for a cup of coffee with a friend and listening to what was going on with their life. It was almost like my character was relieved, like she was saying, ‘Finally! Now that you’re actually listening to me, here’s what happened.’

But not only was I writing again, I was happy. There was no stress, no hiding and avoiding, there were simply words telling the story. Finally, the story reached a natural pause, so I called it good for the day. I was satisfied with the progress that I had made. There were no grand revelations, no great progress, but my characters got to eat a very nice omelet and have an overdue discussion. Not what I expected, but it did move the story forward and gave me a bit more depth of my characters to work with. And it fit, it didn’t have to be forced into the story, it was just naturally part of it. And that’s when I knew, I had found my style and it worked for me.

So here’s what my writing routine looks like now. I sit down eager at my computer and pull up my writing site. I might have a story in mind for the day or I might be following wherever the wind takes me. Then I pull up my top 3-4 stories (Oh, who am I kidding, it’s more like 10-12, those plot bunnies can be vicious) and I skim through them until I find one that sparks my imagination. Then I write on that until I either hit the end of the chapter or reach the point where the story runs out for the moment. Then I’ll repeat the process, until I’ve easily written between 3-5k words on average. Are they all good words? No. Will they all be kept? Again, no. But they are there on the page and I always get to find out something new about my stories and characters.

There’s still a hint of frustration here and there, sometimes I really want to work on one story but another will hijack my attention entirely. And I’m sure that I will run into more roadblocks and obstacles that I currently have no idea exist. But I am happy once again and my stories are moving forward.

So find out what works for you and don’t let anyone tell you that there is a “right” or “wrong” way of doing things. Just do it “YOUR” way.

I would love to hear about your writing styles and routines, what frustrates you or brings you joy.

Happy Writing and Happy Wednesday!

We are strong together!

Tuesday Tips

Need… Sleep…

June 2nd

Hello Everyone!

I see that we’ve all made it through the first day of June. After the year that we’ve had so far, that seems to be quite an accomplishment. It’s quite hot where I live, mid-90’s, which is like midsummer heat for our part of the country. Because of this little heat wave, I’m trying to get my sleeping schedule turned around. Usually I’m a night owl and I get going for all my daily chores and stuff about 10-11 in the morning. However, it’s already much too hot by that time, so I’ve been working on getting up at five a.m. this week so I can get all of my farm/outside chores done while it’s still cool.

Because of this, I’m quite a bit sleep deprived and loopy, lol. So, tell me, what are your secrets to getting up early and/or having energy? I need some advice/help here, seriously.

Looking forward to hearing from all of you!

We are strong together!

Monday Misc.

I am a Gardener

Hey Everyone,

I know that I’ve been rather quiet lately, as happens sometimes. The world has been in turmoil of course, with the pandemic and everything else going on. But I’m not going to discuss that today, as many people, some of the much more qualified than me are already talking about it. But I haven’t been quiet because of that, writing has actually been a great solace to me during these uncertain times. No, I have been quiet because I was deeply unhappy with myself and my writing.

Now, according to my Clifton strengths assessment, I am a person who needs to think things over deeply and process them before I can move forward and share them with other people. And everyone, I highly recommend doing your strengths assessment. I can’t even begin to describe the freedom that knowing my strengths gave me. It let me be free to be who I really am, that I am a uniquely beautiful, strong person, not just some weirdo (although I’m still odd and a nerd, lol. But I’m ok with that 🙂 ). So over the past month, I’ve been digging into why I’m so unhappy with my writing, why there is just no ‘spark’, no joy when I wrote, it was just a slog.

After some discussion with my mom (who is an amazing, incredible woman), she asked me a question that really got me to thinking. I write both fanfiction and original fiction. So why was my fanfiction doing so well while I was struggling so badly with my original fiction? I’ve received good feedback on both, I don’t really spend more time on one versus the other, nor do I make money on either of them (I really need to learn to market myself better so that I can give up my day job, lol). This made me really think, delve deep into all the little subconscious things that we all do on a daily basis

I’ve written all my life, it’s part of my very identity. So why had it become such a joyless slog for me? I had been working really hard to up my game, working on figuring out where my writing and characters were going, creating a road map, if you will. I’d been listening to other writers and joining groups so that I could glean wisdom from those who have gone ahead of me. So why was it getting increasingly hard to put words on paper, to tell the stories that I had started with such joy? Why was I so unhappy with my writing?

I do a lot of my writing on a site called 4thewords. It’s a site that allows me to gamify my writing by battling monsters while I write and encourages me to write at least 444 words daily to keep my streak. Having that streak motivates me to write daily (I can be a very competitive person, lol), which is definitely a good thing. It also helps me connect with a wonderful community of writers worldwide. So two days ago, while I was still mentally grappling with all of this and struggling to write, I went to browse through forums to see what topics people were discussing (Avoiding writing? I would never! I was doing, um, research. Yeah, that’s it, research), and I am so glad that I did.

One of the threads there said “Stop the pantser bashing”. Now, since I identify as a pantser (and since I’m as nosy as a cat some days), I decided to go ahead and click on it. That turned out to be one of the best decisions in my life. It discussed about Architects and Gardeners (think plotters and pantsers, but I like the terms architects and gardeners much better) and their different styles of writing. Now, I had never heard of these terms, but I immediately fell in love with them, as opposed to the much more Americanized plotters and pantsers. To me, architect and gardener implies creation, of things being built and grown, of beauty becoming visible to the rest of the world.

And as I read this thread, something shifted fundamentally in me. There is nothing wrong with being an architect, of having plans and blueprints all laid out and to know how everything goes together. Many writers thrive on this. Some people are even hybrids of the architect and gardener, a simple outline or something that they then allow the story to grow naturally from, a landscape architect, if you will. But in this thread, I learned about gardeners, and more specifically, something that I dubbed Discovery Gardeners. Some writers need to discover the story alongside their characters. They don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen next with the story or characters because their characters ‘Haven’t told them yet!’

Let me tell you, when I read this, I nearly wept. This was me, this nailed the sense of deep unease and dissatisfaction that I had been feeling, why I was not happy. I am a gardener, not an architect. As I sat there, kinda reeling honestly, I realized something. I was the source of my unhappiness. By trying to outline and plan and anticipate my story so I could be more productive, I was killing my productivity entirely. This is especially true with my original fiction. With my fanfiction, I was a lot more easygoing, I would simply sit down and write, see where the story took me. That is, until the past month when I started trying to figure out my story lines more. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that plotting and outlining are bad, they are very useful to many, many writers out there. But for me, that is the worst possible method out there. I need to discover the story alongside my characters, otherwise, my story is dead before it even begins.

I don’t know how deep into my hole of unhappiness that I would have dug myself if I hadn’t seen that thread. Probably quite deep as I searched and tried increasingly more structured writing methods to fix what was ‘broken’. But I thank God that I saw that post, because it gave me the permission that I needed to be me. Actually, it’s rather funny. I spent most of my teen years telling my mother that I am not and will never be like her. Since then, I have had to take back most of my words, because I am very like my mother, something that I’ve come to be very proud of. But one thing that I always disputed was that I am not a gardener. I do not like gardening, it’s a lot of weeding and planning and dirt from head to toe some days. Once I got over my revelation and sense of rightness, I had to laugh, because I AM a gardener. Well played, mom, well played. It just turns out that I’m a gardener of words rather than plants (I do not have a green thumb, lol).

So, when you write, be yourself. If you are an architect, plot and plan and build your beautiful story according to the structure that you have laid out. If you are a gardener, enjoy the journey alongside your characters as you live your stories. Even if you are somewhere in between and are a landscape architect, as I’m sure that many are, enjoy the process. You are unique and the stories that you tell can never be told by someone else. They are your stories and no one else’s.

So, I’m off to chase butterflies and pick wildflowers and see where my stories take me, because I’m a Discovery Gardener 🙂 I wish you all happiness with your writing and pray that you find your own writing style. We all have a story inside, tell yours in a way that makes you happy, no matter what others think, no matter if they tell you that it’s the wrong way of writing. You are infinitely unique, so your writing is going to be infinitely unique as well.

Happy Writing!

(P.S. If you are curious about 4thewords and want to try it out for yourself, you can get a free month using my code VXKKX33097. There’s a great community there and lots of events and challenges to keep you writing, no matter if you write 5 words a day or 5,000.)

Uncategorized

Celebrate Achievements

Something that we don’t do nearly enough of is celebrate our achievements, be they big or little ones. People are amazing and we deserve to celebrate ourselves and others. It can be anything from ‘I did laundry today’ to ‘I ran an Ironman Triathlon’. Let’s celebrate ourselves and others. I want to hear where you won today.

In the spirit of fairness, I’ll go first.

I flew a kite today with my little brother (he’s in his 20’s, lol). It was just a nice moment of being together.

I did a progress check test for my martial arts over Zoom along with the rest of my classmates. It was nice to be part of the community and it helped me see where I was succeeding and what parts were a little bit rough. Another step on the path to black belt, it makes me happy.

This last one’s a bit happy/sad. I finished up my largest Fanfiction, put up the final chapter. This story was my first attempt at dipping my toes into The Hobbit fandom of writing. I did NOT expect how large the story would become, 35 chapters/167k words. There may be a sequel for it someday, there may not, but I’m proud of the story that it became.

Only in My Dreams: https://archiveofourown.org/works/21115682/chapters/50247068

So what’s going on in your life? What achievements have you had happen in your life? Let me know your victories so that I can celebrate them with you!

Wellness Wednesday

How do you de-stress?

So what do you do for fun while having to stay at home during this time of corona?

Ok, time to share something cool (and kinda nerdy) about myself. As I’m sure that many of you know, I’m a writer. I write urban fantasy and I have some books published and available for people to read.

But that’s not the cool thing. I write Fanfiction as a way to de-stress. What is fanfiction you ask? That’s where you take a story or character from an already established book (think Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings) and then write a story about it from your own perspective. Don’t like how the story ended? Rewrite it the way that you would’ve liked it to end. Want to explore a character more in-depth? Write a story about them and/or throw them into a totally different situation and try to predict how they react.

This is really fun for me, because it allows me to explore already created characters and worlds, but from my point of view. It’s been a great way to help take my mind away from the craziness that it currently our world. Also, I’ve had several people comment that it helped them de-stress and forget their problems for a little while, which made me very happy.

I mainly write in The Hobbit fandom featuring a female Bilbo Baggins, although someday I may expand beyond that into other fandoms.

Curious? Wanna check it out?

Here’s the link for my largest (currently at about 160k words), most popular fic, a “Fix-it Fic”if you will:

Only in My Dreams:
https://archiveofourown.org/works/21115682/chapters/50247068

And here is the link for a place where my various one shots land. These are story snippets that wouldn’t leave me in peace but didn’t quite have enough material for a full story by itself:

Female Bilbo Oneshots
https://archiveofourown.org/works/22775707/chapters/54423808

So what are you doing to unwind during these trying times? I’d love to hear from you!

Uncategorized

It’s Hard

Today is May 12th.

There’s nothing really special about today, it’s just a typical Tuesday, one day in a blur of many more.

But it also means something else to me.

Two months.

That’s what this date means to me. On March 12th, I tested for my Provisional Black Belt at my dojo. Two months ago, I participated in my test and being tired at the end of it, I said brief goodbyes and headed out because I was tired and had a long drive ahead of me. After all, I would see them all next week in our usual classes.

I was wrong.

Next week, my dojo had to close in order to be compliant with Stay at Home orders, because we had a pandemic on our hands that we had no idea how Covid-19 transmission happened or what the symptoms or ultimate outcome of infection was.

Just like that, a large part of my life was gone. And I want it back. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to flatten the curve and get as much information about this disease as the next person. And my dojo did and is doing an excellent job with videos and zoom calls and even one on one video lessons to make sure that our training isn’t interrupted during this time.

But the longer we have to stay home, the more a little bit of us dies inside. Humans are social creatures, we need other people. And studies have shown that stress and depression can lower our immune system. The longer we have to stay at home and worry about normal or when can we get our jobs again, the weaker our immune systems are getting. Even our exercise is highly limited and regulated, because our gyms and dojos are closed, as well as our parks and open spaces where we could get fresh air and sunshine. Because of this, our chances of getting sick are actually increasing drastically.

I’m not saying that we should go hog wild and disregard everything. But America needs to start opening up again and letting people start resuming our normal lives, even if it is just slowly. Otherwise, we’re going to have a pandemic of a different sorts on our hands. One of suicides from depression and the inability to pay bills or feed our children. One of deaths from domestic violence where family members cannot get away from their abusers. One of deaths from strokes and heart attacks of people too scared to go to the hospital because they know that they will be locked away from their loved ones.

I know that some of you will hate me and say that I’m just willing to let people die from Covid. That’s not the truth. Every death breaks my heart. But neither am I willing to pretend that this pandemic isn’t costing innocent lives in other ways as well.

Let’s work together to find a solution and work towards a brighter, stronger future. Let’s be the beautiful, strong country that I know we are.

We are strong together!