Social Saturday: Create Your Own Future

Social Saturday: Create Your Own Future

I have been incredibly silent on the social media front as far as my author platform is concerned. I am well aware of this. I also haven’t been that diligent toward the marketing and sales of When Stars Die. Even so, I am working on The Stars Are Infinite so that it can be released some time this year.

But crickets have been chirping on my blog for a reason.

I’ve been prioritizing my career in fitness over anything else right now. I’ve been busy building my personal training website (still super busy with this), I’ve obviously been busy with my full-time job, selling memberships and shadowing a personal trainer; I’ve been cramming my head with research to aid in my career; I’ve been hitting the weights hard to grow muscle; and I’ve just overall been busy with research to launch my business successfully when the summer comes. I’ll also be moving in with my fiance soon, and that’ll be time consuming as well.

Now that I have a planner, I can commit myself to a regular blogging schedule, but it will only be once a week, and I will dub it ‘Social Saturday.’ It’s going to basically be a recap of my entire week, a bigger, better glimpse into my life that you haven’t yet seen, where I will get real, raw, and honest. Now let’s get on to what I want to talk about today.

I somewhat regret my English degree. The somewhat part comes into play when you consider that my English degree has helped me become a better writer and self-editor. I’ve also gained many experiences from it that I otherwise would not have gained without having majored in it, like launching my own literary magazine and being a tutor for my university’s writing center. I would not give up these experiences.

I mostly regret my major because I’m in the final stretches of earning my English degree, and I know that unless I win the lottery or scholarships drop in my lap, switching my major to exercise science or something similar is no longer an option. I’m not willing to put myself in debt for an education I want to use to simply supplement my certification. At the same time, I desperately want to major in exercise science, but there is no way I’m allowing myself to be steeped in debt of up to 30,000 dollars (and I wish this were an exaggeration). The only reason I would want a BS is so that I can go on to earn an MS and conduct my own research into exercise science and write books on my discoveries. Having an MS would legitimize my research. Alas, this will not come into fruition any time soon.

I’m not brimming with regrets, though. If anything, I am currently buzzing with pride. After getting my tax return today, I was finally able to purchase liability insurance, which is the first step into launching my personal training business in the summer. All I now have to do is pay to launch my website. I am filled with so much pride because I have paid for everything myself to make becoming a personal trainer possible. This is what I have spent:

  • $799.00 for my ACE certification
  • $299.00 for my group fitness instructor certification (this one was on sale)
  • $399.00 for my functional training certification
  • About $200.00 dollars in supplementary books
  • About $60.00 for a heart monitor and calipers
  • About $17.00 for business cards
  • About $286.00 for liability insurance

Thus far, I have spent a little over 2,000 dollars to make all of this possible for me. I don’t list these prices to show off how privileged I am to be able to pay all of this off without accruing any debt. I know I am privileged. If I didn’t currently live with my parents, I’d probably be in credit card debt.

I post this to show that even though I was able to pay all of it off, I still took financial risks. I paid for some of this stuff with my credit card but was able to later quickly pay it off. I was at a point in my last job where I was very financially unstable and still in some debt from my group fitness certification, but I had to make this possible, even if that meant making just the minimum payments for my credit card.

I have decided that I want to launch my own business because currently I am salaried and also receive commission from the sales of memberships. It’s decent money. I’ve also been interning for two months and have received a pretty good insight into the life of a personal trainer. While I would still love to train at a gym, I am not willing to give up my salary and start entirely from scratch. When I move in with my fiance, I’ll have rent to pay. I still have to pay off my car. The point is that I have things to pay for, things I wouldn’t be able to pay for if I transitioned over to training full-time. My pay would be entirely contingent on training hours; building a base of clients takes time. The specific trainer I’m shadowing actually has to train on his own time in order to make ends meet. Training at a gym isn’t enough for him.

I am incredibly lucky in that my fiance is currently the primary bread winner and is able to support me in my endeavors. So I will remain a fitness consultant while also training on the side when I launch my business this summer–and hopefully surpass my fiance’s income.

I have created my own future, with my own money, and I am not going to sit here and deny that I was without help. While all the money came from me, I am economically advantaged in that I didn’t have to pay for much else while investing in my education as a personal trainer. Of course, I am also very good with money and was able to make all payments on time.

What I want you to know is that if you envision a particular future for yourself and don’t think you can achieve it, you need to find ways to achieve it, no matter what sort of risks you have to take. Don’t bankrupt yourself. Simply sacrifice what you can in order to make this future possible for yourself. Budget your money. Figure out what you need and don’t need. Just go for it.

I was so tired of not being certain of what I wanted to do with my degree in English. I was so tired of my last job. I was so tired of feeling like the only thing I had going for me was writing novels. And I was so tired of letting fear hold me back.

No more. I made this future possible for myself through hard work. I found something to be passionate about other than writing novels. I found something I can make good money from while also changing people’s lives in a big way.

I found myself by finding who I want to be. And even if I want to be someone different later, at least I know I can do it through my own hard work.

foundmyself

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Purchase When Stars Die at Amazon, Lulu, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble.

 

Cover Reveal for Chris Pavesic’s “The Caelimane Operation”

Cover Reveal for Chris Pavesic’s “The Caelimane Operation”

unnamedThe Caelimane Operation
When the Temples to the Goddess north of Southwatch are burned and followers of Dione are murdered, Hierocrat Catherine, a bard of the Caelimane Temple, sets out to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. With only the help of a traveling group of minstrels and a retired fae investigator, Catherine must solve the mystery before more people are killed, but will she succeed when she finds herself pitted against members of her own Temple, rogue members of the Seelie Court, and a seemingly unstoppable army of undead?
About the Darkside Codex
The Caelimane Operation is part of Musa Publishing’s Darkside Codex, a shared world series with a steampunk setting. Although steampunk forms the basis, the novels in the series explore science fiction, high fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, paranormal, romance, mystery, and noir themes. At the center of each story is the city of Southwatch and the dark cloud (a toxic stew of chemicals and pollution) that bisects not only the city, but the people who live in it. Segregation is quite literally built into the structure of the city with the rich and the powerful citizens living “sunside” while the poor and downtrodden live beneath the dark cloud.
The higher up you are in the city, the wealthier and more powerful you are.
The Caelimane Operation is scheduled for release on January 16, 2015 by Musa Publishing.
You can learn more about this at http://www.chrispavesic.com
Leading up to the publication date there will be special posts, pictures, and contests. Please check often to make sure you do not miss anything!

christAbout the Author
Chris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Email: chrispavesic@outlook.com
Blog: http://www.chrispavesic.com
Twitter: @chrispavesic
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1IvVb7W

Authors and Beta Readers

Authors and Beta Readers

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Sorry writers.

My PA, Mariah Wilson, recently posed something interesting about authors and beta readers. Here is her exact quote:

Authors also have to protect themselves. Beta reading for just anyone isn’t a good idea once you get published…why? Because if you publish something that even remotely resembles a shred of an idea that was in a book you beta read 10 years ago…that person can try to sue you. Best to B-read for peeps you know. That’s why authors like Koontz and King won’t read ANYTHING you send them, unless it’s published. It’s for their own protection.

Plus it IS time consuming and it’s not like I would not have returned the favor…but I cant’ drive 2 hours to go to a lousy writers group. (I used to be part of a writer’s group, until, for some reason, we were expected to pay? But I never attended the writer’s critique circle. Too time consuming to read for others. Too many expectations in a writer’s group.)

I’ve been wanting to seek out a few beta readers for a contemporary fantasy I am working on, but when Mariah sent this to me during a Facebook conversation we were having, I immediately realized this was a bad idea. Mariah has been my only beta reader. She’s fantastic, but it also doesn’t hurt to receive another perspective. Now I am going to bring on a second beta reader because she is a part of my lit magazine and loved When Stars Die. Not only that, but she has actual editorial experience to boot, but I’m not expecting her to fully edit it. I don’t want her to. A beta reader’s job is not to do that.

I originally wanted to hire an affordable editor for this contemporary fantasy. Before Mariah, I had nothing but bad experiences with beta readers. I would look at their novels and provide actual editorial feedback in exchange for their reading mine, but they never finished, or suddenly found themselves too busy. This was frustrating for me. I gave them valuable feedback, and I never got anything in return.

If you have been following my blog since it’s inception, you’ll also know I stumbled across Georgia McBride, who basically showed me that past feedback I had been receiving for The Stars Are Infinite actually wasn’t as good as I thought it was. Even though I had completely changed the book from its original draft, she told me it wasn’t ready for beta readers. But that in itself is frustrating. It basically says that writers need to retreat to freelance editors first before finding beta readers. So I concluded that the beta readers I had weren’t that experienced in the first place. But they still provided actual feedback. They were honest, but apparently it’s not the feedback that my book needed.

How are you supposed to know that though?

This is when I lost my trust in beta readers. Georgia McBride taught me a lot about structural editing. Because of her, I had been going to affordable freelance editors for my books. All I had to do was pay them, and it was a guarantee they’d get back to me. Plus, I wasn’t expected to return anything other than money.

Even so, that’s not ideal, especially because I’m not seeking to self-publish my work. I just wanted a guarantee that my book would receive feedback in an appropriate amount of time, with no expectations of returning a beta read.

I posed a question on my Facebook page. How many beta readers do writers normally have? Here are some of their responses:

Elizabeth Guizzetti: Other Systems had 2, The Light Side of the Moon had 1 before it went to the publishers. The Martlet so far has had 3, plus a few people who helped me with specific scenes. So 5?  I guess the answer to your question is as many as I need.

Ryan Attard: Personally it’s between none, one or maximum 2. Including the people at the publishing house. But that may say more about my paranoia than it does about writing
Mariah Wilson (she had more to say): That’s precisely the reason I don’t beta for many people. Time. I hate promising something, then never going through with it. I only take on projects that I’m confident I can return in a timely fashion. Why? Because it’s infuriating to send a book to betas and never hear from them again.

And now that I’ve been a beta reader for awhile, and a writer for awhile, I think that the best beta readers are ones who you have established a relationship with. I think that there should be some form of trust. Trust not only that you will do what you say you will, WHEN You say you will, but trust that you will put forth your best effort and your unabridged honesty. If you offer anything less, you are useless as a beta reader. If I want someone to candy coat it and tell me how awesome I am, that’s what I have family and close (non writer) friends for.

As for me, I’m sticking with Mariah and this other beta reader. I don’t think I’m going to retreat to freelance editors, unless I feel it’s absolutely necessary. I’m not bringing on anyone else, though, and I won’t beta read, unless it’s authors tied to my publisher(s), and their books fit my particular tastes–and Mariah and the other one. Especially Mariah. She’ll actually receive full, free editorial services from me whenever she thinks her first novel is ready for it. Otherwise, I’m going to charge people who want me to look at their books.
Writers, how many beta readers do you use?
When Stars Die Cover Reveal

When Stars Die Cover Reveal

After a million years of waiting, here is the official cover for When Stars Die!

Title: When Stars Die

Author: Amber Skye Forbes

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Release: October by AEC Stellar Publishing
Book Design: Viola Estrella of Estrella Cover Art

Synopsis:  Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?

Where Amber Can be Found:
WhenStarsDie-3-1
When Stars Die ARCs

When Stars Die ARCs

The ARCs are ready! I am currently looking for more reviewers to do a review for When Stars Die (because, well, some e-mail addresses were wrong and some people never got back to me). You can e-mail me your address at thedancingwriter@gmail.com or leave it in the comments below. Once I have that e-mail, I will forward you the various electronic formats ASAP. There are only a limited number of print books going out for review, so I would prefer reviewers who would be able to do electronic (PDF, Kindle, ePub). 

I Am the Bell Jar

I Am the Bell Jar

Everyone, I have finished edits for When Stars Die–at least, as much as I can edit. It’s not done yet. It’ll still have to go through copy edits, but it’s getting closer to completion, and I frankly can’t wait. I am so tired of looking at this dang book that it’s just one giant blur. I can’t wait until its in he hands of readers, and then the book becomes their responsibility, and it’s no longer mine.

I have also finished the rough draft of a short story I have titled “I Am the Bell Jar,” which is a part of a secret project. I am doing re-writes of it now as we speak. Then I’ll proofread or whatever and send it off to a beta reader. Afterward, I’ll get back to When Heaven Was Blue. I had hoped to finish WHWB before classes started, but that isn’t going to happen; however, I am comfortable with the idea of working on it during the semester. I just won’t be able to start the sequel to When Stars Die until December, but I can outline it. Luckily, the sequel to WSD is going to simply be a re-write. It won’t be a brand new draft or anything.

But this one, it’s not easy at all. It’s been a while since I’ve lost someone (human) that I care deeply about. I think I’m numb or detached or something. I don’t think it has quite hit me that she’s gone. I’ve known for months that she’s had pancreatic cancer, but I had hope that the chemo would do something and that she’d bounce back from it simply because she herself was just strong. She even held on in her final moments.

I visited her while she was in the hospital. She was in a coma. I don’t think I knew what to feel even then. I was shocked. I know that much. She was unrecognizable, and I had never seen anyone that way before. My parents never brought me to any of my loved one’s funerals because they were afraid I’d be scarred, but, the truth is, no matter how old you are, you can never be prepared to see someone you care deeply about so destroyed by their own dying. There is no preparation for that. Even seeing it a thousand times doesn’t seem like it’d prepare you.

Sure, I’ve cried a little bit here and there, but I just haven’t broken down. Not yet, anyway. I suppose I’m just waiting for it to really sink in. I heard about her death over the phone, after all. I plan to go to her funeral.

I know I don’t feel great, but I can’t even describe how I feel.

Emypreal Illusions On Sale

Emypreal Illusions On Sale

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Since I am practically Jake Bonsignore’s street team, I am posting this on his behalf.

Here are the links to where you can find this awesome book:

Amazon US – http://amzn.com/B00D18OUU4

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00D18OUU4

BN – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/empyreal-illusions-jake-bonsignore/1115427220?ean=2940016473031

How NOT to Talk to Me as a Writer

How NOT to Talk to Me as a Writer

Lately as more people have found out that I’m getting published, I’ve come across a lot of interesting situations both out in the world and on the internet. So I’ve decided to compile a list of things you probably shouldn’t say to an author. Or to me, specifically.

1. “Tell me a story!”

Whoa, okay. Slow down there. For one thing, I wrote a book, a thing that took a week to outline. I didn’t just pull it out of my butt and start writing by the seat of my pants. I am not a panster. I don’t like writer’s block.

Second, I don’t exist for YOUR entertainment. Oh, sure, I wrote a book and books are entertainment, but my book exists for your entertainment, not me.

Also, storytelling and writing are two very different skill sets. I can applaud people who can come up with a story on the fly to tell someone, but I am not one of those people who can.

And don’t be mad when I tell you that I don’t like being put on the spot. This is a common complaint among writers for a reason.

2. “I want to write a book that is about…”

First off, not to be rude, but I frankly don’t care what your book is about. I want to see you writing that book because your story means absolutely nothing to me unless it’s on paper. When I come up with ideas, I don’t even mention this idea until I actually have the first draft written because an idea means nothing until it has come to fruition.

Plus, most people who constantly talk about their ideas do very little in the way of actually getting anything done.

3. “Where do you have the time?”

Oh my gosh. I really don’t. Seriously. But I have to make time because it’s my career, just as you have to make time for your job. It’s going to be even worse when school starts because I might only have time for revisions instead of actually being able to write the sequel to When Stars Die. I might only be able to plan the sequel and actually get writing it come December, when I have an entire month off.

4. “Well, when you get rich and famous…”

Hold it right there. What makes you think suddenly writing a book is going to garner me fame and fortune? Because JK did it, Stephenie Meyer, Stephen King, whoever else? Those authors are one in a million. They don’t make up the world of authors.

I mean, it’s great that you want me to get big and make lots of money. So do I! It’s my goal to be a bestseller and to be an inspiration to my fans. I think I can make that goal come true with constant hard work. But also realize fame and fortune doesn’t happen overnight. Also realize fame and fortune doesn’t happen for most authors. And, last, also realize that an author’s first book usually isn’t the book that gains them success.

However, this doesn’t mean I’m not working toward success. I certainly hope When Stars Die is a success. I want it to be, but I’m also writing this other book too, and I’m going to keep writing.

5. “Will you read my manuscript?”

This question isn’t so bad, but they ask it with the assumption that I’ll do it for free. I’m only willing to do this with other AEC authors with the assumption that they’ll read my manuscript back–mostly because they are expected to critique it.

Otherwise, if you’re not an AEC Stellar author, I’m charging you. Sorry.

I just don’t have the time to read for free. I can’t even make time to participate in my writer group’s critique sessions–as in returning the favor by critiquing other writers. I can only attend the write-ins because, well, we write.

6. “I don’t really like to read.”

We are done with this conversation.

Cover Reveal: Christine James

Cover Reveal: Christine James

Today’s post is a cover reveal for Christine James!

ecover Witness the Beginning A fun night in a small town carnival will change Erin’s life forever with a simple visit to a bizarre and mysterious fortune teller. Scared to death by what the haggard woman reveals, Erin quickly flees and quite literally collides with Angelo, a mysterious and captivating carnival worker. Later that night, he appears in her dreams but he’s not the only one visiting her slumber. Evil is lurking on the edge of the shadows and it’s coming for her. Angelo is not what he seems, but then again no one ever is. Not even Erin. Loyalties are tested and the lines of friendship begin to blur as long hidden truths come to light and fate bears down upon them all. Everyone has secrets but when some turn out to be more than heart wrenching, Erin has to decide who she can trust. Can Erin deal with the harsh past that Angelo has been harboring or will it prevent her from doing what she’s been chosen to do?   

She can be found at these below links:

Paranormal Tropes My Book Destroys

Paranormal Tropes My Book Destroys

The other day I was going through my Twitter feed, which re-introduced me to Steph Bowe, a young author who had her first book published at 15 titled Girl Saves Boy. She’s nineteen now, but I once obsessed over her at one point because I wanted to be among the elusive breed of teen authors, but now I’m just among the elusive breed of authors under 25 since most find they don’t receive their first publication until they’re older than 25, I guess. But I did start When Stars Die at 15 before shelving it for about 6 years, so I guess that counts for something. But you guys should check out Steph Bowe’s blog. It’s where I got the idea for today’s post since she mentions paranormal tropes she’s stumbled upon in published YA paranormal books.

Let the troping begin!

  1. The male interest is often hundreds of years older than the protagonist. Oliver is only a few years older than Amelia, but Amelia is 18 at the start of the book. If it weren’t for a certain something, technically Oliver would be Amelia’s age.
  2. Special eyes, being ridiculously attractive. Nope. Oliver is very average, and I make that a point when Amelia describes him. But as her feelings deepen for Oliver, he becomes more attractive. I do this to show that our burgeoning love for someone can make that person more beautiful. Also, Oliver’s eyes are a grayish color, so there isn’t exactly anything special about them. But those eyes do become more beautiful as Amelia begins to fall in love with him.
  3. Creepy, stalkery supernatural creatures. Nope. Not Oliver. Amelia and Oliver already have feelings for one another right when the book begins, which is probably a first among the paranormal genre. Oliver wants more and makes it known, while Amelia really just wants to be a nun in her fervent attempt to save her brother, who is a witch, the ultimate sin in her world. But Oliver isn’t stalkery or pushy about it. They’re best friends, for crying out loud, so they know each other very well. If Oliver’s pushy, it’s only because their interactions suggest both of them want more than what’s already there.
  4. Supernatural creatures being at war with one another. Not in my book. Witches are victimized by humans. Another supernatural force wants to victimize humans for revenge.
  5. “But it can’t be real!” and then the MC suddenly believes it a few sentences later. I make it a point to have Amelia believe she’s hallucinating about a certain supernatural force she sees. It takes some building up for Amelia to realize her supernatural force is not a product of a hallucination. Also, I do this for His Vanity. But Gene struggles with hallucinations anyway.
  6. “You know he/she loves you, right?” Again, feelings at beginning of book. Amelia’s best friend had nothing to do with this. In fact, she discourages the relationship because of where Amelia and Oliver stand.
  7. “I don’t trust you.” “You shouldn’t.” This would be a spoiler for me to explain, so I’ll just say Amelia and Oliver have a deep-seated trust for one another.

I did write When Stars Die with the idea that I would eliminate all paranormal tropes. I am very much burnt out on reading paranormal (unless it’s recommended to me and lacks the usual tropes), so I decided to write When Stars Die as the ideal paranormal book that I’d like to read. So I hope you guys enjoy WSD. Also, I just want to say that WSD is actually more heavy on the paranormal than the romance aspect, in spite of the tropes I chose to throw down. Granted, I highly doubt WSD is free of tropes, but it’s certainly original in its own right.