2017: A Better Year

2016 was not a good year for me or this blog (and as I hear it, it wasn’t a good year for a lot of people). But that’s over now! It’s a new year, and it’s time to start it right.

It occurred to me that I haven’t updated the blog in a while, but I didn’t realize quite how long it had been. At this point, we definitely need an update! I haven’t released anything since THE NEEDLE’S EYE in September 2016, and I haven’t mentioned that I’m actually still working. So! Let’s get to it.

First, I thought it might be nice to redecorate the blog a bit, and I hope to get to that soon. It started with NEVERMOR, but now I have many more books than that, so I want the blog to be aimed toward all my books instead of just that one series. It’s still my most popular series to date, and NEVERMOR remains my most popular book.

Now for a current update. I’ve been working on two things lately: DARK DEPTHS, my long-awaited retelling of The Little Mermaid, and LOVE THE BOYS, a modern horror about doomed love.

Currently, I’m posting LOVE THE BOYS on Wattpad as I write (user name Lani_Lenore) in hopes that more people will find my work, but honestly the fruits of this have been rather low (slowly increasing lately, but low). So, it may not last, even though I do plan to continue writing it, and then I’ll publish it in turn. So if you haven’t checked that one out, do so! The first part of it is complete (as an estimate, that’s probably 1 part out of 4) but it’s FREE!

For DARK DEPTHS, I’m still editing and finishing the manuscript, but it’s close. It’s my intention to finish up and have it ready for publishing in a couple of months. My original aim was for March 2017, but I’m not sure I’m going to make that deadline. Once finished, I want to build it up a bit and have more of a plan for marketing instead of just saying ‘Hey! It’s ready!’ Whatever the case, unless I feel that I can’t make it happen, it should be out this year!

I also have a rather short Nano novel that I wrote last year, which is far from ready, but it’s proof that I’ve done something new! I hope to continue working on new material this year. I have a lot of ideas that have been in my head for a long time, and I really need to get those out before they rot. I want to get back into this and take it more seriously again. I know I’ve been slacking, but things are still happening, and I hope you are all still with me!

I’ll keep you updated! I hope you’ll check out LOVE THE BOYS and I hope you’re excited for DARK DEPTHS! These two works will no doubt help me get this year started right!

A Writer’s Struggle

I often read articles about writing as a business: how to get sales, how to market, is it worth it? Some of these articles say the same thing, and though I would hope against the truth, much of what I find is the same.

No. Published or otherwise, a writer may not be able to support herself just by writing books. If you’re making money as a writer, it’s not because you’re writing fiction. You’re writing non-fiction How To books and freelance articles for blogs, dealing with subjects that don’t matter to you at all.

I’ll be honest: Lately, I’ve been thinking about giving up. In fact, I’ve been at that place many times in my life. It’s always just a phase, but the truth remains: I’m not able to support myself as a writer, and I may never be.

Writing has been a struggle for a while now. I’d say it has been for the past 2 years since I started my current job. It’s not always a question of what I should write – I do have a few ideas put back – but it’s finding the time and focus when there is so much else going on. At some point you realize that you’re an adult with an adult life, and no matter how you slice it, a part of having an adult life is always going to be bills.

The honest truth is that what you do with your life all comes down to money – the stress of needing money from somewhere and not making enough to pay those dreaded bills. And this applies to doing anything you love. Sometimes you just can’t manage to get paid for it.

In the midst of these thoughts, I was out one night after work, thinking that I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wondered if all my effort was worth it, and if I gave up writing, could I move forward? What else was out there? I looked at my phone and saw that someone had tagged me on Twitter. I checked it out and there was a link that led me to Instagram. There, I saw a picture of the books in my Nevermor trilogy. A book blogger was doing a post challenge, and when asked which author she would like to meet, she chose me.

I actually started tearing up. It just meant so much to me to see my books like that, in print and in someone’s possession. To have someone say that they love my work certainly makes me feel that I don’t regret what I’ve done and am doing.

It really does seem that every time I start feeling down, something like this comes along to lift me back up. What I am doing is not at all for naught, though it has been difficult to find time for it.

Things are harder now. My day job requires so much attention that I can’t even think about anything else, develop plots or ideas. I have approximately one serious writer friend, and now we have both become so wrapped up in having day jobs that we barely talk, let alone write together. Lately and for a while, the only thing my brain can think about is making money. How can I make money with my books, and do people really do that? From what I’ve read, even most published writers struggle.

The truth is, I don’t need too much to live right now. That may mean a downgrade from the life I’m currently living, but I believe I could do it. I think I could be perfectly happy without a job, but how to get there? What is enough for happiness?

I have 10 books for sale right now – 10 beautiful books – and a few more that I wrote in my twenties and haven’t released yet. I honestly want nothing more than to be able to support myself with writing.

The night after the Instagram pic, I dreamed an entire plot, and I was so excited about it! It felt so good to know that there was still something there, almost like a sign, that my own mind was telling me ‘we’ve still got it’.

I’ve started thinking: maybe writing can still be accomplished if I try to make time in my life for everything. A schedule. Everything has a time and place. Because of how inspiration strikes, this may not be completely possible, but there must be some way to organize this instead of me wasting so much time moping because I’m unhappy and worrying that the spark is gone. That happens with you overthink everything.

I’m happy to say that I’m writing again, and it feels good. Does it erase all the stresses that life in modern society brings? No. But maybe with more effort and learning, I can finally get to a place where everything balances out. I’m looking forward to finding that.

The Needle’s Eye Release Details

In just four days, THE NEEDLE’S EYE will be released in print and ebook formats! I’m so excited about this one. This novel has always been very special to me. It’s an original work that is not based on any fairy tale, yet it is a dark fairy tale just the same. Assuming you are as excited as I am, I wanted to give a few additional details about the release.

  • The book will be available on Tuesday, September 13th. (YAY!!!)
  • It will be available in ebook and in print (paperback) on Amazon.
  • The book (in both formats) will first be available only on Amazon, with possible enrollment for the ebook in KDP (which means you can borrow and read for free if you have Amazon Prime). If this is done, Amazon will be the only place you can get the ebook version for at least 3 months.
  • The book will be enrolled in Kindle Matchbook. So if you purchase the paperback copy, you’ll have the option to get the ebook for kindle FREE!

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Three sisters, three cursed men, and a ghastly fairy tale come to life.
When Elizabeth, Delia, and Emily were children, their grandfather told them a story about an island castle called the Needle’s Eye—home to a lord and his three sons. The castle has since been hidden by a mysterious fog, but his story speaks of nine girls who rowed out to the island. None of them returned, and the lord’s family was never heard from again.Years later, following their grandfather’s death, the last ties that bind the sisters to the village—and each other—seem to be breaking.
A careless mistake on the water leads their boat to be swallowed by the forbidden fog, and when they emerge from that cloud, the girls discover that the island castle they’d dreamed of is not a myth.The mere innocence of a curious glimpse becomes a fight for survival when the girls are cursed by the lord’s ghostly sons. Their choice quickly becomes apparent: they can play the games of the three soulless men, or they can give in to death, never to see one another again.
Don’t forget! September 13th!
Pssst! Here’s a special secret for those who are reading this blog: You can actually order the print version RIGHT NOW!

New Release Announcement!

A few days ago, I posted on Facebook and Twitter about an upcoming release this fall.(Yahoo!) But there’s actually more to it than that. No doubt readers have already guessed that this will be the release of a favorite, and a much loved work.

In September 2016, THE NEEDLE’S EYE will be published!

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In a seaside village, three sisters learn the grisly truth about a beloved childhood fairy tale—and succumb to a curse more terrible than their darkest fantasies.

Though it is one of my most loved and possibly best novels, and though I wrote it years ago, it has taken me a while to work up the courage to actually publish it. The Needle’s Eye could perhaps be referred to as a ‘trunk novel’. That’s one that an author holds onto for a long time — locked away in a trunk, so to speak — waiting for just the right time to let it be seen. While I’m doing that with all my books to some degree, The Needle’s Eye is not one that I’ve been willing to let go of until now.

Many of my long-time readers have read it before, even while I was still writing it, but since the day I completed it, I knew it was going to be my first published novel. (Now untrue.) Over the years, I’ve worked on it diligently, editing, rewriting, and sending it out to agents.  Though I did have a couple of agents request the full manuscript, nothing ever came from it. Even so, I held onto the manuscript, thinking that one day this would be the work that got me traditionally published.

Even after deciding to self publish, I’ve held onto the idea that I might one day be published on a larger scale, and I was certain that this would be the book to get me there. But times have changed. Self-publishing is growing, and authors have more power than ever before. I’ve finally realized that holding onto this book was actually holding me back. By holding it so highly, I’ve been keeping myself from going forward and embracing change in my career and in growth as a writer. This book doesn’t have to be my best. Each new one should be better and better! That’s why I made the decision that The Needle’s Eye deserves to be out in the world, and this way I can go forward with my own work.

So! Look forward to this new release! I think you’ll love it as much as I do! I’ll have more details in the coming weeks. 🙂

Unmotivated: the Rise and Fall of Inspiration

It’s no secret to anyone who might glance at this blog, but I’ve been a bit unmotivated lately. Chalk it up to what you will — real life, my day job, simple laziness — but none of that changes the fact that I haven’t released a book since Shadow Sun in November, and the saddest part is that I haven’t been working on much either.

Why?

Well, I can’t say I haven’t tried, but nothing has stuck with me. I feel that I don’t have enough time to just sit and think or really get into the imagery involved in writing a novel. Not like I used to. Sure, I’ve done a bit of editing on some older works, I’ve sent a few letters to agents, but what have I been doing for you? And what have I been doing to improve myself and my list of works? Nothing.

Recently, I’ve been changing — remembering that I can make as many excuses as I want, but nothing is going to happen unless I take matters into my own hands, try to do what I can for myself and never give up.

I’ve always thought of writers and painters and musicians along the same lines. Especially in the independent scene. Do bands record new songs, even before they find success? Sure they do. Do painters continue to present older works to new audiences? Of course. Why should writing books be different? Whether or not I’m ever discovered on a larger scale, I have to keep working now. That’s why I decided to do this in the first place.

If we slip into the mindset of ‘I’ve done all I can do’, then we’ll really be in trouble. I think that’s where I’ve been, but I don’t want to be there anymore.

The bottom line is that there is always more that can be done. Just looking around online has led me to see a change in resources that wasn’t there when I began to self-publish. Ingram Spark has print-on-demand services now, the e-book game is getting better, and there are so many blog entries about self-publishing and marketing to help authors find success.

I’m going to set some goals for myself this year, and even though the year is half done, there is still more for me to do.

I want to start a mailing list, set up a personal shop, and release another book by the end of the year. So, for anyone who thought I was dead, I’m not! I will be back, and I’m going forward with new inspiration!

Thanks to all of you who have continued to support me, and I promise you’ll be seeing more from me soon!

I’ve been lazy…

I have gotten so far behind on blogging. You know it; I know it. Everyone knows it. The truth is that life has been pretty busy, and I only JUST NOW got an internet connection at my new house (you know, the one I moved into much earlier this year). But now that I’m finally connected, I have no excuse. I desperately need to get back to work, and now I finally can.

So to recap, I was able to publish Nevermor #3, Shadow Sun, back in early November. Reaching the end of the trilogy was rather freeing but also damning, because now I have to decide what happens next – and I have yet to decide that. Of course I have works that need to be completed (Dark Depths), completed works that I need to edit and publish (many many) and I have new ideas that I need to get on paper! But there are only so many hours in a day, so many other things that need to be done. Life becomes difficult when you have a creative mind, but I think we can all agree that I’ve had enough of a break. It’s time to get back to it!

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but this blog will stay open and I’ll continue to update it even though the Nevermor trilogy is complete. It still lives, and it’s not quite over yet! I’ll post information on my upcoming projects, and I hope you’re excited to learn more about my future endeavors.

If you haven’t, check out the trilogy and the deluxe editon, and see what others have already discovered about the epic dark fantasy based on the story of Peter Pan. Find them on Amazon.com.

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Shadow Sun Preview on Wattpad, and check out my YouTube channel!

In case you missed it, the prologue and first chapter of Shadow Sun have been posted on Wattpad! This marks the first part of a preview you can read for free! (link) I’ll be posting up to 6 chapters here before the release date, so be sure to check it out every week to look for more!

I may have mentioned that I’d be posting some video interviews and readings and such, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve followed through on that. If you didn’t know that I had a YouTube channel, surprise! There’s not a lot there yet, but I have prepared a video reading from Shadow Sun! (sorry if I’m not very dynamic. I tried.) Anyway, check out my YouTube channel!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuwOHUZgrsNb3hHU34O9UrA