Why is it that Ellie Goulding can always manage to capture the entire Night Touched series in her songs?? Seriously. This is very much Harper at the beginning of Jeremy.
Hi guys! It’s been a while.
2017 was a year of creative garbage. I didn’t reach any of the goals I set out for myself. I didn’t finish any book that I actually wanted. I feel like a failure as an author. I feel like I’ve failed my series, my characters, and above all else, I feel like I’ve failed you, my readers.
All in all I had a fantastic 2017, but my creativity and motivation were non-existent. Because of that, I intend on making 2018 a better year. I don’t have any resolutions this year. I’m not planning on posting any goals or anything like that. I just intend on working.
I’ll be getting back to filming for Youtube, working on this blog, and writing. Change is going to be slow, and I might not get everything done that I was hoping for, but I’m going to try.
I hope that you have an amazing year! If you have anything you’d like to see from me, or this blog, please let me know.
The following post is not writing related, but I hope that it helps someone all the same. Please note that what I am going to talk about is upsetting. It describes my personal experience with a single Petsmart Grooming Salon, and does not reflect the actions of all Petsmart Grooming Salons. (Cause you know slander and all that good stuff)
I am a dog mom. I have two handsome boys that I love unconditionally.
I have Oliver, an eight year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel :
and Jack, a five year old Jack Russell/ Corgi mix:
On June 15th, 2016, I took Oliver and Jack to get groomed for the summer at the Petsmart Grooming Salon in Watagua, Texas. I was told they were going to be about three hours, and I was fine with that. They deserved to get cleaned up and all of that good stuff. I live about fifteen minutes from there, so I went home to wait for them.
They had visited that salon in February, right before my husband and I moved into our apartment.Everything went fine. They were happy, I was happy. It was pretty much a standard day. This time was a bit different.
About thirty minutes before they were ready, I decided to head over there. The apartment was quiet without them, and I thought they might have been ready sooner. When I walked into the salon, I was greeted by a slightly irritated groomer. I don’t remember her name. It’s not really important at this point. She told me that Jack had stressed out when she tried to do his nails. She stated that he tried to bite her and proceeded to poop all over the table. I must have walked in right after she finished cleaning up because she looked upset. She pointed out that Jack was still attached to the table, and asked that I leave so that she could finish his head. She said that she didn’t want him to look at me while she was trying to cut around the head.
A little shocked, I agreed to walk out and let her finish. I was concerned that he would have done something like that because it is so out of character for this friendly little ball of fluff. About another ten minutes go by and I decide I can’t wait anymore. I walk back in the salon, and I am told they are ready. Jack was leashed up and ready to go so the groomer gave him to me while she went to go get Oliver. I apologized for Jack freaking out, citing that that was out of character for him. She, along with the other two groomers in the room, said that dogs sometimes have bad days. It happens. I said that Jack doesn’t have bad days, but they kept implying he was just not in a good mood.
While the groomer was in the back, I kept looking at Jack’s face, and I noticed there was something odd about his right eye. I picked him up and carefully opened his eye a bit more with my fingers. There was a blood pocket forming along the top of his eye. The groomer brought Oliver out, talking about how good of a boy he was. I pointed out his eye and was told that their eyes get red when they get stressed out.I told them that this was not a red eye, it was a blood pocket. All three of the groomers acted like they had not seen it until I pointed it out, and had no idea how that could have happened.
Looking back at it, that seems like a bit of a cover up. I mean, if I noticed it almost immediately, surely they had noticed it. I decided that I would step next door to Banfield, the Petsmart vet, to try to get his eye checked. I was told that the vet had no appointments, and I started to stress out a bit. I had to know what was wrong with my dog.
I went up to the register, paid for Oliver’s grooming (Jack was comped) and I walked out. I called one local vet that typically took walk ins, but they said that they didn’t have the equipment, and recommend that I call their normal vet. Which I did. Their standard vet did not have any appointments available until Friday. So I grabbed the appointment and figured that I would just be mindful of any changes.
We come home, get all set for the evening, and I decide to play some World of Warcraft with my friends. At about eight or nine o’clock that evening, Jack’s eye has completely turned red with blood.
It’s a little hard to tell, but I think you can see the blood. His eye was swollen, and he had a bit of clear discharge, like tears. I decided that I couldn’t wait any more and took Jack to a twenty-four hour emergency vet.
The vet did a full check of his eye, and came back with a horrible diagnosis. My dog had been strangled. The vet assumed that he did it to himself while he was stressing out, but he was still strangled. His neck was also swollen from the leash tightening around his neck. The damage to Jack’s eye is only in the white part of the eye, and he has no other issues. He can still see and his sight has not been damaged.
Petsmart has paid for the cost of the vet bill, on top of refunding Jack’s grooming cost, and I am thankful for that. However, I am not happy that this happened to begin with. I am not happy that it was allowed to get to that point. If Jack were having a bad day, they should not have finished grooming him. I should have been called immediately. They should not have blamed him for being bad, as they did, but been apologetic for not calling me sooner.
I wanted to write this, not to shame Petsmart, but to warn other pet parents. The manager that handled this whole situation, who was actually incredibly nice, said that she hoped they hadn’t lost our business by this situation, and that the groomer was being reprimanded. Honestly, I will never step foot in a Petsmart again. I am completely devastated by the conduct of the groomers in that situation. My dog could have died, and all the groomers could do was blame him for his behavior. The groomer that was handling him should be fired. I am not always the person that calls for someones head, because I know that find a job can be hard, but this was animal abuse. My dog was in her care and she betrayed him.
I am mad at myself for putting him in that situation, and almost let her get away with putting the blame back on Jack. I almost didn’t say anything to them. But why? I was not at fault, Jack was not at fault. I am writing this in hopes of warning others before dropping their pets off. From now on, we will be using a groomer that works in a vet’s office. Plain and simple.
This is a lot of what I’ve said over the last couple of years, but Kandee says it so well. Please watch this!!
(Please keep in mind that I do not own any part of this video. This is just a video that I thought had a great message. No copyright infringement intended.)
Why is it that Ellie Goulding can always manage to capture the entire Night Touched series in her songs?? Seriously. This is very much Harper at the beginning of Jeremy.
A lot has happened to me this year, and I thought I would share with you guys. I have really let myself down this year. I wanted to get Celine rewritten and released before year end, but that does not appear to be in the realm of possibility. Work and school have gotten in the way too much.
Fortunately, a lot of things are changing for me next year, and I will be able to spend more time focusing on writing. I plan on doing more with the TNTC brand, finally finish the TNTC website, and perhaps even release the new Celine and Book Three on top of everything. I had a generous offer from a close person in my life to become a “backer” for my writing. I was beyond flattered, but I had to turn them down. It wasn’t that I wasn’t grateful, because believe me, I was. It was that I lack so much confidence in myself right now, that I don’t think I would ever be able to repay their investment. I mean, they offered me something great, and I am so much of a coward, I couldn’t just say “Yes! Thank you! I won’t let you down.” The reason being, I didn’t accomplish all of my goals. I didn’t do everything I set out to do, how in the hell am I supposed to make a lucrative business out of something like that?
I feel like a big failure because of how much I didn’t do.Yeah, I did get the BNT mini series finished, and it does seem to be performing well, but I didn’t accomplish all of my goals. I didn’t allow myself the time to focus like I should have, and ended up being overwhelmed with too much. I now know the importance of organizing. Over the last few years, I have been very quick to advise people on how to self publish, but I can’t seem to follow any of that advice myself.
I follow Laurell K. Hamilton on Twitter, and I am amazed by what a writing machine she is. I also learned something very interesting about her writing method, that I think I might try myself. Instead of talking about a word count, she keeps a page count. It seems like her goal is 10 pages a day. I feel like building to something like that would be doable. I mean, 10 pages can mean any number of words. It seems like it might been less stressful. Of course, I don’t know, but setting a goal of a certain number of pages per day seems a lot less intimidating. I am definitely going to try that next year.
What about you guys? What are your goals for 2016? What do you think you didn’t do well in 2015? Any advice, tips, or personal stories? Please share in the comments!
I recently read a blog post by Tahlia Newland entitled “Opinion: The Core Problem with Self-Publishing is Quality Assurance.” The post was well thought out, actually, and there was a lot that I agreed with her about. However, my one big issue was her solution: having self-published authors submit their work to big publishing houses for their opinions before publishing to determine whether the book is “good enough.”
Ms. Newland suggests that every self-publishing author submit their book to publishers and await feed back before deciding whether to publish or not. Her reasoning is that 10% of books submitted to publishers were well written, but not good enough for the publisher to sell, so if you’re lucky enough to have your book fall under that category, then you “deserve” to self-publish. I have a problem with that.
When did self-publishing become about who deserves to be out on the market and who doesn’t? I mean, let’s take a look at E.L. James. Her books are laughably terrible, poorly constructed, and worse than a majority of what is on the self-publishing market. However, E.L. James has become an international best seller and she was deemed good enough to fall in to the 5% of authors worthy of being picked up by a publisher. Just looking at her, do we really want to allow the traditional publishing houses to dictate the self-publishing market? Are their opinions really gospel? Hell no.
There are tons and tons of self-publishing authors who probably shouldn’t be releasing their material. First drafts and hack jobs that certainly need to be revised are more than common. But who are we to tell these people to stop doing what they love? Is crap work saturating the market? Sure! But it is not my place, it is not anyone’s place, to tell these people to stop. There are a few exceptions to this rule (hate books being towards the top of that list), but there is not a self-publishing police, nor should there be.
My friend Tricia always says that regardless of how crappy a book is, we should respect the fact that that author had the courage to share a part of their inner being with the world. Being mentally prepared to take people’s negative opinions and get over the fear of being a failure takes a lot of moxie that many people don’t have. They fear rejection. We all do. But when you are self-publishing, you’re saying to the world that you don’t accept that fear. That’s really something.
I have found several rotten books in the self-publish bunch, and that sucks, but if we continue to further the “all self-published books are terrible” ideal, we are not doing ourselves any favors. By relying on the opinions of traditional publishing houses, we are telling all of those people that think self-publishing is a joke that they’re right. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to validate an opinion like that.
As I am sure many of you are aware, September is Suicide Awareness Month. It is a time to remind everyone that depression and suicidal thoughts are not just something you see in the movies and dramatic TV shows. People feel real pain and no self-worth, but it doesn’t make them any less human. Regardless of how many people they can have around them, they can still feel alone and like nothing matters.
I have been battling depression since the age of 13. I have been on medications, off medications, in therapy centers, abused drugs, and made countless other attempts to “fix” myself. I used to self-harm a lot as a teen. I still struggle with it today. I no longer do it, but there are times when the thought just creeps into my head, and I have to pause. I know that it would not do me, or anyone around me any good, and I feel like I have better control that I did 13 years ago. I have self-image issues, and serious doubts about my self-worth, but I do my best every day to get out of bed, get to work, and I am fortunate to have some clients that I care for a great deal. My husband, my dogs, my family, my friends, my readers, and my clients keep me going. Some people don’t have that.
I don’t know how long many of you have been following this blog, but a few years ago, my friend introduced me to a Youtuber called Markiplier. He had about 600,000 subscribers and was known for playing horror games. The first Let’s Play of his that I watched was for The Last of Us, and that inspired my continuing WIP “The End.” Markiplier’s channel has grown and amassed close to 10 million subscribers at the time of this blog post. Markiplier, who has spoken out about his own battles with depression, is well known for not only his Five Nights at Freddy’s series, but also for doing hilarious collaborations with the comedic trio known as Cyndago. On September 16th, Markiplier and two of the three members from Cyndago made some cryptic posts regarding some sort of tragedy that had befallen them. Speculation swirled, but mostly, the fans that had come to call all of them ‘friends’ were just concerned for their well being. Today, September 19th, Cyndago made the tragic announcement that one of the founding members, Daniel Kyre, had taken his own life. (Full statement on Cyndago’s Facebook. )
Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem, as they say. Nothing is so bad that you need to end your own life. If you are feeling depressed, or like you deserve to die, please talk to someone. You are worth more than you know. If you succeed, the people you leave behind will never be able to pick up the pieces. It does get better. Talk to people you trust, join a support group, check into a therapy center; do something! It does not have to end here, and it does not have to end now. It will get better. Please check out the graphic for contact information to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you think you don’t have anyone close to you that you can talk to, talk to them. Please.
I doubt that Markiplier, Matt, or Ryan will see this, but in any case: Thank you guys for all the laughter that you have given your fans. Daniel was an amazing spirit, and he will be missed. Your fans are here for you.
If you are contemplating suicide: Please call the number above, or the website. You are worth more than you think. Even you don’t think it, there are people in your life that love you. I love you. I appreciate you. You are wonderful.
The sad fact remains that every month, another self-publishing author is doing another stupid thing to make the rest of us look bad. I have said several times that I do not think that we, as authors, should be trying to crowd source any kind of funding. There are plenty of low cost, well put together businesses that are much closer to the “average” self-publishing author’s budget. I hear time and again about authors that spend hundreds, if not thousands, on editing services, formatting services, and book covers. They, more often than not, come out of the situation with a half-assed editing job and formatting that isn’t done properly. You should not be spending this kind of money! Especially if you have to support yourself, your family, and if you have to work in a “General Population” job. (General Population job is basically any job that takes you away from the comfort and solitude of your computer screen and your writing.) I know the argument could be made that you get what you pay for. That’s true. However, if you do your research, you will find affordable and reliable businesses out there that will do the job right and not cost you your first born child. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, but if you’re spending so much money that you need other people to pay for your stuff for you, or to essentially make certain that your bills are paid each month, then you need to reevaluate your situation. Do you not realize that if you tweaked your budget just a bit, you would save tons and money and not need to ask for help?
The reason for the long introductory paragraph is because I wanted you to know my feelings about that kind of thing at the beginning. If you disagree with my stance and see nothing wrong with authors crowd funding, that’s cool. That’s your opinion. This is mine.
I read a blog post yesterday by Jenny Trout [linked here]. The post was an interesting exposé of sorts about author Payne Hawthorne and her crowd funding campaign that was set up recently. There are a lot more authors that disagree with crowd funding than actually think it’s okay, and they voice their opinions. Enough authors spoke out against Hawthorne that it caused her to lose her shit. Literally. Hawthorne proceeded to go off on a tangent about how everyone speaking out against her is wrong and they’re all “cock juggling thunder cunts.” My favorite part of her rant is where she actually used her “looks” as an excuse to do what she’s doing. The woman actually typed out:
“Oh don’t hate me because I’m prettier than you.”
You want to be taken seriously and you stoop to a middle school level comeback? The thing that people are taking umbrage with is whether you should be crowd funding or not and your response is “I’m prettier than you so I can do what I want?” I’m stuck on this because… Well, honestly I’m blown away by the fact that that was an actual argument used by an adult.
The goal of the campaign is for Hawthorne to raise enough money to write full time and not have to worry about work a General Population job. (Because she is the only author in the world that wants that.) She has resorted to crowd funding because she does not feel that she is getting money as quickly as she feels that she deserves it. She said that she spends several thousands of dollars on her books, but only makes $100-$200 a month in sales. First rule of budgeting is that you do not outspend your income. If you’re only making $200 a month in your book sales, you should probably not spend more than $150 on your next book. Yes, that leaves you with an income of $50 a month, but here are two things to note about that: a) you’re still making a hell of a lot more than most authors make, and b) you are just going to have to work a General Population job. Because that is so terrible.
You know something, I am working full time, going to school full time, and trying to write in the mean time. Would I love to be able to quit my job, or not worry about college? Hell yeah, but that is just not the case. Hawthorne’s goal, as she stated, is to raise enough to support her idea of a year’s income at $12,000. Not a terrible amount considering the annual income for a family of two to be considered at poverty level is roughly $16k. She mentioned that she is getting assistance from her family but it “isn’t enough.” She is spending so much money on her books (and audio books, mind you, that she said cost her $3,500 a pop) that she has to get her readers to give her extra money. Assuming that she is spending $4,000 average per book (including the cover, editing, formatting, and audio book) (assuming that she only spends $500 on the editing, cover, and formatting), she will blow through that $12,000 in 3 months! So if her assistance from her family is not enough, she is not earning enough from her books, and she plans on quitting her job once she reaches her goal, then she is going to be living in the cardboard box she is so afraid of in no time at all!
In my eyes, she has completely insulted her loyal readers by essentially saying that they are not doing enough to help her realize her dream. She is still making more money in a month than most self-published authors make in a year. That’s pretty awesome to me. I still have people picking up my books and that makes me happy. I don’t care if they pick up a freebie or buy a full novel. The fact is that I didn’t get into writing to get rich, which Ms. Hawthorne apparently did. When you get into self-publishing to be the next Amanda Hocking, you’re taking a huge gamble. Amanda Hocking’s rise to fame is not typical. When you don’t immediately make the hundreds of thousands, or millions that Amanda does, you’re going to be disappointed. That does not give licenses to tell your readers that do buy from you “give me more money because you haven’t done enough already.”
Of course, the authors speaking out against her campaign are acting just as childishly. Bashing her campaign by trash talking her there, down rating her books, and lashing out on her Facebook does not do them or their ’cause’ any favors. Our community has a bad habit of trolling, attacking, and spiting anyone who goes out of what we feel to be the “norm.” As I said, I do not agree with the campaign or Ms. Hawthorne’s actions, but I also do not agree with people attacking her. She is entitled to her freedoms, just as we all are. Down rating her books into oblivion, while mostly effective, is ridiculous and unfair. If someone did that to you, you would be completely destroyed. Let her be. When she doesn’t reach her goal and snaps at her fan base again, she’ll be the cause of her own demise. Be the better people, guys. Just sit back and let her do what she feels she needs to do. Ultimately, how does her campaign hurt you?
I want to end this by saying thank you to every single one of you that follow this blog, follow me on Twitter, like my Facebook page, and of course, read my books. I put everything I have into making sure that you guys always know how important you are to me. Without you, I’d just be a crazy chick talking to the voices in her head. I sincerely love and appreciate you all. In case you haven’t heard it yet today, you are important, you are beautiful, you are talented, and you rock.
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