Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Just a quick check-in

Yay! I'm so excited I can hardly sit still. All because I'm going to have proper Internet again real soon. 

Think I'm being stupid for being so ridiculously happy? Try not having Internet for a month. It's sorta nice in week one. It's really nice in week two. In week three, there's a sense that you're cut off. In week four, it feels like you're going to die from withdrawals. 

Fortunately for me, the funny season is about to come to an end, which means that I'll have Internet by the end of next week at the latest. That's probably the soonest I'm going to get it too, since I now live on a farm that's more than a little remote, so ISP is collecting jobs so that they don't have to drive out for one unless they absolutely have to. 

Still, it means I'll be back to blogging soon. And visiting you all. I really can't wait to catch up with all of you. Those visits are more than a little overdue. 

In the meantime, I thought I'd let you know about how my goals for January are coming along. 

By yesterday, I've finished rewriting the Western/Romance, and finished drafting all of the books I'd been working on last year. I've also read two books. So I can safely say that progress is being made. 

Right now, though, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I have that short story for the Untethered Realms Anthology to write, but about a quarter of the way in, it's still not moving past the concept stage. As in, I have an awesome character, but the story just ain't happening. 

Which sucks. I really really want to have a story to send in, but my goals puts a wrinkle in it. Because let's face it, if I want to finish at least half of the goals outlined, I can't waste time on stories that just won't come. It's happened to two of my drafts from last year. The concept is awesome, but the story isn't there. 

What's the point on trying to force it out when I could be writing something that's got all the aspects in place already? Or rewriting. Or editing. Or even starting a new concept and seeing if I can form a story from it already? Because that's the thing. I never know unless I try it first. 

If I put something aside for now, it gives that story months, years even to incubate. Yes, I will write every single one of them, for as long as I see the merit. 

The thing is, this short story is messing with me now. It has a deadline which isn't my own. That means I either find a way to write it this week, or I don't publish in the anthology this year. See the big thing is that my brain isn't wired for short stories, but I'm proud of the few I have written in the past few years. I want to be proud of the work I create. 

All of the work I create. So I'm not just going to put a story together that's below my standards. It's either there, or it's not. And if it's not by Sunday, I'm moving on. That is my goal for now. (If it's not a goal, I might end up clinging to the story when it's really just wasting my time.) 

Everything else going on in my life is on hold pending either the return of Internet or the end of the holiday or both. I do feel like I have a lot to say this year, though, which bodes well for my blogging. Soon. 


How are you doing? 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Update Day: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Me and some awesome bloggers have set some big/huge/crazy goals and we have a monthly bloghop where we let each other know how we’ve been doing. You can click here for the list of participants and to see what their goals are.

But before I get into that.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

May 2015 be full of blessings for each and every one of you. 



My goal is the one stated at the top of the blog. Earning $7500 in royalties per month, every month for a year, within the next five years. In other words, I need to start earning $7500 per month in January 2018 at the latest. To further explain, this isn’t about money. It’s all about getting me motivated to produce a long list of books that I’ve had pipe-lined for almost three years now. The idea here is that the more high quality books I produce, the more likely I am to eventually hit that $7500 a month goal. I picked the number that high, because the way I see it, I’ll still be happy even if I fall short.

Knowing this, I set a ton of goals for 2014, because I also figured that the sooner I published more, the better the odds of me earning that goal amount. Really, it’s quite sensible if you think about it. And I was sensible. I knew I wasn’t going to achieve most of the goals I set. The plan had been to maybe achieve five or six of them.

What I hadn’t expected, though, was that 2014 would be a year straight from hell. The publishing deal I’d had for two books (on of which had been published in 2013) went sour so spectacularly that I’ve had my trust in the publishing industry shaken to its foundations.

My personal/work life has pretty much shaken my faith in humanity at large.

I was so busy with surviving all that, I couldn’t ever really focus on my writing career like I’d wanted. Which means that of all the goals I’d set, I’ve achieved exactly two. I’ve managed to cut the majority of refined carbs and sugars out of my diet. Along with processed foods of all sorts. And I’ve been doing some needlepointing and crocheting. (The goal had been to do some crafts other than writing too.)

The diet one, I have to say, is a huge achievement. Doing other crafts… not so much. It was my survival mechanism. Infinite repetitions of the same motion, leaving me free to drain out some of the bad thoughts and emotions that had been bothering me all year.

So all and all, it could have been so easy to call this year a failure and mourn everything I’d lost. (And I’ve lost a lot.)

But I won’t.

Because even though my goal score for this year looks pathetic, I know I’ve achieved a lot. Let me list the ways:

Reading:


Despite my life often sucking so much that I often couldn’t even concentrate on the words in front of me, I read twenty five books this year.

Writing:


I fought for and succeeded in regaining the rights to both the books that had been with my former publisher.

I still wrote over 150 000 words into rough drafts this year. I also wrote over 60k this month alone, although 40k of it was rewriting the western I’ve been working on.

Most of those 150 000 words were written by hand.

I finished five rough drafts out of the seven I started with.

I finished rewriting about two thirds of the above-mentioned Western. For those of you who've been around for a while, this is the book I’d lost a few years ago.

Life:


I’m still here, and I’m looking forward to tackling the new year’s challenges.

Which brings me to this coming year’s goals:

Writing:

I want to finish as many of the following as possible:

(For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to list my projects by the Acronyms I use for them, since that’s what I use on my year planners as well. Also, I haven’t gotten around to revealing some titles yet, and now seems like the wrong time.)

Publish:


Wo6C1

Wo6C2

BvB1

ES1

My Untethered Realms Anthology Short Story.

Publishing Edits (possibly for publishing in 2015):


Wo6C3

BvB2

Revisions and Rough Edits


O1

VD

Rewrites:


Wo6C4

SS1

P

MDtS

Rough Drafts (The ones I do by hand):


DD

ES2

CdW

HM

StW

In Addition:


Basically, I want to stick as close as possible to the year plan I have. This is what it looks like right now.




Reading


I want to read 75 books next year.

The minimum amounts of which must consist of:


5 books or plays in a language other than English.

5 plays by Shakespeare

5 classics other than Shakespeare, of which one must be Chaucer.

5 non-fiction titles.

5 books by some of my blogging friends.

Social Media:


I seriously need to sort out my Social Media stuff. I haven’t been near active enough last year. What this entails, though, is something I still need to wrap my head around.

Life:


Help my family build our own house. (Yep, brick by brick.)

Sort out some sort of business that I can do on my own terms. (SO over trusting people to help me when they only help themselves at my cost.)

Seriously. I need to get back to singing.

Also, I really really want to paint this year. Other than the above-mentioned house’s walls.

Then, I want to continue with my more healthy diet, since it makes me feel good and gives me a lot more energy. (Useful when I’ll be lugging lots of bricks around.)

Last of all, and probably most importantly, I need to get past all the stuff that’s happened this year, so that I can get through 2015 with as little contamination as possible.

Okay. Who’s still with me? You’re awesome.

Now, the last thing…

Goals for January


I think in 2014 I made a bit of a mistake not to draw more of my life into my goals. After all, I don’t think success will come without balance.

So…

Writing:


1) Get back to sorting out the covers for Wo6C1, Wo6C2 and BvB1.

2) Finish final edit rounds for at least one of the three above mentioned books.

3) Finish rewriting ES1.

4) Rough draft 15k words.

This should be what my January looks like, writing-wise: 



Reading:


Continue reading L’Etranger by Albert Camus.

Start reading Twelfth Night by Shakespeare

Read 4 other books

Social Media:


Still having to postpone, pending me gaining access to reliable Internet.

Life:


Survive first month of building a house while still editing and writing.

Wow. That was a lot! Thanks to everyone sticking with me for the whole post. Now tell me. What’s your big goal for the year? Do you have a big/crazy/crazy important goal or dream that you’re working towards? Why don’t you sign up?

Monday, December 1, 2014

One more hiatus for the year...

Yeah... This one isn't one I have a choice about, though.

Remember when I said I'd move house in November? Well... that move is coming up tomorrow. And I'll be stuck without a reliable internet source for a while.

I say a while, because it's unclear as to how long it will take for me to get internet again.

No matter. This girl is planning on getting a TON of writing done this month.

Being me (and knowing that I'll have more time on my hands than I've had in almost six months), I've set myself the slightly insane goal for December of rewriting two novels (y'know, to get them on the computer) and rough drafting over 60k words. (Daily goal: 2k per day.)

The idea behind the 60k goal?

Well... I estimate that's what it's going to take to finish the five rough drafts I have left before year end. And then in January, I'll have a glorious time editing.

Also, if I can only finish two or three projects now, it can have a huge impact on what my next writing year will be like.

So wish me luck!

I hope to see you all again before Christmas.

X

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Update Day

Hey all. I was going to do the update yesterday (as we're supposed to), but I only got home at around midnight, so the update would have been today whether I liked it or not.

For those of you who don't know, this post is a part of a monthly bloghop (hosted by me and Beth Fred) where writers get to post their weird, huge, or hugely important writing goals and talk about them. It's really a nice way to see if you're making any progress toward that goal. If you'd like more info on how to join, click here.



I'd hoped to get to about 30k this month (even though I was taking part in NaNoWriMo), because that would have been equivalent to 1000 words every day.

But, I haven't made 20k yet. I'm almost at 19k.

It's not all depressing, though. I finally finished the rough draft to the western that I had to redraft. And I think the story will be awesome. Then I also found the beginnings of a space opera that I will be adding to my five year plan list for next year.

Also, after many many times of promising that my schedule has opened up, I do believe it truly has.

Which means I'm going to do some catch-up.


If you look at the green bits in the December Column, those are all the rough drafts I have in progress. Those are the ones I technically want to finish by the end of this year. I suspect, though, that this won't be possible. Ideally, I'd like to finish two of these projects. 

My projects are listed here according to priority. My mystery project is the highest priority draft I have unfinished at the moment. After that, it's SS1, which I'll give a catchier working title, I promise!

I'll be pretty happy if I can finish those in December. I'd be ecstatic if I could do so while finishing a rewrite to either VD or ES1 (which is the above-mentioned western). But I'll see. In theory, I'll also be editing the three yellow projects, but as I mentioned, I won't be able to publish this year. So now it's more me sitting around waiting for various people to send me things. Which is good. Gives me time to clear my to-draft list a bit. 

As always, I'll let you know how I'm doing. 

How are you? Did NaNo? Did you win? 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Three things I liked about Brandon Sanderson's Pep-talk

It's so funny really. Pretty much ever since the incident of the light, things have been happening. Big things, small things. Nice things... shit things. The strange thing about this, though, is that it's as if there's one theme to all of it.

PROGRESS.

Yes, after spending most of this year with wheels spinning, things are happening. And whether they're good or (almost bone-crushingly) bad, it feels like all of it is heading somewhere. Almost like all my blessings have been dammed up somewhere, and now they're flowing over.

Yes. Even though there have been some really bad moments. Especially last week. And no. This isn't me putting a bright picture on things. Not after I came to this realization.

This isn't to say that everything that's happened this year has been undone. But that pin-prick of light I'd been glimpsing down the tunnel all this past year does seem to be growing. Which is telling me that set-backs aside, I'm moving forward more than anything else.

Then I read this NaNo Pep-talk today (see, I'm still in the writing related zone), and thought that it might encourage you all as well. Go ahead and read. I'll wait.

Back? Good.

So the things I adore about this pep-talk:

1) To know that Brandon Sanderson used to struggle to sell books. It just makes me feel like publishing really is just a matter of luck and not giving up.
2) Knowing that, no matter how long we've struggled to get ahead, everything can change for the better with zero prior notice. (Which was nice, because I actually experienced a version of this at work today.)
3) Just generally thinking that although I'm still to (re-)publish anything this year, I might be working on the one that garners me a million readers. Nice thought, isn't it?

And that's really the beautiful thing about life. Yes, things can be difficult, but lucky breaks often seem to come from nowhere. We only have to keep going so that we can be there when they happen.

Anyone else catch a lucky break lately?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This self publishing thing isn't as simple as one would think...

I realized this weekend that I’ve now passed the point where I’ll be able to publish this year. There’s simply no way for me to edit, format, get the cover and register for copyright before the end of the year. Or maybe it’s possible and I don’t know it yet. But for now, I don’t think I can be practical and say that I’m still going to get everything together.

Sure, I can still rush and get it done. But where’s the point in that? I know that in order to stand even a tiny chance of success at my big goal, I have to deliver high quality goods. Given that this will be my first attempt at self-publishing, I simply don’t think I’m capable of pulling everything together in less than six weeks.

Which means that once again, I’m having to postpone. But you know what? I’m okay with that. The way I see it, I’ve tried my best to get everything done with the time and resources I have. Beyond that, though, things happen as and when they’re supposed to happen.

No amount of planning, worrying, working or stressing will change this.

I’m not giving up, though. I’m still editing. I’m still writing and I’m definitely still putting together the grand plan of how I’ll be writing and publishing somewhere between 12 and 25 books in the next five years.

I still think it’s doable. And missing this first year in order to get everything in place isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Because really I’m close. I’ve basically got to wait on editor’s feedback on Birds vs Bastards. Once I apply the necessary edits to that, there’s only formatting left. The Vanished Knight is basically ready for formatting, but I’m waiting on the cover. (Which I could have had, but I got thwarted by the shoe biz yet again. So I have to wait for my cover designers to return from vacation.) The Heir’s Choice is the furthest from finished, but it’s still not impossibly far from done. I’ve got a few more CPs needing to finish the last few chapters. Then it’s the editor’s final pass and then formatting. Which, given that I can do edits to a book of THC’s length in a week or less, really isn’t an impossibly long time. And I can start registering all three for copyright as soon as those last edits are done.

No point to panic or anything though. However, this has told me the value of planning ahead a little more than I have this year. Which I will definitely do for 2015.

How’re your writing/editing/publishing endeavors going?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Oh look! Another finished draft.

Although I'm still way behind on NaNoWriMo, it has had an interesting effect. Although I haven't touched one of my books since July, I finished it today, because when I read it to continue writing, I actually realized that I could actually start rewriting it now. (In fact, I already have the plan for it as well.)

Which is great for me. I've finished two rough drafts out of seven. Would be great if I could maybe finish one or two more before the end of the month. We'll see, though. 

Anyone else doing NaNo? How's it going? 

Before I go, just want to give a shout-out to Cathrina Constantine.

**Happy Release Day** **GIVEAWAY**
Wickedly They Dream
Genre: Paranormal Thriller/Fantasy
Publisher: Black Opal Books Grab it today for only 99 cents!  HERE How Far Will Jordan go to rescue her mother. It will cost her everything--even her angel, Markus!
Buy Links: Amazon
Author Cathrina Constantine resides in Western New York. When not with her family, you'll find her in the forest behind her house walking the dogs and conjuring a new tale.
You can find Cathy Here:

Friday, November 7, 2014

In which a light becomes a message and miracle.

So... in case you missed it, this really strange thing happened on Wednesday morning.

And... well... I thought about rather not posting this, because I know it's controversial, but I'm going to anyway. Why? Because it's the truth and I realized how damaging it can be to a blog when the author lies, even when it's by omission. This post will contain religious overtones and more than just a little testimony. So if you're not interested, you might find reading one of my Wattpad stories more interesting.

Okay. Taking a deep breath here. While crying like a baby.

What I didn't tell you on Wednesday:








You know how Job felt when everything got taken away from him? Well. I can safely say I think my family and I got a great taste of it. Except for the bit where his entire family died. And where he lost everything basically in a day or two.

I'm not going to go into the costs for everyone in my family, but to give you an idea of my score card for 2014:

1) Publishing deal went SPECTACULARLY wrong by January.

2) My and my mother's business, which had taken a hit at the end of the year, didn't bounce back thanks in a large part to some laws our government wanted to pass.

3) The farm we'd moved to, which had been such a huge source of hope, despite the business taking a hit, soaked up our savings and offered pretty much nothing back. I am not going to talk about what had to be sacrificed as a result of this, because it's not pretty.

4) All of my hopes and dreams have basically been shelved until such a time that we could bounce back from all the spending on the farm. A farm, incidentally, that we were led to by God. 

5) Sacrifices and dream shelving aside, the person with whom we'd signed the buyer's contract basically sold it out from under us in September. Yes, we could have fought this, but after already spending so much and still getting nothing back, we just couldn't see a point to fighting for the farm. Besides which, we kinda realized that if God could open doors no one could close, and close doors that no one could open, it's pretty dang obvious from the way these doors were closing that God did not in fact want us to stay on this farm.

6) We'd spend to the tune of $200 000 on the farm, which we ain't getting back. To give you an idea of the magnitude of this amount. Until my salary went into said farm, my monthly salary, which put me in the upper-middle income class, was about $1500 per month.

7) Then... the shoe biz, the source of hope we all so desperately needed, went pear shaped due to actions taken by others. Actions completely beyond our control.

You know about breaking points? 

On Tuesday, 4 November, I'd officially reached mine.

The result was that I... well... I lost it completely. I had some seriously strong words with God. Testimony one: That He didn't strike me down for at least a quarter of what I'd said, is more than proof enough that yes, He does love us as much as He says.

Anyway. So I get into the car and me, my mother and four of our employees go to Cape Town to unpack and count 5000 pairs of shoes.

God has sort of fallen silent as I left the room. (Yep, ours is very much a two-way conversation. No, that's not at all an insane thing to say.) Then suddenly out of the blue, He says:

"Friday."
Me: "What happens on Friday?"

Silence. With me sort of growing carefully optimistic that maybe something'll get sorted for us before the weekend came. But even so, I had some niggling suspicions. Why now? After a whole freaking sucking year. Why now?

After dinner, we spoke and I sorta carefully ventured what I'd heard, then found that both my brother and uncle had gotten the same message. And my grandmother, that something would turnaround soon, but without a specific deadline.

Despite this, by Tuesday evening, I was doubting again. Not proud to say it. But there you go.

I didn't doubt that something would happen on Friday. I just didn't really think that any of it would really have a bearing on actually helping us get out of all this... well... crap.

So... yeah...

Night terrors. Waking often. Sorta, half lucid, half delirious praying... Yeah. I sometimes do that, if I drift off while praying.

Problem with this is that with sleep comes lowered inhibitions.

As such, I suspect (no way that I'll ever really know) that I said something like: "It's like You're not here anymore."

Because honestly, it's something that's been in my thoughts for some time, but that I haven't actually been brave enough to actually put into words.

Nope. That isn't when God turned His back on me forever.

That had to be the moment when He quite audibly said: "I'm here."

And just in case I didn't buy it this time: 


HE
TURNED
ON
THE
LIGHTS


Which, needless to say, more than got my attention. But of course, I didn't think it was Him, because why would He? 

Except, the more you guys commented and I thought and prayed about it, the more certain I became. And you know what? There's a reason why He'd do something as outrageous as defy the laws of physics and make lights burn without being "switched on." He loves me. And He didn't want me to worry for a second more that we were alone in all this. 

So what made me post this today? Well... It's Friday, see. And I realized that I have an amazing Holy Father, who I don't always understand, but whose love for me and everyone else defies understanding. 

Because starting at around noon today, EVERYTHING turned around and although we aren't getting the farm, we've been given a chance to move on. Which, given that I can only assume it's what God wants, is probably going to be only a million times or so better than anything I can come up with. 

So today, this seventh day of November, 2014, I proclaim in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that this year has officially been turned around thanks to His profound love and mercy. 



You might wonder why I'm sharing all this? The answer is simple: I know that 2014 is a rough year for MANY of us, and it's my hope that this post will bring you to a place of peace, comfort and blessings as well. And a place of knowing that, no matter what, God does love us, and He always will. Even when we say stupid stuff in our sleep. 

Thanks to those of you who read this! 

I'm feeling the need to pray for some of you, so if you have any needs that you think needs some prayers, please feel free to let me know in the comments. Or mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(dot)com

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG: What. The. Hell.....?!

Aaaah yes... It's that time again. The Insecure Writers' Support Group gets together every first Wednesday of the month to share our writerly insecurities or support for insecure writers.

Any writer is welcome to join, so if you want more info, click here.



Honestly, I'm currently too tired right now to be insecure in my writing. There's just too much going on in my life. Which means that although I still have goals and am taking part in NaNo, I'm just not going to worry about getting anything more done than what I'm capable of in the last two months of this year.

I'm currently FAR behind on NaNoWriMo, thanks to entering November with a flu/throat infection.

Yes, 2014 is still to stop being a d*ck at every turn.

It did, however, give me THE MOST astounding paranormal experience of my life. Which, coming from me, says a lot. And it was convenient enough to make the date easy to remember, since it happened today at 1 a.m.

Since I missed out on posting on Halloween, I'm going to share this here. Also, because I really want to find out if anyone has experienced something similar and if you have suggestions as to what it could be.

I was sleeping rather restlessly, since I suffer from night terrors. For those of you who don't know what night terrors are: It's basically a condition where you "get a nightmare" in the deepest stages of sleep. Which means that yes, I do see some seriously weird stuff all the time. Hyper real and hyper terrifying. A lot of people don't remember the exact nature of the night terrors. Nor do they remember having them.

I've sort of learned to recognize them as they occur, since they occur so often. Which means that I've been able to remember some aspects of the night terrors. At least so that if they repeat, I recognize them. ESPECIALLY the really creepy stuff.

Anyway. The point here is that I am VERY aware of the difference between dreams and reality, because it's usually the only thing keeping me from screaming like a girl and running through the house like a crazy person.

So at about midnight, two of my cats wanted to be let out, so I walked through my dark bedroom to the front door and opened it by feel. Do it all the time, so I'm not all that bothered with it. I got back into bed and continued with my restless sleep.

In this time, some sort of night terror. One of my recurring ones. And then suddenly, out of the blue, I hear a (actually very nice-sounding) male voice say: "I'm here."

At the same time, my room's lights turn on. As in on-on. Bright on. Enough to wake me up and say "What the hell?!"

So there I am, completely awake, sitting on my bed. There's no one there. And we live in a old house with wooden floors. If someone had walked into my room to turn the light on, I would have heard.

And then... Nothing. No shadows. No cold spots. No feelings of dread. The one cat who'd remained on the bed with me kept right on sleeping. So it was just me, wondering who the "I" from "I'm here." was supposed to be.

I got up and turned off the light, checked the time on my phone and got back in bed. And wondered... and wondered... and wondered...

Because see, I don't think this was a ghost. I know how ghosts feel.

There was nothing creepy except for the pure weirdness of it all.

And nothing as shocking as realizing that sometimes, the unexplained can really be obvious about letting us know they exist.

So... Thoughts? What do YOU think this was?

And in case you're wondering what all this has to do with IWSG: 

This writer is about to go sleep in the same room...