On the First Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…

My good writing buddy Melissa Barker-Simpson has developed a truly amazing, fun and yet wicked world of fantasy. She introduced this series with a novella called The Contract and then followed it up with Fallen as she dove into serializing this fictional realm (The Collective) and all the many and varied characters who populate this “world”. She’s been inspired to write a story that easily fits into the overall arc of this series but, in my opinion, it works as a stand-alone too. Yes, there’s a bit of a learning curve on the characters if you’ve never met them before, but they’re soooooooooooo cool you’ll want to stick around and find out more about them regardless. I love Mel’s writing style and I love what she’s doing to blend her love of the 12 Days of Christmas with this amazing world. I hope you’ll take a peek and enjoy the ride along with me 😀

Melissa Barker-Simpson

I’ve seen a lot of inventive posts over the last few weeks that play on the twelve days of Christmas theme. Of course my muse latched onto this, and sent me the twelve days of the Fractured instead!

My dad always loved Christmas. He had many traditions, some of which we still follow (like French toast on Christmas morning – yum!). He was a stickler for putting his tree up twelve days before Christmas, and taking it down twelve days after. It’s one tradition I can’t stick to…I’m far to excited to wait until mid December! So, instead, I’m going to start my twelve day story. I hope you enjoy.

On the First Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…A god with an ace up his sleeve.

Okay, so it was official. Gods made lousy drunks.

Orion stared at his cousin, Darius, the only member of his family he…

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Touching Base

indie-author-day-richmond-hill-central-library-2016
Indie Author Day @ the Richmond Hill Central Library

These day’s I find it incredibly difficult to keep in touch with everyone and everything I’m supposed to be doing. And yet, the busier I get the more I seem to “take on” because “someone has to in order to get it done”.

Have you been there before? Are you there right now with me? 😀

I’ve been busy with my editing business this year and yet it’s still not producing the kind of income I need to help support my family. And yet, the more editing I do, the less time I have to write my own books. I’ve been trying to get Book 3 of The Chronicles of Xannia written for the past 12 months but other projects keep creeping up and taking over — usually because they involve getting paid 😉

I’m at a crossroads with my chosen career and keep reminding myself that I’m “laying a foundation”. I’ve got my SFF series that I’m self-publishing, my client editing projects (that keep me grocery money), my Urban Fantasy book (1st in the series) I’m currently querying agents about, a new Medieval Romantic Suspense series floating around in my head demanding to see the light of day, I’m the new VP for the Writers’ Community of York Region, I’m running a giant book event (gearing up for May 2017), and trying to find ways to entice buyers to consider my book when I attend other book events (marketing makes my head spin). I’m also working on contract for a local small publisher as polishing editor and trying to submit a New Adult, Contemporary Romantic Suspense stand-alone for his new Love Knot Publishing line …

I’ve got my fingers stirring so many different pots I’ve let my social media presence slide … for months now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love chatting with you guys about the journeys we take in life and the paths we choose, but I haven’t quite found that balance yet. I keep putting myself last and looking at the All Mighty Buck when it comes to priorities.

This month, though, is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I’m trying to focus only on writing book 3. I haven’t sent out any query letters, I’ve put 3 different editing projects on hold until December, and my Book Fair event staff (all volunteers) are stepping up to help take on a project we were left high-and-dry on with a volunteer who had to step back for health reasons.

I have it in my head that if I can just finish book 3 by the spring, I might stand half a chance keeping to this elusive path through uncharted territory and not lose my way.

What paths are you glad you’ve fought for?

Which ones to do you wish you’d tried harder to keep or want to find a path back to again?

It’s Official – My Books are in Chapters’ Book Store!

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COLES, A Division of Chapters/Indigo Bookstores, is now carrying my books 🙂

I stopped by my local book store today to buy a birthday present for my cousin’s son and pick up a little something for my hubby for our anniversary – no not a book 😛

It dawned on me, just as I was getting ready to cash out, that after all my waiting and numerous phone calls that I was now a “Local Author” in print, in the store! So, I hustled over to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section (where my son soon found me) to get a picture of TIME’S TEMPEST and CADENCE of CONSEQUENCES for posterity’s sake. I tried a selfie and let’s just say I’m really glad the floor associate came by because these look so much better 😉

In case you haven’t yet heard (via facebook), Book 3 in The Chronicles of Xannia will be delayed from a late September Launch to a “Winter” Launch (though I’m not sure on what side of 2016/2017 that will actually be).

Thank you all so much for your support ❤

MJ

The Ad-Astra SFF Conference for Writers

I had a fantastically busy weekend attending the Ad-Astra Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Conference. Usually I attend and sit in the audience of panels, this year not only was I on 2 panels (about self-publishing), but I read the character of Natasha (a Romanian Vampire) in the one act stage-play “Trophies”, sang & then read an excerpt from Time’s Tempest, and sold some books in the Dealer Room! Not to mention I had a  run in with Darth Vader… luckily I’m still alive to tell the tale 😉

Here are some pics from the event. My table cohorts are my buds from the WCYR (Writers’ Community of York Region).

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Chicken and the Egg Syndrome

chicken-and-eggI’m sure you’re all aware of the age old question: Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Since high school I’ve had a logical and scientific answer for this and couldn’t understand why the question was even asked.

My outlook: The egg came first. Whatever partial-version of the chicken happened to be in existence prior to the egg being laid would contribute to, but not be, an actual chicken. What the egg contained, would be.

So, in my mind there was no question, and instead a syndrome where people who didn’t know all the facts were easily confused.

Often this syndrome accompanies the very basic question of: What should I be doing first?

My answer: Does it really matter if the outcome is the same either way?

Take for instance my writing. I usually have several scenes, moments, and scenarios in mind well before beginning the planning stage of my novels. This time, for book 3 of The Chronicles of Xannia: Rebel’s Rein/Rain, I knew what needed to happen in the book but hadn’t received any inspiration when it came to writing the characters or the scenes. To me, I was working backwards, without my muse.

I’ve found it difficult to start the book and really tap into the extreme situation the characters find themselves in but at the same time, by pushing myself to experiment and get something, anything, on the page, I’m slowly navigating through the writing to find my muse.

And it’s working.

I have this overriding and grand vision for book 3 but found myself blindly reaching for inspiration. That’s okay – just as a blind person may lose one sense (sight) they gain the ability to use the others better, to help compensate. My other writing senses faced quite the challenge, but they succeeded. I’m writing again and with each new chapter my muse is becoming clearer.

Thank God!

Have you ever had to do something backwards to what you were used to? How did you feel? What was the outcome?

Repercussions of an Online-Personal Attack

I know I haven’t posted a “musing” in a while as I’ve been incredibly busy editing manuscripts for myself and my clients. However, I just experienced something that appalled me to no end and rather than lashing out at the offender, I thought I’d try and work through my jumble of emotions here.

The situation:

A colleague of mine posted a picture of fruit trees lining the street of a town/city that had a caption regarding how this would help feed the homeless in the summer and fall.

My Response:

I agreed it was a ‘nice’ idea but perhaps not entirely realistic due to the fact that it would mess up the sidewalks and roadsides unless properly cared for.

My hope was simply to point out that ideas and ideals for positive change are one thing, but it takes more than a good idea to see it followed through to fruition.

My Colleague’s Friend’s Response:

He attacked me for not supporting this initiative (note, I did say it was a ‘nice’ idea) and blamed me for being more concerned about the tidiness of our streets than the health of our homeless. That perhaps I, like the refuse created by those fruit trees, out to be swept into the shadows and forgotten about.

My Response:

I don’t like being attacked. I was looking for a debate, not a defamation of my character by someone who knows nothing about me, and that I did not anticipate this kind of verbal assault by any friend of my Colleague’s.

His Response:

I’m her partner. Suck it up and face the music. Contact me directly and then you’ll really get a piece of my mind.

My Response:

[In my head, “Go F**K yourself!]

On facebook – nothing.

Her Response:

My colleague then emails me to apologize for the passion of this person and hopes I don’t take it personally.

Well, I am taking it personally. She’s a wonderful woman with sound, worldly values and I would’ve thought that any of her friends would champion these qualities as well – especially her partner. I told her it bothered me and that I would no longer be commenting on anything she posted online so that I can avoid behaviour like this in the future.

I’m not ‘unfriending’ her because she is a friendly colleague who I admire and respect. I just learned the hard way that not everyone she associates with has her same couth or willingness to talk about an idea.

The Effect:

I’m emotionally scattered at the moment. I feel anger, fear, repulsion, defensive, and confused. Why on earth would anyone lash out at another human being like that? I thought that only happened to teens who ‘friened’ the wrong acquaintances or adults who opened their ‘friend’ list up to the world.

I am not who this man believes me to be just because I don’t share his blind passion for helping the homeless. I’m a dreamer, but I’m also a pragmatist and a realist. I see the millions of potential outcomes in any situation, good, bad, or otherwise, and that keeps me from diving into shallow pools with rocky bottoms.

This situation felt like a snake biting me as I leisurely walked bare foot in my neighbour’s backyard – and will never happen again. At least if I can help it.

Thanks for listening to me rant 😉

fruit tree street

Looking For Readers – Like You!

Every author does his or her darndest to entice readers to pick up their book(s). I’ve noticed lately that my 2nd book, Cadence of Consequences has sold well but I have few reviews to entice other readers to keep buying…

Gift
flickr – asanat29 Creative Commons

This tells me it’s time to offer a reward for reviews!

If you sign up for my newsletter (HERE) before Monday January 25th @9am EST, not only will I offer you free digital copies of the books from my Chronicles of Xannia series (for a review), but I will also enter your name in a draw to win an Amazon Gift Card!

But this opportunity is only for readers who subscribe to my newsletter.

Don’t worry. I don’t send out that many (maybe 4 or 5 a year). You’ll find out about book launch dates, online giveaways, and free stuff!

If you happen to know someone who enjoys science fiction and fantasy and free stuff, please pass this opportunity on to them.

Thanks so much!

MJ

Fun & Laughter – Fall 2015

This past autumn brought with it more local opportunities than ever for selling my books and hanging out with friends, fans, and other awesome writers. Not wanting to inundate my blog followers with a ton of ‘event updates’ I thought I’d put together a little slideshow to showcase the fun & laughter.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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