All I’ve Got Left

I’ve been doing a lot of stuff lately. Mostly around my house, trying to catch up with chores since being overwhelmed with the day job for the last month+… Went to Hama-con 10, did some exploration into FB market place and got some cool stuff. Got the back yard cut finally, but its going to get out of control pretty quick if I don’t get out there and do it.

I finished the artist contract for Moirae Publishing, so I can sell art by other artists. Also have some products available on the MP site to be purchased. I’ve started posting Foreseen Champion on my Patreon. Planning on rolling out 2 books for the April Huntsville Comic Expo next year for Moirae Publishing too: Totality 3, and book one of the Kara series. Additionally I’m working on getting the catalogue of MP books available on Smashwords. But that’s going to take a bit, since I have to completely reformat the manuscripts for that platform. yaaay…

I don’t have much to say past that, unfortunately. I’ve been busy, but it’s not been fun things.

I AM going to Galaxycon, Louisville KY, in November. I’ll be there with Randi Perrin once again! That’s about all I’ve got tho.

Post Hama-con Updates

I haven’t written in months. I’m genuinely sorry for that, but things have gotten so busy at my day job lately, then bad luck strikes at home; my AC died for the last month and then Hama-con and getting Totality 2 out. My yard has gotten over knee-height, so I’m going to have to find the time to put that back under control – hard to when any day I’ve got off lately, its been raining, or too hot to go outside at all. I’ve got a bunch of plants that need to be put in the ground still from this Spring, too… I just have no flowerbed in which to put them. Again, too hot to be out digging… or too wet. But now I’m borrowing my dad’s tiller and will be able to make flowerbed pretty quickly. The time consuming part will be spreading the mulch on it and putting the flowers in.

Since Hama-con has ended, I’ve been looking for new places to go that are local. I’ve got Huntsville Comic Expo lined up already (April 18-19, 2020). I’ll be going to Galaxy Con in Louisville KY in November (22-24, 2019). I don’t know what new release I’ll have available for that, but I do know I’ll be hanging out with the wonderful Randi Perrin again! I’m thinking I’ll have a sale on the old covers of my books, just to get rid of them. I’m tired of storing them, and the new covers Clockwork Joker made look really nice together. I’m almost out of book 1’s old cover, so I’ve just kept them as free copies to trade, but I’ve got a bunch of Phoenix Emperor and Symbol of Hope. Especially Phoenix Emperor. I had high hopes of selling out on that one when I ordered them. I’m learning to not order so many…

I’ve set up QR codes of the Natan Fleet Show so I can sell ebooks at my table! I’ll have the Totality series, Spar, and Touched by Death available soon. I need to do a little background stuff before that’s ready to go. I should probably make a flier for it or something… Clockwork Joker has been working on more fanart pieces to sell at the table too. I’m not really a big fan of selling fanart. Mostly because it’s very dodgy legality there. It’s making money off someone else’s intellectual property, but at the same time… it sells.

I’m working with Wayne on a project, it’s gonna be exciting! I haven’t sewn in a long time either, so I’ll have to refresh myself on it. In exchange, I’m getting Phyrra’s sword to go with the shield I’ve already got. I’ll need to revamp her armor though. My first attempt lasted long enough to do the photoshoot at AWA, but it fell apart and is now all flat in a bin somewhere. I’m only keeping it so I can make patterns out of the pieces for the next try. (I also need to lose some weight in order to fit into it again. Ugh. Why do anime girls have to be so SKINNY?)

Another project I’m working on is getting agreements with other authors on selling their books as an “affiliates” section of my table. Maybe if I get enough of those, I’ll open a roving bookstore in the dealer’s rooms at conventions. One day, I want to have a bookstore with a couple extra rooms for gaming and watching anime. I’ve got a location I really want to renovate in mind. I think it’s perfect. Especially if I’ve got a small coffee shop/bakery in it too. I already know who I’d hire to run things. I would just need the initial capital to set things up. But since I’m now over $5k in the hole from my AC unit replacement, that’s… even further out of reach. I still need to set up the heating option for my house, which will be some more money on top of everything else…

I did a panel at Hama-con this year. Publishing 101 again. I got a few people attending and asking questions at least. Public speaking is intimidating, but it’s something I need to work on. I also need to work on adding some more panels to my list of things I can do at conventions. Any suggestions? I’m going to post my PowerPoint slides on my Patreon this weekend from the Publishing 101 panel with all my notes on what I talked about. I’ve also got some more deleted scenes I can put on Patreon from Phoenix Emperor – such as the original version of Scheerahis and Vathion’s meeting. I still hate how the Shaxia draft is going and I’m not sure what’s wrong with it, other than maybe there are too many characters. I can’t figure out how to cut them, though. Politics suck. But life has been giving me more fodder for personalities to include… That will at least make the politicians more life-like and probably more satisfying to kill off- I mean!!!! Retire. Permanently. :3

I need to work on writing something a little less ambitious. I just need to work on writing, get back into the habit of it.

Living with Depression

I do my best, but sometimes it gets to be a lot and I think that maybe I wouldn’t move if a bus were coming at me. Lately has been one of those times. (I don’t feel like going into that right now, though. Go read My Best Friend is Dying and Grief if you really want to know.)

I don’t want to talk about my depression online, mostly because I feel like I’m just whining for attention. Talking about it makes me feel like I’m in high school all over again. I feel like I shouldn’t dwell on the negative when it comes to my depression. I feel like doing so just drags me back down into that pit I’ve taken years to crawl out of. Further, the way I deal with this disability is… not the common method as far as I know and given that I live in the South (albeit a more progressive area) I don’t like to be lectured on what religious beliefs I should be using instead. However, I’ve been thinking lately that maybe I’ve learned some things over the years that might be useful for other people suffering from depression to know.

I’ve had depression for as long as I can remember. I didn’t have an actual word for it most of that time. I just knew I was alone and lonely. I turned the frustration I had at the world on myself. After all, moving from one place to the next as a child meant that I didn’t have a nemesis or mortal enemies to blame for why I felt bad. The only consistent thing in life was me, so therefore I must be the problem. Even though looking back now as an adult, being the new kid in every grade made me a prime target for bullying, which might be where a lot of this stems from.

To cope with this horrible emotional hole I was stuck in, I developed several methods over the years.

Day-dreaming: I’d make up friends. I’d make up people who would listen to me and play with me. I had a friend that was only with me when I could remember her name. She was an Elvin princess who liked to hang out with me in order to experience life on Earth. She was from another world and would tell me about how her world was beautiful and full of nature. Earth was pretty, too, but not in the same magical way. The trees in her world had blue leaves and the flowers glowed. I never questioned why she would hang out with me, but I appreciated the company. I do still remember her name…

Writing: After I discovered that reading could be enjoyable, I’d begun putting my fantasies onto a blank Word document. I frequently drove myself to tears writing my terrible stories. The catharsis was good, but still I was wallowing in misery. I never wrote anyone from my real life into my stories because I was writing to get away from them. I don’t know how good my stories were. I’ve got hard disks with copies of my old stuff on them. The technology is so old now, I’m not sure how I would get access. The series I wrote most often included a self-insert character that could do anything she wanted. She was beautiful, tall, long thick hair, and everything I wasn’t. People loved her, she was a force of nature, a hero that saved those who needed saving whenever she saw trouble. She stepped in and did the right thing, whether it was what anyone else wanted or not.

Mental imagery: This was the beginning of when I’d grown tired of living in agony. Life was much like walking through a sandstorm. I could see vague shapes of other people in the dust, but felt like even if I called out, no one would hear, my mouth would only fill with sand, they were too busy with their own concerns and wouldn’t help me anyway. Every day, the wind would pelt me with sand, wearing down who I was and my energy until I was nothing. Many days I imagined just falling face-down and letting the sand bury me because continuing was pointless anyway.

The problem was that something inside me didn’t want to give up yet. Things kept getting worse and worse at one point. I’d been torn apart by a bad relationship, fired from a job, and still needed to pay bills in order to have somewhere to live. I felt like my chest was being torn open by my soul as it tried to escape my still-beating heart. I had my reasons for not killing myself that night. I really wanted to, but I’d deliberately put safety backups into my life. I had a friend living with me and I cared enough about them to not make them be the one to find me the next morning. So, something in me still wanted to fight.

The biggest hurdle to getting better was that there was a stigma against taking medication. I felt like this was all in my head. I should have figured out how to live with myself by now on my own. Everyone else seemed capable of functioning on a daily basis without having to go cry in the bathroom at least once before lunch. Yeah. Depression IS in my head, but it took me far too long to realize that I was ruining my life and relationships by refusing to get medication. That’s my biggest regret. If I’d had better mastery of my emotions, what could I have achieved sooner? I probably wouldn’t have lost as many jobs or lost out on as many opportunities as I have. There are so many things I started and abandoned because I couldn’t follow through. I hate that I wasted so much time.

Enough on that though. I wanted to talk about how I started getting better!

As I said before mental imagery was my key. After getting on medication, I began changing the mental landscape I’d given myself. No longer a sandstorm with a ruined dead tree at the center. I gave myself a peaceful place in the mountains overlooking a lake. I built a tower. At first my tower didn’t have windows, but then over time I opened it up to the light. I like being able to see into the distance. I need the sunlight and the wind. I need to reach into the sky and touch clouds.

Just like I rebuilt the landscape, I rebuilt how I thought of myself. Within my mental tower I began putting bad thoughts into cardboard boxes and taping them up. I’d throw them out the window. I didn’t need these evil things in my head, ruining my paradise. The world is harsh enough. I didn’t want these thoughts cluttering up where I live too.

The final thing was when I asked myself some serious questions. Do I have any basis to say I’m worthless or a hag or any of the mean things I’d tell myself? No one ever said any of these things to me that I remember. So why was I? Who was I punishing?

The answer is that I was only hurting myself and it wasn’t even fixing the things I hated. The people being punished were the ones who loved me, not the ones I wanted attention from. The fact that I wanted attention wasn’t a problem either, but how I was seeking it WAS. Honestly, there were better things I could do with my time and energy than sit and hate myself in the dark.

The answer is that I was only hurting myself and it wasn’t even fixing the things I hated. The people I was punishing were the ones who loved me, not the ones I wanted attention from. The fact that I wanted attention wasn’t a problem either, but how I was seeking it WAS. Honestly, there were better things I could do with my time and energy than sit and hate myself in the dark.

Like I said at the start of this, I have days where I don’t know how fast I’d move if a bus were hurtling towards me, but my good days outnumber the bad. I use my imagination to deal with the anxiety and depression that leak through, even on medication. Mostly, I write. I can live new lives through my characters and grow and change with them. Instead of heaping abuse on myself, I destroy them and it is a much better use of my time. Writing lets me express myself through a filter. Unlike these essays where I just feel exposed. Where I feel like I’m standing in the front yard in my panties. I prefer to hide behind the characters. Maybe I do sympathize with Likka. Maybe I don’t. It’s a work of fiction so I don’t have to say one way or another. Whether its healthy or not, it’s how I live with my depression.

In response to J. D. Huffman

J. D. Huffman wrote a thought-provoking piece on self-promotion here.
I’d like to add to it.

I too hate self-promotion. It’s a drag. Its time consuming. It’s terrifying! I’ve mentioned before that I have anxiety and depression. I don’t like speaking in public; mostly in situations where I’ve got to draw attention to myself and address a large group of people. But it’s something I gotta do.

My childhood was spent moving every year. I had to learn to rely on myself for entertainment. I learned to dig deep into my own mind and sometimes that was a curse; I was aware of my flaws and I didn’t know how to communicate with other people. But also, I knew myself. I was confident in being myself and didn’t really care about conforming. I didn’t know how to conform. In middle school, I got picked on a lot for this. These days, I’m pretty sure they were just jealous that I didn’t care and I did what I wanted.

As Huffman said, I love writing. I love that I wrote books, but also, after writing my first book I was so scared to promote it. The social stigma against self publishing back in 2008, when PTH first came out, was very hard to push through. Whenever I mentioned I had a book, people would first light up like “Oh neat!” and then I say I’m self published… and the disgust on their faces just made me feel dirty. I didn’t try to go to a major publishing house. I didn’t query anyone. The general consensus back then was that people only self-published when they were bad writers and couldn’t get anyone “in charge” to buy their crap.

However. I have absolutely no regrets on taking my work this direction. I still stand by the fact that both the big and small publishers of the day would not have taken a chance on NFS. If I had the chance to go back and do it again, the only thing I’d do different is that I’d push harder to get my work out there. The early 2000s was the prime time to get popular, as someone on the front lines of self-publishing in the new millennium. I regret not knowing then what I know now. I can only go forward, though.

While it has been a hard battle to get any kind of respect, the ease of self publishing has at least made people more open to the idea. They’ve become more understanding of the amount of effort, time, attention to detail, and formatting it takes to create a book they devour in a few days. Making something worth reading goes way beyond just a keyboard smash and a quick spellcheck. These days, every time I mention that I’m published in public, I inevitably get someone who says “I’ve always wanted to write a book…” and we both know that the reason why they haven’t done it is because they KNOW its hard. Not just getting the file ready to put out into people’s hands, but the work before that. The work of getting past your inner editor, that awful voice that says “No one wants to read this, you’re kidding yourself.” That’s really the first step. Then there’s the “Halfway” point where you look at the last 30 pages you wrote and resist the urge to delete it all because, honestly it sucks. Anyone who has created a book and put it out there should be proud of themselves.

Anyone who has done it can tell you that the work doesn’t stop there. Even with a major publishing house, you still have to self-promote and build your Brand. You can’t just be a recluse and write books. Today, you still see J. K Rowling out there on twitter, talking to fans. You still see R. R. Martin doing interviews on the Ellen show or whatever. Yes. It sucks, but we live in a digital age where the inner lives of our idols are on display 24/7 and we’re just two clicks away from seeing them drunk and vomiting in a public bathroom. No one is perfect. Nothing is perfect. But it also means that anything out of sight is out of mind and easily forgotten.

You don’t hear much about that Eragon author anymore. What’s he done lately? Who knows. What about the person who wrote Divergent? Can’t even remember who wrote Hunger Games. I bet that you do remember what that one singer did recently that’s been all over the news; because it keeps getting brought to your attention.

That’s the reason for remaining active on social media and writing posts for your blog. You’ve got to bring attention to yourself, even though it’s uncomfortable.

Take heart, though. If you’ve written a book, or you’re posting stuff on Instagram, if you’re trying to become YouTube famous, you’re out there creating something, and people who like what you make will eventually show up as long as you keep making things and making yourself visible. Be proud of yourself for doing it. You’re not an impostor. You’re not faking anything. You’re not stealing from anyone. There are at least 10 people you personally know who are gonna say “I always wanted to…” but never done anything about it because they’re scared of the work it’s going to take.

Anyone who doesn’t like what you’re doing can sod off.

what kinda crap….

I’m working on short story collections for NFS. I need covers tho. I’ve put together a little over 20k words for an NFS 3.5 story. Grabbed the first scene from Shaxia, since I wrote a different scene to start that off. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on getting the print version of Touched by Death done. I’m kinda late on that due to a combination of overtime at work and lazitis. But the files are in review and should pass shortly. I’ve got another author lined up to publish. But that won’t be until the new year at the earliest. I’ve started ads for books on kindle, hopefully that will get some bites. 

My kitty hasn’t been doing great lately. I wish i could tell if she’s just tired and old or not feeling good or outright dying. I hope that I can be there when she passes. :-/

I redecorated my house slightly to improve feng sui and attract wealth. It seems to be working slightly. I had a friend over this weekend who sells things on the internet and she sold like 5 things in the two days she was here, some of the items having been on her shop for 2 years. My house is still dirty though and needs swept/mopped/dusted. Maybe that will happen before December. I’ve got a couple days off for TG. 

As for TG, and the accompanying Black Friday, I keep seeing really good deals on stuff, but like, they’re things _I_ would want for myself. So I can’t buy them. I’m not like my dad, buying everything I want before Xmas so that no one has anything to give me for Xmas. -eyeroll- … Thus far I want a Kitchen-aid mixer and a PS4 would be nice, but the mixer for certain I would use the heck out of. I haven’t made cookies lately just because my previous housemate took her mixer with her when she left (not on bad terms, her mom needs more constant care…) 

I picked up a friend at ConFuzion. He does 3D modeling and stuff. If I could hook him up with my other friend who is really great at making props and texturing things, I think with Clockwork Joker, I’d have the start of a gaming division for Moirae. Except we still need someone who can do the coding. I’ve got no idea and no time to learn that, so I’ll have to find someone.

I’ve been working on my leadership skills, but there don’t seem to be any easy resources that talk about how to be a good leader. How do I improve the whole telling people what to do and when to get it done aspect? I feel so awkward trying to tell people to do things. 

I’ve also got a line of products I’m getting Moirae’s JR artist working on. Cards for the Totality series. I think that’ll be fun. Gotta get the cover for book 2 of that series started too… Huffman already has the text written and I just need to read and do a quick edit on it. 

Ugh. I also need to work harder at Moirae’s website. But coming up with articles and content for it is difficult, since it has a higher level of difficulty than writing for my own blog where I can just word-vomit and talk about things that are going on in a more informal way. I’ll get onto our Editor Adele again later to see if she’s got those interview questions done. She’s been busy lately too. Tis the Season…

good NEWS everybody!

I’m trying something new. Maybe it will keep me on track for producing content on a more regular basis? At Imaginarium this year, I went to a couple panels talking about marketing strategies. Really marketing boils down to just being consistent with content. Ugh. I’m the queen of inconsistency.

Anyway, here’s my idea.

I’m going to start posting something on this blog twice a month. The 1st and the 15th. That should give me enough time to actually come up with a post and write it.

As it stands, here’s my announcements for today!

On my Patreon, I’m going to start posting the draft chapters of Shaxia (from chapter 1) in the $5 tier. If you want to beta read and give feedback, join us! My Patreon has a bunch of other cool things too; such as artwork from Clockwork Joker, and other writing-related things. If this experiment goes well, I’ll start posting Foreseen Champion on Patreon in the $5 tier as well once I get Shaxia finished.

Another promotion I’m starting on Patreon is join our $5 tier and you get to pick an item from our merchandise and we’ll ship it to you. So that’s TWO good reasons to join our Patreon! You get a gift of your choice for signing up and you get to read Shaxia draft and more!

Speaking of gifts, I’m going to be at CONFUZION this year in Muscle Shoals. Come find me and receive a special gift!

I’m going to start making my short stories available on Kindle soon. I was going to bundle what I’ve got available for .99c, which will include the shorts you can read on this blog for free, and the one story I posted on Patreon. A good reason to buy it is that they’ll be all in one place and they’ll be in order timeline-wise and you’ll get to read the one I locked away on Patreon (and I’ll do another round of editing on them all to make them nice and spiffy).

My next project will be the little book about all my aliens. I’m still not sure what I’m going to call it, but I do know I want to get it printed.

What is DAMP?

~Eloi Concencin~

Eloi lived in a small town at the base of Tonjango Mountain. His family wasn’t poor, but they made do. His father was a miner, pulling Etheria crystals from the mountain and Eloi expected to learn the trade as his father’s father passed it down to him. His uncle, however, saw the boy had potential to be a guard and was teaching him how to defend himself when the accident killed Eloi’s father. Shortly afterwards, the mine was purchased by the Bruskur Mining Company and life in town got steadily worse.

Three years later, Eloi accidentally discovers that the cave-in was no accident, and that those who had died were targeted by the owner of the Bruskur Mining Company. Bruskur wanted to purchase the mine and replace all the people who worked in it with his own men. However, since the mine was owned by the town as a collective property, he was faced with opposition, mostly from Eloi’s father, who was head of the town council. 

Swearing he will get justice, the eighteen year old Eloi tries to stop further mining of the mountain through sabotage while he sends letter after letter to the Judiciary of Avlon, requesting an investigation. When a letter is finally answered in the form of a brigade from Avlon’s army, Eloi’s entire town is burnt to the ground. He barely escapes with his best friend, Cammie, and one of his father’s old friends, Bo. 

Swearing revenge, Eloi sets off on a journey to Avlon’s capitol, intending to take this matter to the king, and if the king is behind it, as the rumors suggest, he’ll settle for taking the king’s blood while he’s at it.

His signature look is twin blades and long red scarf.

What is DAMP?

 

 

~Dalziel Lor Avlon~

Dalziel is the crown prince of Avlon. His father, the king, made him the leader of Avlon’s army. During the events of Danger Around Mount Pallin, the heroes kill his father and Dalziel takes over as a warrior-king. His ambition is to take over the whole world. His threat is credible, since he has four generals who are very dangerous in their own right, but adding to their power is the sixth, mostly unseen presence of the Drakna, who seek to plunge the world into the endless chill of death.

Dalziel’s memorable features are his long silver hair and katana.

In Briar’s fanfic, he was released from the spell the Drakna cast on him by Briar and helped the heroes defeat them. In the end, he abdicated and set up a government for the people by the people and founded the Knights of Emelet with Briar Rose.

He didn’t really have a good relationship with his father, given that his father was possessed by the Drakna. His relationship with his son is mostly due to Briar Rose’s influence. She told him to spend time with his son, and that he could teach Fenris things, but give him encouragement from time to time too. “The boy looks up to you, you’re his DAD. Don’t you remember being his age? Don’t you remember thinking your dad was the greatest person in the world?” Dalziel tries hard to give Fenris his full attention when they’re together and not dismiss what his son has to say. But it’s been difficult for the last year since Fenris looks so much like Briar Rose and its just… painful.

Just a reminder

I have a Patreon.

I’ve recently combined it with Clockwork Joker’s in order to produce more consistent and variety of updates. We’ve already got like 5 week’s worth of stuff in the queue. We’ve got a new project going for a web comic on Webtoons! It’s called “Danger Around Mount Pallin.” Set in a world run by magitech clockwork, the land turns its time and seasons like the sweeping hands of a clock, Mount Pallin in the middle, a looming mysterious peak that can be seen from anywhere in the world. 

This story is for the Discovery contest Webtoons is running, so it would be grand if you could support us with likes, shares, and talking about it to your friends. It’s gonna be fun!*

We have some sneak peeks on the Patreon for it, but in short:

  • Art by Clockwork Joker
  • Story by K. E. Ireland
  • Color by Dance of Thorns

 

 

..

*in the only way I know how to have fun, which involves torturing the cinnamon rolls. MWAHAHAHAA 

Wanna see something moldy? >:3

Here’s a short story I wrote in 2002. I remember it having something to do with a left of the center star, and bards who could leave important memories for other bards in order to pass vital information if they died or couldn’t get back. 

All in all, this tidbit is a bit repetitive and over-descriptiony, but I could do something with the setting for sure. Not bad for something I wrote in high school.

Continue reading “Wanna see something moldy? >:3”