What I have learned This Year & Plans for 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Well, Sword of Stone is with my super wonderful editor, Courtney Cannon of Fiction-Atlas Press LLC. We are shooting for a February 11th launch date because, well, it will be my 50th birthday. Hard to admit…

Many thanks to Jackie Felix who did the cover art for Tree of Bone and Mist, (renamed from the Empress of Ventra) War of the Gypsy, and the soon to be revealed, Sword of Stone. Thanks also to Courtney who took the beautiful art and turned them into wonderful covers.

Tree of Bone and Mist

https://goo.gl/T6EZSt

 

War of the Gypsy

https://goo.gl/wnSyLn

 

This has been the most transformative year of my life. This is the year that I went from luxuriating in the rosy ideal of being a writer to actually becoming a professional author. This journey has often been frustrating but extremely rewarding as it has been my goal since the tender age of five. Learning the trade of being an indie author has been a challenge—what writer loves marketing, right? But it has all been worth it to realize such a deep, life-long dream.

There have been other changes this year as well. My mind and heart, which had been tightly stuck on a belief system handed down to me by my parents and grandparents, all of a sudden did not fit with my changing world views any longer. With much trepidation, anxiety and guilt I moved away from things I had always held to and started to look at the world in a different light.

I’ve also gotten serious about my mental health this year. One out of four people have a mental illness and I think (at least I hope) attitudes are changing about the people (a quarter of our population) who suffer with these illnesses. I have struggled with bipolar all of my life. I let it beat me down until I was sure that it had won and my future was nothing but bleak—if I even survived at all.

And then my outlook started to change. I no longer believed everything I had been told my whole life, so that opened me up to the fact that someone who has a mental illness, could, in fact, be successful. I got serious about becoming a professional author.

I also started intense weekly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. To go along with this, I started meditating daily. I do not miss a day. Giving up my previous belief system, (which is not an understatement when I say that it saturated every part of my life) starting a career I have always wanted, and taking my mental health into my own hands has been nothing short of miraculous, allowing me to turn into the person I have always wished I could be.

That is not to say I don’t have rough days. As summer turned to fall my hyper productive and annoyingly positive outlook started to dim with the shorter days. It was inevitable. However, I’ve tried to remain creative and did not let my mental health routine slip. Some days—a lot of days—it was an all-out fight. I will always have these challenges, but now I know that change is possible. Dreams can and do come true.

This year I’ve published two full-length novels and have written a novella, which I am giving away on my website, and have finished and delivered to my editor an additional full-length novel. I have written about a third of another novel and have a good start into yet another one. I have gone on an intense educational journey, learning all about the ins and outs of indie writing and publishing. I have listened to hours of podcasts, attended countless webinars, read blog posts until my eyes were blurry, and consumed huge stacks of books—all highlighted and encrusted with my notes. Has it paid off? Well, I’m not wealthy—yet. However, money is only a tiny measure of success. My mind has been opened! Not only can I see and understand success and happiness, I KNOW THAT I CAN ACHIEVE IT.

I was also interviewed by two bloggers and I found that fact so surreal and humbling. Thank you, Fiona McVie and The Muse, Kelly Blanchard, for taking an interest in me and my writing. I also want to thank Ivy Logan for giving me such a wonderful review on her blog.

In 2018 I have many plans that involve every aspect of my life. I know that things are only going to get better. Despite the dismal outcome of our American election, which devastated most of us, I now see hope out of the ashes of what is happening to our democracy. Now that I am not restrained by a restrictive belief system any longer, I will be voting for the first time in my life in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. A movement has started—a fire lit—that will cause a shout that will be heard all over the world. We will prevail!

On the Winter Solstice I spent a spectacular evening under the frigid stars huddled around a huge bonfire with my family watching the Yule Log burn merrily in the orange flames. We lit floating wish lanterns and sent them off into the night sky carrying away our hopes and dreams into the universe. My first of many Yule celebrations.

Upon the tails of the #MeToo movement, of which I have my own story, I have found the feminist that has been trying so hard to escape since I was a small child and told that women need to be quiet and submissive. I always felt that was wrong, now I know it. I feel freed from the shackles of male rule. I am woman, hear me roar!

I have found my voice. I have found my power. I have found my passion.

In 2018 I will be working on many things. I have tentatively written out my publication schedule for the year and, if everything goes as planned, I will be publishing five more novels next year. The last two books in the Sword of Rhiannon series: Sword of Stone (which is with my editor now) and Daughter of the Forgotten Tree, which is about a third of the way done. I’m also going to publish a new dystopian sci-fi series in the fall. I’ve gotten a start on the first book (thanks to NaNoWriMo) called Sea Urchin.

I’m also planning on starting a blog for creatives living with a mental illness. I have a few blog posts already written but I’ll be looking for others to contribute to the blog as well. It’s not just my story—it’s all of ours. I’m hoping it will be informative and encouraging.

I’m planning on paying more attention to this blog as well. I’ll try to make interesting weekly blog posts about obscure fairy tales or different aspects of myths and legends. And of course, being sure to post about any updates with my books.

I plan on finally getting organized. Bookkeeping is not my thing…nor is keeping records…analyzing profit and loss sheets. Well, I guess none of that is my thing. But, I am planning on easing my way into being highly organized by the summer. I will be doing research into the actual running of a business in this coming year. I can do it. I have faith. Plus, I just got my copy of Joanna’s Business for Authors book. Time to start reading!

https://goo.gl/m4VFz1

 

My husband and I have been trying to become vegans for years and although we have made pretty good strides we have fallen sadly short. Sitting in a dark theater with my seven-year-old grandson watching Ferdinand it finally hit me. I cannot in good conscience keep supporting cruelty to our fellow Earth dwellers just because I want to eat a hamburger or drink a glass of milk.

There is a faction of veganism that has become aggressive, political and just plain mean and negative. I don’t want to fall into this group. This is my decision. I feel that it is something that I must do. I’m not going to preach at people. It is something everyone must decide for themselves. For me and my mental and spiritual health I cannot cause harm to another living being just to make it easier for me. I don’t feel my spirit or my subconscious can truly be aligned and at peace while taking part in the horrible suffering of animals—not to mention the devastating effects it has on our environment (over half of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute) as well as it not being very healthy to consume. So, we’re going 100% vegan from now on. Perhaps saying we stick to a whole food, plant-based diet is a more palatable statement (pun intended).

What has made it hard is the fact the only thing I hate more than cooking is grocery shopping. Thinking about having to prepare all our food from scratch is overwhelming. We also like to eat out, and let’s face it, southern Indiana isn’t so vegan friendly. But we are on a mission now and there’s no turning back. If we don’t want to starve we will have to cook…and find local restraints that serve more vegan options than just lettuce.

2018 is the year that I am going to make physically healthy changes also. I am eagerly awaiting my copy of The Healthy Writer by Joanna Penn and Dr. Euan Lawson. Joanna is truly an inspiration to all of us writers and her journey to be a healthy writer is so encouraging and the motivation behind my getting very serious about finally getting healthy this year. I intend to take up yoga (I already have my mat!) and split my work out into half cardio and half weight training for the best results. I also intend to put my expensive juicier back to work and make fresh green juice every week….fun! <not> LOL

https://goo.gl/XPMibS

Mind, body and spirit, things seem to be coming together for me. I wish I would have had these life-changing realizations when I was younger but I obviously wasn’t ready. Everything happens in its own time. But take heart, change is possible, no matter how old you are. <grin>

I hope everyone has a productive, harmonious, and outstandingly happy 2018!

Happy 2018!

 

Resources:

 

http://fiction-atlas.com/

https://jackiefelixart.deviantart.com/

https://goo.gl/TZcko6

https://goo.gl/NGTx9G

http://www.jasonstephenson.net/

https://www.thecreativepenn.com/

http://sellmorebooksshow.com/

http://www.marketingsff.com/

http://www.worriedwriter.com/

http://authorkristenlamb.com/

https://www.ornaross.com/

https://selfpublishingadvice.org/

http://www.blog.yourfirst10kreaders.com/

https://goo.gl/yf7gux

https://meetingwiththemuse.com/

https://ivylogan.wordpress.com/

https://goo.gl/BXpttH

https://www.thecreativepenn.com/healthy-writer/

https://goo.gl/6beo9T

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