The Bestie & Me

I’ve mentioned my best friend on multiple occasions simply because she’s my best friend and has been for most of my life.  Our relationship is complicated in many ways, but today is her birthday and I’m going to pay homage to the woman that helped me be me.

For starters, my best friend is 11 years, 10 months, and 21 days older than me.  And while most people would find this age difference to be a hinderance, it’s actually why we started hanging out.  Also, she’s my first cousin on my mother’s side.

Even when my mother was married to my father, she was essentially a single parent.  On top of that, my sister who is ten years older than me, had some issues during her teen years.  This meant that my mom didn’t always have the time or money to dedicate to entertaining me.  However, my cousin is a huge Disney fan and it just seemed better to take a little girl with her when she went to see the latest Disney cartoon movie at the theater and since she worked, she always offered to pay, which was a relief to my mother.

As we both aged and matured, we began to find things we had in common.  She took me to my first Nine Inch Nails concert after getting permission to introduce me to the music.  She had a touch of a wild streak that she included in me, nothing illegal, just different.  She was helping me dye my hair wild colors in junior high.  She kept reminding me that I was allowed to be different.  I didn’t have to fit in.  It was okay to be unique.  For that, I am eternally grateful.  It sustained me all through my high school years.

She’s read a ton of crappy books and short stories over the years, helping me improve my writing.  She’s bought me books, told me about classes I could take, and even signed me up for Writer’s Digest one year as a birthday present.  She’s also the one that convinced me to look into indie publishing.

We’ve reached that point where verbal communication isn’t always necessary.  We can walk and give directions with eye contact and head nods.  Sometimes she leads.  Sometimes I lead.  It always works out.

We can giggle uncontrollably about things that I’m not sure are actually funny.  They are just funny to us for some unknown reason.

And we have a knack for making people uncomfortable around us.  I’m not sure why, but people have commented on it to both of us.  It doesn’t happen every time, but it does often enough.  I once had one of her friends comment to me that they found me peculiar and that I made her peculiar.  They said her personality became more intense and fiery when I was around.  They also said that she seemed to let go of her alpha tendencies and follow me.  I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but I find it strange that other people think she changes when I’m around.

Of course, I change around her too.  I become funny.  She brings out my wicked sense of humor and love of irony.  She can also make me happy even when I’m miserable.  It’s why I almost need her involved when I write a Dysfunctional Chronicle novella.

For several years, when I was just starting writing and had no extra money to spare, I put off seeing her.  Mainly because it hurt my pride.  I knew I could go to lunch or dinner with her and she’d pay, but I really hate that.  Now that I’m making money, she lives in a different city three hours away… It’s a little hard to meet for lunch and a quick chat.  I miss her terribly though.  I think of her every day.

I feel no fear when she’s around.  If anyone else had told me to self publish, I would have balked and found excuses, but it wasn’t someone else, it was her.  So I did it, because she makes me brave.  I have been in some shady neighborhoods after dark leaving concerts or shopping at the best leather store in Chicago.  These are high crime areas and times, but I would be far more concerned about the person who attempted to mug us than us when we’re together.

Growing up, people always thought it was weird that I said I didn’t want kids.  Or that I wasn’t sure about getting married.  I didn’t have a wedding planned with fancy flowers and food I couldn’t pronounce.  It just never interested me.  Her and my mother were the only people that didn’t think it was a phase that I’d grow out of.  And since she was childless and didn’t want children and not really interested in marriage anymore than buying salted slug earrings, she was someone I could talk to about it that understood.

The most important thing though, no matter how much of an asshole I am (and I can be a narcissistic asshat without realizing it), she still loves me.  She just points out that I’m being a narcissistic asshat.  And despite any and all disagreements we’ve ever had, I have never been able to stay mad at her for more than an hour.  I have tried a few times, but I just couldn’t hold onto it.  I always realized that it was never that important in the grand scheme of things, because I valued our friendship more than I valued being mad at her.

So Happy Birthday Bestie!  It began with childhood adulation and turned into the most amazing journey I’ve ever had.  All my greatest stories start with “B and I…”.

Socializing

This weekend, there is a big to do going on in Springfield among the darters.  After much thought, I’m going to brave the three hour, one way, ride and go be amongst my friends. I’m going to socialize and for an overnight trip, the calendar filled up pretty fast.

We are planning to be there by 10 am.  My cousin/bestie lives there.  Our first stop is her house.  It’s been awhile since I saw her and she cheers me up.  So, I’m looking forward to that.

Then it’s off to grab some lunch.  I think this is just going to be my SO and I.  I figure by this time, I’ll be wanting to pop a pill or two.  When I hurt, I get very quiet or swear uncontrollably, so I’m not sure I’ll be up for company at that point.

Next we are heading to Bass Pro.  Bass Pro got it’s start in Springfield, Missouri.  It is still the largest store in the chain and they have specials and items that aren’t carried at most of their stores.  They also have an outlet.  If it goes like usual, we’ll spend a couple of hours in the two adjoined stores.

By then, we should be able to check into our room… Which I am personally looking forward to.  Rooms were a little scarce and while I like certain hotels over others due to pricing and amenities, we had to go with an upgraded hotel.  It’s a five star, which I don’t mind in the least, even with the price.  However, for a whopping $7 more, I could upgrade from a standard king room to a king room with a whirlpool.  I don’t normally do jetted tubs, I think of them as human stew.  With the way I’ve been feeling lately, I’m thinking a soak in a jetted tub might be kind of nice.

And a nap.  Pain makes me tired.  Riding causes pain.  I’m not really a morning person anyway and our evening is full.  Saturday will be a late night.  So a nap would be nice.

Then off to the dart parlor.  I’m not playing.  I’m planting my ass in a nice chair with a back and talking to people.  I’m also doing a hostage exchange:

wanderer This is Lola the Destroyer guarding a Wanderer Tote put out by Thirty-One Gifts (and bags).  It does not belong to me, but it was on special and I wasn’t using the special when I attended a 31 party in August.  My buddy Amy used the special to get it at half off (good deal by the way).  She gave me cash and it shipped to my house.

In September, a friend of ours became a 31 consultant and I placed an order at her launch party.  However, it didn’t ship to my house, it shipped to hers, in Springfield.  She won’t be around this weekend, so she gave my 31 order to Amy.  Negotiations were sketchy at times, but we finally worked out a deal… She’s getting her bag (plus a few extra goodies) and I’m getting my complete order.

My SO will of course be throwing darts at the event.  As I said, I’m going to sit in a comfortable chair and chat with people.  I’m looking forward to it, but I have some reservations.  I know it’s going to be hard on me.  But I really want to go.  So, we’ll see how I feel on Sunday and Monday.

In book related news, I need one chapter to wrap up The Dysfunctional Wedding.  Which is good, since I’m way past my deadline (it was yesterday… Sorry Krissy & Eliza).  I hope to finish it Sunday night.

Life Imitating Art

I’m coping with my back, but not well.  The 50mg Tramadol doesn’t help much.  I have no idea why I keep getting prescribed it since I keep telling everyone that it’s not working very well.

Doing chores is nearly impossible.  A single load of laundry sends me to bed.  I can still touch that spot and feel pain.  It’s sharp and stabbing.  It radiates from that spot and travels through my hips, pelvis, legs, and feet.  Sometimes, when the pain gets really bad, I have problems with my feet tingling.

Last week I got a bone scan.  However, my orthopedist also went on vacation for a week.  No refills on the Tramadol.  Nothing to help with the pain.  No results on the scan.  I’m a little irritated about that.

Next week, I go for nerve testing.  Immediately afterwards I have an appointment with my orthopedist.  I’ll get the results of both the bone scan and the nerve test.

However, I’m going into that appointment with a new strategy.  When I was a teenager, I was taught to keep a migraine journal.  For those that don’t have migraines, it is supposed to help you identify your migraine triggers (sunlight is my big one – hard to remove that from my life though).  Anyway, you log when you went to sleep, when you got up, if you woke up during the night, had bad dreams or weird dreams that might disturb your sleep, what you ate at each meal and if a migraine was experienced the duration and pain level of the migraine.

By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I was using the calendar template in Word to track it… And expand upon it.  I stopped just tracking things like food and sleep and started tracking everything because I couldn’t identify many triggers to match the migraine pain.  Which means for the last year, I have kept track of not just my migraines but the leg pain, the back injuries, the level of pain experienced each day, whether it increased or decreased during the day, what exercises I did that day, chores done, the duration of the pain (all day, several days, a few hours), whether it disturbed my sleep, interfered with my ability to eat (migraine pain does and sometimes, so does the leg and back pain), etc.  I’m printing out my August & September logs and taking them with me.  It also tells if my pain level decreased by using any medications.  Hopefully, we’ll get a little farther in the process to finding relief.

But… In a moment of life imitating art, specifically channelling Nadine Daniels… My doctor told me to put heat on my back for 20 minutes of every 2 hours as much as possible.  I also got a back brace at my last appointment.  The brace pushes down on the waistband of my jeans, so I am constantly pulling them up.  On Saturday, I was outside most of the day, sitting in different chairs.  During which time I was bitten by insects at least a dozen times in the area at the end of my tailbone… This is directly beneath the area where I have to apply heat.  And we all know what heat does to itchy bug bites… Oh yeah, makes them itch a ton more.  Even taking Benedryl and applying cream does not make that itch go away when I’m applying heat to my back.  It is the only place I got bug bites this weekend… If I listen carefully, I’m sure I can hear the Universe laughing.

A Publishing House

About once a month, someone asks me to publish their book for them.  Usually the people are just not quite sure how publish a book or what they need to do to publish a book.  In January 2016, I created a how-to guide.  In April, I updated it to give contact info on the editors, proofers, cover artists, and formatters that I use.  So, I just hand these out now.

However, once in a while, it’s tempting to say Yeah, I’ll publish your book.  It’ll cost you $300 up front, then 30% of your royalties every month.  Which is in fact a better deal than what most publishing companies offer.

It works great unless the author is a complete flop, but that’s what the $300 is for, cover some of my initial costs. Also, it’s proof that the author is serious about publishing a book.

OR

I could agree to publish for no upfront costs and charge 50% of their monthly royalties.  But again, that only works if the book isn’t a flop.

And therein lies the real problem.  Most of the authors I’ve read that I liked are not the ones asking me to publish them.  I’m sure some of them would sell, but not all of them that I’ve read are going to make money.

On the flip side, I know it’s hard to indie publish.  There’s all sorts of things that have to be done and paid for.  It’s not cheap.  Most authors are begging for reviews until they get to a point where they are selling 100 books a day and reviews not only help sell books, but they are required for some advertisements.

But I worry about investing in some of my own books sometimes.  Investing in other people’s books is even more problematic.  I think I’ll just continue to hand out my guide to publishing.

Another Round of Stupid Comments/Questions

It’s been a little while since I blogged, but I’ve been very busy trying to write.  So, here’s another round of Stupid Things I Get Asked:

Do you write your books on post-it notes? – No.  I don’t even plot with Post-It notes, it would be impossible to write an entire book on them.

I’m confused.  I thought Aislinn Cain died in Butchered Dreams, so how are there more books? – I have just become as confused as them… Where does Aislinn die in Butchered Dreams?

Do you ever worry that putting all your ideas into books will make you forgetful? – Um, what?

You know gay marriage is legal in Missouri now, right?  – Yep, but I’m not entirely sure why you are pointing this out to me.

If I write a book about the end of the world and it happens, am I liable? – What exactly are the chances that the world will end because it gets taken over by werewolves?  Also, if it does happen, I think we will all be too busy running from the werewolves to take you to court over it. (Now, insert Wisconsin joke here)

Do I need to put a period after every sentence? – As opposed to what, exactly?  I’m pretty sure the rule is every sentence that doesn’t end in ? or ! requires a period.

Congrats!  I heard you sold 20 books.  You know, I’ve sold about 700.  Did they buy all your series? – That was 20 books on B&N in one day (B&N customers seem to hate me).

Thanks for the suggestion, I’m going to contact your proofer, Pen Smith.  I hope he’s really good.  Does he mind reading romance? – My proofer is a lady… and her name is Krissy, not Pen.  And I had already told the writer 5 times that SHE did proof romance and sent her to her webpage.

I tried to contact your cover artist, but she lives in Canada and I don’t think I can hire a Canadian.  Isn’t that the same as hiring an illegal alien? – I’m fairly certain Angela with Covered Creatively is in Canada legally.

I have a job, can I still write a book or will that get me in trouble?  – Trouble with who?

I just finished all The Dysfunctional Chronicles and I really liked them, but I don’t understand why all your books are so violent.  Did you grow up in a war zone or have PTSD? – Well, I don’t consider Missouri a war zone and my experience with traumatic events is limited, so I don’t think I have PTSD.  Can’t a lady just like a little violence?

I loved all the Dreams and Reality books, are you going to write more of them?  Nadine Daniels is awesome and I love her Great Danes.  Also, I’d like to read more of The Black Dagger Brotherhood, Aislinn Cain is great. – I think you are very confused about my books as well as the books by J.R. Ward.

You talk a lot about the plague, but I’ve never heard of it.  What’s the plague?  Do you think that is going to be the start of the apocalypse? – Uh…

Why don’t you write a book about a guy travels the world in a crop duster that inseminates people with alien babies? – Why don’t you write it?

A Long One:

Them: I’m done with my book.  I was hoping you’d say it was okay to send it to you.  I know you like horror and I wrote a book about a woman who gets trapped in a mirror and has to get out. 

Me: Do you want me to beta read it?

Them: Oh no, nothing like that.  I need it edited, I need a cover, I need someone to put it up on all the sites.

Me:  Okay, you want me to act as a publisher?

Them: Yes!  I figure about $200 should cover all your costs plus give you some extra.

Me: The cover alone is going to cost $150.  Editing is going to be about $600.  Then it will need a proofer and that’s going to cost you based on how many words it is.  If you want it formatted for all the sites, that’s going to be close to $100.  So, I’ll give you all the contact information for the people I use, but I’m not going to act like a publisher, especially not for a $100.

Them:  Well, I know it will be a bestseller, so I’m going to send it to you anyway.  You can read and decide if want to help me or not.

Me (six days later):  I read your book.  It’s six thousand words long and the main character changes her name 10 times.  Also, you never explained why she got trapped in a mirror or how she got out.  In the first few lines, she was sucked in like Alice and then in the last paragraph she was tossed out like Alice.  I think it needs some serious work.

Them: You aren’t very helpful and I don’t know why you are being so mean.  Every friend who read it said it was great.  I’ll go talk to someone else.

Gaining Control

Yesterday, I managed to stand up for myself.  I forced the specialist to finally realize exactly what I was going through.  All the pain, all the self loathing, all the indifference, all of it caused because there is something wrong with my back.

My pain is disproportionate to my problem though.  Yes, my L2 disk is in rough shape.  I have scoliosis, which is kind of surprising because I’ve always tried to have good posture and I didn’t have it as a kid.  In my case, it’s “sway back,” meaning my spine curves inwards too much.  And after a second look at the MRI, my L1 disk has a small bulge in it.

I do have inflammation in the area, but not much.  Most of it is actually centered around my SI joints (which are part of the pelvis) and the nerves that run through that area.  It’s those nerves that have been causing my leg pain.  Which I’m happy to report, decreased after the injections into that area.  I didn’t realize it last week, but I had to play all night, normally that makes me want to scream and cry when I get home and all the next day.  My legs did hurt afterwards, but not the bone crushing pain I had been experiencing. So, we may have to increase the frequency of those considering the difference it made.

But what about the other pain?  The one in my back.  The one that has been constant for over a month.  The one I can actually touch.

Yep, I can touch a spot on my back, in a strange place that may or may not be my spine (I can’t tell, which is weird) and send severe pain throughout my body.  There’s no lump, no knots, no indicators that there’s something going on there, except that’s where I feel the popping.  And the popping also causes extreme pain.

So, I finally broke down and told the doctor “Hey, I can touch this spot and it nearly cripples me.”  He did some tests.  I have weakness in my right leg, weakness that isn’t explained by the SI joints or nerves, or the small bulge in the disk, or the disk degeneration process.  And it gets worse when pressure is put on that specific spot.  When he gently pressed where my fingers indicated, I yelped and jumped away from his touch.  He might as well have stabbed me.

I was fitted with a brace.  It’s a nice one.  It feels like the bottom section of a good, strong corset.  I’ve always loved wearing corsets with true spines in them.  They do so much for my posture and as a woman, they do a lot for holding up the jiggly bits and taking the weight off our shoulders, when I wear them, I slump my shoulders less.  This eases the stress on my neck, shoulders, muscles in the front of my chest, muscles around my shoulder blades… It’s just better.  What was I talking about?

Oh yes, the brace… It’s to help the scoliosis.  I did notice my back was a little less stiff after several hours of wearing it.  I wish it was a full torso brace, but that would just be a corset by another name.  But my insurance might pay for it that way.

I also got Tramadol.  I’m not a fan of this narcotic pain reliever.  it doesn’t seem to work well.  However, we have decided to check for bone inflammation.  I do the test Friday.  We want to minimize the pain without minimizing inflammation.  Tramadol is one of the few narcotics not mixed with acetaminophen.  While acetaminophen isn’t awesome about reducing inflammation like NSAIDS or steroids, it does reduce it some.

Then it’s off for nerve testing!

So, tonight, I have some relief and tomorrow I’ll get a little more.

Depression?

I’ve been having a hard time lately.  My mother and I have Jude the Great Nephew every day.  I do what I can to assist her, but sometimes I feel like it isn’t enough.  Doing chores around the house is sort of like torture.  I don’t enjoy anything I do; not even darts or playing with Lola the Destroyer.  All of it because I hurt all the time.

However, the big one: I can’t find my funny and I’m struggling to get anything written, let alone anything funny.  This is officially interfering with my every day life.  Something has got to be done.

I don’t feel “sad” like one excepts when the word “depression” is mentioned.  I feel indifferent and blah.  I feel worthless because I can’t do much.  A trip to the grocery store causes my spine to start popping and once that happens, the very act of walking is a challenge.

Yesterday, I cancelled plans with my best friend.  Plans I had been looking forward to for months.  If I was a crier, I probably would have cried.  Unfortunately, I’m not and that’s part of the problem.

If I cried every time I went to the doctor’s office, they might do more to manage my pain.  If I wasn’t so pain tolerant, they might also do more.  However, I can tell them how much I hurt, but it doesn’t sink in because I can still stand up and walk around and considering how much those activities hurt, I shouldn’t be.

Most days, I’d put my pain at a 9.  I feel nauseated by the time evening arrives because I hurt and I’m exhausted.  And it’s more than just my back that hurts.  My legs hurt.  My feet tingle.  Neither feels like it should be able to support my weight.  But my 9 and everyone else’s 9 seems to be different.  Most people can’t function at a 9.  I can.  I can function at a 10.  I cut the tip of my finger off with a pair of scissors, it got a 4 despite the fact that I don’t really have a fingerprint left because of the scarring.  The last ovarian cyst I had rupture was 15 centimeters by 9 centimeters.  Considering an ovary is about a centimeter, it was huge – it got a 6.  It dumped something like 800cc of fluid into my abdomen.  I did go to the ER, but only because I knew it had been huge and I was worried it had damaged something, like an ovary, when it ruptured.  However, I’ve gotten used to cysts, even large cysts, on my ovaries, so most of the time, I don’t bother with the ER or even a doctor.

Oddly, I’ll bawl over a papercut though, but I didn’t even flinch the last time I dislocated my shoulder.  One of those things hurts a whole lot more than the other.  I even put my shoulder back in by myself with little more than a grunt.

Yet, I feel like a junkie looking for a fix when I go into the doctor’s office and start demanding narcotics (I can’t take NSAIDS and steroids kinda bother my stomach too).  So, most of the time, I don’t advocate for them.  I ask about alternative methods to handle the pain.

However, the alternative method this time is doing nothing.  I have an appointment this morning.  I’m actually at it as this blog post publishes.  Hopefully, I can find some sort of relief soon… I need to advocate better for myself.  I’m great at doing it for others, I don’t know why I can’t do it for myself.

Lola the Destroyer & Life Changes

I’m having trouble keeping my footing at times.  It’s nearly impossible to keep the nerves in my back from being inflamed.  I do too much just waking up and getting out of bed.  So, some life changes are in order and unfortunately, the biggest one involves Lola the Destroyer.

She’s a great dog, but she’s 65 pounds of pure muscle. She pulls like an ox, a habit we have tried and tried to break with little success.  Friday night, she hit the end of her leash, not hard, just enough for my feet to come out from under me.  I spent two hours trying to decide whether to go to the ER or not (in the end, I went to bed not the hospital).

She’s also spirited and high strung.  She has a ton of energy and even more curiosity.  I’ve actually fallen twice in the last week because of it.

So, today, we had to make a decision.  I had a choice between a cinch harness and a choke collar because she is going to have to learn not to pull.  I just can’t handle it when she does.  She already has to wear both a collar and a harness anyway, without both, we have to pull the straps so tight they cut into her skin to keep her from wriggling out.  We also have to hook both to take her on a walk, she’s very persistent.

In the end, we went with the cinch harness… I just can’t convince myself to put a choke collar on her, no matter how humane they actually are.

And I’ll be damned… It worked.  To test it, I took her for a short walk.  Normally, she pulls me down the road, fighting me for whatever she wants to go investigate.  After the second time of that cinch harness pulling tight, she stopped.  She walked at the end of her leash, but she didn’t tug or pull or fight.  She kept pace a few feet ahead of me and when I slowed down at one point, she stopped and waited for me.  She has never done that.

We’ll keep track of her progress.  Hopefully as she gets used to it, she doesn’t start ignoring the squeezing on her ribs.  I got the padded rib sides.  I have been told they don’t work as well, but I’m not thrilled about the situation and I’m not willing to hook her to one of the metal cinch harnesses or one of the string-ish cinch harnesses.  Both look like they would dig into the skin and possibly, injure her ribs.

I know, I’m a softee.  I also know that collies are hard to train, not because they don’t learn, but because they have their own very determined will.  I joke about her being a mix of the easiest dog to train and the most willful dog – that collie/German Shepherd mix made for a beautiful and wonderful dog, who learns fast, but doesn’t always give a shit that she’s being given a command.

However, in good news, we have been training her at the campground to be off leash, even at night.  One of her favorite toys is an LED pointer and I take it to the campground to let her chase it off leash and off chain at night.  We live in the city, so she has to be on leash or on chain when we are home.

Two nights ago, I had to go pick up my SO from a bachelor party (we have a nephew getting married).  I didn’t want to hook her up and decided to trust her.  She went straight to the SUV hatch and waited for me.  When I got there, I noticed she was watching a cat… a cat she normally loves to chase.  Yet, she was still as could be, waiting to be let into the car.  She got in with no issues.  We picked up the SO, came home, and when we let her out, she went straight to the front door and waited for us.

Since she had done good the night before and had quickly caught onto the purpose of the cinch harness, I decided to try something new tonight.  I left her unhooked, took her outside, turned on her LED pointer, and let her just run and run and run after it.  She never once tried to leave the yard, sneak away, chase anything, and even when she got tired of the light, she still stuck close to me.

I think these will all be good things for her and for me.

Irony To A Writer

As a writer, I have a few pet peeves.  However, I also have one big “make me smile” dose of irony.  And it has everything to do with reviews…

Every so often, I get a review saying how poorly edited a book is.  I know that I have struggled with editors and proofers and I have finally found one of each that I love and that work with me.  However, editing and proofing is expensive and I publish so fast that I have to pick and choose when to have them go through my back catalogue.

For the most part, I just shrug at these reviews.  I’ve read some great books in desperate need of an editor, but it doesn’t normally bother me.  The editing, typing, grammar, fat fingering of keys, misspelled words, and wrong word usage has to be awful for me to comment.

Back up a paragraph; every so often, I get a review saying how poorly edited a book is.  Strangely, these reviews could usually benefit from the help of an editor and proofer.

A recent review of Elysium Dreams said the following:

Book 2 in the serious was more better than the 1st.  The character developmenting was great.  The plot was intimately done.  Aislynn Kane and the STCU is amaing.  The reason I didn’t give 5 stars to Elysium Drums was it needed more edited.  Maybe the authur should hire some one to read the book an fix the errors.

*Krissy – I’m sorry about the eye twitch that probably caused.

The other one that cracks me up (also about Elysium Dreams – Reviewer gave it 5 stars):

Great book, but it was too unbelievable.  Serial killers don’t work like that.  They especially aren’t normal like the killer in this book was.  The author needs to do more research, maybe read Helter Skelter so they know what real serial killers are like.  Also, I’m not sure why the author has her character getting hypothermia.  Alaska is very warm in March.  If the author had researched serial killers, locations, and added a vampire like in 30 Days of Night, the book would have been better.

For the record, I have read Helter Skelter which is when I decided the Manson Family were more mass murderer or spree killer than serial killer.  But it’s nice to know a vampire being added would have made the book better.  I’ll try to think about 30 Days of Night next time I send Aislinn somewhere warm, like northern Canada, in March.

🙂

Jude the Great Nephew, Innocent Dreams, No Order Necessary

For the last couple of weeks, I have been spending about 10 hours a day with Jude the Great Nephew.  My mom is acting as his primary babysitter right now and I work from home.  I didn’t understand what this meant at first.  I mean, I did, I was going to be spending time with the great nephew, but I didn’t know it would affect me psychologically.

Innocent Dreams focuses on child killers.  Some of the children are very young.  Since Jude the Great Nephew has been born, I’ve seen some psychological blocks arise from trying to reconcile how much I want to see him thrive and the fact that I am killing children, even if it is just fiction.

I have some issues with child killers anyway.  The hardest D&R book for me to write was Cannibal Dreams and I got it written by wussing out and switching my serial killer focus from August to Patterson.  In some ways, I resent that weakness, but I just couldn’t stomach it.  I can write, read, and watch blood and gore all day long but one of the movies that disturbs me the most is Mercury Rising.  It’s a good movie, but it makes me cringe.  The plot is excellent, the fact that a child is the target of assassination because he broke a code hits a nerve with me.  Second is Darkness Falls, again it has more to do with the children than it does the graphic nature of the film (which isn’t that graphic and I think got a raw deal from critics).  As a general rule, I try to avoid books and movies that feature violence against children, even if the violence is implied, not shown.

Now that I get to be with him for most of the week, Innocent Dreams has come to a grinding halt.  I’ll get past it, but it may take a little longer than expected.

But never fear!  I have other serial killers waiting in the wings.  I have several serial killers built and plotted out.  Their stories just need to be put to paper or rather, computer screen, and they will be done.  And the important front Cain chapters where the SCTU is dealing with the aftermath of Fortified Dreams can easily be moved to one of these other books.

So, as much as I hate to do it, Innocent Dreams will not release this year.  In its place, Flawless Dreams will be published in November.  Thankfully my stockpiling of serial killers has found a purpose and I can easily make the necessary adjustments and move on with Flawless Dreams without destroying the order of the books… because I like to have options available for just such an incident.  I didn’t know if I would ever use my emergency plan, but after writing Cannibal Dreams, I was smart enough to make one.

Oddly, now that the decision to hold off on Innocent Dreams has been made, The Dysfunctional Wedding is actually flowing at a great pace and will release October 15, 2016.  It will be followed by Flawless Dreams in November and Triggered Reality in December.  I might even make my goal of putting out Terrorific Tales this year too.

I plan to have The Dysfunctional Wedding finished in six days.  I will immediately start Flawless Dreams which has been mapped out well enough that I should have it written in two weeks.  Triggered Reality is actually half done.  I just need to add some stuff to it.  The same is true of Terrorific Tales.

However, knowing that I don’t have to write Innocent Dreams after I finish The Dysfunctional Wedding did something amazing for me.  For the first time since July 8th, I sat down at my computer and wrote 6,000 words in a single day.  I had been struggling to get 1,000.  Today, I suspect my word count will increase even more.  If I keep this pace, DW will be done in three days or less.  I can live with that.

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