Friday, August 29, 2014

"You'll never know if you don't go."

I see time flies when one is busy, based on the length since my last post. Life is busy this time of year, especially this year.

1. Kids have been getting ready to head back to school. This has been at the top of my list. Like many parents around the world, I can't wait!

2. I decided that I didn't like worrying about whether book sales would cover expenses or not. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to make ends meet only on ebook royalties, and the summer-fall time periods are the worst for sales historically, so it's not going to get better any time soon. Two years ago was a boom, but things have been sliding since then. With my kids both in school, I have my days free. And in order to write what I want and relax and not feel the pressure to produce, produce, PRODUCE to "make it" as a writer, I need another source of income. I am not a fast writer, and even with my days mostly free, I've learned that, at my best, I top out at 2,000 words a day or am burned out. I've said many times in the past that I write slowly to give my brain time to digest the story. If I write any faster, the story suffers terribly and the writing becomes mechanical rather than expressive. I don't like rewriting. And I write for my pleasure first. I don't like turning it into a business. If others enjoy what I have to say, that's a bonus.

I'm not stiffing those who put out a novel a month, but I do loathe the "you must do this" scenario that many of them preach. There is no right way to write, except what keeps the writer interested and also pleases the readers. Those are the only two rules I adhere to in writing. In essence, #1. Write for the love of writing, and #2. Make it interesting to others. Don't write to the market. You'll never catch up. I am always struggling to pull myself from that inkling of wanting to imitate what other writers have done to mimic their sales, and then I have self-doubts, depression, and a lack of interest. That only makes matters worse. In other words, be yourself. I've had to cut myself off from some forums, ignore threads, and stop reading certain blogs. Whatever it takes to regain my focus.

I guess that's all the roundabout way of saying, I got a job, hired in the interview, which I had the same day I emailed my resume in. Nothing pumps up the ego faster than having someone validate your credentials after more than twenty years of always having to take sh*t jobs to slowly build up to the good jobs. Self-employment for the last ten years has helped me learn many skills in addition to those I had learned in other workplaces, and it's opened my eyes to a different perspective about working for others. I look forward to starting next Tuesday in a job that is a perfect fit for my personality and schedule. I applied because it was part-time and the pay was good. I learned that the setting and few people I'd interact with are just what I like. I'm counting my blessings every day and counting down to the kids starting school so I can start on a new endeavor. I loved my last office job (until someone pretty much stole it from me while I was on maternity leave with my first child). This one looks to have a lot of the same qualities that I liked about that. I can't wait to see if I'm right! I've never been so excited to go to work for someone else. I even have ideas from previous jobs that I think could help this small organization.

So, that has been going on this week--a few new clothes since I gave away my old, outdated wardrobe that I no longer fit right anyway and getting kids ready for school and general new job stuff.

3. I've also had some issues with my Surface Pro 2. Ugh! I won't even begin to try to explain. Let's just say that this machine and Windows 8.1 (okay, Windows isn't so much of a surprise for flaws) have me inclined to lean towards adopting my Macbook as my primary computer, or investing in an iPad once a few bills are paid. The whole trouble took a couple of days of hunting around the hard drive, researching online, and finally reinstalling everything. And it still has issues. *headdesk*

One good thing to come of it is that not having it available made me more eager to write. I'd been having trouble transitioning to the WIP. That changed when I couldn't write because of the attention to issues with my SP2.

Just like doing something else at a new job, the distraction took my mind off writing. For me, that time to focus entirely on something else actually helps my writing. Working at a job for a few hours a day will do that. By the time I get to sit down and write afterwards, I should be more than ready to focus on it. There's another reason for seeking an outside job--something to take my conscious mind off the story for a while every day.

4. Now, I can't wait to get into the WIP. I picked up where I left off a month ago and am loving it again. It was slow progress to get back into it until the computer issues. I'll reveal the WIP after I reach 30,000 words on it (my make or break point in a story). I've already revealed it to those on my email list. ;)

And since I'll have a second source of income, I don't feel the blocking sense that I have to write. I feel free to write as I want to rather than have to. Nothing is more liberating to the creativity for me. I can't write as a business. I gave it a shot and it's been nothing but stress. I have to write for personal enjoyment.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Spirit Blade Preorders

All of the individual parts and the full novel are now listed for preorder at five retailers:

Barnes & Noble

Hunters (Part 1) is now available FREE at many retailer's, including those listed above. Chains (Part 2) is available for only $0.99. Armor (Part 3) will be releasing next Sunday (24 August) for only $0.99. The final two parts (Guardian and Demonlords) are the longest and also available for preorder. But if you've sampled the part or two and like what you've read, you may want to preorder the full novel instead of each individual part.


Nadia wants no part of the shevoru, the dark blade that has gained power by possessing the souls of raging half-bloods and monsters she has killed. Since learning the secret of the dagger, she has freed herself from its influence and is finally ready to make the journey to rid the world of its evil by using the power of an ancient device.

But when a visitor from her past steps back into her life, Nadia will be forced to make a choice between two men and two fates that could upset the struggle for dominance over the world. Amid games of intrigue and blood, demons from a forgotten era rise again, and the shevoru, the spirit blade, may be the only hope to save the world from annihilation and reveal to Nadia who she really is.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

cats, writing, and other updates

I've been preoccupied lately, so please forgive me for my internet absence if you were expecting news.

I was doing some daycare for the summer to bring in extra income to pay off some bills and to entertain my kids. In the past, I haven't written much in the summer with the kids home. This summer, I didn't get much writing done, but I have been editing, polishing Spirit Blade to prepare each part for publication, and then going through it again, and again, get the idea. Now, however, my kids are old enough to stay out of my way and let me work while they entertain themselves. And now I know that school-age kids are too set in their ways to adapt easily to someone else's household, where they're given more freedom but only in respect to meeting higher standards than they're perhaps used to at home. Next summer will be different.

Now, the extra kids are gone, the bills are caught up for a while, and I'm finishing the final touches on Spirit Blade. I've also started a new project that I've had to set aside, but it's a great start on a fantastic story in an existing series. That hit a snag after 9,000 words, and I returned to another round of editing Spirit Blade. In a pause from another round after that, I picked it up for another thousand words, in which I happened to get through the difficulty and move the story in the direction I wanted it to go in a way that works perfectly. The mind works when it isn't "working", the unconscious unraveling problems when not in the conscious awareness.

Spirit Blade parts 1 and 2 (Hunters and Chains, respectively) are doing well so far and part 3, Armor, will be available in eleven days. This was a book I really wanted to make happen, but I knew it would take me away from other stories for a while and be a risk. It's not dark like Tiger Born and has a different feel. I wanted to make it different, but I don't like be inconsistent with series. This time, however, I made an exception and listened to the story and wrote what I wanted the story to be, and I'm happy with it.

In another week, I'll get back to the new WIP. Once that hits the magic mark of 30K words, I'll announce what I'm working on. For those who don't know, for some reason, I need a story to hit 30K words or higher to know that it's working. Any less and I can't be sure. I've had stories fall apart before or right around that point. Once I get past it, the story is generally established well enough that it will continue to the end. I like that I have a project ready to go and waiting for me. It's been a year working in the back of my mind, so it's more than ready.

In non-writing news, I still have my horse and three cats. I've been considering switching the cats to a raw diet for some time. The canned food gets expensive, but the dry food is not tolerated by my favorite kitty. His IBD flares up something fierce with the smallest amount of dry food. He likes it, which is the problem, but he can't have it. Our cats like both the crunchy dry and the soft canned foods, but since the Siamese have their issues, they do best on canned. I want to take that a step further and go with raw or at least partially raw. Through Jackson Galaxy, I've become aware of, so I'll give it a try and see if it can help us.

My horse has been having his own problems again. I hope it's only due to stamping from flies on hard-packed dry ground much of the last month and not something else. I'm tired of hoof and leg problems. Even after a day off of work, he's still sore in his hips and shoulders. I'm giving him two days off, but I will lunge him so he still gets exercise. His hooves are improving and only exercise can continue to help that, but exercise could damage soft tissues. In palpating his legs, I don't get any reaction. The only place he could be injured is in his hooves, and I pray there's nothing damaged in there as recovery could take over a year. He'd rip anything left on his legs to shreds, so I don't dare waste my money on fly boots. It's frustrating. I'll keep riding and bringing him back into condition as he gains weight and muscle tone and his hooves improve, and hope the problem resolves itself. I can't take any more issues when he's otherwise sound. This makes me anxious to get back to my barefoot trimming studies, which I had to take a break from to finish the last details on Spirit Blade.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Spirit Blade updates

Here's the rundown of what's happening with this novel...

Part 1, Hunters, is now available at ebook retailers, including Apple, Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, and a host of smaller retailers. You can help me get this free at Amazon by scrolling down the page to "tell us about a lower price" and inserting one of the links I've listed here where it is free.

Part 2, Chains, is also available at most of those retailers (Apple is slower to accept) as a preorder set up to release on August 7, a few days earlier than I had originally planned. I accidentally mixed up August and September dates in my mind and sent that out in my email newsletter, so August 7 unofficially and August 10 officially.

Part 3, Armor, is also becoming available for preorder, as is Part 4, Guardian. Part 5, Demonlords, preorder links should start going up by this weekend

Part 1, Hunters, should be FREE.
Part 2, Chains, is $0.99.
Part 3, Armor, is $0.99.
Part 4, Guardian, is $1.99.
Part 5, Demonlords, will be $2.99 (the longest of the parts also).
The complete novel will be $4.99 and is available for preorder at several retailers--Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords--but only by searching under "M. A. Nilles".

Choose your way to read and how far you want to go.

And I've finished the description of the complete novel:

Nadia wants no part of the shevoru, the dark blade that has gained power by possessing the souls of raging half-bloods and monsters she has killed. Since learning the secret of the dagger, she has freed herself from its influence and is finally ready to make the journey to rid the world of its evil by using the power of an ancient device.

But when a visitor from her past steps back into her life, Nadia will be forced to make a choice between two men and two fates that could upset the struggle for dominance over the world. Amid games of intrigue and blood, demons from a forgotten era rise again, and the shevoru, the spirit blade, may be the only hope to save the world from annihilation and reveal to Nadia who she really is.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Detox simply

I didn't realize that when I went no 'poo (shampoo-free hair cleaning) that I would be detoxing my body.

It started about a week after going no 'poo and has only changed more. I started noticing little things--feeling more alive, a clarity of thought I hadn't had in over a decade as my head grew foggier through the years, and more creative. A few weeks later, I started noticing that I wasn't craving sweets as much and that's grown to where some things just don't appeal to me anymore. I still have cravings on occasion, but after a bite or two, I'm done, or I just want fruit to satisfy the craving and that's it. No more binges. I've recently noticed a reduction in my appetite, which is a nice bonus. No 'poo for me is meaning weight control.

Today, I had a Dr. Pepper (favorite soda) at the theater (Guardians of the Galaxy = awesome!) and regretted it later. A movie "small" is more like a medium from McD's. I got terribly sick, although I'm sure the little bit of popcorn didn't help. I'm used to a few cups of green/chai tea a day, so the caffeine isn't so much a problem as the poisons in the drink. I haven't had a soda in several weeks, but this time I got so nauseated and tired with a slight headache and heart burn that I am adding soda to my offensive foods list.

I never imagined how stopping putting harsh chemicals on my scalp would change my body, but it has. It's made my body very sensitive to the toxic chemicals in processed foods and drinks. I'm better as I type this, a couple hours after the worst hit me.

Friday, August 1, 2014

An "Oh, @#$%!" night

I lost my phone tonight, canceled my husband's, and gave our three cats heart attacks. Okay, maybe not the third one, but I scared the hell out of them.

I was pissed at Verizon because I hate their menu options when you call (using my daughter's phone, since mine was missing). I had gone online and was certain I had checked to report mine lost/stolen. Then hubby said I should call them. I got so pissed by the stupid menu, that I wanted to hit something, so I was cursing so bad a sailor would blush and slammed my hands on the counter. The cats scattered. Mostly, I was pissed at myself.

I had agreed to take the girls to Barnes and Noble to collect on their summer reading (eight books earns a freebie from a small list of books for their ages, even if my kids are advanced readers). Youngest couldn't find her completed sheet and I had gone out to the pickup, set my phone on the side of the bed and forgot it there.

Need I say more or have you put two-and-two together?

For those who don't get it, I forgot my phone there and ended up driving away. I couldn't find it in my purse at the store and figured I must have left it in the house. After spending too much money on new books for both girls, we arrived home to find my phone missing.

That's when I panicked and tried to stop service and messed everything up. I learned by calling it that it hadn't been stopped.

But there's at least a satisfying ending to this story. After trying several times, someone picked up on my phone! He couldn't hear me, however. He finally called from his phone to my daughter's phone, which I was using. It turns out that, while I had lost the phone at an intersection about a mile from our house, he lived nearby--I walk past his house often. Unfortunately, the screen is cracked (badly) and one speaker is broken (why he couldn't hear me when I called it); but it works enough for me to get info from it.

Now, I'm waiting on a tougher phone--I am hard on my cell phones. Saturday should bring a phone so new that Verizon doesn't even have it stocked in the store. It's supposed to be durable, like my old Casio Commando, which I wouldn't have given up if not for the memory hitting its limit.

Apparently, this is a common way to lose cell phones--setting them on vehicles and forgetting them. Don't do it!