Revealing

Five days. Just five little days to the cover reveal for Abnormal. Five days til the preorder link goes live. Nineteen days to the book release.

Not that I’m counting down or anything.

The excitement is getting to me just a little bit. A lot. I can’t have a cover reveal party because I didn’t find out the date for the reveal until after I’d made plans for that day, but I’m hoping my husband will let me have a few friends over on the day the book releases. A few friends and some alcohol. And books. They’d better have books. Lol

Ooh, I need pens! Lots of different colors! Or Sharpies. I’ve seen authors use big, bold Sharpies to sign books. Back to school sales are still going on, right? Maybe I’ll find a sweet deal Friday. Because autographs are a thing.

I’ve nudged the local bookstore to see if they have a date when they’d want me there for an event/signing. I need to step up my game though. There’s radio stations, newspapers, TV stations, libraries–I have to get all the things done, and I’m running out of time. Man, it really snuck up on me. Five days, dude. Less than a week until the world sees what Abnormal will look like. Less than a week until they can place orders for Abnormal. Wow.

My mind is continually being blown here. It’s a whirlwind of dates and things. I’ve got X due for the SCA on this day, Y to do for Abnormal on the next, then work and work and work and Z for Abnormal and…. Well, you get the drift.

So. Bloody. Exciting. And Book 2 is still well underway, so we’ll see what I can come up with for that. I’m looking over it again after some “time off” from it to get a fresh look. Seems like solid writing, but I know I need to add more to it. The word count isn’t quite up to par yet, so I have some work to do there as well. I need to tweak and fidget and adjust until it’s ready for submission.

Shit. I have to do an outline. And a query letter. And a synopsis. And…and…and…Oh, hell. I forgot about that part of the process. Well, better get to it.

Upcoming ups and comings

Q&A is set for next Wednesday, 2pm PST! 🙂 I’ll go live on Twitter to answer questions about Abnormal, but you can send me questions ahead of time or send them to RhetAskew Publishing by using the email link at the bottom of their page. More questions means more answers…but no spoilers! 😉

Also next week (Monday afternoon or evening): Shy little ol’ me is going to try to do either a video recording of me reading an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Abnormal or maybe–maybe–a live reading. It depends on my courage at the time. I’ve gotta get used to being on-camera for interviews and what have you, but I want to dip my toes first. So, either live or recorded, I’ll be reading from Abnormal next Monday afternoon. Probably around….Well, it depends on my courage. Two-ish PST if I’m live, a little later if I choke and record it.

I’ll also be setting up interviews and blog tours (that’s a thing I heard of, but don’t ask me how they work just yet–the Askew team will be helping me) and some other stuff along the way. I’m getting busier and busier as September 1st approaches, and that will be far from the end of it. I have to contact bookstores and libraries about potential events/book signings/readings/etc. I have to get in touch with radio stations and newspapers and all that jazz. It’s going to be hard work, but it will be worthy work.

Don’t forget Tucson Comic Con, either! I’ll be there, fair and square, Friday through Sunday! November 2-4, 2018. If you’re anywhere near Tucson, AZ, head on down!

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.

 

Media frenzy

The time has come to research media outlets near me to receive the press kits for Abnormal. 😀

Okay, so the time was probably long ago–the point is, I’m getting ready to do it now, before I head back to work after my vacation. I’ve got a browser window open to locate the various Arizona media outlets I may want to contact and a blank Word document open to receive those outlets’ contact information.

Except…I don’t really know where to start.

Okay, so I did have a starting point yesterday when I first did a search, but that starting point was a costly one. Sure, I could’ve had the contact info for whichever media outlet in Arizona I chose–or all of them–for a cost, that is. The site I found was not a free resource. Back to the drawing board, I guess.

I know I want to promote in my local town, as well as the larger areas like Tucson and Phoenix (especially Tucson, seeing as how I’ll be attending one of their conventions in the fall), but beyond that I’m clueless. How far am I willing to travel to promote? Would I even need to travel? And what about online outlets like Talk Nerdy With Us, Starry Constellation Mag, and others? They would be great resources for reaching my audience, too. I already know one of my old friends at Talk Nerdy who would like to do a read for review, and possibly someone at Starry Constellation. I have to go through the proper channels, though; I can’t just say “Hey, remember me? I wrote for you a time or two–how about you give this here book to one of your reviewers and have them type up a little something-something for me?” Yeah, that’s not very professional. Not gonna fly, much as I would like to pull a string here or there.

It’s kind of exciting to think about potentially being on the receiving end of a review or interview. I had a review done of Whispers of Death the day I self published it, but that was definitely a string-pulling event. “Hey, guys, I wrote and published a thing–somebody go read and review it!” Exciting though it may be, I tend to also get nervous when I think about phone or radio interviews. I tend to stammer and stutter, and my voice is weird in recordings. All high-pitched and girly, not at all how I hear it when it comes out of my mouth. Is that what I really sound like? And that machine-gun nervous laugh I have? Geez.

It’s gotta be done, though. I have to grin and bear it and not worry so much about how I sound. Worry about promoting the book, about getting word out there, about getting Abnormal to those who would enjoy the story.

Tested

Okay, so we did a quick test of the materials used for the tunics, and it looks like I need to add another layer of fabric at least (with a T-shirt underneath they’d be okay, but I’d feel more comfortable with another layer altogether). So yesterday we bought more fabric, and tomorrow morning I hope to have at least one tunic completed. Maybe both by tomorrow evening, if I push myself.

My problem is I get distracted by things like food and TV. My husband and I relax in the evenings with our dinner and watching our recorded shows. Sometimes we get backed up on shows and have a lot to watch, so we tend to spend almost every evening watching TV. Much as I love TV and movies, it’s killing me as far as cosplay and SCA sewing goes. I need to just let my husband watch the shows without me so I can focus on the work I need to do before Barmaids and Phoenix Comicon.

Somewhere in there I also need to practice with my loaner rapier to get the hang of holding it up for long periods of time and moving it around. My goal is to not have my arms shaking for hours afterwards every time I practice. That’s a tad embarrassing. I want to up my endurance so I can practice more than just 45 minutes to an hour at a time. Weekly practices are two hours long, and ideally I’d like to up my stamina so I can practice for at least an hour and a half (with short breaks for water and rest, of course).

I guess if I want to get this stuff done I should be heading to the craft room and getting back to sewing. Motivation is just so hard to find sometimes.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Man, I had both a terrible night’s sleep last night and I slept like a rock.

It took me a long time to get to sleep in the first place (too tired to take my night meds, too wired to nod off), then I woke up at every little sound until my husband went to bed. I don’t think I was tossing and turning much, though, because I woke up with my back muscles all knotted up…possibly because I didn’t take my nightly muscle relaxer.

Another possibility: I was moving around so much in my damn dreams that my body is worn out. I had dreams of walking cross-country, taking a long trek for some reason or another–a quest-worthy reason–that involved old friends, Stephen Amell, and assassins. And humanoid aliens. My long walk apparently took me into space as well.

Stephen Amell was pretty nice. He tried to protect me from the assassins, which I thought considerate given that he doesn’t know me. Old friends were mostly waypoints on my journey, places more than people but people all the same. I walked to Alabama. I walked to Ohio. I walked to places I’ve never been before.

The aliens had some pretty opulent jewelry, which was sold in malls. Space malls. That I walked to. And shopped in. With Wolverine. Well, Old Man Logan. He was my dad, I guess. In the dream that is.

Aside from the aliens, the analytical part of me can pinpoint all the events of yesterday that could lead to these dream elements. I’ve been eager to be rid of this fracture boot–hence the walking. I watched Flashwhich crosses over with Arrow quite frequently, hence Stephen Amell. I talked with my husband about the various people who we’ll have over to visit when our house is built. And I talked with my sister about seeing Logan in the theaters.

So there are the pieces of the strange puzzle of my subconscious mind, haphazard and random. None of the “major” parts of the previous day played a part; no cosplay, no immediate family, none of that. Funny how dreams work.

Spanglish, sleep-style

You know you’ve learned enough of another language when you dream about speaking in it.

I’ve had dreams with bits and pieces of Spanish in them for years now. Last night, though, my subconscious combined the Spanish I have learned with my job in healthcare and, apparently, a little something from the episode of Arrow I watched last night.

That’s right, I had to translate for some of the nurses at an imaginary hospital that I don’t work at because some of our superpowered patients were Hispanic and didn’t speak any English.

Can’t I leave work for even a night? Dude, brain, give me a rest.

I don’t really remember what I was saying, but it was the same painfully strained Spanglish that I normally speak at work. Bad grammar and all.

It’s funny how the mind works. Like, why did it decide I needed a Spanish refresher? Why did it have me working at a hospital? Why could I fly? And why were there superpowered people everywhere?

Okay, so that last one is obviously because I watched Arrow before bed. But the others? I didn’t even speak any Spanish yesterday. I always thought the brain processed one day’s info at a time. Then again, I also dropped out of psychology in college. The first day was super boring and I just didn’t want to sit through a whole semester of that. So maybe (definitely) I missed the lecture on dreams and the subconscious.

Ready for the weekend

Ah, the weekend. That blissful time when you accomplish all the things you couldn’t during the week. Or theoretically you do.

I have a corset to finish (pretty close to done, but still more to go), the breastplate to PlastiDip and paint and seal, my husband’s costume to start, and a book to read for review. Oh, and then there’s the usual laundry and such that comes after a Monday through Friday work week.

The more I think about it, the less I think I’m going to be able to do. Sewing sometimes is easier for me to get done in the wee hours, before my husband’s up and about. Since we live in an apartment complex, I can’t do the PlastiDip/painting/sealing because our neighbors will complain about the smell of the paint. It’s freakin’ spray paint, for crying out loud; it’ll fade quickly enough, especially if I paint it outside. So I’ll have to do that part at my parents’ house. They have some nice, open acreage and no neighbor’s going to bitch if I spray a bunch of chemicals and paint in the driveway.

As for the book, I’ll probably have to try to get as much read at my parents’ house as possible. This will be difficult, because Project Runway returned this week. It’s a “bonding” show for my mom and me; we watch it when I come over to visit/do laundry and critique the designers’ designs. And reading at home is a problem, too…..because I get distracted by the TV. I swear, I’m like part squirrel or something–constantly running off to the next nutty thing I see.

should be able to start my husband’s cosplay this weekend. That stuff is getting easier and easier to do, but I’ll need to purchase the right thread for it. I suppose at some point today I should look at the pattern instructions and see how much of the seams I can serge and how much I’ll need to use the regular sewing machine for. That will help me decide which thread to get.

I’m sure there’s other stuff I’m forgetting, but that’s it for now. The Con Crud is finally almost gone, so I’m extremely happy about that. I can go back to breathing and speaking normally. So great…it’s the little things, y’know?

My costume won’t be started for a while yet. I only just recently decided on the fabric colors I want to use, and at least one of them will have to be ordered from online (unless we make a trip to Tucson or something, where the fabric stores have more selection). I’m not worried, though; we have until next year’s Phoenix Comicon to finish these costumes.

The Road Home

Man, what a whirlwind of a week!

I started last Monday morning at work and have either been in the car, in a motel, or at the con pretty much the entire time since I left work. I’m exhausted and still have a few more days on the road before I can rest up, which I’ll need… I caught the dreaded Con Crud! Sheesh.

That being said, I had a blast at the con. Tons of people complimented my husband and I on our cosplays, and we had our pictures taken several times with each cosplay. The sword for Magik was a bitch to carry around, but Anthony Lemke made it all worth it when he geeked out over it. An actor, probably exhausted himself from the con circuit, literally jumped at the chance to have his photo taken with it.

Look how happy he is! It was great. The Doctor Who photo op went well as well, except I kinda stabbed Arthur Darvil with my shoulder armor spikes. Oops.

The Firefly op I wasn’t as excited for (partly because I never got into the show), so when Adam Baldwin kinda got annoyed with us trying to squeeze in and shoved us forward I was a little peeved, but he wasn’t necessarily rude about it; just probably worn out from the con. He literally went immediately from a long line of individual photos to an even longer line of group photos.

Poor Summer Glau got stabbed by the spikes too. Sorry, Summer 

I got a few new goodies at the con, too…a good quality wig for my Steampunk Dark Phoenix cosplay, as well as a cool (& expensive) top hat for it. 

Overall a good weekend, but I have to say I’m partial to Phoenix Comicon. Less crowded (even with higher attendance numbers), less spread out (which means less walking all over the place), and generally better organized. Not the worst con I’ve been to by any means, but I guess I’m just a Phoenix girl at heart.

It was also great getting to visit with my best friend for the first time since my wedding.

It was like no time had passed at all, which is the best type of friendship if you ask me. I only had half a day with her, but it was still great fun.

That’s all for the week’s highlights. I have more, but I think I’m going to sign off and maybe take a passenger side nap for a bit before it’s my turn at the wheel.

Marching on

Now that I’ve given myself a break from cosplay sewing for a couple of weeks, I’m finally back in a sewing state of mind. I started on my husband’s pants for his Shatterstar cosplay the other day and am slowly making progress. (When I start sewing early in the morning, sometimes I don’t have the energy to sew for too long at a time…so I get done what I can, then remember that I haven’t had my Adderall and go back into the bedroom to mess around on the computer & take my meds.)

Once I get back into the swing of things, I know my pace will pick up. It will help that it’s the in-between season where most of the fall/spring shows are off air & most of the summer ones haven’t started up yet. Not that I’m a TV addict per se, but it’s nice to have time in the evenings to spend with my husband. A little bonding, something we can’t really do when I’m sewing because I get so focused that he ends up sitting on the floor playing games on his tablet.

With these newest cosplays, we’re going to try making some foam armor and props. It should be interesting, because neither of us has worked with the EVA foam before. Don’t know what EVA foam is? It’s basically those foam floor mats that look like puzzle pieces. Pretty cheap, but you can do a lot with them. We saw several panels on the subject while at Phoenix Comicon and my husband has been watching tutorials online to learn how to work with it. It seems simple enough, but I’m sure we’ll have a large learning curve to start with.

Now that the book “experiment” is over, I don’t feel as obsessed with checking my numbers every hour or so. It’s both a relief and a disappointment. A relief that it’s over, disappointment because I kinda liked seeing so many copies of my book being picked up, even if it was for free. Oh, well.