Self-Discovery

/Tag: Self-Discovery

Selling Houses and Dating Boys Part Deux

This week, I threw it back to a post on selling houses and dating boys. In it, I wrote about how I felt that "I don't get perfect," in either real estate transactions or in dating gentlemen callers. At the time I wrote that post, I was actually seeing someone quite lovely. Like, "Oh my god, where have you been" kind of lovely. Like "Came over and helped me get my house ready for sale, mowed my lawn twice, cleaned my kitchen, helped me put a door on my cabinets" kind of lovely. Kind of looked like Sage Teon kind of lovely. And it fizzled out in the way that most of my relationships nowadays usually do: he just stopped calling and texting about two weeks ago. Womp womp. Interestingly, I actually have a little bit different opinion about things now as February. What I have since realized is that I tend to hold onto what I have versus taking a risk on the unknown. And when I lose something, my initial reaction is that I won't ever get something that good again so I hold onto it in my mind. What I am beginning to understand is that "Holding onto the past because I'm afraid of the future is no way to live." This is not a new discovery, because I wrote that in Empath almost six months ago. But it's taken a while to sink in. So bringing it back to the TBT post, I did end up getting another offer on my house. The funny thing is, if the first had gone through, I actually would have made less money overall because I would have had to do a rent-back agreement and pay for two months of their mortgage so I could stay until May. Even now, the deal includes a 1.5% assistance on closing, but I still walk away with more money. With the guy who stopped calling, while he's a lovely human being, I also know that the right place for me is in Pensacola. And if you aren't from there, it's really hard to adapt to that lifestyle. Yeah, beach and sun and fun, but it's also a small town with rednecks (I use that term with love). I couldn't ask anyone to be miserable on my account. Honestly, the hardest thing for me to do is to accept that the universe has better [...]

By |2017-03-07T16:07:17+00:00April 18th, 2015|Life and Love|Comments Off on Selling Houses and Dating Boys Part Deux

TBT Update – Staying the Course

For today's TBT, I highlighted a blog I wrote back in August that talked about staying the course and keeping to my intention. I threw out a bunch of ideas an expectations and now I'm just laughing about how little (and much) I knew. It's so comforting to see that I have, in fact, made significant progress since last August. So I thought I'd go through, one by one, and showcase where I am and where I'd thought I'd be: By not going with Amazon's Select program, I am unable to offer my book for free (without a whole bunch of hullabaloo) and I can't enroll it in Kindle Unlimited. Beyond that, because my book is not included in this program, I am penalized in their ranking system. For someone who lives and dies by metrics, being in the three digits (instead of the six) would be monumental. Not only did I get in the three digits, I got in the one digits. Since making Double Life permafree, it's been in the top 100 nearly every single day since December 31st. And when I promoted it via Book Barbarian, it shot to #1. I've sold less than twenty books using Smashwords (which includes iBooks and Barnes and Noble), and now almost twice that on Amazon. Does it make sense to pull out of Smashwords completely and go to Amazon? I ended up going this route for Alliances and while the free book day was a nice way to get both books in the series noticed (see quote #1 above), the exclusivity and Kindle Unlimited doesn't seem to be helping me at all. I decided not to go with KDPS for Empath, so we'll see how my opinion changes. I've made twice as much money selling books out of the back of my car. I'm attending Baltimore Comic-Con next weekend, and bringing 50+ books. Same goes for Annapolis and then ShatterdomeCon. I will have unfettered access to hundreds of nerds my target demographic, and be able to unload a bunch of books (I hope). This amused me on several levels. First, yes, I have made (also lost) a shit-ton of money at conventions. I've sold a shit-ton of books (coming up on 700 paperbacks). But what amused me more is that the two conventions I mentioned - Annapolis and Shatterdome - were almost abject failures. But other conventions - Baltimore, Tidewater, Pensacon, Indianapolis [...]

By |2017-03-07T16:09:27+00:00April 9th, 2015|Rambles|Comments Off on TBT Update – Staying the Course

The Problem with Conviction

I've been having some trouble writing Conviction, the third Razia book. Now, nobody panic. It's not like I'm giving up or anything like that. But I wanted to be blog a little about the frustration with this damned book, more so I maybe can find a nugget of wisdom to keep me going. First, some background: The events that occur in Conviction were originally part of Double Life but removed because I thought it was too much plot after the third or fourth draft. THE PROBLEM WITH THAT is that, just like with Double Life, this particular sequence of events has been floating around my head for fifteen years. BUT UNLIKE DOUBLE LIFE, this hasn't actually been written (well). And so what happens, inevitably, is that when I start writing, I then switch to daydreaming and forget to write. Because I know what happens, so why write it down? = Suni!Logic That's one piece of the problem. The other is that I'm really worried that it (and also Book 4) veer off into the less action-y and more into the relationship-y territory. Which is strange, because both Double Life and Alliances were about relationships, too, so I don't know why this one, in particular, is coming off so weird to me. But people love Lizbeth, and they love Sage, and seeing them continue to care for Lyssa is warm and fuzzy. Another piece of the problem is that I keep writing scenes, then pulling them out, then putting them back, then pulling them out, then rewriting them. I have about 10,000 words in my "Cut scenes" folder, in addition to the nearly 50k in the book itself. I can't seem to get the sequence of events right, or get them to flow. I can't pinpoint motivations of my characters (specifically Lyssa and Jukin) and so I can't seem to get their dialogue right, either. The final piece of the problem - and here's the big fear (#SlayYourFears) - is I'm afraid I won't have enough plot to fill the novel. This is a fear I also have for Book 4, and I think part of it is bleeding into Conviction. I'm sitting close to 50k, as I said, with a lot of [add] and [more here], but I guess I'm still worried that I won't make it over 68 (which is my intended minimum word count). So the fear that [...]

By |2017-03-07T16:04:11+00:00March 19th, 2015|Razia, Writing Woes|Comments Off on The Problem with Conviction

Selling Houses and Dating Boys

As I navigate the perils of real estate, I began to see the similarities between selling houses and dating boys (or girls). I put my Virginia house on the market and it sold 24 hours later. I got a full-price offer, they needed no help on closing costs. The best part was that they were going to let me stay in the house until May, which meant that I could stay in my job. This was, to be frank, the most perfect situation ever to occur. And so everything was signed and finished and we had a close date and then…the buyers pulled out due to personal reasons. So I went from feeling like everything was working out perfectly to back to square one. I was texting with my mom and I told her I felt like I jinxed it because I got excited and told people about it. Although everything was going great and things seemed to be perfectly perfect...I feel like "I don’t get perfect." And then I realized that selling my house is exactly like dating, right down to how I feel when it doesn't work out. When something too amazing for words comes along, I get all excited and start dreaming about what could happen. And in both cases, when it doesn't work out, my initial reaction is: "Well of course. I don't deserve something that good." The idea of deserving things is definitely something that's been at the forefront of my mind lately. When I threw it back to this blog post on Thursday, I read through it and realized that I'm still suffering from some of the same self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that I struggled with last year: "…[e]very time I end it with someone (or vice versa), I can't help but feel like I've failed in some way. I'm ashamed of myself, like it's always my fault that everything goes wrong." I wrote in the blog post that I shouldn't have to change for someone to love me. I mean, perhaps I should be a little more open and vulnerable. But I shouldn't have to change my quirkiness or my personality in order to be with someone else. Here's the dirty little secret: I didn't believe it back then, and I don't believe it now. Not really. Strangely, this is not a problem with loving myself. Since I wrote that post in March [...]

By |2017-03-06T11:16:18+00:00February 14th, 2015|Life and Love|Comments Off on Selling Houses and Dating Boys

Loneliness

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post 3 months ago. The specifics may or may not be totally accurate at this point ref. number of dates and the state of my house. But it's still a good blog post and an important one for me. ---- At the end of Double Life, there's a line about Lyssa realizing she's abandoned herself because she hated herself. I remember when I read it in the midst of my quarter life crisis, I sat back and said, "Ow." The same thing happened when I was editing Alliances. Specifically, there's a part where Lyssa is angry at my exboyfriend Vel lying to her about having a new girlfriend. And Lizbeth rightly points out that whether he'd told her up front or not, Lyssa would have been angry at him regardless because she's lonely. For me, it was like Lizbeth was speaking directly yo me. Loneliness vs. Being Alone I do struggle with the idea of being lonely vs. being okay with being alone. I confess, I still haven't found that balance. There are days when I wake up and miss having someone wrapping their arms around me. Then not even five minutes later, I look around at my disgusting house and breathe a sigh of relief I don't have to clean to impress a gentleman caller. I am dating, but it's been a really long time since I've actually gone on a second date. A big part of that reason is the general dumbassery of the general male population in Washington DC. But part of my reticence is that I know how goofy-moronic I get when I'm infatuated with someone. I tend to say and do stupid things, and ignore myself and my plans in favor of not losing the object of my adoration. And when I'm just about to finally do what I want to do, I'm terrified that I'm going to get all twitterpated and do something moronic. Like say, "No, just kidding. I'll stay here with you!" Keeping Sane I know it seems unbelievable that someone as straight-laced as I am would make such a dumbass decision. I have a frightening history of making decisions like that. The flip side of this coin is the idea that I would meet someone who would move to Pensacola for me. Someone who would put aside their hopes and dreams just to be with me. [...]

By |2017-03-06T10:59:17+00:00February 9th, 2015|Life and Love|Comments Off on Loneliness

My Trust Issues

I have trust issues. I didn't ever used to think I had trust issues. I thought I was an open and honest book. There's a whole lot that I’m not shy about telling people. But when it comes to really honestly and emotionally connecting with someone… My trust issues come from never feeling like I ever fit in, coupled with some really damaging bullying when I was in middle school. My inner circle is comprised of people who either a) are family or b) have known me too long. It's prevented me from making any new, lasting relationships with people. Partially, I think I was afraid to be close with others because I didn't even like myself for a long time. I didn't know the person that I was or what I stood for. I didn't think anyone could ever like me, so I kept people at a distance. This became a problem when the entirety of my support system (my ex-boyfriend) disappeared, and the rest of it was 1,000 miles away in Florida. And I looked around at the ten years I've spent in D.C., and I realized I had very little - relationship-wise - to show for it. Trust Issues in Alliances I explored this side of me in Alliances. Lyssa threw her weight in with Tauron when she was very young (as I did with my ex). When he disappeared, she was adrift. In Double Life, she and her little brother learn to trust in the crucible of dangerous situations. Even so, she still can't be completely truthful with him until this book. For me, it's easy to sit behind a computer and blog about my deepest darkest secrets. But to sit in front of someone and look into their eyes and speak with them? Terrifying.

By |2017-03-06T10:54:26+00:00February 2nd, 2015|Self-Love|Comments Off on My Trust Issues

My Circle of Trust

Thanks to a childhood of bullying, I've got a predisposition to thinking that everyone secretly hates me. I'm also rarely honest with people - including and especially myself. But there's a small group of people (read: less than 5) who I consider my "circle of trust," my people to whom I always can fall. Or so I thought. But it actually turns out that while everyone in my circle loves me, it's actually not enough for me. And it's been the source of my unsettled-ness for a long time. Let's examine further…. This chain reaction of truth bombs happened when someone that I love a great deal made a comment about my book not being "deep," like Cormac McCarthy or Toni Morrison. I reacted pretty emotionally, and began writing this long vitriolic journal entry (therapeutic only, and not to be posted) about what constitutes a young adult book, why my book is not, and why this particular person's comments cut me so deeply (because this person is someone I consider to be in my inner circle). And that's when I stumbled upon this little nugget of truth: There's so much criticism, anger, hatred, vitriol and meanness spewed in my direction all day, every day. This business is hard, it's difficult, and you need a thick skin to survive. I am a consummate professional when it comes to dealing with the unprofessional behavior of others, and I - outwardly - let it roll off my back. But that doesn't mean I don't need a set of people to talk with and let it bother me - a circle of trust, if you will. Sometimes I just want to call someone a fucking fucker who can fucking fuck himself in the ass until he fucking dies, and I want to have someone to nod and agree with me that he is a fucking fucker, and they're sorry that he decided to shit all over me. I need someone to create a safe space where I can let off all my steam built up from my Professionalism. But that safe space needs to be exactly that - safe. When I bring the hurt and pain from the outside world into my circle of trust, the last thing I need them to say to me is "Get over it." Even worse - when those I consider my inner circle start with the criticism, even [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:43:15+00:00November 22nd, 2014|Family|Comments Off on My Circle of Trust

On Being a Carnie Huckster

I was in a Facebook group discussion recently, and the topic turned to the idea of advertising e-books. The gentlemen in question lamented that he wasn't getting noticed because the market was saturated, or something along those lines. I offered my commentary (shocking, I know) that in the Science Fiction and Fantasy marketplace, the best way to sell books is to get out from behind the computer and meet fans at conventions. His response was that he shouldn't have to be a "carnie huckster" to sell books. He's an introvert, and it's "too hard" for him to look strangers in the eye and talk to them. (In all honesty, I know he was speaking out of frustration, so I'm not super chuffed at the name-calling) And secondly - this may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am an Introvert. That's right kids, I'm an INFJ. I love staying at home, I love sweatpants (#campaignfornopants). I don't make friends easily, and the ones I do have, I keep for life. I hate crowds, I hate parties, and I hate being social. But you know what I do love? Eating. Internet. Not filing for bankruptcy. Also - Not having to work in a job that I hate. Which is why I get over whatever fears and hatreds that I have about going to conventions, and get out there and sell my damned books. As with most fears in life, the thing we are afraid if is usually not as bad as we made it out to be (hello lessons of Empath). 100% of the people I have met at conventions have been nothing but friendly and nice. Even the ones who don't even take a card are pleasant. And yes - sometimes it doesn't work out (hello Book Signing). Sometimes I take a hit. But I always learn something, and I keep pressing on. It can definitely be hard to stand in front of a table and talk to strangers. You are putting yourself out there and there's the very VERY real chance that you will fail - you won't sell any books, you won't sell enough books to break even. But the fear of failure shouldn't prevent you from trying. Hence my favorite quote lately: What I've learned is success is 99% hard work and 1% luck - and to get lucky, you have to put yourself [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:39:58+00:00October 26th, 2014|Publishing Schtuff|Comments Off on On Being a Carnie Huckster

My Fear of Running

I admit it: I have a fear of running. This is an odd statement to say, considering I've run 5 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and countless 5ks and 10ks and 10 milers. But running causes me severe anxiety. It probably started when I was in 4th grade, when I ran down the hill and my best friend Valerie came up to me with the stinkiest of stink eyes and said, "Whitney, you need to wear a bra." So I've always been self-conscious about the way I look when I run. After that came asthma, and the feeling like I couldn't breathe. One of my biggest irrational phobias is the fear that I will stop breathing, and so, obviously, getting an asthma attack exacerbates that fear. And, of course, I'm always getting asthma attacks when I run: When it's cold, my lungs seize up. When it's hot, the ozone here in DC gets so bad that my lungs seize up. In the fall, allergies. In the spring, allergies. So there's about 3 days out of the year when I can run and asthma isn't an issue. When I started dating my ex, probably even before, to be honest, I got healthy at the university gym, but I never quite was used to running. It was always some unattainable goal, watching people fly down the side of the street like they were having the best day of their lives. I wanted to have that freedom to just be able to lace up my sneakers and go where I wanted, when I wanted. I was 23 or 24 when I got on a regular allergy and asthma medication and was told I could run outside (or that I was using asthma as an excuse and could do everything anyone else could). I began on a cold winter's day and came back in after a quarter mile because I couldn't breathe. But I kept at it, put together a training schedule, and soon enough, I was able to run a mile. Then two miles. The Pressure I ran my first 5k in 2010, my first half marathon in 2011, my first marathon in 2012. The last two came because I started running with a group who accepted and kind of liked me, and I wanted to hang with them (read: I only ran because they ran and I wanted to be accepted). My fun [...]

By |2017-03-06T12:22:30+00:00September 28th, 2014|Self-Love|Comments Off on My Fear of Running

Staying the Course

This might be my last post for the next three months, as my fifteen new author BFFs are going to be taking over my blog. (Maybe, we'll see how long I last before I have to blog. It's almost a compulsion now.) Today I wanted to talk about staying the course. I made the conscious decision to go with Smashwords AND Amazon, because it affords me the opportunity to have my book in almost every single e-bookstore under the sun. Amazon, as you probably can guess, doesn't want me to use any other e-bookstore but their own, and because I've opted to go multi-channel, they're punishing me. Not really, but kind of. By not going with Amazon's Select program, I am unable to offer my book for free (without a whole bunch of hullabaloo) and I can't enroll it in Kindle Unlimited. Beyond that, because my book is not included in this program, I am penalized in their ranking system. For someone who lives and dies by metrics, being in the three digits (instead of the six) would be monumental. But - 99% of the people I'm jealous of who I've seen in the top of their market have offered their books for free, and are enrolled in KDP Select. I've sold less than twenty books using Smashwords (which includes iBooks and Barnes and Noble), and now almost twice that on Amazon. Does it make sense to pull out of Smashwords completely and go to Amazon? No, and here's why Whitney, While it's true I've sold more on Amazon than on Smashwords, I've made twice as much money selling books out of the back of my car. I'm attending Baltimore Comic-Con next weekend, and bringing 50+ books. Same goes for Annapolis and then ShatterdomeCon. I will have unfettered access to hundreds of nerds my target demographic, and be able to unload a bunch of books (I hope). The other thing I'm struggling with is that my book is not in a genre that sells well in the e-book market. Almost every single one of Smashwords bestsellers are romances. Not only that, but because my themes are kind of non-Sci-Fi (in that they focus on the personal journey rather than the human civilization journey), but it's hard for me to grab the attention of sci-fi fans, and hard for non sci-fi fans to take a chance on me. These are the [...]

By |2017-03-20T11:36:39+00:00August 31st, 2014|Publishing Schtuff|Comments Off on Staying the Course