Livin’ for the deadline

Yep, it’s another early morning for me, and now that I’ve been social on most of the medias, it’s time to get cracking on Book 2’s revisions. I’ve got a good idea of where I’m going with them, but it’s a matter of actually sitting down and getting from A to B. Then, once I’ve gotten the manuscript where it needs to be, it’s edit, edit, edit before I send it off for submission. RhetAskew Publishing has given me an early November deadline for submission, so I have some time but not, like, oodles. There’s a lot of life going on in those months…Abnormal‘s release, SCA events about every other weekend or more, book signing, work, more work, new certification for work…Yeah. All that and a bag of chips. Or something. I have no one to blame but myself, really….I asked my Editor-in-Chief when she’d like the manuscript, and she gave me a time frame.

The other day I had a mini major meltdown about Abnormal‘s release. That was fun (not). You see, as I’m revving up and getting ready for the release, I’m also taking a marketing workshop led by my Editor-in-Chief at RhetAskew. This workshop is pretty intense, and it’s left me feeling overwhelmed. There are things I’ve been doing that I guess are no-nos when it comes to marketing, and there are other things I haven’t done yet that are very, very important. I know that since Abnormal is the first in a series I have time to build my audience, but I was feeling an immense sense of urgency and anxiety that I’d never get all the things done before the release. Some part of my bipolar brain decided that I had to do every single workshop assignment ASAP to be ready for release date, and when I realized I was in overload I lost it. I’m talking red-faced, puffy-eyed, snot-nosed ugly crying. I was a hot mess.

I’m better about it now. I think I just needed to get it out of my system. Reached my boiling point, spilled over, and now I’m all good. Mostly…I still feel some anxiety, but nothing like the other day.

Well, guess it’s time to put the blog down and pick up my mind mapping. Gotta stay cool, calm, and collected as the countdown to Abnormal ticks down….9 days now. Single digits.

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Battle royale

It’s been a while since I’ve had a legitimate bipolar breakdown, so I guess yesterday’s little panic attack was overdue. Still, it would be nice not to have to go through that at all.

2gbz61

Yeah….

So the marketing process for Abnormal combined with the marketing workshop that my publisher is running on Facebook combined with general anxiety about the projected success or failure of said book all are working together to create that perfect environment for a bipolar freak-out. Last night was the first of what I hope is a minimal number of said freak-outs.

It all started with the sudden realization that the workshop assignments were leading up to us authors identifying and contacting our top genre influencers about our works.

Wait…I have to find out who the top sci-fi/dystopian/LGBTQ bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, journalists, etc, are, then I have to write out emails asking them to read and review my book or do an interview with me, then I have to send out those same emails? Like, actually send them? To people who have thousands and thousands of followers, who probably already lead busy lives and already get gobs of junk emails with the same type of requests? But–but–but…what if I’m bothering them?

Ah, yeah, there’s that irrationality. There’s the anxiety rearing its ugly head.

Fuck you, anxiety. You ruined my evening yesterday.

Fighting with this type of anxiety is a tough one. I can always go to friends or family or to my husband or my publishers with my unfounded concerns, but I can’t always take their logical, rational advice and apply it to the very much illogical and irrational fear I’m experiencing. The irrational fear eats logic for breakfast, chews it up, and spits it out in a sloppy wet wad on the carpet. I always end up stepping square in that wad. I hate stepping on anything wet, literally or metaphorically.

Why is it so horrifying to have to send out some nice, polite emails requesting consideration for myself and my book? I don’t know. Again, it’s an irrational fear. And no, it’s not the fear of them ignoring my emails or sending rejections–it’s the fear of being a bother. A nuisance. An annoyance.

It was difficult to send email requests to some of my favorite authors asking if they’d be interested in having an Advanced Reader Copy of Abnormal to peruse and maybe write a blurb on. I was terrified of annoying them. Of being viewed as spam–even if it was potentially some random assistant who was handling that day’s particular emails. That is what had me paralyzed yesterday. It’s still got me shaken up a bit, but so far this morning no fountains of tears. So that’s progress, right?

Another stressor to add onto these imaginary stressors is the feeling that I have to get all my marketing done before the September 1 release date–which is now ten days away. Ten. Short. Days. My publisher assures me that’s not the case, that I have the entirety of the series to build upon and market to my fanbase, but the timing of the marketing workshop is not helping. Don’t get me wrong–I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to have such a workshop. It’s just giving me a minor heart attack thinking about all the assignments that are being given with “just ten days” in which to complete the assignments.

Ten days…I’m almost in the single digits.

I had my freak-out. I talked with close friends, with my publisher, with my husband. I whined and moaned and misunderstood the assignments and cried and sobbed and overreacted. I did all the things except stay calm and look at it from a logical standpoint. Logically, the bloggers and vloggers and podcasters and journalists are there to build on their own fanbase, and they (theoretically) welcome the opportunity to read and review something that their fanbase might enjoy. Illogically, they’re going to view me as an overeager spammer nobody who needs to leave them alone.

I’m going to get past this. I’m going to finish this post, search for my genre’s “influencers,” and get started on a template to share in the workshop to eventually turn into emails to said influencers.

It may not be within the next ten days. But I have a whole series to get this done in.

Still, better now than never.

Off I go.

Kicking and screaming, but off I go.

Arts and Sciences revisited

So… I haven’t really gone into extensive detail on my experience last week at our local Baronial Arts and Sciences competition. I won’t. It’s done, and I’m done. Not with Arts and Sciences in general, but with the subject of last week. That’s done. This week, however, went well, and even though I didn’t win anything personally (the household I entered with won for Household Champion) I learned a lot from the experience.

I got stern but helpful critique, and I had a much better time than last week. I think I might have made one judge feel bad about herself when I told her I have only been embroidering since December. I got the Look of Death from her, as if she was thinking “I spent X amount of time learning this shit and this bitch has been doing it for like 8 months and she’s sitting here all smug with her A&S entry….” Oops. Good thing I didn’t mention anything about being self taught from Pinterest tutorials.

My research paper got picked the fuck apart… which I have to admit, I deserved. I kinda crammed for that one for the most part. I mean, I did some of the reading ahead of time… and most of it as I was writing the paper. Oops again. But hey, now I know how to improve on my cramming, and I will have a much improved paper for Kingdom.

I’ll also have a better embroidery project. I have to get some more materials for it (and find the original piece I started), but it’s going to be more refined and more period in style than my little cup cover sampler. I might have another piece to judge if I can come up with documentation for both the embroidery and the item that will be embroidered. I think I can do that, but I’ll have to check.

Arts and Sciences will continue to be in my future in the SCA. I won’t let one bad experience ruin the arts for me.

Ever the student

i have no idea what im doing

Well, it’s getting to Documentation Time for my Arts and Sciences projects, so of course I start with the hardest one: the research paper. I haven’t done a research paper since the last time I was in college–so twelve years. Twelve years rusty. Why did I choose to do a research paper again?

Oh yeah…I had a brilliant idea.

No, I won’t go into it here. I only have two very rough draft paragraphs done, and it’s going to take this whole week to get it done and up to snuff…and to document the arts project. That one should be easier, but first thing’s first.

A lot of people have told me that they do the research first, then the thing. I ended up going backwards on my arts project. I did the embroidery using stitches that I knew to be used in period times; now I have to prove that they were used. D’oh!

With the competition a week away, I have to put Book 2 on hold. I guess that’s a good thing, though, because I’m kinda stuck a bit. Not stuck-stuck, but stuck enough. I’m at that point I usually get to in my writing where I’ve reached the near-end before enough has happened. I have to add more action, more description, and/or more dialogue. I think I’ve dialouged things out, so it’s going to have to be the former two.

I started my research on local media outlets, bookstores, and libraries for Abnormal‘s release, too. There are a lot of libraries in Tucson. I haven’t finished there yet, and I still have Phoenix left to go. I plan on taking one of my half days/partial days at work to start making calls to set up potential appearances/book signings/etc. I want to have the marketing materials in hand though, so I will have to just research until then. Maybe by then I can narrow down where I want to go to plug my book.

The web media sites I haven’t really gotten into yet. I need to, but it’s a bit hard to weed out the clickbait sites and find the real entertainment/book websites. I also have to avoid the “pay to be put on X lists” sites. I want none of those shenanigans.

Proofreading is done, the publisher loves the ending, and things are moving along. I just need to finish my Arts and Sciences writing, finish the second first draft of Book 2, finish a bunch of illumination/scrolls that I said I’d do, and oh, yeah, the arts exchange project and…..I’m probably forgetting something in there. Work! Yeah. I have to work. Damn day job.

I guess that’s enough rambling for now.

 

The battle (moor) is over

We have left Battlemoor behind, and soon Colorado will be in the rear view mirror and we’ll be staying the night in Albuquerque before we go home.

I had a great time, but I miss my Rory-kins and my River monster. It’ll be good to be home and have them happy to see me. It’ll also be nice to sleep in my own bed … and write on my couch.

I managed to get a decent amount of writing done while on vacation, but I’ve got a lot left to do. I’ve gotten my MC into a sticky situation, and I’ve got to get her out of it… but I’ve got half a book to go for that.

I met many new people and made a few new friends this past weekend. Got some good rapier fighting in, and (in a rarity only found in out-of-kingdom events) managed to get to fight only people I’ve never fought before. Won a few fights, lost a few, but thanks to my rapier teacher I’m trying a new thing where I try to remember at least one thing I learned from each fight to help teach me new things and learn how to improve. I wasn’t able to get over my shyness to ask other fighters for pickup fights, but a couple of people asked me so I did get a few non-tournament fights in.

Tuesday I go back to work and fully back to mundane life. It’ll be a little bittersweet, because I’ll be back to normal but I’ll have to leave SCA life behind for a while. Not completely behind–I never get completely away from it because I’m always working on craft projects in my off time. I have to buckle down and get my A&S projects finished when I get home. I’m not going to try for Champion this go around. Novice for me this time, but maybe for the Kingdom A&S in the fall. We shall see.

Speaking of down time, I should get some writing in while I’m sitting here in the back seat.

Niche-y

I have a new place in the art world, and it’s an interesting one. Thanks to my new interest in embroidery, I have become the maker of belt ends.

Let me explain:

My husband weaves belts and trim, and he’s made a few now for “foreign” royalty. One thing he wanted was a way to end the belts that would look nice and be functional. Our solution? Tiny, 1.5-2″ embroidered coats of arms sewn into little sleeves, into which I slide the end of the belt, and then it gets sewn shut. Ta-da! Belt doesn’t unwind, and it’s personalized for the recipient.

I guess it’s been done before, but from what I understand it’s not done often…at least not that I’ve seen. And so far, the people who have received the belts have loved them–especially the embroidery.

It’s kinda cool, but a little painstaking at times. The designs I’ve done so far haven’t been too complicated to shrink down and stitch, but I wonder what I’ll do when we get a commission for a more complicated coat of arms. I want to get recognition for the work I do, but I don’t want to get to where people expect more than I can do.

I’m finally done with the commission embroidery for the meantime, though, so I can focus on A&S. I’ll be reading and embroidering and measuring and cutting and sewing and typing and…yeah. A lot of work ahead, but it’s work that should be fun. Interesting, at least.

There won’t be any progress pics here, though, because that’s part of the research paper; you have to include pictures of the process of whatever you’re doing. Once it’s all done I’ll post stuff… but that’s a few months away.

Projections

Estrella War is over, but my project list is far from completed. I’m currently about halfway through a couple of tiny embroideries for a gift for a king in another kingdom, I have a hood to make for my husband, an underdress and apron dress for me, three Arts & Sciences projects to get going, and then there’s also some mundane sewing I want to get done soon-ish.

I’m not super stressed out like I would normally be, because aside from the embroidery I don’t have any deadlines less than a few months away. This is great, because for the first time in months I feel like I can relax and take my time. Well, not relax too much. But I can breathe.

I’ve picked out the Arts & Sciences projects that I’m going to do, so since that is the next true deadline I will focus on those once the embroidery is done. I am even combining one of the above projects into the A&S stuff (but I’m not saying which one!) to kind of get a little ahead of the game. Be more efficient, I guess. Now, I need to do research in addition to the physical work, and I need to remember to take pictures as I go, but I’m getting started right away so I’m not too worried. I have most of the research materials I think I’ll need compiled, so it’s just a matter of reading it all.

Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to the research paper part of the projects. I always aced my research papers in school, so this should be a breeze. I’ll just have to dust off the ol’ “student” cap and put it on and get to typing. I even made sure I knew which format (y’know, MLA, APA, etc.) I will need to use for my citations before I got started. I’m getting kind of excited for it. Yeah, excited for three research papers. I’m such a nerd.

I also need to mentally prepare for A&S, in the sense that I know my works (written and handmade) will be subject to criticism from multiple fronts. My research papers could be metaphorically torn to shreds, or my sewing could be scoffed at. I think I’ll be okay, though.

Can’t let myself get too comfy in my sense of security when it comes to timelines. We still have to move into our house once it’s built, which is rapidly approaching, and there are more SCA events in the meantime. I can do it, though. Just gotta avoid getting to Crunch Time like I usually end up doing.