Sandy Williams
Unblogging, Writing the Words, and I’m not a Biker (November 2016 update)
Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Unblogging: I’ve made the decision not to blog. That’s kind of funny considering here I am, posting something to my, um, blog, but I’ve been battling with the to-blog or not-to-blog decision for years. I WANT to blog, but it never happens. I can’t consistently do it even once a week. So instead, I’m posting long monthly updates. If you want shorter, more real-time conversation, you can check out my Facebook Page. Despite FB’s annoying lack-of-reach algorithm thingy, I like the platform. I love interacting with readers over there, and it’s easy and fun. So stop by and say hi. And if you want to make sure you see my updates, you can always click “get notifications” on my page to make sure I show up in your news feed.

Writing the Words: Writing wise, October was a good month. I concentrated on the as yet untitled second book in the anomaly series (due out July 2016), and I solidified my habit of waking up an hour before the four-year-olds. This is my most creative time. I can get more done in this hour (I extended it to an hour an a half starting yesterday; thank you time change) than I can in the entire rest of the day, and this habit is paying off. I began the month with 12,400 words and ended it with 22,400 words. Considering I missed a lot of days due to EEGs, blood tests, a funeral, and other doctors’ appointments, that’s not too shabby. Also, we moved at the beginning of the month, and I started taking Keppra, an anti-seizure medication that is totally kicking my ass. Seriously, it’s the worst stuff ever. I’m tired, apathetic, and cranky all the time. Me hates it!

But the better news is that I think I have the book plotted out. I don’t usually do much plotting before I write, but smart writers say that knowing what you’re going to write before you write it is the key to writing faster and better, so I’m doing my best to follow that advice. I spent October jumping around from scene to scene, writing very quickly what happens. I’m not paying attention to descriptions or details; I’m just getting the meat of the story down. I finally reached a point where I feel like I have all the big moments on the page, so last week, I started over from the beginning, ironing out the wrinkles in the plot and prose. This resulted in me deleting a lot of extraneous words, so that 10k I wrote this month was actually a lot more than that.

Anyway, progress is being made, and I’m extremely happy with how this book is turning out. It’s fun! Ash isn’t trapped in a cell, so she’s able to be herself a lot more than she was in the first book. Plus, Ash has more people to interact with! I’m loving the Minister Prime (very stiff, no nonsense woman), a crypty (aka: hacker) who will get her own book, Ash’s new teammates, and of course, Rip Rykus. We get to learn a lot more about him. And a lot more about Ash, too, actually. This book is pretty much awesome. (Today it’s awesome. Tomorrow it’s likely to be the worst book ever.)

I’m a biker. Not. Contrary to popular belief, you can forget how to ride a bike. Since I may or may not have had a seizure back on August 31st when I broke my face, I’ve been banned from driving for three months. Fortunately, our new house is close to paved trails that lead to a couple of shopping centers. I can get to a Target, Kohls, Sprouts, Chik-fil-A (that one’s important!), and Walmart in 20 minutes or less. I can even bike to the gym and library if I’m so inclined. Problem is, I’m a terrible bike rider! Seriously, if they handed out licenses for bike riding, I wouldn’t get one. I’m wobbly. And weak! And ZOMG, my legs were killing me today. It’s so sad.

I’ve never been able to do that stand-up-and-pedal thing, and I’m certain if I let go of one handle to signal a turn, I’ll crash.

Honestly, crashing is pretty much inevitable. It’s going to happen. The question is how many people will see me embarrass myself. This is an especially relevant question considering that I’m feeling pretty geeky riding around in my pink helmet wearing my little black backpack (anyone else burst out into the Stroke 9 song just then?). But I was able to put a good amount of groceries in my bag last week, though, so… win?

Drugs, Habits, and Movies
Monday, October 19th, 2015

Drugs: Sorry (again!) for the long silence, but it’s been a rough couple of months. I finally got in to see a new neurologist, had an EEG–that test where they put electrodes on your head then flash lights in your eyes–and apparently I had multiple complex seizures during that time. Not like convulsing seizures. Best I could describe it was that I felt like I do right before I faint. Fast forward a week, and I had my follow up appointment with the neurologist. It went exactly like this:

Neuro: You had multiple seizures.
Me: Okay. What do I do about it?
Neuro: I was very surprised. I didn’t expect these results.
Me: I’m not that surprised. Something is obviously wrong with me.
Neuro: I thought I’d find something else.
Me: Okay. So what do I do?
Neuro: Let me tell you what we do. You will take Keppra twice a day. In one week, you’ll come back for a blood test. In four weeks, you’ll have another EEG. In the meantime, you shouldn’t drive.
Me: Oh.
Neuro: I’m not going to report you to the DMV or anything but you shouldn’t drive.
Me: Okay.
Neuro: Do you have any questions?
Me: I feel like I should have a lot of questions.
Neuro: Come with me. (exits room; hands me a check out paper) I’ll see you in one month.
Me: Uh. Thanks?

Seriously. That’s all the info I got from the neurologist. That was the entire appointment! I expected to at least be handed a pamphlet of information about seizures or epilepsy or whatever. I didn’t expect the check out sheet when he said, “Come with me.” But I’ve been on this Keppra medication for a week now. It sucks! Not only does it make me tired, but it gives me a serious case of fog-brain as well. Good news, though, is that I’ve been able to wake up early in the mornings and write. Also, I think I’m getting a little more used to it? The whole not-allowed-to-drive thing is awful, though. I need a bike STAT!

Habits: Speaking of waking up in the morning to write, I’ve created a habit! I’m so excited about this. For, well, the entire time I’ve been a “professional” writer (LMAO), I’ve struggled with getting the words down. For a while, it was because I was pregnant and exhausted and sick. Then it was because I was exhausted and had twin babies. Then it was because I was burnt out and exhausted. And then it was because I’d developed this really terrible habit of not writing. I’d just stare at the screen all freaking day long and write maybe a hundred words. I knew I was most creative early in the mornings, but no matter how early I’d get up, my kids would get up then too. Finally, around the beginning of August, I said enough is enough. I started waking up an hour before my kids’ wake up time, and when they got up early, I sent them back to bed.

That didn’t go very well at first. But they got used to it. And I got used to it. I’ve been getting up at 6 am (don’t laugh; that’s early for me!) since then. Well, except for when I broke my face. That really pissed me off. I’d finally developed a good habit, and my body goes and screws up all my effort.

But I’m back at it. And I’m happy to report that most mornings, when I know what I’m going to write and when I write by hand in a notebook (not on the computer!), I write about 1,000 in that hour. I am totally happy with that. This is the most productive I’ve been in years, and I start the day feeling like I’ve accomplished something.

Movies: Since I’ve been exceptionally useless since I broke my face and started Keppra, I’ve watched more movies than usual. Some were pretty good. Some were so so. Some were downright awful. I was going to list the most recently watched films, but there’s quite a lot of them. So I’m going to be lazy (yep, the morning Keppra is kicking in) and leave a link to my Letterboxd profile. Are you on Letterboxd? I seriously need friends to follow who have similar tastes as me!

I broke my face, Upgrading, and Happy Labor Day!
Monday, September 7th, 2015

(Sorry, this post got kind of long and medical-y. Wasn’t sure I had the energy in me to type at all, but maybe this is a good sign that I can get some real writing done tomorrow.)

I broke my face Yes, literally. Early last Monday, I got out of bed and went to the kitchen. My stomach was sort of bothering me, and my husband was sick, so I had the thought that maybe I should go on to the other bathroom just to make sure I wasn’t getting sick too. I never made it there. I woke up face first on the floor with a bloody mouth and a broken upper mouth. Lets just say my teeth were not in the right place.

I’d passed out. It’s not exactly unusual for me to pass out for no reason, but I ALWAYS have a warning. My head feels weird, my body gets tingly, and I sit or lie down. There was zero warning this time. Thus, the broken face, the ambulance ride, and the three days in the hospital where the nurses wouldn’t let me get out of bed.

Staying in bed for three days sucks. I mean, I felt and looked like shit, but if I’d been allowed up to walk around a bit, I think I would be able to recover more quickly. But apparently, when the ER nurse decided to put a second IV in me even though I told him not to because I’d black out–I faint with needles and I have tiny veins–I did black out, had a seizure, and my heart stopped for 5-6 seconds. (Sidenote: if my heart always stops when I pass out, then no wonder I always feel like shit afterwards.)

So, no one let me out of bed. They ran all sorts of tests on me, and I now have a robot in my chest. That’s what I’m telling my kids at least. It’s a loop monitor which will record abnormal heart rhythms I guess. The cardiologist thinks I might need a pacemaker due to some malfunction in some node, but he doesn’t want to just put a pacemaker into a 34 year-old-woman. He needs evidence. (Sidenote: I believe it’s the insurance company who need evidence. $$$)

On Thursday, the hubby and my parents (best parents ever!!!) drove me down to Dallas to have an a-hole put my jaw back in the right spot. I am not going back to that freaking torture chamber. I drove down there because the ER doctor consulted with a doctor there. That doctor didn’t meet with me, but a Dr. N did and we went over my possible heart condition, the fact that I pass out easily, and that they needed to have atropine around in case my heart slowed down under anesthesia. Okay. So all good. Managed the miserable drive back there the next morning following the directions not to eat or drink… and Dr. A-hole shows up.

I seriously don’t know this guy’s name, but I hate him. He refused to do the anesthesia because of my possible heart condition. He just wasn’t comfortable with it. Okay. I get that. But why didn’t someone else tell me they were uncomfortable with it? Why was I sent to this dungeon beneath an old wing of an old hospital and put into a room with half a dozen dentistry chairs and IV bags hanging all over the place? If it hadn’t been so damn hard to make it down there (I was and am still feeling sick and weak), then I would have left. But I stayed because I had a broken mouth for three days and didn’t know what else to do.

So the a-hole starts sticking needles in my mouth to numb it. When I start making noise because it hurts like hell and I’m basically TERRIFIED of passing out (that whole “your heart stopped for five seconds” thing has me totally freaked out), a-hole says, “You have to be quiet. We have other patients here.”

Yeah, and why the hell are there other patients in the same room with me when I’m getting a medical procedure done? That place was a dungeon, I tell you. I don’t give a damn if I’m supposed to follow up with Dr. What’s-His-Name, I am not going back there.

But I will be going to about a bazillion other doctor appointments. Le sigh. I was going to be so productive last week.

Upgrading Meanwhile, we’re buying a new house. In two weeks. We were sort of looking for a house sometime before the kids start elementary next year. Houses are selling like crazy around here because we have jobs, jobs, and more jobs in Dallas, so several corporate headquarters are moving here, and they’re bringing in a crapload of people. Houses are expensive, and they’re going fast. Or they were this summer. There were several houses we looked at within a day or so of them going on the market and they’d already had multiple offers. It was insane.

Anyway, we thought we were going to move twenty minutes or so away from our current house. My husband would love to be closer to Dallas and the highway, but I kind of sort of despise older style homes. I thought I wanted to move further north to the suburbs. But once we started looking, and I really started thinking about leaving our current city, I kind of balked. I love our area of town. It has everything I need. I don’t have to travel far for groceries, a Target, the gym, library, etc. I love my kids’ doctor, which is just down the street, and I love the new city complex that was built a few years ago. I was sad to move.

So, we’re not moving. We’re just buying a different house in a nicer neighborhood. It’s, literally, three minutes from our current house. It seems kind of ridiculous to move there, but the kids will be able to walk to school, there are really nice bike/hiking trails, the community pool is super nice with huge slides and a splash pool, and it’s a nice neighborhood. Plus, the new house is awesome. When the kids get older, their going to need more space–kind of a place to get away from us–and this house has that space. Love it.

Of course, I love our current house too, so there’s all sorts of nervousness going on in my head. Add to that the fact that this house has stairs and I have no freaking idea why I randomly passed out and broke my face the other day, and I guess you could say I’m kind of stressing about it.

Happy Labor Day

I hope all of you are having a happier and healthier Labor Day than I am! I’m a million times better than I was a two days ago, but I’m pretty worthless. I should be writing and packing and getting the stuff done. Instead, my husband is working is butt off and I’m lying in bed.

I’m so sick of lying in bed.

What are you guys doing this Labor Day? Let me live vicariously through you. Any good BBQ? Read any good books? Watch any good movies or shows? I’ve started Orphan Black. I think I might like it.

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015


(This review can also be found on Letterboxd. If you’re on Letterboxd, leave me a link to your profile in the comments. I’d love to check out what you’re watching. Or, if you want to follow me, you can find my profile here.)


interstellarI love a good science fiction film, but for some reason, Spreadsheet Guy had to convince me to watch this one. I think it’s because I have a mental block against human-kind-destroyed-the-earth-and-have-to-find-a-new-planet-to-survive plots. From what I remember of the trailers, they seemed (to me, at least) to emphasize the we-destroyed-the-earth thing and so I was very meh about this.

Fortunately, Interstellar didn’t harp on how bad we are to the planet, but the movie didn’t start as I expected, either. I actually liked the beginning. The little interviews with the older generation were pretty cool and interesting. And then, there was the big supernatural element. I so did not expect that. To me, the beginning had this weird M. Night Shyamalan vibe. Because this turned out to be so much different than I expected, I was really interested in the movie. Until we got to the space part of the plot.

The main issue was that there were some things that I could not believe at all. Matthew McConnaughey was the only pilot in all the world who could take on the task of flying the spaceship? Please. No way in hell. So because I didn’t buy that, I thought McConnaughey’s character was pretty much a selfish asshole for leaving behind his family, who’d already lost a mom.

Oh, sure, the writers tried to make it seem like McConnaughey thought he would be back in a few years, but this plot point only made McConnaughey seem like the biggest idiot ever. “Lets go fly through a wormhole that appeared out of nowhere and that no one has returned from! Everything will be okay!” Stupidest idea ever, so not only is McC an asshole, but he’s a stupid asshole.

Despite this huge issue, I continued watching with mediocre interest. I had the beautiful universe to watch, and a pretty cool spaceship and sarcastic robot to entertain me. I was okay with the planet exploration stuff. That was pretty interesting, actually, trying to find a place that could support human life. But then, Matt Damon appears.

Matt Damon.

themartianThe same Matt Damon who will be playing Mark Whatney in THE MARTIAN later this year. I had no idea Damon was in this movie, so that was jarring, and then I kept watching to see if I could see Damon playing Whatney. And THEN…

I should probably put in a MAJOR SPOILER warning here, but the spoiler was so predictable and pointless I feel like I don’t need to. If you’re sensitive to spoilers, you might want to stop reading, if you’re not, THEN…

When Damon cracked open McC’s faceplate, the only thing I could think was “Mark Whatney would have solved this problem in two seconds flat.” Whatney would have done some crazy calculation and figured out the ammonia in the air would react with the dust in the dirt and a chemical reaction could be triggered by a spark from the communication device Damon stole to create some cool, botany based gel that would seal his helmet and save his life. Easy peasy.

So, again, I was left feeling like McC was so lame.

And then, the movie reached the psychedelic ending. I don’t even know what to say about that other than it was way too long and… psychedelic.

I do, however, appreciate the artistic visual of infinite space-time.

Overall, the movie was okay. I guess I’m glad I watched it so that now I know, for sure, that I wasn’t missing anything. But there are much, much better SF movies out there.

And books. Don’t forget the books. :-)

Have you seen INTERSTELLAR? What did you think?

A Video!
Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Thought it might be fun (or weird?) to record myself signing the very first print copy of Shades of Treason. I’ve got videographer skillz. Not. Watch me totally geek out over a pen, and find out who gets the very first copy.

WARNING: Do not watch this in full screen because… SCARY!


Behind the Pages: Penguin Random House Does Something Right!
Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

I love following news in the publishing industry, and instead of soaking it all in, mentally noting “that’s interesting,” and moving along, I’m going to soak it all in, mentally note, “that’s interesting,” and then write down my thoughts on it occasionally. This is one of those occasional posts.

Most of you know I decided to indie publish my new book, SHADES OF TREASON. I sometimes talk in vague terms about my reasons for this, and one of those reasons is–or was–the lack of information authors receive from their traditional publishers.

The Shadow ReaderTHE SHADOW READER books were published by Ace, an imprint of Penguin Random House. I totally adore Ace. Their books are awesome, and they publish some of my favorite authors. But I was always frustrated by the lack of information I received on my book. Friends often asked me, “How is your book doing?” My answer was always, I had no clue. Aside from looking at reviews and my rank on Amazon, I really did have no clue. Authors receive royalty statements twice a year, about three months after a reporting period. So even though THE SHADOW READER came out in October of 2011, I didn’t have any clue about October-December sales until April.

That might not seem like a big deal, but in terms of seeing how certain efforts on my part effected book sales (and I’ll be honest here and say I didn’t do a lot of huge promo stuff for any of my books; just small things here and there), I had zero way of knowing. The royalty statements were always vague, too. They didn’t say when or where something was sold. They gave me one number for ebook and one number for print books for the entire six month period. What can an author do with that?

So at the end of June, when I received an email from Penguin Random House telling me to sign up for their new Author Portal, I was excited. It was one of the first things I did when I returned home from our Alaskan Cruise. And after clicking around in the portal and watching some of the how-to videos, I have to say I love it. This is exactly what I’ve been wanting to see from them. Sure, they only report sales every week, but that’s probably a good thing (says the person who may or may not be obsessing over her hourly Amazon sales and ranking :-)

The site also has a form to submit pirate links! I still feel like publishers should have staff dedicated to searching for those links and shutting them down as a service for their authors (so their authors have more time to write books), but maybe with the sheer volume of authors, that’s impossible. Anyway, this form makes it so much easier. Prior to this, I would have to email my editor, and she would forward the links on, something I never did because it was work for me, work for my editor, and… well, I have the absurd paranoia about getting on people’s nerves, and I tend to be way quieter than I should be on everything. (More on that in a future post.)

But the thing that’s kind of weird about this development is that, had I not received an email from Penguin, I would have had zero clue that this Author Portal existed. I follow a good number of industry blogs and listen to a lot of podcasts, but apparently, this news wasn’t big enough for any of them to mention it. Perhaps because I follow mostly indie authors/professionals? They’re always eager to point out everything traditional publishers do wrong, but I think it’s unfair not to point out something that a traditional publisher is doing right.

So I’ll point it out. Kudos to Penguin Random House! And THANK YOU for the Author Portal. The lack of information I received prior to the Portal was one of the big reasons I decided to indie publish my new series. This move makes me think yall are moving in the right direction. Just get rid of that pesky we’re-going-to-take-all-your-rights-forever policy, and I’d love to submit my next series to you. :-)

Happy Release Day to Me! Shades of Treason is Out Now.
Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

SHADES OF TREASON is out! Woohoo! So excited! I love this book so much.

Shades of Treason - Ebook Small


How am I celebrating? Well, I’m waiting around for some contractors to come fix my tile*. Oh, the glorious life of a writer. :-)

In addition to Chapter One, which is posted here, a couple of excerpts are floating around the net. First one can be read The Hellvis Compendium and the second one at Love Affair with an E-Reader. I love these scenes.

Also, the Goodreads Group, Girls, Guns, and Grimoires chose Shades of Treason as their Book of the Month! Woohoo! They read Fortune’s Pawn back in April, and a lot of urban fantasies I’ve enjoyed, too, so this might be a good group for yall to check out if you want some social reading.

If you guys have any questions, just ask! I’ll be on and off-line sporadically the next few days and through the holiday weekend (Happy 4th yall!), but will try to answer as soon as I can.




*Ironic side story: Contractors were in my house five years ago to fix the tile. (Yes, we have tile issues.) But in 2010, I was awaiting my first phone call with my potential editor for The Shadow Reader. I was soooo nervous! I’d never spoken with an editor before, and all the workers in my house were totally stressing me out. It didn’t help that they began using JACKHAMMERS in the kitchen. I grabbed my phone, shut my bedroom door, shut my bathroom door, then shut my closet door. Yes, I had my first phone call with my editor huddled in the back of my closet, hoping she didn’t hear the echoes of the jackhammer in the other room. I’m not sure if I made any sense during that call. :-)

I’m Back! Blog Tour, and Giveaway (and a secret!)
Monday, June 29th, 2015

I’m Back! (And note to self: never again schedule a long vacation the week before a book release.)

Yep, that’s right folks. I was on vacation last week. In Alaska. It was just as beautiful and relaxing as everyone says it is. Spreadsheet Guy and two other couples who are friends of ours booked a 9 day cruise. We stopped at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, coasted through Glacier Bay and College Fjords, then ended up in Whittier, Alaska, which is basically in the middle of nowhere. We went for hikes, took in the scenery by train, tracked a group of whales, and had a wonderful time. When we weren’t out and about, we laid claim to a table and played Libertalia, Colt Express, 7 Wonders, and Telestrations (everyone else tried REALLY hard to turn this into a Cards Against Humanity Telestrations. Am I the only one who hates playing Cards Against Humanity?)

Fun times, yall. Fun times.

(Check out how close this baby whale came to our boat! Totally surprised us!)


Blog Tour

Shades of Treason Blog Tour Banner

So this begins today. I kinda can’t believe it’s almost July and release day already, but hurray! I can’t wait to hear what you guys all think of Shades of Treason. Two more days! But in the meantime, I’m giving away 10 copies of Shades of Treason, winner’s choice of print or ebook (ebook for international winners, though). Today, there’s an interview with me at Addicted 2 Heroines. Hope on over there to read it, and learn why I chose to self publish Shades of Treason.

June 29, 2015: thehellviscompendium – Promo (new excerpt!)
June 30, 2015: Bibliophile Mysterey – Review
July 3, 2015: Love Affair with an E-Reader – Review
July 3, 2015: The Reading Cafe – Author Interview
July 4, 2015: Nessa’s Book Reviews – Promo
July 5, 2015: Romancing the Readers  – Promo
July 6, 2015: LuLo Fangirl – Review
July 7, 2015: Goldilox and the Three Weres – Review
July 8, 2015: Oh My Shelves – Author Interview
July 9, 2015: Rabid Reads – Character Bio
July 10, 2015: (un)Conventional Bookviews – Review
July 11, 2015: BookwormBridgette’s World – Promo
July 12, 2015: Readaholics Anonymous – Promo


Giveaway (and a secret!)


In addition to the Rafflecopter giveaway that’s part of the blog tour, I’ll be giving away a Sci-Fi Romance Starter Box with Swag Pack to two lucky, randomly chosen readers who review Shades of Treason by July 15th. To enter, just email me at sandy AT sandy DASH williams DOT com with a link to your review (or reviews if you post to multiple places and want multiple entries). Please write “Review Giveaway” in the subject line, and I’ll pick two winners on  July 16th! I’m going to leave the books in the Sci-Fi Romance Starter Box a mystery, but here’s a glimpse at the Swag Packs that I’ll be sending along.
Swag Pack CollageWhat’s inside?
  • Signed Shades of Treason and Shadow Reader bookmarks
  • Romance Trading Cards for all three Shadow Reader novels
  • My favorite swag – Scratch-and-Win games! Match three covers and you might win an Amazon gift card. These are so much fun to make and give out. :-)
  • And last, but definitely not least, a beautiful Nebula Necklace! I like to think the planet silhouette in the necklace is Caruth, the planet where Rykus and Ash first meet. :-)



(Are you guys still reading this post? Yall are hanging around for the secret, aren’t you? Well, it’s not a HUGE secret, but it’s exciting to me. I sort of, not-quite-accidentally, hit publish on the super gorgeous print version of Shades of Treason. What does that mean? That means that real life, 3D, hold-it-in-your-hands-and-smell-the-pages, PRINT copies of Shades of Treason can be bought right now and sent to your doorstep. It’s up at Amazon right now, but should be everywhere else soon if you prefer to order from other retailers. So, for those of you who are print fans, if you order today, you can have Shades of Treason in your hands on release day.

Ah, it’s the little things that make me happy. :-)

Self Improvement, Food Prep, and No More Shopping
Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Kind of a stressful week here at Casa Williams. Lots of stuff going on, and I’m having a fair amount of Mom Guilt this week. I’m hoping to get some writing done a little later this week. I’m way behind where I want to be (surprise, surprise), but I’m hoping some of the choices I’m making now will make the future go better. Which brings me to…

gtSelf Improvement: Teenage me always scoffed at self help/improvement types of books. I have no idea why. It had to have something to do with my crazy, mixed up teenage brain, but I would literally shy away from the self help aisle in bookstores. If I accidentally wandered down it, I’d quickly flee, then look around to make sure know one that that *I* was intentionally on *that* aisle. It’s like I had to pretend I had it all together. I didn’t need advice or help. That was for weak people.

Fast forward twenty years and I’m on a self improvement binge. It started with me beginning to listen to and read how-to-write books, something I’ve really never done before. I’ve pantsed every one of my books (“pantsing” is when you write without an outline and just go with the flow), and a huge part of me worried that if I tried to learn how to write, or tried to plot, or tried to change my method in any way, I’d never write another good book. (Apparently, crazy, mixed up teenage brain hasn’t COMPLETELY left me yet.) But I’m finding these craft books to be super interesting, and it doesn’t feel like they will change the way I write. Amazingly, I naturally write in a three point structure and include all or most of the story beats the “experts” recommend. Yay me. My hope is that by understanding why I write the way I do, and to identify the method, I can put a plan in place to do what I do faster. I’ll let you know how that works out. :-)

The other “self improvement” thing I’m doing is listening to podcasts and reading “productivity” books. I’ve just started David Allen’s Getting Things Done, so I can, uh, get things done. I have a lot of time in my day, and yet I feel like I get further and further behind every hour. And there are days when I have no idea what I’ve accomplished. I gotta get things together, make better use of my time.

Food Prep: I’ve had a significant change in plans for the next few weeks, a change that will require me to pre-plan for other people to cook meals for my boys. I was trying to write down a list of things they eat, and that list ended up having about five items on it. I’ve added a few other things they sometimes eat, but meal times aren’t the easiest around here. Most meals, I have to force on them. *sigh* So there will be much feeding of chicken nuggets, hotdogs, hamsteak, and pasta.

One of these days, I’m going to get meal planning under control. I’m experimenting with the site, Plan to Eat. It has a free one month trial, and it looks like it might work well for us. I just need to enter in our normal rotation of meals. Anyone else use that site?

No More Shopping: I went shopping today. I hate shopping. I am fashionably challenged. Seriously. I have no idea what goes with what, and I’m 100% happy in jeans and a t-shirt. But I kind of want to look cute in my jeans in t-shirts, and after reading this post last year that says Gap and Old Navy make “mom jeans,” I’ve been super paranoid about my jeans. My favorite, most comfortable jeans in the world are Gap long and lean bootcut. But that post is right. They might look and feel awesome for five minutes, but after that, they sag. I’m constantly pulling them up. Cue: sad face. So I’ve been slowly replacing my Gap jeans with mostly Kut from the Kloth jeans (LOVE!). But I want bootcut jeans, so that’s what I went out looking for today. That and a cocktail dress. And a pair of comfy black flats.

Results? Fail. Fail. Fail.

And I just ended up frustrated for having wasted an entire day when I have so much stuff to do. So, no more shopping for me. I’m going back to Stitch Fix. I stopped because it’s pretty expensive, but I can limit myself to one item a month (or whatever frequency I end up choosing). It’s worth it to avoid shopping.

P.S. Shades of Treason got it’s first 5 star review on Goodreads today! And a mini review. Full review will be posted later. But ohmygoshyay! A stranger read and loved my new book!

Some Uploading Thoughts
Friday, June 12th, 2015

(This is kind of an “inside baseball” post (INSIDE BASEBALL! I’ve always wanted to use that term, even though I’m not a baseball fan. Woohoo!) so if you’re not interested in behind-the-pages kind of technical stuff, you might want to close your eyes. :-))

What have I accomplished this week? I think I’ve uploaded Shades of Treason to all retailers. It’s ready to go at Amazon (you can preorder here). It’s pending on Kobo (do I have any Kobo readers here?) and should be available for preorder there soon. It’s on Draft2Digital, an ebook distributor, and Smashwords, another ebook distributor. It’s ready to go on B&N, but B&N doesn’t allow pre-orders unless I go through a distributor. Tempting, but I really do prefer going direct whenever possible.

Shades isn’t yet on Apple. I’ve got to say, Apple makes it seriously difficult to get books on its platform. For one, I don’t have a Mac, and that’s the only way to directly get books on iTunes (or iBooks or whatever it wants to be called). So I either have to pay someone who can use a Mac to upload it for me* (the route I prefer to take), or use Draft2Digital or Smashwords as a distributor.

want to create a separate ebook file for iTunes that contains links to The Shadow Reader books over there, but man, even that is hard to do. You have to use a link creator to search for the book instead of just going to a website. Okay, you’re right, using that link creator isn’t THAT difficult, but still. I had to Google the search “how to link to books on itunes” to figure out how to do this. It should be simpler than that.

Anyway, I hope to figure out the iTunes thing in the next few days.

(Sidenote: It has been so, so difficult to not click on “publish now” on all the sites. Shades of Treason is totally ready to go, and I can’t wait to see what you guys think of it. I’m excited and terrified and tied up in knots. Eeeek!)

All of this staring-at-the-computer has given me a headache. None of it has been difficult, but it has been time consuming, especially when I kept getting silly little errors in my files. Spreadsheet Guy had to save me once. My HTML file kept coming out with <i>words</i> instead of just italicized words. I could not figure it out. I was doing everything right, but it turns out that Microsoft Word’s < is different from the < that I should have been enclosing HTML tags in. Once Spreadsheet Guy pointed this out, I could see the oh-so-subtle difference. I never, ever would have found that on my own. (See, I knew there was a reason I married him ten years ago!)

I encountered a bunch of tiny issues like that. Another example, epubs don’t like spaces in file names. So, yep, I had to go back and manually change things.

And, basically, this is what I’ve done all week long. That means zero writing has been done. Not good, but at least I’ve learned things and accomplished my goal. It should go much, much quicker next time. For now, I’ve gotta run.** My eyes are so hating the computer screen right now.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!



* My mom has a Mac, and the last time I was down there, I set up an account and tried to figure out how to load up an ebook, and either I’m incompetent (highly possible) or creating ibooks is extremely difficult.

** I’m not actually going to go run. Not because it’s 100 degrees outside and I don’t wanna, but because I already did! I ran 20 minutes nonstop for the very first time today! So excited about this. I’ve been working on the Couch to 5K program since I had the boys four years ago, but I always stop or start over, and I’ve never ever made it this far before. I WILL FINISH THIS PROGRAM THIS YEAR!